Jan 272013
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. I think that if you don’t struggle with some Biblical truths then you’ve not read the Bible with understanding.

I never used to wrestle with certain truths because it was implied that wrestling was a sign of apostasy or unbelief.

However…some things are difficult to embrace.

God chose one people over all the others in the world…which is fine unless you were one of the peoples that inhabited the rest of the planet.

God wiped out all of the world except one family in a universal flood. As I’ve written before, the pictures of the animals entering the ark should be replaced with pictures of  millions of bodies floating around it.

“Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.” Tough rule…

The last time we see Lot in the OT he is getting drunk and having sex with his kids. In the NT we see him called “righteous Lot”.

The role of women in the church…

I could go on.

Now, in the final analysis I choose to believe that the Bible is the word of God and “true” in all the things it addresses whether I understand it or not..

It is the only authority we have as Protestants and if you take away anything as being divine revelation, much of the rest collapses as well.

I believe…but I wrestle.

2. The movie is called “The Boy In the Striped Pajamas”. It’s about the friendship between the son of a German officer and a Jewish boy in WW II. They end up dying together in a Nazi gas chamber. When Trey asked me what God was doing while all the horror  of the Nazis was going on I had no answer…when he pressed me on it I got angry…because I have no answer. I sinned in my response, he didn’t sin by asking.

3. I’m teaching through 1st Corinthians in church and find it fascinating that we don’t know the name of the senior pastor…I suspect that there wasn’t one. The letter is addressed to the whole church with the expectation that it be presented to the whole church…not confidentially to a particular leader to filter to the pews.

4. Same with the letter to the Galatians…

5. and Romans…and Ephesians…and maybe we need to look at church polity again.

6. DavidM sent me this incredible link to The Martyrs Project. It is a collection of the prayers of the martyrs from the first century to the modern era set to music….and it’s a lot more than that. I commend this much to your attention.

7. The end of the NFL season is a small death awaiting resurrection on the first day of baseball season.

8. A new interview with Phil about my book…I just like to talk with Phil.

9. The best friends I have say the toughest things to me...sometimes using colorful language.

10.  It is so easy to become theologically correct and spiritually wrong…knowledge about Christ without knowing the person of Christ is the foundation of a great many evils.

  145 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. I’ve been watching the movie version of John’s Gospel the past couple nights. It’s impacted me in a fresh way just hearing the words of Jesus as transcribed by John. You can watch it here http://ebiblemovies.com/watch/gospel-of-john/online-free/

  2. 1. If you wrestle even for a nano second in a passing thought with any doctrine, teaching, passing fad of your spiritual faith community it means you HATE God and He HATES you pure and simple. That always clarified things for me, and given I could not get my roll correct as a God hating apostate I could not understand that. I did not get to the point that I hate God, I always got the point that He hates me. Of course my rendition is not the historic christian faith, it is an emotional caricature that I feel, I also think many of us feel it.

    2. I watched the movie one that really struck me was Schindler’s List, here is this piece of trash, sort of like me, actually making a difference in the lives of that many people. I would hope to make a difference in even one life, but given my evangelical history that is an unreasonable expectation because works do not save. I dont want to be saved, that I consider unreasonable, I just want to help people. Well actually I do want to be saved but that is another post.

    3. Back in my Jesus days when I lived, literally in the community bible study was always about supporting the status Que depending what tribe you were in. I was always outside the tripe and that was a constant. But I see Michael’s point. But this is the modern apologetic and all that Jesus blabber is irrelevant.

    6. Is holy ground and I fall on my knees in awe. God give me the strength.

    7. I wish I could draw off some funds from the NFL to help my program stay open. Dont get me wrong I think sports is an important part of our society and can play a very positive part in our society. I have met some professional athletes and many of them are very devout followers of a faith community. Most of course are Christian but some are also Muslim as well. I wish I had a mentor that would help me like a coach, kick me in the back side when needed and know that person had my back. Of course that is totally unreasonable in every context and I get that part of the faith in spades. But I do admire the discipline of many professional athletes show.

    8. “I was a hammer looking for nails”, you see Michael this is why I consider you my pastor, you get it. I will never see eye to eye on many theological issues but you get it.

    9. I consider close friends an unreasonable expectations.

    10. amen

  3. brian, I look forward to your posts, always.

  4. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/90-dead-nightclub-fire-brazil-18327334

    All my blabber aside, please pray for these people, if anyone comes in contact on how we can help please post it. Having been burned in a house fire it hits home. Burning to death is a horrible way to die.

  5. Michael said, “The best friends I have say the toughest things to me…sometimes using colorful language.”

    I hope I am included in that. You inspired me to do what I do and I will always consider you a friend and mentor even when we disagree strongly.

    If yo aren’t going to use that file, can you please send it my way 🙂

  6. Remember when we were sure?

    Sill am. Only the list is shorter.

    “I do not know or understand what God has willed what God has planned, I only know at is right hand stands one who is my Savior.”

    That and I married well is about it.

  7. Michael, I am a little disappointed that you have done like many others and fallen for the myth of the 1st century church – re #3,4,5

    These churches were screwed up because they had weak, novices for Senior Pastors… not no Senior Pastors.They were probably bible school level guys.

    But if you look at 2 Timothy 4: 12 (or around there) Paul sends out the Seminary graduates to take over the churches – Crecens to Galatia – Titus to Dalmatia and Tychicus to Ephesus.

    Paul understood the need for strong senior pastors in each church.

  8. #8). The feeling is mutual my friend 🙂

  9. BD, “I do not know or understand what God has willed what God has planned, I only know at is right hand stands one who is my Savior.”
    Amen!

  10. Alex,

    My whole point here is that strong disagreements need not break fellowship in the Spirit.
    We can model that…and that will far outlast our writings.

  11. MLD,

    You have offered up pure speculation based on tradition.

    I haven’t fallen for any myth…I’m searching the letters written to these churches for any trace of that sort of polity…and I’m finding none.

  12. I’m not saying that the senior pastor model is necessarily bad…I’m saying Paul certainly doesn’t seem to follow a chain of command in his correspondence and the responsibility for the health of these churches is directed at the whole church.

  13. #3,4,5. Interesting. I come from backgrounds that both use the congregational method, with some power invested in elders and senior elder (pastor). I see the flaws in this system though, sometimes too much power invested in the congregation leads to weak leadership and sometimes the elders are a matter of popularity and how much they “give” to the church. Also if the congregation gets a bee up it’s bonnet about much of nothing, a good pastor can be shown the door when he shouldn’t be.
    Don’t have first hand experience in any other models, but I have seen the articles from churches such as Mark Driscoll run. Wouldn’t like that way very much I am sure.

  14. I have nothing to go on, but I will bet the letter was delivered to the “senior pastor”

    But, I think I see in Derek’s post, that your conclusion does lead to support congregational rule.

    My church has been going through a big IRS audit for the past 4 months, and the IRS is much like the Apostle Paul. They do not address anything to the senior pastor, but to the board. 😉

  15. A couple of observations about Corinthians, Paul’s letters…etc.:
    It is my contention that Paul’s letters were never intended to be as exclusive to one audience as we now read them. There is evidence that Paul’s letters were bound together and distributed from church to church at a very early date, even within Paul’s lifetime. IF this is true, it would seem that Paul was aware that his writings were constituting new scripture, and was therefore writing with a larger audience in mind. So certainly, there is some very specific instruction for the church in Corinth, but if it didn’t have a broader application it doesn’t seem that he would include it, knowing that it would be passed around. We also know from II Peter 3:15-17 that Paul’s letters were already being taken as Scripture, and this would have had to be before 65-ish AD.

    Not disagreeing with anything that has been written here, just adding my thoughts to the discussion.

  16. Josh,

    I’m not advocating for or against any particular polity…I’m suggesting that we look at these epistles and our traditions with fresh eyes.

  17. Agreed, Michael. Again, I wasn’t taking any stance on what has been said, just adding my two cents on Paul’s writings.

  18. Michael said, “My whole point here is that strong disagreements need not break fellowship in the Spirit.
    We can model that…and that will far outlast our writings.”

    Agreed. Have a good day friend. Thanks for your work, many stand on your shoulders. Please open your files. The ball is moving forward and the iron is hot. Some serious folks are paying attention.

  19. MLD
    I wasn’t suggesting that Michael was supporting the congregational model, just throwing out the experiences I have had or that I have heard others had with it.
    I see problems in every model that is in use, mainly due to human sin in most cases. I wish there was some magic church government that would work, but they all seem to fail at some point due to sin. That is why I look forward to the rule of the King!

  20. Derek @ 19 – that is true. I do favor autonomous churches with congregational polity, simply because of the inherent accountability for the leadership. However, I have seen abuse from both the leadership and from the congregation in this model. So yeah, not at all perfect.

  21. Your number 1 is where I live. I have many questions, and am not afraid to ask them. The reality is we all have them, and it is freeing to others when Christian leaders ask them in faith. I still cant answer whether the scriptures are infallible or inerrant or both!

  22. “I have many questions, and am not afraid to ask them. The reality is we all have them, and it is freeing to others when Christian leaders ask them in faith. I still cant answer whether the scriptures are infallible or inerrant or both!”

    Steve, I gotta tell you, in over 40 years of my faith journey I have only known 4 pastors who admitted what you posted, and to their credit they are the most compassionate and patient of leaders, who continue to have the best effect on those who pay attention to them.

    You are in good company.

  23. Steve, it’s really refreshing to hear you state that publicly. Takes guts being in your Tribe, in your position. Personally, I think God uses fallibility, He created us didn’t He?

  24. I have questions, but I don’t have doubts about my faith. I have questions because I want to know more – not to clear up doubts.

    Here is one – “How did God lose us in the first place?” We were his, then he lost us and then he had to find us.

    That one keeps me going around and around… like a termite in a YoYo.

  25. “I have questions, but I don’t have doubts about my faith. I have questions because I want to know more – not to clear up doubts.” AMEN !!!

  26. If we are not struggling with some issues in the Bible, then our God is way too small. I am comfortable in wanting to learn more, yet at the same time, embracing the mystery and wonder of God. And isn’t it funny that the more we learn, the bigger the mystery and wonder. ” It is high, I cannot attain it…such knowledge is too wonderful for me.”

  27. the boy in the stipped pajamas…..

    Yesterday was the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

    If we think it cannot happen again, we are fooling ourselves…. but then again, the general public has always been rather insulated from the truth, both back in the 1930’s Europe and today. Puts a rather unique spin on gun control. Who will defend the next group from the gas chambers unless we have the means to do so?

  28. @27 – Let’s assume for a moment that the U.S. Gov’t did want to send people to the gas chamber. Then let’s imagine that our gov’t has things like smart bombs, drones…stuff like that. How would my handgun keep them from doing whatever they want to do?

  29. @28 Josh, I put a statement much like that up. I was thinking at the time the same way you are here about not being able to do anything with my handgun/rifle against the government if they decided to do that. I have modified my thinking on this though and here is why.
    I was for 21 years an M1A1 tanker. Not to brag, but people that spend that much time with tanks know them inside and out. I know there strengths and I know their weaknesses. I was taught for years how to exercise their strengths and try to minimize their weaknesses. The recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have exposed a lot in tank strengths and weaknesses. I know where individuals can attack tank armor to the best affect. I know where to draw tanks in to ensure that their strengths become a weakness. When I first said we had no chance with our weapons, I was only thinking of tank strengths.
    Also, look at how many are out there who also have my type of knowledge. Veterans are all over the place, 10 yrs of war does that. Some have my knowledge on tank weapon systems, others have knowledge on the Apache helicopter, etc….
    The more I look at it, the more it looks like any type of war the government would care to wage on it’s own people would turn in to an Iraq or Afghanistan right here. I see veteran friends getting fed up with the government and it makes me realize that the government probably doesn’t want to go there and probably won’t.
    BTW, this isn’t saying I would use this knowledge. I just find myself sometimes at work thinking and hash all this stuff out in my head.

  30. “it makes me realize that the government probably doesn’t want to go there and probably won’t.”

    Exactly.

    However, for everyone of you out of the service, there are still 10 guys in with way more technology, money, and resources than you have. You won’t win that fight.

    Anyway, not the point. My point is that IT’S NOT GONNA HAPPEN!!! If you want to argue (not Derek specifically) for gun rights, you’ll have to find a better platform.

  31. MLD,

    In #24 you said, “…. “How did God lose us in the first place?” We were his, then he lost us and then he had to find us. That one keeps me going around and around… like a termite in a YoYo.”

    The way I look at it (IMO), God never “lost” us, we lost Him; ‘we’ turned in a self chosen direction, different from His lead and kept walking away from His path, and obviously we were heading toward a different resting place. He was/is always in the original path but was/is always in sight of us even though we could not see Him; and He is always acceptable to answer our plea to return in His proper path so that we can be ‘found’, (as it is thought of by our perspective of being lost).

    I am sure that your reason for mentioning, “I have questions because I want to know more – not to clear up doubts” and then using the “lost” example is deeper than my simple way of understanding your meaning. Were you just getting people to think about it or do you actually have a deeper thought in mind?

  32. I agree, I don’t think it will happen. But technology, doesn’t win the fight. I have seen insurgents make an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) out of a coffee can, copper, plastic explosives and a light sensor that punches right through armor. And this is why I think they won’t go there.

  33. A bit more on topic though, if the government ever did do something like the Nazis did. I would fight them. I took an oath to the constitution and I still feel the force of that oath and something like that would not be the government in my opinion. Maybe I would die, as a christian always prepared for that, but at least I would not feel like I am sure a large portion of the German populace felt after WWII, shame.

  34. “coffee can, copper, plastic explosives and a light sensor”

    All things not touched by the gun control legislation. I hate to keep belaboring the point, but I have so many conservative friends who keep on with his mantra about gun control. Its just a silly argument.

  35. Ok, what is the point?

  36. Here is what I originally was speaking against from lxtian’s @27 – “Puts a rather unique spin on gun control.”

    The spin by conservative NRA types is that if we enact gun legislation, Obama will become Hitler, and the gov’t will start gassing people. That was probably not lxtian’s actual point, but I could show you 100 facebook posts from the past year from my newsfeed alone that make that claim.

    I thoroughly disagree with that assessment. The two are just not related in any way. Again, feel free to argue against gun control, but that particular argument doesn’t hold up.

  37. Cool, I get it now. I don’t think that Obama will transform to Hitler either if Gun control is passed. What I don’t want is a government that seems to think I am a subject and not a citizen and that seems to be governments overall trajectory. Just because I don’t see it happening now does not mean it can’t happen in the future with the slow erosion of this right. I hate seeing those posts too, because they are usually based on fear. But it is better to be cautious where government is concerned and not give them the inch in the first place.

  38. I had the same thoughts about Lot.

    But the lack of prominent mentions of church leaders in the epistles never occurred to me.

  39. PAL,
    I don’t know about a deeper thought. If you read the text, you see that we belonged to God before the creation of everything. We belonged to God.

    Lostness is something that most people don’t give much thought. But look at Luke 15 where lostness is spoken about. I think we can all agree who the characters are – the shepherd and the woman.

    The shepherd speaking says Verse 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them.” Note that it does not say that the sheep got lost, but that the shepherd lost one of his sheep.

    Of the woman he says Verse 8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin…” Note that he says that she lost the coin. To go further, the woman’s own words “‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” Note here that she says that she lost the coin – the coin did not get lost.

    So, that’s my thought – you can measure the depth.

  40. Josh,
    If they take our guns, your question won’t even be a consideration, now will it?

  41. Interesting thought MLD. I know not all parables can be held to be completely analagous to every aspect of God. Just like God is not the unjust judge. Not disagreeing that it might not be true to some extent that “God lost us”, I tend to see it more like PAL. But something to think about.

  42. MLD,

    RE: your #39, it is my belief only that in both verses it is intended to be said in a manner that the common person can understand the fact that a reunion of what you value is the same rejoicing that God has when one of His people want to return to Him.

  43. MLD,

    P.S. The “lost” is a separation of ownership, not a separation of view. I have children that I lost but I know where they live.

  44. I am nearing the end of a Holocaust survival memoir with my students and they are as uncomfortable as Trey with the events that cost millions their lives. None have asked Trey’s question regarding God, but several have voiced the observation/query ‘why did the German civilian population tolerate their government’s actions?’ I think the answer lies in the individual and collective conscience of a people. Our love for the constitution or our American way of life does not guarantee any form of intervention on anothers behalf unless we love others first. Our forefathers did not love the African slaves. Our forefathers did not love the Native American. Our forefathers did not love the Japanese Americans. Our atrocities as a nation may not tip the scales to the degree that the Nazis did, but their blood cries out as well. I pray our consciences to be as sensitive as the day necessitates.

  45. Filbertz,

    It kinda irritates me when I hear people compare our government with that of Nazi Germany. This isn’t irritation with you at all, but with those who like to jabber on about gun control.

    Besides being completely historically wrong, irrational and ignorant of the differences, it’s an insult to those folks who were exterminated by the Nazis — that’s more than 6 million individuals.

    (As an interesting aside, guess which religious group gave the Nazis the strongest resistance? Answer: Jehovah’s Witnesses. Not a good time to be a pacifist. :))

    The Nazi form of government was completely run by force and terror. There wasn’t any middle ground. Either you were with the Nazi thugs or you’d wind up dead.

    Having said that, it’s also true that, as Filbertz said, love is the key. Not love as just an emotion, but love that’s willing to sacrifice and help those who aren’t like us. We need to encourage each other along.

  46. “Give us a King!!” they cried…

    My personal thought regarding 3-5 is the idea that Christ is the head of the church, and Christ builds the church, is totally gone from our culture. We have a front-man for every church, every movement, it is our “King”.

    I would have liked to see what things looked like back then. Centuries of progress have killed the Body of Christ, IMNSHO.

  47. “I think that if you don’t struggle with some Biblical truths then you’ve not read the Bible with understanding.”

    Michael, the older I get, and the more I read the Bible, the less I know.

    Steve Hopkins, thank you for your honesty.

  48. Not to jump into turning this thread into a debate about Nazism, but just an aside…the government was about force and terror, but there was an enormous element of propaganda as well. So many elements to what happened in Germany that it is difficult to have any idea what we would have been like in the given situation. Also impossible to make a straight comparison to any other situation.

    One of the best classes I took in highschool was taught by a man who had been in the first group of Allies to come into Auschwitz. He played us the propaganda tapes they played to the Allied soldiers before they went. We spent a majority of the class looking at the propaganda of the era, from Germany and the Allies.

    The stories of those who stood against what they knew in their gut was wrong are humbling. Just finishing up reading Train In Winter about the French women resisters. Stunning stories.

  49. Reuben,
    “We have a front-man for every church, every movement, it is our “King”.

    After about a year at your church – this is your conclusion about your pastor?

  50. I agree. kings are good for one thing…dethroning. No kings, Priesthood of the Believers, Servant of All, “Do not be called Rabbi”, “you are all brothers and sisters” etc etc etc.

  51. MLD, not sure what you are getting at, but I don’t really understand our priest. I perceive that there is still allot of SBC in him. I can’t fault him for that. There is still allot of CC in me.

  52. That was hard to say Pastor Steve but very encouraging to many of us that have questions. I do wish you, your family, and your local faith community many blessings.

  53. Reuben: “We have a front-man for every church, every movement…”

    Yes. And many have bought into the teaching, predominantly taught by certain megachurch leaders and their wannabes, that the guy best qualified to be the front-man or “lead pastor” is the guy with so-called “kingly gifting.”

  54. I like what both Filbertz and Lutheran said @ 44 and 45.

    ” Centuries of progress have killed the Body of Christ, IMNSHO.” – Reuben

    Lot of truth to that, I’m sure. Then again, I’m not so sure there was ever a model era for the body. Obviously the Corinthian church was already whacked in the first century. John wrote Revelation, condemning several first century churches in the process.

    I guess I’m thinking that maybe this ugly working through it, is part of God’s process, afterall?

  55. Josh, I guess your number 54 is saying God continues to use broken people in the church.
    He can handle the bad press.
    Actually, to me that is encouraging. Our God is on the throne and He is truly working all things together for good……
    Not excusing corruption, abuse, etc….just saying that nothing is new under the sun.

  56. @ 55 – That’s right Nonnie, and you said it better than I did 🙂

  57. ”Centuries of progress have killed the Body of Christ, IMNSHO.” – Reuben

    No, I would say that we know more about the goings on in the Body than we knew before. Church history has usually been about the big name people, and they usually got written about for all of their good deeds and miracles. The common person rarely got a footnote in history. So to think that the Body of Christ was somehow better back in the “old days” is nothing more than romanticism.

    Now, we know more about more things – we are an inch deep and a mile wide.
    When you read CH, the amazing thing is not all the wonderful things God did, but that He uses cracked pots/vessels like us to get things done. Thats the lesson from we need to take home: He CAN and DOES still use ordinary people to get His work accomplished.

  58. “..maybe we need to look at church polity again”.

    Since every denom gets its polity from the NT, and can back it up with references, that would be an exercise in futility. Except for CC, which gets its polity from Moses…. 😉

    One of my FB friends, who used to attend the same CC we left, will post KWAVE status updates. I can usually tell who says something before I get to the credit line at the bottom. Raul had one yesterday that basically said, ‘Its too bad when a pastor and the church board don’t agree on something. This holds up the work that the Lord is trying to get done.”

    I’ll bet. 🙂

    More likely the pastor wants to do something and the board was not completley “on board” with him. Sounds like board memebers need to get with the pastors program or find themselves a new church!

  59. “Sounds like board memebers need to get with the pastors program or find themselves a new church!”

    They need to get a new pastor.

  60. #59 made me think about our church and how we do things. We had an original church building that we had added a new sanctuary and converted the old building to offices and sunday school classrooms. But we were crowded and growing, so we considered adding a fellowship hall that would have movable walls for more classrooms.

    I don’t think anyone was against the expansion, but the issue was whether to go into debt to build it. We are self-governed, which means the congregations has a quarterly business meeting and decides by voting.

    The decision to build the new fellowship hall using a mortgage passed, but only by about 60% of the voters. So the congregation decided to defer the building. We aren’t a democracy, but attempt to be a theocracy. We don’t think everyone will agree, but simple majority is just not good enough. So we deferred with prayer and thoughtfulness.

    Three years later, after we had paid off the sanctuary building. (Yes it was built with borrowed money.) And we had money in the bank. We voted again. This time the vote was about 80% yes to borrow the remainder and build. So we did.

    I have always considered that righteous Christian management. An attempt at unanimous decision making. There is no rule for what percent must pass. We are just careful and considerate and think it takes a super majority to decide to be fair to all.

    We have a board of elders and a senior pastor. We also have several committees such as missionary, and building, etc. These governing groups bring forth suggestions and motions to the congregation, and the entire congregation, at least those that come to the business meeting (where there is a quorum requirement), decide.

    No church government structure is perfect, but I really like ours, especially after reading of some other church abuses.

  61. I wonder how many here even know the leadership structure of their own church? We should share – I will begin (and perhaps end if no one participates)
    Our organizational chart is set up this way – and we do follow it as it is in our Constitution

    1.) Triune God
    2.) Congregation Voting Membership
    3.) Leadership Board
    4.) Senior Pastor
    5.) Minister of Finance and Administration
    6.) Elders
    7.) Various ministry leaders

  62. A theology fight broke out at CC abuse….the Catholics are under attack! LOL

    Much is Tradition…look at MLD’s list above. We are left with a lot of stuff that is not explicitly spelled out in Scripture and we have to fill in the gaps. It is what it is.

    Again, there are not true Fundamentalists. There are Selective Fundamentalists and Liberals.

  63. Well, I know that some do not believe in letting the Triune God into their churches, let alone their governance, but geez, every other group in that list is clearly spoken of in the scriptures.

  64. MLD said, “but geez, every other group in that list is clearly spoken of in the scriptures.”

    Ya, that’s debatable. I think it makes sense, but from a truly Fundamentalist position, I think there are some gaps.

    There comes a point where I think God would rather us uphold a Principle vs. a letter-of-the-law mirroring of the example in the bible, especially when so much is in contradiction with other explicit verses and examples.

    You do now admit there are “contradictions”…do you not? Did our last little philosophical logic and bible lesson clear that one up for you?

  65. Here is ours abbreviated from the Constitution and Bylaws:
    1. Governing Body (Church members)
    2. Retained Authority of Governing Body.
    3. Officers (Elected by Elder Board, cannot be Pastor or Ministry director, must be Elders) -preside over business meetings and Elder Board
    4. Elder Board (headed by Senior Pastor)
    5. Deacon Board (heads of ministries)
    6. Church Ministry manual

    Note: Triune God not included in this, because that was addressed by Confession of Faith in the C&B.

  66. “but from a truly Fundamentalist position”

    Is there someone here who claims to be a hardcore fundamentalist?

  67. MLD, ignore my last part of my last comment, it was poking you (though I believe it to be true) and I don’t want to drag this thread down. My apologies. I can argue that with you offline.

  68. I am curious about the contradiction – but you can email it to me.

  69. I think any structure that shares the power and operates more on a Consensus-basis and less on a “Moses” or one guy that hears “special” from God on all matters…is a good Construct.

    Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. We have met the enemy and the enemy is us. “Get behind me satan!” (Jesus to Peter a chosen Apostle).

    INXS has a song called “The Devil Inside”…”every single one of us is the devil inside”…which in my empirical experience is very true and an Absolute.

    Man is depraved, we need to share the power and keep ourselves in check, constantly.

    The devil does more work from within than church, than from without.

  70. Josh said, “Is there someone here who claims to be a hardcore fundamentalist?

    Do you claim you use the proper interpretation of the Scripture to form your Belief System? Do you interpret the bible as “literal”?

    If so, you are claiming to be a Fundamentalist…as that is the universally accepted definition of the term.

  71. So, who walked out of Calvary Chapel? Or is that a secret? LOL!!!

  72. From Twitter re: Newsweek/Daily Beast CC article:
    David Sessions
    ‏@davidsess
    INBOX: “Your an Asshole David, from A C C Minister. Sent from my iPad.”

    Stay classy Calvary Chapel! 😆

  73. Riverside was gonzo a year ago, now CC The Bathrooms and several others in Central Cali. I’m hearing from other parts of the country as well. Heck, there’s a huge stir in Australia right now, too. Folks are coming out of the woodwork, it’s International!

    Roger Wing at BG’s Mt. Hermon CCSP pastor’s vacation a couple of years ago, “Don’t worry, it’s all under control, nothing to worry about” (in essence, as reported by a CC insider).

    Hey Roger(s), Discount double-check! What is Roger doing these days, anyway? No more CCOF.

  74. Well, we know that that tweet was not from a CC pastor.

    Who knows any CC pastor who refers to himself as “minister” LOL

  75. @ 71 “Do you claim you use the proper interpretation of the Scripture to form your Belief System? Do you interpret the bible as “literal”?”

    No, and no. And I know very few who do claim either of those. Who do you know who reads Revelation as literal? And I think most of us understand that we don’t understand everything about the bible. Never heard anyone (even self-proclaimed fundamentalists) claim to have THE correct interpretation of scripture. This is why we discuss things. We have different views, we share them, and we learn and grow.

    I think this fundamentalist guy you are arguing against doesn’t exist. Not on this site anyway.

  76. Josh, can a Mormon be saved? Can a homosexual be a Pastor? Can a homosexual be a Christian? Can women be Pastors?

    We’ve been over this before, I asked you the same questions last time around to which I didn’t get an answer and the group started freaking out.

    The point is this: You’re wrong. You claim all sorts of “100% correct!” Fundamentalist positions and appeal to Scripture to do so in a very Selective Fundamentalism….then claim “well, I just don’t know and I don’t say I know for sure” on other less-controversial stuff.

  77. Josh said, “I think this fundamentalist guy you are arguing against doesn’t exist. Not on this site anyway.”

    I think the “fundamentalist guy” exists in every single one of us on the PhxP to some degree, except maybe G and brian.

  78. Wouldn’t “fundamentalist…to some degree” not be a fundamentalist? And are you really saying that we can’t have more confidence in some beliefs than others? And where do I claim any 100% Correct?

  79. G is a fundamentalist for his position. Alex, you are a fundamentalist for your anti fundamentalism position.

    Josh’s point is that no one takes the scriptures in the way you describe.

  80. Josh, that’s my Thesis: There are no true Fundamentalists. There are Selective Fundamentalists and there are Liberals.

    We don’t know for sure and we can’t know for sure on a broad range of issues…yet we pick and choose “taboos” often and ready to assign folks to hell over it.

    I think there are some Core Absolutes that must be, or the Faith is invalid. I think there are stronger arguments for some positions and “interpretations’ over others…however, at the end of the day, I don’t know…on most things.

    Most (Steve W. and many others on here) seem to disagree and have it all figured out and despite their very Selective Fundamentalism, they are quite comfortable in making judgments on a broad range of stuff as if it is carved in Stone and being held in the hands of Moses.

    We enforce what we like, we demonize what we don’t…and we use Scripture as a weapon, often, in a very Selective way.

  81. And I don’t understand the inquisition in # 77, and how it relates, which is why I haven’t answered it. To get it over with, I’ll answer:
    “can a Mormon be saved?”
    Anyone can be saved. John 3:16
    “Can a homosexual be a Pastor?” Yes. Some denominations are now ordaining gay ministers. Episcopalians, some Lutherans, etc.
    “Can a homosexual be a Christian?” Of course.
    “Can women be Pastors?” Yes, United Methodist, Episcopalian, Cooperative Baptist, etc.

    Again, I don’t understand the relevance, but you’ve asked multiple times, so there’s the answer.

  82. “There are Selective Fundamentalists and there are Liberals.”

    Even that is a poor description – at best Liberals are selective.

    But you have not yet pointed out anyone here who has ever taken on the title Fundamentalist, nor have you named the person who has claimed to have it all figured out.

    I have a lot of things “figured out” and I speak on them – but that does not mean that I don’t have a long list of things I don’t have figured out – but I don’t talk about them – like my question yesterday “why did God lose us in the first place?”.

  83. “I think there are some Core Absolutes that must be, or the Faith is invalid. I think there are stronger arguments for some positions and “interpretations’ over others…”

    Which describes the views of every Christian I’ve ever talked to.

  84. MLD, does Infant Baptism “save” folks? If someone isn’t ever baptized are they “saved”?

  85. Josh said, “Which describes the views of every Christian I’ve ever talked to.”

    Yes, we’re all Selective Fundamentalists or Liberals.

    An MLD just picks and chooses more “Absolutes!” and “I am 100% correct on this issue!” than some others…and some do it more than he does.

    Intellectually, I have more respect for the Liberals as their Philosophical approach is more consistent…but who knows.

  86. Infant baptism definitely saves baby folks. But that is not the only way God saves – and it’s never been my claim or the Lutheran claim.
    The argument is always over “does baptism save” not “is there only one way people get saved.”

    The bible is clear when it states baptism saves, you you non fundamentalist say – no, the bible lies. 😉

    Alex, tell me about the structure of your church.

  87. Ok @ 86. I don’t know who is arguing with you about that. But OK.

    So you said @81 that there are some core absolutes. Why do you get get to decide what those absolutes are, and why do the things you hold as absolute have to hold true for everyone else?

  88. “Yes, we’re all Selective Fundamentalists or Liberals”

    Or, we don’t fit into neat categories. We are all walking through this thing at different paces, in different spaces, and God is revealing himself to each of us as he sees fit.

    It’s beautiful. It’s an entire spectrum of color, not just black and white.

  89. Josh said, “Why do you get get to decide what those absolutes are, and why do the things you hold as absolute have to hold true for everyone else?”

    EXACTLY Josh! Woohoo! 🙂

    You see the Macro point I’ve been making for a long time on here…and you don’t even realize it…

  90. @90 – I realize it!!! I’ve said it ten times today!!! No one is disagreeing with you!!!

    You are the only one beating that drum…because we all get it. That’s why we discuss things. Some understand certain things better than I do. They can help me. My understanding may help someone else. That’s what we do here.

  91. Baptism only saves you if it turns your heart… the act must portend the fact. There is a baptism without human hands. That is salvation.

  92. Josh said, “You are the only one beating that drum”

    Michael and Reuben are beating the same drum…I’m just playing a different tune to drive home the same/similar point…in hopes of an epiphany for some of the others on here who don’t seem to “get” it.

  93. Again – who is fighting against it?

  94. I am very much for what Michael stands for…both in his approach to ecumenicism and breaking down tightly-held walls…and on the issues of church abuse and corruption.

    I just approach the stuff from different angles (often).

  95. Babs,
    Would you say the same thing about “the word of God”?
    Faith come by hearing and hearing by the word of God. – would you deny that the word of God produces faith on it’s own?

    You look at baptism solely as the applying of water – where we say the water applied with the word of God does the work.

  96. I even leave open the possibility that G is right (and I hope he is, his position seems the most “loving” and if Love really is the attribute of God that trumps all others and if “Law of Love” really is pre-eminent in the New Testament…then G’s Position seems the most correct…and the most comforting.

    My inner-fundie cringes in fear though for even having such a radical thought…

  97. @ 97 – Well, good for you for thinking and having an open mind. For G-s position, we’d really have to parse the definition of “love”, and would it be loving to force unwilling participants to be part of His family for eternity. But, that’s why G is G and I am Josh, and why we have the discussions that we have. I’ve definitely learned from him over the years, even quoting him on my facebook at one point. I disagree with much of his theology based on my understanding of Scripture, but that is Ok.

  98. Josh, good for you. I may have misinterpreted some of your stuff. I appreciate your #98 very much. If that’s the real you…we’re not very far apart at all in our approach to this stuff..though I am still fine if we completely disagree…there would just be more to hash out rather than amen.

  99. That’s what I’ve said constantly for the 5 years I’ve been at this site.

  100. Wow, time flies – I just looked at the calendar and 2 weeks from tomorrow is Ash Wednesday already. Here comes Lent.

  101. Uggh – I just got done with Christmas music. 🙂

  102. Josh – there’s not enough Easter music. 🙂

    Although I did recentley pick this up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_resurrezione
    Not sure how much I like it yet though….. 😉

  103. God chose one people to prove that no matter how many blessings and advantages a nation get, not matter how well it is watered it just grows weeds. He didn’t need more than one to prove that mankind has nothing good about it. He proved by choosing one nation that the Sahara desert cannot be farmed. Just one plot of the desert of mankind called the Jews proved that even with every benefit possible the desert is fruitless, and so he proved through one people that all mankind is without hope apart from Christ.

  104. Alex,
    Thank you for your kindness.

  105. ” When Trey asked me what God was doing while all the horror of the Nazis was going on I had no answer…when he pressed me on it I got angry…because I have no answer. I sinned in my response, he didn’t sin by asking.”

    If it helps, the story is complete fiction and has the Jewish community in an uproar because it could never have happened. I don’t know if it’s a cop out, but you can tell him Jesus wasn’t there because it’s fiction.

    As for Jesus not being there for the Jews who were killed in the holocaust? Now that’s tough… it’s also been prophesied that it would occur. Honestly, I don’t know. That’s a tough question. The best one I’ve heard over the years is that it wasn’t the Jew’s sin that brought it on, but the sin of man in a broken world that causes such atrocities (all over the world, even in the present).

    Of course that doesn’t help when your life has been marred by such atrocities. But then again, not much does. We can only hope that we (and they) go to a much better place after death.

  106. What story is complete fiction?

  107. I was at a training tonight concerning LinkedIn which is a professional site for job search brand name development I E personal branding and so on. It was very informative and the persona that gave the talk was very helpful. He stayed with a few of us for an hour after the seminar was over. If you dont have a LinkedIn account and are looking for employment or developing a network for future employment / career opportunities.

    If you are near a local group of these folks they are just so encouraging for those seeking a career change, starting a business etc.

    https://www.tie.org/

    Lots of very innovative people.

  108. I was reminiscing this evening, my first personal computer I used was an Altair. That was 1975 / 1976. I was also introduced to the Apple 1 / 2 back in 77/78. I finially got a “home” computer was a coco computer from Radio Shack. Then MSDos 8 inch floppy which was a step up from a tape drive. Then an Atari ST, Commodore cpm machine. Had access to a 2k Sinclair, then moved up to a Mac plus. Four Megs was five hundred bucks and you had to be a surgeon to put it in that little tan box. This was all back in the day were wires hung out of the back and big block monitors which weighed 25+ pounds. My favorite computer was the Commodore, atari and mac. The one I used the most were MS Dos / Windows machines. Lots of fun stuff to be honest.

  109. Baptism washes water from the flesh not everyone who takes a bath is baptized even if mom is singing about Jesus. No, there must be more than water present for Baptism to matter and without faith it is impossible to please God. As for infant baptism. Frankly I find the matter a useless bore and think God would easily have testified more clearly about it if that was what he was concerned about.

    Baptismal regeneration is the useless superstition that caused me to leave Lutheranism 40 years ago. I have better respect for it now than then but not enough to make me bother.

  110. And MLD. That is the end of my bother with it here.

  111. Babs,
    Like you I find it utterly preposterous to think that God can act unilaterally in a persons justification. The gall he has to do things in his promised way!!

    No matter how many times I say things like “You look at baptism solely as the applying of water – where we say the water applied with the word of God does the work.” (as I did in my #96) You continue with the canard of just getting wet or just taking a bath – so continue with the deflection.

    But I guess baptism for the sake of letting your friends know that you are now a Christian, is a reason too – although I prefer a bumper sticker… it lets more people know. 🙂

  112. It’s funny how God can create faith out of nothing by his spoken word alone in an adult, but that he is totally incapable of doing so in a baby.

    Why is God so lacking in this area?

  113. Fly on a Wall,

    Time for a little direct conversation between us, you and I, ok?

    Before I completely lose it here and call out your post the most outrageous, assenine, foolish and completely stupid thing I have read on Phoenix Preacher, and before I let loose the most damning personal insult I can muster, I am going to take a moment and give you a chance to clarify your intent, save your dignity and repudiate what looks like a clear denial of the The Shoah…

    “If it helps, the story is complete fiction and has the Jewish community in an uproar because it could never have happened. I don’t know if it’s a cop out, but you can tell him Jesus wasn’t there because it’s fiction.”

    Did :: you :: post these words in this thread on January 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm or did someone have you tied up in a chair, they hijacked your computer and while your screen name was still active they posted a denial of The Holocaust in your name?

  114. Moderator, please fix my name so it correctly reads ( |o )====:::
    and release my post to Fly.
    I eagerly await an answer to my question posed to Fly
    Thanks

  115. When I’m upset my guitar can gain or lose a couple strings

  116. G – I believe Fly was saying that the movie “The Boy In the Striped Pajamas” couldn’t be real.
    Fly seems to affirm the Holocaust in the next paragraph.

  117. Thanks, JTB. I think you have it exactly right.

    FOAW said the Holocaust happened, it was an atrocity, and he did not personally see it as caused by the Jew’s sin. That is very clear.

    There is no Holocaust denial whatsoever in the FOAW post.

    I appreciate G’s sensitivity of course but he needs to calm down and stop seeing things that are not there.

    We have some crazy beliefs amongst posters here – universalism, for example 🙂 but thankfully Holocaust denial is in no way a part of our conversation.

  118. I understood Fly to be talking about the movie.

  119. It was hard to understand what the heck fly was talking about. Hence my question also.

  120. John Boyne’s novel “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” was published in 2005 and is classified as fiction. Criticism of the book generally regards the plot as implausible because of the security around the camps prohibiting contact between the public and those imprisoned. I have read the book and seen the movie and find both to be a stretch to engage with because of the multitude of inaccuracies that would have to be ignored to follow the plot. For many who are not familiar with the Holocaust, the story could be much easier to engage with.

    Fly meant the movie was fiction, not the Holocaust. I would add the movie was bad fiction.

  121. Still waiting to hear directly from Fly.

    After all, I hold the record of posting the most outrageous, assenine, foolish and completely stupid thing on Phoenix Preacher, when I crossed up the stories of Lot & Noah.

    Only a post denying The Shoah would surpass!

  122. G~ I also believe that Fly was saying the movie was fiction. But for what it’s worth, can you re-cap your Lot & Noah confusion? 🙂 I’m just kidding.

  123. Covered,
    I try to live my world view of love over everything, so when I get riled, I’m trying to discipline myself to express my feelings, load the communication with a request for clarification, then allow for my personal stupidity. As it is turning out Fly was labeling the film as a work of fiction. Based on Fly’s grace up ’til now it struck me it of character that anyone could claim that The Shoah is fiction.

    In advance, sorry Fly.
    My feelings toward my Jewish friends is freshly enhanced by a recent project where I was again blessed and welcomed to be among them, Goy that I am.

    My cross up of both the Noah and Lot stories were at the outrage of the blokes and ladies doing things with family members which could hardly be approved by Focus on The Family, yet somehow God declares them all righteous.

    I am a twit, proven again.

    Ok, back to graphic design, where we have things called erasers…

  124. G~ If we know anything here at PP it’s that you love the Lord, you understand grace and that you are passionate. I was kidding about Noah and Lot and no explanation was necessary.

  125. “oolish and completely stupid thing I have read on Phoenix Preacher, and before I let loose the most damning personal insult
    Did :: you :: post these words in this thread on January 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm or did someone have you tied up in a chair, they hijacked your computer and while your screen name was still active they posted a denial of The Holocaust in your name?”

    “Fly meant the movie was fiction, not the Holocaust. I would add the movie was bad fiction.”

    “G – I believe Fly was saying that the movie “The Boy In the Striped Pajamas” couldn’t be real.
    Fly seems to affirm the Holocaust in the next paragraph.”

    “I understood Fly to be talking about the movie.”

    I have no words. Maybe *insert facepalm and swift ass kick here* would do better justice.

    G: I would demand an apology, but that would mean you’d have to be a clear-headed logical intelligent person, with a third grade reading comprehension. Why did you take some well-meaning advice that I wrote to Michael and make it a 1000 comment debate about whether or not the Holocaust is real?

    Whose to say someone didn’t tie you up in a chair and hijack your computer so you can type that to me and be a complete shameless attention whore?

    Sheesh… really. Grow up.

    BTW: one good thing did come out of this. I reread my post (that I wrote very late last night, cause I thought of you good people) and I gave it about 5 mins of thought AND I ADMIT IT WAS BAD ADVISE. It would be a cop-out. The truth is there is no real answer to that tough question, and it couldn’t be summed up in a sentence. More likely, the best answer will not be words at all, but a lifetime of internal struggling yet standing by God with a quiet faith, knowing that he is God, and there’s promises of a better world after this one.

  126. The answer to the initial question is: God was right there. He was.

    Read The Hiding PLace by Corrie Ten Boom. She was there, and she says Jesus was there. I believe her.

  127. Oh please FOAW lighten up.

    At least three of us were confused by the way you worded your post.

    Why not just man up and apologize for posting something that was open to misinterpretation instead of attacking G?

    Everyone here except MLD is allowed to apologize. 🙂

  128. FOAW???

    You can find the translation here
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=foaw

    Ok, I don’t pretend to be holier than thou. I’m not even close. But when I’m surrounded by other believers, I do TRY to respect everyone and not resort to crude name-calling for God’s sake (and no, that wasn’t meant to be a pun).

    And in secular circles, I try to be snarky, not just petty and mean.

  129. I apologise.

    Peace?

  130. Fly,
    Sorry

  131. Apology accepted. Peace to you brother.

  132. Confíteor Deo omnipoténti et vobis, fratres,
    quia peccávi nimis cogitatióne, verbo, ópere et omissióne:
    mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa.

    And I do, really mean it, own it, repent of it, recant it, obviously misread it, am overly sensitive regarding the subject.

  133. Fly,
    I hereby commit to avoiding such near temptation of sin by declaring my iPad off limits to myself until at least one Starbucks Vente Americano has been absorbed by my bloodstream for a minimum of 30 minutes

  134. G: haha. You are a funny guy.

    TBH: I reread my original comment this morning and I thought, “wow… what a dumb comment. What was I thinking last night?” (shhh… but that’s between you and me and the internetz, ok?)

    So, I’ll take your lead, and hereby forbid me to read or type comments into PP after midnight. 🙂

  135. Love means never having to say you are sorry. 😉

  136. Not sure if you were serious, but just to be clear, FOAW in my comment stood for Fly on a Wall.

  137. I was serious. Wow, lots of babbling going on today. Thank you for the clarification, I had no idea.

  138. Tonight is food, prayer then communion. Can I petition our Lord on anyone’s behalf? I will check my ipad in one hour if you have a request. Even if you don’t I plan on praying for you anyway, even MLD (especially MLD!) 🙂

  139. Covered…that was a really thoughtful offer.
    If you would lift up Trey that would be wonderful.

  140. We always do Michael. Now that he’s a yellow belt, he’s under much pressure 🙂

  141. Covered…there is a little girl here in my town who is fighting for her life. Her mom, grandmother and baby brother were heading home for dinner and were struck head-on. The other driver was killed, and the grandmother died shortly after arriving at the hospital. Baby brother has a broken leg, but is okay. Mom has two broken legs and has had a few surgeries already.

    The little girl is on life support. She is 3 years old. They have said 100% she will not make it. We continue to pray.

    Here’s the story:
    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAfIPPc433Q&w=560&h=315%5D

  142. Hi Sarah, my wife and I prayed for this little girl and her family. Such a sad story. Thanks for sharing.

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