Linkathon! Uncategorized Add comments Jan 262016 Yohannan to speak at conference, will undoubtedly lie… Millennials and abuse… Letter to a young theologian… Dietary laws and the Gospel… On science and religion… Why it’s wrong to take Gods name in vain… Worship wars aren’t new… Raising kids in a confused culture… Wheaton faculty supports hajib wearing prof… Is modern unbelief rooted in Christianity? Our addiction to anger… Grand jury indicts anti-Planned Parenthood filmmaker… Poll says evangelicals flocking to Trump… Stetzer and Pew on religion in America… Charismatic Christianity thriving among migrations… Entering the kingdom like a child… Religious identity shifting in Latin America… Crumbling consensus… 5 reasons to keep politicians out of the pulpit… WW on new SGM article… Do dinosaurs go to heaven? A different approach to abortion… Sights, sounds, and smells, matter in worship… Michael Brown on the Anti-Christ… Wenatchee the Hatchet on Christian plagiarists and other matters… How the justice movement is changing… How then should we defend? How Saeed survived… Excellent article…sexual abuse in the church and our place in the village… Big thanks as always to EricL…support him at top right. Related 158 Responses to “Linkathon!” Babylon's Dread says: January 26, 2016 at 10:36 am I now know how annoying it was to always hear about the trends of baby boomers. Em says: January 26, 2016 at 10:40 am dinosaurs in heaven? i can think of a few answers to the author’s question, but nothing very reverent or relevant, either… i vote for no dinosaurs in heaven… 🙂 Babylon's Dread says: January 26, 2016 at 10:41 am Taking the name in vain “The specific misuse that God has in mind is speaking about him carelessly, thoughtlessly, or even flippantly, as if he didn’t matter or really didn’t exist at all. God’s name has deep spiritual significance.” So they think saying OMG is what this is about? Or worse using the word to “damn” a thing? I think more that it means to use the name of God “in vain” or to ascribe things to God that you have no clue about. To invoke God’s name presumptively. “God told me” or “God was very clear with me about that,” when we don’t actually know if it was our own thoughts. To be sure I use the name but I think the thoughtless swearer is less guilty than the pious hedger who wants to justify their deeds by God’s will or word. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 10:43 am “To be sure I use the name but I think the thoughtless swearer is less guilty than the pious hedger who wants to justify their deeds by God’s will or word.” Amen and amen… Dan from Georgia says: January 26, 2016 at 10:54 am “Poll says evangelicals flocking to Trump…” I hate this. First, I am an evangelical and NO ONE polled me, and secondly, why do news stories about Christians/evangelicals always say we are “flocks” or “flocking” to something? For crying out loud I am not a bird!!! Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 10:57 am http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/01/26/christian-pastor-saeed-abedini-breaks-silence-after-being-freed-in-prisoner-swap-with-iran.html Here is the link to his interview. I will say that Greta did more than any media member I know to keep his imprisonment at the forefront of America….. Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 11:06 am The media never properly analyze poll data. Trump’s support among evangelicals still remains lower than his overall support and the other competitive candidates have greater evangelical support than their overall numbers. Any bounce Trump saw this week in this tracking poll is because Cruz tanked this week among evangelicals – mainly by shooting himself in the foot coupled with growing concerns about his eligibility. Not because he suddenly stopped being a Baptist. Actual poll here..as opposed to Politico’s take http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-maintain-national-leads-poll-n504131 Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 11:09 am Dan, I’ve been doing a bunch of research on this and I believe the reports are true. As a matter of fact, I think barring a serious misstep Trump will be the candidate for an overwhelming number of evangelicals. I do not report this with joy and if I’m right this will be the place where I will recant any identification with evangelicalism. Not that they will miss me… 🙂 Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 11:21 am I have never yet met a person who admitted to me that they are supporting Trump. At Thanksgiving this year the whole family was assembled. We range from my red neck son who thinks vegetables are a liberal conspiracy* to my daughter who is about as liberal as you can get. A few Europeans were with us, too. Every single person at the table, 17 in all, found Donald Trump to be a revolting person. No one at my parish likes Trump, as far as I can tell, and again, that covers a wide range of people. Are people going to vote for Trump and lie about it afterwards? If it’s Trump vs Hillary or Bernie, the Dems will will. Shoot, even I prefer Hillary to Trump. But I would never vote for her. Looks like I will sit this election out, too. We get the government we deserve. ——————- *Only slightly joking about the vegetables. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 11:26 am Xenia, I too will be sitting this one out. I know that in our local churches and media Trump is very strong. I believe I know why as well, but I’ll let someone publish that essay after my death. 🙂 Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 11:38 am I’ve been reading a lengthy document that the Moscow Patriarchate published in 2006 on how Christians should live in society, with a section on how to deal with governments, be they good or evil. First, the document reminds us that government is given to us by God to keep order. We are to comply with governments as long as doing so doesn’t force us to apostatize. In that case, we are to practice civil disobedience. I agree with this. Things like refusing to pay taxes and a host of other things don’t force people to deny Christ. No Bill of Rights in the Kingdom of Heaven. Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 11:48 am Xenia, making apostasy the only allowance is too narrow in my opinion. For example, that would speak against Rosa Parks, wouldn’t it? She wasn’t being forced to deny Christ. I think the allowance before God for civil disobedience is greater than apostasy only. Though the whole point of civil disobedience is being also willing to suffer the consequences in a civil manner as well. Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 11:51 am Steve, working for justice is encouraged in the document. Rosa Parks, if I recall correctly, was not breaking a law, just breaking the rules of a bus company? Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 11:53 am The document has a section on making sure minorities are not oppressed. The theme over and over is “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” I’m still working my way though it. It’s long. Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 11:59 am Parks broke the law of Montgomery Alabama and that is why she was arrested. It sounds like with your additional comments that the document does urge and allow for civil disobedience beyond forced apostasy though…which is as it should be. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 12:06 pm I will vote for Hillary just for the shallow reason so we can have a woman president in outr time. Then I can point back and say on my deathbed “see, a black president and a woman president weren’t any better than the old white guys we usually elect.” Now the down side is that I will probably end up sleeping on the couch for at least her 1st term as my wife hates Hillary. But I survived voting for Jerry Brown these last 2 terms and she has begun to speak to me again lately. 🙂 Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 12:15 pm As to the election, it is interesting to see history mostly repeating itself but yet with a difference as well. In 2012 America knew what Obama valued (and did not value) and reelected him anyway. The Republicans nominated someone who when it comes to family and personal character seemingly was the anti-Trump. However, he was a Mormon, and had a past of being socially liberal as governor of a liberal state. Of course, Mormons pose as Christians to the world and Trump, also with a socially liberal past in a liberal state, poses as a Christian today. The post-election analysis is pretty clear that Romney lost the election because as many as 4 million or more evangelicals stayed home. He actually beat Obama with independents (which usually are the key to victory) – not only beat him but beat him easily, especially in some key swing states that Obama still managed to win the electoral votes for because evangelicals in those states stayed home in droves Now, we only experience life with the reality that exists and so nobody can say what a President Romney would have been like, but just speaking for myself, I find it hard to believe our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, especially in Islamic lands, would be worse off than they are today if evangelicals had “voted for the Mormon” and kicked Obama out after one term. I also find it hard to believe the radical transgender, homosexual activist push we have seen the last four years would have had the same steam under a President Romney (and whoever his attorney general would have been) We do get the government we deserve, but we also answer to God for the stewardship of our lives, including our freedoms – at least I think we do. I won’t vote for Trump in the primary, but if he does win, either he or Hillary is going to be the next President and leader of the free world for four years…whether we like it or not. After 25 years in politics we don’t have to guess about Hillary’s character or values. We know what we will be getting in her However, the REAL joke is the Republican party leaders and media who were so supportive of Romney and yet now using Christ as an excuse for being against Trump. No, these guys could care less about Christ in all this but rather their own Republican establishment influence and power and Romney was 100% Republican establishment. Anyone who does use Christ as a reason to not vote for Trump at least has to be consistent and give the same reasoning for Romney four years ago. And on that score, I can respect Xenia, Michael and others for their consistency – even as I disagree with their decisions. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 12:27 pm I on the other hand cannot imagine how any Republican would not just throw up their hands and walk away from the election if the best their party could come up with is Donald Trump. Seriously, a reality TV guy for president? A serial divorcer, a guy who makes his riches off of gambling and alcohol? Someone who has become a caricature of himself? Unbelievable. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 12:39 pm This is really simple. Trumps popularity is based on the fact that he has struck the nativist chord in the electorate and he plays it hard. There is no other issue that matters among this group today other than nativist concerns about immigration, refugees, and the changing face of American culture. These concerns are not without some merit, but this isn’t an intellectual response, it’s a visceral one. We don’t want to talk about it out loud, but there it is. Josh the Baptist says: January 26, 2016 at 12:42 pm That, and that he is famous. Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 12:42 pm MLD. Did you vote for Arnold? Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 12:43 pm That, and that he is famous. —————————- Bingo…(see Arnold) Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 12:44 pm This is the problem with pre and early primaries – the only people who pay attention and get involved are the fringe nuts (sorry Steve) – most of these guys / gals will be out of the running 30 days from now and the leading candidates will soon change their positions to the center as they will no longer need kiss up to those fringes because the fringe candidates will be gone. Kevin H says: January 26, 2016 at 12:44 pm I for one, would be a Republican who would throw up their hands and walk away from the election if Trump is nominated. I cannot in good conscience vote for either Trump or Hillary. What I truly don’t get are some of the politically conservative Christians who have long bemoaned the loss of Christian morals and family values in this country are now lining up in support of Trump. A man who has for most of his life and career demonstrated decidingly anti-Christian character and behavior. Even during primary season when they have other Republican choices and don’t yet have to consider the “evil” Democratic nominee they are still choosing Trump. Excuse me while I go bang my head against a wall. Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 12:47 pm I remember Howard Dean and how it might be prudent to wait until votes are cast before crowning the nominee. That said, I would add that Trump has one other thing going for him besides what Michael and Josh both wrote above….the Republican party establishment HATES the guy and is trying to destroy him and the fact is a large percentage of Republican voters despise the Republican party establishment and so a lot of this, frankly, is spite. The GOP have tried to pump Bush, Kasich, Christie with no success, so they then began to settle on Rubio grudgingly, he is not gaining traction so now they actually are gravitating to Cruz whom they hate almost as badly as Trump….if it were not for such a serious thing as the next President it would be very funny to watch Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 12:52 pm Steve, I did vote for Arnold – for the same reason I voted for Jerry Brown — I thought it would be fun to have the terminator run the state. As it turned out, he could be bought just like any other candidate. Jerry Brown was a fun character in the 70s as gov and I thought it would be so now. Not as much but he is honest enough to tackle tough issues – although I think he is an idiot as to high speed rail. 😉 Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 12:58 pm You are all seriously missing the depth of the nativist impulse in this country. Conservative media outlets and politicians have spent the last few years screaming about the “invasion” on our “porous border”. Well, people believed them. Trump is the only reasonable response to what they’ve been taught. The Middle Eastern refugee crisis has added fuel to that fire. Trump is for some, the last great white hope…and they don’t give a damn what he thinks about anything else. Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 12:59 pm Arnold’s resume was thinner than even Trump’s MLD. However, your “I think it would be fun” reasoning explains a lot of Trump’s support right now. (I remember Eddie Murphy had some old stand-up bit in the 80s where he talked about white people getting drunk and voting for Jesse Jackson as a joke and waking up and finding out he won) Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 1:05 pm I think this and last year’s elections prove our system is broken. Maybe a representative democracy can’t last the long haul, I don’t know. When the percentage of people who thrive on entertainment outnumbers the more sober-minded citizens you will get a Trump. I am really quite dismayed that our country has reached this point. I am more pessimistic about America now than I have ever been any time in my life. Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 1:07 pm I think Michael’s right. Kevin H says: January 26, 2016 at 1:07 pm For whatever reasons Christians are supporting Trump – immigration, anti-establishment appeal, fame, etc. – it is a sad indictment of Christianity that in the end they choose to support this man. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 1:12 pm While I’m digging this hole… We have created media that now creates rage to gain ratings and thus, advertising dollars. Sober and civil discussions of the issues do not make ratings and thus are shunned and cannot find a forum. Trump is the child of the rage we created and supported…and those who think him a fringe candidate are sorely mistaken. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 1:15 pm Steve, “Arnold’s resume was thinner than even Trump’s MLD” Yes, but the most important person Arnold would ever deal with would be the head of the State Chamber of Commerce. Can you imagine some foreign dignitary trying to keep a straight face across from Trump? Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 1:16 pm Gray Davis tripled the car tax after winning reelection and that alone got him actually recalled from office in exchange for Arnold who offered nothing but a superstar Hollywood name. Davis would not have been recalled if Arnold had not run, and Arnold would not have run if he had to go through a typical primary battle for a nomination. It was the perfect storm and Arnold used his celebrity, even as a Republican, to win because people did not want to pay 3x as much for their car registration. (Literally a couple hundred dollars a year increase for most vehicles). You heard MLD’s reasoning. Get The Terminator in office. People vote their pocketbooks and while yes, Trump has said wild things about immigration that no doubt fire up certain people nonetheless consistently the polls show immigration as a 4th or 5th issue of importance to the average Republican voter. Jobs, deficits, Obamacare, along with terrorism and foreign policy all rank higher in importance…Trump is using his business resume for his campaign and his “deal making” with far greater volume than the immigration stuff. But at the end of the day, like Howard Dean, I predict he will flame out. Unlike Arnold, Trump needs to win a lot of votes from all over the country and in a couple weeks all the anti-Trump votes won’t be spread among a dozen people any longer. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 1:19 pm Michael – have you been blinded? On the other side we see the exact same thing with Bernie Sanders. What did you call it ” the nativist impulse in this country.”? Years and years of the Democratic leadership and the liberal media barking and bad mouthing all rich people and any corporation. Bernie Sanders “is the only reasonable response to what they’ve been taught.” It’s the same on both side. I guarantee you if Sanders gets the nomination he will almost totally cut out his national socialism talk and be a different person to go after the independents. Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 1:20 pm Trump is not a fringe candidate, I fully agree. But lets recognize a lot of this “rage” has to do with the state of nation after 8 years of the current administration. Just like there was rage after 8 years of Bush. That’s what midterm elections demonstrate pretty clearly…and Trump wasn’t involved in those. Kevin H. – I don’t know who you think 100% of the Christians are supposed to rally behind but I repeat what I started this thread with, Trump UNDER performs among Christians in every poll. The media is trying to stir the pot and can’t or won’t interpret a poll properly Em says: January 26, 2016 at 1:26 pm isn’t Congress tasked with solving domestic issues and the President with international relations? – in theory i was chatting a couple weeks ago with a just retired NASA head of something or other that dealt with construction – he said the simplest jobs were incredibly complexed by multiple bureaucracies of hopelessly overlapping responsibilities and accountability; -he was about to give me an example but we were interrupted… i probably wouldn’t have understood him anyway my point is? do we really think that anyone we elect to the Presidency is going to fix things? but i confess that i’d love to see Donald Trump elected and try to fire someone – “you’re fired!” …?… i suspect he’d lose his mind, throw open a window in the Lincoln bedroom, stick his head out and start shouting, “I quit!” until they came with restraints and took him away Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 1:27 pm I wonder what we’ll all be talking about around the table next Thanksgiving. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 1:28 pm MLD, I’m not advocating for the left either. The subject was Trump and his popularity. The left has become a toxic waste dump of perversion and utopian fantasies that I can no longer stomach. Bernie Sanders has some issues I have sympathy with. However, it’s the same sympathy I have for myself when I walk into an Apple Store and love the products but can’t afford to buy any of them. Kevin H says: January 26, 2016 at 1:31 pm Steve, I don’t think Christians should be expected to rally 100% behind any specific candidate. But I think when one comes along who demonstrates character and behavior like Trump, that is one that can and should be eliminated. Yes, I know none of the candidates are anywhere close to perfect angels, but Trump is to an extreme. And I don’t care if Trump underperforms in every poll among Christians. The fact that he gets any support of significance from Christians is distressing. Especially from those who are so-called culture warriors. Just to throw out a couple names as famous examples this past week, we see Jerry Falwell Jr. and Sarah Palin throwing their support behind Trump. And to speak to the “unfamous” examples, I see it throughout my Facebook feed of Christians who are supporting Trump. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 1:32 pm Xenia, “I wonder what we’ll all be talking about around the table next Thanksgiving.” I will probably still be grumbling that the Dodgers once again failed to make it to the World Series. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 1:32 pm Kevin H, “And to speak to the “unfamous” examples, I see it throughout my Facebook feed of Christians who are supporting Trump.” This is what scares the kingmakers to death…the common man loves the song Trump is singing and they can’t convince him otherwise. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 1:34 pm As I brought up the other day – shouldn’t every Christian be denouncing Trumps Christian claims? Vote for him perhaps but at least let the unsuspecting world know that by his own claims he is not a Christian. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 1:38 pm MLD @ #43 They don’t care. They see him as someone who is going to do what they believe needs to be done. Deportations and a block on Muslim migrants top the list. I’ve had these discussions in my own church and community. EricL says: January 26, 2016 at 1:38 pm MLD @41, I thought you would be showing off your new LA Rams jersey. Em says: January 26, 2016 at 1:40 pm if memory serves (it’s shaky these days), didn’t Franklin Graham come out and say that he couldn’t support Trump? but now Falwell (Jerry Jr?) has gotten in line to support Trump – maybe he’s impressed that Trump knows 2 Corinthians? 2 Greek guys? how will they help? it’s old fashioned, ignorant and simplistic Christianity, but i’m inclined to think that this nation’s slide into permissive – celebrated even – immorality has more to do with our messed up government than the lack of a strong man leading us therefore, i tend to agree with Xenia @29 about our prospects for recovery Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 1:45 pm Em, do you sin because there is no strong leader in Washington? If not why do you think others do? Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm Em, I spend a lot of time reading ancient history. Immorality is nothing new. We’re little saints compared to some cultures both past and present. We accept it and maybe even revel in it…but it was there before the government blessed it. Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 1:48 pm It is always bad form to bring up Hitler but in the case of Trump I think it is appropriate. He was elected, after all. He appealed to the same fears Trump appeals to: fear of the “other,” nativism, a desire to bring the nation back to its former glory w/o all those pesky foreigners. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 1:51 pm Xenia, You have more courage than I do. Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 1:51 pm I must disagree with my dear sister Em. I think it’s the other way around. Morality isn’t abounding because of the government; the government is broken because of rampant immorality. Immorality of all kinds, not just homosexual immorality. Or maybe that is what you are saying? Jean says: January 26, 2016 at 1:51 pm Republicans are voting for Trump or Cruz because: 1) the GOP thought leaders have taught middle and lower class voters to vote against their own economic interests; 2) those leaders have taught their constituents to be anti-intellectual and anti-science; 3) those leaders have taught their constituents that government and institutions are basically evil; 4) those leaders have sown fear and hate in their constituents, so their constituents admire candidates who spew messages of fear and hate. Eric says: January 26, 2016 at 1:54 pm Throckmorton reports that Yohannan has been removed from the list of speakers for the conference next week. They must have had lots of calls “do you realise what this guy’s been up to?” In Australia we have our own version of Trump, Clive Palmer. His party won four seats last election and has since splintered apart. They probably won’t fare so well this year. Everything I hear of Trump is worse than Palmer, but he will moderate after the primary season. Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 1:54 pm I also think Americans are tired of all the self-loathing we are expected to feel. Trump makes us feel good about ourselves (well, some of us). It’s not our fault, it’s Obama and the Dem’s fault. Obama always makes us feel rotten about ourselves be it white guilt or whatever. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 1:55 pm Jean, A year or so ago I would have applauded your list. However, I see the left doing the exact same things. The left is even more dangerous…they threaten freedom of speech…and that’s a hill I will gladly die on. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 1:56 pm Eric, Thank you…that’s worth investigating for comparison sake. Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 1:57 pm Morality isn’t abounding because of the government;<<< Should read: Immorality isn't abounding, etc. Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 1:58 pm Peaceful day on the blog. We all hate Trump. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 2:06 pm Xenia, Trust me…we have a lot of lurkers that support him. Em says: January 26, 2016 at 2:15 pm MLD, i am so glad that you comment on my comments, otherwise, i’d never know how oblique and misunderstood what i was trying to say was 🙂 Michael, it isn’t that people were “good” or that our leaders were “good” for a time – what has changed in this nation is the standard … the popular opinion setters decided to lower the standard down to the lowest level – perhaps, in an attempt to be rid of hypocrisy? delusion? it is a very different world today, nevertheless – so we’ll see what the new ‘business as usual’ brings us, i guess … because, until there’s a complete collapse/ calamity, it will always be business as usual – follow the money … until there is no money? Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 2:31 pm Jean, I had to re read your post – I thought you said evangelical leaders, 🙂 Em says: January 26, 2016 at 2:31 pm “1) the GOP thought leaders have taught middle and lower class voters to vote against their own economic interests;” really? it sure seems like it is our congress that does that for us… lots of Repub.s in there, tho “2) those leaders have taught their constituents to be anti-intellectual and anti-science;” don’t know about the middle, but us lower class folk like real intellectuals, real scientists – some of my best friends were both “3) those leaders have taught their constituents that government and institutions are basically evil;” nope that came from the Bible “4) those leaders have sown fear and hate in their constituents, so their constituents admire candidates who spew messages of fear and hate.” fear and hate does come natural… there are things i fear, things i hate – most of all i do hate elitism …. and the ku klux klan just thinking – again Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 2:32 pm I disagree with Jean. I think to many of us politics is largely theoretical but there are some things that personally hit some people that rightly make them angry, afraid (or both). Things that are directly supported by a given administration and opposed by the other side. For example, when Bush got destroyed in the second midterm elections which then carried over into the election of Obama two years later, two issues were central. Iraq and Katrina. Now, if Jean is correct, it was just the Democrat thought leaders that drummed it into their heads they should feel the way they feel and they were really being duped. I doubt too many people would agree. So when it comes to the damage Obama has done to a whole lot of Americans, we need to give the same consideration to the legitimacy of their feelings. I also disagree with Xenia to at least some extent in that the government can have a large role on influencing morality in a nation. Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 2:34 pm Put another way….I’m pissed at Planned Parenthood and the vocal support (and money) they are given by certain people in our government. I’m not pissed because Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity told me I ought to be pissed. Em says: January 26, 2016 at 2:43 pm for clarity’s sake – i meant to observe back up there: … i’m inclined to think that this nation’s slide into permissive AND celebrated immorality IS THE CAUSE OF our governmental MESS, RATHER THAN DOES ANY lack of a strong man leading us … oh well … at least those who took exception were correct 🙂 Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 2:58 pm I think Obama et al were elected by people who wanted his brand of wickedness to flourish. People who support the homosexual agenda and abortion rights vote for the candidate who will promote these evils. Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 3:04 pm I don’t think Trump gives a fig about either SSM or abortion. Whatever will get him the most votes, that’s where he’ll go. I would vote for any of the Repubs on the current list except Trump, even if I’m not crazy about some of them. Anyone but Hillary. Anyone except Trump, that is. Babylon's Dread says: January 26, 2016 at 3:04 pm @58 I would vote for Trump over Hillary any day. That is not to say that I think Trump is what we need. Hillary is what we already got. No thank you. Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 3:06 pm I could envision Trump starting WW III. I could see him insulting a prideful head of state and all hell could break loose. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 3:07 pm I voted for Obama because of wanting health care for all, immigration reform, and hope for the unemployed. I had no evil agenda. We got none of the above… Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 3:08 pm Again, there is plenty of evidence after each election to show why people voted for the people they voted for…..obviously if abortion is one’s #1 issue then that is going to influence pretty clearly one’s vote in this country (either way), and pretty much the same for homosexual activism….but the fact is that relatively few people have those as their #1 issue. Just listen to Obama’s 2008 speeches and you will know what he campaigned on, and why people voted for him. Babylon's Dread says: January 26, 2016 at 3:09 pm Paul Ryan proved that the Republicans and Democrats are not different except for emphasis they all want huge government just different hugeness. They are all for sale. Trump is the candidate that bought them now he is trying to buy the whole things. It is for sale, has been for a generation at least. Small government died with the Great Depression and two World Wars … Trump and Sanders are products of the hatred of the present system, even though they represent different extremes of the same system Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 3:09 pm Same sex marriage was a creation of corporate America…they wanted it, they got it. Babylon's Dread says: January 26, 2016 at 3:11 pm @73 never heard that before but it makes some sense… flesh it out for me Xenia says: January 26, 2016 at 3:11 pm I had no evil agenda<<<< I know. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm When you say corporate America do you mean the whole of America or are you saying the CEO of General Motors got together with the CEO from JPM Chase and a few others and they said – “hey, let’s promote SSM? Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm BD, April 2002. My first orientation meeting with Wells Fargo. I’m led into a room with the other new hires where they will introduce the company to us. We are greeted, then shown a fifteen minute video about one of the executives and his wonderful life and values. He was a gay man and the whole video was about how we at WF believe in and support gay rights. This was before we received a training book or name badge. Once a week for three months of training the gay agenda was pushed hard. It was cooperate or be canned. The advocacy never ceased the entire time I worked there. I went to work for Verizon. Same training, same agenda, same threats. The corporate world advocated the agenda before anyone else did. Cash says: January 26, 2016 at 3:19 pm Taking the name in vain–I’ve always wondered about this one. First, the word “god” is not His Name. There’s hundreds of thousands of “gods” people have made up. Is it a title? His Name is given to us in Scripture as YHWH. That’s all we have. So maybe God had a different idea in mind with that commandment than the simple use of the word godda**it. Second, taking the Name in vain may have had different connotations to the ancient Israelites, for the reasons stated above. Even today the orthodox Jews will not write out the word YHWH fully for fear of breaking that commandment. So what if saying OMG or the aforementioned word which I won’t repeat isn’t what this commandment is about at all? What if it has something to do with the actual Name YHWH and not the word god at all? Obviously this is pure speculation on my part. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 3:19 pm MLD, Statistically, the gay demographic is one of the wealthiest in this country. The war for those dollars is why our jobs depended us on being silent if we had any objections. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 3:39 pm I have always understood the taking God’s name in vain to be mostly attributing to God things that God is not involved in. Luther’s Small Catechism; – The Second Commandment. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain. What does this mean? We should fear and love God that we may not curse, swear, use witchcraft, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks. Babylon's Dread says: January 26, 2016 at 4:01 pm Michael, I had no idea the gay agenda was so entrenched in that world. We have a very hard long road ahead of gay indoctrination If I live another 20 years it will be hard to find a church that has not embraced it The demographics will force it and the pressure will become intractable Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 4:04 pm BD, It was entrenched corporately long ago and the indoctrination has been going on longer than some realize. When feeding your family is at stake, values are easily compromised. Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 4:21 pm My experience affirms Michael’s statement, and it certainly goes back well into the 90s. In point of fact, just about every new TV show today has to have their token “gay” episode and it is not because they are trying to broaden their viewing audience but because they want to avoid the battle and lawsuits with the homosexual activists. Of course, now the most gay friendly corporations are being pressured on the transgender push…. Jean says: January 26, 2016 at 5:26 pm The brilliance of the GOP thought leaders is how they persuade working class and lower class working people that: If they will give up their health care coverage at work (or just pay more out of their own pockets), If they will accept lower standards and less spending on their children’s education, If they will give up their unions and accept the scraps that their employers will pay them, If they will just send their kids to cheaper community colleges, because student loans and scholarships need to be reduced, If they will accept the wealthiest one 5% of the country paying less in income taxes and less or no estate taxes, If they will accept lower social security and medicare, then, and only then, when the wealthiest 5% get even more wealthy, these thought leaders promise that some of that wealth will trickle down to the vast number of people in this country. While they’re doing that slight of hand, these leaders scape goat immigrants, gays, Democrats and anyone else convenient so they can promise that if you will just elect a Christian conservative, that he will usher in a moral utopia (“make America great again”) and their voters will not have to fulfill their God given vocations to catechize their own children into the faith and with Christian moral values. When is the last time that President Obama prevented anyone from going to church or taking their children to church? These Trump and Cruz campaigns (but you can add most of the other GOP candidates that are running hard right) here in Iowa remind me of how fascism is birthed. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 5:51 pm Jean, I know very little about most of these issues, but I do know a bit about the immigration issues. The right has not been afraid to tell bald lies to demonize border issues. Most people are unaware that Mexican migration has been at a net negative since 2012 or that many economists believe that undocumented taxes are the only thing holding the SSI system up. They demonized border issues and got Trump as a reward… My guess is that the right can find similar abuses on the left…which gets to my point that those who are badly informed cannot be expected to make well informed decisions. I always wonder what era people speak of when they want to make America great “again”… Dan from Georgia says: January 26, 2016 at 5:56 pm Michael (way WAY back to comment #8), there are many others, including myself, ready to disassociate with the label “Evangelical”…to my it sounds more like a voting block than an identity in Christ. In other stupid news, I see the fake news source Christian Post is “reporting” that one of the Duck Dynasty males is endorsing Trump (another one is endorsing Cruz), as is Robert Jeffress (endorsing Trump). C’mon Hannity et al, is this not the most important election in our nations history, or isn’t it? #puke Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 5:59 pm Dan, Because of all the abuses I’ve seen, I’m done. The GFA scandal was the end of my ability to cope… Steve Wright says: January 26, 2016 at 6:24 pm Jean summarizes the elitist leftist view perfectly. I’m not going to tackle those issues one by one but they are summed up by saying that working class and lower class voters who somehow still manage to vote Republican are too stupid to think for themselves and these somehow unnamed “thought leaders” have brainwashed them into voting against their own self-interests. Economic liberalism…50 years and still being pushed by those who aren’t actually hurt by it….because they know what is best. I will say one thing Jean – I’m living the world of college applications and in CA those are not run by Republicans I guarantee you and if you think the push for community college is coming from the right you are woefully mistaken. My kid is getting into every out of state school he applies for, public and private, and yet I am not sure if he is even eligible for CA public university without going to JC first (because then he is almost automatically enrolled if he is breathing) despite our residency and tax support. So you can erase your “If they will just send their kids to cheaper community colleges, because student loans and scholarships need to be reduced,” from your boogeyman list. Michael says: January 26, 2016 at 6:26 pm The situation in Burns,OR just blew up…I’ll be off for awhile. Jean says: January 26, 2016 at 6:32 pm Wow! No one has called me elite since my high school basketball exploits. Thanks for the support Steve! Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 6:33 pm what is in Burns Or? Jean says: January 26, 2016 at 6:37 pm MLD, it’s where that great defender of the Constitution, Bundy, was trespassing. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 6:39 pm Al Bundy moved to OR?? 😉 Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 26, 2016 at 6:43 pm Jean, Steve could have pulled out the old Spiro Agnew line “effete intellectual snobs” – ahh, I miss those days. 🙂 Dan from Georgia says: January 26, 2016 at 7:04 pm The police and/or FBI just arrested some of the people occupying the federal building in Oregon, at least that is what I see on CNN.com Cookie says: January 27, 2016 at 5:22 am Surprised by the extent of anti-Trump sentiment here. But it goes to show that he strikes a chord. We are not electing a pastor or a pope. Ronald Reagan divorced his wife, espoused liberal social positions throughout his movie career, and was considered unqualified for the Presidency. Yet many believe he was the greatest president in their lifetime. Most forget Donald Trump is a supremely successful businessman who has surrounded himself with highly qualified associates. You don’t see anyone in the financial community bashing him- because they know better. There are three- perhaps four- Supreme Court seats that will be decided in the next 4-8 years. Christians cannot allow Hillary Clinton to make those appointments. I just could never understand someone who says “I will sit out this election”. If your party loses- you may as well have voted for the opposition. Regardless of who the Republican nominee is- I will urge every Christian I know to vote for him to avoid the election of Hillary. If you think the country is going in the wrong direction with Obama- wait until Hillary and her hit squads and her secret foreign allies and her dirty tricks squad and her dishonest above the law tactics. You will wish you had voted for a Donald Trump. Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 5:30 am “I just could never understand someone who says “I will sit out this election”. If your party loses- you may as well have voted for the opposition” I never could understand someone who thinks either of the two parties are worth voting for. Kevin H says: January 27, 2016 at 6:44 am Cookie, I am a Republican because in general I agree more with Republican ideals and platforms than I do with Democratic ideals and platforms. However, I evaluate each and every candidate based on merit. I do not support a candidate solely based on their party affiliation. I do not like Hillary at all. I think our country will be for the worse if she is elected President. However, I think the same of Trump. I don’t trust politicians. I really, really don’t trust Trump. He is suddenly all chummy with Christianity only because it gains him votes. I don’t trust him for a second that he will actually work to protect Christians or Christian values or even Republican ideals once he would gain office. I also think that Trump is the most likely of all the candidates to start World War III. And I do not say that in jest. I seriously think that he could end up leading our country into some terrible wars that most other candidates would be adept enough at avoiding. And so I cannot in good conscience vote for a man that I think could be terrible for our country and potentially the world. There are many things much more important in this world than my party affiliation winning the White House. And one of them is having a clean conscience before God. Muff Potter says: January 27, 2016 at 8:14 am I never could understand someone who thinks either of the two parties are worth voting for. Which is why I’ll just flip a coin this time. Heads it’s Tweedle-dum, tails it’s Tweedle-dee… Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 8:20 am I’ll just flip the channel. Jimbo says: January 27, 2016 at 8:38 am Glad to see the arrests in Oregon. The quicker these morons and half-wits are out of the gene pool, the better. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 8:44 am If those several million evangelicals had voted for the Mormon who was a perfect family man and all around good guy, even though a heretic, Trump would not even be running as it would be Hillary v. Romney the incumbent. Tim - Doulos says: January 27, 2016 at 8:46 am @96 – “Ronald Reagan divorced his wife, espoused liberal social positions throughout his movie career, and was considered unqualified for the Presidency. Yet many believe he was the greatest president in their lifetime.” Reagan also had decades of work under his belt prior to running for the presidency, in which he demonstrated true commitment to conservative principles. His change was evident to all. The same cannot be said of Trump. Vote biblically; not politically. I have one vote, and I must be able to use it with a clear conscience before God. Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 8:49 am “If those several million evangelicals had voted for the Mormon who was a perfect family man and all around good guy, even though a heretic, Trump would not even be running as it would be Hillary v. Romney the incumbent.” I honestly can’t see why that would be any better. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 8:49 am I hear Kevin’s conscience comment and I respect him and others here as faithful to the Lord. That said, knowing how precious freedom is, freedom of the vote, both in history and even today, and knowing the cost in blood spilled for that freedom, my conscience would not let me sit out any election. Much less a Presidency. I think if all the sit-outs spread their votes among the lesser parties that have no chance of winning it might be a wake-up call to the two major parties. If you normally vote Democrat, vote for the Green party this time and if you normally vote Republican, vote for the Constitutional or Libertarian party…if those three groups got 10% or more of the total vote it would get attention. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 8:51 am Josh, only to say Trump would not be running. Like I wrote yesterday, no telling what the last 4 years would have been like under Romney. Cookie says: January 27, 2016 at 8:52 am Donald Trump has not promised Christians anything. He is not suddenly “all chummy” with Christians. He has given the same speeches pretty much everywhere. Trump is a bottom line guy. He gets things done- hes been doing that for decades. You may not trust him- but he knows how to make a deal to get things accomplished. With this Congress- Trump can get things accomplished. Republicans will have a majority in both houses and the Presidency- with a President that knows how get to the finish line. Regarding foreign policy- you haven’t been listening to the man. The only aggressive posture he has taken is against terrorism. He is one of the best big negotiators in the world- he will cut deals with foreign powers that help America. Everyone is entitled to their opinion- and you can trust whoever you want. But Hillary is a proven liar- an almost pathological liar- while Trump says what he believes and does what he says. I do not have to like the man to vote for him. If there is one theme that has permeated Trumps campaign it is put America first. All Americans- not special interests, not select minorities- not wealthy. All Americans. That is where he has struck a chord. Worry about the people here in America- here legally by the way- and stop worrying about the rest of the world. We need to fix America first. We cant be the land of the free welcoming the rest of the world until we fix our own house Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 8:54 am He did, in fact quote two Corinthians, though. Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 8:55 am I was just as disappointed with Romney being the option as I will be with Trump. I kinda like Cruz, to be honest, Em says: January 27, 2016 at 8:56 am when it comes to commerce, if the Mormon is offering the best quality and is honest and respectful, i’ll do business with that fellow over the Pentecostal fundy, who expects to get my business, does a half baked job and then invites me to church… been there done that a few times… i didn’t have a problem voting for Romney, i wasn’t nominating him for heaven Michael says: January 27, 2016 at 9:00 am Ronald Reagan also sold crack to fund his Latin American wars. http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a23704/pariah-gary-webb-0998/ There are no good guys… Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 9:04 am And then hung Ollie North out to dry. Michael says: January 27, 2016 at 9:06 am Then destroyed Gary Webb. This can never be forgotten or forgiven. Never. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 9:11 am Trump spent part of Sunday in a liberal Presbyterian USA church with a woman lesbian pastor who spoke out for immigration rights. That is his lifelong real crowd. He also had some nice words for Planned Parenthood yesterday. Any Christian who does not denounce Trump as a liar has no standing with me (as if you needed it.) Remember, he will do anything to make the deal- even screw his supporters. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 9:23 am Good article out there about how finally a Republican denouncing the Iraq War, denouncing the global trade deals that are killing the American worker, telling Fox News to pound sand….the problem is the guy doing these things is Trump. I think the article said the GOP needs “Trumpism” without Trump…if that makes sense. (But I still think this is all moot once people actually vote…it is still a long season ahead and I think he might be too clever by half with skipping the debate tomorrow) Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 9:25 am MLD, I don’t disagree with you about Trump…but I have to ask. You were very vocal here back years ago defending Obama’s Christianity – mainly because he said he was and we needed to take him at his word. Do you still hold to that view or do you evaluate him like you are Trump? You’ve had eight years now…. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 9:33 am Obama said he was Christian and at least gave lip service to Christianity. Remember, the knock wasn’t so much about Obama being a Christian – it was more against Jeremiah Wright and his Christianity. Trump on the other hand wants to call himself a Christian but makes no attempt to support it – even if he lies perhaps I would give him the benefit of the doubt.. Did you not agree with me the other day – if Trump said he does not ask God for forgiveness because he doesn’t do anything wrong – that this alone would by his own words place him outside the camp? Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 9:42 am I said I agreed with you about Trump. And the “knock” WAS about Obama being a Christian – the Jeremiah Wright stuff was a different issue about being President and the view about America… lip service to Christianity? Barack Obama? OK…. Jean says: January 27, 2016 at 9:45 am President Obama has exhibited Christian values in the way he has led his family and this country. His record is not perfect, but more times than not his administration has been pro life. He promotes measures that make keeping and raising a baby more of a possibility; He promotes universal healthcare which is essential for life; He promotes education and policies to give the poor opportunities to move up out of poverty; In his foreign policy, he is not as war-minded as other self-identified Christian politicians. He promotes policies that are humane for immigrants. He advocates for criminal justice reform. He is wrong for supporting Roe v. Wade. However, he has never forced a woman to have an abortion, whereas, he has made lots of decisions that have promoted life or spared senseless killing. Jimbo says: January 27, 2016 at 9:54 am Donald Trump a believer? Gimme a break. He’s playing the evangelical right like a fiddle. They’re so anti-Obama/Democrat they can’t see straight. B-bye, evangelical right. B-bye. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 10:00 am wow Jean…just wow Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 10:04 am Steve – pre 2008 election who accused Obama of not not being a Christian because he did not hold Christian beliefs? That is my claim against Trump – he is flat out lying. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 10:06 am Steve – here is a question – if Obama came to your church, would you commune him or would you withhold the bread and the cup? Em says: January 27, 2016 at 10:16 am now i’m confused… if Trump was raised a Presbyterian as he has claimed, he was baptized as an infant… doesn’t that make him a Christian, if he hasn’t denounced his baptism? – just askin… or is it only Lutheran infant baptisms that work? i don’t know, if Trump is saved – i do know that if he is, he’s probably in a whole lot of hot water with God… but he does know how to broker a deal – “don’t tell me how you do it, just get it done” is his motto i think – dunno Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 10:20 am Em – doesn’t it sound like he has rejected the faith if he doesn’t confess sin to God because he doesn’t do anything wrong? I don’t think Presbyterian baptize unto salvation – just into a covenant experience. Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 10:24 am Look, with either of them we don’t know their eternal destiny. We should leave that to God. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 10:40 am Absolutely Josh. MLD, I’d treat Trump or Obama and all people the same – preach the gospel and warn them about eating and drinking damnation to themselves and encourage them (as part of the larger congregation gathered) that they can trust Christ right now and be born again. If not, let it pass when offered. Considering you would not commune with me, Josh, Kevin H. and basically most of the Christians here, it seems like an odd question for you to pose. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 10:51 am The question was more in the line of – since you question Obama’s Christianity, why would you allow a non Christian to commune? Non Christians are already damned, what effect does preaching “eating and drinking damnation to themselves” have? This is why we rope off the table – unbelievers are too spiritually ignorant to understand. I guess I will need to come up with something better that would test what you actually think of Obama – christian or not? Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 10:54 am Oh brother. Here we go. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 10:59 am Josh – my point is that Obama has never said anything that would lead a rational person to denounce him as a Christian – Trump in fact did…. so out of respect, I take him at his word. Jean says: January 27, 2016 at 11:01 am MLD, The right has already decided that President Obama is a Muslim who hates America. Last week, the great Sarah Palin went so far as to implicitly blame President Obama for her son punching his girlfriend in the face and getting arrested for assault and two other charges. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 11:07 am Jean, how “Christian” is your bigotry and guilt by association commentary? Speck and log brother… I’m done. MLD – maybe I can help you. Neither Obama or Trump would usher or otherwise serve at our church. However, preaching the gospel in hopes of repentance unto salvation is not something I need to explain further… Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 11:09 am That speech Palin gave for Trump would’ve had to have translation at my church. Jean says: January 27, 2016 at 11:13 am Josh, I think SNL translated it. Jean says: January 27, 2016 at 11:14 am Steve, I don’t know what you mean. I wrote “right” not “Wright.” Kevin H says: January 27, 2016 at 11:15 am I think the big difference here in comparing Trump & Obama and their “Christianity” is the fact that Trump has openly stated that he has never asked God for forgiveness. One cannot claim to be a Christian yet at the same time say they have never repented or asked of forgiveness from God. As for Obama, I don’t think we know of any statement he has ever made that would directly contradict his claims of faith. Therefore, I don’t think it’s our place to declare him as being non-Christian. Sure, we can have our uncertainties, just as we may about many people who claim to be Christians. But ultimately we’re not the Judge. I am also of the “right” and I have never claimed Obama to be a Muslim. In fact, I have actually denounced those who have done so. However, if one claims to knowingly violate one or more of the essentials of Christianity, then I think in those cases God has given us the general judgment to be able to say that person is not a Christian. Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 11:21 am https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBhM4L-wiI0 Start at about the 30 second mark on that. Pretty straight forward. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 11:30 am Steve, I am floored. You have higher standards to be an usher in your church than you do to take the Lord’s Supper? ’nuff said. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 11:31 am Josh – thanks for that video. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 11:58 am MLD – don’t be obtuse. You’re better than that. Josh – Here is an interview done in 2004, in its entirety, when he was just trying to win a Senate seat, way before any Presidential run. From a source quoted often at this blog…not selective editing from an Obama hater. Read it, every word, and tell me there is not a lot to be concerned about for the man’s immortal soul as to his understanding of the Christian faith. It’s not that he is a Muslim, he is just the typical universalist. (It also brings to light how quickly he lied and sold out those religious influences and good friends when he did run for President years later and they were hurting his cause.) To repeat, this is not about defending Trump or his claim to Christianity. I’m saying people see what they want to see. If Trump gave an interview like this, he would be trashed, rightly. Trump says 2 Corinthians and there is an uproar, Obama misquote the Bible as President, you are just a vicious right winger for pointing it out. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thedudeabides/obama-on-faith-the-exclusive-interview/ Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 12:01 pm “Read it, every word, and tell me there is not a lot to be concerned about for the man’s immortal soul as to his understanding of the Christian faith” Oh, I don’t even have to. His actions over the last 8 years have said a lot about what he believes, and it isn’t at all similar to what I believe. Point from me is, He and Trump say they are Christians, OK, move on. However, what has your life shown me…and frankly, I’m not impressed by either one. Josh the Baptist says: January 27, 2016 at 12:04 pm “MLD – don’t be obtuse. You’re better than that.” No, No he’s not. I love MLD, but that comment was EXACTLY MLD. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 12:10 pm You should still read it…it has a lot of doctrine questions in it. And troubling answers. I am very sympathetic to any political leader and their responsibility to all their constituents and do not think badly because Obama (or Bush) says something like “the great religion of Islam” – but in a religious interview when asked pointed questions about basic doctrine I think it is relevant to the discussion what they have to say and all the more because as I said, the timing of this interview was many years after his professed conversion but many years before he had to broaden his testimony for a larger American audience running for President. It is eye opening. (And you’re right about MLD…LOL) Off for the day now… Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 12:13 pm GG: Do you believe in sin? OBAMA: Yes. GG: What is sin? OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values. GG: What happens if you have sin in your life? OBAMA: I think it’s the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I’m true to myself and my faith that that is its own reward, when I’m not true to it, it’s its own punishment. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 12:15 pm Josh is correct – I am not better than that. You said Obama could just walk into your church and that qualifies him to commune in your church – however, there are “church” hoops for him to jump through to hand out the bulletins and show people to their seats. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm MLD – arguing about something that is not going to happen is silly but I will explain anyway. If I knew from facebook or something that someone in my church held political positions similar to the President, should I ban them from communion. I assume you would say, no, which of course is the right answer. I don’t evaluate Christianity on political views. Now, I do not know the eternal state of a single person in my congregation. I am not God. Your pastor is not either by the way. But whereas you guys make it easy on yourself and kick almost everyone out of communion, including the majority of the Body of Christ, we don’t. In fact, at any given service we will likely have visitors and others I do not even know. Instead we first preach the gospel before communion. Clearly and simply. Second, we declare communion is only for those who have been born again – believers. Third, we welcome ALL believers even visitors to partake with us. Fourth, we warn anyone who does not believe to let the bread and cup pass, assuring them they will not be embarrassed in some manner while also explaining why unbelievers should not partake – that it is quite serious to partake if not believing the gospel. Fifth, we encourage unbelievers they can in the privacy of their heart call on the Lord right there and be saved, and they should. If so, by all means partake. So that is my answer to anyone, including Obama or Trump, who came to our church as a visitor when we were having communion together. I can stand before God someday and say I did my best to honor the table while also not excluding His children like you guys do. I trust God does not hold me responsible for the errors of others, but maybe that is different in Lutheranism too. Serving in the church is of course a different commitment. For starters, you have to be a part of the fellowship for six months. Have a background check. Be aligned with our beliefs (i.e. not just be a Christian). I don’t think that is breaking any new ground and most churches who have volunteers serve most likely have something similar. You can dismiss it as “hoops” if you choose but surely even you see a difference between a one time visitor participating in worship during the service versus that same visitor being thrust into serving others in the church. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm Michael – thought of you when I read this. http://kings.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=799954 Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 3:58 pm Steve you still miss the point, so let me try one more time. This will be difficult as you do not commune anyone if at your church you just pass the tray. If you were in a service where you actually handed the elements to your peeps, would you commune someone you knew was not a Christian? ” I can stand before God someday and say I did my best to honor the table while also not excluding His children like you guys do.” – as exampled how you would keep babies away from the baptismal waters. 🙂 We don’t forbid anyone from participating at the table – as long as they understand what we are doing – why we are doing it and with what we are doing it with. I am sure that if you understood this you would exclude yourself as you disagree with it all — we are just giving people that opportunity under full disclosure. But that is an aside – I was just trying to figure out if you really do not think Obama is a Christian or if you just use that as a political ploy. Michael says: January 27, 2016 at 4:11 pm Steve, I love that guy. He is genuinely one of the best people I’ve ever met. I’d never been out of my hometown (pop. 2100) when we jumped in a friends car and went to L.A. to see the Kings. I was 16. I find myself standing next to Bob Miller at the urinals in-between periods at the (then) Fabulous Forum. I asked for an autograph. He advised me to give him a moment… He obliged me at the sinks. After the game we were waiting by the payers exit and he came through and as each guy came out he introduced them to us and they signed everything we had. My hero was Rogie Vachon…the great goalie. He signed a puck for me and gave me his pen. Bob Miller made all my dreams come true in one night and he had to do nothing. I’m praying for Bob and maybe we’ll get to compare scars someday… 🙂 Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 4:18 pm Michael, You and I must be brothers separated at birth. I think around 1985 I took my boys to Palm Springs to watch the Angels play Spring Training. I found myself standing shoulder to shoulder at the urinal with Keith Olbermann. We made small talk and parted.:-) Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 4:19 pm would you commune someone you knew was not a Christian? ———————————– You miss my point. I don’t know. I can’t know. I can take them at their word and I would rather not stand before the Lord withholding communion because of my personal power and hunch to someone who was one of His. However, when it comes to serving, or for that matter hiring, enrolling in Christian school, marrying etc – God’s word makes it clear we evaluate their professed doctrine AND their works – and that is why I am sure even Lutheran schools ask about not just doctrinal beliefs but about how the person has lived their life. My seminary asked both. Again, we can’t know with 100% certainty for anyone but ourselves – but we certainly can come close enough for effective interaction in the body of Christ. You asked what would happen at our church. I told you. Now, If I had a private meeting with Obama and Trump before service, and they let me grill them on basic doctrine, and they answered like they have answered publicly, then I would tell them they could not partake and to let it pass them by when offered. Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 4:21 pm Michael, as MLD would tell you – out here in the LA market I have never heard one bad word about Miller. He is like Vin Scully but a different sport. Michael says: January 27, 2016 at 4:21 pm MLD, You should have asked for the autograph! We’re both old enough to remember when the radio guy was as much part of the draw of the team as the players. I used to listen to Dick Enberg and Don Drysdale on the Angel games when they played at night. It had to get dark before my AM radio would pick them up… Michael says: January 27, 2016 at 4:24 pm He should be as beloved as Scully…at least close. He was a master behind the mic. When the Kings first won the Cup, NBC was doing the game so Miller was off the air…it wasn’t official for real fans until Miller recorded his own call of the victory. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 4:28 pm Do you marry non believing people? Steve Wright says: January 27, 2016 at 5:25 pm Not that I know of, MLD. Once more, how can I feel fairly confident I am marrying two believers? By asking them doctrinal questions and asking them about their lives, if they are living it. Both are important..just like the Bible says. That is just for starters as there are reasons why I would refuse to marry people that otherwise I felt were in fact Christians….I have turned down more than a couple..couples. Sometimes the answer too is “not now, wait a little longer” – but anyone can still get married but my hand will not be involved in it. Anyone can partake of communion despite my strong warning and against my counsel too….the difference is I don’t have time or chance for a personal interview with every sole who walks in the door – whereas I can have that time with a couple who seek marriage. Now, to be clear, since I have to split now..I am not saying both faith and works are needed for salvation. So please, I beg you, don’t run down that rabbit hole. This is all about human evaluation at the earthly level and the fact I need more evidence than a memorized Sunday school answer about Jesus and the cross. If the person wants to serve, work, get married etc at our church….if someone wants to come and worship, unbeliever and believer alike…all are welcome and the doors are open. Maybe they will learn something and maybe even get saved…. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 5:46 pm I was just wondering why the lack of the same investigation before allowing someone to the table. That is all we do – we tell people we would like a chance to meet with them and have a discussion about who we are,what we are doing and why – and to give them the chance to join in full communion or to walk away. Imagine how dishonest it would be if we didn’t reveal until after the fact that they had indeed consumed the body and blood of our Lord. We should be considered monsters if we hadn’t first had the conversation. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 27, 2016 at 5:54 pm We have wide open doors and anyone can come join us for a worship service – we would disagree that salvation comes from learning something but strictly by the proclamation of God’s word. The word itself does the converting. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your Comment You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> Name (required) E-mail (required) URI Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.