Mar 282015
 

community-pictureI had a chance to get away overnight and have been offline for a day or so.

I was going to write a TGIF about how Miss Kitty faithfully occupied until my return and how I found her watching for the signs of my coming…but I chose to pass on that one.

It’s all yours today…

 

  135 Responses to “Open Blogging”

  1. Michael, Hope you’re refreshed!

    Recently a minister friend of mine was falsely accused, and it has really harmed quite a few people.

    In Matthew Henry’s commentary I just read this:
    “There is no evil so black and horrid, which, at one time or other, has not been said, falsely, of Christ’s disciples and followers.”

  2. jtk,

    I took Trey so I’m more tired than before I left…. 🙂
    Good to get away, though…

  3. I think we’re at a point where we’re ready to believe the worst about any authority figure…or anyone period.
    It’s going to get worse before it gets better…

  4. I think so, sir blogmeister.

    We’ve had it good, as Christians in America. But when I read the stories of martyrs and those persecuted (either elsewhere now, or throughout history), I’m excited for the presence of God experienced in a new way, for passages like Matthew 5:10-12 to “come alive.”

  5. During the linkathon on Tuesday, Xenia mentioned the overall negative nature of the links. The comment encouraged me to come up with something a bit more positive.

    Hope you don’t mind me sharing here:

    https://dswoager.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/do-it-again/

  6. Hey I invite you all to play along. As president of my congregation it falls on me to do the annual review of my pastor. I am somewhat restricted and directed by our constitution & by laws.

    So, what would you evaluate you pastor on? What quantifiable performance goals would you help him set?

    Has anyone else here been in this position (I have done this the past 2 yrs). How about any pastors – any objections to an annual review?

  7. MLD,

    Great questions.

    How do you set “quantifiable goals” for a pastor?
    I’m not sure that’s possible.
    Attendance? 🙂

  8. dswoager,

    It’s always acceptable on Saturdays…and most other times if I like you. 🙂

  9. Conversions Above Replacement (CAR)?

    Everyone knows that saves are just a made up stat to get pastors raises in arbitration.

  10. I guess a question to answer is – does the pastor have a job to do or does he just wake up in the morning, yawn, get a cup of coffee and say “well, I will sit here until the spirit moves me.”

    If a church has that expectation of a pastor, I guess that would be hard to evaluate. But what about a church that calls a pastor to do a very specific job? Is that difficult to evaluate?

  11. MLD,

    It depends on the job description.
    If he’s judged on the weekly lecture, that’s subjective.
    If he’s judged on other things that are objective I’m not sure what they would be.

    Most of the things a good pastor produces can’t be measured.

  12. One thing I will say in evaluating pastors, is that a fair portion of the ones I know would grade out at an F-minus on responding to emails.

    I’m not a guy that’s filling up inboxes, but if (big if) I get a response at all, it generally is a couple weeks before I hear something.

  13. I’d watch him discreetly at the next potluck.
    Is he first in line, or does he wait till everyone else is served to feed himself?

    I know that sounds trite, but to me, it says a lot about what I need to know about that pastor.

    Actually saw it play out nicely a few years ago with a young buck who thought he was all that and a bag of chips…of course when the folks offered him to “lead the way”, he took them up on it. Like a badge of honor. I’d NEVER join that guy’s church.

    Much more inclined to hang out with the older guy who was wiser and went last even though all the “good stuff” was gone.

  14. London,

    I know at least two people in the last month who basically used that same test…one passed, the other failed.
    I thought that this was a wise observation…it tells you who the church revolves around.

  15. My pastor sits and is served at every pot luck

  16. #16 … hmmm – that seems decent and orderly – respectful of the office – but what if the pastor just sits themself down and expects to be waited on? how can one really have a hard and fast judgement from a serving line? and, if you are the (new?) pastor and the folks who have set up the potluck invite you to go first, wouldn’t the proper thing be, to do so?

  17. You asked about our tests, not your experience.

  18. MLD,

    I give up…what are your objective measures of pastoral competence?

  19. Well, I should have mentioned that he is a polio victim on crutches and is usually served by his wife – but it does show that things aren’t always as they look.

    However, I doubt that his conduct at a potluck would end up on his performance review — especially as Lutherans are like a hoard of barbarians around food and drink 😉

  20. I use that test in business circles too you can learn a lot about who to trust from watching people when there is food involved.

  21. If the congregation is looking solely for a Bible expositor/teacher/exegete, then that evaluation becomes pretty simple.
    However, if the congregation expects a shepherd, then the evaluation is much more subjective. Having been a pastor for over 30 years, I can think of so many times when I have been called upon by families, teens, and other individuals for prayer, for support and much more, that nobody else knows about. Those are things that I do not share with the rest of the congregation, except for the board/elders to whom I have always been accountable. Sometimes I have wanted to kind of mention it in a sermon (with the names changed, of course!) to let others know . . . well, just to make myself look good and compassionate. But, I do not go that route. Being a cradle-to-grave pastor for so long entails so much and I believe that my congregation has appreciated my role. Lots of mistakes and many successes. I really love this church and I consider them my extended family.

    As for being first in line at potlucks, that may say a lot about a pastor, but it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story, so I wouldn’t judge him only by that criterion. I always get at the end of the line. However, there is one exception. On Easter, when we have our sunrise service followed by a pancake breakfast at a farm/B&B, the hosts always put me and the others who will be leading the later service at the church building at the front of the line so that we can eat, stay for a few minutes, and then get going. I usually go home, shower (who wants to smell like bacon at church?), change clothes and get to the church site.

    I would welcome an evaluation from members of the congregation, as difficult as that may be. Who likes criticism?? But, I trust them, so I know that any criticism would be of the constructive nature, and I can learn to be a better shepherd through it.

  22. 1- do i learn when he gets up to speak
    2- is he respectful and faithful to his wife (deferential in all but church matters)
    3- does he show signs of fearing God (where wisdom begins) or is he more concerned that he and his family look cool and with it

    what the deal breaker would be? i dunno – thankfully that ‘s always been somebody else’s call 🙄

  23. MLD- I don’t believe you want any feedback from me. I think you just throw out questions like that so you can respond with your holier than thou attitude.
    So as they say on shark tank, I’m out….

  24. I always watch the husband or wife and kids…in any profession.

  25. Michael,
    some are simple – show up to work on time.
    Some are more deep like establish annual congregation ministry goals
    How about planning & supervising congregational worship and administration of the sacraments

    I have some for his work with the schools, the development and nurturing of good stewardship attitudes, supervision of other ministry leaders etc

  26. MLD,

    So… if the wine stays wine, he gets a bad grade?

  27. London, don’t forget the rest of us… your comments are honest, pithy and insightful … i always look for them

  28. London, I guess that means you have no experience doing formal performance evaluations. I only asked what people would put on an evaluation and if anyone else had experience evaluating their pastor.

    Your “sharking out” is nothing new.

  29. Thanks Em,
    I’m just not interested in playing games with MLD. Not going anywhere.

  30. I’ve done a ton of performance evaluations…and they revolve around measurable metrics.

    I’m not convinced that you can measure how the Spirit uses a pastor…

  31. Oh I get it – no, if the wine stayed wine, then Jesus would get a bad grade.

  32. MLD,

    You said that the sacraments were part of the grade…which makes no sense to me…thus, I made a small joke.

  33. MLD- you’re assuming about my experience giving reviews would be incorrect.

  34. Would the spirit lead a pastor to work in opposition to his calling and job description?

    “Pastor, you were late to work 75% of the time and the worship services were very sloppy and you have provided no leadership to your staff. What do you have to say for yourself?”

    “Well, you don’t understand how the spirit uses me.”

  35. London, so do you evaluate an employee that you saw take cuts a McDonald’s? 😉

    I was talking specifically pastoral evaluations.

  36. Michael, I said the administration of the sacraments… which is quite detailed especially when dealing with shut ins and other MIAs.

  37. if this question is a vehicle to get in front of us how well the Lutherans are organized, bravo, there’s much to learn from that…
    but doesn’t that make performance reviews pretty easy also? he’s got a job description; is he fulfilling it?
    where did i get the idea that the Lutheran pastors were automatically reassigned to a different pastorate every few years?

  38. MLD,

    As has been said, when I’ve done such evaluations they were based on objective, measurable, metrics.

    Those metrics were clearly defined in the job description.
    Even customer service can be measured objectively to a degree.

    So…without knowing your churches job description and measurable objectives it would be impossible for us to comment intelligently.

  39. Michael – I wasn’t asking help to evaluate my pastor. I asked

    “So, what would you evaluate YOUR pastor on? What quantifiable performance goals would you help HIM set?

  40. em, “where did i get the idea that the Lutheran pastors were automatically reassigned to a different pastorate every few years?”

    my pastor has been here 24 yrs – we call out own pastors.

  41. MLD,

    My job is to teach as accurately as possible and do such things as equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
    I have no idea how you would measure that.

  42. If I was in charge of pastoral evaluation, I think that a survey completed by the congregation, which the pastor never saw, combined with the pastor’s self evaluation would be a good place to start.

    Nothing too dire, but a tool to see if there are any negative trends forming. The self evaluation may actually be even more valuable since we are often harder on ourselves than others are on us.

    If you want to quantify something that is difficult to put a number on, looking at trends would be a good way to go.

    Frankly, I think that most evaluations should probably be as simple as verifying that the pastor has a nose on his face, but there are avenues if you choose to take them.

  43. If I lived in SoCal all I’d want to know is whether he was a Kings fan or a Ducks fan…if he roots for the Ducks, he’s gone.

  44. 1. Knows the rubrics for all the services.
    2. Willing to serve all the services on the liturgical calendar
    3. Not too grouchy
    4. Good singing voice (for chanting)
    5. Honest, etc, goes without saying

  45. dswoager,
    Good catch – I do have the pastor do a self evaluation on the exact topics ‘ form I have.

    The evaluation by the congregation, not so much – who is going to evaluate 600 evaluations 😉

  46. MLD, I would assume that there is some kind of cheap or free tool online that would allow you to create and gather that information fairly easily, and compile results for you. I think with something like that you would be looking for something more like a general feel that specific gripes, so it wouldn’t have to be overly detailed.

    As I said otherwise though, most of what you would get from that would probably be pretty apparent anyway. Though if it was in the form of an evaluation it would probably be easier to address.

  47. It’s been twenty years since the publication of “Evangelicals and Catholics Together”.

    http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/03/evangelicals-and-catholics-togethertwenty-years-later

    J.I. Packer was sent to the pit by many for helping author the document…

  48. I have to go by the constitution and by laws and not so much by consensus and opinion.

  49. MLD

    So by the “company” by laws and policies and procedure, wouldn’t you also have a job description as well.

    How would anyone be able to evaluate another objectively otherwise and how would the one being evaluated know what the key task were in what they would be, being evaluated, much more carrying out their duties and responsibilities, along with short and long term goals to set for the future.

    What type of feedback from the person being evaluated encouraged or permitted. How do you receive this feedback. Perhaps, something you were going mark them down on, after hearing their take on it, are you willing to back up on the score you gave them? Or do you take it as questioning your authority or get snarky with them.

    Without this, seems to me it becomes more of a political exercise instead.

    Who evaluates you and in what terms are you being evaluated.

  50. Michael
    The Evangelical and Catholics together agreement was a dead issue with most evangelicals and fundamentalist before the ink was dry on the document.

  51. Linda – first, all churches have constitutions and by laws so I don’t know why you would insert “company”. The difference may be that my church chooses to follow them. Don’t you wish Raul Ries and your husband followed theirs? Don’t you even wish you knew what their by laws are?

    Of course the pastor has a job description and much of it is also contained in the constitution and by laws. I said above I have the pastor do a self evaluation and I said nothing about scoring his performance. I love my pastor and I want nothing but good to come to him (yuck! isn’t that a weird statement on this blog.)- that is why I take this venture so seriously.

    As to who evaluates me, well that would be the congregation. I serve at their will and by their vote every 2 years. I also serve under a 2 term limit.

  52. Dude,

    Watching Packers’s friends and peers turn on him for participating in ECT changed me…he never denied even one aspect of the Reformed faith, but a mob scene ensued.
    I learned much from watching that…and from his humble, but firm responses.

  53. Linda – my question was how would you formally evaluate your pastor, what goals would you help him set to improve his ministry – and on what areas of ministry.

    I guess the question could be asked is anyone evaluating their pastors in a formal manner?

  54. MLD…does your pastor engage with people? How so? Is his engagement superficial or genuine? Does he visit people in the hospital or in hospice? Does he treat his own family with respect? Does he prepare a message each week that is edifying? Would he die for his family or congregation? I believe these are biblical measures. If he’s in it for the power, fame or money, he won’t demonstrate these behvaiors.

  55. How he tolerates you, MLD.

    THAT is a measurable metric you would know.

    And a bunch of us would give him a bonus for.

    🙂

  56. it’s pretty funny – only one person today has engaged the question.

    Are people really that distant from their pastors that they don’t know what their pastors are to be doing day to day? or is the Sunday message the totality of expectation.

    I also find it odd that most took the evaluation process as a negative or potential negative vs an avenue to show the pastor that he is meeting and or exceeding expectations.After 10 years of ripping pastors here on the blog you would think someone would applaud the idea of a church being involved enough to help a pastor advance the ministry of the church.

  57. MLD

    When I offer my opinion, it was not with the intention of insulting you. I thought you were being sincere in gaining insight from others regarding this topic.

    You owe me an apology. Sincerely.

  58. Linnea,
    “If he’s in it for the power, fame or money, he won’t demonstrate these behaviors.”

    There is no money or power in being a Lutheran pastor (or even with most pastors.)

  59. Linda, your words speak for themselves;

    ” Or do you take it as questioning your authority or get snarky with them. ”

    “Who evaluates you and in what terms are you being evaluated.”

    And when I spoke of our church by laws you purposely called them “company” … with your quote marks.

  60. MLD

    “I also find it odd that most took the evaluation process as a negative or potential negative vs an avenue to show the pastor that he is meeting and or exceeding expectations.After 10 years of ripping pastors here on the blog you would think someone would applaud the idea of a church being involved enough to help a pastor advance the ministry of the church.”

    Speaking for myself, this would not be a true statement. But your response was highly defensive, negative, and a bit condescending and arrogant. If you would like feedback, stop stepping on their toes and try to find the positive in what they have to offer.

    Like this: interesting question, but was thinking more that you were either experiencing a glitch in the process you use or that you were just curious to see how others did it.

  61. MLD

    You would have done better to ask for clarification. As for:

    ‘“Who evaluates you and in what terms are you being evaluated.”

    I said this as a way to say simply think about when you are being evaluated or have been evaluated. What works for you and most productive in other words.

    As for:

    “company,” when using the word “bylaws” which is also a business term, at the same time thinking we all know it has to do with a religious establishment where people hold true to a particular denominational sect or branch of Christianity.

  62. Linda, I never asked for feedback as to what I was doing. I thought I made this clear. I am limited by rules and not opinions or consensus.

    My question or offer to have people engage was;
    “So, what would you evaluate you pastor on? What quantifiable performance goals would you help him set?”

    This is what people did not engage.

    Which is fine – it’s Open Blogging day

  63. it seems like anything that you could do to a race car that didn’t change its regulation specs would be okay… tires are a big part of a cars performance, so if they want everybody’s tires to be equal, why not just issue tires to everybody on race day… believe it or not, i used to own an Indy 500 car, but that’s a long story and a really long time ago
    just sayin… cuz it’s not quite time for bed and i haven’t anything else to do… since it’s open blogging

  64. wish i hadn’t mentioned the race car… sounds a bit nuts… suffice it to say that as a youngster i had an inheritance that got invested/spent

  65. ECT

    a related thing — still remember when Michael Card and John Michael Talbot were going to tour together. Too much for the fundies — churches refused to host them. Sad.

  66. Em, “IROC”

  67. Happy Palm Sunday – I hope you all hear a message today about our reigning King fulfilling Zechariah 9 entering Jerusalem, that leads you into a Holy Week observance.

  68. Em, the tires are just one example of how stock car racing has changed over the years – gone are the days when Lee and Richard Petty could build the bigger, faster more powerful stock car – now all the cars, no matter the brand have the same body shapes and limiting regulation.

    Long live the 1969 Plymouth Superbird!!! 😉

    https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=AwrT6VytBhhVa0EALe0nnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBsOXB2YTRjBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkAw–?_adv_prop=image&fr=yhs-mozilla-001&va=1969+plymouth+superbird&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-001

  69. MLD

    Your question IMO is asking what worldly standards should we judge our Pastor by?
    (Quantifiable performance goals)
    I would say if man is led by the Holy Spirit and the one listening has been called by God to walk in His ways, it will be apparent to the one listening that he is doing God’s will.
    Not a ” formula” based on the traditions of man.
    Jesus rebuked the Parisees for that.

    When I hear a man speak from the pulpit in complete humility and repentance in his own life, and his goal is speaking to the heart of his sheep as a true Shepherd, I know He is called and that is what is important.
    Does he pray, does he seek God, is he burdened by the world around him and the lost.., does he want not pew sitters but true converts, etc.. Can you hear the cry if his heart? Does he mourn deeply.
    When a Pastor is not elevated above but walks alongside those entrusted to him he is not bound by formulas or programs. Think of the upper room.

  70. MLD,

    I would think that various metrics are possible:
    Hours spent in prayer, the Word, doing visitation, hours in various ministerial meetings, numbers of new members, (infant–for you) baptisms, first time guests, etc.

    Questions and discussion about how they think they did, what they could do better could be great.

    I do not like church culture where boards get to fire pastors on a whim or personal prejudice, much less openly criticize every area of an individual’s life, so I’m hesitant to give (the above) criterion. But one COULD use those above.

    And I do think there is plenty of ground between critical church boards that get nitpicky about every small area and the Moses model in a church with no membership or functional accountability.

    Hope at least to contribute to answering you.

    I’m disappointed when my questions don’t get answered.

  71. I think the NT examples the Open participation of the whole Body of believers that make up the Local congregation. Limiting the sharing of the Word of God and the exposition of such to just one man limits the ministry of the Holy Sprit to the Body and subjects the congregation to possible and probably misuse of that ‘authority’ or position as that one struggles (and in some cases doesn’t struggle at all) against the potential for personal aggrandizement and gain at the expense of those he purports to serve as a ‘humble shepherd’
    Allow the Body to be the Body again and you may see the ‘Pastor Focused Church’ yield to True Ministry within the Body of Christ.
    -mike

  72. Mike,

    There is open participation in the early church, but not everyone was a teacher, nor had the gift of teaching.
    God established offices in the church and there are leaders with authority.
    This strange desire for everyone to be a teacher/pastor negates the exercise of other gifts and keeps the focus squarely on one gift.

  73. JU – thanks, i do know the difference 🙂 never did enjoy watching… think i’d enjoy driving in a demolition derby, tho…

    more importantly – Palm Sunday greetings

  74. Mike and Brandy

    Good Words of exhortation and admonishment. In the body, no one is above or more important than any other. Teaching is a gift and apparently, we all have it and it is used in one form or another. To make the congregation or to separate it from being part of the body via the instituting by bylaws, constitutions, constructs such as the Moses Model or any other that has any other head or shepherd other than Jesus is quenching the Holy Spirit. It only creates an environment that is ripe for corruption, abuses, oppression, misguided worship of “leaders” while also putting into place traditions that are man made and leads away from those works that abide in every Christian to do as the Holy Spirit empowers and enables them to do. Repentance is a by-word and sin is watered down and glossed over into an attitude that is helpless and hopeless, woe is me, except for those traditions that is kept to clean me up as I keep them on my to do list. What does the scripture say:

    Matthew Chapter 15:8 (KJV)

    This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

    Colossians Chapter 3 (KJV)

    14 And above all these things [put on] charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

    15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

    16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

    17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

    ——————————-
    1 Corinthians 12

  75. Linda,

    Not everyone has the gift of teaching and you and Mike both deny the scriptures that clearly state that God has established offices in the church.
    I prepare 10-20 hours a week to teach…using thousands of dollars of resources.
    It is the height of ignorance and arrogance to assume that without training, education, and study that all are equipped to teach.
    It is comments like this that truly devalue the rest of the gifts of the church as everyone strives to be a teacher.
    Leaders are a necessity in society unless you’re a big fan of anarchy.

  76. Maybe if other gifts were talked about and openly valued as much as teaching, people would be less inclined to think teaching was more valuable that whatever there’s is.
    Also, they would be more likely to embrace and operate within their own set of gifts I think.

  77. London,

    That point I will emphatically affirm.
    We’ve boiled the faith down to a weekly lecture and that is a stench in the nostrils of God.
    Teachers are to equip others to do the work of the ministry…the real work is usually done outside the building.
    The good part about having a house churchis that everyone does participate in some measure while we are all gathered together.
    I view my job more as being a coordinator than a despot…

  78. The best pastors i know are always involved in some sort of continuing education and are constantly, intentionally trying to learn more about the many facets of the faith so they might serve their congregations better.
    The “any one can be a teacher” mantra devalues all the time, work, and money that many invest in their calling.
    In truth, the greatest scourge in American evangelicalism has been the army of untrained, uneducated men who someone decided were anointed, but were really just parrots, passing on the erroneus theology and methodology of their mentors.

  79. “It is the height of ignorance and arrogance to assume that without training, education, and study that all are equipped to teach.”

    Michael, it is the duty of every Christian to know Scripture. Not only this, if one is a Christian, they are indwelled with the Holy Spirit to know God and to abide in Him and the understand and to do that which written.

    It is the height of ignorance and arrogance to assume that one needs to depend solely upon a person who thinks training, education, and study supersedes that which scripture has told us that: 1 John chapter 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

    What more in terms of making disciples of Christ to fulfill the great commission, that is, in the equipping of the saints (to know the word and to do it), it is most arrogant to think for one minute that those who do grow in the Word becoming mature in Christ continue to be babes and require another to interpret scripture for them.

    The bible is not all that difficult to understand nor is it all that difficult to forsake sin, if one has the Holy Spirit to teach, convict, and to empower them to do.

    12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. Hebrews ch. 5.

    We are all of the priesthood of Christ, with Him being the Head of the Body, His bride, called to know and to do His Word, walking in obedience—-no matter what calling or office, or man made position, or level of education, training, or credentials they may have taken upon themselves to do outside of the scripture as it stands.

    And if people are not able to spread the gospel through the teachings and studying scripture and by walking as He walked, then I would say that those who are doing the teaching and the leading are sorely missing the mark. Even more so when such a one leads a life of sin and then dismiss it claiming the Blood of Christ while continuing in it.

    Yet to all who are in Him:

    9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

    10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

    11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

    12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

    13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

    14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

    16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

    1Cor. Ch2 (KJV)

  80. And greetings to you Em.

  81. I utterly reject these notions as unbiblical.
    That’s ok…because I think I’ll become a therapist.
    No training needed, just listen to people and let the Holy Spirit guide me.

  82. The Bible is written in three foreign languages, covers thousands of years of history, and numerous different cultures as well as citing extra biblical literature of various times.
    Any fool can parse that out…

  83. “In truth, the greatest scourge in American evangelicalism has been the army of untrained, uneducated men who someone decided were anointed, but were really just parrots, passing on the erroneus theology and methodology of their mentors.” AMEN! ! ! !

    i’ve just skimmed Linda, mike and brandy (will go back and re-read), but i am wondering a couple things: maybe their conclusion is based on the above? and maybe – dunno – they are mixing up encouraging one another with teaching… we all have a responsibility to affirm and share what ground we have gained, but to say that a Teacher is an of the moment kind of gift displays a lack of appreciation for what is being taught … IMHO

  84. No one questions the fact that every Christian should read the bible.
    If they read the bible they will note that contrary to your assertion, not all people are teachers.
    Perhaps you need to read that part again.
    What you are doing is putting the template of negative experience in church over the word of God, thus distorting it.
    No one should rely solely one one teacher.
    I don’t…I stand on the shoulders of other gifted men and women who God has called to the office.
    The people in our church hear my teaching and they also listen to others and check it all against the word of God.
    If John didn’t believe teachers were a necessary part of the bible, he wouldn’t have written that letter in the first place.
    A good teacher will see the historical and theological context of that verse…and the context is Gnostic false teachers trying to woo away the flock of God.
    The indwelling of the Spirit and teachers like John would equip the believers there to recognize that.
    Only self appointed teachers without that insight would believe it is saying that all believers have the gift of teaching and have no need of biblically established offices.

  85. Along with:

    “And if people are not able to spread the gospel through the teachings and studying scripture and by walking as He walked, then I would say that those who are doing the teaching and the leading are sorely missing the mark. Even more so when such a one leads a life of sin and then dismiss it claiming the Blood of Christ while continuing in it. ”

    I would also say that people are not obeying God by neglecting to study scripture to know for themselves if what they are be taught is true. Each person is work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, testing the spirits, and like the Bereans, placing everything they hear under the filter of scriptures, not some hierarchal system that tout this or that theologian or institutionalized leadership created after the real church fathers and prophets named in scripture.

    In terms of “leader” unfortunately more time than none, and one that Jesus clearly told us was not to be, is that which mirrors that of the world, not of Christ.

    Matthew 20:25-28

  86. Linda,

    Not all pastors are wicked despots.
    Most of us are scraping by doing our best to serve God and the people He trusts us with.

    The Bible teaches that there should be leaders in the church…to deny that denies the Scriptures.

  87. Em,

    There are those who are so disenchanted with the church that they attack all pastors and pastoral work as if all were the same as those who wounded them.

    My friend and pastor is working on his second Masters in theology…and we both noted that the more we learn the more we know we have to learn.

    It’s a never ending discipline.

    Some folks think they know it all already without that work, time, and money…and it sends me through the damn roof.

  88. Let see, Paul encouraged Timothy to study, but he also instructed hm in the faith, and to instruct others as well. i don’t normally post scripture, I rather post the reference and have people look it up themselves, but in this case…

    2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    2Ti 2:2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

    Act 19:9, 10 … he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

  89. “(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
    (Ephesians 4:9–14 ESV)

  90. “it is most arrogant to think for one minute that those who do grow in the Word becoming mature in Christ continue to be babes and require another to interpret scripture for them.”

    share what you know, yes and spread the gospel, yes… but

    it is skating close to the edge of arrogance to think that you don’t benefit and grow from the teacher described in #80 and, yes, God the Holy Spirit is there to guide us away from false teachers and to make the instruction from God’s designated teachers come alive. However, that does not equate with not needing to be taught… a good teacher prepares a feast. How sad to live on locusts and think, “i must be a prophet.”

  91. “It is skating close to the edge of arrogance to think that you don’t benefit and grow from the teacher described in #80 and, yes, God the Holy Spirit is there to guide us away from false teachers and to make the instruction from God’s designated teachers come alive. However, that does not equate with not needing to be taught… a good teacher prepares a feast. How sad to live on locusts and think, “i must be a prophet.”

    That is as good as it gets…

  92. #94 – amen and that shuts my mouth 🙂

  93. Michael,

    I am not arguing that there are offices that are not biblical. But historically what they have been turned into which is not of scripture.

    What gets me is to think for a second that it takes millions and millions of extra biblical literature to decipher the Word of God and then add to it traditions and practices that are not even mentioned in scripture.

    I don’t believe the inspired Word was given to us in such a way that required a course of studies that leads some into taking on such a burden to delve into those areas that have little to do with it, but more to do with philosophical underpinnings used to establish the foundation of varying teachings and that has led to a body of believers being at odds with one another, even to the point of killing them if they disagreed, and have set up the body to think they are not able to discern and to study and to understand the Bible by the leading of the Holy Spirit for themselves.

    Not saying that the office of teacher is not valid as they are, if nothing else due to the laziness of people or their desire to have their ear tickled and their tummy rubbed. But this is not what we as Christians are called to do—-we are to learn and in the learning also to teach others while walking in Him. But make damn sure, that what we are passing along, it is what the Bible in fact teaches us—not because some person sounds like they know what they are speaking or supposedly teaching. Particularly, when their walk does not match up.

  94. “The bible is not all that difficult to understand nor is it all that difficult to forsake sin, if one has the Holy Spirit to teach, convict, and to empower them to do.”

    That’s just silliness.

  95. Linda,

    Again, I disagree.
    Take one book…the first epistle to the Corinthians.
    This is the early church…probably in the 50’s, a couple of decades after the ascension.
    That church is one hot mess.
    So was the church in Galatia.
    There has never been, nor will there ever be some golden age of the church before Christ returns.
    Historically, we know that there were leaders in the early church, that bishops arrived in the first century and doctrinal disputes have been going on since the beginning.

    Understanding even the rudimentary backdrop to any book of the bible does require a course of study and the more one studies the more one discovers.

    A lay person can glean much from private study…but the teacher is called to take himself and then the flock past rudimentary into meat.

  96. Furthermore…if you want understand the Pauline and Johannine writings you better have a grip on the philosophical ideas of the day as well as the theological underpinnings of Gnosticism.

    The Holy Spirit made me buy very expensive and dull books to gain that understanding…and my pastor has forgotten more than I know about both.

    I applaud and respect him for caring that much for his flock and loving the Word enough to exhaust himself to understand it more clearly.

  97. “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
    (Ephesians 4:9–14 ESV)”

    “until as all attain” “so that we may no longer be tossed to and fro tossed to and from by every wind of doctrine”

    Precisely is what I am saying.

    How much studying does one need to do in learning about the opinions of others, outside of scripture. So, you get a Master’s in learning the various teachings put forth by theologians. So what——-unless it aligns with scripture first, it fails to teaches the truth.

    It’s my understanding that the KJV was written on a 5th grade level. Man has taken, through their obsession with philosophical/logical reasoning arguments exercises, God’s Word, the Old and New Testament and made it into and having people to believe that it is far more complicated and convoluted than what God clearly have told us that His Holy Spirit enables us to understand. It is belief that because of these schools of thoughts that have kept people thinking that one cannot possibly find the truth except under the tutelage of those who thrive within it.

    Jesus took 12 unlearned men and lived with them for 3 years, teaching them by word and example, and told them to do likewise. Now do you really think he spent time in teaching them philosophy, logic/reasoning, and what other pagan school of thoughts put forth? But he did use and affirm the things of the Old Testament and prophets. He spoke to them simply and in terms they could understand, if they had an ear to hear and eyes to want to see. Paul, did likewise.

    As for having to know 3 languages—why is this necessary if you have a good translation, concordance, and accurate a biblical history handbook to understand the historical contexts that is not written primarily to make one think that Rome was the beginning or foundation of the Christian Faith.

    Anyone that says that I believe “all” pastors to be without merit or substance is in error and furthermore, to say that do so based upon the negative experience I have had within a particular denomination is merely grasping to use to dismiss what I have shared. I am not an ignorant or uneducated, nor do I generalize to say that because some pastors are may be from the pit, therefore they all are.

    Nice try—but is without substance and only serve to drive home even more what I have shared, thus far to date.

  98. Michael, how many upper division courses have you taken in philosophy, anthropology, archeology, logic and reasoning, and history (prior to the foundation being laid to establish a church in Rome)?

    Rome was set upon these philosophers who in turn interpreted scripture through those lenses. Not the other way around. Calvin did the same, by the way.

    ——————————————————

    And yes, I have taken many courses in the above. Six in philosophy, 3 in anthropology, 1 in biblical archeology, 2 in logic and reasoning, and 2 in history, not counting the independent study of Jewish history that has not been tainted with the lies that came out of Rome and Greek cultures/religious traditions and teachings. But have also studied that has painted an entirely different historical account that virtually leads a person to view the Jewish people and person as something other than what Scripture has told us to do. Romans 11-12. (Not saying this specifically to anyone on this blog)

    Michael,

    I truly understand your reasoning behind defending this, but at the same time take issue in your defense of such being the end all of one being able to understand scripture outside of these theological dominions that have claimed authority over scripture.

  99. A Pastor is a calling of God.
    just like God called David.
    A young man who had no ability.
    God placed His Spirit in David and he was able to do miraculous things.
    A Pastor is a vessel used by God to equip the saints.

  100. Linda,

    There is not a single church historion in any reputable seminary that would concur with your view.
    Not one.
    Your comment on Calvin is laughable…and as one who has spent most of his adult life studying Calvin…irritating as hell.
    I’m not the end all by any means…but I’m a life long learner who has spent his life and time investing in the Word of God…only to be informed by you that it was all unneccessary and a waste of time.
    It’s insulting and offensive and more than all that it’s unbiblical.

  101. ” It is belief that because of these schools of thoughts that have kept people thinking that one cannot possibly find the truth except under the tutelage of those who thrive within it. ”

    In theory, I would agree with you to some extent. In practice, most people have difficulty setting aside their presuppositions that affect their hermeneutic. What they consider to be the voice of the Holy Spirit teaching them the meaning of scripture may in fact be the voice of their own presuppositions. Better to handle the word of God with utmost care and humility, because it may be that our philosophy, theology and hermeneutic have defects that will taint our understanding of scripture.

    Many of the early fathers were familiar with Greek philosophical thought. It was the common world view of the day, including Hellenists. It is apparent to me the Paul may have had a good grasp of philosophical ideals which he expresses in scripture and then extended them beyond human reasoning into divine revelation.

    I rarely see cases where God choses to bring illumination within a void. Not that He can’t, but I see Him normally building on previous knowledge in which His leads us in reasoning with and about Him . Isaiah 1:8.

  102. To Linda’s question – @102 “Now do you really think he spent time in teaching them philosophy, logic/reasoning, and what other pagan school of thoughts put forth? ”

    I certainly do, but it is not described in scriptures for the reasons John gave.

    However, we do know that Paul taught all of those things – so are you saying within 5 yrs of the crucifixion, Paul had an encounter with Jesus and then began teaching topics that Jesus would frown on?

    Linda, it does not surprise me that you no longer have a need to study.

  103. I once heard a totally untrained pastor tell me about a recent sermon where he taught that Lazarus of Bethany (the one the Lord raised from the dead) and the Lazarus who lived at the gates of the rich man (the one where the dogs licked his sores) were the same person.

    How’s that for ignorance. Willful ignorance. The arrogance of ignorance.

  104. The Bible is a very complicated book. Christianity is a complicated religion.

    Sure, the faith is such that even a child can understand it but I imagine we all want to advance beyond a kindergarten- level of understanding?

  105. Xenia,

    It’s a losing battle to engage this.
    I can trace the roots of Linda’s theology to the Baptists of the late 19th, early 20th century when they claimed much of the same things.

    My frustration gets the better of me…I don’t understand why people don’t have a passion for investigating the roots of the faith and reading and understanding the great theologians that have gone before us.

    Calvin did…his favorite writer was Chrysostom and Bernard a close second.

    He didn’t agree with all they wrote but he appreciated their contributions.

    After his death his theology was critiqued by others with respect.

    A church with no leaders, no theology except what is conjured up by committees that don’t respect teachers…sounds like hell to me.

  106. Xenia

    While the two Lazarus are not the same it is a legitimate analysis, considering when and to whom Jesus was speaking when he told the story of the Lazarus who went to Abraham’s bosom, to say they are related. I have read it from more than one source Jesus used the name Lazarus purposely as a critique. If you follow the text it can be seen He told this story after the Lazarus was raised from the dead and His followers were growing. Some have also speculated the Lazarus was also infected with leprosy and could possibly have been a reason for his death.

    As with all stories and parables told by Jesus there are multiple meanings and purposes depending on who hears them.

  107. Oh good grief.

  108. Xenia,

    Have you ever read the “Trail of Blood”?
    Now, that’s some crazy stuff…and you hear it repeated in one form or another here all the time.

  109. Ok, I apologize for “Oh good grief” because maybe I didn’t explain myself good enough.

    This pastor taught that the 2 Lazaruses were literally the same person. He wasn’t talking about parables or anything like that. He thought they were the exact same persons.

    I understand that you can take the two men with the same name and work up some kind of sermon about death and Hades. That wasn’t the case here.

  110. Oh Michael, I have surely read The Trail of Blood.

  111. As a matter of fact, The Trail of Blood was kind of a hobby of mine for a while. For one thing, that trail of theirs includes some groups, such as the Cathars, that are complete heretics by anyone’s standards.

  112. Xenia,

    If you ever feel like writing something up on it I would love to publish it here.
    I’m convinced that much of independent evangelicalism draws their “history” from it.

  113. “He didn’t agree with all they wrote but he appreciated their contributions.”

    That is how you study theology…

  114. I would enjoy writing something on this. Maybe after Easter.

  115. Ixtlan,

    I think what is troubling me (and I am troubled tonight) is that it almost seems that the study itself is mocked as pointless and some esoteric reliance on personal revelation through the Spirit is advocated.

    Such has been the soil of much heresy…

  116. Xenia,

    You just made a bad night much better. 🙂
    Feel free to do a whole series if you wish.

    I think the errors of that book have been passed down generation to generation and now many have no clue where they originated from.

  117. Most Baptists think the Trail of Blood is whack-a-doodle, too, by the way.

  118. Xenia

    Please, I hope you did not read me saying they were the same. The two are clearly not the same man at all and to say there are is pure gibberish.

    Why did you bring up Carroll’s sermons?

  119. Oops it was Michael who brought it up.

    I get it, Basically a not so hidden way of mocking people who have posted here. It’s your blog so I guess you can say it any way you please.

  120. Bob,

    I’m not mocking anyone.
    I believe that many tenets of that book became ingrained in fundamentalism and persist to this day in Baptistic and independent churches.

    If I’m mocking someone. they will know it and I won’t hide it.

    You’re right…it is my blog and if you find me offensive because I want to defend the study of theology and church history, then by all means click away.

  121. I have to retire early….my mom is going into the hospital at 5:00 AM for a knee replacement.
    It’s going to be a long couple of weeks…

  122. I take that back…I agree with Xenia that the “Trail of Blood” is whack-a doodle history.
    It’s worth mocking, but Xenia will write about it with far more grace than I would.

  123. By the way, my interest in this topic did not come out of a desire to mock or denigrate Baptists or other evangelicals. I discovered the Albigensians (Cathars) while reading medieval history and found them to be a fascinating group, quite mysterious. Then I ran across the Trail of Blood booklet and was surprised to learn that Carroll’s timeline of supposed Baptist progenitors included this clearly heretical group. I was a Calvary Chapelite at the time and enrolled in a CC Bible College extension campus at my church. I decided to write my final paper for the church history class on the Trail of Blood Theory of Baptist Origins and even located a genuine Landmark Baptist pastor who agreed to an interview. He was one interesting man, let me tell you. He loaned me a rare book to study, convinced I would be convinced that the “Cathars were not Manicheans.” I was not convinced but it was a fun adventure.

  124. pastrmike

    Your comment is well taken:

    “Many of the early fathers were familiar with Greek philosophical thought. It was the common world view of the day, including Hellenists. It is apparent to me the Paul may have had a good grasp of philosophical ideals which he expresses in scripture and then extended them beyond human reasoning into divine revelation.

    I rarely see cases where God choses to bring illumination within a void. Not that He can’t, but I see Him normally building on previous knowledge in which His leads us in reasoning with and about Him . Isaiah 1:8.

    I don’t doubt at all that Paul used his knowledge to find common ground with gentiles who worldview was founded upon the philosophical school of thoughts and pagan practices, however, he also told us that:

    Col ch.2

    8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

    Perhaps, what Jesus was doing with Paul was teaching the futility of philosophy and told him not to waste his time in disputation or seeing things from these filters that those called the “early fathers” used and thus made God’s word out to be far more complicated than what it was meant to be. Much like the Jewish rabbis did when slicing and dicing things in so many way, the true intent of the law was lost and buried beneath a mountain of legalism and dependence upon those who laid a huge burden upon them which God never intended for them to bear up under and that which Jesus came forth and “Woe unto” those who saw themselves as being anointed, wise, and teachers.

    Paul was quite arrogant and murderous prior to his time away from Jerusalem and among the Pharisaical/Scribes and Upper Echelon of society. I would be more persuaded that Jesus used this wipe clean the slate that his former beliefs were benched upon and to humble him to prepare him for the works He had for him to do with the gentiles, while also being able to subject himself to the leadership in Jerusalem. How many times did Paul say in one form or another that he too thought this or that due the foundation of his prior learning and practices.

    Paul at one point shared his credentials to establish himself among those who were learned, yet at the same time he counted it as lost, and whittled his message down to just keeping it to the basic tenets or essentials of Christianity. No frills, just simple faith and obedience. Paul did no less so that he would gain an audience in Rome–by claiming his citizenship to further the Gospel as he believed he was being called to do.

    None of the other Apostles had the educational background of Paul, so of course Paul could go to the gentiles having an understanding their pagan practices and philosophical worldview, but this does not mean that he viewed the gospel from this worldview, but rather he used this understanding to dispel it and to teach people to view God from what he was or had been taught by Jesus and the prophets instead, along with what had been shared with him by those who walked and talked with Him.

    Other considerations:

    1. Prophets were not educated in philosophical schools of thoughts.
    2. John the Baptist is said to be of the Essenes—far away from Hellenistic/Greek Philosophy and Pagan influences.
    3. None of the other authors of the books of the Bible were except for Solomon and Luke, the physician educated and even then Solomon in Ecclesiastes at the end of striving for knowledge said this:

    10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

    12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

    13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

    This is what Paul was taught by Jesus I believe. That is to take what he had learned prior to falling off that high horse he was on to go into a country that worship those pagan gods and practiced such things that were made from and supported the heathen practices that they did while introducing an entire different way of looking at things, by being able to cut through their reasoning that framed their beliefs and lifestyle. He, however, never framed Jesus from the foundations of philosophical thoughts, but from a consistent testimony of God’s creation, the prophets, and Jewish history, as well as his own testimony of what changed his heart and mind that was now filled with the Holy Spirit who he made said much about and gave all credit to in knowing Him and being able to walk in obedience and in love towards others, as he never did before.

    P.S. Went with friends to their Baptist church, I think twice. Does that make me Baptist?

    Yes, I agree it is good to trace back the roots of each theologian and “church” fathers of the early Catholic or Orthodox religions to understand what their foundation was laid upon. Does this establish the truth of the gospel—-nope, not at all, not if it the foundation is seated upon philosophy derived from Greek literature, lifestyle, and pagan practices. Nor, if scripture is viewed or is superseded by the same.

    Paul never did this, although his style of writing presents a similar construct of what philosophers would use to debate and to “reason” with one another, he did not use these philosophy per say to teach the gospel—-but dismiss then as being vain and useless in understanding the things of the one and only true God who ways and thoughts are not minutely the same as what they had learned or believed upon.

    So, yes—just as Paul was familiar with these extraneous and unbiblical beliefs which he also taught us not to rely upon, he always but always brought home the fact that it was the scripture alone that needed to be studied and everything else put under subjection to it instead. Not the tradition of men who touted their expertise in philosophy or theologians who then followed after them to view scripture in similar fashion, thus making the same mistakes that led the Jewish teachers into making things far more complicated than what God ever meant it to be.

    Therefore: standing upon the whole counsel of God and referencing again those scripture already mentioned this is what I will continue to do and not rely upon the misguided notion that church should rely upon that which was ever seated upon that which Paul himself preached against while writing his letters in such a manner that they would be understood by gentiles and Jews alike.

    And no, I do not believe in apostolic succession, but I do believe that the body of Christ are of the Holy Priesthood and in being so are able to know God and to walk in obedience to Him while exercising those gifts that edifies, encourages, admonishes, exhort, and teaches those things that it needs to know to enable it to do so, individually and as His Bride while living in a world that our flesh used to follow due to being so easily led astray according the a unrepentant and unregenerate heart.

    On this note, I wonder if it is more difficult to abide in Him being in the world, but not of it, or is it more difficult to being in the world while being told to abide in Him. I think this has much to do with which school of Christian teaching or traditions we hang on hat upon and who we truly choose to follow after in word and in deed.

  125. The “Trail of Blood” author has reversed his position since that book.
    He has stated that in doing further research in church history, he cannot factually support his claims in that book, so doing a series is pointless.

    Why are we so divided and what good is this for the cause of the gospel?

  126. ?

    “A Pastor is a vessel used by God to equip the saints.”

    Yes, this is true and then when they are equipped, who then enables them to go forth exercising their own gifts and teaching the gospel to others (male and female and even little children, I would venture).

    Are we to be following after the Pastor or after Jesus?
    And are we not to also study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the word of truth. And are we not to test all things . . . . according to scripture, not man who benches everything upon those who filters their reason through the lenses of philosophical teachings and other pagan thoughts relating to life and human affection, habits, and valued placed upon a person gender, education, and status obtained among its conventions and societal norms established.?

    Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

    Proverbs ch. 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    2Peter ch.2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

    Proverbs

    3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

    5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
    6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

    What has been written is simple to understand. It is philosophical arguments that leads people into believing they can cut corners and rely on so much less than what Scripture teaches us how we are to abide and to follow after Him, and Him alone.

    Nevertheless, to be familiar with these things can equip us better in not being entangled, entrapped or compromised by them. And to warn others of the same. If not for anything other than to avoid making His word anemic, Sin of little concern, and obedience into that which is legalistic, rather that that which is an outcome of a changed heart for Him and Him alone.

  127. Please delete comment above. Inaccurate. Steven Ray did commentary on the book disputing authors claims. Can find it online.

  128. ?,

    We are divided because without a teaching magisterium such as the Orthodox and Rome have, theology and practice is a free for all, every man (or woman) for himself.
    We are the individual popes of our individual faiths.
    When education and study are mocked as they have been on this thread the divisions become even wider and deeper.
    I understand why more and more people are fleeing to ancient paths.

  129. “Sin of little concern” better stated: “Sin being made into of little consequence.”

  130. it seems to me that Linda is addressing a real concern, but her aim is off – way off
    don’t target the honest man/woman of God who is called to study and teach – to edify the Body of Christ
    the lazy religious will look for someone else to tell them what to believe, to “tickle their ears” and they are the prey of the opportunistic false prophets and the egotistical, proud intellectual
    so warn the babes in Christ and chide the lazy Christians – respect the Teachers and shepherds

    or so it seems to me

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