Aug 262013
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. There are three kinds of skeptics about the Christian faith. Those who want to believe, those who don’t want to believe, and those who really don’t care. There are sufficient answers available for the first group, no answers will ever satisfy the second, and the third doesn’t even know the questions. I only concern myself with answering the first group…

2. Organizers say more than 100,000 people attended SoCal Harvest 2013 and over 9,000 put their faith in Jesus at the three-night event, which ended Sunday with 43,000 hearing Pastor Greg Laurie’s conversation with “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson, who encouraged Californians to accept God’s call.

I can’t even tell you how weird that sentence is to me…the only thing stranger were some of the quotes from this years celebrity for Jesus. This was my personal favorite;

“Laurie then asked Phil how he met his wife, Marsha “Kay” Carroway.

“Miss Kay was 14,” Phil responded. “California, all you young bucks out there, you’re listening? If you marry these girls at about 16, they’ll pick your ducks, if you wait till they’re 20, they’ll pick your pocket,” he said jokingly.”

That’s a hoot… unless you’re a female with a shred of self respect.

3. “Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if you will hear My voice and open the door, I will come in,” Laurie said, urging the people to do that publicly.” This proves once again that God even uses scripture taken out of context and misinterpreted to do His work. Jesus is knocking on the door of a church, not a person…but the implications of that may not fit the purposes of crusade evangelism.

4. Behold American evangelicalism…shallow, flashy, entertaining,celebrity driven, and above all, pragmatic. If it “works” it must be of God. The fact that all those things are contra a Gospel centered life is irrelevant.

5. I missed the crusade because I was drafting my fantasy football team. The good Lord enabled me to pick Adrian Peterson, who is also a Christian. Coincidence? I think not…

6. The most provocative book of the year is “Fight: A Case For Christian Nonviolence”. I can’t recommend it highly enough because it challenges the heart of how we view the Christian walk in a violent world. Indeed it challenges every notion you may have about nationalism and militarism while making a case of Christian non violence in every sphere of life. The right will crucify this guy…and he has made me quite uncomfortable as well.

7. Shouldn’t we be doing evangelistic crusades aimed at older people ? They’re the ones running out of time. I wonder what the entertainment lineup for that one would be…

8. When I went to work for a major bank in 2002, the first item in orientation was a video applauding diversity featuring a gay couple. I mention this to remind you that the current triumph of the gay agenda was begun and financed by corporate America after identifying gays as a specific economic class.

9. Every week we are visited at home by Mormon “elders”, every other week we are visited by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’ve never had an evangelical come by the house, nor have I gone knocking on doors myself. Maybe we save it all up for crusades…

10. If you don’t have at least one book in progress…you need to find one and start.

  206 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. I really don’t understand all the vitriol directed against the Harvest Crusade. If any of those 9000 were saved, then that is awesome.
    If only 1% of those 9000 were saved, has someone here got a better plan on how to do it?
    See, it is all a work of God anyways, so as for me, I would criticize a bit less and find what is good in it and praise God for it.

  2. Number 2 – it’s a joke, son. Watch the show 😉
    Number 10 – I am reading Happy, Happy, Happy, My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander.

  3. Derek,

    I have no vitriol in my heart at all.
    I simply don’t believe that what is presented should be seen as representative of the Christian faith.
    Further, in Orange County there are hundreds of churches…maybe thousands.
    Why isn’t the church reaching the lost?

  4. I have no doubt that the hearts of all involved are in the right place.
    I also have no doubt that this sort of thing perpetuates celebrity driven faith.
    The job of the pastor is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry…somewhere there is a major disconnect if the job is to bring them to an event hosted by a celebrity preacher.

  5. I’m with Glen. I doubt anyone who watches the show would be offended by Phil’s remarks

  6. I’ll pass and take your word for it…

  7. 1. False trichotomy.

    2. Agreed on pretty much all the Harvest Crusade stuff. It’s rather bizarre now that I’m off the CCool-aid. It’s an awful lot of time, money and effort to entertain the already god-believing and promotes Celebrity-worship, which is the emphasis of that sect….though the refrain is “it’s all about Jesus!” yet how many on FB and on the blogs talk about how awesome Jesus is vs. how awesome the Gurus are?

    3. This proves, once again, how subjective interpreting the bible is and the fact that “God’s word” is really the particular Group and Guru’s interpretation of what the bible says.

    5. I have AP as well and I don’t care if he’s a practicing wiccan warlock, as long as he runs for 2,000 yards and scores 15 touchdowns.

    6. I’ll have to read it…if nothing more than to see it’s yet another typical illogical subjective interpretation of the paradoxical contradictory “bible” and continue to realize that “God” is not the bible and that Spirit cannot be put in a Box no matter how hard you all keep trying…which, when pressed, is what you default to…”it’s mystery!” “God works in mysterious ways!” “We don’t really know for sure!”

    7. Good point. If the CC’s of the Crusade for Jesus World really believe their schtick…and it’s not about being hip and popular and not about big numbers and popularity and celebrities etc…then why not focus on those most likely to check out soon? Why? B/c it’s not about Jesus…it’s about being hip, popular, cool, big audiences, big money, “success”, celebrity etc.

    8. The issue is much more complex than that. It’s more a function of the power of the Minority in our socio-political-economic structure and the power of the social Liberal Agenda, the media and the fact that there really isn’t a solid argument that makes homosexuals the Taboo that Christians* have made them. It’s simply another Christian* mythology that’s lost it’s hold on our Society.

    9. Ya, agreed…Mormons are hard-core believers…much more so than their Selective Fundamentalist cousins.

    10. Reading every day on a variety of issues…always assimilating information and processing it against my belief system and constantly adjusting over here…unlike the blind Dogmatist.

  8. Michael, As you no doubt know the Harvest Crusades sprung from a local church offering a free concert couple with an evangelistic message to reach the youth of that day.

    Just because the venue is now larger, and the evangelist now older (and apparently a celebrity in your description), the work is still the same.

  9. Michael,
    “Why isn’t the church reaching the lost?”

    Who says that the church is not reaching the lost? The lost ARE being reached …
    but they continue to reject the gospel.

    This “winning souls for Jesus” is just so wrong headed and anti gospel, anti christian it is ridiculous.

    If I speak to a lost person about Jesus – then the “lost have been reached”

    It pisses me off when someone says “Why isn’t the church reaching the lost?”

  10. My first ministry was when the same church that started the Harvest Crusades sent me to the local nursing home to reach the elderly with the gospel message.

    Another one of your either/or fails, Michael.

  11. Steve,

    I understand it, I simply don’t agree with the premise.
    The more I think about it, the less I have any use for it at all.
    I could be wrong.

  12. addendum to #7: Why not spend all that time and money touring the wards of the hospitals and those critically injured and terminally ill etc? Why? Too hard, not glamourous…not “fun” and not “cool”…it would be hard work and very mundane and you wouldn’t make a lot of fame and money from doing it.

    I call b.s. on that CC-on game.

  13. Michael,
    I pause before writing this…..if I’m outted as the one who let this cat out of the bag…..I’m afraid…..
    Have you heard the JWs and descendant’s of the Mountain Meadows Massacre murderers have a “blacklist” of their former members, and they are never allowed to go to those homes to witness?

    Well, Michael, you’re on the evangelical door-knocking blacklist.

    bwahahaha

  14. Steve,

    Not an either/or fail at all.
    I can completely endorse one while having real reservations about the other.
    It’s not a knock on Greg, it’s a difference of opinion.

  15. jtk,

    You may be right! 🙂

  16. #6 I’ll have to try and read, though I am loathe toward pacifist thought as it tends to be dismissive of entire generations of faithful Christians. Often seems it’s calling for obedient martyrs and complete, silent subservience when the anti resistance ideology is fully distilled. But I have not read this work, hopefully he’s untangled it.

  17. MLD,

    That’s a valid criticism.
    I think what I’m hearing is that these 9000 wouldn’t have been saved without this event…and I’m saying that the local church should be reaching those people anyway.

  18. Rob,

    He does an amazing job…not saying I’m ready to swallow it whole, but it is certainly challenging me.

  19. Michael, on that book – quick “nutshell” question. Does the author believe that Christians around the world should NOT have taken up arms to defeat the regimes of Hitler and Mussolini.

  20. Steve,

    I haven’t got that far yet, but my guess is no.
    However, he has written an entire book to build his thesis biblically and to simply reduce it to a simple answer in social media would be a gross injustice to both the author and his work.

  21. Michael, how does the author explain Jesus on the White Horse conquering the World’s (satan’s) armies with the sword until the blood is bridle high?

    Does he simply dismiss Revelation as canonical?

  22. RB,

    See my answer to Steve above.
    The author has a very high view of Scripture…and that’s why he’s making me so very uncomfortable.
    He views Revelation as canonical.

  23. My experience with corporate America goes back to 1989, in a very liberal state – and it is different than yours as what I watched is large corporations coming along AFTER the political and legal pressure was brought upon them from the activists in the homosexual lobby.

    I think an examination of a legal timeline will show that quite clearly.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the corporations are innocent martyrs, nor am I saying they even put up much of a fight.

    However, I think it is somewhat ridiculous to argue that they “began and financed” the current gay agenda. That’s a little like saying McDonalds promoted the environmental crusade when they got rid of styrofoam.

  24. In the Revelation account…”Christians” are part of Jesus’s army who slaughters all the devil and anti-christs humans etc, no?

    Seems the author dismisses a huge reality about Jesus and Christians* and the promised use of terrible violence in Revelation…or he is forced to dismiss Revelation as non-canonical or metaphor.

  25. However, he has written an entire book to build his thesis biblically and to simply reduce it to a simple answer in social media would be a gross injustice to both the author and his work.
    ——————————————-
    Fair enough. And I know you are just throwing out a book recommendation. Except when there is a limited amount of time (and money) to read – the occasional litmus test is helpful. I’ve read plenty of Christian pacifism arguments, all pointing to Scripture for support.

    If this is truly a revolutionary work, then it would be worth the read.

    However, I’ll be blunt. Anyone who thinks the proper Christian response to such evil as seen in Europe in the 1930s and 40s was to a) stay back and let evil win or b) just send all the pagans and atheists to fight is someone I never, ever will agree with.

  26. “Does he simply dismiss Revelation as canonical?” RB, did you apocryphal?

  27. I call bullspit. You won’t let the comment post b/c it’s true and you know it.

  28. “…the proper Christian response to such evil as seen in Europe in the 1930s and 40s was to a) stay back and let evil win or b) just send all the pagans and atheists to fight…”

    Steve, are these examples of actual responses you have read and/or heard?

  29. RB, did you MEAN apocryphal?

  30. RB,

    I didn’t post the comment BECAUSE I WAS IN THE SHOWER.
    It’s not true and there are other options…

  31. RB, everyone’s crap stinks. There’s a truth. Doesn’t mean we all have to smell it.

  32. Steve,

    If only option A & B were available, you might have a point.

  33. Shower? Michael, honestly, do have time for such frivolity? You’ve got a blog to run here man! Priorities!

  34. CK,

    I know…once again, I’m a slacker. 🙂

  35. Not sure what else you’ve got planned for your day, but if any of it includes breathing some of that great Oregon air or spending time with Trey, well then…slack away, my friend!

  36. Maybe when RB is around, Michael needs to take longer showers. 🙂

  37. I too grow tired of the big event in Christianity, but they do have their place. Doesn’t negate the duty of the local church at all.

    I am mostly a pacifist. There are obviously causes worth killing and dying for, but for the mast majority, nope.

    Would you actually want evangelicals knocking at your door?

  38. Kevin, I most certainly have read both and this is one aspect of a larger issue. Often Christians express a belief system that is open, if not downright supportive of the existence of certain institutions – yet believe that the Christians themselves have no business being involved. When that is the case, what is being said is that an institution is “good” in God’s sight, yet God’s people should have no business in doing so – ergo, all participants must be the pagans and atheists.

    Can a Christian serve in the military?
    Can a Christian hold political office?
    Can a Christian work for the CIA?
    Can a Christian work for the police?
    Can a Christian work undercover for the police?

    Many people believe the answers to these questions are “no” and yet, they accept (even if grudgingly) that such are helpful and even necessary in a fallen world.

    To me it is a disconnect.

    Thus, my WW2 question – what is the practical 3rd option (or 4th or 5th). I see only two options. Either Hitler be resisted with force (i.e. weapons of warfare) or he not be resisted. If military resistance is proper in God’s sight, then either Christians involve themselves in that resistance or just let the pagans and atheists do all the work.

  39. Steve,

    Is military resistance the only form of resistance to evil in the New Testament?
    How do we “resist evil” biblically?
    Was our victory over evil won by the blood of our enemies or the blood of the Lamb?
    In the book of Revelation, how do the persecuted “win”?
    Does eschatological victory come through defeat and death?

  40. I will bet that an evangelical at your door would sound just like a Mormon at your door. Promising you a better life if you become a Christian.

    In fact, that was the message of the crusade – not one of substitution – not Jesus came to be your substitute, Jesus lived the perfect life that you could not live, Jesus hung on the cross to die the death you could not die

  41. Michael, there is a huge difference in what Jesus accomplishes in His First Coming and His Second Coming…and the means in which He accomplishes both.

  42. Steve,

    That doesn’t address the questions.
    Here’s a quote from the book:
    “God overcomes the world not through a show of force, but through the suffering and death of Jesus.
    The messianic Lion defeats evil by becoming a slaughtered Lamb.”
    If this quotation speaks truth, that truth has implications for how we are to live out our lives.

  43. “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
    (Revelation 12:10–11 ESV)

  44. Regarding #1 – I agree with your categories of skeptics as well as your attempts to answer the questions of the first group.

    On the third group, I would suggest this is one of the proper uses of the Law – that it might awaken them to their need to be saved. People don’t care about a Savior when they don’t understand their need for salvation. Like the folks on the Titanic who didn’t believe the ship could actually sink, they don’t believe that they are in any danger whatsoever.

    Of course I’m not suggesting that everyone hears the Law automatically understands their need, but that is one of its intended uses.

    Food for thought…

    On Harvest & other crusade-style evangelistic events…let each servant answer to his/her own Master regarding their stewardship. Our assistant pastor was saved during a Billy Graham crusade, and I was saved at a Christian music concert (though not a massive event). I was a happy pagan & was apathetic entirely to the idea of God…I simply didn’t care & had no reason to believe or even search for something other than what I knew. My dad was (and is) an atheist, and he was perfectly happy. So was I. And yet in the middle of that concert, God reached me in nothing short of a miraculous way.

    For all I’m concerned, I’m fine with whatever method some believes is most Biblical to share the gospel. As long as the gospel is shared.

    One thing that can certainly can not be said about American Evangelicalism is that the gospel is shared *too much.* If anything, it’s shared far too little.

  45. A little snippet of his take on Revelation…

    “But there’s more. Christians who suffer unto death don’t just conquer Satan. Their blood actually contributes to the judgment God pours out on worldly empires. In a highly symbolic scene, Jesus reaps a harvest of grain, which refers to the salvation of those who confess Christ (14: 14– 16). This is a familiar image from the Gospels, where the evangelization of the world is compared to a harvest. 34 In the very next scene (vv. 17– 20), there’s another harvest, only this time it’s a harvest of grapes. So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia. (vv. 19– 20) Some interpreters have misunderstood this passage, thinking that it refers to Jesus squishing His enemies (the grapes) until an ocean of their blood nearly causes Jesus’s horse to drown. Though this works well with Driscoll’s Jesus, most evangelical scholars do not take this reading seriously . Many would say that the blood is symbolic for judgment. Jesus will judge His enemies. No doubt about that. But He won’t literally mount a mare and trample their bodies.
    But let’s look a little closer at those grapes. Are they God’s enemies or His saints? It’s not entirely clear, but there is some good evidence that the blood from the grapes refers to the blood of the saints, which contributes to God’s wrath over those who killed them. In fact, whenever the image of blood occurs in Revelation, it always refers to the blood of Jesus, His followers, or innocent people. God never causes His enemies to bleed in Revelation— literally or symbolically. 35 And according to the scene, “the winepress was trodden … and blood flowed” the same place where Jesus bled— “outside the city.” This is the same location where the author of Hebrews tells his readers to suffer with Jesus—outside the city, the place where Jesus cleansed “the people through his own blood” (Heb. 13: 12– 13).
    Blood outside the city. It’s a sacred Christian image for redemptive suffering. Outside the city is where conquerors go to conquer.Their blood (the wine) becomes the very wrath Babylon will drink. God is mixing the wine of His wrath (Rev. 14: 10), which will be poured out on the Babylons that oppose Him (16: 19). ”

    Sprinkle, Preston (2013-08-01). Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence (Kindle Locations 2754-2774). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

  46. “God overcomes the world not through a show of force, but through the suffering and death of Jesus.The messianic Lion defeats evil by becoming a slaughtered Lamb.”
    ——————————————————————-
    If Jesus never returned to earth, and just left this place the hell hole of sin and evil that it is both today and 2000 years ago when the Lord walked the earth, then that would be relevant. If all that mattered was getting to a celestial kingdom and leaving this earth, never to think about it again – never to visit if again..then that would be relevant. Martyr us up and lets move out.

    But most of us, including you, believe that the Lord is going to come back – in judgment – against the evil on this earth with His force that certainly will not be resisted. And that “righteous and true” are His judgments in doing so.

    How is it proper to use force to stop a lone murderer roaming the hills or Oregon but not proper to stop a mass murderer doing the same just because he is not alone.

  47. “somes” = “someone”

    There are days I really detest this laptop. The track-pointer seems to jump around at will highlighting and deleting things. Sigh…

  48. Steve,

    You still haven’t addressed the questions.
    Is violence the only means of resistance to the Christian?
    What did Jesus model? (I refer directly to the Sermon on the Mount)
    How were the churches directed to “overcome” in the letters to the churches in the Revelation?
    As I said, I’m not ready to swallow this whole, but it is well worth meditating on and discussing.

  49. Tim,

    It’s all good, I understood you.

  50. “Oftentimes we want to overcome evil with more power, more force, more killing. But Revelation shows us the true power of suffering. Jesus dethroned Satan when He suffered. Christians defeat oppressive regimes when they suffer at their hands. Revelation snuffs out the human impulse that thinks violent oppression demands an even stronger violent response. Suffering unto death isn’t just a senseless misfortune that God will redeem but the very means by which God works to defeat evil. Christians who suffer never lose, because Christ has already won.”

    Sprinkle, Preston (2013-08-01). Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence (Kindle Locations 2822-2825). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

  51. No, Michael, violence is not the ONLY means of resistance. Is a medical operation the ONLY means of treating a cancer. But the question is if it is EVER a proper one.

    In fact, in the New Testament, do we ever see any Christian submitting to a medical operation? Didn’t Jesus heal us by His stripes?

    And so we have today, an argument that Christians should not seek medical treatment.

    Now, you said non-violence in ALL spheres of life. So when I walk in on a man raping my wife, what is the form of resistance I should use? Prayer? Talking to the man? Sharing Jesus? Encourage my wife she is helping Jesus judge the evils of this world by submitting to the evil?

    Because once you allow for personal loopholes, I think such a thesis is revealed to be the folly that it is.

    (And I hope there is much more real-world discussion of what is or is not proper Christian behavior like in my real-world examples than there is discussing a new take on Revelation)

  52. Steve,

    Never mind.
    You will hate the book.
    Despite the fact that it’s soaked in Scripture it would offend your sensibilities greatly.
    I might just preach it.

  53. The Watchtower publications are soaked in scripture also … not always as good way to judge a book. 😉

    Is a food & medicine embargo on a “bad” nation violence or peaceful?

  54. I would imagine the injunction to ‘love your enemies’ would fall into the parameters of non-violence. Yet, for most in the Church, it is not on our radar for problem solving.

  55. “What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world,” said Kerry. “It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it is inexcusable. And despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.”

    …sounds like the supposed command God gave to the Israelites in the OT.

  56. Syria – let’s use a real example.

    For full disclosure, I am for the US doing absolutely nothing and telling the French.”it’s your turn.”

  57. Only if you don’t understand what God was doing in the OT…and you don’t.

  58. Michael, do you agree with John Kerry’s statement that the indiscriminate killing women, children and infants is a moral obscenity and defies any code of morality?

  59. fil,

    It’s not on our radar…nor will it be.
    The knee jerk reaction to the little I’ve written here will be nothing compared to what will happen in greater evangelicalism when they review this book.

  60. There is a difference between “overcoming” evil in a universal sense, and stopping individual acts of evil against innocent victims. That should be obvious and thus MY questions where the Christain shoe rubber actually meets the real-world road.

    Likewise, there is a difference between being persecuted because one is a Christian and refuses to compromise with the persecutor (which of course is key to the NT context), and being attacked by a perverted sinner in a fallen world, regardless of one’s religious beliefs.

    I thought we were big on The Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms here. So I guess my personal question to you is whether you are rethinking the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms because of this book?

  61. The knee jerk reaction to the little I’ve written here will be nothing compared to what will happen in greater evangelicalism when they review this book.
    —————————————————————-
    Good grief.

    I’ve tried to engage you on real-world issues and question – all of which are being ignored.

    Now, if you want my KNEE-JERK reaction – it is that you are digging the book because as you wrote, the right will crucify the guy. And anything that tweeks the nose of the right these days is OK by you. I’ve never read a book about theology and Christian living and initially thought “boy, the political partisans (on whatever side) are going to hate (or love) this book!. Theology is theology.

    That is what a shallow, knee-jerk reaction looks like. Now, care to discuss my real-world questions about Christians serving in the police, stopping violent criminals and so forth? Because I confess, knee jerk reactions are worthless for discussion.

  62. Steve,

    The author is an educated Christian man with a high view of Scripture and the knowledge that he is putting forward a controversial thesis.
    Do you really think he would leave such questions unanswered?
    Really?
    Do you think I’m stupid enough to think that such questions wouldn’t come up here…or worse, that I am unconcerned about the answers to such questions?
    I have posted umpteen scriptures and quotes on the thesis that the NT says we overcome evil through suffering and you want to redirect to Two Kingdom theology?
    Really?
    Those who are interested should buy the book…it will make you wrestle with things if you’re up to it.

  63. Steve,

    Yes, you can stop the rapist.
    There.
    That totally misses the larger point, but whatever…

  64. By the way, the author identifies himself as both a conservative Christian and conservative politically…and he’s a gun owner.
    He just takes all he is and puts it up against the witness of Scripture and wrestles with what he finds.
    He is not so simplistic as to posit that there are simple yes or no answers to such a complex idea…he understands the conflicting ideas and tries to bring them back to Scripture.

  65. Thank you for answering my question. I honestly had not heard anyone espouse that before. I’ve been sheltered.

  66. it challenges the heart of how we view the Christian walk in a violent world…while making a case of Christian non violence in every sphere of life.
    ——————————————————————————-

    Some questions are most certainly not ‘simple’ but they do come down to a yes/no answer.

    Example – Do you take this woman to be your wife, love, honor and cherish her, being faithful to her alone, until death do you part, in sickness, health, richer, poorer, good times or bad?

    It’s a yes/no. Hardly a simple question though.

    Here’s another one.

    Is it God’s will that a city have a voluntary, armed, police force to protect and serve, being trained, if called upon, to use deadly force if absolutely necessary? Yes or No.

    If yes, should Christians be part of those volunteers that join such a force, since such a choice involves the possibility of using violence to perform one’s duties, (If no, then we are back to the idea that a police force is God’s will as long as it is populated with the atheists and pagans).

    I don’t think the book of Revelation has one iota of relevance to this real-world question(s). However, I do believe the whole counsel of the Bible does have plenty to say.

  67. Steve,
    You are doing a magnificent job of not only avoiding the central thesis of the book, but making it sound preposterous without any reflection on the exegesis he provides through the book.
    He wrestles with all these questions specifically, but he does so after laying a painstaking biblical foundation.
    I was challenged … I have much to think through here.
    That, to me is a gift.
    Your mileage may vary.

  68. Michael, I have already made comment above already as to some of the central thesis you have referenced. It has not been engaged so far.

    Why do you refuse to share with us an occasional ANSWER to all this wrestling in the book. I don’t expect you to write out all the reasoning and exegesis. But at the end of the day, should a Christian volunteer to be a cop? Should a Christian volunteer to serve in the military? Those are not preposterous questions if the thesis is (as you wrote) non-violence in every sphere of life in a violent world. What does the author conclude?

    It is not a disservice to the author to do that.

  69. Here is a recent example from our fallen world. An example with no “good” ending, but with an ending that is far better than if a pacifist conviction in the name of Christ had resulted in a two-year old’s throat being slit while the little girl’s mother watched on in horror.

    http://metro.co.uk/2013/07/02/cctv-shows-moment-child-snatcher-is-shot-dead-in-oklahoma-supermarket-3865785/

    This is the sort of thing I am interested in when this topic arises. What is wrong, in God’s sight, for this “violence” to take place to save an innocent two-year old.

    Because this is the real world in which we seek to live our faith. And if that mother was my wife, and that little girl was my daughter, I would be thankful for that police officer – not saying he was outside of God’s will in acting “violently.”

    In fact, I say it anyway, even though I don’t know any of them. And I’d say it from the pulpit too.

  70. Steve,

    It is a gross disservice to any theologian to demand conclusions without considering how the conclusions were reached.
    In response to your specific question, there is a whole chapter dedicated to it in the book.
    It does require wrestling if you accept the thesis that the church’s response to violence is supposed to be non violence …then the obvious question is where do police officers and ideas like the “just war” theory come into play for Christians?
    In that chapter Sprinkle offers his opinion…but he doesn’t do so dogmatically or without recognizing the difficulty of the subject.
    He doesn’t think that Christians should be involved in vocations that kill…but he doesn’t carve his opinion in granite.
    He presents it all and let’s the reader wrestle with and draw their own conclusions.
    You want black and white,simple answers to complex ideas that you refuse to address first…and that is a disservice to the author and to me.
    For those who want to think more deeply about these things, this is an excellent book.
    For those who don’t, it’s not.

  71. The discussion of the Christian and violence (assuming soldiers and police are included here) totally ignores the 2 kingdoms, of which God is in control of both. Obviously in the kingdom of the church, there should be no violence. The church is set up solely for the forgiveness of sin.

    The other kingdom, that of civil order is specifically to bring the sword against those who disrupt society. If you are a highway robber who keeps the farmer from bringing his goods to market, the civil authorities, of which includes Christians in their vocation, you will be dealt with sternly.

    No one in their right mind makes a case for Christian passiviseism (did I spell that right, it looks funny.)

  72. When I fought in the military, I was doing it under the authority of Romans 13 and as a Christian recognized it as such. Because of this, I see my actions as fully in line with something God sees as a legitimate government function.
    Sorry, not gonna put too much introspection into this one, people have argued it for years and still have come to no conclusion everyone can live with. All the pacifistic view does, in my opinion, is load good soldiers down with guilt about what they might have done during a war.
    Now as for what wars should we get into that is a whole ‘nother issue.

  73. Steve and Michael, you guys are wrestling with a tough subject and with one another. I appreciate that both of you are attempting to lay out and clarify your thoughts without the use of personal insults. Great conversation. I think I’ve read the word “irenic” here a few times.

  74. Is the black background new? I’m struggling reading it.

  75. I’m not sure the “right” vs “left” argument currently applies. Both parties seem to be equally willing to support the military industrial complex at all costs. Big money in killin’ the “enemy”.

    Regarding a couple of Steve’s questions, I think the solder’s Q & A in Luke 3 applies, as does Romans 13. Luke 22:36 is worth a look as well.

    I don’t know if the author addresses these passages. I’ll read the book, as I’m looking for a way to describe how I feel about the righteous use of violence. Just War comes close, as does the non aggression principle when not applied dogmatically. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for….

  76. MLD’s #9. Exactly, but when it looks like they might be reaching some lost we rag on it. I am gonna say that PP Vet changed my mind on this when I was on a rant about Pat Robertson, we excorciate methods without seeing the good that might come from a flawed method often.

    #2 and #5. Yep. Phil Robertson is great and Duck Dynasty is a good show that my wife and I look forward to every week.

    Here is Phil’s testimony.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KwrmlTPI8w

  77. Michael,
    the command to love our enemies seems foundational/basic Christian 101. That so few take it as valid, realistic, or possible leaves me scratching my head. Evidently, we’d rather shoot them, sue them, or slander them.

  78. fil,

    I have the reddest neck in my neighborhood when it comes to these issues.
    What this book did was challenge me to re examine these issues biblically and it made me so damn uncomfortable I had to share the pain.
    The whole upside down ethos of the New Testament has been challenging me for the last few years and this is just another place where that has to be reckoned with.

  79. Wait…I thought no one could post here unless they agreed with me… 🙂

  80. Jim,

    He addresses all those passages and more.
    I’ll be very interested in your review…

  81. Love you enemies and turn the other cheek are talking of the Christians personal relationships… not how a Christian works this out in society.

    I don’t think sending a candygram to Al Qaida after 911 is what Jesus had in mind.

  82. MLD,

    As I read the NT and the early church fathers…it was how Christians worked things out in society.

  83. mld,
    society is personal relationships…the question that fostered the Good Samaritan example was both societal and personal…who is my neighbor?

  84. Michael,

    I might be too set in my ways to honestly reconsider my position. I think that every war our govt has waged in my lifetime has been illegal and immoral. I’m also willing to shoot someone in the head if they attack my wife.

  85. Jim,

    The thing I know about you is that you are also biblical and you are always open to being persuaded by Scripture.
    I’m not sure if I’ve changed a position…but I sure have to think some of my views through again.
    I’ll let this one marinate for a long while…

  86. “I think that every war our govt has waged in my lifetime has been illegal and immoral. I’m also willing to shoot someone in the head if they attack my wife.”

    :: ditto ::

  87. Jim, Re your #85
    Not believing every war was quite as harsh as illegal and immoral. Unnecessary comes to mind more for me. Governments are gonna do things we often find wrong, but that has been going on throughout history.
    None of the wars fought during my time in the military achieved anything that we haven’t wasted and we aren’t any safer.
    I don’t feel guilty for having fought in them, I was acting as an agent of my government and that is way above the paygrade I received.
    I don’t want anymore lives wasted by politicians who give back any gains we make and make the lives of our servicemen cheapened
    I pray that we don’t go to war with Syria based on the flimsy evidence so far. I think either side could have used chemical weapons at this point. Better to stay out of it. And even better evidence wouldn’t convince me either. The whole war on terrorism has been a waste and resulted in decreased liberties at home.

    As for anyone that breaks into my house and messes with my family, I have no problem double tapping them in the chest. That is just the way it is.

  88. What G just said is an example of the tension of lie. There is also a divine tension found in the scriptures, which at some point, we just have to acknowledge.

  89. Michael,
    “As I read the NT and the early church fathers…it was how Christians worked things out in society.”
    Yes, in my personal interactions with society, but not how society interacts.

    How do you reconcile christian soldiers and police officers?

    Look, if I get slapped on one cheek I am to turn the other. If someone runs a 747 into 3,000 people’s cheek, my response is not to tell 3,000 others to turn their other cheek.

  90. I often, and I do mean often, have what I would call daydreams where my wife or one or more of my children are being attacked in some way, and how I would go about defending them. I’m not a gun owner, but bashing someone’s head into the asphalt could be effective I suppose.

  91. No CK, a gun is more effective and quicker.

  92. I think many of our impulses and reactions are shaped more by society than scripture. As a result, society doesn’t perceive Christians as fundamentally different. Until we embody the identity of a changed life & heart and follow the teaching and example of Christ, the Church will be background noise in our culture.

  93. As I read the NT and the early church fathers…it was how Christians worked things out in society.
    ————————————————-
    Well, I wish Jim, MLD, and Derek had been here earlier. 🙂 And I appreciate the kind words Captain Kevin.

    Maybe the larger question is this – when we look at Christian history for 2000 years, how come this author’s view has been in such a distinct minority if it somehow is the proper teaching of the Bible? If we stop and only look at the early church, we are looking at Christians under one specific, unique, political circumstance – and not the wide swath that later Christianity would bring. Where Christians no longer were in the catacombs, but were in the palaces and parliaments.

    This is not just about some religious right in America since the Reagan years. Go back to Calvin’s day. To Luther. Go further back even then that. Other than a definite minority within the faith that has always existed – it seems the idea that Christians should not serve in professions that may require force of violence against others bent on hurting innocents is relatively foreign in practice, if not also in teaching.

    As for me, the idea that a police officer would be walking close to the Lord so as to handle that incredible power he wields – so as not to take bribes, embrace corruption, oppress and hastle minorities and on and on…even if it means shooting a bad guy on rare occasion to defend innocent life – well I would want such people to fill the ranks, not fill them with the pagans and atheists.

  94. “Maybe the larger question is this – when we look at Christian history for 2000 years, how come this author’s view has been in such a distinct minority if it somehow is the proper teaching of the Bible?”

    You mean like the pretrib rapture?

  95. EXACTLY! (or pre-wrath too for that matter)

    So like I said before, if this guy is writing a revolutionary take that shows the majority of the Church interpreting the Bible wrongly for 2000 years – he better have a good explanation for it.

  96. I posted a commendation of a book that includes none of the straw men that Steve has thrown against it and I have tried to demonstrate that the tone of the book is not strident or demanding of agreement, but is a thoughtful look at Christian ethics.
    It was challenging to me and I think very valuable in forming my own ethics as I move forward.
    I simply won’t waste anymore time arguing with someone who keeps telling me what the book says when it really says nothing of the sort.
    I think the book breaks some new ground…at the very least it breaks up old ground for better observation.
    To those interested in a fresh look at Christian ethics, I commend it to you…to the rest…don’t bother.

  97. Let’s remember what government exactly Paul was taking about in Romans 13. That government certainly didn’t do everything moral and legally, yet Paul still states that their actions are on authority from God.

  98. Derek,

    Actually, there is more than one way to look at Romans 13…

  99. “Paul says in Romans 13, of course , that God works through secular governments to avenge evil. And this passage is often taken as clear proof for just war theory. But which criterion does it support? Taking vengeance on evil is not one of the seven. Romans 13 does not talk about last resort, proportionate means, or just cause (such as self-defense). That’s because Romans 13 does not talk about war. It highlights God’s sovereign ability to use secular governments to punish evildoers living within the state’s jurisdiction. Paul doesn’t give Rome the nod to take out a dictator in Parthia.”

    Sprinkle, Preston (2013-08-01). Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence (Kindle Locations 4197-4199). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

  100. Well, that is a piss-poor way of describing our discussion today in my opinion.

    If what you wrote is accurate, namely ” while making a case of Christian non violence in every sphere of life.”

    Then I certainly was not bringing any strawmen to this discussion.

    And no, I have not told you what the book says. Instead I have been asking, BEGGING, for you to reveal more of what the book says to my questions.

    “He doesn’t think that Christians should be involved in vocations that kill…but he doesn’t carve his opinion in granite.” – Well, that sounds truly definitive and life-changing. I’m glad you at least got around to answering me.

    I won’t waste your time anymore on the book..but I have a final word.

  101. “Actually, there is more than one way to look at Romans 13…”

    the wrong way 😉

  102. I was actually talking to Jim.
    But explain then.

  103. Steve,

    You refused to interact with what I did post in favor of simply asking more questions because you are assuming that you’ve heard it all before and already have the answers .
    That is grossly unfair to the author and the work.
    You already have it all figured out.
    I don’t, so I’m thankful that people are still writing and thinking about these issues.

  104. Derek,

    See my #100.

  105. I did misspeak in one area.
    The author is very strident in calling our campaign of killing by drone as sinful due to the amount of civilian casualties.
    Just in case anyone bothers to read the actual book…

  106. In hopes of redeeming my portion of the discussion…what I have come to fully embrace is the tremendous power a pastor has over the beliefs of the people who hear him. And beliefs influence action.

    In large part this blog has helped create that recognition – as I have read the things said callously and thoughtlessly from pulpits that have done real damage in real lives. I think back on throwaway jokes I have heard pastors utter, and think how just one person might have been damaged by such a line. Not to mention the many “thus saith the Lord” messages that have led to hurt and misery.

    Despite what some might think, it isn’t about being afraid to challenge beliefs and possibly lose church audience. Our church I’m sure is smaller than it could be because we stick to the Scriptures and while I hope I am not boring, I doubt I am very entertaining either.

    It is because so many people believe whatever the pastor says about the topic, especially when a couple Bible passages are included, and a dash of historical reference is thrown into the mix about Rome or Greece.

    And this is a dangerous, fallen world – and if I go off half-baked on talking about ANY subject, it will be believed without reservation by many. Simply because of my office.

    A blog is not a church of course. But it still can wield an influence, especially if opinions (and whether based in Scripture or not, they are still opinions) go unanswered and unchallenged.

    If I throw out a line or two from this book, in the way it has been thrown out on social media – there is a good chance someone comes up to me a month later weeping for their “lost” child who wants to join the service, or some guy says he quit the police force in order to be right with God – now he is unemployed and can’t feed his family.

    Isn’t this the complaint many here have about careless rapture teaching.
    About careless teaching on prescription drugs and mental illness.
    About careless teaching on suicide.
    About careless teaching on gossip.
    About careless teaching on those with homosexual inclinations.
    About careless teaching on other religions.
    About careless teaching on any “pet” sin or “pet” virtue as if it is the end-all of Christianity.

    Final word…over.

  107. Read #100. Sorry not convinced. Romans 13 talks about governments authority given by God. To me that means a lot more than the narrow focus the author gives in the passage. Seems to me he fits the passage to what he thinks it should mean.
    I never used Romans 13 to justify any war, just the fact that my actions were in line with acting as a governmental authority. I was a senior NCO and as such the government delegated certain authorities to me, which were in turn delegated to the government by God. I attempted to do those duties in a way to both be pleasing to God, by not abusing them and by acting as the sword the government needed me to be. It is all in how you bear the sword and use it.
    The whole just war argument never resonated with me anyways. No war can be completely just.

  108. Steve,

    I’m sorry that I recommended a book with the careless teaching that non violence is the overarching Christian ethos in the NT.
    I invited people to read it…to think about these things.
    I answered your question about the police officer…and made it clear that one needed to read the entire book before making judgments on the content.
    To be accused of carelessness for that is more than a little disconcerting.

  109. Derek,

    I didn’t expect to convince…there is a whole book involved in setting up that little snippet.

  110. Back to a question I asked earlier – when we are trying to determine what is violence and what is a peaceful solution, is a food and medicine embargo on a “bad” country violence or peaceful?

  111. MLD,

    For the sake of the book, the author defines violence as the following: “Violence is destruction to a victim by means that overpower the victim’s consent. Concise. To the point. Yet captures the necessary ingredients. By destruction they don’t mean total annihilation, but rather some sort of harm done to the person. So even if the elderly woman may not have consented to being shoved across the street, once she saw the car blaze by, she would realize that I wasn’t trying to destroy her. Therefore, if you do some sort of harm to someone else, whether it’s bodily, emotional, or mental harm without his or her consent, then you have violated that person. You have committed an act of violence.”

    Sprinkle, Preston (2013-08-01). Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence (Kindle Locations 257-262). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

  112. “This book is not intended to be the last word on the subject, and it’s certainly not the first. I’m writing this book to help contribute to the ongoing discussion of how Christians should think about warfare, violence, and their close cousin, nationalism. I’m not going to answer all the questions , mostly because I don’t have all of the answers! I have spent much time researching this topic, and the one thing I’ve seen is that the Bible doesn’t always give straightforward answers to all of our questions. But in order to address these issues from a Christian perspective, we need to dig into Scripture to see what God does say about them. So often in heated debates, the Bible is rarely consulted. Or if it is, it’s done haphazardly or with blatant bias. Oftentimes we start with a view we are convinced is right; then we go to Scripture to find verses that support it. We’re all guilty of this on some level. But we should at least work hard at laying aside our preconceived beliefs about warfare and violence and invite God to critique our view in light of His precious Word.”

    Sprinkle, Preston (2013-08-01). Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence (Kindle Locations 146-153). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

  113. And the more I study, the more I discuss, the more I’ve become convinced: Christians shouldn’t kill or use violence—not even in war.”
    ———————————————————
    That’s enough for me to disagree with the book. Those are the author’s conclusions, from Amazon, even if he uses a lot of Scripture to get to them and does own some guns.

    I invite you to reread my few posts between 41-60 to see where in fact I tried to engage with the author (and you) on the deeper theological level – and was ignored, ending with the kneejerk response crack you made.

    Then it was pretty much downhill from there.

    Now, if you want to frame THAT conclusion the author cites on the book cover as now I am against an “ethos” of non-violence as a general rule for the Christian, then feel free to do so. You’ll need to get some straw of your own for that edifice.

    Now, I don’t know if you will tell your home church this conclusion. If your mind has been changed, then by all means you should teach your convictions of the Scripture.

    But my point above is not having the luxury to just throw stuff out as a fresh interesting look that may or may not be in alignment with God’s will.

    And I threw you and the blog an olive branch in my last post. One that was true and heartfelt. Peace.

  114. Well, I appreciate and value the recommendation, even if it addresses a paradigm I don’t what to address 🙂

    I just had to take the opportunity to pontificate, because… you know, it’s the internet.

  115. Steve,

    A number of times I have said and will repeat again that I was not ready to proclaim anything…that I find his arguments interesting and compelling and challenging.
    How you engage a book on a deeply theological level without actually reading it is beyond me.
    How you think an accusation of careless teaching is an olive branch is much further beyond me.

  116. Thank you, Jim.
    Some others found it a worthwhile endeavor as well, so it wasn’t a complete waste of cyber space.

  117. Michael,
    I commend you for offering a book on nonviolence, pastor not withstanding

  118. How you engage a book on a deeply theological level without actually reading it is beyond me.
    —————————————————
    I thought I was engaging you.

    How you think an accusation of careless teaching is an olive branch is much further beyond me.
    ——————————————————-
    If that’s how it read to you, then I apparently did a poor job of communication.

  119. Christians can’t fight? can’t go to war? can’t “shoot back?” that’s not right
    what we can’t do is attack an unBeliever because they aren’t honoring their Creator or His redemption – the “ready answer” may offend them, however – particularly if you mention the afterlife as this is where God’s “wonderful plan” really kicks in
    …..
    got to the internet on a dial-up connection and had to check up on PhxP
    “just sayin … cuz i can” … today
    God keep all close and comforted

  120. Em!
    Good to see you!

  121. Michael your #110.
    Sorry, but those snippets tend to make me not want to waste $9.99 on that book.

    Sorry, I have practical experience with war and it all sounds like a lot of philosophizing to me. If this was so cut and dried, it would have been decided long ago.
    I tend to agree with CK, this is one of those tension points in scripture. I think non-violence works fine in interpersonal relationships, but the argument breaks down when applied to governments and when violence threatens your family.
    I believe there is a difference between killing and murder.
    I have personally been on the end of giving an order that resulted in a death of someone who actually wasn’t about to car bomb us. We thought he was and were justified later in an investigation. That is what happens when cars zoom at you like a bat out of hell in a war zone. My gunner lost sleep, but I gave the order.
    I still have lost no sleep over that. I followed my training, the rules of engagement and escalation of force policies.
    I acted as honorably as I possibly could throughout both deployments.
    If you want to talk morals, go talk to the car bomber who murdered five Iraqis at our patrol base entrance. We picked up pieces of people for days.
    Don’t fool yourselves, there is no just war. War sucks and bad crap happens during them.

    Everything here on this subject just sounds like philosophizing, especially those snippets.

  122. Em! Your ponderings have been missed.

    But what’s dial-up? 🙂

  123. Derek,

    Then, I think it’s a legitimate question as to whether Christians should have been involved in these wars at all.

  124. Are you serious?
    This is the kind of crap that leads to Vietnam vets getting spit on.
    Go guilt trip someone else.

  125. Funny, Jesus never told the roman soldier to end his war mongering ways. Come to think of it, Peter didn’t either.

  126. Derek,

    I’m putting a guilt trip on anyone.
    I’m searching the Scriptures for the whole counsel of God in this matter.
    We have always supported the troops whether we supported the war or not.

  127. But if it is objected, that in the New Testament there is no passage or example teaching that war is lawful for Christians, I answer, first, that the reason for carrying on war, which anciently existed, still exists in the present day, and that, on the other hand, there is no ground for debarring magistrates from the defence of those under them; and, secondly, that in the Apostolical writings we are not to look for a distinct exposition of those matters, their object being not to form a civil polity, but to establish the spiritual kingdom of Christ; lastly, that there also it is indicated, in passing, that our Saviour, by his advent, made no change in this respect. For (to use the words of Augustine) “if Christian discipline condemned all wars, when the soldiers ask counsel as to the way of salvation, they would have been told to cast away their arms, and withdraw altogether from military service. Whereas it was said (Luke 3:14), Concuss no one, do injury to no one, be contented with your pay. Those whom he orders to be contented with their pay he certainly does not forbid to serve” ~ John Calvin

  128. You know, not everything we believe or learn in life is wrong and has to be changed.
    Change just for changes sake is wrong actually.

  129. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. (Acts 17:19-21, ESV)
    ———————————————————–
    I’m willfully ripping a text out of context and grossly misapplying it to support Derek’s comment. 🙂

    That said…the Calvin quote sure shows how old this argument happens to be within the Christian faith. (And of course it greatly predates Calvin) And the Scriptures involved haven’t changed in 1900 years. My best friend in seminary wrote his Masters Thesis (which I read and was very good) on the topic several years ago, and all his sources were of course earlier than that.

    My first comments (19 & 25) were simply to ask my litmus test question, acknowledging both an interest in a good book but the limits of time and money. and a certain non-negotiable I hold – a conviction using the real world of fascist Europe.

    I apologize for not hitting the Amazon link first, where I could have read my answer from the author himself on the back cover and saved all the aggravation.

    Hopefully it still was more edifying than arguing about the Harvest Crusades would have been.

    Peace.

    P.S. Good to see you, Em!! Have missed you greatly and thought about you often. 🙂

  130. Well now.
    I get excited about a book because it challenged me greatly on an important topic.
    I recommend the book.
    I then become a “careless” teacher and someone who is simply changing for the sake of change.
    This, even though I made it clear that I was still in the process of thinking these things through.
    I’m judged and the book is judged by a blurb on the back cover…reading it before rejecting it is obviously not an option.
    Next time, I’ll just publish a cover and save myself the effort of writing the book.
    I will have to remember that if my mind is not closed to further light on the Scripture to keep these ponderings to myself.

  131. Derek,

    Since you do not believe that there is such a thing as a just war, I hope that you’ll join us in the anti war tribe. It’s overflowing with combat veterans.

    My brother was drafted into the Army during Vietnam. Due to family connections, he got a years deferment, enlisted in another branch, and ended up working close to home for one of the agencies with three initials. It’s a dirty, dirty business.

  132. Derek…love Duck Dynasty and Phil (and I’m starting work on my PhD, too–don’t ask me about that cognitive dissonance!). He relates in a way many Americans can grasp and for that I’m so grateful.

  133. The 2 Kingdoms – you folks keep ignoring it… to your shame.

    You show your ignorance when you say “the church should be non violent.” The purpose of the church is not to be violent or non violent – it is the place where God forgives sin.

    Outside of that, we as Christians live out our vocations in civil society. I guess we could be JWs and not claim citizenship, salute the flag or join the army … but I don’t think we are called in that direction. The police, the soldiers the CIA and NSA, although they can abuse their position, are under God’s authority, whether they are believers or not to keep order.

    Hey, many folks want to disturb order and they need to be met with force.

    The opposite of being a pacifist is not to be a violent person. No, the opposite is to be a caring, protective person. That is what Steve is advocating and what Derek lived out.

    But to you pacifist types, the next time you are in trouble, don’t call a cop – because you may be demanding that he get violent with someone.

  134. oh, its a dirty business alright. And aptly described by Colonel Jessup in the movie “A Few Good Men”. Most cannot handle the truth, and I have learned that while ignorance is not bliss, there are some things I wish I was never exposed to, And yet that curiosity is alive and well.

    I’m not a pacifist by any means and yet I struggled with my desire to keep my own sons out of combat. I wanted something better for them.

    Well, Michael, so much for suggesting a book that might actually provoke some thinking, even if someone reaches a different conclusion than that of the author. I would suggest you not worry about defending your recommendation. If you have gotten something from the book, and you have been challenged by its content, then great. I read people I disagree with all the time. It sharpens me; including some of the comments that I read here.

  135. I’m convinced Michael that if you read this thread 48 hours from now, you will read it differently.and not nearly as personal. It has not been my intent to insult you today.

    The careless teacher line was not directed at you. If it seemed that way, then once more, I apologize for poor communication. I have not sought to insult you in this process. I do think you have thrown a couple unfair ones my way (again which a reread would show) but that is cool. You probably don’t think so – thus we are even on that score.

    More frustrating is in one post you criticized me for not engaging the author’s thesis, then in another post you asked how I could engage the author’s thesis when I have not read the book. I’m said to be ignoring questions, then when I answer no further discussion results but a new shift takes place.

    To Derek’s point about something new. Do you believe that a Christian who has studied the Word for 20+ years, and taught it almost as long, might come to some conclusions along the way where all the arguments from different sides using the Bible have been already pretty much weighed? Even some knuckle-dragger on the religious right who still puts the authority of Scripture above all earthly teachings and beliefs

    For example, if someone wrote a new fresh take arguing life in God’s sight does not really begin until the baby exits the womb and can breathe on his own – and loads it with Scripture and word studies on ruach, I am not going to waste my time. If that is dismissed as having a closed mind, then so be it. Actually it is a studied mind that came to a conclusion some time ago.

    When someone argues a fresh new look at homosexuality acceptance, I will pass on that one too. When someone offers a fresh new look if hell really exists (or if people end up there), I will pass on that one too.

    Much like we come to conclusions about the foundations of the faith. You aren’t interested in a fresh take on Jesus not being divine, on the Scriptures not being inspired, on the resurrection not being a literal bodily one.

    Christians serving in the military is an OLD argument. This new wrapper may be shiny and bright and scratching right where you are itching right now – and it may be great for a lot of your readers too. It may be far more interesting to read an author illustrating and interacting with drone strikes and other modern examples that Calvin in his day could not use. But the SCRIPTURES do not change.

    It is a complex topic, as I think my questions have sought to show – but if I ask the starting point whether God approved of Christians taking up arms to defeat Hitler – it helps winnow the field. Because that to me is the nonstarter.

    As an aside, book covers are very valuable for me – I like to see the author’s background, schooling, view on Scripture as authoritative or not, and hopefully a general thesis to be found supported in the book.

    Peace.

  136. Ixtlan,

    This is the first time in 55 years I’ve been referred to as a “pacifist type”…
    I enjoy challenges to my doctrines and appreciate good writing that is focused on the Scripture…even if I end up disagreeing with some or all of the premise.
    Thanks for the support.

  137. I switched back to the lighter format…folks find it easier to read.
    I just wanted to look cool….

  138. Em 🙂 So glad to see you here!

  139. I say round up the Evangelicals and put ’em all on an island where their influence can no longer divide the nation as they continue to spew their hate and ignorance. Shut down their churches as they are in it for the money and so many more scandalous reasons. Do keep their impressionable children with the enlightened ones so they might be freed from the shackles that are sure to enslave them. This would then allow the enlightened believers to usher in God’s kingdom unhindered.

    So many people protest the discernment ministries while at the same time it seems they’ve perfected the practice and have identified the enemy.

    I for one am sick and tired of being minimized, trivialized, mocked and made sport of by other believers when more than ever I desire to see the church come together in unity. The books I read, the music I like, the belief (though wavering) in a pre trib rapture, my belief that homosexuality is a sin, the belief there is an eternity waiting for the unbelievers that is eternal and outside the presence of God, being a republican, are all proof I’m part of the problem.

    Something’s terribly wrong.

  140. Steve,

    After WW2, the US NEEDED to create reasons to go to war to feed the military industrial complex. One legitimate role of govt is to provide for the common defense. The Constitution was clearly referring to the people of the US. What was the defensive purpose of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and how were “our interests” served?
    My mother worked for Douglas aircraft in the 60’s in Washington DC. After the merger with McDonnell, she was the personal secretary of a retired General turned lobbyist for a defense contractor. She made his appointments with legislators and handled all of his correspondence. My stepfather was head of the budget for three air force bases. Growing up inside the Beltway, I had multiple family members employed by the govt, including a cousin who was inner circle JFK secret service.

    Modern war is all about money, and everyone on the inside knows it.

    Mothers and Fathers, do not let your children fight rich mens wars.

  141. I for one am sick and tired of being minimized, trivialized, mocked and made sport of by other believers when more than ever I desire to see the church come together in unity.
    —————————-
    Amen E-runner

  142. Jim,
    I have already stated my position about Syria – I do not want the US to do a thing. But that does not mean that i do not think that someone should. I am just tired of it being us.

    But if the European Union we to go in and toss Assad and his regime out, I would give a standing ovation.

    How about you – would you be happy to just let him keep gassing his people?

  143. Erunner,
    Welcome to my world. I get minimized, trivialized, mocked and made sport of by evangelicals when I tell them that we grow God’s kingdom by baptizing babies. 🙂

  144. Apparently Michael wishes the JW and Mormons would use crusades and the Christians would knock on his door.

  145. As for evangelism… seems to me lots of people come to faith in Christ when the Gospel isn’t even preached … God rides a lot of lame horses.

    Even the sinner’s prayer is something we made up for its utilitarian value and effect. It certainly is not biblical.

    In fact I do not know when the last time I heard an evangelist tell someone to repent and be baptized so that they will receive the Holy Spirit.

    Why are baptistries absent from Greg’s gig?

    I have tons of answers to these things but it is so much fun to show how completely unbiblical we are in our techniques and methods.

  146. MLD,

    There is no “let him” in my thinking. Syria is a sovereign nation, as is the US. Imagine if other nations spoke about the US in they way that we refer to other nations.

    The only reason we have a mid east policy is because of oil.

    In the early 90’s we ignored the genocide Rwanda because we had no “national interest” there. Half a million people slaughtered.

    Assad has already killed 100K, but now that someone (the UN has not conformed who) has gassed 2000, we’re going to get involved.

    Because of oil.

  147. Jim,
    What you say is true, with one exception. Our mid east policy is also dictate by the pro Israel lobby that has us by the short hairs.

    So at least we do agree – no US meddling in Syria.

  148. Jim, do you then believe the USA should particpate as a member of The United Nations in any way, shape or form.

    In other words, does it matter if the USA is shaking its finger at the actions of a sovereign nation, versus if the United Nations choose to do so?

  149. I remember the beating Pat Buchanan took in the 1992 primaries when he called congree the Israel amen corner.

  150. Steven,

    I’m with the founders on this one. No.

    Would you let the UN or another nation tell us what to do within our borders? Who are we to draw “red lines”? It’s all BS anyway. When we bomb Syria, it will have nothing to do with gas. Same goes for Iran and nukes. These are simply excuses.

    Google Wesley Clark, 7 countries in 5 years.

  151. I’m with the founders on this one. No.
    ———————————
    Ah…common ground. 🙂

  152. Modern war is all about money, and everyone on the inside knows it.

    Mothers and Fathers, do not let your children fight rich mens wars.

    Agreed! But then, I spent 30 years of my life as a Quaker.

    Michael, I appreciate the fact that you were challenged by a book to look at things differently than you have in the past. I’ll order it and read more than the cover.

    BTW. even though I spent those years in the Quaker Church, I never considered myself a pacifist. Some wars had to be fought, but I agree with Jim’s quote above when it comes to the wars in my lifetime. Black gold is the driving force in much of what goes on today.

  153. Thank you, Bob…
    I just saw that the same author is writing a book on homosexuality next…I might have to blog that one from a bunker.

  154. Michael,
    When you do I’ll make a pizza run!

  155. In my next post we’ll begin with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 and I’ll try to show why this passage does not clearly condemn homosexuality

    Same sex attraction is not a sin. Acting on it might be..
    ——————————————————————–
    Might be? (sigh). Don’t worry Michael, when Sprinkle comes out with his newest book, which I am sure will sell well if the above two quotes are any indication – I won’t say a word.

    Blog away.

  156. Chris Date: “…before the book and when the book was published, like Chan, you leaned towards the traditional view. I don’t get the impression that’s the case any longer. So where do you find yourself now and what since the publishing of Erasing Hell has gotten you there?”

    Dr. Preston Sprinkle: “Yeah I would say…I would lean towards annihilation now…But I’m not one to hide what I believe. Again going back to my college, one of the blessings of working at a school like that is that…there’s no like weird doctrinal statement that threatens my job at all…[It’s]Be biblical, love Jesus, preach the Gospel, and we’ll keep you on here. So there’s no threat from my church, or from family, or from anyone…there’s nothing like that that’s pressuring me to hold on to a traditional view. I’m kind of a slow thinker in a sense that I don’t mind taking a few years to really work through something before I ultimately land. So going back to your question I would say I lean towards annihilation.”
    ————————————————————————
    (double-sigh)

    I’ll stop now.

  157. What we in American call Crusades in most of the 3rd world countries they are called Jesus Festivals or the like. For the simple fact that Muslims, in these areas will riot because they think these out of towners may be waging war against them. In some ways they are correct, but spiritual war for the souls of men. The reason so many here think it odd that crusades or open air meetings are a waste is because. Typically those that look down on such events, have very little fruit of leading anyone to Christ themselves. Leave the evangelist alone. Paul said, (paraphrased) if the Gospel is preached out of wrong motives… I still rejoice the Gospel is being preached, despite the puffed up preacher, whom God will deal with later. If you want to see the fruit of large open air meetings. Where thousands and hundreds of thousands of muslims are converted by the power of the Gospel. Here is one evangelist that has not built his ministry on the comforts and ease. But has toiled in the hot African sun. And is reaping what those who sowed in tears years before him.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaaQRjBOYV8

  158. Christ for all Nations – FL total revenue $13,367,736 Reinhard Bonnke President $162,165 Salary 2008. Dont get me wrong I will never fault someone in business for how they make money and how they make it. The fact they make it is the only true measure of blessing.

  159. Before I read any further, I just have to say, “EM!!!!!” I have thought about you, prayed for you and missed you so much here. (I am sure many have!) Oh, how happy I am to “see” you here! We miss you and your musings. Hope to see you around lots more.

  160. Oh, and thank you Michael for the white background. I was really struggling trying to read with the black background.

  161. This is more like it

    Peter Popoff Ministries – CA $23,556,469 Peter Popoff President $628,732 again no judgement well maybe on myself for not have gotten on this train, but that is a sin I will carry into eternity.

  162. I’ve read through this conversation and I agree that the only thing the wars in our lifetime have accomplished have been to strengthen the evil power/money machine. I could not send my son into the wars of today…they don’t fight wars to win anymore, but rather to keep the power/money machine going. It’s all too corrupt.

    However, I do believe that Steve W. was, indeed, asking some very good questions and giving some very real life examples of how would one actually “apply” the teachings of this book (via the examples given here) in real life. I was surprised that you reacted so indignantly, Michael. I didn’t think SW was being snarking, but asking some simimar questions that I had.
    I believe we all yearn for peace….even the earth is groaning for redemption from the evil state it is in. In our broken world, peace will never come until His return. However, we can try to be agents of peace and reconciliation in our lives…..but saying all that…….. I have a hard, sturdy frying pan that would be my weapon of choice should someone come into my home and try to physically harm me or a loved one.

  163. Well, after seeing all the views this Sprinkle guy is thinking on writing about. It all makes sense. He wants to take some popular views with young christians.
    You know the anti-war, pro-homosexual type Christians.
    Probably would have gone whole hog and been anti-hell too, but there was that book he wrote with Chan dang it.
    Just a popularist.

  164. The funny thing is, he seems to couch his views.
    I thought it weird that the back blurb of the book was so straight forward, but he still seemed to have a gun.
    Sort of like he is trying to live in both worlds so he is seen as someone who is objective, but leans towards the cultural/media view.
    I said “You know the anti-war, pro-homosexual type Christians.” more distinct would be the anti-war, don’t believe homosexuality is a sin type young christian.”

  165. “It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.

    The true remedy for the war spirit is the pure gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of his teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of his law of love.

    We urge Christian people throughout the world to pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace, and to oppose everything likely to provoke war.”

    Baptist Faith and Message 1925.

    The last line was out of the 1963 and 2000 version, but I like how this is stated better.

  166. Actually, he doesn’t couch his views at all.
    What he does do is present and listen to all the different sides of the argument.
    He actually acknowledges that other views have merit and biblical support while reaching his own conclusions.
    He seems to be fair …which is one hell of a lot more than I can say for what has happened to him here.

  167. “So going back to your question I would say I lean towards annihilation.”
    Just like that heathen John Stott…

  168. The church at play…disagree with someones position on a secondary doctrine and and destroy them as a person.

  169. Michael,

    I attended a series of meetings with Myron S. Augsburger (a Mennonite) back in the 80’s. He presented some of the best teachings on Christian pacifism that I have ever heard. Wish I could find the tapes. He almost convinced me!

  170. Bob,

    This whole conversation would be amusing if it hadn’t led me to drink myself to sleep last night.
    I’ve always believed that the best way to deal with a bully is to break their face.
    I’ve always felt castration should be a legal punishment for some.
    I would have shot Hitler…multiple times before I finished him off.
    Threaten my family and you take your life in your hands.
    Then I read this book…which starts in the Old Testament and explains well the “terror texts” that so many are bringing up these days…by showing that Gods intent is to move us from shalom to shalom, from the Garden through the ages back to home.
    He examines the radical teachings of Jesus that Jesus then lives out to the death and that death brings victory and how death bringing victory is the NT pattern.
    Jesus turns every thing upside down.
    I thought it challenging and compelling…I have to read it again and let it soak in.
    I haven’t bought the whole argument…but he has a hell of a case.
    I hope you find it worth your while.

  171. I still think the book more illustrates the two narratives in the “bible” and highlights the contradictory message of “love and forgiveness and love your enemy” vs. “smite the enemy damnation and hell-fire”

  172. You must share the unique ability that others here have to know what a book says before you read it.
    I’m in awe of your capabilities.

  173. E Runner @ 140 – yeppers.
    I get this picture in my mind of Abraham trying to bargain for our lives on a hillside overlooking us middle age, middle class, still think there might be a use for both Sunday School and flannel graphs and not quite hip to the fact that it’s not cool to make a casserole for someone’s family who’s been in the hospital cause it’s not a vegan casserole, Bible toting, giving money to some unknown missionary and orphanage Christians . . .

    but Abe’s not bargaining with the Angel of Death/ God Himself / Pre Incarnate Appearance of Christ / Whoever your Commentary says it was back in Genesis . . .
    Nope, Abe is bargaining with people who think themselves the real Christians, the hip, forward thinking, those who think ‘we must rid ourselves of the Spiritual Luddites Christians’ . . .

    And the thing is, those of us who really believe our convictions and who really actually do the stuff we say . . . we go ahead and stay married, we visit hospitals, we give to orphanages, we teach our devastatingly unhip Sunday School classes, we make our non – vegan casseroles and we are backwards and we don’t have all the catchphrases, but none of that matter to the hip, cool ‘now trending on Twitter’ Christians. We’re an archaic anachronism and we need to be put on that island you mentioned. And our fellow Christians are perfectly content to allow and help any institution, law firm, government or anyone else who wants to compel us by force to subservience to perversions, promiscuity and what we sincerely believe is denial of our faith. And they’ll call it gracious. This grace doesn’t flow, it’s more of a lever, really, with a pointy sharp end.

    What is being purposely forgotten is that they’re setting the thermostat for their own immolation or their own falling away . . . you know, if that were possible. Every state approved religion I can think of always accomplishes remarkable things.

    Well, that’s a rant, innit?

  174. I attended and graduated from a Christian college that is officially pacifist in policy. I have had quite a few friends who are pacifists, many coming from my college days. I have never been nearly convinced of the pacifist position. But I can appreciate it and know that many that I know who hold this position are coming from a high view of Scripture.

  175. Rob,

    By the same token…I’ve been “turned over to Satan” for rejecting the pretrib rapture doctrine and damned to hell for not being a Republican.
    It goes many ways…

  176. I am perfectly ok with being the unhip christian. And may just think that good comes out of things like Harvest Crusades.

    Jim, not ready to join the anti-war club. I feel fine opposing some, like the coming Syria action, but there may be one in the future that is a bit more needed.

    Michael, sorry but he just sounds to me like his book with Chan, didn’t go over well with the hipster/Rob Bell types and now it just looks like “look, I can be cool too” stuff.

  177. @177 – Michael – not by me, never by me. I disavowed and departed the Republican party. I cannot lend my name to a political party who does what they do – solemnizing the work of that party, holding their coats by adding my name in affirmation to them. I believe everyone should understand they are solemnizing what they add their name to. I wish others held that same conviction, but they do not.

    I think that men like me and E Runner would forgo any objection to being called an anachronism as long as we’re not being fitted with a gold star by fellow Christians – and we acknowledge it’s only figuratively for now, but practice makes permanent.

  178. Derek,

    I marvel at the ability to judge character and motive without reading the work.
    He’s Reformed with a high view of Scripture and he footnoted that book more heavily than I’ve seen for books published on that level.
    He actually engages different views and objections without demeaning those who disagree.
    He has strong view on militarism and nationalism, but he builds a biblical case for his beliefs.
    He deals with original source material and presents it for you to read on your own if you desire.
    For his efforts, he gets judged as a poser.

  179. Rob,

    If you want to see what happens to a brother who engages different views and thinks outside the box…read this thread.
    The world is simply mimicking what we do to each other.

  180. I think I am seeing the development of the new Christian paranoia.

    I thought that the content of this thread was the definition of conversation.

  181. MLD,

    Could be.
    This one really took me out…but that’s part of the process anymore.

  182. @182 – “new Christian paranoia” . . . . like the Barmen Declaration?

  183. can a follower of Christ be a pacifist? can a pacifist stand – hold their ground? or do they just sit on it? perhaps, we’re not clear on what to fight for/against? can a child of God who is a citizen of a God denying nation* be a soldier in their nation’s army? i’d say yes… but, it may carry the responsibility of denying an order – serious responsibility
    good to see that the dialogs continue on the Phxp… and good to see folks still conversing on the LIFE
    *the United States of America is a God denying nation IMHO – God hates being marginalized BTW… the lukewarm thing

    one thing i always wish that i had done back when i visited here daily is go thru these posted thots and compiled a list of all the nuggets buried in the chaff – so often, there’ll be a post that contains a big wow that gets lost in verbiage (i wasn’t the only one who wasn’t concise)
    God keep you all, you’ve stayed in my prayers

  184. Em,

    We’re better when you’re here.

  185. “You must share the unique ability that others here have to know what a book says before you read it.
    I’m in awe of your capabilities.”

    I’m commenting on (and trusting) your synopsis of the book…maybe I shouldn’t accept the premise of your brief take and subsequent comments about it?

  186. …I’m in awe of your blind spots.

  187. I provided snippets of the book.
    It’s over three hundred pages long and spends a great deal of time carefully examining the OT before embarking on an explanation of the New.
    If you don’t have that background, you don’t understand the way the author came to his conclusions and you have no idea whether he built a biblical case or not.

  188. I’m confused. I count 1,2,3, FOUR direct or indirect knocks on the Harvest Crusade in the Things Top Ten, and yet quoting a man’s actual words (and disagreeing) is attacking character, motive and a host of other sins.

    Thank you Nonnie for your #163. That was a blessing to read and much appreciated.

    As to Things I Think #10 – I’m definitely working through nine books at present. Six are commentaries on Romans, three on Isaiah. Charges about being afraid to be challenged or open to other points of view are ludicrous.

    I’ll teach 10-12 verses of Romans on Sunday. I have two days and then, will teach 2 chapters on Isaiah, then I am blessed with three whole days before I have to teach Romans again. Week after week, month after month, year after year.

    Meanwhile, I’m digging through some Bruce on NT History, Archer on OT studies, reviewing my Greek and Hebrew learned (and trying to learn some more), knocking out (hopefully) a chapter a week in my Collins’ Christian Counseling tome. And if time allows trying to finish some reading just for me – like Peterson’s Pastor book, and some devotional material that sadly has stayed on the shelf half-read for quite awhile. Oh yeah, I’m reading this book called the Bible too.

    I read all the above to be more effective in my calling to God’s people. We all have work, family responsibilities, and thus, limited reading time. (and when I blog here, it is multi-tasking time, not serious reading time availablity)

    Whether I am believed or not, I was sincere in my initial question. I would get this book, as I have some other books, on Michael’s recommendation – BUT I was not going to waste the money or time on something I know I have already come to a different conclusion on. Thus my litmus test question. Condemn and judge me all you want. Yesterday was a day when I was not free to read, but I was free to do a lot of commenting. Today won’t be. I thought we could have a conversation on the issues as pertaining to Christian living, not simply doing a book review of the latest 30-something with a PhD and a previous best-seller under his belt. I don’t know the man. That’s why I looked him up. I did sigh at what I read – but it does seem like par for the course these days. I sure don’t get the quote I cited, where the concern seems to be job security at this Bible College and not agonizing over whether one is teaching the truth properly. I grieve at some of the stuff I taught in my 30s, and have prayed the Lord’s forgiveness for my errors.

    And like I said earlier, any book where the author is willing to even entertain with a “might” the acceptability of homosexual behavior is again not a book I will waste time on, For in MY LIFE, not anyone else’s, but MY life – it would be a waste of time.

    Enjoy the day. Peace.

  189. Michael,
    I marvel at the ability to judge character and motive based on one quote from Phil Robertson at the Harvest Crusade.
    But yet, none of us here said that you need to go watch all the seasons of Duck Dynasty along with any you tube videos to be fully able to engage in a discussion on him.
    Do you think that because Phil is a redneck from Louisiana, he has nothing of any importance to say?
    Or, do only important academia types matter to any discussion and pull any weight.
    Sorry, I see posers in academia all the time, just watch the evening news.

    Guess what, I judge all the time.
    I pick up a book and if the cover sucks, I put it down.
    If the cover is okay, I move on to the description in the book jacket. If it doesn’t grab me or interest me then I will put it down.
    Lot of judging going on there.
    Your snippets told me, waste of my time.
    Just because he has cred in the Christian academia doesn’t mean he is always right.
    Some are, some aren’t.

    At least I can see from this thread, that I am not the only one that judges people.

  190. And let me be the first to declare, I will not read the book.
    So, expect no reasonable, intelligent response to the subject of pacifism from me. After all, only people that have read the book can comment.

  191. The last comment was meant as a joke

  192. Funny how Michael’s #190 goes unnoticed. The story is accurate, as are the supportive documents. Francona did correct one quote, saying, “After the Iraqis used the chemical weapons on Iranian troops in 1988, the Iraqis did not have to tell the US government about it, since by then US intelligence had already found out, because Francona was part of the team that found evidence of that use!”

  193. Derek said, “Jim, not ready to join the anti-war club. I feel fine opposing some, like the coming Syria action, but there may be one in the future that is a bit more needed.”

    How will you know the difference? From info gathered from the truth-telling press, or the truth-telling govt?

  194. #190 Yawn. Old stuff. No new news there.
    I’m sorry, where is this perfect utopian government that everyone expects.
    If someone can show me that naton we can all move there and hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
    As for me, I oppose this recent action, because it is harder for the press to hide the fact that they can’t really prove Assad did anything.
    But, I can’t know the future and there may be some war in the future that will be worth fighting.
    Will bad things happen by both sides? Most definitely, they always do even in the much lauded WWII, which is usually held out as the example of the “just war”
    But, sometimes, you have to balance out good and bad and say well better do something now before it knocks on the front door.
    Just because the press and govt. lie now doesn’t guarantee lying in the future.
    Rather keep my options open.

  195. Off the topic a bit here, but luckily my Dad found quite a few boxes of 7.62x54mmR shells for my 1938 Mosin Nagant that somehow ended up at his house.
    Lucky, because shells cost a lot these days.
    Gonna go target shooting soon. 😉

  196. So I can safely expect that there will be about 9,000 more people in churches overall next Sunday, and a year from next Sunday? Correct?

    Or were the majority of those 9,000, already Christians that were “recommitting”, in which case, we’d still see them in church next Sunday and a year from next Sunday. Correct?

    Because I know the line… “If just one got saved….”. But that wouldn’t answer my questions about the 9,000, since the claim from Harvest here is that 9,000 *new believers* are going to heaven, no matter what.

    So is Harvest’s claim false, or am I just stupid for daring to ask questions? 😉

  197. Andy, I bet the vast majority of the 9,000 were simply folks who “recommitted” or had stopped going to church for a time or grew up culturally Christian and had a general belief in God and now signed on for the CC sect’s version of being “born again” and will attend a CC franchise for awhile

  198. Ricky, that is possible. But then we would expect that the (mostly) local CC’s would see about an increase of 9000 next Sunday. For even as big as a few of the CC’s are, 9000 extra people in the doors next Sunday, would be noticed, talked about, blogged about…. it would be a veritable call of revival, that the masses are flooding into CC’s like never before.

    Keep in mind that these huge in-the-thousands claims come from Harvest every single year. And yet, I haven’t personally seen any such flood of CC’s grow in any year recently (say, the past 12 years or so). I’ve seen CC’s grow in the years of Lonnie Frisbee and other such characters, but some of the big CC’s in that area, are shrinking, not growing.

  199. “I’m blessed because of my faith, because you don’t have to worry about the future, because I know who holds my future. A lot of times people use that as a cliche, but it’s something I try to live by. It really gives you a lot of peace in whatever circumstance you’re in.” ~Tim Tebow
    http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/08/30/tim-tebow-not-worried-about-future-with-patriots/

  200. We all know who holds Tebow’s future … Bill Belichick. 😉

  201. Belichick is not God.

    (Satan maybe… 😉 )

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