May 272014
 

links_image1I’m not a good Calvinist, either…

A conversation on the future of Protestantism…

Teen Mania bankrupt…

United Methodists ready to split…

 

The difference between pastors and teachers…

Did Fred Phelps soften before he died?

What it looks like from the pulpit…

One side of the TGC sanctification controversy…

Carl Trueman asks some good questions about the pastoral implications of the sanctification kerfuffle…

How Christianity is disappearing from the Middle East…

The law/Gospel distinction in Reformed theology…

Wenatchee The Hatchet on the latest Driscoll foolishness…

The unattainable good life of Elliot Rodger…

Stop the execution of a Christian mother in Sudan…

Americas mental health crisis…

The only thing worse than bad leaders…

Audio from the Calvary Chapel East Coast Pastors Conference on “what now” and “what next” for the movement…

  117 Responses to “LINKS!”

  1. I am conflicted, skeptical, cynical when it comes to the mental health care issue. There are obviously those out there that are in need of care who are not getting it, but on the other side it seems that the first step to cure the illness of being a human being anymore is to prescribe psych drugs. I was told of a family last week who already has their eight year old daughter on multiple antidepressents, and I’m not sure how unusual of a thing that is anymore. It seems like we are moving in the direction that pretty much anyone can be diagnosed with just about anything as a “spectrum disorder”, so it’s just a matter of time before everyone is prescribed one thing or another.

  2. I am given to wonder if Leon Brown has confronted individual fellow believers before taking them to task as an anonymous aggregate.

  3. I think Calvinists have very passive aggressive ways of calling each other liars. Here is the thing. None of us knows. One thing sure is that they are all dedicated to looking right in the eyes of public. Interesting to watch our theology work out in practice. This is a good study in hamartiology.

  4. Thank you for posting the link to Amnesty International’s effort Meriam Ibrahiem. I pray constantly for her.(and Saeed, and the Christian school girls in Nigeria).

    The Teen Mania alleged expenses, particularly for T.D. Jakes, are repulsive and irresponsible.

    I’m not a Calvnist. I’m simply a believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Messiah. No other titles for me. It’s hard enough as it is.

    About mental illness….. as with cancer, will the medical industry please ask the question “what causes this?”. The alternative health realm that I circulate in proposes numerous possibilities for the surge in mental (and other) illnesses, such as: pollution of the environment, garden, lawn and home pesticides & fungicides, the ingestion of wretched fake factory made ‘foods’ and beverages, the slathering the body with toxic lotions, sun screens, deodorants, tooth products, etc ad nauseum-literally. The use of mercury in dental filings is totally linked to mental illness (mercury = ‘mad hatters”) . Many of popularly prescribed meds, even over the counter drugs, have frightening side effect and interactions. Artificial sweeteners are strongly linked to depression, anxiety and other mental and central nervous system illnesses. So much is out of our control, but much still is a matter of our choices.

  5. BD,

    We Calvinists do not own the market on any of the issues you raise…

  6. The issues around mental illness have impacted my life and the lives of those I love greatly in the last couple of years.
    I don’t have any more answers today than when our journey began…but it is an issue we need to be thinking about and discussing.

  7. Michael,

    Fair enough but that is the case before us and I think theology works out in practice and reading all these articles is amazing. No one owns anything and everyone else is misrepresenting the truth.

  8. Wow, read the articles by Trueman and Philips. They sure are great at talking about holding sinning Christians accountable in the abstract, but where is the real-life application? Confront Mahaney, Harris, and the rest at SGM? Confront Driscoll? Nothing but crickets chirping.
    Do these men really think they are in the right? That it is all about orthodoxy and never about orthopraxy? Stop getting in such a huff against the Straw Men that you have built just so that you can pontificate on your supposed sound doctrines.

    As for Leon Brown’s view from the pulpit: I’m very thankful that I am not one of the folks he sees from his high and holy podium.

  9. If President Obama can send in an 0-dark-thirty seal team to kill Bin Ladin, he can surely send one in to rescue that brave woman in the Sudan. Mr. President:
    Do The Right Thing!

  10. Paige, I would assume that it is likely many if not all of what you mention. A few months ago I had gotten into drinking diet sdoa on a regular basis simply because my wife had it in the house. I didn’t notice anything at first, but after a couple months I started to routinely be in depressive moods, and had problems with word finding, so there is most definitely a dietary aspect to many of these things. I would also speculate that those are magnified when applied to children as well. It also baffles me how quickly they will prescribe psych meds to minds that have hardly even started to develope.

  11. Listening to the pastors conference. So far I’m getting that no one sees any need to change anything and it’s business as usual.
    Also “we aren’t a denomination” but “Calvary Chapels should be like Mcdonalds” you know what you get when you go to one.” In other words: A denomination

  12. BD,

    This is common to all of our tribes…we just happen to be arguing about sanctification rather than eschatology or the present work of the Holy Spirit, or any of the other issues that we divide over.
    We live in a division delighted culture…my words that we need to hear the primary concerns of both sides have resulted in scorn here and in my email from both sides.

  13. Phillips makes clear the divide between Tullian and Phillip’s TGC buddies.
    Tullian – sanctification by the work of Jesus – (which is something I have always espoused – repentance is by Christ – justification is by Christ – Sanctification is by Christ – Glorification is by Christ)
    TGC – sanctification by your own works.

    Sanctification by look outside yourself to Jesus vs sanctification by looking inward at yourself.

    I asked yesterday and got no reply – so why are they so bent out of shape now at this time if what Tullian is teaching is common in Reformed teaching?

  14. Dennis,

    What you are hearing is the public face that particular group wants to present.
    There are other voices that conflict with them.

  15. Mental illness is a sad reality in our world and the truth is that drugs have done wonders for scores of people. That is undisputed. I also realize there are side effects that can’t be denied. There are doctors over prescribing medication and prescribing it too quickly.

    Anxiety, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Depression are very real and because of the stigma attached to mental illness will not come forward to get help. The results can be and many times are catastrophic.

    The worst thing a person can do is to directly or indirectly tell someone who is suffering they are somehow to blame for it.

    Drugs are not the only solution for mental illness. Wise counsel can go a long ways to helping someone.

    If we treated people with cancer and other diseases like some treat the mentally ill they would labeled as cruel and uncaring. Until society recognizes mental illness is just as real as other diseases and treatment is made available instead of being cut back there will continue to be many more afflicted.

    The key is balance. But please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  16. MLD,

    I will again refer you to the historic arguments that have gone on over this issue since the 17th century.
    You grossly misrepresent the position of TGC and anyone who reads the actual books or articles in question should be able to see that very quickly.

  17. But the truth is that it’s not all God or all us, it is us cooperating with God in a true child/father loving relationship.

  18. Michael: I hope they are voices with influence. These seem to be the guys with the reins right now.

  19. Xenia, that is true. Preach Jesus to a Christian and a Christian produces fruit -100% of the time.
    Preach how to grow fruit, well… I don’t know that a Christian then always produces fruit.

    You are a semi farmer – when you are working your garden do your talk to your lemon tree about it’s part or it’s cooperation in producing lemons? Perhaps you do. 🙂

  20. Dennis,

    I didn’t put those links in a separate article because frankly, they are a lot of smoke.
    There are no real leaders in CC right now and the future is as muddied as I’ve reported before.

  21. Xenia,

    All involved in the Reformed debate would affirm that sanctification is a synergistic process.
    In my opinion the real issue they are debating is how much both sides contribute to the process and both sides are out of balance in their practical applications of their conclusions..
    The discussion can be a great corrective for all of us or it can be just another boundary line drawn between brethren.

  22. erunner, I agree that balance is key, but it seems like the cases of those that I come in contact with that overdiagnosed is higher than those who are under, mis, or un-diagnosed. We have millions of people out there that are medicating away the normal struggles of life, and are being told that they don’t have the capacity to cope, so that they are going to medicated for the rest of their lives. I’m sorry I keep harping on this, but someone very close to me has been struggling with this (and happily winning) over the last few months.

    I feel for those who have legit mental health disorders, but the truth is that we have two seperate streams of mental health treatment that seem to be running concurrently. We have the side perpetuated by the pharmaceutical companies that is thriving on the normal sadness and stress of life which is booming. On the other side we have those with real significant mental health issues that are being failed by the system.

  23. Michael,
    I don’t want to argue with you again over this, but I did read the Phillips article clearly – I read it last week also.
    His charge against Tullian, and you can read it in the article yourself is that Tullian “has consistently taught that the Bible urges sanctification not by telling Christians what they must do but by telling Christians what Jesus has done.”

    So,, how have I misrepresented what Phillips or his TGC guys have said? Phillips goes on and makes it clear he believes that we can not only preach good works, but ” The Bible abundantly teaches that believers are able, by grace in Christ and through faith, to obey God and do good works.”

    I won’t get into who is right or wrong 😉 but you can’t say that I have misrepresented positions.

    But, since we are at it, and I know you don’t want to take side between these guys – but what is your position? Mine is close to Tullian’s.

  24. MLD,

    The Lutheran sanctification doctrine is resurfacing with vigor among independents who are weary with a sanctification project that wears people down and seems to have outcomes of soul desolation. People ladened with guilt don’t get better they get bitter. Receiving sanctification in the same fashion as redemption is resonating with people.

  25. MLD,

    You misrepresent Phillips when you say that he is preaching sanctification by works.
    Phillips would affirm that sanctification is a gift from God…but a gift we are also called to participate in and strive to possess in greater measure.
    Both sides have real biblical truths that need to be on the table…both sides need to hear the nuances and implications for orthopraxy as Trueman wrote of so well.
    Neither side is making a full exposition of the doctrine…so I will side with Calvin and invite them all to dinner.

  26. I do talk to my garden, as you suspected. 🙂

    Gardening is a good example of synergy. I don’t know how to calculate the percentage of what is God’s work in growing a lemon tree, probably 99.999999 percent, who knows. After all, He created lemon trees out of nothing in the first place. But I have to plant the tree, prune it, and water it. If I don’t cooperate with God there will be no lemons.

    Likewise, I can’t calculate the percentage of God’s part in my salvation, 99.999999 percent or more. But not 100 percent. I have to say yes, I have to get up and do my part. I have to make an effort. This is what helps create the loving bond we have with God. (Not on His part- He already loves us perfectly.)

    My grandson has a bunch of blocks that when you fit them together make a roadway for toy cars. (IKEA!) It’s fun for me to get down on the floor with him and play with this blocks and cars. I could make the whole roadway myself and it would be perfect. But it’s more fun for both of us if we just work together on the project. I provide most of the effort; after all, I was the one who bought the blocks and cars in the first place. But if I do it all, something is missing from the project. If we work together, we get to laugh over mistakes and dead ends and we get to cheer when things go right. And in the process of working together, my grandson comes to know me and to love me.

    And that’s how it is with us and God.

  27. The CC links are funny.

    Old guard guys on one. The usual blather.
    On the what’s next link, only one of those guys is a senior pastor. One is the son of a old guard guy. That tells you everything. The young guys continue to bail. And they keep the younger guys of influence on ice because they are scared of them.

    Calvary is dead in the water.

  28. dswoager, my efforts have always been geared towards the believer as they navigate through life with mental illness. That is because the church has done a terrible job in accepting the reality that mental illness exists. The attitudes expressed towards christian psychologists and psychiatrists has been just as bad and untold harm has been done in the name of Jesus.

    Through the years I have interacted with many who are suffering in ways people can’t begin to comprehend. Mental illness can be a living hell. These people need hope and they need encouragement.

    Instead they have been told they have secret sin, they aren’t doing enough for God so let’s get busy, they aren’t in the word enough, you have a demon, etc.

    My wife has had Rheumatoid Arthritis for 40 years. I have diabetes. There is no cure for either but you can fight them to lessen the effects. My wife is having her elbow replaced this week as RA has ravaged her body through the years.

    There are no cures for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia outside of God doing a miracle. For anyone to minimize their plight is plain cruel. That goes for those who suffer with depression as well.

    I understand the reality of the things you speak of but we should never forget the individuals who are truly suffering and need help. That has always been my focus.

  29. “so I will side with Calvin and invite them all to dinner.”

    So are either of them siding with Calvin? or are they arguing with Calvin?

  30. Babs,
    It’s just like Apocalyptic Anxiety created by the constant array of end times scenarios, now we are seeing the same thing in the realm of sanctification.

    So I will add Sanctification Anxiety to the continuing error in Christian teaching..

  31. Xenia – I was going for the example of you as the farmer (god) and the lemon tree (the christian) – how much does the lemon tree co operate or lend a hand to the farmer (god)?

    I suggest that you do the right preparation and the right work, because of your effort, the lemon tree (christian) will do what lemon tree (christian) do – produce fruit.

  32. MLD,

    I’m not going to play that game and pit either against Calvin.
    Calvin was careful, nuanced, and strove to be biblical on this issue and gives a fuller exposition of the doctrine than is currently available on blog posts.

  33. erunner, I guess that I have just dealt with the other side of it more than what you have. There is a victimhood that is placed on people that are medicated rather than treated. They are made to feel helpless and dependent on a chemical compound, and when new stressers are placed on their life they have been conditioned to seek chemical comfort. The rush to prescribe is a serious problem, and I would even speculate that it might be at the root of some of the legitimate mental health problems that we have. Whether it be mothers on psych drugs through pregnancy, children on psych drugs before their brains fully develope, misdiagnosed conditions that have led to a change in chemical makeup in the brain. There needs to be an overhaul to the way that these conditions are diagnosed, but it seems like there has been more of a movement to expand the conditions under which people can be diagnosed.

  34. Xenia – I was going for the example of you as the farmer (god) and the lemon tree (the christian) – how much does the lemon tree co operate or lend a hand to the farmer (god)?<<<

    I realized when I wrote my post that I had changed the focus of what you wrote. You can't compare a lemon tree with a Christian because a human being is capable of thought and has a will. I could talk to my tree all day and it wouldn't affect the amount of lemons it produced because the lemon tree has no will of its own. It can't obey or disobey, it can only respond to external input. Not so with humans, who can say Yes or No. We can choose to cooperate with God or give Him the cold shoulder.

  35. it can only respond to external input<<<

    By which I mean physical input- water, sunshine, fertilizer, etc.

  36. Overstating your case is the most consistent form of self-nulification I see from critics, myself included. When your heart is set that a thing or a person is evil nothing can deter you from seeking justice. Such is possibly the case in the matter of blasting away at Mark Driscoll about parsing a mistake from a sin. Then you go to an old testament curse to make your case?

    Now Driscoll citing mistakes by Jesus is weirder for sure. Let’s say it is a mistake. Here is the thing the critics of Driscoll are pressuring him and he is making some mistakes in his dealing with the matters. So maybe the critics are winning. But this issue did not resonate with me as winning but whining. Yeah Yeah Yeah I get that it was careless but sometimes you need to get a life that is outside of trying to ruin the life of your enemy.

  37. Jumping in for a minute on the discussion of the CC links.

    From Dennis at #11 – “Also “we aren’t a denomination” but “Calvary Chapels should be like Mcdonalds” you know what you get when you go to one.” ”

    I don’t have the time right now to watch/listen to the discussion and I’m not sure if and when I will make time. So I don’t know what was all discussed and said in this session. But I do attend the church of the man who apparently led the discussion and so I am very familiar with the sayings above as they are commonly spoken. Joe seems to be a part of the old guard and very much a Chuck Smith disciple. He is a major player on the East Coast things of CC and I would think he would like to keep things status quo as they were under Chuck. I would imagine he probably led the discussion as such. But of course, as Michael often interjects, apparently not everyone in CC agrees.

  38. “You can’t compare a lemon tree with a Christian because a human being is capable of thought and has a will. I could talk to my tree all day and it wouldn’t affect the amount of lemons it produced because the lemon tree has no will of its own.”

    Exactly…

  39. KevinH,

    You are correct…and happy birthday, my friend!

  40. BD,

    You make some very good points.
    I think what is happening now is that there is so much evidence of sin on Driscolls part (without any confession or repentance) that we are hoping that increasing the weight of it all will break him.

  41. Thank you for the birthday wishes, Michael.

  42. On the sanctification issue, I’ll add my thoughts. It’s all God.

    Except the part we play in it. 🙂

    Philippians 2:12, 13

    What’s our part?

    Romans 12:1,2

    Submission. Sacrificially laying down our desires for His will. When we do that, He transforms our mind to be happy and content in His will.

  43. So God, through the preaching of his word alone to the Christian does NOT produce fruit in his children?

    I think the confusion is that one sees bad acts, they assume the lack of good works … and this is not the case at all. I will use someone we all know here – Franklin Graham who does tremendous good works through his preaching ministry and his worldwide helps ministries … and also does some bad acts perhaps in some of his financials and in his associations. But the good works just flow from him.

    Don’t confuse the two,

  44. dswoager, I’m aware of the things that you share and I’m in agreement that when what you describe takes place it needs to be addressed.

    “There is a victimhood that is placed on people that are medicated rather than treated. They are made to feel helpless and dependent on a chemical compound, and when new stressers are placed on their life they have been conditioned to seek chemical comfort.”

    The above appears to be an unfair generalization as you wrote it although I’m thinking it isn’t what you intended.

    I believe a better way to state it would be to say “There is a victimhood that is placed on SOME people that are medicated rather than treated.”

    For those who have been victims of shoddy medicine then we need to somehow identify and offer them real solutions. The trick is how to identify them.

    I appreciate this exchange. God bless.

  45. A major difference in the Orthodox view is that we see salvation as a life-long process, not a once-done-deal. For us, synergism applies to justification as well as sanctification. In fact, we don’t generally separate the two. We cooperate our entire lives with God as He justifies, sanctifies and glorifies us. The entire Christian life is an interplay between God’s divine grace and our free will.

  46. Erunner,

    I just affirm all you wrote and I’m grateful for your voice.

  47. MLD:

    “So God, through the preaching of his word alone to the Christian does NOT produce fruit in his children?

    I think the confusion is that one sees bad acts, they assume the lack of good works … and this is not the case at all. I will use someone we all know here – Franklin Graham who does tremendous good works through his preaching ministry and his worldwide helps ministries … and also does some bad acts perhaps in some of his financials and in his associations. But the good works just flow from him.

    Don’t confuse the two,”

    Was this intended for me?

  48. “So God, through the preaching of his word alone to the Christian does NOT produce fruit in his children?”

    Where did anyone say that?
    Nowhere.

  49. True preaching of the Word includes exhortations to strive for holiness and a godly life.

  50. Thanks Michael.

  51. in the connected-ness to God illustration, Jesus says He is vine and we are branch. We’re getting our horticultural apples mixed up with oranges. Or lemons. It is our living connection with the branch that produces fruit.
    How’d the Lemon Whisperer Farmer get into this discussion?
    MLD’s gas can and flare are way too close to each other today. 😉

  52. Michael,
    I appreciate how you are trying to bring a balance into this “sanctification” scuffle. (I know my pouty postings don’t help) I think its a worthwhile doctrine discussion that needs to be handled without accusing others so quickly of heresy.

    Maybe after you get through the church history posts, you can do ones on major doctrines. Put it on the schedule for 2015 or 2016 🙂

  53. Rob,
    “in the connected-ness to God illustration, Jesus says He is vine and we are branch. We’re getting our horticultural apples mixed up with oranges. Or lemons. It is our living connection with the branch that produces fruit.”

    That is exactly what I am saying – we produce fruit because we are part of the vine that came in our redemption – and not because of our obedience.That was my lemon tree analogy – can you imagine the lemon telling the branch – “No! I will not come out.”

    If the lemon could talk. 😉

  54. There are many ways God uses to get us moving:

    1. The voice of the Holy Spirit who indwells every Christian and who works through our consciences and sometimes just flat out speaks to us.

    2. Reading the Scriptures and other Christian literature.

    3. A good sermon.

    4. Reading the lives of the Saints and realizing what is possible.

    5. Hanging out with good Christian people who are full of good works.

    6. Worshiping God

    7. Circumstances and opportunities, set up for us by God.

    And things I haven’t even thought of! But we must say Yes or No as each opportunity arises to do good or evil. Because Satan has his methods, too:

  55. MLD, no offense but you make it all sound so mechanical, like pipe-fitting.

  56. Also, MLD, I am always wondering if the things your write here are reflective of Lutheranism (LCMS, of course) or if they are reflective of your own unique personality. But since you have been given a large Sunday school class to teach, which has more adults than my parish has on a typical Sunday, I assume your ideas are in sync with Lutheranism?

  57. EricL,

    I think about it sometimes, but it’s really hard to do theology well on a blog.
    I’ve put in quite a few hours just revisiting this one doctrine for my own edification over the last few days… and people are averse to putting in that kind of time and effort into learning these days.
    If I can think of a way to do it responsibly, I might give it a shot.

  58. a pastor,
    “Was this intended for me?”

    No, it was meant as a general statement to anyone who wants to restrict God’s work in sanctification.

    Xenia and the EO who are clear that you don’t get your salvation until the end, so this does not include her – but to the others – so I am a born again Christian and God depends on my co operation to get sanctified. What happens when I die and I am less than cooperative? Do I go to heaven unsanctified – partially sanctified? Am I not going to heaven at all?

    If you say I do my part and then God makes up for the gap that I couldn’t or wouldn’t accomplish and finishes me off, well… that’s Mormon doctrine.

    Our old nature still wants to drive the car.

  59. What does God expect from us, that is the perennial question that is the source of hundreds of schisms.

  60. Xenia – I am on the more radical side of Lutheranism. Lutheranism refuses to nail down every thought that comes into people’s minds – so that’s where I come in. 😉

    But to put a serious side to it – it’s a combo.Lutherans are very weak on systematics, so there is a whole philosophy of thought behind each doctrine. On the sanctification issue, we do not see the sharp divide between justification and sanctification as many / most here do. We see sanctification as a definite part of our justification – so to many, I speak a different language.

    But hey, we are they guys with the “weak on sanctification” T-Shirts. 🙂

    Lutherans often get accused of having no doctrine of sanctification. So in discussions like this, we Lutherans see that some would rather focus on their good works rather than on what Christ has done for them, putting the cart before the horse, as it were.So while we try to get the horse before the cart others keep hammering on the works.

  61. The “What Now” video was excellent. (I have not watched the other one yet). I am sure in 69 minutes of discussion one can nitpick a line here or there. The points made by the panel (and this WAS given to other CC pastors) were right on for those of us who call CC home, especially us in leadership.

    Taking one third of the time to focus on what happened with Bob Coy, and give these pastors some very solid teaching along those lines was impressive – especially since these are all men who know Bob personally and have for many years and I am sure that avoiding the issue entirely would be far easier. I may use a clip from that segment for our own mens conference later this summer. Watching these men choke up on a couple occasions when talking about Bob or Pastor Chuck’s influence in their lives, was powerful to me.

    Stressing that CCA is about affiliation issues in keeping with the importance of pastoral relationships and influence is something I have been saying for over a year on this blog – and I was glad to see it shared in such a public way by these brothers. And of course I was also glad to once more see the emphasis that Calvary must needs be about teaching the entire Bible, in an expositional manner – (again, given the audience here was CC pastors)

    As to an above comment…

    The “we are not a denomination” is a fact based on every characteristic a true denomination has that CC lacks. It is silly to argue otherwise. (And was well illustrated in the example of I think Malcolm Wild who shared the communion example). The reference to franchise was as a simile to point out that when one walks into a CC, they should have a certain expectation of what sort of church they are visiting – which also is the case and certainly does not contradict the “we are not a denomination” claim. And of course all of that discussion was centered in the clarity that CC is about the independence of the local church.

    So if there is some behind the scenes groundswell of CC pastors ready to bolt the movement – maybe they should drop Don McClure an email and advise him of their decisions or get off the proverbial toilet.

  62. What happens when I die and I am less than cooperative? Do I go to heaven unsanctified – partially sanctified?<<<

    This is why the Catholics invented Purgatory! It's for people who have been baptized, probably as babies, but spent their lives in nominalism, claiming to be Christians but more often than not, saying No to Him but yet never quite denying Him entirely. Send them to Purgatory to whip them into shape, to make up for a wasted life, to make them fit for heaven. This is what Purgatory is like in Dante's Divine Comedy, btw, a kind of Christian boot-camp for slackers.

    (The EO do not believe in Purgatory, but I think it was invented with good intentions. But since it is a false doctrine, it was a disaster in the long run.)

  63. “Lutherans see that some would rather focus on their good works rather than on what Christ has done for them, putting the cart before the horse, as it were.So while we try to get the horse before the cart others keep hammering on the works.”

    and some of us try to find the biblical balance…

  64. All this wrangling and discussion and debate about the role of works in the life of the Christian seems so unnecessarily complicated to me.

    Just follow Jesus and as you do things with Him, you will get to know Him and you will be saved.

  65. Michael,
    Look at the whole conversation on this thread – it always goes back to how I can recognize good works in others and how I can better produce good works in my life.

  66. MLD,

    My best reading of Scriptures tell me that my behaviors matter…that I should be striving for holiness, that I should try to be better than I am, that good works follow a true believer.

    It also tells me that any of that I achieve is really done in the power of the Holy Spirit and that it is Him willing and working in me that allows me to will and work at all.

    When I sin, it tells me to look to the cross…but it also tells me to stop sinning and do things that will bear fruit for the kingdom.

    I don’t see passivity in sanctification at all.

  67. It is interesting to hear Joe Focht mention that CCA has no jurisdiction with the situation in Fort Lauderdale with Bob Coy yet CCA is somehow now responsible for the affiliation process. This is legacy CC irresponsibility with CCA having absolutely no way to deal with a renegade CC pastor and to protect the flock. I bet you anything CCA pastors knew all about Coy’s affairs and said nothing. My advice, run for the hills because what was so clearly articulated is that influence is the name of the game. The more you can influence people, the more you will be recruited to the higher ranks of CC and given a pat on the back which is exactly what happened with Bob Coy. This is about who can be the biggest and badest celebrity pastor on the planet all in the name of godliness. I’m listening to Don McClure now and I really believe Don knew about Bob Coy well over a year ago. If that is the case, I think Don needs some explaining.

  68. Read this article – I find this best presents my view. I like the title;
    “You Participate In Your Sanctification As The Direct Object”

    http://www.newreformationpress.com/blog/2011/12/09/you-participate-in-your-sanctification-as-its-direct-object/

  69. Andrew,

    I have pretty good and deep sources inside CC…and all of them were shocked about Coy.
    I have no evidence that anyone outside of Florida was aware of his issues.

  70. “When I sin, it tells me to look to the cross…but it also tells me to stop sinning and do things that will bear fruit for the kingdom.”

    This is what I objected to earlier – you see good works as a rebound from bad acts. YES!!! Stop doing bad acts. But that is not what I am talking about. I say that good works stem from my justification – that as a Christian I will help the old lady cross the street, I will feed the hungry, I will cloth the naked etc, etc – that is who a saved person is.

    Again, do confuse bad acts as a lack of good works.

  71. Michael, when you listen to Don, it appears that Bob and Diane were having tremendous problems last May where Diane was going to leave Bob. Don admitted that he should have understood the red flags back then. My personally opinion is he did understand them but did nothing because of the influence that Bob Coy had. I just don’t really believe that Don didn’t know.

  72. MLD, I remember your “Weak on Sanctification” T-shirts. We Orthodox are often considered weak on justification, largely because we tend to conflate it with sanctification and glorification. All part of our life in Christ. I’ve heard Reformed* people that says we have no doctrine of justification at all but what they really meant was that ours is very different from theirs.

    *I am not claiming to be using the word “Reformed” with any degree of accuracy. They said they were Reformed Baptists. I dunno.

  73. “This is what I objected to earlier – you see good works as a rebound from bad acts.”

    Wrong.

    Two different scenarios…you’re the only one here conflating them.

    “Again, do confuse bad acts as a lack of good works.”

    I’m not.
    You are declaring what I believe and you’re wrong.

  74. Andrew,

    You can believe that if it makes you feel better, but there is no evidence of it.
    I would think that I would have heard differently if it were true.
    Bob Coy had little influence and wasn’t particularly respected outside of Florida.

  75. Let me see if I can wrap this up this way – more important to a Lutheran is the doctrine of vocation – we are sanctified by God and we live out that sanctification in vocation.

    So, whether I wanted to come to work today or not did not bear on my sanctification – I came because I have a family to support and I have obligations to the company.

    When I got the call from my daughter this afternoon asking if her kids could spend the night at our house so she could take an extra breakfast shift tomorrow morning at the restaurant – my shoulders slumped, my mind went foggy (I just had them 3 days ago) but I said yes – not for good works, but in my vocation as a father and grandfather.

    Now if I had slept in today or if I had said no to my daughter – neither would have been a play on my sanctification … but both would have been against my vocation.

    Like I said – we speak a different language. God has laid out the good works for me in my vocation (Eph 2:10)

  76. “I’m not. You are declaring what I believe and you’re wrong.”

    I quoted your statement – sin vs good works.Perhaps it’s just poor word habits on your part – you will notice that I never compare or contrast the two – they are separate categories..

  77. I remember reading the Sheep and Goats passage for the zillionith time, wondering if it really meant what it clearly seemed to be saying, without applying any of the pretzel-like doctrines I have heard in the past to absolve it from its very Catholicky-sounding emphasis on works. “Did you feed the poor? Great, come on up! You didn’t feed the poor? Sorry.”

    So all the wholesome things I was doing- you know, washing the dishes and weeding the garden and buying shampoo at the drugstore- just seemed weak. Weak. It looked to me like Christ wanted us to be feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. The passage caused me considerable discomfort. This looked like the only question Christ is planning to ask us at the end of our lives: Did you feet the hungry? Dress the naked? Visit the prisoners. And my answer was “No, but I cleaned out my refrigerator, Lord, and observed the speed limit. Does that count?”

    I was so alarmed that I began looking around for some hungry people to feed and we settled on Meals on Wheels. To anticipate the question “Do you think God will let you into heaven because you have a MoW route?” the answer is No, but now that we are cooperating with God in feeding the old folks in the neighborhood I have noticed that I care a whole lot more about all kinds of poor people in the area. My attitude and heart has changed for the better. That’s what happens when you cooperate with God and do stuff with Him! So, who knows what we’ll do in the future but the MoW route has primed the pump.

  78. I’m out for a while.

  79. Orthodox anthropology does not even see Adam and Eve as being perfect, or entirely sanctified.. They were created as (you might say) children in adult bodies. They were created to “do stuff with God” and to learn about Him, to love Him, and to become more like Him. This is why free will is an absolute necessity in Orthodox theology.

    We even believe sanctification continues in heaven, where we will still have the opportunity (without the interference of sin and Satan) to learn more about God and to become more like Him.

  80. Rather than engaging Andrew, I’ll simply suggest watching the video for yourself before believing Andrew’s takeaway on the Bob Coy – Don McClure discussion

    Or for that matter the discussion concerning affiliation issues….

    I will say I am glad to see it said publicly that CCFTL took care of their own business when it came to replacing Bob Coy, as an independent church should. While that was not really in doubt to my knowledge, it is helpful if someone comes along later (with a grudge against Doug) and says “Well, CCFTL wanted someone else but CCA and Don McClure said if they wanted to stay CC they better choose him blah blah blah….not that these things ever happen on the internet of course…

  81. erunner@28My wife has had Rheumatoid Arthritis for 40 years. I have diabetes. There is no cure for either but you can fight them to lessen the effects. My wife is having her elbow replaced this week as RA has ravaged her body through the years.

    There are no cures for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia outside of God doing a miracle. For anyone to minimize their plight is plain cruel. That goes for those who suffer with depression as well.

    What you and your wife have are both autoimmune diseases.
    Your is against your pancreas, her’s is against her joints.
    Inflammation and tissue destruction.
    Any autoimmune disease causes inflammation.
    Diet is key.
    Awhile back I left a message for j2therperson about the SCD diet for her husband who has Crohn’s which is also an autoimmune disease.

    It bothers me greatly that there is much to do nutritionally and rather than seek that out, many will get prescriptions medications.

    By the way I had an autoimmune disease which is handled through proper diet and nutrition. All my markers have disappeared.

    I remember over 6 yrs ago speaking with you here about the subject.
    Gluten free and Paleo is the way to go.

  82. PS “There are no cures for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia outside of God doing a miracle. For anyone to minimize their plight is plain cruel. That goes for those who suffer with depression as well.”

    When the body is inflamed the brain gets inflamed (altered behavior) so there is a whole lot you can do to cut down inflammation. What you are saying is not accurate. I am in the health care field specializing in nutrition. it bothers me that for years you have been saying the same thing. Schizophrenia has been studied in relation to gluten sensitivities and almost all schizophrenics testing are gluten intolerant or Celiac. Do you know that LSD is grown on wheat gluten? Do you think you can then have schizophrenia (strange behavior and visions) from gluten sensitivities?? Do some research on Pubmd.

  83. erunner- You can start here

    Schizophrenia and gluten

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16423158

  84. erunner, I had to run out so I lost the thread of the conversation, but I really appreciated it as well. I fall into the habit of seemingly disagreeing with people that I largely agree with. I pray that there are those within the mental health field that have a heart for reform and for truly helping people, and not just the heart but the influence to do so.

  85. I have mental illnesses! I was the good girl, the good mom, the good wife, the good Christian…but I still broke. Life caught me and shook me up and turned my life upside down.

    I have major depression, PTSD, D.I.D., anxiety, panic attacks, acute depression…..

    I did the good Christian thing to do and prayed it away…..over and over and over….for what ever reason God choose this path for me so here I am…..broken….and on medication and talking to drs. every week….

  86. Anonymous, Are you Concerned who posted here some time ago? If you are that person I remember you quite well and we had huge disagreements.

  87. I lived a gluten free life for about 10 years….and yet still had depression and all the other problems I have now.

  88. Dusty, don’t feel guilty or feel you are somehow to blame for the battles you are fighting. What you are dealing with is quite real and I suspect your diet has nothing to do with it.

  89. I agree with you Ebrother – I don’t think diet has anything to do with my mental illness.

  90. Anonymous, do you believe mental illness is real? Are you the same person who linked to stuff from Thomas Szasz? If not what do you think of this book he wrote?

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Myth-Mental-Illness-Foundations/dp/0060911514

  91. Read those links.
    All they say is that more studies need to be done, not that there have been any trustworthy studies done to cite.
    Diet can make a difference…but it sure as hell can’t change schizophrenia or bi polar and it’s cruel and irresponsible as hell to pretend it can.

    I have a real, real, real, short fuse when it comes to this bullcrap.

  92. Michael said,’I have a real, real, real, short fuse when it comes to this bullcrap.”

    So do I Michael and I suspect Ebrother does as well.

  93. Michael, if Anonymous is the person I think she is then I would avoid anything she has to share. You can come up with studies that say pretty much anything. And I agree that diet is important but to say it can cure schizophrenia is a tough thing to believe.

  94. Dearest Dusty!

    The Incredible thing about your story…
    (And I have had the grandest priveledge of being a part of this journey for many many years with you)
    Is you are one amazing lady….
    A prayer warrior
    Filled with Gods spirit
    You have A tremendous gift of compassion and empathy
    Not to mention; organization preparation and focus…
    You have cared deeply and lovingly for many many people
    You have been a thorough and responsible caregiver to the elderly, and to the young

    I am so thankful to God that we met and ministered together from dangerous Areas of the inner city- to overseas

    I could always count on you to keep me focused and efficient in the tasks at hand…

    You are a fantastic organizer; and definitely have the gift of helps and hospitality….

    And then you say; life got to you….and shook you up

    It seems that God has given you a time to rest and heal
    To work surgery on vicious wounds that run deep
    Given you a time
    To be watered as you have watered so many

    Blessings to you my friend
    You Are most often in my thoughts and prayers

  95. Dusty,

    I won’t freaking allow that nonsense here.
    Nobody I know wants to medicate their children or loved ones, especially with the anti-pyschotics and mood stabilizers.
    We are all aware of the dangers and side effects.
    However, if those drugs are the difference between being in the hospital or at home, between having a productive life or one fraught with dangers from within and without…then we use the drugs and thank God for them.
    We pray, we love, and we hope, but we do so facing the present realities and dealing with them as best we can.

  96. I was locked up in a mental hospital for a few months this past year, and it was not a good place to be….I much prefer to be medicated and home with loved ones. I did not want to be medicated but even on the wrong medication I ended up there…..We HAVE to treat mental illness just as we would any illness.

  97. Sis, I love you!

  98. Erunner,

    Any family that has a member who suffers from any severe mental illness wishes it were that easy to cure.
    I’m alerted now…and everyone needs to be aware how fast they will disappear if they post such excrement on this site.

  99. Ebrother, Im glad you were here today to combat false claims about mental illnesses. (((hugs)))

  100. Michael, (((hugs))))

  101. Michael and Dusty, I have never held myself up as nothing more than a lay person either here and especially on my blog. All I desire(d) was to be a voice of hope and information for those who are suffering as well as their families and loved ones.

    I am fully aware there are tons of folks who disagree with what I have shared but that comes with the territory.

    You said it perfectly Michael.

    “Nobody I know wants to medicate their children or loved ones, especially with the anti-pyschotics and mood stabilizers.
    We are all aware of the dangers and side effects.
    However, if those drugs are the difference between being in the hospital or at home, between having a productive life or one fraught with dangers from within and without…then we use the drugs and thank God for them.
    We pray, we love, and we hope, but we do so facing the present realities and dealing with them as best we can.”

    If it’s proven that various alternatives can do what medicine can’t then I’ll be the first in line to buy the product. Until then we do the best we can with what we have.

    I’ll be clear that I am not against alternative solutions and if they work for some people then I am happy for them.

    What I can’t live with is the idea that mental illness isn’t real or is the fault of the victim. Brains can and do get sick.

    When you are dealing with fragile people who have little to no hope you need to be sensitive to that and show them God loves them unconditionally and doesn’t see them as failures or damaged goods.

    We also need to recognize the great good many therapists and psychiatrists do in seeking to help the hurting among us.

    The last thing I would want to do is further harm someone who is suffering. I have to believe those with different opinions have that same goal.

  102. To you as well, Dusty.

    Erunner, I personally know families who have spent tens of thousands on special diets, vitamin supplements, alternative therapies, and anything else they could find to get help.
    Tens of thousands…in a couple of short years.
    Some things help…nothing cures.

  103. Michael said,’Some things help…nothing cures.’

    -just cuz it needed to be said again

  104. Dusty , you say you are “broken ” and I say that God ‘a light shines brightly through you in your brokenness. You are beautiful !

  105. I’ll say it again, just in case you didn’t heart the heart felt whisper.

    Dusty,…… You Are Beautiful.

  106. It is very trendy to blame gluten on every ailment. That’s today’s trendy dietary advice, along the advice to eat copious amounts of kale. Before kale, it was coconut oil. Who knows what it will be next year. Everyone has a food rule. Mine is Pollen’s “eat food, not too much, mostly vegetables.”

  107. anon um nevermind.

  108. The fred phelps article was really fascinating. It gave me a ray of hope. To think the love of God can touch a soul so down the rabbit hole I think He can reach me. Phelps hurt many people in the most vicious way. But the power for a long time has been his daughter Shirley she is a real sick one in my book, her husband is up there to. I do wish she finds peace and grace to be honest, but she literally loathes people like me and would joyfully watch my eternal soul burn in hell for all eternity. I have met many people like that, though they are not as blunt but they get off on thinking that God will slaughter all the enemies that have ever disagreed with them over even the simplest of disagreements.

    I have had people cast Jesus voodoo spells on me, it use to scare me, now I just chuckle, I am wrong with both responses. I think this casting of aspersions and threats of God killing me in all sorts of atrocious ways. God taking out my family was even brought up or that my dead family members are writhing in pain in eternal torment right this very second throughout all eternity because I did not preach the gospel correctly and their blood, every single drop is on my dark black soul.

    I will admit I am somewhat skewed, actually very skewed but I cant tell you how this just hardened my soul to the gospel. I got so tired of hearing about how much God hated me and how I hated God even more. You know as honestly as I can state this, from even when I was a little kid, I never hated God, I had been angry with God, frustrated etc. But I never Hated God. I have almost always believed on some level that God loathed me with a great passion.

  109. #1

    While I don’t have the time to find the link right now, there is an article about all of the mass shooters having been on those antidepressants (100%). A researcher did his home work and found out the facts.

    One fellow that I know had been on those drugs for years. Often he would began to “feel normal” and go off of his meds. When he did this an unbelievable deep dark depression would set in, he told me. It would be so dark that he often wondered why anyone would want to remain alive in this world.

    We, his friends would do intervention and call his dad, who would get him back on his meds and he would appear to be back in his right mind until the next episode of him going off the meds. That was many years ago, I don’t know where this fellow is today and pray that I never read about him in the news one day.

    We need to look at this as a country and not so much the gun issues. I guess the big pharma corps keep the right palms greased to keep this information/research out of the news.

    Another interesting conspiracy theory is that some of the shooters may have been in the “project Monarch” program. Do a Google on this one.

    The last two Santa Barbara shooters were the sons of producers…

  110. BD, I appreciate your concerns. I really do think that the full scale of the problems associated with just one of Mark driscoll’s seven books that have citation errors has not been fully appreciated. Beyond the citation errors in Real Marriage that didn’t give Dan Allender and others credit, the book was bought a spot on the NYT best seller list by way of Result Source and Throckmorton has published invoices to Mark Driscoll

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/05/27/who-at-mars-hill-church-authorized-church-funds-to-buy-a-place-for-mark-driscolls-real-marriage-on-the-nyt-best-seller-list/

    When an entire religious organization spends the last two to three months purging as much content as possible after it has been quoted accurately, in context and toward the case that Mark Driscoll circa 2014 seems to have betrayed publicly stated principles and values he articulated in 2004 and even in 2009 then those who have an opportunity to raise publicly questions that increasingly sound like they aren’t even being allowed to be asked privately does not have to be divisive. Given how far short mainstream and even independent journalism and blogging have often fallen with respect to Mars Hill Church I have labored to keep track of things and even to correct persistent misrepresentations of Mark driscoll and Mars Hill be secular writers. I don’t consider myself not on the evangelical team. I’m not even an egalitarian. I’m a moderately conservative Presbyterian.

    What’s disconcerting about the larger neo-Calvinist movement in its leadership is a propensity to define sin down as only those things you knowingly did in defiance of divine commands at the leadership class. The same rules have not been applied in other settings. If Mark Driscoll were measured as strictly for his “mistakes” as Andrew Lamb was for his would Mark Driscoll be a pastor? I know this is long but more than a decade ago Driscoll said that if he went off the rails we should leave. A lot of us HAVE left and from the recent sermon Driscoll preached it sounds like Mark’s trying to convince himself people who have sustained criticism of his biblical interpretation and leadership decisions might just be wolves.

  111. I am going to put this here because it seems the appropriate place to put it.
    SBC Resolution on Christians Suing Fellow Christians
    http://hereiblog.com/sbc-resolution-christians-suing-fellow-christians/

    Now let me say, I think this is a good idea, but I think if not accompanied by measures by which the Church can resolve disputes and enforce restitution then it is useless.
    I think the whole point of the passage was to bring your disputes to the Church and let the Church deal with them.

  112. Derek,

    Right on both counts…

  113. I actually doubt that a church structure like most SBC churches have could ever produce a satisfactory system for dealing with this.
    Maybe, a system with broader authority over more churches like the RCC could.

  114. Derek, that’s another one where the challenge of the differences between there being only one church where all the Christians in the city fellowshipped, and what we have today…not to mention the added difference that the courts in those days were wholly pagan while ours are based on the foundations of Scriptural precepts and often populated by Christians as well.

    If a contractor today claims Christ and also takes your deposit without doing the work, there is little remedy available other than the local courts. Now, in the 1st century you would see him at church regularly, there would be elders in the church to hear the matter etc. If the contractor was a scoundrel and left the church rather than face you, then he could be treated as an unbeliever and still sued. If he really cared about the Lord, then of course there is nowhere he would go (or want to go) and the church could work it out.

  115. Nonnie and Jlo, 😳 thank you.

  116. Yeah Steve,
    I think the best bet is to continue to use the US legal system.

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