May 302014
 

spotlight on stageThe headline sent me though the roof…this headline always does.

“The Amazing Faith of (Fill in The Blank With A Celebrity Singer, Athlete, or Actor).

I am supposed to read this article to be enthralled by the fact that someone wealthy and famous is also a Christian.

 

I think it’s supposed to affirm and validate my faith to know that someone “important” culturally is also a fellow believer.

The truth is that I don’t give a writhing, rotund, brown rats rear end about such.

It doesn’t “amaze” me.

The Christians that amaze me and affirm my faith are ;

Christians who are caring for an elderly parent at home to honor their mother or father while trying work and raise a family as well.

Christians who are working as hard and faithfully at their vocations as they can.

Christians who are single parents working and raising kids at the same time.

Christians who give sacrificially and lovingly to others even when they are struggling themselves.

Christians who are living with mental or chronic illnesses and praising Jesus despite their pain.

Christians who are getting ready for heaven and trying to finish well.

Christians who care for people who will never get better.

Christians who are faithful to the vows they made to another child of God even when it isn’t amazing anymore.

Christians who are less concerned about being “right” than about sharing the love of God.

Christians who are so honest about their sins that they give me the freedom to be honest about mine.

Christians who are willing to lose their names and their lives for Who they believe in.

Christian pastors who no one has heard of… that don’t care if anyone ever does as long as the flock makes it to eternal pasture.

I’m amazed and affirmed by all of those Christians caring, loving, giving, and living like Jesus who have no names and mundane lives.

I’m amazed by my neighbors,not celebrities.

They are the ones who I draw strength from for my own journey.

There is only one name that matters in the Christian faith…and it’s not the name of a celebrity who we see first and Jesus second, but Jesus, period.

I’m amazed that He chose me, saved me, and keeps me…and that’s already more amazement than I can grasp.

Make your own application…

  179 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. Amen Michael!

  2. AMEN!!! AMEN!!! AMEN!!! Absolutely.

  3. Yes, this! I think the church could do with fewer ‘great’ people and more ‘good’ people!

  4. Lemme guess, you read it on The Christian Post? Anyways, I too bore with these stories. Why doesn’t my faith validate the Christian experience? A while back I posted a comment somewhere saying something to the effect of, “why doesn’t anyone desire to go to a conference where they can hear some non-descript, old country church anonymous pastor tell of God’s faithfulness over the years?” and some fanboy of some Johnny-Come-Lately celebrity preacher said “why would anyone want to hear someone who isn’t well-known?” Ugh!!!! You know what else happens? So-and-so famous believer EVENTUALLY messes up in the public eye and you can hear all the fans jump off the bandwagon and claim “well, he/she really isn’t one of us anyways…” So predictable!

  5. Interesting – I remember when BJ Thomas became a Christian – have there been any celebrity conversions since? I haven’t been paying attention.

  6. Dan from Georgia,
    “why doesn’t anyone desire to go to a conference where they can hear some non-descript, old country church anonymous pastor tell of God’s faithfulness over the years?”

    My questions;
    1.) Why does anyone go to any conference in the first place?
    2.) What would this ‘non-descript, old country church anonymous pastor’ tell that your own pastor couldn’t tell you?

    It’s funny, eventually people will make a celebrity out of the good ol country boy

  7. Dan,
    I hear peoples stories every day…and they won’t make the Christian Post.
    Stories from people who it takes all the faith they have to get through today.
    Those are the folks that I admire and who help me as I’m trying to get through today myself.
    The church is full of heroes who God will make much of someday…

  8. Dan said,
    ” Why doesn’t my faith validate the Christian experience?”

    I ask myself the same question. The answer lies in the fact that evangelicalism in the country has developed a empirical definition of Christianity that has little to do with faith but is driven by sensory perception that loves to parade the superstars so that we might vicariously live through them.

  9. I liked this very much. I could tell it was right from your heart.

  10. lxtlan said,’….so that we might vicariously live through them….’

    not for me…it it hard enough to live though my own life. lol 😉

  11. I can’t identify with Bono or Russell Wilson as much as I might appreciate their skills in their chosen vocations.
    Their stories mean nothing to me…my life looks nothing like theirs.
    The people who email me that are clinging to Christ and clinging to hope…they are the ones I walk with and who inspire me to keep going.

  12. Right on the money today.I refuse to attend churches or functions were celebrity is espoused anymore.Life is so much better.

  13. Wow! excellent article.

  14. Michael @ # 13,
    Agreed. Real life in the here and now will do that to you.

  15. Thanks Nonnie, thanks Dude!

  16. Amen, Muff…

  17. MLD #7…True!

  18. Michael #5, that is how I see life too! My faith hero’s are almost always ordinary people doing extraordinary things..

  19. Wow! So true. Hebrews 11 has a lot to say about these same kind of folks.

  20. hey Neo, The Bridge is praying for you!

  21. In the spirit of Michael’s wise observation enjoy a few moments of inspiration…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cmhj8psMmzA&feature=youtu.be

  22. Yes I am with you on this. I don’t need to know about celebrities faith or sexual exploits. Unfortunately, it has become mandatory.

  23. Good Word for today. Thanks Michael.

    Heb 11:13 – 16 – “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

  24. Thank you, Papias.

  25. BD,

    Jesus, pastors, and neighbors aren’t enough anymore…because we place little value on the church itself anymore.

  26. I agree there is too much celebrity worship in the American evangelical church. I agree that it is a mistake when celebrities who happen to be Christian are then pumped up as having some kind of special faith (in comparison to the “ordinary” Christian). I agree that often times these celebrity Christians are unwisely placed on an authoritative pedestal in matters of faith when they are not equipped for such. I agree that the faith of those who we know and love should matter more to us than some person we’ve never even met.

    With that being said, I also rejoice when a celebrity gets a platform and takes the opportunity to share Christ. When they get the opportunity to do good works in the name of Christ. Rightly or wrongly, because of their status in society, they have the opportunity to influence a larger breadth of people than most of us do. And when they use this influence for good and for Christ, I am thankful. Yes, I know it’s a double-edged sword, and when these Christian celebrities screw up it brings shame on the name of Christ on a much bigger scope than when you or me screws up. But I can still rejoice for those times when Christ’s name is lifted up.

  27. KevinH,

    You may have a point…but what I see happening is that Christian celebrities get lifted up by other Christians for being Christians…I don’t see much fruit, but my eyes are glazed over these days.

  28. Another reason a portion of the church has lost its bearings — it prostituted itself to gain political power.
    Sad.

    The Real Origins of the Religious Right
    They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation.

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133.html#ixzz33EQSjo96

  29. Michael,

    Just for example, you brought up Bono in an earlier comment. The man certainly is rough around some edges and has been far from a perfect angel. But I think the man has also done much for the cause of Christ. He often speaks the name of Christ. But more than that, he has spearheaded a lot of efforts to reach out to the “least of these” in the name of Christ.

    And just because U2 is one of my favorite bands doesn’t cloud my judgment one iota. 🙂

  30. When I was a Roman Catholic child the only superstars were Jesus, Mary, and whomever saint the parish was named after, with an occasional statue or icon for us to consider, light candles and pray to for intercession.

    I daresay they delivered more with their influence with God than today’s christian celebrities who have donations to solicit, books & music to sell, concerts and conferences to attend.

    Put in a donation to the little box, light a candle, you could always count on Mary to poke Jesus and remind Him that Mom’s got a favor to ask…

    …ahhh, for those simpler days

  31. Anon’s got it right, along with the myth of American Exceptionalism

  32. KevinH,

    I’ll concede Bono… 🙂

  33. Anon,

    That’s a powerful article…very interesting.
    Ballmer is a good researcher…

  34. G,

    While I disagree with the theology, those Catholic rituals pointed to the source…not a conference.
    When we used to go out on the back roads of Mexico I would find little shrines full of candles and offerings…some no bigger than a small packing box.
    I used to pray for those who left their prayers there in faith…the little boxes were holy in their own way.

  35. G. Just got outta the hospital today. Looking forward for what is to come. Thanks and much love to The Bridge and you.

  36. Great TGIF. And yeah, we sorta have to concede Bono 🙂

  37. My beloved friends are my christian ‘celebrities’. 🙂

  38. The politico story should be titled, “How former Southern Democrats destroyed the GOP”.

  39. Jim said:

    The politico story should be titled, “How former Southern Democrats destroyed the GOP”.

    So very true.

  40. G, thanks for that little clip. It made me cry, it was beautiful.

  41. Hope your recovery is a speedy one Neo….continuing to pray

  42. it’s a nice evening here, cool breeze coming though the window, birds at the feeder…. 🙂

  43. The Christians that amaze me and affirm my faith are ;

    Nonnie, Sister Christian, Jlo, J2theperson, Covered,Paige, Sarah and Xenia.

  44. Bono is definitely a cause to scratch one’s head. Rough around the edges? I don’t think so, its the lack of biblical underpinning with the whole CoeXisT garbage. I don’t want to be unduly harsh towards him, but I don’t recall him working for the kingdom (as he has done for some time now) in the early years of U2. Perhaps had he gone that route back then, he would not have gained the notoriety he has today. At any rate, I must say I have more respect for those who set their hand to the plow at the beginning and never look back, but in Bono’s case better late than never, I suppose.

    @12 dusty……. lol.. same here 😉

  45. Dusty, you are too sweet. I love that list. Of course your name is on top! 🙂

  46. On top of my list that is 🙂

  47. Ixtlan, I couldn’t agree more. Kevin made a good point about Bono pointing 1,000’s to Jesus but the whole co-exist thing is baffling.

  48. “While I disagree with the theology, those Catholic rituals pointed to the source…not a conference.”

    Great observation Michael. One is the attempt to develop a sense of spiritual practice, intending to deepen the soul. The other, well, appears to be more along the lines of sound-bit sensory perception that may move us, but does little to deepen us.

  49. It’s very confusing to me covered. What is my greater concern is whether it is confusing to those 1,000’s that Bono is apparently leading. Now in reality, there is a place where the Holy Spirit takes over, but I think it is important that we accurately identify who Jesus is. After all, Jesus did make that distinction about Himself in both self revelatory statements, and in affirming the profession of His deity by others.

  50. Of course it’s confusing. I get a bit confused by some who only point to the Red Letter Jesus so when an idol like Bono points to Jesus and all others, he’s definitely confusing folks.

  51. Michael, I haven’t had time to read the other replies, so I don’t know if this has already been said, but you really hit it out of the park today, just crushed it. Brilliant!
    Thank you.

  52. Ixtlan said ” Perhaps had he gone that route back then, he would not have gained the notoriety he has today. At any rate, I must say I have more respect for those who set their hand to the plow at the beginning and never look back,”

    I know this may cause a gag reflex but I offer it for what very little it is worth, and no that is not some self seeking sympathy. I started back in 1981 and was a fumbling 21 year old, granted at that age one should be married and have a full fledge real “ministry” showed me what a failure I was, am, and will continue to be. At least that is what I got from most of the “church”. Oh they padded it in pathetic repugnant platitudes but it is what was meant. I will admit it is pathetic but on that convalescent hospital floor and heard a “inner voice” that said “help them”. Thats it, that is the only real “spiritual” experience I have had with God, I repudiate that it was from God after 31 years in the “industry” and it is an industry.

    I “stayed” the course, actually I doggedly pursued this passion and I often feel totally ashamed of it. I wont go into what I have heard said to me in the faith. It breaks my heart, which also makes me more disgusted with myself. I will admit, lately, I often look back, I want to go back at times.

  53. I’m personally more “amazed” at the good works (and there’s a lot of them) and good will my atheist friends exhibit regularly as a part of who they are. They demonstrate all the “fruits of the spirit” and they love their neighbor, they give to the poor, support programs to help troubled youths, support food banks and so on.

    The Christians* are expected to do that as it is part of their stated belief system to get to heaven and to demonstrated they have been “saved” so they get out of hell.

    The atheists have no other motive other than to just help the folks.

    Why are you “amazed” that Christians* who believe they get a reward and believe they avoid hell for being good do what they sometimes do?

    Much more amazed by those who just do it as part of who they are rather than what they get out of it…

  54. How do you explain the many atheist friends I have who do so much good…and for no other motive than to help people b/c their conscience tells them to?

    You do agree that Christians* are expected to do good as the bible says they must to prove they are saved and so they can avoid hell, no?

  55. Where does all that good come from in my atheist friends…if not from God?

  56. Is it the devil/satan that prompts my atheist friends to do so many good works and to exhibit in them love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control? Is it a grand conspiracy of the devil to create a bunch of “good” in atheist and agnostic folks and others…to fool Christianity*?

    Comes off as nuts to assert the devil is counterfeiting “good” in some sort of conspiracy…as the bible claims the devil is the source of all lies and evil and nothing good and only seeks to destroy etc.

  57. I don’t have the time or desire to engage this today, but I will answer briefly.
    All humans are made in the image of God and retain some measure of that and all receive common grace.
    Christians don’t do good works to earn reward or salvation, they do good works out of love for God and neighbor.
    Motivations get mixed and we don’t do what we should or as well as we should, as sin is a reality for believers as well.

  58. The bible certainly presents a double-narrative and competing narrative.

    The Good Samaritan story told by Jesus Christ himself…assumed by Christians*…tells of “good” being good for good’s sake…no matter who does it. In the case of the Samaritan…he did “good” that was counted as good and righteous…and he was not a proper believer/Jew/Hebrew/Christian* etc…

    Is “Jesus” the Good in some folks…or is “Jesus” a profession of “correct doctrine!” and “correct belief system!” etc?

    Can a person with “correct doctrine!” be a total scoundrel and get mercy and grace…while a person whose life is marked by “good” b/c that’s who they are as a person…but they don’t have a “correct belief and doctrine!” get tortured in hell forever?

  59. Yet you find the time to opine on all sorts of other issues and other stories etc…

  60. RB,

    I’m offline more than off and that’s unavoidable at this point.
    I am a conservative Christian and I engage on topics I write about and I write from the perspective of one who is a believer.
    I’m not interested in arguing with folks who differ.
    There are other blogs that do that and do it well, but it’s of little interest to me.
    There is a wide open internet with plenty of room for all different perspectives, but I feel no obligation to go around in circles with you or anybody else.
    It’s a waste of my time and most of my readers aren’t interested…and neither am I.
    There is diversity even within “conservative’ Christendom and I am interested in those issues and enjoy addressing intramural debates.
    I’ve been writing about abuses and corruption in my own family of faith for years and will continue to do that as necessary.
    I have to measure everything I do these days…and when I spend time here it will be around the matters that concern me and the majority of my readers.

  61. I’ve asked others…I’m asking you and the “community” here of which I’ve been a part for many years now…and was personally invited over by you.

  62. You are a Calvinist and into sovereignty and predestination etc…I’m sure if pressed you think everything sent your way is “from God!” etc…so maybe God had you invite me here and maybe God wants you to answer my questions?

  63. …or do you really believe everything is random chance and you have no obligation to answer those who a truer Calvinist would believe God put in their life?

  64. Again, actions speak to a true belief much more than words and professed doctrine.

    If “random chance” is the truth…then I get you not wanting to engage.

    If there is some sort of “sovereignty” and divine plan and predestination etc….then God must’ve had you invite me into your life for a purpose and whether you like it or not…here I am…and I have questions.

  65. You demonstrate the same characteristics of other pastors you critique so thoroughly. I think you are generally a good man who tries, but I don’t think that when push comes to shove you are a lot better than some of those you critique.

    You don’t want to be bothered with dissenters and “blessed subtraction” is your belief as you practice and you pick and choose and justify your behaviors just like others do.

    I admire you that you don’t get rich off of selling Jesus.

    I admire your rightful critiques of the “church” and leaders for abuses etc. You are solid in those areas.

    My observation of you in the negative is that you demonstrate a small degree of controlling nature and you don’t handle dissent well…which is common and human. I don’t handle that well either…but I don’t profess to be a “pastor” and I acknowledge I can be as big a jerk as those I critique…in the same areas. I’d make as terrible a pastor as Mark Driscoll.

  66. RB,

    You weren’t personally invited here to attack my faith every day.
    You were invited here to share about the abuse you and your brothers suffered and to expose that to a larger group than Topix.
    That is completely in line with what I consider to be a good use of my blog and whatever audience I have.
    I’m glad we did that.
    You’ve since grown very skeptical and critical of the faith and you insult more than you question.
    If you are truly seeking answers there are far more intelligent, far more erudite people than myself who have written countless volumes on these topics.
    Those are the resources I would point you to rather than a constant exchange here…they are going to give far better answers, if answers are what you are seeking.
    My answers won’t satisfy you…my answers have come from my own studies and more than anything else from a faith that was a gift from God…a faith He is sustaining through this very difficult season of my life.

  67. I’ve read many of those takes…I’m interested in your take and whether or not you will be honest about some things and how you resolve some of the big problems.

  68. RB,

    Maybe God had Michael invite you here because he knew I’d pop in every so often to tell you to shut up.

  69. This is where the rubber meets the road Michael. Referring someone to a book is not very pastoral.

  70. Jim, you can tell me to shut up all you want…it only serves to make we want to post more so you’re not really helping.

  71. Can RB be that biblically ignorant to think that the message of the good samaritan is about doing good works? I am once again so disappointed in your Calvary Chapel and Masters College education.

    The good samaritan is answering the question “who is your neighbor”?

  72. RB,

    Again, I have a limited amount of time and my priorities are very clear to me at this time.
    This blog is a reflection of my beliefs, not yours.
    I can’t and won’t have constant strife because it profits nothing and creates an environment that the people I write to and for don’t want to participate in.
    It’s not a church…it’s a blog.

  73. MLD, you are the one who recently said you have no use for Reason…and you demonstrate it by how unreasonable you are and how you have a weak grasp of critical thinking and logic and reason.

    By your own words you state you despise reason…and then you claim to have used reason to figure out a passage LOL.

    You are a walking talking blogging contradiction and caricature.

  74. You have constant strife on here whether I’m here or not.

    You guys argue about stupid stuff that means nothing and avoids the big questions all the time.

  75. Michael said, “It’s not a church…it’s a blog.”

    yet, you stated the opposite at times and many have affirmed you as a “pastor” to them online.

    Again, you guys tend to speak out of both sides of your mouth, often, depending on the narrative you are trying to support at the time.

  76. RB,

    Last time I checked, I’m not your pastor.
    Some people here do find it a place where they are strengthened spiritually and some here have a pastoral relationship with me offline.
    You have never indicated either to me.
    I refer people in my own church to books for deeper study and they receive those gladly…then we talk about what they learned afterwards.
    What you consider “honest” and what I do in regard to the Bible are two different things.
    I don’t see any “big problems” and the issues that you constantly bring up, I resolved to my own satisfaction long ago.
    You need to resolve them for yourself to your own satisfaction.
    You may come to different conclusions than me…that’s your right and not my concern.

  77. You are a pastor to me. It’s not your call to make. you don’t get to pick and choose.

  78. RB,

    When you come om here asking dishonest “questions” that are either blatantly or subtly insulting to the regulars here, everyone just stops reading.

    I may not be helping you (although you are getting the attention you crave), but I might be allowing others, who can vicariously tell you to shut up. Their conscience may not allow them to do so, while mine forces me to say it.

    Like everyone else, I’ll be leaving now, so enjoy talking to yourself.

  79. “you are the one who recently said you have no use for Reason…”

    I didn’t say that. Your critical thinking must be on the fritz. – I gave a Luther quote about it the other day – I use ‘Reason’ all the time – I had to use my reasoning skills this very morning to see if my white socks looked good with my Levi’s and tennis shoes this morning.

    Reason plays no role in matters of faith. But then that’s why you have a wayward view of the story of the good samaritan.

  80. MLD’s high view of “Reason”…while professing he has things figured out using his reason LOL:

    Martin Luther’s Disciple says:
    May 29, 2014 at 4:28 pm
    Xenia,
    One of my favorite Luther quotes on reason – although he was fighting a different ‘reason;’ battle

    “Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.”
    Martin Luther, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148″

    Luther has a way of painting a picture with his words. 😉

  81. RB,
    As I truthfully said – I left a Luther quote – but, in your blinded reason you missed the most important part of my statement “although he was fighting a different ‘reason;’ battle”

    He was fighting your skewed definition of reason – not logical and philosophical reason … that used by reasonable people.

    But thanks again for reposting Luther … he needs to be on every thread. 🙂

  82. MLD, how do you come to conclusions about the Good Samaritan narrative apart from using your weak grasp of Reason?

  83. Luther is an over-rated anti-semite who probably created his own Cult and he’s probably a net negative on the “church” and Christianity*.

    I used to admire him, b/c I thought his rebelliousness and vulgar style was funny and compelling…now I just see him as an over-rated intellectual lightweight who probably drank too much, had a hatred for the Jews and was nothing more than a religious bully who created his own cult.

  84. Well, since my view is correct – I should be asking you, “if you used reason, how did you come to a completely wrong view?”

    But like everyone else, I don’t want to walk down your biblical sewer.

  85. MLD, you asked for some Martin Luther…here ya go:

    “What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengeance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:

    First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly ­ and I myself was unaware of it ­ will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

    Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

    Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. (remainder omitted)

    Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17 [:10 ff.]) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: “what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord.” Those villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people’s obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16 {:18], “You are Peter,” etc, inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the right to teach.

    Fifth, I advise that safe­conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home. (…remainder omitted).

    Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us all they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With this he could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children, and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God’s blessing in a good and worthy cause.

    Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3[:19]}. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.”

  86. RB,

    I don’t see how I could possibly be a pastor to someone who finds my faith dishonest, duplicitous, and unintelligent.
    I would think you could do better for yourself. 🙂
    I don’t believe that anyone has ever been argued into the kingdom or convinced of any biblical truth through argument.
    These things are a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit, not of men.
    Because of the vast difference in what we believe my only pastoral work possible on your behalf would be to pray for you or offer whatever insight I have on the few matters we agree on.
    You reject most of orthodox Christianity and find most of my faith worthy of scorn.
    That’s not unique…but wanting to participate with people whose beliefs you abhor is kind of odd.

  87. You forgot to say “and he killed all the Jews in WWII”

  88. MLD, interesting that you say you were a Jew yet you admire a guy like Luther so much. Must be rather uncomfortable and self-loathing to be in your skin.

  89. Michael, why then do you argue so much about doctrine and theology?

  90. RB,

    Those are intramural, inter family debates with folks who share a common foundation in the faith.
    They can (though not always) help us understand what we believe and why we believe it.
    They are most often with folks who have already decided that the Bible is their authority for faith and practice and are seeking greater comprehension of what that authority is speaking.
    You reject that authority, so we have little to discuss.

  91. Michael said, “You reject most of orthodox Christianity and find most of my faith worthy of scorn.”

    No, I don’t reject it. I just don’t find that many good answers to support your certain doctrinal and theological conclusions.

    There is a big difference between “rejecting” and simply going, “hmm, I dunno…you certainly don’t have much evidence to support what you are professing as certain.”

  92. Michael said, “Those are intramural, inter family debates with folks who share a common foundation in the faith”

    No, not really. I think most Sects think the others are not truly saved over many differences in doctrine/theology. That is the general norm, it seems.

  93. We have many different sects of Christendom here who all affirm the faith of each other.
    I have no compulsion to offer “evidence”…I believe that the conviction of biblical authority comes from the Spirit.
    I have a very close friend who is a brilliant agnostic…we discuss these things when he feels like it and we do so with a great heart for each other.
    It’s a process…and he reads way beyond our conversations.
    Most of what he struggles with requires faith to truly believe…and I hope God grants him that faith.

  94. So you do find time to have ongoing conversations with agnostics…

  95. He’s a family member dealing with the same family issues I am.
    Am I required to answer for my time to you?
    The difference is that he doesn’t come to my house telling me how stupid and dishonest my beliefs are…we treat each other with mutual respect.

  96. No, you can tell me to f off, just like you have most of the time. No problem. It’s life.

  97. I just don’t see you as exampling much different than many of the pastors you critique so strongly…not when push comes to shove. It is what it is.

  98. Pastors will spend the time with the folks that give them money, adore them, kiss their arse etc. It’s human nature.

    Those who don’t go with their flow and don’t benefit them directly are generally “blessed subtraction” etc.

    Just the way it is…but you seem to have righteous indignation toward a Driscoll…but you are really not that much different in that regard.

  99. Michael said, “The difference is that he doesn’t come to my house telling me how stupid and dishonest my beliefs are…we treat each other with mutual respect.”

    You were the guy who told me years ago how smart you were and how Calvin’d up you were etc. and you were much more sure you had all the answers. To your credit, you have changed a lot since then…and I think for the better…partly (notice I said partly) due to our ongoing blog time. I think you’ve learned from me as I’ve also learned from you. Strangely, I think I’ve helped you become a better pastor…again in some small part.

    I think you’ve helped me break free from the cult I used to be in and the cult mindset of “specially anointed” and I appreciate that.

    I would also note that mutual respect goes both ways…and you and many others on here have not commanded that mutual respect by how you’ve treated me many times…but I’m no victim, I give it back as much or more and try to engage folks in a like manner.

  100. If there’s something you take away from my ongoing participation (this applies to all pastors on here and pastor-lurkers): You aren’t special, you aren’t anointed, you are a man, you don’t have all the answers, in fact you don’t have very many certain answers at all. Other folks are not inferior to you, they are not less spiritual or less close to God etc. God is not your whim, your view, your doctrine, your theology.

    If you come away with any of that…then my participation has been valuable to you and others.

  101. RB,

    I have nothing to offer you on these matters.
    We have fundamental disagreements on very basic theological issues that preclude that.
    What time I have online I am going to devote to what I believe and building up the faith of those who are in agreement with me on the fundamentals.
    If you want to engage me offline on something that’s fine, but you’ve already declared repeatedly that you reject most of what I hold to be true.
    I can respect that, but I’m not going to argue about it and I don’t see where it would benefit you.
    My time is almost up for today…real life commences shortly.

  102. I knew those things long before I met you.

  103. “I knew those things long before I met you.”

    You may have known them, but you didnt’ practice them. You have come a long way since 5 years ago.

  104. Once again, now in the 21st century the serpent has asked ““Did God really say…?”

    Nothing new under the sun.

  105. Michael, if you can answer this question as intellectually honest and straightforward as you can: How does an atheist/agnostic who loves his neighbor, exhibits the fruits of the spirit, helps the orphan and widow and lives a generally good life…basically “is” all the things Jesus said marked the life of a regenerate person…how does this person go to hell?

    Why is “correct understanding” such a hang up? Isn’t it who you are rather than what you “understand”?

  106. MLD, Martin Luther is the king of “Did God really say?” …it’s how the protestant reformation got going. Luther had his own take and differed from the consensus of that day and questioned everything.

  107. Luthers’ rebellion was “nothing new under the sun”…is he a product of the devil/satan? There are large chunks of Christianity* that think he was.

  108. Luther: “Did God really inspire the Book of James?”

    Did he get that from the devil?

  109. Luther: “Did God really say in the Book of James?”

  110. When Luther translated HIS version of the bible….he added a word “Alone” to reinforce his view of Faith Alone….which is essentially “Did God really say?”…Luther thought God needed some help.

  111. MLD, that canard is circular logic…and you really indict most of the Gurus of Christianity* throughout history with that statement…as all Sects and Gurus who differed from the Consensus and split away and rebelled asserted “Did God really say!” with regards to one major doctrine or another.

  112. Chuck Smith did it: “Did God really say!” and he off he went rebelling from the Four Square Sect and their Consensus…and he created his own version of God and church.

  113. RB,

    I’m out of time so this will have to be brief before I leave the house (and the blog).
    That wonderful neighbor still has a sin problem that has to be dealt with.
    Like all of us, he is a sinner by birth and by choice.
    The only remedy for the sin problem is the person and work of Jesus Christ and without that work being applied to us we die in our sins and in rebellion against God.
    Works do not save us…Jesus alone can make us right with God.

  114. How do you know Jesus/God didn’t change them? Does “correct understanding” have to occur…or is the “fruit” the evidence? Like a person who has love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, self-control, love your neighbor etc?

    I don’t see how “correct understanding” has anything to do with a spiritual transformation into someone who exhibits the “good” consistently.

    Profession and “correct doctrine!” really seems to be useless if there is no transformation…and there is no transformation in much of Christianity*

  115. This is not a theoretical issue with me.
    My best friend, my mentor, the person I learned the most from, and respected above all others may have entered eternity without Christ.
    That thought wakes me up in tears too often.
    My job is to trust in the goodness, holiness, wisdom, and love of God and hope that something I said took root before the cancer took him.
    It also compels me to share Christ with all those all I love…and to stand for the faith once delivered to the saints.

  116. An Atheist/Agnostic or Buddhist or humanist or Universalist etc who consistently exhibits the fruit of the spirit…and lives a changed life compared to the more natural state of mankind…vs. a “correct doctrine!” pastor who is a total scoundrel marked by no repentance, lying, abuse, corruption, pride, etc…

    …and one “has Jesus!” and the other doesn’t…

  117. The Bible says that those who believe in Christ will “confess’ Christ with their mouths.
    Without a profession of faith or with an outright rejection of Christ, I have to believe that person is lost.

  118. The danger of Calvinism is it does lead to antinomianism and does lead to “doesn’t matter if I’m an a-hole” Mark Driscoll mindset.

    The danger with a Calvary Chapel-type Arminianism “specially anointed” mindset is it leads to Anti-nomianism as well (in practice) as long as you cover your tracks and don’t get caught and hide behind your badge of “specially anointed!” and “I’m Kind David…I am a sinner (though I don’t cop to any specific sin)…and I’m doing the work of the Lord therefore anything goes!”

  119. Bible also says all will confess Jesus eventually and that God is in all and through all and all in all…and the bible also says God loves his enemies…and commands us to do so

  120. What good is your religion if it doesn’t make you as good as a good hearted and good practicing Atheist and Agnostic? What’s the purpose? To get your arse out of hell?

  121. None of the old testament believers confessed Jesus Christ, neither have most of the humans throughout history of mankind.

    It may not be a “correct understanding” and specific confession…”Jesus” is probably more who you are and what you do and your essence as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self control, love your neighbor, love your enemy etc…than some recitation and understanding.

  122. Or you guys are right, and you can be an a-hole and you can smite your enemies and you can be like Luther and like Paul to the Judaizers and like the OT prophets and leaders etc and it’s all good as long as you have your doctrinal ducks in a row and confess a “correct version” of Jesus according to what you define as correct…the rest doesn’t matter.

    I’m more for that, the bad part of me likes that angle better.

  123. RB,
    I can tell that you have not read any Luther. (you have only cut and paste.) Try reading a whole work of his.
    1.)To say that he started from his own ideas is ridiculous
    2.) James is included in Luther’s Bible – so whatever you think you are reading to the contrary is just RB lack of logic.
    3.) Words are always added to translations to make the flow go easier – you would not be able to read a direct word for word translation from the Greek.

    There are only 2 religions in the world – those who work for their salvation and those who plainly accept the work as done – so, for the Christian “alone” is quite appropriate. For you, not so much. James on the other hand was speaking of something else. (and the early Luther did miss that. Read Luther on James pre 1530 and then post 1530.)

  124. MLD, I can tell you have a low regard for Reason, as you’ve stated…b/c you read luther and come to those unreasonable conclusions.

    Stick to your position of “reason is bad!”…b/c you are unreasonable and you don’t demonstrate good reasoning ability.

  125. MLD, is Reason important in determining what the bible means and what a Luther demonstrates? If so, then you are wrong and I am right.

    If Reason doesn’t matter, as you’ve stated before, then I can see how you come to your ill-thought-out conclusions.

    You are the one who detests Reason and has stated it doesn’t belong in spiritual matters…and you demonstrate it so very well.

  126. MLD, Luther had a low view of several books in the Consensus biblical canon:

    “However, to state my own opinion about it, though without prejudice to anyone, I do not regard it as the writing of an apostle; and my reasons follow.
    In the first place it is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works. It says that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered his son Isaac; though in Romans 4 St. Paul teaches to the contrary that Abraham was justified apart from works, by his faith alone, before he had offered his son, and proves it by Moses in Genesis 15. Now although this epistle might be helped and an interpretation 2 devised for this justification by works, it cannot be defended in its application to works of Moses’ statement in Genesis 15. For Moses is speaking here only of Abraham’s faith, and not of his works, as St. Paul demonstrates in Romans 4. This fault, therefore, proves that this epistle is not the work of any apostle.
    In the second place its purpose is to teach Christians, but in all this long teaching it does not once mention the Passion, the resurrection, or the Spirit of Christ. He names Christ several times; however he teaches nothing about him, but only speaks of general faith in God. Now it is the office of a true apostle to preach of the Passion and resurrection and office of Christ, and to lay the foundation for faith in him, as Christ himself says in John 15, “You shall bear witness to me.” All the genuine sacred books agree in this, that all of them preach and inculcate [treiben] Christ. And that is the true test by which to judge all books, when we see whether or not they inculcate Christ. For all the Scriptures show us Christ, Romans 3; and St. Paul will know nothing but Christ, I Corinthians 2. Whatever does not teach Christ is not apostolic, even though St. Peter or St. Paul does the teaching. Again, whatever preaches Christ would be apostolic, even if Judas, Annas, Pilate, and Herod were doing it.
    But this James does nothing more than drive to the law and to its works. Besides, he throws things together so chaotically that it seems to me he must have been some good, pious man, who took a few sayings from the disciples of the apostles and thus tossed them off on paper. Or it may perhaps have been written by someone on the basis of his preaching. He calls the law a “law of liberty,” though Paul calls it a law of slavery, of wrath, of death, and of sin. 3
    Moreover he cites the sayings of St. Peter: “Love covers a multitude of sins,” and again, “Humble yourselves under the hand of God;” also the saying of St. Paul in Galatians 5, “The Spirit lusteth against envy.” And yet, in point of time, St. James was put to death by Herod in Jerusalem, before St. Peter. 4 So it seems that this author came long after St. Peter and St. Paul.
    In a word, he wanted to guard against those who relied on faith without works, but was unequal to the task in spirit, thought, and words. He mangles the Scriptures and thereby opposes Paul and all Scripture. 5 He tries to accomplish by harping on the law what the apostles accomplish by stimulating people to love. Therefore, I will not have him in my Bible to be numbered among the true chief books, though I would not thereby prevent anyone from including or extolling him as he pleases, for there are otherwise many good sayings in him. One man is no man in worldly things; how, then, should this single man alone avail against Paul and all the rest of Scripture? 6
    Concerning the epistle of St. Jude, no one can deny that it is an extract or copy of St. Peter’s second epistle, so very like it are all the words. He also speaks of the apostles like a disciple who comes long after them and cites sayings and incidents that are found nowhere else in the Scriptures. This moved the ancient fathers to exclude this epistle from the main body of the Scriptures. Moreover the Apostle Jude did not go to Greek-speaking lands, but to Persia, as it is said, so that he did not write Greek. Therefore, although I value this book, it is an epistle that need not be counted among the chief books which are supposed to lay the foundations of falth.”–Martin Luther

    You are ill-informed.

  127. MLD, baptism is a work. So is receiving the eucharist. So is confessions and so is “correct doctrine” and so is a profession of “correct” faith etc.

    There’s no such thing as a works-free Christian* salvation…unless you are a Universalist.

  128. You are unread if you don’t know that many over the centuries have had difficulty with the very same books that Luther did. But you have never studied that – in fact when you read this I am sure you will sit in stunned silence saying “how am I so unread?”

    Have you not heard of Antilegomena? tisk, tisk.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antilegomena

  129. MLD, you really do have a low regard for Reason…don’t you? You also have a low regard for reading Martin Luther..you seem to only read a redacted version of his writings that don’t include the really good stuff like On Jews and Their Lies and Luther’s reasoning for why James and some other books in the bible were not apostolic and not from God…and “Did God really say?”…

  130. There’s no such thing as a works-free Christian* salvation

    FALSE

  131. MLD, do you dispute that Luther had a low regard for the book of James? That he didn’t think it was on the same level as the rest of the bible?

  132. Read the end of my #125 – you are just proving that you don’t read other people’s comments in a discussion, but just want to type – type – type your thoughts.

  133. MLD, how exactly do you get “saved” w/o doing something physical and non-gnostic like making a profession?

  134. MLD, can a person be saved without a profession of faith in Jesus?

  135. MLD, how exactly does a human being get saved apart from some form of will and action including profession, understanding, articulating a correct understanding, getting baptized physically, receiving the eucharist, believing something etc?

    Are you asserting that you can be saved w/o any of those things above?

  136. …and this is where Reason is important…not so much for you, though 😉

  137. “MLD, can a person be saved without a profession of faith in Jesus?”

    The profession of faith is stating that you are saved. No man can say “Jesus Christ is Lord” without the Holy Spirit.

    So how do you profess Christ to get saved if you need the holy spirit in order to say “Jesus is Lord.”?

    Tell me you are just pulling my leg with those questions or … Back to Christianity 101 for you.

  138. MLD, you are dodging.

    Can you be saved without an understanding of the orthodox gospel message?

    Can you be saved without agreeing with that message?

  139. …this is where you usually start talking about “prosthetic arms” and exposing your weak position and demonstrate why Reason and your mind are not on good terms.

  140. Agreement is an action…it is an act of the will…true or false?

  141. Disagreement is an action…it is an act of the will…true or false?

  142. Why does it take you 3 posts to ask each of your questions?

    The answer to your question is a qualified “yes” – because the message itself is what saves you. God’s word saves.

    Our difference is that your ‘god’ is not powerful enough to save people. Mine is 🙂

  143. Those two questions above present a huge obstacle for your position…and you can’t wriggle out of those two questions.

    If you answer both true, your position is obliterated.

    If you answer both false, your Lutheran position is obliterated and you are essentially a Double-Predestinarian hardcore Calvinist.

    If you answer one true and one false, your position is obliterated.

  144. MLD said, “Why does it take you 3 posts to ask each of your questions”

    Because you are stupid.

  145. 5 posts to ask your question. Take a breath and put together your thought. You sound like a 2nd grader stammering and stuttering.

  146. I have to state it several different ways in the hopes that it somehow clicks with a person who has a low regard for Reason.

  147. RB, The Bible tells us how a person is justified before God. You either believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, or you don’t. It’s a matter of faith. We can’t prove to you that the Bible is inspired. Many of us believe it to be so. You have evidenced a broad knowledge of the Bible. What do you think?

  148. MLD, I can’t assume my communication makes sense to you and that you see things from a Reasonable perspective, so I have to approach it from a variety of angles hoping for that “aha!” moment where I’ve reached the lowest common denominator and it makes some sort of sense to you.

    Again, it is you who profess a low regard for Reason…which makes it difficult to communicate with you…as your mindset is based off of something other than logic and reason.

  149. Jean I think the bible may be inspired like you and every other professing Christian* on the planet who is supposedly “indwelled by the Holy Spirit!” is inspired and thinks they hear from God directly on all sorts of matters.

    In other words, it’s imperfect…and not meant to replace “God”

  150. RB, if I understand your point, 151, I do agree with you that the Bible is not meant to replace God. We are saved through the faithfulness of Christ by faith in him. We are not saved by our faith in the Bible. In addition, there is some mystery in the Bible and we shouldn’t forget that we are fallen believers. Thus, all believers should be careful about pronouncing absolutes regarding certain interpretations in the Bible and who’s in and who’s out. That’s above our pay grade. God is the sovereign One.

  151. Here it is Saturday night and the only thing on is reruns. 😉
    Not even interesting ones.

  152. Jean, I more agree with your last comment than with many from most professing Christians*.

    My faith that man has things largely wrong…is very strong.

    Much is subjective and left to men, councils, gurus, Sects, etc. to tell you “thus sayeth the Lord!”

    I am a believer in Faith…informed by Conscience and Reason.

  153. Jean, I also know that the bible presents many competing and dual narratives from a Reasonable perspective. There are contradictory narratives presented that cannot both be true at the same time…at least not from a Reasonable perspective.

  154. Now a person like MLD who has a low regard for Reason has a magic eraser in his pocket…he can easily claim “Reason isn’t important! It’s a dirty whore like Luther said!” to wiggle out of major problems.

  155. Nothing has to add up in MLD’s world…it’s like the New Math…he gets an A for participation and sincerity in his illogic.

  156. RB, I see the Bible, in agreement with N.T. Wright, who compares it with a symphony consisting of different instruments and different notes, all moving in a complementary direction, in parallel yes, in harmony yes. There are difficult passages, face value contradictions, yes; but I don’t believe that there ultimately are contradictions in God’s Word or character. We should try our best to learn from God’s Word, but if we can’t put it all together (and if anyone tells you he/she has it all together – run the other way) we ultimately have to trust that God’s Word is trustworthy. However, for the vast majority of issues which germane to the Christian faith, there is no ambiguity.

  157. For instance if God is truly “LOVE” then God cannot also be some of the things the bible written by men says he is…even if they were inspired.

    Even the bible itself describes what Love is and isn’t:

    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails…

    But, I tell you, love your enemies…as your father in heaven who is perfect does.–Jesus Christ

    But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

    Love does no harm to its neighbor.

    But the greatest of these is love.

    Love covers over a multitude of sins.

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

    Love covers over all wrongs.

    God is love.

  158. RB,
    You actually for once said something intelligent. Yes, I do not need man’s reason to understand the scripture – God has said that He will give the understanding. Hey, I got this from a hidden place for you – The Bible. – This is from the 1st 8 verses of Proverbs 2.

    My son, if you receive my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you,
    2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
    and inclining your heart to understanding;
    3 yes, if you call out for insight
    and raise your voice for understanding,
    4 if you seek it like silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasures,
    5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
    6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
    7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
    he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
    8 guarding the paths of justice
    and watching over the way of his saints.
    9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
    and equity, every good path;
    10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;

    Note what it says – “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth” Not from my reason … but from his word.

    RB, this is why I can sit here in comfort knowing that God guides my thoughts – you on the other hand because you have come to realize that in your condition, you are responsible for all your own thoughts are always living in an agitated state..

  159. Jean, I personally think an NT Wright is closer to some truth than many others out there.

  160. Now, compare all those things the bible says is “Love” and the bible calls God himself: Love…to the God of the OT commanding Saul to slaughter all the Amalekite women, children and babies.

    Compare the Love narrative to the God of the OT permitting Slavery and ownership of other humans as money and property and that it’s ok to beat them with rods as long as they don’t die….it’s commanded to execute women and children with stones for minor offenses or no fault of their own (like a woman who is raped but didn’t sufficiently cry for help, etc).

    Compare the Love narrative with a God who slaughters his enemies with the sword in Revelation…and a God who tortures his enemies in hell forever.

    No Reasonable person would conclude that those two versions of God are compatible with the bible’s definition of “Love”

  161. Now, a dogmatist like an MLD who professes a very low regard for Reason and logic would conclude it all makes sense that the bible says Love is all those things and not the other things…and that God is literally “Love”….and in the next breath embrace all the bad and evil things that are the opposite of Love that the bible also professes to be God….and MLD has no problem with that b/c Reason and logic don’t matter in his world.

  162. The standard laid out in the NT bible narrative for mankind is Unilateral Forgiveness…yet the typical Christian* asserts it their apologetic that God is held to a different standard…that God himself requires something for you to get the forgiveness…that God is not held to the same standard of Unilateral Forgiveness of his enemies.

    A very high bar for humans who are flawed…and a very low bar for God who is supposed to be,,.well…God and perfect.

  163. ^^^ that stuff up yonder is a big problem for the typical Christian* apologetic from a Reasonable and logical perspective.

  164. Closing the store for the day and gotta run. Thanks Jean for the discussion.

    MLD, thanks for demonstrating your low regard for Reason…at least you are consistent in your illogic and unreasonableness 😉

  165. RB, Couple of comments:

    Christianity is unreasonable. Paul said as much: “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1: 23-24). We have so much trouble with this fact, especially in America Christianity.

    I don’t have the whole OT/NT God’s character issue figured out to my satisfaction. I’ve heard some of the explanations, as I’m sure you have, and I don’t know if any of them are totally satisfying. However, I know these things:

    1. God revealed himself to people in history in “their context.”
    2. God’s wiser than we are, so who are we to judge him?
    3. I do think that God has revealed himself “progressively” to humanity. E.g., Jesus teaching on divorce and loving one’s enemies. I don’t think progressive revelation is contradictory.
    4. God revealed himself to mankind in the flesh in the person of Jesus. So, in Christ we have in my opinion the most unmediated revelation of God’s character.
    5. I don’t see this issue has justifying a crisis of faith.

    Regarding the Book of Revelation, I am not anywhere close to an expert on this book. However, I believe that apocalyptic literature is typically symbolic and I think we have to be careful about interpreting some of the violent symbolism.

  166. Jean said, “Christianity is unreasonable.”

    Agreed.

    It was one of the first strong positions I took on this blog early on over 5 years ago now.

    It was a discussion where I made a comment about Theo-logical or Theo-logos (or Theology) being neither logical or reasonable…to which many cried foul…yet 5 years later…that is the Consensus on this blog now.

  167. RB, I want to be very clear about what I mean by “Christianity is unreasonable”, so that no one on this blog is confused:

    If Christianity were a philosophy or a “gnostic” religion where secret knowledge was imparted only to those who had access through their superior intelligence and reasoning, then salvation wouldn’t be all about God’s grace, would it? It’s just like why God called Abraham, an elderly, childless, nomad with a barren wife: so that God’s redemptive plan for his creation would be commenced entirely by His grace, not by the virtue or works of some superman. God chooses people, nations and means that are “unreasonable” by the values of this fallen world to convey his grace. The first will be last and the last will be first – unreasonable. You have to lose your life to find it – unreasonable. But, surprisingly, this is how the kingdom of God is established.

  168. RB, People blather all day long about this doctrine or that: baptism; eschatology; faith vs. works; women in ministry; predestination; who should be invited to the Lord’s supper; etc.

    What about the average working guy/gal who believes that Jesus died for his/her sins, who sincerely prays the Lord’s prayer every week, and who tries to live an honest and generous life, but who has never heard of any of these controversies, much less opined on them? Does God care?

  169. Ricky Bobby wrote @ # 156,
    “Reason isn’t important! It’s a dirty whore like Luther said!”

    If Luther’s claim is true, I’m one of her frequent Johns and a happy customer!

  170. Michael,

    What a tremendously encouraging post today!

    Driving home, listening to a sermon
    Got a little discouraged
    As the teacher gave reference after reference of how our life was just a short dash in between our birth and death… A vapor, shadow, a breath…

    Thinking how little my life is
    Daily -mundane -routine
    No book deals
    No speaking engagements
    Nor founder of a vast worthwhile non profit organization
    Neither church planter or missionary…
    Not a very good evangelist…
    Mostly seeming to run on fumes
    Trying to get caught up
    on all that needs to be done
    Telling myself,
    In between loads o laundry
    Mowing the lawn, pulling weeds
    Paying bills and putting out fires
    And planting a few flowers…
    To let this little light shine
    To do good deeds
    To be better to my friends
    And have deeper conversations with my kids
    To read scripture more
    Share more
    Pray more
    Seek God more…

    Not to be taken as a pity party…
    Just a reflection of what value is there

    What is a life well lived ?
    what is a life that is pleasing and brings glory to God

    Is it caring and ministering to multitudes
    Or minding well the few?

  171. Sis,
    I hope it was encouraging to you…my whole intent was to lift up folks who may not feel like they are important in the kingdom of God.
    The key is simply to be faithful with what is in front of you…and as long as I’ve known you, that’s what you have strived to do.
    You matter.

  172. There is no book in our present era of humanity like the Bible as it is comprised. Whether inerrant or not.

  173. The ‘reason’ RB uses is the same ‘reason’ Luther fought against. Look, RB has reasoned himself out of the comfort that comes with believing God’s word and has reasoned himself out of believing in a monotheistic God (as he says, the god of the OT cannot be the same god as that of the NT … which is funny because his reason has led him to say this with certainty) 🙂

    RB’s ‘reason’, the ‘reason’ Luther railed against is a reason of doubt a reason used by the Scholastics (not to be confused with scholars) of his day. This is why RB places the book of James as the top salvation book – because RB’s reason says that God is only pleased if we work hard for our salvation … and RB is counting his works, because I do believe in the back of his mind he does want to be saved one day … on his terms alone – because his reason and conscience tell him that is the only possible way it can work..

    Reason that we find in logic and philosophy, reason that deals in the realm where reason can be used – well, RB would not recognize that reason if it bit him in the butt.

  174. Neo, there isn’t any holy book like the Bible in all of human history. It is the only one that tells the good news of Jesus Christ.

  175. Muff. Exactly!

  176. Yes Michael.,, very encouraging
    So much so, it will likely be printed out and posted up as a reminder of the inspiration, virtue and strength in those words!

    Along with the great truth
    A life well lived is a life walking alongside Christ striving to be faithful in whatever He calls us to..

    No matter how large or how small
    Without love; it doesn’t count much at all

  177. late to the family table…enjoyed the food fight at the children’s table…main course was well-served and satisfying even if cold leftovers from the fridge.

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