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116 Responses

  1. Al says:

    Great article.

    Yup. “Church” as a building and professional Career as “ministry” and “Pastor” just isn’t in the bible.

    Most under the Tent of Christianity are promoting something that is extra-biblical, ironically, since the mainstream watered-down Christianity promotes we “teach the bible simply!”

  2. Al says:

    “We are Christians!”

    Um, what does that mean?

    “We follow Jesus!”

    OK, you mean his teachings and his examples, correct?


    OK, did Jesus have a church building? Did he get a salary? Benefits? What did Jesus say about calling each other “rabbi, teacher!”…he said don’t do it. What did Jesus say about having positions of “Authority” in his Kingdom? He said don’t do it like the World does, flip it upside down. You are all brothers, all equals, but the Greatest should be the least and the “servant of all” and not put up on a stage and not to be worshipped etc.

    Did Jesus collect money for himself and his lifestyle? No.

    What did Jesus do? He taught, and then he fed the masses and healed the masses. He gave them food and health care.

    What do the pastors and churches do? They collect a bunch of money and according to Studies they spend 97% of the money they collect on buildings, their own salaries and perks, on sound systems, promotions etc, aka everything but actually helping people in need.

    Don’t call yourselves “Jesus followers!” when you don’t do anything he actually said and did.

  3. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jesus was well taken care of – I doubt he ever missed a meal, especially since he could created food and wine by wiggling his nose (oh wait, that was someone else. But he did have a harem of women following him to cook and clean.

    His posse did have access to excess funds as Judas carried the bag, was probably the CFO of Jesus Christ Ministries, Inc. and it seems as though he hijacked donkeys and buildings as he need them. 😉

  4. Babylon's Dread says:

    “Did Jesus collect money for himself and his lifestyle?”

    Sure he did. There is no question he lived from collections. Much of your point is reasonable but that statement is an over reach.

  5. Jean says:

    “A majority of the religiously unaffiliated — the so-called “nones” — say they fell away from faith not because of any negative experience, but because they “stopped believing,” usually before the age of 30.”

    I think this statement gets the order wrong. I think these “nones” “stopped believing” because they “fell away.”

  6. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I agree with Jean – if you stay away from church, the word and the sacraments you have cut yourself off from the Vine. Jesus speaks directly to these people.

    Look, the church has only one thing to offer people – the gospel – spoken and physical (the sacraments.

    The world has much more to offer and the ‘nones’ have decided to move on.

    Some want to add ‘relationships’ to the equation – but this is no different than Rick Warren adding skateboard parks to make one a Christian.

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    All of these church surveys are attempts atvalue added nonsense on the level of sabre metrics in baseball.
    They make determinations on the speed the ball leaves the bat. I heard on Sunday where they are now measuring the distance the outfielder plays from home plate – and they noticed that throughout the year Bryce Harper has moved in about 15′ (I don’t remember the exact amount) but now baseball decisions will be made based on this.

    Same with surveys – churches will jump to offer the ‘nones’ a better christian benefits package to keep them onboard – which will change in 3 yrs based on a new survey.

  8. Al says:

    Dreadly said, “Sure he did. There is no question he lived from collections. Much of your point is reasonable but that statement is an over reach.”

    Please demonstrate your support of such. Who did he collect this money from?

  9. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    J. S. Bach is, arguably, the apotheosis of a centuries’ long tradition of slow and steady fusion of regional styles. In his work you can (after long study) discover the ways he synthesized elements of German, French, Italian and even English musical elements.

    It’s something to keep in mind given a few decades of “worship wars” in which the classical canon has been held up over against contemporary musical experiments at fusion. That the super-majority of Western musicians will never get to halfway where Bach was doesn’t mean the process of consolidation and experimentation to synthesize musical styles has no merit–to dismiss that is to forget the history of music itself the world over.

  10. Erunner says:

    It was interesting to read about the number of ex Mormons there are who congregate via the internet.

    It’s good that they left this cult but I do hope that they come to faith through His son Jesus, second person of the trinity.

    Despite these losses the Mormons are everywhere and have hoodwinked many into believing they’re just another Christian denomination.

    Too many believers won’t answer the door when JW’s and Mormons knock on the door.

    These people need Christ as much as the others who are lost. So often the shunning keeps people from leaving and for that I’m glad to see there’s a place for ex Mormons to migrate.

  11. Al says:

    The Mormons/LDS are probably better than Calvary Chapel in many ways.

    I live in Mormonville USA and it’s not a “Cult”….less so than Calvary Chapel.

  12. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Gloomier still for religion is this — nones now make up 25 percent of the American population, making them the single largest “faith group” in the U.S., ahead of Catholics (21 percent) and white evangelicals (16 percent).”

    This isn’t gloomy at all. This just lets us know that the harvest is plentiful. It is only gloomy if we don’t believe that God has the power to save the nones. Spoiler alert: He does.

  13. Al says:

    Here’s your Cult Litmus Test:

    I have many examples of Mormon/LDS Leaders speaking against the Mormon Church for issues of corruption or other things that are critical of its own Group.

    Calvary Chapel? Not a public word for any of the Calvary Chapel pastors because they are AFRAID to speak against the Chuck Smith Cult b/c they will face serious repercussions and they do. They have to speak softly and quietly behind the scenes, NEVER in public.

    That is the mark of a Cult and Cult Dynamic.

  14. Al says:

    I have high level Calvary Chapel Pastors who express fear and regret for trying to deal with bad stuff in their Non-Denomination.

    THAT is the sign of a Cult.

  15. Michael says:

    A cult as defined by the Christian church is one that is theologically heretical in opposing the early creeds and confessions of the church.
    On that basis the Mormon church is a cult as they have a heretical soteriology.
    It has nothing today with good behavior.

  16. Al says:

    “Cult” and Cult Dynamic in the Real World outside of the Church Bubble has a different definition.

  17. Al says:

    “Cult” defined by the Real World and Universally accepted definition of the term in Authorities like the Oxford Dictionary:

    a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
    “the cult of St. Olaf”

    synonyms: sect, denomination, group, movement, church, persuasion, body, faction
    “a religious cult”

    a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.

  18. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – aren’t the Nones already saved? They self identify that they left the faith – which to the OSAS group that is not possible So to the OSAS crowd they must just be unaffiliated believers. No need to ‘save’ the Nones.

    I on the other hand do think that people can walk away from the faith and need to be brought back into their salvation.

  19. Al says:

    The real definition of “Cult” sounds a lot like Calvary Chapel:

    “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed at a particular figure or object” AKA Chuck Smith.

    “a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing” Yup.

  20. Em ... again says:

    lots of interesting links again … thank you

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I do not like the Walter Martin definition of cult. Let’s reserve cult to the Jim Jones’ and David Koresh types.

    Let’s just call them what they are – a non Christian religion – no different than Jews – Muslims or Hindus.

  22. Michael says:


    You are dealing with the secular definition of a cult.
    It is a sociological issue.

    When we’re in theology the word has a specific meaning, as is common among various disciplines.

  23. Michael says:

    “Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.”
    (Luke 8:1–3 ESV)

    Basically, Jesus was supported by rich women.
    I never figured out how to tap that market… 🙂

  24. Erunner says:

    Al, what it boils down to is what does a group say about Jesus. All cults and ism’s lower Him from God the Son, second person of the trinity to something or someone lower. The Mormon church does not recognize Jesus as God the Son.

    Calvary Chapel does not teach this heresy although they have had and still do have issues.

  25. Al says:

    I don’t separate definitions of terms, same as I don’t separate Science from Religion and give Religion a pass if they deny the Earth is round.

    The Earth, in fact, is not flat.

    Language is a Science, words have meaning.

    “Cult” has meaning. Calvary Chapel exhibits Universally accepted definitions of the term “Cult” and exhibits Cult-like Dynamics.

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Al – OK, so CC is a cult that teaches the truth about Jesus — now where are you going with that?

    Mormonism is a group of really nice people who teach lies about Jesus – so where do you want to go with that?

  27. Michael says:

    Every discipline from medicine to geology to theology uses common words with different meanings than the secular.

    That fact is not worth even arguing about.

    When you are engaging in discussion of those particular disciplines you have to know how they use the language.

  28. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “as I don’t separate Science from Religion”

    Well then you are not very intellectual are you. Science and Religion are 2 separate disciplines – although I have come close to declaring that scientism is a religion on its own.

    I do want to clear up something for you because you continually make the same error and pass it on. Science tells us nothing – scientists do and what they tell us is their opinion of what they see in the science.

  29. Michael says:

    In the common usage the word “pick” means “to choose”.
    In geology, it is “a metal tool with a wooden handle”.
    In sports, it is a “purposeful obstruction of a defensive player to free an offensive player”.
    In medicine it can refer to “a tube that is implanted to deliver medication or food”.

    It all depends on who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about.

  30. Michael says:

    The interview with Peterson is gold…

  31. Xenia says:

    A cult as defined by the Christian church is one that is theologically heretical in opposing the early creeds and confessions of the church<<<

    That includes almost everyone here because most Protestants and all evangelicals have to redefine several statements made in the Creeds in order to comply.

    "One baptism for the remission of sins."

    "One holy, catholic, apostolic Church."

    For most Protestants and evangelicals to agree with these statements is to give them a different meaning than the Church Fathers gave them when the Creeds were written.

    I am not calling anyone here a heretic, I am just noting that Michael's definition only works if you fudge the definitions.

  32. Al says:

    In the context of picking between a Religious assertion of the reality of our Universe as in Ken Ham’s Creation Museum which is a joke vs. what I can verify via massive amounts of tangible evidence.

    Language is similar. Words have Universally accepted meanings….or they do not.

    You can choose your own non-Universal meanings and claim a special meaning, no problem. That is a lot of what Religion does. It is common. It is why Religion continues to decline as more folks wake up and go, “Um, these people are not honest and they are not very bright”

  33. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Al, granting the reality of fundamentally different working meanings of terms is unavoidable in scholarship.

    Let’s take “reification”. What reification means in Marxist thought vs Gestalt analysis is drastically different in basic meaning and application. It’s the same word but you have no choice but to employ the word and understand the word differently based on academic context and literary usage.

    I had someone going back and forth with me a year or so ago who was dead set on using the Marxist definition of reification whereas I’ve used the Gestalt definition when discussing cognitive processes applied to music appreciation.

    What for the Marxist is a terrible thing that makes a fetish of something as an object that has no tangible reality (capital) is in Gestalt thought a precondition of certain kinds of perception (you have to be able to imagine the theme of a jazz standard in order to recognize the ways a jazz band proceeds to play variations on the theme). In both cases a process of reification can be said to take place.

  34. Michael says:

    “You can choose your own non-Universal meanings and claim a special meaning, no problem. That is a lot of what Religion does.”

    It is what almost every discipline studied by man does,as has been shown.

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “It is why Religion continues to decline ”

    I don’t know about all different kinds of religions – but Christianity is absolutely thriving worldwide – the growth is unheard of in previous generations.

  36. Al says:

    True to a degree.

    When I state accurately that Calvary Chapel exhibits “Cult like” Dynamics it is in the context of the Universally accepted definition of the Term “Cult”, according to a source like the Oxford Dictionary.

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ““a system of religious veneration and devotion directed at a particular figure or object” AKA Chuck Smith.”

    Can you name a CC that did this this past Sunday?

  38. Xenia says:

    Personally, and this is just a private definition, I define a cult as a psuedo-Christian organization that (a) has heretical views + (b) is based on a charismatic leader’s interpretation of the Scriptures + (c) has an apocalyptic, paranoid world views + (d) is coercive, that is to say, it’s very difficult to leave without severe emotional or possibly physical ramifications.

    So by my personal definition, the People’s Temple is a cult whereas the Jehovah’s Witnesses are just a false religion, even though if you were to leave the JW’s you might be shunned.

    There are cults that aren’t even pseudo-Christian, like Scientology.

    Calvary Chapel is not a cult by my definition.

  39. Xenia says:

    I would hazard a guess that most of the CC attendees under age 40 don’t even know who Chuck Smith is.

  40. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Josh – aren’t the Nones already saved? They self identify that they left the faith – which to the OSAS group that is not possible So to the OSAS crowd they must just be unaffiliated believers. No need to ‘save’ the Nones.”

    No. They are declaring they were brought up in church, but now don’t believe. They never had a faith of their own. True faith is a faith that endures. If they went out from us, they were never with us to begin with.

    Now, of course among the nones, there could be some saved who need to get back to walking with the Lord. I couldn’t know the difference between the two groups. I would just preach the Gospel to them all and let the Lord sort ut the particulars.

  41. Al says:

    Most of them.

    MLD are you asserting that Calvary Chapel does not have an extremely high regard for Chuck Smith and that the “Movement” is not centered around that specific man and his particular angle and teachings?

    Even the Lutherans, while having the Central Figure “Luther” in their nomenclature do not centrally focus on Luther and do not elevate Luther as Calvary Chapel elevates Chuck Smith.

    You can’t fool me, I lived it. I was there LOL. It was heavy on the Chuck Smith Idolatry. Less so today and good, in 10 years it might not be so Cult-like.

  42. Michael says:

    Peterson on being a pastor…

    “I’d tell them that pastoring is not a very glamorous job. It’s a very taking-out-the-laundry and changing-the-diapers kind of job. And I think I would try to disabuse them of any romantic ideas of what it is. As a pastor, you’ve got to be willing to take people as they are. And live with them where they are. And not impose your will on them. Because God has different ways of being with people, and you don’t always know what they are.”

  43. Josh the Baptist says:

    Peterson’s “The Pastor” has shaped my views on ministry more than any other book I can think of.

  44. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Even the Lutherans, while having the Central Figure “Luther” in their nomenclature do not centrally focus on Luther and do not elevate Luther as Calvary Chapel elevates Chuck Smith.”

    The Lutherans consider one of Luther’s books to be right up there with Scripture.

  45. Al says:

    Peterson’s stuff is gold, IMO. Much more the spirit of what Jesus taught and exampled IMO. It’s not sexy, not lucrative, not glamorous…which tells you it’s “righter” (channels his inner Trump) and “bigly” better than what the mainstream of Evangelical Cults sell.

  46. Xenia says:

    My sister has a mural of Wartburg Castle painted on a bedroom wall….

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Al – I never heard a sermon about Chuck Smith. How do they fit that into their verse by verse teaching?
    I have never heard a prayer to Chuck Smith, have you?
    Now, I have not been in a CC since his passing – but do they now have his photo mounted in the narthex?

    As to “his angel of teaching” didn’t he lift that from someone else?

    Compare a CC sermon to a Moonie sermon – see if you notice any difference.

  48. Al says:

    Ya, I think any Sect that has the leaders name in it, is suspect LOL. The guy was human. Not Jesus, not a deity.

    The irony of Lutheranism is the venerate a guy who made his bones deconstructing and destructing a Central Figure in the form of Pope.

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I have a large picture of Dodgers Stadium on my wall in my study. Now to that I do admit to cult worship. 🙂

  50. Al says:

    “Al – I never heard a sermon about Chuck Smith. How do they fit that into their verse by verse teaching?”

    Every sermon you heard was Chuck Smith.

    And they ran Mark Driscoll out on a rail for “plagiarism”…never seen so much plagiarism as in the Chuck Cult.

  51. Al says:

    The Truth sucks, I know. It tends to piss everyone off.

  52. Xenia says:

    I think it is certainly true that every Calvary Chapel reflects Chuck’s unique take on the Scriptures and for that reason alone one can say he is still the dominant figure in the CC world. Half the people may not know his name but they are still sitting under his teaching, if only by proxy.

  53. Michael says:

    Any thoughts on Wrights definition of sin?

  54. Jean says:

    “Any thoughts on Wrights definition of sin?”

    Yes…Sigh. Wright exegetes Rom 1:18-32, then claims to be the first guy since Paul who gets it. Where would Christendom be without Tom?

  55. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I read the Wright piece twice and I don’t get it — but I should, every time I read Write it sounds like made up non sense.

  56. Josh the Baptist says:

    I pretty much agree with Jean. That is the thing that always drives me nuts about Wright. What he said is not that unusual. But he packages everything he says as if he just rediscovered the secret meaning of the bible that none of the rest of us could understand.

  57. Al says:

    “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” Numbers 12:3

    Who wrote the book of Numbers?

    Wasn’t it Moses? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  58. Al says:

    OMG. There is so much b.s. in Religion.

    Jesus Christ. Save me from your creation.

  59. Josh the Baptist says:

    Is that from one of the links?

  60. Michael says:

    I think Wrights point is that the primary or essential sin is idolatry.
    He didn’t discover this…Calvin said the same thing.
    He does , however explain it much better for the modern age.

  61. Josh the Baptist says:

    Of course, but then he packages it as revolutionary, when it is really just good exegesis.

    The same is even true of PAul in Fresh Perspective. There are good insights in that book. But then he twists it so far, as if to say, if you haven’t seen it this way, you aren’t a true believer. It infuriates me about every single thing he writes.

  62. dusty says:

    MLD said, “I read the Wright piece twice and I don’t get it ”

    now I don’t feel so bad that I didn’t understand it

  63. Jean says:

    “And that is why, if God’s plan is to rescue and restore his whole creation, with humans as the active agents in the middle of it, “sins” have to be dealt with. That is the only way by which the nondivine forces that usurp the human role in the world will lose their power. They will be starved of the oxygen that keeps them alive, that turns them from ordinary parts of God’s creation into distorted and dangerous monsters.”

    Wright was right about original sin, which arguably was idolatry. But, then he goes wildly off the mark.

    (1) God’s plan is not to rescue and restore…with humans as the active agents. He is going to bring a new heave and a new earth. God will be the active agent. There is 0 (that’s goose egg) support in the NT that humans are the active agents in God’s redemption of creation (much less ourselves).

    (2) Wright appears to deny the human depravity (or as Lutherans like to say it: the bondage of the will).

    (3) Wright appears to deny concupiscence in Christians.

    (4) Wright preaches a flowery (laced with hooey) form of kingdom of God on earth utopia. Show me anywhere in the NT where the church as not going to suffer and live in exile. Utopia ain’t gonna happen. We have 2,000 years of all kinds of experiments.

    But, his books are very marketable, because people want a theology of glory, and they are desperate to pay God back for his sacrifice.

  64. Michael says:


    I couldn’t disagree more…
    I do believe the plan of God is to rescue and restore the creation back to the state of “good”.
    If the kingdom is present now, then the agents of that change are the followers of Jesus.

    Wright does not deny original sin and the whole theme of his work is that the church is a people in exile.

    I don’t agree with all he writes…but I love what I do agree with.

  65. Jean says:

    “I do believe the plan of God is to rescue and restore the creation back to the state of “good”.
    If the kingdom is present now, then the agents of that change are the followers of Jesus.”

    The only agency human beings are liable to play is either rendering the earth uninhabitable through nuclear war or global warming. Which one do you think it will be?

    Come on dude! After WWII and now the death of western Christendom, how can you take Wright seriously?

  66. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I always find Wright to be a ‘works’ oriented guy – whatever is to be done, it is to be done to us.

    Several years ago I used to warn of Wright as the one who was working to take the Church of England back to Romanism – Wright was working the religious end and Tony Blair the political.

    Blair made the move – Wright may just be more comfortable being the agitator.

  67. Michael says:

    “We are not building the kingdom by our own efforts, no. The Kingdom remains God’s gift, new creation, sheer grace. But, as part of that grace already poured out in Jesus Christ and by the Spirit, we are building FOR the kingdom. I use the image of the eleventh-century stonemason, probably illiterate, working away on one or two blocks of stone according to the orders given to him. He isn’t building the Cathedral; he is building FOR the Cathedral. When the master mason/architect gathers up all the small pieces of stone at which people have been working away, he will put them into the great edifice which he’s had in mind all along and which he alone can build — but FOR WHICH we can and must build in the present time. Note 1 Corinthians 3, the Temple-building picture, and the way it relates directly to 1 Cor 15.58: what you do in the Lord is NOT IN VAIN, because of the resurrection.

    I have absolutely no idea how it might be that a great symphony or painting, or the small act of love and gentleness shown to an elderly patient dying in hospital, or Wilberforce campaigning to end the slave trade, or the sudden generosity which makes a street beggar happy all day — how any or all of those find a place in God’s eventual kingdom. He’s the architect, not me. He has given us instructions on the little bits of stone we are meant to be carving. How he puts them together is his business.”


  68. Babylon's Dread says:

    Sin is covenant breaking

  69. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 67 – I took a moment trying to figure out what it means for Wright to be an alligator.

    Then I re-read what MLD said.

  70. Michael says:


    Which covenant?

  71. passin through says:

    The Lutherans on here seem so allergic to the idea that humans might actually do anything fruitful in this life. Is that really what the founder of Lutheranism taught??

    I prefer the Calvinists — they also believe in depravity like the Luthrrans, but they also realize that because of what Christ has done, we’re compelled to go about doing good works. The Lutherans, seems to me, are hyperfocused on the fact that salvation is all of God. There’s a quietism that really bothers me.

  72. Babylon's Dread says:

    Ah Michael,

    I teach that the creation was a covenant of life and was a conditional covenant in the Garden. Ultimately all sin comes from one fountain. All who are in Adam are covenant breakers of the same kind. Sin is unbelief, unfaithfulness refusing to hear the voice of the Father.

  73. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    passin through,

    “The Lutherans, seems to me, are hyperfocused on the fact that salvation is all of God.”

    Thank you – for quite a while I didn’t think we were clear – but you got it 🙂

  74. Michael says:


    You knew I couldn’t let that pass… 🙂

  75. Babylon's Dread says:


  76. Michael says:

    passing through,

    I think the Lutherans just frame it differently…they have a very developed doctrine of vocation that serves the same purpose.

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    passin through,

    ” Is that really what the founder of Lutheranism taught??” I don’t know if that is what he actually taught – but in his Heidelberg Disputation (1518) he did teach how we sin even in doing our good works.

    So, we too do good works as we live life in our vocation. Tell me more about how you Calvinists are “compelled to go about doing good works.”

  78. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t know – but your quote from Wright sounds quite a bit how the RCC claims their role in building God’s kingdom here on earth. But I am just reading between phone calls.

  79. Jean says:

    Michael and Passin,

    Let’s test Wright by the Scriptures to see if he is right. The following verses are representative of what the NT says about the Church’s role in the greater society:

    “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

    “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

    This “build FOR the kingdom” idea of Wright’s is wrong. But, maybe I’m wrong, so please correct me by the Scriptures.

    Passin, if you think Lutherans are allergic to the idea that … fruitful in this life”, you do not understand what MLD, I and a few others have be writing.

    But this is a very worthwhile discussion, because the “kingdom of God” question is very important. I hope Steve drops in and gives us his thoughts as well.

  80. Randy says:

    I clicked on the link to see why so many pastors are quitting and it said that I broke the internet–the story of my life. Then I read this fascinating conversation about what the meaning of is is, i.e. What does cult mean. I guess all know that words don’t have absolute meanings, the often have many usages. Thus, the need for lawyers to tell us what is is.

  81. Al says:

    Well, I disagree with all of you 🙂

  82. Michael says:


    Surely you know the folly of creating doctrine through proof texting.
    I think Wright makes a compelling case in his books that the kingdom has been inaugurated,the king is reigning, and as subjects of that kingdom, we are part of process of it becoming fully realized.

    We are, after all, ambassadors for Christ…

  83. Al says:

    …and yet, I agree with all of you to a degree 🙂

  84. Al says:

    I think each of you is doing and saying exactly what you were designed and destined to do and say. You are being who you “are”

  85. Michael says:


    It appears they did remove that article.
    How odd…

  86. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I think each of you is doing and saying exactly what you were designed and destined to do and say. You are being who you “are””

    Did your undirected molecules bumping into each other make you say that?

  87. Michael says:

    I don’t want this thread going off in some weird direction again…there are no Sam Harris links this week.

  88. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I watched the singing guy about millennials and I was trying to think what we used to called people 27 – 35 back in the day. O, now I remember – ADULTS!

  89. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael 😉 Got it

  90. Jean says:

    Proof texting is taking verses out of context to support an argument. I anticipated that reaction, but the truth is that there is very, very little NT teaching regarding the Church’s interface with the world.

    I’m not saying there are no other passages, surely we would agree to add the great commission.

    But the burden is on Wright supporters to add other dimensions.

    Most people I know, especially me, are up to their ears trying to be faithful in their vocations. The Scriptures tell us what that looks like.

  91. Michael says:


    I do not seek to add any burden to those already trying to walk faithfully in their vocations.
    I would encourage them by noting that in doing so they are part of God’s advance team, that what they do matters both temporally and eternally, and that even the most drudgerous work can be inspiring when seen in that light.

  92. London says:

    Thanks for posting the front porch article.
    Enjoyed reading it.

  93. nathan priddis says:

    Cult is a word I hate because it means different things to different people. It might as well be undefinable. If you are an archaeologist, any religious excavation is a “cult site.”

    Mars Hill was labeled a cult, yet it is entirely within orthodoxy boundaries, just like most churches. Every controlling pastor is accused of operation a “cult” is someone doesn’t like him.

    If someone wishes to use the term, then center it on the identity of Jesus Christ.
    *1 John 2:4 – a person says they know him but do not do not keep his commandments is a liar.
    * vs. 19 – they went out from us.
    * vs. 22-23 – they are claiming to have the Father, but deny the Son.
    * chapter 5 : 2 they do not love God and keep his commands.

    Jews, Muslims and Hindus do not fit this category because they are not deceptively portraying themselves as part of the Body of Christ. They are being completely honest in what they believe, and are not in any way an enemy. They are just there, going about their business.

  94. nathan priddis says:

    @95. I have such a hard time proof-reading my comments. This is the hardest blog for me and I don’t know why. And I even have my glasses on.

  95. Em ... again says:

    front porch… IMV – we need, somehow, to stand with these kids before they encounter the police as suspicious persons – can we mentor them, find things for them to do besides wander the neighborhoods? this is something has been bothering me for quite a while now…
    my young teenage son liked to fish (you get up very early before daylight) and he was riding his bike up the road to meet up with his buddy when a car came up behind him, but didn’t pass although he’d pulled onto the shoulder to let it do so… a voice called out, “stop right there” that was all – no identification of who was behind him and my son’s first instinct was to jump off his bike and run up to the house he was in front of at the time… but something seemed to tell him don’t do it, so he stopped, got off his bike and turned to face a police officer with his gun drawn and pointed at him…
    bad police officer, but we could have had a dead son, if he’d run…

    i think that we’re focusing on skin color when what we need to focus on is the environment – a prevalence of crime plus kids running around at night is a bad combination – long ago and far away a kid out late at night (10pm or 12am? not sure) would be picked up and taken home where their guardian would have to face a lecture on looking after their charges

    there are other problems to be sure, but i really think that we just might, maybe be able to solve this one – dunno
    (not by going fishing at dawn, obviously LOL )

  96. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    nathan, you’re right that “cult” has become a buzzword that plays a role now not unlike an accusation of “witchcraft” or “sorcery” from earlier epochs. Mars Hill had a cult of personality but was not a cult. The thing is that cult of personality was, as I’ve proposed for a majority of this year, a function of the kind of integrated mass media characteristic of any propagandist or propaganda/marketing campaign (a la Real Marriage as the “book” Mars Hill went through in early 2012 as a sermon series).

    What has made Driscoll unusual is not that, as a megachurch pastor sort with access to and an interest in being active on all possible media platforms, he was/is a propagandist; what made him unusual was how explicitly he articulated that at a practical level this was what he was doing and this was one of his vocational goals. He wanted to start a college, start a music label, start a publishing company, promote church-planting, get into the arts scene, influence the people who’d go “upstream” and make culture.

    The thing we probably all know is that you can be just a local church pastor loving and serving fellow believers without ever doing a single one of those things. There’s nothing about what Driscoll claims God told him to do that necessitated the vision-casting of empire-building that he made a point of promoting within his movement activity.

    I’ve got no beef with pastors being pastors. Pastors who preach and teach and administer the sacraments and aren’t mediated through a video screen with a week delay are still being pastors.

  97. Eric says:

    I wish I could make a song recording like that. I’ve got a few four-part songs ready to go, but never had the recording skills.

  98. Erunner says:

    nathan priddis at #95 “If someone wishes to use the term, then center it on the identity of Jesus Christ.”

    I said as much in my #25.

    You separated Jews, Muslims, and Hindus from what you perceive as group who try to identify as Christian. I would say the same criteria you stated above is for these groups as well.

    They all lower Jesus to someone lower than God the Son. My point being is that people in all of these groups are lost based on who they say/believe Jesus is. Their eternal fate is the same as what we would label those who belong to a cult.

  99. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This is what I said earlier about the Mormons – just call them a non Christian religion – just like the Jews, Hindua and Muslims – why even acknowledge their claim to be Christian – they are all Christ deniers.

  100. Erunner says:

    I don’t refer to myself as a Christ follower but simply a Christian. That can lead to interesting dialogue. I guess I’m old school as far as the term cults go. I do agree 100% all of these groups are Christ deniers.

    Just spoke to a reverend the other day who among other things believes Mormons are Christians. The idea of only one way to God with all others being false is something that is gaining a lot of traction these days. Sadly it’s infiltrated the church.

  101. London says:

    He believes that because he’s never had a real conversation about their beliefs. Not the “be nice to everyone” level beliefs, but their actual theological ideas.
    I’ve worked with many Mormons though the years, nicest folks ever, but once we had a conversation about some of the details of their beliefs, it is clear they are not orthodox.

  102. Erunner says:

    dang!!! The idea of only one way to God with all others being false is something that is gaining a lot of traction these days. Sadly it’s infiltrated the church.

    Should read “The idea of only one way to God with all others being false is something that is losing a lot of traction these days. Sadly it’s infiltrated the church.”

  103. Erunner says:

    London, I actually enjoy talking with Mormons and have met them over coffee, etc. My idea isn’t to win the argument but to hopefully plant seeds that God might use. If my goal is the argument then I’ve lost before I’ve begun. That’s the thing that’s so difficult is they are such nice and decent people. I’ve seen the non speaker many times respond differently to me than the one training and doing all of the talking. Each of them any of us speak to we have to leave to God. He will see His will done.

  104. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Good job E – invite Mormons over for coffee 😉

  105. Erunner says:

    Oops, met them at do-nut shops, etc. 🙂

  106. surfer51 says:

    “The Bible doesn’t mention a building called church”

    In our friendships and fellowship, we are to be a habitation for Him.

    This doesn’t mean more meetings!

    Jesus didn’t come and say, “I’m here that you might have meetings and might have them more abundantly.”

    No, He came to bring us a life, a life which is formed in the pool of relationships.

    God is seen most clearly in who we are together, how we share with one another, how we see each other, how we love each other, and how we support one another.

    “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” Jesus said in John 13:35.

    The western church has settled for trying to have brilliant meetings in buildings.

    Personally, I don’t think God cares too much about having meetings.

    In the New Testament, He only talks about meeting twice, and one of those times, He only says, “Don’t forget to meet.”

    That’s half the revelation right there.

    The other half talks about creativity:

    “When you meet, you could do this or this or this.” He doesn’t nail anything down or tell us when, where, and how to meet.

    The form of our meetings ought to be led by the ultimate creative force, the Holy Spirit.

    There is a Christian meeting right here in this thread…

  107. surfer51 says:


    Luke 8GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
    Women Who Supported Jesus

    8 After this, Jesus traveled from one city and village to another.

    He spread the Good News about God’s kingdom.

    The twelve apostles were with him.

    2 Also, some women were with him.

    They had been cured from evil spirits and various illnesses.

    These women were Mary, also called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out;

    3 Joanna, whose husband Chusa was Herod’s administrator; Susanna; and many other women.

    They provided financial support for Jesus and his disciples.

  108. EricL says:

    I found Tullian’s article to be rather sad. He is attempting to gain pity, to resurrect himself (to paraphrase one of his lines), without ever really taking responsibility for his actions. He seems allergic to the simple word “sin” and all that connotes. I don’t see humility of repentance here. I see a man trying to control the narrative of his life, trying to put the best face on all of his wrongdoings.

    He is still a dangerously manipulative man and I hope he never gains authority over other people again, especially any spiritual authority.

  109. Donner says:

    #110. EricL, agreed.

  110. Nonnie says:

    I can’t even read TT’s articles anymore.

  111. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Thinking about NT Wright and the kingdom stuff (or even his new revolutionary idea on sin). Wright is much like Bart Ehrman – he has found that writing to a popular audience instead of a scholarly one is easy pickings.
    Both he and Erhman state the obvious, make a big deal over it and then sell it as their new way of thinking.

    Wright misses the kingdom point. Just substitute the words with Reign of God and you will understand. This is the activity of God – it is what a king does. So in the Kingdom of God Jesus is walking around “kinging”

    Jesus give 2 summaries of what he does as king – Matt 4:23 and then again in Matt 9:35 – just summaries, not all the way fleshed out.

    God does use people, not to help build the kingdom but to help in living in the kingdom. Where does this interact with us in the Church today?
    When we hear in the absolution “I a called and ordained servant of God …”
    When we hear the words of institution “Take and eat… take and drink…

    Wright’s view of Christian interaction with the kingdom seems to be to make Christians workaholics for the kingdom – no rest at all in the kingdom. At least from my corner here in front of my screen.

  112. JTK says:

    Church (“ekklesia”) never does refer to a church building. This is a point that radically differs from culture’s modern views.

    The rest of that article pretty much sucked. None of the claims are substantiated, and there are many contrary points listed in scripture.

    I’d call it proof texting but the author doesn’t even use biblical citations.

  113. Muff Potter says:

    The Mormons/LDS are probably better than Calvary Chapel in many ways.

    I live in Mormonville USA and it’s not a “Cult”….less so than Calvary Chapel.

    I think you’re onto something there Al.
    The Mormons have a concrete plan for food, water, and infra-structure for when the shit really does hit the fan.
    Calvary Chapel?
    Praying to get raptured outta’ here at best…

  114. Goose says:

    Sin is defined as lawlessness.

    1 John 3:4 ESV — Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

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