Thank you to my friends over at the Internet Monk…we get more referrals from that site than any other.
They commented on a John Armstrong article about pastors being cast out because of age or a perceived lack of relevance.
“Evangelical ecclesiology in free, “independent” churches, with its emphasis on pastors as entrepreneurs and leaders building their own institutions with unique brands, owes more to free market capitalism than it does to the organic communities of faith we see in Scripture, history, and tradition.”
Well worth the read…
R.L. Stoller comments on a putrid and ignorant sermon delivered by Voddie Baucham on mental illness.
I haven’t been able to compose a printable sentence about Bauchams idiocy, so read it for yourself.
A representative of the “religion of peace” had his statement published in USA Today…read it and make your own application.
While there is justifiable outrage over what happened in France yesterday, a report that 97 journalists have been assassinated in Mexico since 2011 went unnoticed...even though many of those killings were paid for with your tax dollars.
I came in through the Monk. Don’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse 🙂
We’re pleased that you joined us… 🙂
I’ve been listening to the news about France on the BBC and they are making it all about freedom of speech and are saying very little about the fact that Islam is inherently hostile to Western civilization as an article of faith. They are, in their very PC way, skipping over the root of the problem (Islam’s teachings) and making it about freedom of the press, something all PC-ers can get behind. Must not offend the Muslims. When I was in London this fall a large % of the kids walking to school were Muslims dressed in Islamic garb with their sweet but naive English teachers falling all over them with affection.
Not that I blame those teachers- the only way to treat any child is with love and affection. But I don’t think kindness is going to cause the Muslims of Europe to adopt the Christian ethic of love your enemies.
As someone noted:
When a Christian becomes radicalized, he sells all he has, gives to the poor, takes up his cross, denies himself and follows Jesus.
When a Muslim radicalized, he starts beheading people.
I keep thinking that with each atrocity, Europe will wake up and say No More! But instead they are saying No More! to Christianity.
Ever since the 7th century when the demon first whispered his lies into the ears of Mohammed, Europe has been trying to protect her borders from Islamic invasion. Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours, for example. The Eastern Europeans in the east. Now they are welcomed in.
That Voddie Baucham sermon got me thinking again about some of the issues that have come up on this blog.
Whether its the issue of mental illness, gender identity, same-sex attraction, addiction or evolution, are pastors being pushed (or are they inserting themselves) into technical areas (outside of matters of theology and faith) where they have no professional training in the science or the art? It’s one thing to give a personal opinion on a blog, but quite another to teach or counsel on these issues where a person is unqualified in that science or art.
There’s no doubt that pastors do have a pastoral role, where faith and theology intersect with contemporary ethical issues, illness, etc. But, when did the pastor become the local scientist, doctor and theologian all wrapped up in one? I think, taken too far, it’s a most unhelpful mix.
I suspect that the many pastors on this blog deal with these questions. How do you define your role?
I’m a teacher and helper on spiritual matters.
I have real experts and professionals on other matters on speed dial.
I’ve appreciated Voddie Baucham and his teaching for some time…..This is super disappointing to hear. I wonder if any of the rest of his fellow Gospel Coalition board members are aware of this. I’m afraid to find out.
Great article on the Monk.
The framework of some evangelical ecclesiastical systems are independent, unaccountable structures that gestures toward a desire in our souls to construct our own version of spirituality. It has been institutionalized so firmly into our thinking that we naturally react adversely to anyone who might dare question its biblical integrity.
If only it were true, what Xenia stated regarding radicalized christians. Sadly throughout history until the present day professing christians have used physical violence against those they disagree with them and involved in various degrees of activity that are far from selling all one has, picking up a cross, dying to self, etc. One can say, “those aren’t real christians”, but how is that different than those in the muslim faith who protest that ISIS and those like them “aren’t real muslims”? For example, burning of heretics at the stake remained a convenient way of disposing of the enemies of the faith even on our own shores in a not so distant past. Should I ever stand trial and be convicted of heresy, I pick the sword over the stake, thank you very much.
Also, while debate about issues of immigration of muslims in France and throughout Europe may not get a lot of press here in the US, there are strong opinions and many solutions being debated in the press of those countries. Nonnie may be able to add insight into this phenomenon. In many ways, muslim people in Europe have much in common, with our neighbors south of the border. Both welcomed into countries for cheap labor. Both ethnicities get bad reputations for the bad actors among them ( terrorists, drug cartels) that overlook the fact that most are just trying make a living, take care of their families and live in peace.
We have baptized “autonomy”…
No one can deny that Christianity has a violent past and in some countries, a violent present.
The difference is twofold, I believe.
The Christian scriptures rightly interpreted leave no place for such.
The Koran rightly interpreted, advocates it.
To my knowledge, there is no large sect of Christians carrying out wholesale slaughter against a declared enemy on a world wide basis.
You are correct that the migrations of the poor in Europe and here have some significant parallels…
“The Koran rightly interpreted, advocates it.”
You may be correct, but before I agree, let me ask this question:
Something seems to have occurred with the advent of Al-Qaeda. This phenomena of Islamic terrorism is something relatively recent isn’t it? If so, has there been a reinterpretation of the Koran or do we just see more faithful Muslims now than say 50 years ago?
I am far from an expert on this subject but it seems to me that there has been a “fundamentalist” reaction from Islam in reaction to the flood of Western thought enabled by electronic media.
Throw in some of our political moves in that area and you end up with what we see today.
Michael – the question would be, as is debated endlessly over matters great & small even here on the blog – “interpreted by whom”? It is true that whatever interpretation individual believers in any religion choose, impacts their attitudes & actions. Whether islamic terrorists, white supremacists, teapartiers, progressives, liberals, right of left. I often wonder if it is our individual culture, upbringing, personal tastes etc that influence our interpretations and practice more than the holy spirit.
“I often wonder if it is our individual culture, upbringing, personal tastes etc that influence our interpretations and practice more than the holy spirit.’
Jean, my dear friend’s grandfather was murdered by Muslims because he refused to deny Christ.
I’ve seen the blood stained Bible that he held, when he was murdered in his home.
20 people were executed in the aftermath of the Salem witch trials. (None were burned at the stake, by the way.)
Compare that to the 140+ (mostly children) slaughtered at the Pakistani school. recently. Chances are good that a few Christians have been killed by a Muslim somewhere in the world as I type this.
Approximately 270 million nonbelievers died over the last 1400 years for the glory of political Islam.
I am not going to wring my hands and say give Islam a pass because there have been some Christian atrocities in the past 2000 years or that the Koran is open to interpretation.
by “non-believers” I mean non believers in Islam.
Jean, the rise of Wahhabism has contributed to the problem.
Also, nature abhors a vacuum.
Vibrant, healthy societies:
1. Believe their own religion
2. Observe cultural traditions
3. Have large families
1. No longer believe their own religion (see the Linkathon article about selling off churches)
2. Mock their cultural traditions
3. Have very few children
When you look at it in light, Islam is the vibrant society and is moving into the European cultural/ religious vacuum.
Another reason is the decadence of Western society which rightly offends many people. Heck, I’m offended by it.
I do not give Islam, especially in its fundamentalist variety as a religion a pass. I suppose, my concerns are how our righteous hatred of abominable acts get extrapolated to a whole people and culture caught in a web of being hated by virtue of their birth. Just as many in the US claim christianity without being practicing christians, know little or nothing about what their holy book says, so it is about the many millions of people born into predominately muslim culture. We tread close to the mindset that sent innocent Japanese into internment camps when we categorize whole groups together with the bad actors who share not much more than an ethnicity, heritage or religion. That ordinary muslims may suffer retribution and vengeance for the horrible acts of militant radicals is sadness upon sadness. How difficult the idea of loving our enemies becomes in the face of our current day horrors.
#18 is gold…
Great observations at # 18, Xenia!
When I say the same thing at the same time as my grandsons, they punch me in the arm and say “jinx, you owe me a coke”. You can make mine a Mexican coke, Michael 🙂
Anytime, Anne…I have a case right in front of me. 🙂
“Another reason is the decadence of Western society which rightly offends many people. Heck, I’m offended by it.”
This is the observation that scares me the most. Somehow I think that the only thing that will defeat America will come from the inside; from rot. I’ve heard, but I’m no historian, that Rome fell from within more than from without.
I can’t even say what I think is rotten, out of fear of starting a political fight right here. But, I can say that I think we’re weakening our own nation by what we’re doing, and that in the long run will have more dire consequences than what our adversaries are capable of inflicting on us today.
Lets all stop buying 60′ TVs and see if the Chinese will love us more.
We still feed a good part o the world population and we still seem to rebuild countries that choose to war against us.
We almost unilaterally support the UN that is suppose to bring a more peaceful setting in the world even though they piss on us at every opportunity and we over invest in the World Bank so that low interest loans are given to 3rd world countries and then promptly default.
It’s our financial largess that fuels the rest of the world. heck, we give aide to Saudi Arabia – how laughable is that?
I don’t know who Voddie Baucham is but it looks like he is disturbing quite a few people, both on this issue and race issues. Catchy name though.
I don’t know what it is about the Gospel Coalition in the past few years but it seems like most of their writers are dead from the neck up … but they are bloggers and not those being asked to write for the theological journals
Michael, my blog is bogged.
People can’t access it because it says too much traffic, so that’s a good problem but do you have recommendations how to trouble shoot that? I’m positive I am not getting the same traffic you do but it is affecting the blog’s speed and access
I’m not home, but it sounds like your blog is on a hosting plan that restricts your bandwidth. The solution for that is to buy more bandwidth.
I have unlimited for those days when I need it…
Should I just start over. A new blog.
Nope…that wont change the bandwidth problem.
Call your hosting company…they can solve the issue in minutes for a few extra bucks per month.
thanks, blogging ninja
I listened to Voddie Baucham’s sermon and I heard bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla …..bla.
That about sums it up.
Thanks for the links Michael I appreciate the effort you put into finding good articles.
I listened to you on the Peter-John Courson podcast, apparently there was some type of issue that you called him on, privately, What is that about?
And the doctrine of grace came into the conversation, which people rail against. I am understand grace in the doctrine of justification, which of course people rail against, but thought maybe you were talking about grace in sanctification.
Is there a difference?
I mean in justification we can not participate, it is grace by faith, it sounded like you may have been talking about grace in sanctification?
I probably misunderstood.
Can a Christian participate in the sanctification process or is it by grace?
Both – sanctification is by grace alone. My participation comes in as I receive it.
Thank you Michael Luther disciple.
I thought that PJ had used a story in a sermon without crediting the person it came from.
We didn’t really develop much about grace as a doctrine so I can see how that would be confusing.
I believe that it is by grace that we are able to participate in our sanctification…so…both.
I was not that really that interested in what was going on with PJ, but something stirred.
That is kind of a short answer on the grace question because everything from God is a gift, but okay.
Do you have an opinion on this part of my first sentence “I was not that really that interested”?
It’s late and I’m not feeling real well this evening.
If you have a specific question I’d be happy to answer it.
Justification is by grace through faith alone…period.
Sanctification is a process in which we are called to participate, but is in the end a sovereign act of grace as well.
You asked specifically what the issue was about and I told you.
If you weren’t interested, why did you bring it up?
I don’t understand what you’re asking in #38.
Michael @39, agreed.
I’m hope you feel better tomorrow or sooner.
You are not my enemy nor is Steve Wright, but he does know I am a man or he is not paying attention.
Sorry Michael, I am interested, just not nosy.
@ 38 I was trying to make fun of myself for bad sentence structure, saying that twice…multitasking and being only human.
I’m not arguing.
Thanks, Q…me and the cat are calling it a night. 🙂
Sanctification is the result, yes, the reward of Justification. Right believing creates right behaving. Agreed?
I wouldn’t take Choudhry too seriously, my heart sinks for muslims whenever I see him on the news spouting his hatred. How would we feel if Fred Phelps was the only Christian that news editors invited to opine on Christian issues? He’s a former boozy uni student who got religion and became a total a-hole. His organisations are regularly banned by the British Government and its often remarked the only reason he hasn’t had his collar felt by the Old Bill is because he’s on the payroll of MI5 as an informant.
Michael–thanks for sharing the Monk/Armstrong article. Great points are made. My family just had a discussion similar to this the other night around the dinner table. My now young adult sons see that the church, as we’ve known it, is no longer a refuge from the world, but in some respects, a magnification of it. My husband helps with a food/worship service for the homeless in a park on Saturday mornings. He feels this is more his church, since the Holy Spirit’s work is so evident there, than any other church we’ve been a part of. When he shared that in a coffee shop with an elder of a local church, the man was quite snarky and said “that’s not a church, that’s a ministry!” and “you need to be under the authority of a pastor and elders”. Hmmm…I thought church was ministry and that we were all under the authority of Jesus.
“Sanctification is the result, yes, the reward of Justification. Right believing creates right behaving. Agreed?”
No – too much is made of sanctification as if it is a stand alone project after our justification. Sanctification is our living in our justification. There is no development, no progression – at best it is the Christian just getting used to who he is in Christ, getting used to the fact that we are already ‘fully baked’
As far as right believing having an affect on our behavior, how do you explain those whose belief is all screwed up and taking them to hell (for those who still have hell in their theology) who can out behave Christians with one arm tied behind their back? Mormons and Jews just to name two?
I kind of agree with Paul’s comment above. I don’t know thatwe can make the Paris situation a ‘muslim’ thing. If we do, the only alternative is to outlaw the cause of such actions – outlaw Islam.
It’s criminal and it is terrorism – is it muslim? eh, I don’t think so.
“There is no development, no progression – at best it is the Christian just getting used to who he is in Christ, getting used to the fact that we are already ‘fully baked’” – Nope! Unbiblical statement. Christians are not “fully baked.” They will be fully baked at the resurrection. In this life, Christians are in a process of renewal led by the Holy Spirit.
“As far as right believing having an affect on our behavior, how do you explain those whose belief is all screwed up and taking them to hell (for those who still have hell in their theology) who can out behave Christians with one arm tied behind their back? Mormons and Jews just to name two?” Nope! Unbiblical statement. We are saved by grace through faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.
I have never had a problem considering you a ‘half baked’ Christian 😉 … but you keep working at it if you think it is up to you. You comment sounds like purgatory here on earth.
As to the other I wasn’t talking about good works etc. Neo made the claim that it was ‘right belief’ that led to ‘right behavior’ – – my question was, what about those who do not have right belief, but still do the right behaving?
“I have never had a problem considering you a ‘half baked’ Christian … but you keep working at it if you think it is up to you. You comment sounds like purgatory here on earth.”
MLD, I don’t consider you a half baked Christian either. However, I find your theology half-baked, or more precisely 2/3-baked. Your tribe seems (and I don’t mean this as an insult) to have a very low-grade view of the Holy Spirit. When your doctrine strips the Biblical ministry of the Holy Spirit out of the Christian life, then, actually, you make life here on earth seem like purgatory.
Well this is not true at all – in fact it was addressed on the Issues etc 24 2 months ago in a 2 hour session when they went through the myths of Lutheranism. We think quite highly of the Holy Spirit and he works in our lives daily. But what does that have to do with sanctification?
Are you not “in Christ”? read the passages – are you working to get more ‘in Christ”? Are you not a new creation? Are you waiting for New Creation 2.0? Are you not now a royal priesthood … or are you just a royal altar boy in training?
We are already and not yet. Paul puts it so elequently in Romans Chapter 12:
“be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.”
One can view this cynically as a ladder, or as a potential source of dispair for dreams not realized. One can even resist the work of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. Or one (and I count myself among them) can thank God for all his good gifts, including the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the ongoing transformation of the Christian.
Re your #53- But is that sanctification?
We have altar utensils in the church that have been sanctified and set apart for a specific use. these utensil are no different that any other utensils, like pitchers, plates etc than you would buy at Walmart or William Sonomas. They are to be used as is … although the are different than what is at my home, in ways they are the same.
We don’t pull them out and apply a special sanctification polish on them to make the more holy or even real holy – they are holy… even if they still have the Walmart price sticker on them
Post-Reformation traditions have a very low view of the doctrine of “union with Christ”.
Sanctification in the Reformed (Calvinist) tradition see’s it as an already/not yet…we are positionally glorified already while we are being transformed toward that eventuality practically.
For me, if you don’t start these theological discussions with an understanding of what it means in your particular school to be “in Christ” you’re simply going to end up talking past each other.
At the end of the day the question is whose work are you focusing on…yours or Gods?
In the Reformation traditions the answer is always on the finished work of Christ…God has done it all.
Lutherans and Calvinists parse it out through different lens, but arrive in the same place.
In other traditions, God did His part…
I am deeply and completely Reformed.
“Sin shall not have dominion over you”….The fact Romans 6 comes after the first five chapters and before the next two is pretty significant in the progression of theological understanding of the work of the cross.
Getting victory from the power of sin to rule your life is (to me) what sanctification is all about, per Paul. Saved from the power of sin, having already been saved from the penalty of sin (justification) and not yet saved from the presence of sin (which does not happen until glorification)
As I said in my 47, our sanctification comes to us in our justification – at that point we are fully justified and sanctified – look at 47 = “at best it is the Christian just getting used to who he is in Christ, getting used to the fact that we are already ‘fully baked’”
This is an appropriate time. New members of congress have shown up to Washington DC – they show up as full representatives and senator (fully baked) – now they go to classes and meetings to learn how to live what they already are.
Is it the belief with some (not Michael) that they are 70% sanctified and with more work along with the guiding of the HS in 10 yrs we hope to be 80% sanctified? I know some in the Wesleyan groups who believe in sinless perfection – I would imagine this is when you would hit 100%.
Neo – “Right believing creates right behaving. Agreed?”
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
The Greek word for “sanctification”, transliterated “Hagiasmos” has different meanings in different contexts: consecration, purification; the effect of consecration; sanctification of heart and life.
Although Romans XII v:2 does not use the word “sanctification”, it describes it. There, Paul picks up a theme (i.e., present yourself as a living sacrifice) he begain in Chapter VI v: 19:
“For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.” (see also v.22)
In his commentary on Romans, Douglas Moo, correctly IMO, explains St. Paul’s usage:
“But most of Paul’s uses of this word have an active connotation: the process of ‘becoming holy.’ This is probably the case here also. Committing ourselves as slaves to doing what is right before God (‘righteousness’) results in living that is increasingly God-centered and world-recouncing.
I will add that one can hold this view whether one believes in monergism or synergism. In other words, the question is not “who is doing the sanctifying”, but whether progressive sanctification is a reality in the life of a Christian who walks by the Spirit.
“I know some in the Wesleyan groups who believe in sinless perfection – I would imagine this is when you would hit 100%.”
There are some in the Wesleyan groups who believe in the whole Bible, not just the parts that harmanize with man-made doctrine. Maybe you should check out 1 John some time. It’s not a long book, but it holds the key to Wesley’s theology of Christian perfection, which is not sinless perfection (but I’m sure you already know that).
If you stay between the ditches, we can discuss this further. But if you’re going to take this into the ditch, the discussion with me will end. 🙂
As I said in my 47, our sanctification comes to us in our justification – at that point we are fully justified and sanctified
We are also fully glorified….except we aren’t (the already not yet aspect)
You can’t include the one without the other…
You all have a good day. Blessings.
“There are some in the Wesleyan groups who believe in the whole Bible, not just the parts that harmanize with man-made doctrine.”
The implication being that unless you agree with these Wesleyans you don’t believe in the whole Bible and their doctrine is pure and untouched by human reason.
If you really want to go there….
Let’s see, when I mention your tribe, I am taking it into the ditches, but when you say (as you did at 51);
“Your tribe seems (and I don’t mean this as an insult) to have a very low-grade view of the Holy Spirit. When your doctrine strips the Biblical ministry of the Holy Spirit out of the Christian life, then, actually, you make life here on earth seem like purgatory.”
That is staying in the narrow middle? and note, I made no threat to pick up my ball and go home. 😉
“You can’t include the one without the other…”
yes I can. 🙂
Steve lives on the outskirts of Geneva…he should just come on in. 🙂
Tell your husband I said to keep it going…it’s obvious Whose authority he’s under.
Blessings to you and yours, my friend.
“The implication being that unless you agree with these Wesleyans you don’t believe in the whole Bible and their doctrine is pure and untouched by human reason.” I think if you replace Wesleyans with a fill in the blank with most christian traditions, you see the same thinking.
” For me, if you don’t start these theological discussions with an understanding of what it means in your particular school to be “in Christ” you’re simply going to end up talking past each other.” The confusion and debates regarding what it means to “be in Christ” have caused me no small amount of cognitive & spiritual dissonance for the biggest part of the last decade. So weary of it. If Christ wants to be in me, the door is open.
“Lutherans and Calvinists parse it out through different lens, but arrive in the same place.” This reflects my growing attitude toward faith/religion in general. I understand, Michael, you meant it only in terms of the christian tribes. My tent is a wee bit broader 🙂
Right on, I love your story!
“My husband helps with a food/worship service for the homeless in a park on Saturday mornings. He feels this is more his church, since the Holy Spirit’s work is so evident there, than any other church we’ve been a part of. When he shared that in a coffee shop with an elder of a local church, the man was quite snarky and said “that’s not a church, that’s a ministry!” and “you need to be under the authority of a pastor and elders”. Hmmm…I thought church was ministry and that we were all under the authority of Jesus.”
According to Jesus, the “church” is whenever two or more are gathered together in His name, and He assured us HE HIMSELF would be in our midst.
Poor Jesus didn’t get the memo that there were additional requirements.
Linnea, your post spoke volumes to me about what the essence of true religion, real church might look like. Thank you for sharing it.
Grendal, #69 is priceless!
“Lutherans and Calvinists parse it out through different lens, but arrive in the same place.”
Now I’m really confused. Here is Chapter XIII of the The Westminster Confession of Faith:
“I. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
II. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part; whence arises a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.
III. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part does overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Would a confessional Lutheran ever agree with this Westminster confession? Because this is by and large what I believe. Maybe we’re all on the same page. That would be a reason to celebrate!
I don’t understand why you have difficulty with my position. God has made me a new creation through my justification. For the rest of my human existence I will be 100% sanctified and 100% sinner – I can’t budge in either direction
I asked earlier – where are you on the scale 70% sanctified and 30% unsanctified? – help me understand.
Do you agree with the Westminster chapter on sanctification? I’m hearing conflicting statements on here (not from you) and I would like to get this straight.
Regarding your question to me, the Bible doesn’t ask us to measure our sanctification. It doesn’t speak in those terms. We run into interpretive problems when we take Scripture and redefine it into our own language and categories. So, I propose that we stick with the language of Scripture in these discussions.
Jean – I was the one who did not measure sanctification – I just said as Christians we are sanctified – and then some here came along and started started measuring saying no, we are not yet fully sanctified.
Now who was doing the measuring.
If I agreed with The Westminster Confession of Faith I would probably be Presbyterian or Anglican.
Well MLD, forgive me if I quoted and the interpreted the Bible and share the writing of a prominent scholar. The Bible is the only authority upon which I can stand. I try to interpret it correctly and check myself against my available resources, because I don’t want to be sloppy or negligently mislead people. I never used the word or concept of “measuring” in my presentation, so maybe you’re referring to someone else.
I strongly doubt that any Wesleyan agrees with Westminster on sanctification…you’re divorcing the doctrine from it’s relationship to the rest of Reformed doctrines.
The primary difference would be that we believe that sanctification is guaranteed…it will happen because we are in Christ.
God will have His way with us.
I’m getting a bit tense over your claims to the Scriptures…every Protestant tradition within the church believes they are standing on Scripture.
Speaking of progressive is a measurement is it not? You have progressed from point A to point B? So if you are going to speak of progressive sanctification, you are indeed measuring.
From my view, and there is a current debate among so Lutherans (as I know you are aware because I see you reading them 🙂 ) If we speak of progress then it can lead only to either bringing us to despair…or to pride.
However, for me the paradigm is not one of progression…but of death and rebirth. A picture of Baptism.
“I strongly doubt that any Wesleyan agrees with Westminster on sanctification…you’re divorcing the doctrine from it’s relationship to the rest of Reformed doctrines.” I didn’t divorce anything. MLD and I were speaking specifically about one issue related to the transformation of a Christian “really and personally” to use the words of the confession. I am quite aware of the Reformed doctrine of irresistible grace.
“I’m getting a bit tense over your claims to the Scriptures…every Protestant tradition within the church believes they are standing on Scripture.” Don’t get tense. The antithesis to what I’ve said is not that other denominations don’t believe likewise or are in error if they don’t believe like I do; the antithesis I would draw is that in my discussion with MLD, he was making no effort to engage Scripture in the discussion, which is where I think a theological discussion should be based.
Now I’m debating on substance with MLD
And on form with Michael.
Perhaps someone else would like to debate me on the day of the week?
Not very edifying and becoming a waste of time 🙁
I have no problem with other traditions believing mine is in error.
I think you’re in error and have no problem saying so. 🙂
I engaged scriptures early on – I just don’t do the chapter and verse thing. I said we are already “in Christ” – that is all over Ephesians. I said we were already a “royal Priesthood” – St Peter spoke of that. I spoke of us being set apart and holy – I think St Paul spoke of that. I said that we were a new creation, again Paul.
So where have I not engaged the scriptures? Tell me which of those are not in scripture and a present day reality in our lives? If you want to use scriptures to try to take away the truth of those statements, well what can I do about that.
“I have no problem with other traditions believing mine is in error.
I think you’re in error and have no problem saying so.”
That’s fine, but on the topic of sanctification, your tradition is much, much closer to mine than to Lutheranism.
“So where have I not engaged the scriptures?”
MLD, those references were irrelevant to the topic at hand.
No it really isn’t.
Lutheranism and Calvinism both look to an alien righteousness in salvation and sanctification.
The focus is on what Christ has already done, not on what we do .
To say that what Ephesians teaches us about being in Christ has no relationship to sanctification is mind boggling to me…
If you could get MLD to engage Chapter XIII (Of Sanctification) of the Westminster Confession, I would bet dollars to donuts that he, as a confessional Lutheran, would totally reject at least 2/3 of it, specifically paragraphs I. and III.
“To say that what Ephesians teaches us about being in Christ has no relationship to sanctification is mind boggling to me…”
I didn’t say it didn’t have a relationship to sanctification, I said it was irrelevant to the topic, namely whether, to put it another way:
“In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part does overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (from the confession)
To confess “may much prevail” to me is proclaiming the power of the Gospel. That’s really good news. It’s not a pride builder if one knows the source of the power. It doesn’t lead to despair if one believes in the source of the power.
“In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part does overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (from the confession)
Find me a rendering in English and perhaps i will engage it.
You interpret that to mean that we get better and better, holier and holier as we get older with the hypothetical potential of perfection.
That’s not exactly what we’re talking about in the Reformed faith.
As we get along in life the Spirit makes us more and more aware of how deeply embedded sin is in our lives, which leads us more and more to the cross for the remission of our sins and causes us to be totally dependent on Christ for our hope.
The progress is from any dependence on our works or goodness to total dependence on Him…
Here is the big difference – you say we need to engage Chapter XIII (Of Sanctification) of the Westminster Confession
I don’t know if you realize it but of the 10 books that make up The Book of Concord, there is not a single chapter titled or dedicated to the discussion of sanctification.
As I said way up the line, I think it is something manufactured to be a stand alone doctrine and not as rightly taught that it is a part of and comes out of our justification.
I may not be capable of engaging a chapter dedicated to sanctification.
Michael’s #87 may be what you thought was missing earlier when you didn’t think we come to a similar conclusion even though we look through a different lens.
What Michael says “The progress is from any dependence on our works or goodness to total dependence on Him… – is very close to what I said at @77 – “However, for me the paradigm is not one of progression…but of death and rebirth. A picture of Baptism.”
In your #87, it appears to my eyes that you don’t agree with Chapter XIII of the Westminster Confession. I thought a week or so ago you recommended that confession to me as a starting point to learn Calvinism. Is there something else more representative of the Reformed Theology that you do embrace, which I can study?
I know where you are coming from. We disagree. I commented earlier, because I didn’t want your assertion to Neo at #47 to go unanswered. It hasn’t and we don’t agree and probably never will on this topic. But, my desire was to put forth a Scriptural rebuttal to your assertion, which I have. So, having exhausted the topic, or at least myself, I would like to move off this topic.
Before you pass out 🙂 – if you want to go back to my original comment to Neo – you must address how b people with wrong beliefs, even beliefs that will send them to hell end up doing good works that run circles around Christians at times?
Neo’s comment that it was right beliefs make right behavior – I objected to that.
Angelin Jolly and Bill Gates, both who profess belief in contradiction to Christianity do tremendous works, in fact have almost dedicated their lives to good works.
I agree with the confession when understood holistically.
When we gain victory over one sin we also realize that we have even deeper sins that need to be “mortified”.
The process is unending until our practical glorification.
The “victory’ isn’t won by our will, but by the indwelling Spirit.
If we look to our behaviors for assurance we will either be defeated or filled with pride…if we look only to the cross, then we know that victory in Christ is already assured.
Let me repond this evening. I’ve got a few things I need to do first.
I would hope that this whole thread wasn’t caused by your misunderstanding. I wasn’t questioning the works of the believer – I was question then why do the unbelievers do good works?
Every thread has misunderstandings woven in throughout.
Michael says @93 – “If we look to our behaviors for assurance we will either be defeated or filled with pride…”
I said @77 – ” If we speak of progress then it can lead only to either bringing us to despair…or to pride.
I think the Reformation has spoken 🙂
@ 97…amen. 🙂
Michael @67, G-Man @69, and Anne @70– thank you for your encouragement. I’ll relay your comments to my husband 🙂
“you must address how people with wrong beliefs, even beliefs that will send them to hell end up doing good works that run circles around Christians at times?”
In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis addressed straight on the question you asked. While he spends several pages addressing the issue in detail, the portion below is a good summary to answer your question:
“If Christianity is true why are not all Christians obviously nicer than all non-Christians? ….
Christian Miss Bates may have an unkinder tongue than unbelieving Dick Firkin. That, by itself, does not tell us whether Christianity works. The question is what Miss Bates’ tongue would be like if she were not a Christian and what Dick’s would be like if he became one. Miss Bates and Dick, as a result of natural causes and early upbringings, have certain temperaments: Christianity professes to put both temperaments under new management if they will allow it to do so. What you have a right to ask is whether that management, if allowed to take over, improves the concern. Everyone knows that what is being managed in Dick Firkin’s case is much ‘nicer’ than what is being managed in Miss Bates’. That is not the point. To judge the management of a factory, you must consider not only the output but the plant. Considering the plant at Factory A it may be a wonder that it turns out anything at all; considering the first-class outfit at Factory B its output, though high, may be a great deal lower than it ought to be. No doubt the good manager at Factory A is going to put in new machinery as soon as he can, but that takes time. In the meantime low output does not prove that he is a failure.”
I think a recognition of different degrees of seriousness of sin is part of this discussion…otherwise growth doesn’t make a lot of sense. If a guy who used to beat his wife and kids, commit adultery and get drunk every night repents of all those sins in Christ and for Christ, but as the years go by recognizes he still has issues with pride, self-seeking, or respecting persons….I would say that he is progressing in sanctification. But since sin is still a battle (though the sins change) if there is no distinction among sins, then to speak of growth does not make sense
Jean – you missed it again. Lewis may be right in what he says, but Neo said right beliefs are the cause of right behavior.
I think that sanctification is something completely different that improving you sin life. What of the unbelieving man who beats his wife and kids, commits adultery and gets drunk every night, who one day for the sake of the cosmos and karma decides “I don’t want to live like this any longer – I quit and I am changed.
Has this guy somehow tapped into a general sanctification available to believers and unbelievers alike?
No, sanctification is just the place God puts you in your justification and you spend the rest of your life getting used to that.
Could please look at your question to me, which I quoted at my #100? Don’t play the shell game with me, pretty please.
Maybe you want to disagree with everything I say today. In that case, what difference does it make what I say?
I see your point. My question of explaining how wrong belief persons do good is asked in the context of Neo’s statement – that right beliefs cause right behavior. What I am saying and you are saying while disagreeing with me is that Neo’s statement is wrong and that was my very first comment on this thread today.
Neo’s statement by itself – “Right believing creates right behaving. Agreed?” – right or wrong?
If it is right then people with wrong beliefs cannot have right behavior.
If Neo’s statement is wrong – my position – then wrong believing people can have right behavior.
This is not a philosophical question – this is just a judgement of Neo’s statement.
“Right believing creates right behaving. Agreed?”
I don’t know. If a person believes stealing is wrong, he probably won’t steal. If a person believes stealing is OK, he may very well steal if he thinks he can get away from it.
You may be reading Neo’s question incorrectly by divorcing the object of belief from the object of behavior. It is true that a person who doesn’t believe in Christ may be more philanthropic than an atheist. However, Neo’s point might be that if a person rightly believes that philanthropy is good, then that person will most likely give to charitable causes. By the same token, if a person believes that philanthropy is bad, he will not give to charity.
This may be an example of where we could improve discourse on this blog by giving people the benefit of the doubt when they post comments by asking clarifying questions, rather than jumping immediately to disagreement.
1 Peter 1-3 (1:13) Therefore, . . . . .
Hebrews 10:29 – 10:32
Even the demons believed—they just never repented, just kept right doing what fallen angels do—-
Not interested in traditions or theological arguments anymore—what does the Bible say.
If ye be in Christ, you are a new creation, thus those that do repent are of the Father and those that don’t—no matter how much you say that you believe—–the proof is in the pudding. Not sinless perfection, but certainly a quick conviction to turn away and stop making excuses to do otherwise.
If the proof is in the pudding, Why not sinless perfection?
Why is not that 1% failure is your denial of God,,, like the demons?
In James, it tell us that the person who is not of God. For if their hearts were truly changed, they would see more and more what sin is and turn away from it, rather than to joke about it, or blatantly perpetrate such things while wagging it in front of others, thus putting a stumbling block in their paths. It’s not about not sinning, because one might get in trouble, or that it earns one’s way to heaven, but rather because a person’s heart has truly been transformed and sin is not long that which is perceived as trying to find out far one can push the envelope before it gets too bad or are caught and exposed.
It’s about seeing things from God’s perspective and hating those things that He hates and walking in that mindset that bears the fruits of the Holy Spirit and not of the flesh. It’s not about doing this on your own volition, but rather by now having the Holy Spirit which empowers, equip, teaches, convicts, enables you to stand in the faith and bearing evidence that one has been born again and is saved.
It is a choice—sin or not to sin—–as we mature in Him, we become more and more attuned, practiced, and experienced in doing what Jesus did when the devil tempting Him. Call it for what it is—-and speak the truth, so that we don’t self deceive, or are deceived, or seek to use and to stumble by deceiving others. This means to abstain from anything that would weakened our minds that would distort our thinking and remove those inhibitions that we would have in place, if we were not under this type of agent which would influence us to do so. No excuses—-to sin, but rather every reason to find out why we do and then to do what is necessary to get it out of our lives, so that we can love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Holy Spirit, enabled of course) and so that we can truly love others with a pure heart as well.
I would think you would know this by now, MLD.
The old argument I have heard so many times from those who would cheat, rob, steal, slander, exploit is “but which sin condemns me.” These types have not been born again, for they do not see the width and breadth of the sins that they seek to commit. They only want to stay under the radar—–with taking a huge risk in arguing their way into heaven by such reasoning they have created to ward off from having rid themselves of such things. Because they love the darkness, more than they love God.
There is a cost to being a Christian—it is the cost of the Cross and each person laying down their own life, as He has done—-anything less, one needs to carefully examine him or herself. Not of the world, but yet in the world — why, oh why do we think it requires so much less??????
1 paragraph – line 5 “no longer that which is perceived”
Linda, I agree – you cannot be a Christian and sin.
How does it sound when I say what you say?
Forget James – listen to Jesus when he said that you are to be perfect … not only perfect, but like God the Father himself.
Somewhere in scripture it tells us that there is a belief unto salvation and unto death.
Lucifer and the rebellious angels know scripture they know that Jesus is who He says that He is—–but they don’t believe that they don’t believe that their rebelliousness and destructive behaviors will bring them to their knees one day ultimately sending them into the abyss for eternity. Denial is a defense mechanism used to not deal with the reality the choices we make. Magical thinking fuels the imagination and egos. Unfortunately, it also create an image of God that is more conducive and convenient to feed our desires and lack of maturity instead.
Likewise, when we say we believe, we then modify the term of what this means. For if we truly believe, we wouldn’t short change the term by saying that it only has to do with believing that Jesus is God and that He died for our sins–which true, but not the entire gospel—for He has told us to repent and to believe. If we truly believe, then we would walk as if we did.
There are many people that have come and gone and there are many people who are now living who are just giving decent sort of people. In Romans 1, God tells us how He will judge these. I don’t concern myself with them, unless of course they are brought upon my path and can share about Jesus. But If I am not able to do so, I trust God will sort it all out. Which presently reminds me of Jesus speaking to the 7 churches in Revelations. That is, I would rather you be hot or cold, for those who are lukewarm, He is all to thrilled about. “I ill spew you out.” Yikes—-that’s pretty straightforward.
Believe can mean 2 different things: you can believe in your heart, or you can believe with your lips—–evidence remains to be seen.
That is, I would rather you be hot or cold, for those who are lukewarm He is not all that . . . “
Linda, you make salvation all 100% about me and what i do. How I believe, do I believe enough – how I behave, do I do the right things, do I avoid the right things? My love – do i love God right and enough?
Not once in any of your writings do you ever say anything about how God has intervened into the situation and overrides what I do.
I don’t know if a calculator is powerful enough for you to keep score in your life. You may need the scoreboard on the Green Monster at Fenway Park to do that job. How do you sleep at night keeping it all straight?
As for myself, I have the faith the size of a mustard seed and have let Jesus do the rest.
Where in the scriptures does it say that it is okay to sin.
Where in the scripture does say that we will never sin.
Where in the scripture does it say that we are to turn away from sin?
Where in scripture does it say that to live a lifestyle of sin is synch with being a Christian?
Where in scripture does it say that if we are in Him that we will not sow to the flesh?
Where in the scripture does it tell us that if we are in Him who does the will of the Father?
Where in the scripture does it tell us that just because we sin that we are not free to sin liberally since only one sin condemns us to hell?
Where in scripture does it tell us that because of grace we should sin even the more?
It’s funny, you write 10 posts about a professing believer who continues to sin NOT being an actual Christian, then you ask that litany of questions? You have nerve.
You have no concept of salvation at all.
As I said, if salvation is to depend on us at all, then you must live perfectly.
You sin here every day with you unchristian screeds. God help you lady.
Where in scriptures does it say that we are now saved by grace, but yet sinners.
Where in the scriptures does it say that we can go on sinning because we now believe.
Where in the scriptures does God ever condone or excuse sin?
What does God hates? And what does He tell us to hate as well?
And where in scripture does it say that when we came to the faith–that is being born again that those sin committed after being born again were automatically wipe off our accounts, thus not having to repent or turning away from them?
Simple—scripture doesn’t say any of these things about sin—the whole entire Bible is about having your heart changed and turning away from sin and towards Him, in His love, mercy, and grace through His Son and the Holy Spirit, no longer giving into that which separates you from Him and His people who do walk in obedience, embracing the law that He had set upon your heart to love and to do.
“It’s funny, you write 10 posts about a professing believer who continues to sin NOT being an actual Christian, then you ask that litany of questions? You have nerve.
You have no concept of salvation at all.
As I said, if salvation is to depend on us at all, then you must live perfectly.
You sin here every day with you unchristian screeds. God help you lady.”
I realize that the denomination that you have adopted is why you stated this. But I don’t think you understand that I never said for a moment that we can earn our salvation. Nor can we be perfectly sinless in our own efforts. The topic was “believe or believing.”
As for me having sinned by sharing my thoughts, not hardly. Because they don’t agree with your theological position is hardly the measuring rod I would hold anyone under. But scriptures does say something about the way which you address me and the words you say to negate or to avoid having to be far more civil than you were in your last comment to me.
I don’t believe that people sin every day. Some do, I’m sure, and for those who take sin far less seriously than what scriptures tells us to, I am certain they sin, on top of sin, then cry ever so loudly: FOUL!!!, when being reminded what James, among others, as well as, Jesus has spoken: Repent and be Saved. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
MLD I think it would be far better to learn to hold your tongue than to fall over it and cause an offense, simply because having to repent and walk in obedience is a by product of being born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, rather than a free ticket to go on sinning, “so that His grace can abound even the more.” I with Paul, “Not so, for God is not mocked.”
I realize that the denomination that you have adopted is why you stated this. But I don’t think you understand that I EVER said for a moment that we can earn our salvation”
If we are born again, our hearts are changed. What is the fruit of our hearts being changed or better yet, if our hearts are changed then how does that affect the way we think and behave towards others.
So, if we believe — what is it that take place by the Holy Spirit, within us, and how is that manifested in the faith that we have in Jesus.
Is it possible to disobey or ignore the Holy Spirit, Is this by our doing or something or someone else, or is it a conscious choice made of our own volition based upon what we believe, want, or desire? And if we choose to sin, then what. If we choose not to sin, then what? In terms of being in fellowship with Him, how does sin serve to separate us from Him and others. Is it possible to repent or is it even necessary to do so, if after becoming a Christian. Why, or why not?
I’m speaking of serious, hard core habitual sin, be it a constant sarcastic, biting, or condescending style of communication used towards others, or habitual adultery of any type, abusive behavior, pathological lying, and similar types of behavior .
I am not speaking of a infrequent occasion or slip of the tongue or behavior that one might fall into, but quickly pulls up from and immediately rectify the wrong or offense when being made aware after they are able to consider what they done. I am speaking of those sins committed over and over and over again then protected, defended, then nourish to enable one to continue in them, then claiming Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Be gracious in your responses.
I understand the frustration, but you can do better.
Having said that, when I read through these threads it’s as if the Reformation never happened.
There seems to be little understanding of justification (a legal declaration of “not guilty”) by grace through faith alone.
The doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is buried under something that very closely resembles Roman Catholic soteriology without the candles and with Mary out shopping.
Our faith unites us to Christ…we are in Christ and when we are placed in Christ HIS righteousness is credited… “imputed”… to us as if it were our own.
We are justified and counted righteous apart from the law, not according to how well we obey it.
If you are counting on your own righteousness then Christ is of no use to you.
If you are in Christ you already possess all his righteousness and your sanctification is in Him…not in your behavior.
“And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.””
(1 Corinthians 1:30–31 ESV)
Paul called himself the chief of sinners…present tense.
His righteousness was not his own, but was Christ’s.
Believers sin and sometimes sin boldly and badly.
That does not change their position in Christ…you don’t get in based on good behavior, nor do you fall out of Christ when you sin.
It’s not your righteousness that brings justification…it’s His.
Unrepentant believers don’t get a free pass…they fall under the discipline of God meant to correct them.
Kicking against those goads becomes increasingly painful…
“Central and essential to the Biblical doctrine of Justification and to Reformation doctrine of Sola Fide is the concept of the imputation of the Righteousness of Christ to the believer.
Historically Rome has always contended that the basis of Justification is the righteousness of Christ, but it’s a righteousness infused into the believer rather than being imputed to him.
This means that the believer must cooperate with and assent to that gracious work of God and only to the extent that Christ righteousness inheres in the believer will God declare that person Justified.
Protestants disagree pointing to the critical difference between infused righteousness and imputed righteousness.
“Sola Fide affirms that you are Justified on the basis of Christ’s righteousness for us which is accomplished by Christ own perfect act of obedience apart from us not on the basis of Christ’s righteousness in us.
So the good news of the Gospel is that we do not have to wait for a righteousness to be accomplished in us before God counts us as Righteous in his sight. He [God] declares us to be Just on the basis of Christ’s imputed righteousness. Without the imputation of righteousness the Gospel isn’t Good News because we could never know if we are standing before God in a Justified therefore a saved state.”
I’ve seen those folks in the park. Looked like church to me!
This is a counterpoint to #122:
Status Accorded or Person Transformed?
“Is the righteousness of the Christian always an ‘alien righteousness,’ something the Christian never ‘has’? Can the status of ‘righteous’ never be affirmed of the sinner except as a status attributed to one who will never be less or other than undeserving? Or is the promise of the gospel that the believing sinner will become righteous, or the obligation of the gospel that the believing sinner will act righteously? In the once case, the Reformed concern is that any emphasis given to the believing sinner as ‘righteous’ opens the door to the idea of salvation as something earned, to doctrines of merit. On the Catholic side, the case can be made that while the Christian life begins with faith and always depends on faith, it is never less than the divine intention that faith should be expressed also in faithfulness (pistis embraces both meanings), that Paul always intended that faith should ‘operate effectively through love’, and that James was correct in his insistence that ‘faith, by itself, if it has no works, is dead’.
Here we find ourselves caught in the … dilemma …that there are two emphases in Paul that his post-Reformation followers have found difficult to hold together. On the one hand, there is little doubt that Paul used the verb ‘justify’ to refer to God’s justifying the sinner, vindicating the ungodly, acquitting the guilty. The gospel for Paul was that God’s saving righteousness reached out to and embraced all, Gentile as well as Jew, simply on the basis that they trusted and relied on him, not on anything they had done or achieved.” Faith was what made it possible for the sinner to partake in that saving righteousness, and faith remained on the human side the only medium for reception of and response to God’s grace; ‘whatever does not proceed from faith is sin’.
On the other hand, however, we can hardly ignore Paul’s equal emphasis on the transforming character of divine grace….. Justification may be the most important image for the beginning and end of the process; but the in-between stage of the process, usually distinguished as ‘sanctification,’ has to be reckoned with as well. Paul assuredly expected his converts not only to be accounted righteous but also to be transformed into better people….
It is hard to avoid the conclusion, then, that as Paul insisted on the need for faith, so he was equally insistent that his converts should demonstrate their faith by the quality of lives they lived.
In view of the … passages, it is hard to escape the conclusion that Paul not only saw righteousness as imputed, as a status attributed, but also as a quality that he fully expected to be manifested in the lives of his converts. Whether we categorize it in terms of ‘infused righteousness’ or of ‘sanctification’ does not really matter. What is important is to recognize that this emphasis was also integral to Paul’s gospel and theology. Later commentators may have found it difficult to hold the two emphases together, but clearly Paul himself did not”
James D. G. Dunn (Bible citations omitted)
If anyone is interested in the Scripture support for any of Dunn’s argument, I will be happy to provide it.
If I remember correctly it was Jimmy Dunn who led NT Wright astray. Dunn was the original inventor of The New Perspective on Paul that Tom Wright swallowed hook line and sinker.
Jean, I know you don’t believe me as we have discussed it before, but NT Wright’s theological goal is to reunite The Church of England with the Mother Church. Invalidating imputed righteousness is when he decided to attack.
E. P. Sanders is the founder of the NPP (or at least he preceded both Dunn and Wright.
You can either throw around ad hominems about anyone who disagrees with you, or you can demonstrate how they’re wrong (or you’re right) by reference to the one place of authority which all hold in common.
It’s truly beyond me how anyone can read Romans 4-5 and not understand that justification is by grace apart from the works of the law.
Paul repeats himself, gives illustrations,and repeats himself again.
Those two chapters just end it all for me and it’s a mystery how they don’t end it for everyone else.
What is being offered up here is a justification by grace that must be maintained by works.
Welcome to Rome.
I love Wright…but he’s dead wrong on justification.
I don’t know about the agenda MLD would impute to him, I just believe he’s wrong.
So, Is Rome like poison ivy to the Protestant? Do we judge Catholic teaching ‘wrong’ by virtue of the fact that Rome believes it’s ‘true’? That strikes me as silly.
Dunn’s point, and it’s truth is proven by the diversity of doctrinal systems, is that on issues of salvation Paul emphasizes different ideas in different contexts. If Paul didn’t smooth them together into a scheme to present total consistency, can we without damaging his gospel?
“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”
“God will repay each person according to what they have done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
My point in sharing these verses (and this is but a tiny sample) is not to battle someone else’s system by proof texting a different system. My point is to demonstrate that Paul’s theology is not as consistent as some claim and that perhaps he intended his reader to live with some tension.
Justification by grace was the major doctrinal issue of the Reformation.
We don’t hold it as “silly” but as the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls.
Independent evangelicals spit at the mention of Rome, yet their soteriology is far closer to Rome than Geneva or Wittenberg.
Pauls doctrine of justification is laid out clearly in the chapters I cited…how works, sanctification and others doctrines work with it is explained in other passages…but his doctrine of justification is clear.
I reject an doctrine that says a person must maintain their justification…which was by grace alone, a gift from God.
“It’s truly beyond me how anyone can read Romans 4-5 and not understand that justification is by grace apart from the works of the law.”
I agree and don’t know of anyone who thinks differently. But the point here is that I agree.
However, is that all Paul has to say on the matter?
judgment by works?
conditionality of salvation?
These are also included within Paul’s gospel, are they not?
In my opinion his statements in Romans 4-5 are definitive on the matter.
I’m not going to debate the Reformation all over again.
I respect other traditions, but for me and in my church justification is an eternal declaration.
There is a judgment according to works, but it is not salvific.
The idea that salvation is conditional is odious to me.
I believe I can defend all my positions biblically and they are based only on the Bible.
Okay Michael. I guess that concludes our conversation on the matter. You are a gracious host for permitting diverse opinions, and I thank you for the opportunity to share.
I empathize with people, especially pastors, who don’t want to relitigate the reformation. However, whether one likes it or not, the reformation is being relitigated in the halls of academia. This relitigation inevitably spills over into lectures, books, sermons, etc., which expose ordinary Christians to theology which challenge the status quo. Ordinary Christians inevitably will ask questions, become confused, or even embrace the new theology, etc.
Everyone, on either side of the divide, must decide for themselves how to react to new theological propositions. How we react will impact not only ourselves but those who are within the sphere of our influence. What do we owe our self and what do we owe others when offered a new spin on theology? Does the witness of our response honor God? And a myriad of other questions.
In my opinion, many Christians are open to a fresh look at their doctrine because the Church in the West is failing, and by the numbers is declining ever more. We could identify the ‘doctrines’, which some believed have failed, whether ‘cheap grace’, ‘individual spirituality’, ‘prosperity gospel’, or an ethereal afterlife, but many Christians sense that something has gone off kilter in the Church.
Thus, whether we like it or not, Christians, especially those who are pastors, should be well versed in both what they believe and also in contemporary theologies and doctrines which they believe are incorrect, so that they can shepherd the people within their influence in authentic Biblical doctrine in truth and love.
“This relitigation inevitably spills over into lectures, books, sermons, etc., which expose ordinary Christians to theology which challenge the status quo. ”
I don’t know where you have been the past 500 years, but the mocking, the subversive teachings, and folks in the disguise of friends has been the status quo.
I’ve studied and continue to study contemporary theologies and doctrines.
For the most part, it’s a large waste of my time.
For every fresh insight than an N.T. Wright offers, there are miles of repetitive and unconvincing pages on his favorite hobby horses.
Frankly, most evangelical pastors don’t have much of a grasp other own traditions, let alone anyone elses.
“I don’t know where you have been the past 500 years, but the mocking, the subversive teachings, and folks in the disguise of friends has been the status quo.”
1. Up until about 53 years ago, I was just the seed of my ancestors.
2. “mocking”, “subversive”, “disguise”: MLD, you have been a sincere blessing to me beyond what you may know. From you, the Lord has taught me patience and what it means to “bear all things”, and “bearing with one another in love.” You honestly make me smile.
It’s rare (at least in the Midwest) that people are impugned with evil motives solely for disagreeing with another.
I am happy to hear that God uses me in you life.;-)
In some scriptures, those who disagree are called anti Christ. Perhaps I have read too much out of the Enlightenment.
The word “antichrist” is used only 4 times in the Bible, all in John’s epistles (3 times in 1 John – the letter I would like you to re-read), to represent the adversaries of Christ. If you toss that epithet around at anyone who doesn’t think just like you, are you like the guy who cries fire in the theatre where there is no fire? Then, where is his credibility when there is a real fire?
Thank you—precisely what you share in all that you shared, I heartedly agree.
Amen, Amen, and Amen!!!!
You don’t handle hyperbole very well – I will need to remove it from my conversations with you to facilitate understanding.
So, let me just say it straight up. Perhaps all theological and doctrinal topics are worthy of consideration – but not if the proponent tries to miscategorize to gain a foothold. Dunn and Wright should at least reveal they are arguing a Catholic position that has been rejected by Protestants … but they still believe it to be true. They don’t, they bring it up as an alternative Protestant position worthy of equal time.
This is no different that if I brought purgatory intot he conversation as something many Protestants believe.
In any debate, there is the ‘position’ and there is the ‘messenger’. In your #141 (and prior comments) you want to discredit the ‘position’ by drawing attention away from the substance of the position and instead focusing on trying to discredit the messenger. You want to distract the reader from the substance of the counter-position by focusing on the messenger and either overtly or implicitly attacking his character (e.g., “the proponent tries to miscategorize to gain a foothold.”).
I’m not interested in debating the motives of Dunn and Wright, whether they agree or disagree with Rome on any doctrine or whether in fact they agree or disagree with each other. I’m certainly not going to engage in a debate over their honesty as scholars.
If the issue of a right (no pun intended) reading Paul’s theology of justification interests you, I would be happy to discuss that issue with you.
No Christian tradition that I am aware of would affirm antinomianism. Yet, despite what almost Christians would affirm, one can observe that as a practical matter antinomianism appears to be prevalent or even normative of Western Christianity. I’m sure there a many factors involved, so I would not point the finger at one single cause. However, I think it’s worth reflecting on the full body of Paul’s writing to see of certain emphases which may have held sway during the Reformation should be reconsidered in light of the status of the church today. Not to skew the emphasis in a different direction for the sake of addressing current circumstances. But reflecting on the full body of Paul’s work to see if it is being interpreted in the manner in which he intended.
I believe that “the Law” that does not save us (in the book of Romans) refers to the Old Testament ceremonial law. I do not think it refers to Christian good works, which we are commanded to do by the Lord Himself.
Good works without a belief in Christ do not save. Good works done in Christ are a part of working out one’s salvation.
You need to understand Reformation theology to reconsider it.
When I got off this blog last night I wondered how long it would be before you played the antinomian card…which is the natural progression of those who think they know what they’re talking about.
Didn’t have to wait long.
This annoys me greatly because it means I have to waste more time on this matter despite the fact that these conversations don’t ever go anywhere.
In Reformed theology we are not antinominian.
Paul is crystal clear that justification is not by works or through the law.
Yet, he says the law is good if used properly.
The end of your theology is that the declaration of God in justification by grace through faith is subject to being revisited at the final judgment dependent on how we obey the law.
I wonder if you’re going to go all the way and either have some animal sacrifices or purgatory to cleanse the human inability to keep the law.
There aren’t many other alternatives if you’re saved by grace and kept by the law.
Here’s how Protestants have historically defined the modern use of the law.
The Three Fold Use Of The Law:
It teaches us the moral requirements of God
The law restrains sin as in civil government
It shows sinners their need for a Savior
For believers who have been saved by grace, I like this acronym from Steve Brown on what is called the third use of the law.
The Role Of The Law In The Life Of A Believer:
R Reveals God’s will
U Updates you on how you’re doing
L Lectures you on proper behavior and attitudes
E Educates you on proper choices and decisions
Basically it informs you of where the potholes are and when you need to repent.
John Calvin (nor any other of the Reformed) know anything of accepting Jesus as Savior, but not as Lord.
Finally, these conversations are always done backwards…the beginning point for the Reformed is what it means to be “in Christ”…all these other doctrines flow from that one.
Good works are the natural and inevitable outflow of a regenerated heart.
Michael – I don’t think these conversations, though often tiresome for you, are a waste of time. Be encouraged that many who may have spent even decades in church have never wrestled with these ideas and the dialogues surrounding them will always be of value to your readers – old & new. Whether they land on the same page theologically as you or not as well.
In Romans 7:7 Paul makes it clear that he’s not speaking of the ceremonial law, but of the Decalogue.
I hope not…because I do indeed find them tiresome exercises in tail chasing.
The only reason I’m involved in this one is because if any part of our salvation is up to our performance in regard to the law, we’re all doomed.
Anytime we are brought under bondage to the law we lose the incredible grace of God.
The good news isn’t such good news when it’s up to us to make it happen.
All that I have attempted to say is precisely stated in your 146. Good works comes from being born again, the heart being changed and is evident of one being born again—not from being compelled, but rather simply because the person simply does not dwell in the flesh, but rather in the spirit. If a person continues as if he had not been born again, even though he may give an appearance of having good works, hiding a double life or being blatantly comfortable in expressing himself or behaving as if sin is of no consequence, then I would doubt that the Holy Spirit are within them at all.
As for Dunn’s writing or even N.T. Wright–I don’t put much stock in them for many reasons.
As for what Jean has shared on this thread, base upon your #146, I don’t hear that he is saying anything more or less and in this I have agreed with him. As for doing things that are ritualistic signifying some sort of exchange to increase one’s standing in the Lord, that reminds of being Catholic, which I exited a very long time ago. It is a far cry from being born again, when being born again cannot be done by any works done by a human or ritual or man made substance. It can only be done when a person genuinely is opened to receiving and willingness to turn away from that which they had become (realizing they are separated from due to the sin nature that once had dominion over them), prior to the works that Jesus did through the Cross.
If this regeneration is true, then the heart is changed and works will be manifested to give evidence of such in the form of thoughts, attitude, demeanor, and behavior towards self, others, and the things of the Lord.
As for Jesus being Lord and Savior—-Yes, absolutely—above all, He is King of kings, Lord of lord, and He alone is my salvation. In this, I will walk in obedience to His Word and no other. I can do that because I have been born again and He that now dwells within me has made this possible, no longer being held in bondage by the flesh, for now I am in the spirit as long as I choose to walk in obedience to His Word. That makes Him my Lord. In this, I could give a flip about Calvin or any other theologian puts forth.
“I could give a flip about Calvin or any other theologian puts forth.”
That’s sad…as all of us are standing on someone’s shoulders.
God has used Spirit filled, spirit led teachers throughout the history of the church and we discount them to our loss.
“I can do that because I have been born again and He that now dwells within me has made this possible, no longer being held in bondage by the flesh, for now I am in the spirit as long as I choose to walk in obedience to His Word. ”
You can’t do it perfectly…and that is the demand of the Law.
Grace says that Christ has already done it and credited it to me.
If we measure our position in Christ by the works of the Law, then Christ is of no value to us.
Paul said that, not Calvin.
Having said all that I believe the grace of God in salvation extends even to those who disagree with me.
I thought of this overnight and this morning in church as I listened to my pastor not list any goods works that I should be doing or chastising me biblically for doing any of my bad acts.
So I rescind all of my comments that I made about Jimmy Dunn or NT Wright and any implications from those. I realize that the problem is me – that I am stuck in a theology and a group that thinks like me that cannot get beyond Jesus – Forgiveness – and Serving Neighbor. God’s imputing His righteousness to me had better be true because I don’t have time to “do my part.” through His infusion.
It is my problem that I give no thought to my status, that I have not turned my salvation in on myself to keep score as to how I am doing – I don’t have time for that, I don’t have the time for a moment to even wonder if I am behaving better than I did last week or last year.
As I said a couple of times earlier, I don’t believe sanctification is my behavior improving. I think God is doing something else in sanctification. So, if I ever adopt the philosophy that sanctification has to do with me, I will look into their writings.
I understand the tension which you speak concerning the historical reformation and its unfolding of various positions of sanctification and justification.
As for me, I don’t hold this tension but see Romans as Paul taking the reader, basically, through understanding how God has throughout time have worked in the hearts of humans, bringing it all together through the Cross and then onward to enable a person to live in the Spirit. Jesus puts it plainly to Nicodemas: “One must be born again.” To me this is saying that heart of yours must be changed from that which is of the flesh into that which is of the Spirit. If it is not, then the law will continue to appear as though it is a burden to you, rather than that which to set you free, open your eyes, and to enable you to embrace the underlying significance of what it means to walk in Christ, as He has done. That is, to crucify yourself and let that of the flesh no longer be a part of you.
For me, the law is not burdensome at all. The law is only a stumbling block for those who practices lawlessness. The law is not ritualistic or something that I need to concern myself with as I remain free to sin or to not to sin. A couple of scriptures verses immediately jumps out to me: (1) I have hidden they word in my heart, so that in times of trouble, I will not sin against thee. (2) Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.(3) 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
I choose to walk in obedience to Him and can do this simply because I am in Him and He is in me. “The Cross before me, the world (perdition) behind me—no turning back, no turning back. It is a choice—-who I will serve–I choose Him, my Lord, my God, and my Savior. And as I choose Him, I sin, less and less, although the cost can be quite harrowing at times. To the point of near death and other things that Paul mentioned having experienced himself.
There really is a difference between works of the flesh and works of the spirit. They might appear to be the same, but you know as well as I do—-not hardly when examining why a person holds on to such teachings that either accommodates or challenges them on living a life in sin or in the Spirit.
I propose that there are 3 movements to the Christian life:
Act 1: The beginning: Justification is by grace through faith alone. “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’ Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness….”
Act 2: The Middle: (1) The Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit; and (2) The Christian is subject to the law of Christ. (e.g., “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”)
Based on a fulfillment of Jeremiah XXX1 :31-34 and Ezekiel XXXVI :26-27, along with Paul’s own teaching, the Spirit enables the Christian to obey the law of Christ (however imperfectly because the struggle between the Spirit and the flesh) and to bear the fruit of the Spirit.
Act 3: The End: The Christian will give an account of his/her life at the final judgment. “For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;” This judgment has eternal consequences.
Before digging deeper into Acts 2 and 3, is there general agreement on this framework?
“One must be born again.” To me this is saying that heart of yours must be changed from that which is of the flesh into that which is of the Spirit.”
So who does the born again thing – me or God? If it’s God, then my heart has been changed, 100% from flesh to 100% Spirit.
If it is not God, then my heart has not been changed, I still have a heart of flesh and I am still an unbeliever.
You seem to have this ‘spiritual’ thingy going on that has my heart transforming back and forth – flesh to spirit back to flesh … oh today is a good day, I think I am back to spirit.
Linda, you have not left you catholicism at all.
There is no agreement from here.
First, what does it mean to be “justified”?
On what basis are we justified?
What else happens in justification?
Again, you go around what the central issue is to me, which is what it means to have been placed ‘in Christ”.
According to this verse if one is indeed “justified” they will also be “glorified” by the sovereign grace of God and not by works.
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
(Romans 8:29–30 ESV)
“Act 3: The End: The Christian will give an account of his/her life at the final judgment. “For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;” This judgment has eternal consequences.”
Here, let’s do future testimonies – I will go first in giving my account on the last day.
“Lord I failed you in every way and i deserve your eternal punishment in the fiery pit. But God, I believed in your Son Jesus Christ … is their any mercy for me in that?”
So, that was mine – let’s hear your future testimony in the same area. I will check back – time to take the granddaughters to Costco and further their education on the topic of free afternoon samples. 🙂
“Lord I failed you in every way and i deserve your eternal punishment in the fiery pit. But God, I believed in your Son Jesus Christ … is their any mercy for me in that?”
Amen and amen and amen .
I will point to Christ’s work on my behalf, not mine on His…
When I read your stuff I get the feeling your (and probably many others) goal in all this Christian stuff is to get into heaven at the end of the age. I know you’re trying to prove your point against Jean and others who write about works, but for some reason I get the feeling you really don’t think that living in the Kingdom today is as important as getting into the pearly gates tomorrow.
I’m sure you’ll comment on my observation.
Oh, and I don’t think anyone who posts here regularly would disagree with your “future testimony” at all. But if that’s all there is to Kingdom life today I think there’s something missing.
BTW MLD here’s my testimony today and at the end of my age:
“God I love you today and I both bless You and thank You for making a way through your Son, my Messiah and Lord, for a sinner like me to live and walk with you today and tomorrow! I never deserved any of it.”
That’s the short version.
Here is my response to your #156. I’m purposely using a Reformed scholar who I understand you respect to see if we can draw closer together on this issues.
“The justification that is ours when we believe guarantees final glorification so that believers are assured that they are right with God when they believe. In both Paul and James faith and works are inseparable. Faith and works can be distinguished logically, but in life they are inseparable. So, how should we understand the logical relationship between justification by faith and justification by works? ….
I conclude, then, that the New Testament witness is consistent. Works are necessary for justification, but they are not the basis of justification or salvation since God requires perfection and all human beings sin. Hence, works constitute the necessary evidence or fruit of one’s new life in Christ. We can even say that salvation and justification are through faith alone, but such faith is living and vital and always produces works.”
Thomas R. Schreiner
If we are going to attempt to harmonize Paul’s theology on justification by faith and justification by works, Schreiner does an admirable job.
Are we getting closer?
Other comments from anyone?
Yes, I agree with Schreiner.
I would add to that if we are truly justified, then works will, without fail, follow.
The problem comes when we try to qualify and quantify those works.
Bob, I love your testimony 🙂
I see that you are really struggling with this teaching that you hold onto, not able to consider that just maybe those who remain in rebellion cannot be born again.
Therefore, if they cannot be born again, even though God, the Father would want every one to be saved, He will not force anyone to be so, unless they submit to Him. There comes many opportunities in a person’s life to do this, be through a Word spoken, a conviction, a tragedy, or trial of one’s wayward behavior. The point is, MLD—it is a choice that presented and it one that God presents to the person to choose. The gift of salvation is there—-but it is never just bestowed upon anyone unless they repent and believe.
It is not an either or type of miracle that takes place within the heart of a person. As for it being a back and forth type of thing going on with a person who is truly born again—I do believe a person can walk away from the faith totally and completely, although at the same time I would wonder if they were ever born again in the first place.
At the same time, we have to remember that in our human vessels, if we are not to give into those things of the world, flesh, and devices of the enemy, then we must be willing and diligent and become more and more disciplined, thereby being practiced in walking circumspectly so that in those times of temptation, trials, and afflictions we are quickly able to choose that which gives honor, praise, and glory to Him.
MLD, as a Christian, God expects us to be a full participant in our walk with Him. As for being regenerated, it is through His grace that He has provided a way for this to take place. It is available to who would repent and to believe in that which He has accomplished through the shed blood, death, and resurrection of His son, Jesus.
This regeneration does not take place because a person decides to go to church, pay tithes, or to receive communion. It takes place within the heart of a person towards what they have been convicted as a result of the Holy Spirit and thus has brought them to that place that gives them the opportunity to receive Salvation, thereby having their hearts regenerated and set free from the bondage of the flesh and its sin nature.
I want to make sure that Schreiner is not misunderstood here.
Works are an outflow of justification, not a cause of it.
That is mere inches from Roman Catholic soteriology.
That doesn’t mean that it is error by nature of association (though I believe it is) but it is very close and I think there would be little that an RC would dispute with you.
Historically, it is also very close to Jean…Wesleyan Arminianism with an emphasis on holiness.
The reason I point out these affiliations is that it’s very trendy in American independent evangelicalism to act as if they are just teaching and believing simple expositions of the Scripture uninfluenced by any theological predecessors or historical forebearers.
Nothing could be farther from the truth…
Bob @ 162
Yes, Amen and Amen
Jean—on board, all the way!!
Michel—agree, qualifying and distinguishing the terms used for “Works” are a huge issue.
So much so, I am ever so grateful that Paul spent so much time in sharing with us those characteristics and behaviors that would, or would not, bare witness to whether, or not a person had been regenerated or born again. In part, to help me to understand what had taken place in my heart and in my life that had led me to the Cross, to His Word, and into His Kingdom, as one being born again.
In this, I am grateful in knowing that this work of the Spirit within me is an outflowing of what He has made me by changing my heart to do His will and it is not done in and of myself, but solely as result of my heart being changed, thus it is as natural as it was for me to sin, prior to being born again.
I am ever so grateful Paul spent so much in helping us to understand that we do not need to sin, but rather we choose to sin and it is by the Holy Spirit, we are able to turn away from it simply because we love the Lord so much more and others more than the life we once had apart from Him.
May all Glory, Honor, and Praise be given to Him for what He alone did in my life, even before coming to Know Him and to walk with Him while on this earth and for eternity, thereafter His return.
Sorry, Michael, for the typo on your name. 🙂
“Works are an outflow of justification, not a cause of it.”
I haven’t disagreed with this.
As for RC, there is much that we would not agree upon. We are not saved by works, but works of the Spirit are an outflow of regeneration.
The need to maintain or prove justification by works is as Catholic as it gets.
“The reason I point out these affiliations is that it’s very trendy in American independent evangelicalism to act as if they are just teaching and believing simple expositions of the Scripture uninfluenced by any theological predecessors or historical forebearers.”
It is possible, Michael that although there may be “theological predecessors or historical forebears” that may agree with a persons position, that it does not mean that they were influence or even exposed to such positions, but rather have solely come to this understanding merely by the teaching of the Holy Spirit regarding God’s Word, independently? And that by coincidence they both agree?
“The need to maintain or prove justification by works is as Catholic as it gets.”
True—yet I never claim this.
If a person is truly born again, works will follow naturally. It’s not the same thing.
I don’t think so.
As evidenced every day on this blog, the Holy Spirit leads us to many different understandings.
If you attended a Calvary Chapel or an Arminian Baptist church for any length of time all the sermons came from the same branch of the orthodox faith…all with roots in the Wesleyan/ Holiness movement.
Almost all your posts focus on the behavior of the believer…you even claimed that some people don’t sin everyday.
Before John Wesley, that would have been called pure heresy by every branch of the faith I can think of.
I may be reading you in error, but it appears to me that you judge justification by the state of ones sanctification…and again, that goes straight back to Rome.
I recall an interview on the “Issues, Ect.” Lutheran radio show a few years back where Ted Haggard told the interviewer that he didn’t sin. Then soon after, the other shoe droped and Ted’s double life came to the fore.
Saying a believer doesn’t sin is foolishness — also doesn’t square up with day-to-day reality.
One of the best prayers for a believer actually comes from the Orthodox:
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Yes, you are not hearing what Jean, Bob, and myself have stated simply because in part your own position does not align with what we have put forth.
Perhaps, Wesley was more right on than all the rest and thus, it would appear as those what he taught would be perceived, initially as being heretical. But then again, perhaps those gone before him were teaching heresy instead.
I wouldn’t bench my salvation upon any of them, however. It is scripture with the Holy Spirit within me that teaches me, not those who gain their understanding through philosophers and commentaries and the constant wrangling of tearing every jot and tittle apart when scripture is so easily understood in and of itself.
I doubt seriously that as God inspired His Word through those who put pen to paper that it was meant to be torn apart as it has been thus causing so much confusion among those who were seeking the truth or having been born again. Can’t help but think of how even in the Old Testament, the Scribes and Pharisees did the same thing, coming up with all kinds of things that ended up putting this huge burden upon the People. In saying this, I think about scripture and what Paul shared with us that without having the Holy Spirit, one cannot understand God’s Word. I also think about Paul writing that God has given the gift of teaching and preaching. Yet, at the same time, scriptures tells us that an individual does not need anyone to teach him or her, but that now being Christ and having the Holy Spirit, these things that we need to know and to understand are made clear to us through the written word.
So when someone says to me, this theologian or this tradition, or historically the church has done this or that or believes this or that—it tells me that these entities are to be held in authority over scriptures, I literally gag—-as it is scripture that is the bottom line for me. With all due respect, I might add.
Here’s one difficulty I have with “good ” works, I know some people who don’t love either God or Jesus and yet have some very good works. I also know many who claim to either love God and Jesus or say they have received his baptism and yet their works really suck.
I’ll let you all sort out which of those who claim to love God and Jesus or have received His baptism really are.
The great theologians wrestled with the same Scriptures and came to radically different conclusions.
We just pick the ones we thing the Spirit fell hardest on…
I would say more, but this is getting close to the place of offense.
“…is to get into heaven at the end of the age.”
You could not be more wrong. I am doing what I am sanctified for – to serve my neighbor – that is it. What Linda, Jean and you advocate for is that I am sanctified to improve my behavior (and in fact I am doing a piss poor job of it). That somehow the sum of my Christian life is to be working on me. Now to me that sounds like ‘cleaning myself up so I am worthy to enter the kingdom.’
Now from my point of view – and above Ialready said it is just my narrow view of Jesus – Forgiveness – and Service to Neighbor – my work is not to be on me, my work is to be on others.
I am sure that I will show up to the judgement seat a dirty mess, perhaps with a cigar in my mouth and a beer in my hand and most of you will take 2 steps away from me.
Hey, if you think not belching public makes you more sanctified … well good luck with that.
Using Ted Haggard as proof to your argument that a person sins everyday is hardly the example I would use to establish such an argument. He was caught up in a double lifestyle that is well established clinically that part and parcel of being able to do so, would most assuredly lead Mr. Haggard into a defensive state of denial. By the way, this is the way that sin evolves which then lead into a downward spiral encompassing so many other sins as well.
For those who indulge in anything, there is a propensity for them to think everyone else does as well. But for those that don’t they see that some will and that it can being varied on frequency and at different levels but invariably if practiced on a regular basis, there is a downward spiral.
Linda – are you capable of answering a question in less that 5 paragraphs? Pretend we are on an elevator and you have time for a short answer only.
1.) Who does the born againing – me or God?
2.) who does the actual changing of a heart from flesh to spirit – me or God.?
3.) Does the changed heart go back and forth?
Regarding 176—Good Works apart from faith is not Works of the Spirit.
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
As for the person who has not faith and does a good work apart from it:
We are to encourage one another to submit our hearts into doing the good works wrought by our faith.
Works of the Sprit is not the works that earns one’s salvation as those who were under the law turned it into being, for when God gave it, it was a means to instruct, to use to govern themselves, and to draw them closer to Him. The keeping of the law could not atone for their sins, but would cover them for such a time when the Messiah would come.
He has come and He is now in Heaven with the Father, sitting on the throne that will one day become what we know is the new Jerusalem and the new earth. but until then it is the Holy Spirit that is here and for those who are in the faith, He lives inside of us to enable us to walk in obedience and to do the works that He has told us to do and to take on as our hearts have been changed and are being changed to put away the things of the flesh. In this, our good works are manifested as evidence of this change that has taken place as a result of our faith and belief in Him. As this happens, the works of the Holy Spirit are like hand and glove. It no longer is a burden or a chore or a struggle or something that we kick up our heels about “no longer being under the law” or “earning our salvation” but rather, it is an outcome of having been born again and more like Christ and in Christ as one. It is the new nature that has now put to death the old nature with us. It does not look for excuses or justification to sin, but rather runs from it and hates it more and more and calling it for what it is—-SIN.
Linda just mumbles religious jargon, MLD. You shouldn’t ask questions so much as make statements with religious zealots who need more info.
blah blah…. christianeze…blah blah…religion…blah blah…
Shame on you——but given what you teach, I understand why you would present yourself in the manner towards me.
this (not the)
I know and was not trying to comment on what is hay straw and stubble or not.
In a practical sense works are spoken of throughout the scriptures as a function of motivation. People can act evil and those works can be either good or detrimental to others, but they are always motivated by self interest. I submit that many approach their religion with the same motivation and that includes professing Christians of all denominations and schisms.
My point is the measure of God driven works is a passionate love for God and Jesus and it’s these works which stand the fiery test of eternity. I also have observed they can be as simple as blessing someone with a “thank you” or as complex as literally saving the life of another.
But if believing is all about escaping the fires of hell then I also believe these individuals are still teetering at the brink.
Shame comes from two places: the Accuser of the Brothers and Linda Pappas…
You need to bone up on some good theology and you will be set free to be yourself; one apart from achievement and needing to explain behavior through results.
I teach the doctrine of Luther and Jon Courson. If you have issues with that, then go ahead and have your issues, Linda Poppas. But for either of us, enlightenment is always something beneficial. For anyone, in ten years from now we shall say, “wow, was I not ignorant back then”. The only nuance here, Mrs. Poppas, is you disparage and now cause my conscience to have to respond for to not to do so would be neither safe nor right.
Other than these things, I wish you nothing short of shalom in Jesus.
“What Linda, Jean and you advocate for is that I am sanctified to improve my behavior (and in fact I am doing a piss poor job of it). That somehow the sum of my Christian life is to be working on me. Now to me that sounds like ‘cleaning myself up so I am worthy to enter the kingdom.’”
If that is what you hear then your ears are stopped up with your doctrines of men and need a cleaning. And yes you are then doing a piss poor job of it. No joking here.
Jesus affirmed the basics so you ought to listen to Him.
Sanctification is the following:
“Your Justification is shining through”.
Let me state what Jesus said about how you, yes you, can enter ther Kingdom of God/heaven today, sell all your stuff and follow Him.
Do what you want with that!
You might also remember what He said to Peter after the resurrection, “do you love me…”
But of course He was talking to Peter and not one of Martin Luther’s Disciples.
“Shame comes from two places: the Accuser of the Brothers and Linda Pappas…”
Next to MLD that is one of the worst comments of I have ever read on PP!
Same on you!
If God was on that elevator with you—I think He would say to a person:
Repent, Believe, pick up your mat and follow after me. You must be born again of the Spirit to receive and to walk according the Father’s will. For wide is the gate that leads to destruction, but narrow is the gate that leads to eternal life. Read my Word and do what I have told you to do. Stop making excuses for your sins and get right with me.
Either that, or He might hit the emergency stop button and have a much longer discussion with the person who might need a bit more insight into addressing the issues that hinders them from fully opening their hearts to being able to submit, repent, and to give up that which does not bring glory, honor, and praise to Him and His people.
Bottom line, MLD—God can show you the way, but you have to choose to walk in it.
Maybe you should read and teach the doctrines of Jesus rather than Luther and your father?
I’ve had enough of this exchange, may you all love Him more than others.
I’m in good company, then.
She said shame on me. Shame: it comes from the accuser and now Linda. If you deduce more than that from my statement, either it is relevant or you are reading stuff into statements. Either way, it’s your right. And either way, Linda and the Accuser say “shame on you”.
Bob. Good night. Peace to your soul and I hope you rest well in Him.
Haha. Cool. Here’s what I just read on Facebook:
“I don’t have to be careful what I say. That is how I know I am with the right people.”
So very true. I would also add; that is how I know I am being the right person.
“Maybe you should read and teach the doctrines of Jesus rather than Luther and your father?”
As soon as I read what Neo stating about following the doctrine of his father and of Luther, I thought and said the exact words that you stated.
I too must call it a day—-Shalom, in Jesus!!
Linda – so what you are saying is you are incapable of answering questions regardless of 5 paragraphs of not. I will go back to what I said the other day that Michael did not like. You comments – your message is not a Christian message. If that hurts your feelings, well too bad.
Bob, yes that is exactly what i hear when you and Linda go on. It’s all about behavior.
Linda and Bob – you both talk about doing good works – but all of your examples are just a change of behavior… and they are not the same.
If I stop cussing – that is not a good work and you guys think it is. That is just me trying to make a me that fits your vision of a person going to heaven.
A good work is only what I do for others – what I do for me is called selfish. So when James says faith without works is dead, he isn’t saying like you guys, faith without proper behavior is dead – so you need to get your heads out of you know where and start thinking Jesus – Gospel -Forgiveness and Service to Others.
Do not be so self consumed with … well yourselves and how you behave.
Linda Pappas and Bob: Follow Jesus, Not Luther nor Jon Courson.
Thanks for the advice. I’ll consider it.
As I do so, peace to you, Bob and Linda.
1 Peter 3:16
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
Neo—Regarding what you spoke and in manner you addressed me. Again, shame on you.
So, then, if we start with Schreiner’s conclusion, which Michael affirmed at #162, and which I also concur in the 2nd paragraph:
“The justification that is ours when we believe guarantees final glorification so that believers are assured that they are right with God when they believe. In both Paul and James faith and works are inseparable. Faith and works can be distinguished logically, but in life they are inseparable. So, how should we understand the logical relationship between justification by faith and justification by works?
“I conclude, then, that the New Testament witness is consistent. Works are necessary for justification, but they are not the basis of justification or salvation since God requires perfection and all human beings sin. Hence, works constitute the necessary evidence or fruit of one’s new life in Christ. We can even say that salvation and justification are through faith alone, but such faith is living and vital and always produces works.”
…then we can back up and identify our theological differences:
Is Schreiner correct that God guarantees the Christian’s final justification? Put another way, if a Christian does not bear fruit through good works or falls away from the faith, is that evidence that the individual never had saving faith in the first place?
Or, is Schreiner incorrect regarding such a “guarantee”, and the Christian, who is initially justified by grace through faith, can resist the work of the Holy Spirit and walk in rebellion against God (Luther refers to this as “manifest sin”) or can fall away altogether from faith, in either case receiving a guilty verdict at the final judgment?
Often times when I read many pontifications here all I hear in my mind’s eye is a bunch of folks calling each other “raca” – just using way more words than saying “your a fool or worse if you don’t see things my way. Really is sad. Thankfully it isn’t always the norm.
You said exactly what I feel, but couldn’t find words to express. Well said.
Linda – after your #203 I think you need a time out. I feel like you do have a bit of a judgmental, cruel streak sometimes, not that you are the only one who posts here that does now and then. Good news is that my feelings aren’t very reliable
It is very helpful for people like Anne and London to remind us of our responsibility to one another to be gracious in our disagreements and, I would add, to focus on the topic at hand and off each other or third parties (such as denominations or scholars) who are not here to defend themselves.
I preached today that we should make every effort not to sin as Christians, but if we do sin we have an Advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous.
(Yep, still in 1 John 🙂 )
In ten years from now, I shall say about Neo- “You were a fool”.
I might as well own that right now.
That is how refreshing repentance truly can be. It is the path to enlightenment.
I am slowly trying to learn how to balance that with being true to myself.
To speaking and standing for my principles without selling out for the sake of acceptance of the status quo. It’s a fun, challenging, troubling endeavor.
Having the “safety net” of my dad’s ministry is not to be discounted. I “fall” from Orange County into Southern Oregon and now have taken it upon myself to be “true to myself” publically more than my years in OC. Maybe I ought to see a therapist. No joke. And maybe along the same lines, I am growing, discovering myself in all of this.
Either way, God is good. And either way, Linda and Bob’s advice is not. LOL.
Where I lack in common sense, I run laps in theology.
And I do lack in common sense. And I do love theology. 🙂
Linda Pappas, When and if I find merit in taking shame from you, then I will.
Too many citations, perhaps–caught in moderation.
We are told in scripture not to do such things as lying, cheating, exploiting, scamming, seducing, lusting, and many other things. When we do these things, it affects the lives of others and puts to shame the things of the Lord while bearing a poor witness to the world.
All throughout the Bible that tells us to put these things away as well as where these behaviors come from: basically, it goes like this:
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”
What Defiles a Man
…20 And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21″For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.…Mark chapter 7:21
Good works may include being kind, considerate, and of service towards others, but if for one second a person thought life is contrary to this, then one cannot say that the behavior is coming from a heart that is of the spirit of the Lord, nor can they say that it is truly, “Good Works.” God wants our hearts to be pure, so that our behavior will be genuine and sincere. But how can this be, if we hold on to sin, by protecting and defending it, by saying that “good works,” only include others. Not so, it begins with us, having our hearts made clean and able then to genuinely love the lord with all of our heats, mind, body, and strength and with He who dwells within us. In this, Good Works of our faith will pour forth from our hearts into the lives of others as well as to the self in being one in the faith and in the Kingdom with Him.
James chapter 1
Romans chapter 8
MLD—-I truly do not mean to hurt, to offend, or to cast a shadow upon you but rather, to speak truth into some things that has had me concerned for some time towards you. At times, you share good things that cause me to think and examine my own walk, but at other times, particularly when you take on a certain attitude, become sarcastic, or just trying to bait or create chaos, or other tactics, then take enjoyment in having done so, when in fact, you know it to be offensive and sin.
In time past others have also brought this to your attention in their own way.
I am hoping that you would at least consider (in light of scripture) what we have shared, rather to defend or become sarcastic in closing your heart and mind off from these things.
Jean, Anne, London, and Steve (205 through 209)
Jean—it would seem that we agree on much this thread. Yes, It would be best to focus on the topic at hand — in light of Scripture, not the messenger or theologians moved on.
Anne and London, I know we would disagree on much and perhaps this is why you view the things that I have shared to be mean and not worthy of your consideration. All I ask is that you would take your eyes off of me and to consider scripture in light of what has been shared.
Steve–always warms my heart when I hear a pastor reinforced this with his congregation. It is when nothing is or is rarely stated to this affect that my heart is greatly sadden and fearful towards those who think otherwise.
I hit wall today and took a long afternoon nap. From the read here, looks like I made a good decision.
Luther understood the proper use of the law and identified its purpose for Christians as signposts, standards really, of ethical behavior. Ethics is an area that is severely lacking in evangelicalism… we preach grace do whatever we want, without giving heed to God’s word. And some chalk it up to the “Spirit filled life”…. that can be dangerous, and without the full counsel of God, we live truncated spiritual lives. It is grace and law, they work in tangent toward our sanctification and are not mutually exclusive. Luther understood this as his 95 Theses were a condemnation, not of doctrine, but of orthopraxy. The church had lost its ethical standards.
Linda – I have told you several times and you just blow by it. I do not think our sanctification is equivalent to our behavior – that I refuse to turn everything into my life and about me. My sanctification, the purpose for which I was set apart by God is to be of service to others. I don’t know why you continually deny that and keep turning it back to behavior.
Also as I said, you never mention the saving work of Jesus, his forgiveness that ALWAYS overrules my bad behavior and how we can better serve each other. The gospel according to Linda is don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t exploit, don’t scam, don’t seduce, don’t lust, and don’t do many other things (as stated in your #213) and you will go to heaven.
Your writings (not you) remind me of what the local Imam would be telling young Muslim men to do if they ever want to realize their 72 virgins in heaven.
Our difference is not over sin, as I do not advocate sinning – but sinning will not cast you into hell. I rarely quote Luther but my favorite of his is the first of the 95 theses (which I am sure you would disagree with as a sign of Christian weakness);
“1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” ( Matthew 4:17 ), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
Note the entire life of BELIEVERS to be of repentance. Why if we are capable of not sinning and / or we only sin periodically?
But that is OK – we don’t need to agree.
Well, I don’t agree Philosophically/Theologically with any of you so there 🙂
I do love and respect Linda P., though, she reminds me of my mother-in-law in terms of her Theology…though they are very different Politically. I don’t agree with my mother-in-laws Philosophy/Theology, but I love and respect her because she’s a good person who means well.
I think these discussions continue to demonstrate major support for my Philosophical Position that “Scripture” and the “bible” is extremely subjective and that “Thus sayeth the Lord!” is really a function of your particular Guru’s and Sect’s interpretation and emphasis vs. a literal reading of the bible.
That continues to appear to be the reality of the matter as is demonstrated on blogs like this daily with good people reading the same texts and coming to vastly different conclusions.
I’ve noticed for quite sometime that Courson Sr. presents a Lutheran Position and that Jr. does is no surprise and not a bad thing.
I still think the Lutheran Position has to redefine the meanings of some words to make its Supposition and Proposition fit together, something not unique to the Lutheran position.
Every Sect at the end of the day largely agrees on major issues without really acknowledging it while claiming nuance that I don’t think is really there.
All the major Sects profess a form of Works Righteousness…you have to do something and believe a particular set of “correct doctrines” to get saved / validate your true salvation.
…the only true “Grace” position is Universal Reconciliation/Universal Salvation.
Hardcore Double-Predestination is the only other unique Position where God picks a few Winners and creates the rest of humanity to punish in hell forever.
Everyone else is in the “Earn your Salvation through correct doctrine and a checklist of must-haves”
For the record, my hermeneutic is Logic/Reason…as such the bible isn’t logically consistent which is a fact.
Is there any Capital T truth in your statements above? 😉
Here is how I can demonstrate and support my Position above w/o having to engage in a lengthy dialogue about it:
Each of you ask yourself and then answer these questions:
1. How do you know you are officially saved? What is it that you believe and have done that validate and prove your salvation?
2. What is the list things you MUST believe in order to be officially saved?
3. What are the things you must example/do/practice in your life to validate that you are truly saved?
You’ll find, if you are intellectually honest about it, that you have a very specific list of “Must Haves” for a person to be officially saved or likely saved from hell. These “Must Haves” are a Salvation Check-list of correct doctrinal core issues and a set of lifestyle/holiness things like not being homosexual or not living in some sort of habitual sin (even though everyone sins daily, another anomaly).
At the end of the day, all of you believe this and have exampled it many times over…your Salvation Checklists just vary somewhat in the “correct doctrine” portion.
Alex – your questions are categorically misplaced which is a huge philosophical error for someone who prides himself on being philosophically astute. Your questions are equivalent to asking “what does blue smell like?” or “how much does yellow weigh?
Salvation is a supernatural event that is not to be dissected.
I’m fairly certain that Courson Sr cares but a little about Luther’s positions on theology in the wider scope of things. Respectful yet not reverential. I say this to Sr’s credit. . I, on the other hand. am a bit too beholden to Luther’s stuff.
Wow. 200 some odd comments dissecting each other’s opinions about salvation/justification /sanctification and MLD winds up the whole shebang with informing us that it is a supernatural event that cannot be dissected. Oh the irony.
@214 – Linda,
You think too highly of yourself I’m afraid.
My comment had NOTHING to do with you
…mostly because I find your posts far too wordy so I don’t bother to read what you’ve written.
Ann – I have not discussed salvation at all on this thread. I am sure that all of my comments related to sanctification, that I argued does not center on my behavior but relates to being set aside to serve others.
Yep I guess it is ironic
Anne, LOL. Yes rather ironic isn’t it.
That’s why I make the point. You cannot quantify and logic your way with regards to spiritual things and all the doctrinal/theological wrangling is akin to sound and fury signifying nothing.
Like I asserted with Dave Rolph many moons ago: Theo-Logos or Theology is not logical or reasonable. Every Sect tries to square a circle that simply cannot be squared.
The reality and truth is: We don’t know much and what we do know is largely experiential and a function of each individual’s Conscience and Reason interacting together and sifting through the many competing Narratives in the Religious/Philosophical Landscape.
In my observation and experience, human beings need things to make sense, we need things to add up, to have purpose and meaning.
As such, our “Faith” appealing to an ancient text as the tangible representation of a spiritual “God”…especially when we have no real supernatural miracles like we see in the OT and NT (walking on water, turning water into wine, shriveled hands being restored, people rising from the dead, calling down fire from heaven etc)…we are forced to put our “faith” in a particular Doctrinal/Theological Belief System and connected and appeal to authority within particular Sect and that Sect’s Guru’s to make things make sense.
The fact that the “church” is so splintered is testament to the fact that the texts are not consistent and logical and are left to a wide range of doctrinal interpretation for their “true meaning”….the fact that humans coalesce around a particular Sect and Guru from the myriad of Sects and Gurus is testament to the fact that humans need their “faith” to be validated by an authority other than themselves.
All very human, and I’m not knocking it, I’m just stating my observations. It’s how we tick.
I’m still in the very small camp that simply doesn’t know how it all fits together, believes in Science and facts, believes in things like gravity and mathematics and physics etc, believes in and intelligent Designer/God, believes there are realities like “good” and “evil”…but no longer trusts or gives any faith to “correct doctrine” and really doesn’t trust or give faith to man Gurus.
God is most likely a reality of the Universe/Multi-verse…and I truly hope he is more love and mercy and forgiveness than he is wrath, while acknowledging the need for justice.
If “God” showed up in a real sense rather than a text on a printed page…I guarantee you that your doctrine/theology would go right out the window…
“1. How do you know you are officially saved? What is it that you believe and have done that validate and prove your salvation?”
I personally believe that Jesus, the son of God, died for my sins, and rose from the dead for my justification. I went all in on him, and won’t, probably can’t take it back. I guess kind of like Tom Petty, “and I wont back down”.
“2. What is the list things you MUST believe in order to be officially saved?”
See answer to #1.
“3. What are the things you must example/do/practice in your life to validate that you are truly saved?”
Alex between CC and the Masters College, I think you got messed up in your theology.
Of course these things are spiritually discerned and without the Spirit… well you know the verse.
I think Alex is asking some good questions. It is always about the hermeneutic of which we must strive to apprehend the ultimate particular, which according to Aristotle, is apprehended not by scientific knowledge (reason), but by an intelligent intuition.(Aristotle, Ethics, 1142a, 25)
Christ alone was able to square the circle.
Q, I think it is God’s “spirit” that has informed me with regards to my position…I just refer to it as “Conscience”…just as you believe you are correct and are rightly informed by God’s “spirit” …same as everyone on this blog and in Christianity.
It’s why there are 9,000 to 30,000 different Christian Sects all with slight to major doctrinal differences of opinion.
I just don’t operate from the Presupposition that a particular Sect or Guru has it all figured out and has “correct understanding” of the ancient texts that are often quite contradictory and illogical.
As MLD rightly noted (and it is the only real intellectually honest position there is)…we don’t really know, it’s spiritual, it’s not really quantifiable, it’s mystery to our senses and it is not logical or reasonable…it’s something that man has tried to quantify and put words to and that many men have expressed their opinions and experiences…but without the certainty of consistency and mathematical precision and binary clarity.
Now what I have grown to understand is that I have no beef with folks of faith who think they have it all figured out and think they have the magic formula of “correct doctrine and theology” as long as it doesn’t lead to abuse or evil etc.
It’s kind of like Packer’s “as long as it leads to doxology, then it’s good” sort of position.
If your particular Philosophical Belief System makes sense to you and makes you feel good and feel saved and connected to God and helps you make good decisions and helps make you a better person, then great…you are probably in the right place for you.
…now if you are a fundamentalist extremist and your doctrine/theology leads to abuse, corruption, evil, etc (see Islam) then I think it’s “bad”.
You see this in some Fundamentalist Christian sects that use the bible to justify mistreating women, abusing kids, getting rich off of selling Jesus etc.
I didn’t say we couldn’t know. I am absolutely sure that my salvation is intact. What I said was that it was a supernatural event and we cannot dissect it.
But all your doubt and philosophical games do is make the statement that Christianity has no more validity or standing than voodoo or totem pole worship.
MLD said, ” I am absolutely sure that my salvation is intact.”
OK then explain it, quantify it, support your statement with evidence.
I am bsolutely sure that i am a living being – I can’t explain it – it just is.
By the way how much does blue weigh?
For me not to be able to explain something God has told me as true, doesn’t bother me at all. can you adequately explain the genesis of your love for your children? Not just tell me what you think, but the absolute fact? or is it up for debate that perhaps you don’t?
MLD, you’re dancing.
I won’t accuse you of being intellectually dishonest, I’ll chalk it up to confusion.
“I feel saved therefore I am saved b/c I have convinced myself that I am and I can’t explain it, it just is”
Yes, kind of the point I am making.
I don’t get it. I say that it cannot be dissected and your comeback is, OK, so dissect it.
So who is confused?
So, you are not sure if you love your kids or not because you can’t explain it? Sad.
And to you #241 – no, God has convinced my I am saved. If it we left to me, I would be in doubt like you.
MLD, I don’t doubt you are saved at all. If God is real and “good” etc and if there is some spiritual truth to the bible and if there is some sort of after-life…I think a good man like yourself will translate just fine into the next…whether or not it turns out you held a 50% correct doctrinal belief system or a 5% correct or 90% correct.
But that’s just what the “spirit” working in my Conscience informs me…I could be wrong and you could require the Roman Catholic version of “correct” in which case you are going to burn in hell for a long time 🙂
If not for the Resurrection, it’s all just a crap shoot. Heck, with the Resurrection, it seems to be a crap shoot enough. Truth is not relative but it is more relative than we give it credit for.
No offense, but I don’t want to repeat past mistakes by engaging in a long discussion with you. I know I will not convince you of anything and that’s fine. You are comfortable in your opinions and your Belief System and that is great. I think it works for you and I think you are generally a good man.
It’s time for bed. Look, doubters will be doubters and there is nothing that another human being can do to overcome that.
It takes God’s intervention, God’s salvation and then the doubt melts away into knowledge.
My last comment was to MLD not you Neo.
I have no doubt that most of humanity is probably incorrect in some capacity and I have no doubt that no man has it all figured out and I have no doubt that God is not text on a page, but a living spiritual entity that we cannot understand in our human incapacity.
My last remarks were really not called for and were pretty rude. I apologize.
One last comment then I am done. How can you say, ” but a living spiritual entity that we cannot understand in our human incapacity.” after saying in your #229 “…while acknowledging the need for justice.”
How did you understand God at that point? what could you possibly understand about God that would indicate he is concerned about justice?
I have no doubt that abusing kids is wrong and evil, I have no doubt that men using Jesus as a means to become Millionaires while people in their communities are homeless and in poverty is wrong and evil and I have no doubt that much of “religion” and “church” is muddied by man’s sinfulness and lust for power and control over people…while I also have no doubt that there are many who are sincerely good people in the church who really help people and really love people and are a positive force for good in the world.
I also have no doubt that “correct doctrine” never saved anyone.
“I have told you this while I’m still with you. 26 However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you.
The Holy Spirit is the answer to many of the questions posed.
The Holy Spirit is what is missing. I admit it is easier to understand who Jesus is/was and who God the Father is/was (OT).
The Holy Spirit is what I need more of.
“He will teach you everything”. Amen
Coincidently, this morning I received an email announcing this lecture recently given by N.T. Wright: “Why and How Paul Invented ‘Christian Theology'”. The first half, in particular, addresses the issue we have been discussing in this thread of how Paul integrates justification and holiness into Christian theology.
Interesting that you would chose the scripture which tells us the importance and primacy of know the recorded words of Jesus.
I used to teach High School students and the most often requested prayer was for their upcoming school tests. When asked they always heard (and expected) the same response, “Do you want me to pray that the Holy Spirit will bring remembrance of those things which you never, listened to, read or studied, or do you want Him to bring remembrance and clarity for what you have?”
Jesus also said theses words in the same chapter, ““He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me;… “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”
He then leads into the very words you posted, the work of the Holy Spirit.
Paul reminds us this, “how will they believe in Him whom they have not heard…”
Thanks for reminding us about the important role of the “helper,” God’s Holy Spirit, in the life of those who love God and Jesus, the Messiah and Lord of all!
Bob..how about adding to that student-test prayer “that all of my guesses turn out lucky” 😉
It is a blessed morning and in reading back through this thread a few things caught my eye.
1. The first and foremost is the clarity of Alex and his arguments with MLD. I agree in one way with him, people of faith often are some of the most intellectually dishonest people I hear. However, eventually I can agree with, assent to logically understand, and even see the historicity of the biblical texts and yet not make the needed leap, believe.
1.a To be in the “club” I have to believe there is a God who acts above and beyond the physics of creation and metaphysics of humanity. I have to believe this God spoke and things are created, I have to believe Noah and his family entered the Ark. And to be called a Christian I have to believe a man was supernaturally born from a virgin woman, lived a perfect life, was killed by men and raised bodily alive by the God who created it all.
1.b While they are a helps I don’t have to believe in RCC, Orthodox, Lutheran, Calvin, CC or any other historic denomination to make this leap into the “club” of faith.
2. This is for neo.
I understand after reading your recent posts why the CC you taught at may have had issues. The primary one is a CC pastor can not teach Luther’s doctrines beyond using them as a reference for understanding. The doctrines of the Lutheran church are not fully compatible with those of CC. I sure hope you find the Jesus of the Text when you look for yourself and not find comfort in the traditions of men. Welcome to the world without a podium.
Neo was not at a CC
I think your #251 hits the nail squarely on the head. I agree. I suppose there are some very essential points of doctrine that it is important one get right, such as the nature of God and Jesus. I think most of the arguments that rage on and on are just focused on the minors.
I don’t go as far as a universalist position, but most of these cat fights seem to be majoring on the minors. Michael has a good focus on the historical view and I get that, but so much of the discussion is sort of potato / potahto.
And the next thing you know people are apologizing for their tone and words in what is supposed to be a Christian debate. I suggest we eliminate all this talking and settle our differences like men – arm wrestle.
Jean, I am about halfway through the Wright video. I just must point out his body language disgust with the reformation
Twice i have seen him use finger ‘scare marks’ when he mentions something out of the reformation. He just needs to cross the Tiber and be done with it. But i will continue on until the end.
I will say though that I do have something in common with Wright – at the beginning of November I did grow an NT Wright beard for no shave November, that I have kept. 🙂
There’s good news and bad news with a video, such as this:
Good: If you post a criticism, you’re guaranteed to get the last word, because the speaker isn’t here to defend his talk.
Bad: If you have a negative predisposition to the speaker, you may screen out the positive points he makes.
The part of the lecture I liked the most is how Wright tied together Paul’s competing objectives of promoting unity and holiness with Paul’s focus on renewal of the mind (i.e., being of the same mind as Christ). That one little piece was quintessential Wright and IMO the reason he’s probably the most sought after NT lecturer and author of this decade in America.
“Neo was not at a CC”
This is what I read here at PP:
Dec 23 Linkathon, comment 20:
December 23, 2014 at 10:27 am
Hey, it’s Neo. Er, Peter-John.
I think social media is an incredible means to connect as a means of going around “the system”. In this case, I would of had very little means to connect with the three thousand plus congregants of my church. Therefore, I have gone to Facebook and my blog in order to post my “95 Thesis” of sorts. I am personally friends with all involved (or at least I was, lol). I have options as well, the Lord has taken more than good care of my family and I. At this point in my life, I confess I am weary of image. One that is carefully crafted by politician/preachers and is mere projection rather than raw in love and disagreement. So that’s what we have here. I’m not certain what even tomorrow holds, but I am convinced that if I am real before God, with others, and to myself- even if I am not yet right on this situation, I will be headed in the right decision. And until or as I arrive there, the real thing is the right thing. For a fuller perspective, check out my facebook page which links to the blog post.
Why Michael would lead with this story is amazing to me! But it’s his blog and he knows what sells copies (nudge, nudge). LOL.
Capo Beach Church Website:
“Back in the Day
In 1975, Chuck Smith Jr. started teaching a Bible study in the home of Jim and Fran Counter in Dana Point. After constant growth, they founded Calvary Chapel of Dana Point on a four-acre, hilltop property above the harbor.
A few years went by, and God continued to draw people into our doors to hear the word and join in worship, which at that time was considered ‘cutting edge.’
– See more at: http://www.capobeachchurch.com/our-story/#sthash.c0jXSYtI.dpuf”
So what are you saying????
All things Calvary Chapel point to CBC being a CC affiliate of sorts and thus hold the same “distinctives.”
Could they really be a Lutheran church in disguise?
They were “disaffiliated” many years ago…
Capo Beach Church is not a Calvary Chapel affiliate.
ChuckJr resigned affiliation, rebranded as an independent church.
CBC does NOT hold to the Calvary Chapel “Distinctives”.
CBC remains a member of the wider community of Christian churches.
But I have the beard 🙂
No one has argued against mind renewal, unity or holiness – all good things. But as I pointed out yesterday, these are not standalone propositions – mind renewal, check – unity, check – holiness, check.
But they are to be put in place so that your sanctification, being set apart to serve others, can function.
But hey, that was yesterday.
Of course “Neo” is now this:
” I am a Teaching Pastor at Applegate Christian Fellowship,”
He now steps from one pulpit to another and back into the family fold. Are you saying Jon Courson had nothing to do with CC either?
Considering Jon Courson has spoken and present at CC events in the past?
Maybe they converted to Lutheran and are hiding it also or can we be part Lutheran and part something else?
Just rambling here.
Neo continues to be embraced by family.
Good for him =)
It’s my understanding that Applegate is no longer a Calvary Chapel either.
Interesting about CBC and even Applegate then.
Because CBC still tags itself with Chuck Smith? I guess name dropping is worth something.
Thank you all for the clarification.
But, I stand with the question, is CBC and Applegate Lutheran, or in agreement, in/with their general doctrines and practices?
If so then I am wrong about the issue of doctrinal incompatibility and thank you for the clarification.
“Neo continues to be embraced by family.”
Didn’t say that was bad. I do the same with my sons.
Stepping into the pulpit??? is another topic.
One can be influenced by a particular school of theology without joining particular denominations.
It’s my understanding that both churches are independent local bodies.
Why would you think think they are Lutheran? Is their doctrine that solid? I need to check this out?
From the main web page of Applegate:
Click the above links to listen to and/or watch Bible teachings from all three of our main teaching pastors – Pastor Jon Courson, Pastor Ben Courson and Pastor Peter-John Courson.
Yes it’s a family affair (and business).
“One can be influenced by a particular school of theology without joining particular denominations.
It’s my understanding that both churches are independent local bodies.”
Yep, I didn’t say they were part of the Missouri Synod.
“Why would you think think they are Lutheran? Is their doctrine that solid? I need to check this out?”
I loved it. You brought a big smile to my face, thanks! Good brevity!
Never said you said it was bad.
CBC doesn’t “tag” itself with Chuck Smith. It’s merely telling it’s story of who they are.
Neo stepping into a position where he can be uniquely loved and supported is glorious. it’s up to the community that is embracing him to make the call about his role there.
May all be blessed in this new chapter
There is an old criticism about Papa Jon and his serving of communion and it’s similarity to Lutheran position.
In the land of free market religion the only thing that determines who belongs in a pulpit is whether or not the market will support the pulpit.
If the people of Applegate wish to support a family ministry that’s their business.
Anyone can step into a pulpit.
Knowing Neo, he will do just fine.
“It’s merely telling it’s story of who they are.”
I knew you would say that.
Of course their CC past is a part of their story and influence on their doctrines.
Ditto what Michael just said.
I predict no mass exodus.
Christianity remains being about Jesus.
“In the land of free market religion the only thing that determines who belongs in a pulpit is whether or not the market will support the pulpit.”
You’re starting to sound like brian.
However, that is truth, and why I call it a “family business.”
Just go to the Applegate Website and see what they promote in their “about” page.
Sounds like a beautiful restful retreat and spa, not that is wrong.
Ok I’ve rambled enough, thank you all for clarifying things for me.
You know nothing of what I speak of.
I’m part of what goes on there, have been part of things for almost 15 years.
There hasn’t been a whiff of the stench of the di(stink)tives there, ever. CBC has, thankfully, resisted taking a hit of the unholy hookah
It’s a simple fact.
I live here…you can’t throw a rock without breaking a church window.
if people don’t want to attend there, they have myriad options.
If they do choose to attend there, it’s their choice.
I’ve never been known as an Applegate fan, but it’s a simple proposition to me.
The old criticism of Courson and communion came from his officiating communion at the SPC, I think the year was 2006. He dared say words like “eucharist” and spoke of the unity of the body of Christ. He also brought in an ideal that could have been interpreted as consubstantiation, but I don’t think that is what he meant. He sounded a bit more like Calvin and less like Zwingli, but that is just my interpretation.
Anyway, it caused a fire storm. Allegedly, several pastors walked out and would not partake at the table. I think a few did, but not the “hundreds” as was described by one misguided “discernment” individual. I was there and sitting in the back. Very few left the room. Paul Smith sent out a letter shortly after (he was the head of CCOF) stating that Calvary believed in the Zwinglian view of symbolic use of the elements.
I listened to him serve communion the other day.
He sounded like every other CC I’ve ever taken communion in.
I was kind of disappointed…
The amount of urban myth swirling about these fine churches is fascinating.
Applegate will thrive, as will CBC because Jesus Himself is committed to each individual who attends these gatherings. He will have His impact because each individual will critique and decide for themselves.
I think re-branding and branding as more independent is on the rise for churches who associate with CC’s, old and new.
You’re very sensitive guitar dude.
Appearances are every thing in the Web world.
I have never attended, listened to (I have read Jon’s commentary and found it wanting as a source document), or sought anything CBC or Applegate. My only contact is via PP and their web sites.
So if you don’t like my making a CC connection via the website history then I’d say it is a personal problem on your part. If you have say, modify the site description to make it more clear. Thanks for the clarity.
“You’re very sensitive guitar dude.”
“Appearances are every thing in the Web world.”
…which is why you would be better served by going to direct sources such as Applegate or CBC instead of ignoring a guy like me who has a history & friendships at CBC.
“So if you don’t like my making a CC connection via the website history then I’d say it is a personal problem on your part. If you have say, modify the site description to make it more clear. Thanks for the clarity.”
…meh, I’m just being factual. I have no personal problem, just clarifying for the sake of the myriad of others reading this string.
Just so the readers know, CBC was never part of the distinctive crowd. It was a refreshing breath of life to visit, then become a regular attender, then serve in various opportunities at CBC. It was so NOT CCCM the contrast was amazing, in a good way.
CBC was never, and has continuously avoided being effected by the stifling Paul Smith/CCOF influences.
I have no say, nor would I seek one, I think CBC is doing a fine job of things.
If anyone is bothered feel free to take it up with CBC’s webmaster.
I live hundreds of miles away from both churches so my only contact is via the Web and there topic which caused the search was PJ’s Lutheran doctrine comment about himself. So being a good steward and not wanting to be in error, she I was told these weren’t CCs what sources are there for an individual hundreds of not thousands of miles away ? The Web.
One thing I notice about both church sites, and many others BTW, is they do not spell out beliefs, doctrines or associations anymore. My best guess is the marketing side of us all doesn’t want to turn away any potential congregants by clearly defining who we/they are in these areas. It seems to me a person would have to attend, observe and interact for a while to figure out what is truly believed and taught. By that time our personal investment may be so large doctrine will not matter as much.
Thanks again. It still seems a bit fuzzy how PJ says he follows the doctrines of Luther and his father Jon.
I’m sure he will find himself.
Whew thank you!
Sorry for some of the strange words. I should turn off the auto text feature on my iPad.
One thing I notice about both church sites, and many others BTW, is they do not spell out beliefs, doctrines or associations anymore
Bob, I had to check you out on this…and sure enough…at both places too
That is a surprise to me – no basic statement of faith anywhere? (At least if there is one, it sure is not obvious)
Perhaps both place believe nothing very strongly. 😉
“One thing I notice about both church sites, and many others BTW, is they do not spell out beliefs, doctrines or associations anymore”
it’s a difference in culture & generations. Spelling out beliefs in writing vs “download the teachings & come study with us” is what’s at play.
it’s more about joining a family than checking off a list of points to be accepted
I know the JWs and Mormons play it loose like that and hope you just come join the family without paying attention to beliefs / doctrines. What could it hurt if it is surrounded by luv?
because not everyone is going to agree at any one moment in time with all required tenets of a faith system, but individuals are more willing to follow The God Who is willing to put up with and in fact encourage a statement like, “Lord, I believe! Help Thou mine unbelief!”
It’s hardly an either/or as many churches have the studies online to “download and come study with us” as well as a simple belief statement before expecting people to invest hours of time trying to piece together what the church might believe.
Now, if the goal is to get people into church on Sunday, then the fact that “not everyone is going to agree at any one moment in time with all required tenets of a faith system” seems to warrant all the more, in the name of love and truth, what the people are walking into and investing their family for a Sunday morning.
Bait and switch and lack of disclosure are profitable marketing tools in the world, but not the best church example in my opinion.
Hopefully Neo sticks around on Sundays after service and can tell the visitors to Applegate what the church believes. 🙂
Here’s what Applegate’s website tells me about them.
They are family run.
They have a coffee shop.
The camp picture is beautiful.
They baptize people.
Attendance is good and the worship center is really well designed
Finally I believe it has a lot of good friendships with all that.
If that is what people want and need in a church then Applegate has it. And I mean that with all honesty and no sarcasm. My opinion of what a church should be really doesn’t count I only just hope they are being taught the scriptures in it all and a Love for God and Jesus, Messiah and Lord.
They baptize people so people are getting saved. What more could you ask for?
It doesn’t say and until one sits under their teaching for awhile one won’t know, but maybe they baptize babies also.
Yes I’m being sarcastic.
Don’t forget Mormons also baptize, even for the dead.
If “love believes all things”, why not believe Applegate & CBC are committed to putting people in touch with God, and celebrate that?
“If “love believes all things”, why not believe Applegate & CBC are committed to putting people in touch with God, and celebrate that?”
Then why not believe oldm are helping people stay in touch with God and celebrate that?
John Fox leaving, genius. Who is talking about yesterday?
“John Fox leaving, genius. Who is talking about yesterday?”
Sorry wrong thread, it’s all so complicated, plus the game is on.
Back on topic.
“If “love believes all things”, why not believe Applegate & CBC are committed to putting people in touch with God, and celebrate that?”
Then why not believe oldm are helping people stay in touch with God and celebrate that?