Nov 132017

1. We need to warn people that the study of doctrine and seeking knowledge of Christ can be contradictory pursuits…

2. My favorite entertainment involves men hitting each other until their brains and bodies no longer function properly …



3. We now know that neither the entertainment industry or the political arena are governed by Christian morals and ethics. When our feigned shock wears off we should at least privately acknowledge that most of us aren’t either…

4. When we’re done shaming and condemning all the public figures we can, we will then wonder why more “good’ people don’t seek public office… everybody has a history…or one can be created…

5. At some point we also need to admit that todays cultural values are shaped more by political ideology than Scripture. You may sin promiscuously as long as you’re on my side…

6. And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.(Job 42:10 ESV) Incentive…

7. The desire to create loss for those we disagree with is a scorched earth policy that will produce…scorched earth…

8. If you’re going to tear something down, you better have something meaningful ready to be built in it’s place…society is dependent on functional institutions…

9. “Traditional” values will pretty much die when my generation does…my hope is that we can still demonstrate that they have enough value to become traditions for the generations that follow…we haven’t done a great job with that…

10. It dawned on me this morning that the weather isn’t going to get any warmer for quite some time…

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  62 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. #8 Agreed. Any idiot (including our President) can tear down. It’s dangrous and foolhardy, for the most part.


    Not sure I agree with this. What are ‘traditional values’? 10 Commandments? I believe in common grace.

    I think maybe the difference going forward is that when it comes to being an influence on our culture, the Church and what it stands for will be one group at the table, but not the only group. See “The End of Christian America” for more details.

    I have 2 millennial kids and all our values are pretty similar.

  2. bob1,

    It’s interesting to me that the younger people I am interacting with are more devoted to what I would consider “neighborly” Christian values than most older folks while having much less commitment to traditional Christian sexual values.

    They seem to be more open minded about doctrinal issues as well…

  3. #5……spot on!!!!

  4. I am still wondering when the church had any moral influence in a society. Early the church was on the run because society would not follow. Middle, the church had to exert power over it’s own people to get them to play along … or lose your head.

    In my lifetime, the church has had no control over the morals in society. When did Playboy begin – when I was 6 or 7? I lived in France 1960 – 63 – the big deal going back half a century over their was naked ladies on post cards and playing cards.

    Society has always done what it wanted regardless of any effort by the church to have influence.

  5. What is the difference between my generation (early baby-boomer) and the Millennials of today?
    In my day the girls got pregnant and had to disappear from school for 9 months at Sister Mary’s home for unwed mothers and no one knew why they disappeared. Today, the girl gets pregnant and stays at school. In both cases, the girl is a teenage unwed mother — so, no difference. (and the guy who knocked her up in both cases is bragging to his buddies.

    Nothing new under the sun.

  6. Michael,

    What you’re saying in #2 comports with my observations. They don’t have time for people who discriminate (in the negative sense of the word) against others,, if they’re different in some way.

    And yes, I think the Christian kids (at least the ones I know and have met) are open WRT doctrinal issues.

  7. MLD,

    The main difference is that in previous times we had a biblical concept of shame.
    Now you’re shamed for having shame…

  8. bob1,

    We may be talking to the same people… 🙂

  9. Michael,

    What a coinkydink, we were just talking at work about something just like #9. While I agree with MLD in practice, the staff all thought and agreed that the difference is that there has always seemed to be a general “right and wrong” thought among most people everywhere. Things like pedophilia, theft, cannibalism, incest, even cold-blooded murder (not self-defense) were all considered taboo whether a believer in a God or an atheist. Now it seems that the number of people who have any sense of values is in the minority or at least it feels that way.

    Maybe it is just the postmodern world of your values are not my values and what I perceive to be true is not what you perceive to be true.

    Maybe MLD and you can weigh in more on this.

    Let me say I don’t think we will ever reach a point where everyone does their own thing without any values, I just think we are now a minority.

    Case in point, where was the outrage over Penn State or the Catholic Church? We are talking about sexual child abuse for crying out loud in an academic and religious setting? I know, there was some, but gosh, why weren’t the torches and pitchforks out.? It seems like everything is back to business as usual. Disgusting!!!!!!!

  10. OCDan,

    Here’s the problem with public shaming.
    If the perps get through the initial crisis, they’re home free.
    The attention span is so short that people move on to the next thing and all that’s left are the defenders.

    Yes, we live in something resembling post modernism…everyone gets to choose their own values to a point…although, right now traditional values will get you shamed.

    I think it more accurate to say that we’re a culture in transition…we know where we’ve been ,but not really where we’re going…

  11. I don’t understand thought #1:

    “We need to warn people that the study of doctrine and seeking knowledge of Christ can be contradictory pursuits…”

    I don’t think the warning is directed at the right object. It’s the study of FALSE doctrine….

    And, in anticipation of someone saying “how can you tell what is false doctrine?,” I will reply that it’s not difficult if one is willing to submit one’s reason to the the clear teaching of Scripture.

  12. Jean,

    I used to be very committed to studying doctrine… sound doctrine according to the precepts of my tribe.

    It made me very well read in doctrine and a long way from the person of Christ.

    God didn’t send a book, He came in person…

    Doctrine is very important, but relationship much more so…

  13. The other issue is that people who know Jesus disagree a lot on what “clear teachings of Scripture” are…

  14. This is exactly what I meant earlier today when I said we are all infected by Enlightenment thinking.

    How do we know Christ?
    What constitutes our relationship?

    Upon his ascension, what we have of Christ, which is no small thing, in fact it is everything, is His living and active Word and promises. The Word that, according to means, regenerates the lost, creates children of God, cleanses the heart and renews the spirit.

    If you want to know Christ, have a relationship with Him, then in the Word of God you will find Him and have that relationship. That Word is the power of God for salvation to all who believe…. In it the righteousness of God is revealed.

    Faith comes by hearing…
    it is a hearing of joy and gladness…

  15. Jean,

    Spoken like a true Lutheran. 🙂

    I disagree at some points and the basis of my disagreement far pre dates the Enlightenment and the Reformation…

  16. Thank you Michael. Praying with you in your journey.

  17. Jesus made it clear that there is false doctrine and it is easy to recognize. Just read the letters to the 7 churches – everything Jesus had against any of the churches was singular – they were following false teachers / teaching. What I see around here lately is “well, I’m not so sure that it is false teaching and it may upset the kumbaya apple cart – so I won’t challenge it.”

    Back to the enlightenment and the challenge of reason vs mystery – I have no problem there. I take great issue of putting reason ahead of the clear words of scripture.

  18. MLD,

    I am an Anglican.
    You are a Lutheran.

    We have different understandings of a lot of things.

    That doesn’t make either of us false teachers.

  19. No and I did not say that it does, but I think we differ on identifying and dispatching false teachers / teachings.

  20. MLD,

    So…how do you determine what false doctrine and teaching are?

    By comparison to the Lutheran confessions?

    Another standard?

    Just saying “the clear teachings of scripture’ isn’t helpful, as orthodox believers differ on what is clear.

  21. There is so little contained in the Canon of scripture that is not reasonable … our problem is that our reasoning is often colored by our wicked and deceitful hearts…

  22. Em,

    We believe a dead man got up and walked…and because He did, we will too.

    That’s everything but reasonable.
    Still true…

  23. I think if one simply reads the 4 gospels and sees how few disciples Jesus made, then look at the martyrdom of the apostles and early Fathers, and take St. Paul at his word that the Gospel is foolishness, I don’t know how anyone can say it is reasonable.

  24. And of course there was that crucifixion of the Son of God. Which was God’s will. Reasonable?

  25. Michael – “We believe a dead man got up and walked…and because He did, we will too.”

    This is a good one. Is this a clear teaching or do you only believe it because “the fathers” believed it?

    This goes back to my arguing against “look around theology.” – I know that Jesus said he bound satans – “but look around at the world, it can’t be true.” (and there are a bunch more where that comes from. Also, practice in the church tells what false teaching folks believe.

    I don’t care what their statement of faith states – this is false teaching led by a false teacher – and when I say false, I mean not Christian.

  26. Em,

    I will say that the moral precepts are quite reasonable in many ways…

  27. MLD,

    It’s a teaching of scripture and affirmed in the creeds.

    I believe it because I was given the gift of faith to do so…and of that doctrine I have no doubts.

    I do have other doubts, however…but not about anything confessed in the creeds.

  28. I gave you one – did Jesus bind satan already (past tense) as stated in scripture or is it one of those up for grabs.
    This is the only one I will ask.

  29. I don’t think it’s that simple of a question.
    The scripture limits this “binding” to the ability to deceive the nations…yet we still see nations deceived.

    So…we must conclude that Jesus bound the strong man but what that means and what the implications are is another conversation.

  30. Michael, according to Isa.1 (think that’s where it is) it is reasonable… just not humanly possible…
    We say some of these things aren’t reasonable? I guess i’d say that they are beyond human comprehension (and maybe angels), but then I have to ask myself, are they really unreasonable – unreasonable in God’s view? Because, if they are, that is a scary thought… for me anyway. 😯

  31. Now we can reason together… is Satan now bound (as in hog-tied)? Because if I look around me at the evil in the world, it certainly looks to be more orchestrated than a bunch of evil smart humans could pull off… dunno… ?

  32. So we have not been plundered yet from the strongman? Jesus said he could not plunder unless the strong man is first bound. Again, we become not obedient to the word but victims of “look around theology.”
    Lets go eat dinner 🙂

  33. Em,

    As I understand it, the binding allows the spread of the Gospel in a way that wasn’t possible before the binding…it doesn’t negate all the power of the evil one.

    It’s a tough one…

  34. Of one is using our Lord’s declaration that He performed miracles during His 33 years here by binding the evil one then the. next question is, does this overcoming power continue in the Church? That, for me, is reasonable, but if the declaration is that Satan is unable to continue his destruction for the last couple thousand years … well … that’s just not … ? … reasonable 😀

  35. Michael has it at in the first paragraph of #33.

  36. “We need to warn people that the study of doctrine and seeking knowledge of Christ can be contradictory pursuits…”


    Doctrine is just knowledge. You contradicted yourself with such a silly statement. But it sounds profound, at least to the ignorant that will lap up any unbiblical statement. The Bible actually declares the greatness of doctrine, and without doctrine, there is no knowledge.

  37. Bill,

    Hell of a first comment…
    Doctrine does not always produce or strengthen relationship…

  38. Friends

    It is very simple… My friend Michael is not a fundamentalist. He is dealing with Scripture, reason and tradition to come to his conclusions. It may seem extreme to some, but seems very sensible to me…

  39. Duane,


    I think everyone uses those parameters…they just swap out different traditions and reason is colored by those traditions.

    My Anglican reason is often challenged by my Reformed and evangelical reason as well…

    I’m not sure on most non salvific issues that there is one right answer…at least that we be certain of.

  40. Michael, per your number 2, I like WWE rasslin’ too!



  41. Dan,

    When the Vikings look good it just makes Viking fans more anxious.

    Waiting for the other shoe to drop… 🙂

    Teddy’s story is wonderful, though…

  42. Michael

    As we know, fundamentalism comes in many shades and varieties – Lutheran fundamentalists, Baptist fundamentalists, RC fundamentalists, etc.. The problem is, the fundamentalism to which they hold does not allow for any mitigating experience or information. They are closed systems. Within that closed system, they are right and everyone else is wrong. They have the “security” of being “right”. This is not about doctrine, it is about dogma… very different things.

  43. Duane,

    I’ll just say the “amen”…
    There are days though, when that security is attractive…

  44. #43 Michael

    Yes, but faith isn’t about security, it’s about risk. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

  45. The words fundamentalist and fundamentalism are typically used as pejorative. I’m not sure why those terms are coming up in this thread. I don’t think doing so is helpful to the discussion.

  46. Jean

    Not used except in a descriptive sense of a “closed system”…

  47. In the context of this conversation, what binds me to that definition of faith? Can I claim you have a fundaentalist interpretation of that verse but my reason leads me elsewhere and like many of the word faith guys, we can actually see faith.
    Is that of equal understanding?
    (as a disclaimer I would say no as the words themselves are clear and understandable. I would have no problem saying the word faith guy is wrong and have no fear that my understanding is “fundamentalist.”)

  48. I don’t think fundamentalist is necessarily a pejorative.

    I was quite proudly a fundamentalist five point Calvinist for years…meaning that we had a group of non negotiable doctrines outside the essentials of orthodoxy.

    All sects do…my sect is just much broader on what it allows for inclusion and much smaller on the non negotiables than I’m used to.

    There is nothing wrong with fundamentalism in principle…it is just way too restrictive for me to intellectually accept in most cases.

  49. #48 Michael

    “I don’t think fundamentalist is necessarily a pejorative.”

    Agreed. It is simply descriptive.

  50. #9-My grandchildren, and many of their friends have traditional values.

    You should winter in Florida, plenty of vitamin D to go around…

  51. Jim,

    Do you think they will comprise a majority view culturally in 10-20 years?

    I live in Oregon…we take vitamin D orally… 🙂

  52. I think we are currently the minority, and don’t see any reason for things to improve. I’m ok with that. The culture’s gonna culture…

  53. For what it is worth, there are a number of studies out that consider the millennials to be very similar to boomers in terms of values, concerns and objectives…. not sure that there is great comfort in these findings…

  54. Michael (41), true comment about Vike’s fans!

    Nice problem to have…7-2 under a backup quarterback…who wudda thunk it!?!

  55. #1 Seems that way, I know it isn’t, but I ain’t smart enough to figger it out.

    #2 Yes, I’m partial to Tom and Jerry myself.

    #4 That’s why I’ve started pointing at people I’m shaming with all five fingers…

    #8 We keep cleaning the outsides of the cups.
    We keep exercising the demons and then rolling in our own vomit.

    #10 Waxing prophetic?

  56. Duane
    #44 but what if you take the flip side of that word translated as simply “Faith”?

    “Now faith[fulness] is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
    Read the ending of chapter 10 through 12:1. Think of v each as dually Faith as a gift and faithfulness empowered by the Holy Spirit. Is that risky? The patriarchs didn’t have any risk, they had promises. In fact, with Abraham, God took all the risk on himself.

  57. #5:

    I remember so vividly back in the day when Bill Clinton ran for President, and the family values crowd constantly screamed about how “Character Counts”…

    Boy oh boy how times have changed.

  58. I must have missed Michael’s reply to Em at #33. Satan has been wrecking havoc on me as I spent the day trying to work with 2 of my divorced kids and there ex spouses to coordinate getting my 3 older grandkids over here between Christmas and New Years. A devilish road to go down between warring parties. 🙂

    I put the binding in the context of Jesus plundering the strongman’s treasures (and that we are the treasure to be plundered) – I do not think it is anymore than that. However, to suggest “…it doesn’t negate all the power of the evil one.” What is this other power satan has? I see that he had the power to keep people from coming to Jesus and that they would end up in hell. Now, satan cannot stop the gospel from going out into all the world and it is the gospel that saves. Is there a claim on the table that satan can bodyheck Jesus (thought I would throw in some hockey talk for Michael) and keep someone out of the kingdom?

    Also, when did this binding begin? I say at the incarnation – Jesus speaks in Matt 12 as if it were a past event and to seal it, we must believe it was completed on the cross. At least thats the way I see it.

  59. #56 Descended

    It is an interesting turn of phrase, but I think the meaning of “faithfulness” rather than “faith” tends to fall down in context when you go to verse 3, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

  60. i think the term ‘bind’ has become a snag here 🙂

  61. #59 Duane

    It can’t fall flat in context because that’s the definition. It means faith/faithfulness concurrently. Can’t have one without the other. Peanut Butter and Jelly, salt and pepper. Seigfreid and Roy. It just wouldn’t make sense as a stand alone.

    I actually used to eat Strawberry Jam by the spoonful, so… I guess Jelly can stand alone.

  62. #61 Descended

    While it can carry a double meaning, in the Greek the meaning is in the immediate context of the sentence and the verb. As I said, though, it is an interesting turn of phrase…

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