Here and Now: Dr. Duane W.H. Arnold PhD

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166 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Excellent Duane!

  2. Josh the Baptist says:

    Fantastic, Duane. Very much in the same vain as Robert Webber.

  3. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean and Josh,
    Many thanks… being compared to Bob Webber is always a compliment!

  4. Kevin H says:

    Duane,

    This writing is very good and valuable.

  5. Michael says:

    Duane,

    How do we get folks who think the church age started in 1968 to see the value here?

  6. Josh the Baptist says:

    “In his view, it was a matter of the early Church being very similar to his current Bible studies; that simplicity was then lost and corrupted until the Reformers came along; in turn, the Reformation then morphed into dead denominationalism, until American and British evangelicals came along and rediscovered the truth in the last hundred years or so.”

    In fairness, doesn’t every Christian group that is not Roman Catholicism hold to some form of this narrative? We may disagree on when it got off track, or when it got back on, but we all see some pure form of Christianity corrupted, then reborn in our group. (Simplifying for space)

    I will cop to the unique point of evangelicals being that many of us are ignorant as to when the pure church derailed and when it supposedly got back on course.

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    #5 Michael

    I’ve been trying to answer that question for 30 years. Like anything else, it has to be taught, but to get the “value” is more difficult. I think part of the problem is the arrogance of the “here and now”. If you think you’ve “got it all”, “know it all”, etc., you’re not likely to look at those who came before you. So, like much else in life, humility is the first step in finding “value”…

  8. Xenia says:

    In fairness, doesn’t every Christian group that is not Roman Catholicism hold to some form of this narrative?<<<

    Well, there's us.

  9. Duane Arnold says:

    #6 Josh

    Even the Roman Catholics are a bit myopic! Hence, you have “modern” priests alongside those who long for the “golden age” of the 1950s with multiple Masses on Sundays, all filled! I don’t have rose colored glasses on concerning the past, or indeed any particular time in Church history, but I think not to learn and absorb from those who have come before us is almost to deny, or set aside, the work of the Holy Spirit in any age but our own.

  10. Duane Arnold says:

    #8 Xenia

    Actually, of all the groups, I think the EO do the best job of incorporating the long view of Church history into present day thinking and activities…

  11. Josh the Baptist says:

    The difference with the EO is they only see one schism. It is a shorter version of the same story.

  12. Josh the Baptist says:

    Duane #9 – Totally agree.

    To give a partial answer of to Michael’s #9 – Just continue what you are doing.I was definitely one of those “its useless” guys when I discovered this blog nine years ago.

    While still no authority on church history, I have slowly been convinced otherwise.

  13. Michael says:

    Josh,

    One of my best days is when you came on and asked for recommendations on church history books…may your tribe increase.

  14. Michael says:

    Duane,

    If people want to begin to learn church history,where do you suggest they start?
    What materials do you suggest for beginning to learn our history?

  15. em ... again says:

    this lesson should be obvious (why it isn’t, i don’t know) as it can be applied to all of life – it most certainly reflects the condition we find ourselves in today in the secular realm as well

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    #14 Michael

    For someone out of an evangelical background, I’d recommend Robert Webber’s ‘Common Roots’, just to see why it’s important. From there, go on to a one volume work such as Justo L. González ‘Story of Christianity’. At that point, see if there is a period of Church history that is of interest, and look for a biography of a leading figure of the time. Peter Brown’s ‘Augustine’, for example is outstanding; or even Bainton’s ‘Here I Stand’ on Luther. Biography is a great entrance to any period…

  17. Xenia says:

    Well, here’s one reason. The letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, written in the first century, talk about the necessity of obeying the Bishop and about the Real Presence. St. Ignatius was contemporary of Jesus Christ and Tradition says he was a disciple of the Apostle John. How can this obvious first century sacramentalism be explained away? Easier to just say “it doesn’t matter.”

    St. Ignatius isn’t post Constantine so that argument doesn’t hold.

  18. Josh the Baptist says:

    Xenia brings up a point – Any study I do of early Christianity highlights the differences that I have with them.

    Doing real self-evaluation like that is uncomfortable.

  19. Duane Arnold says:

    #17 #18

    You read Ignatius, and you’re reading about a church you can recognize… It always has amazed me that evangelical preachers can wax lyrical about the early martyrs of the Church, but are silent about the nature of the Church in which they lived out their faith.

  20. Michael says:

    Church history teaches me humility above all else.
    God has used many different traditions to further the kingdom…and most brought something valuable to the table that was missing or minimized before.

  21. Xenia says:

    I remember when I first wandered into an Orthodox church. It was dark inside, with the illumination coming from candles. There was the aroma of incense. There was chanting in an ancient language. I felt like I was thrown back 1500 years or more in time. I felt like if I looked hard enough I might find the Apostle Paul or St. Timothy standing among the people.

  22. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Xenia
    It doesn’t matter.

    Should Ignatius actually say what you say he did (everyone uses him to defend everything from the Real Presence to Pre trib) Ignatius’ writings are not scripture and for good reason – he never knew the risen Lord. Is that incorrect?

  23. Xenia says:

    It doesn’t matter.<<<<

    I don't know how to even begin to respond to this kind of thinking so I won't even try.

  24. Xenia says:

    Did St. Luke know the risen Lord?

    (I mean physically, as I assume you meant w/ St. Ignatius. Both obviously knew the Lord, just as you and I know Him.)

  25. Xenia says:

    PS Orthodox Tradition says St. Luke was one of the two who talked w/ Jesus on the road to Emmaus but this info is extra-biblical so I doubt that you would give it credence, Siggy?

    So as far as your Bible-only resources permit, did St. Luke meet Christ after the Resurrection?

  26. Eric says:

    It’s certainly possible, growing up in a protestant church, to get the vague idea that the Church fell away from the faith into error and mostly stayed there until the Reformation. For the whole middle millennium there weren’t many “real Christians”. This view could be called “latter-day saints”.

    What changes things is when we meet people in the older church traditions and see faith that looks like ours, we find that they are indeed our brothers & sisters.

    The fact that we’re aware of many in the old traditions (even those that split from the main branch in the early centuries) being martryed in recent years has also added to the picture we western protestants have.

  27. Duane Arnold says:

    #22 Siggy

    It does matter… When you are looking at the shape of the Christian Church in the first generations after the apostles, the witness of their writings matter a great deal. Not only Ignatius, but the other Apostolic Fathers as well. I’m not speaking of “proof texting” from early Christian writers, but reading what they say does provide a window into early faith and practice…

  28. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Duane,

    I realize this. Extra biblical literature is an excellent help as far as history and historicity. In the light of God’s revelation Iraneus does not matter, imo. If a thing isn’t proven/practiced in scripture, I wouldn’t fill in the gaps and stand on the orthodoxy of it because Iraneus says so.

    Xenia

    I understand, and James may pose the same problem. That’s, what I get for posting in haste. The main hang up I have is what I tried to clarify above. I remember some guys from the Boston Church of Christ trying to use Iraneus to push salvific baptism, another person proof texted him trying to support pretrib, yadayada. No offense.

  29. Josh the Baptist says:

    Siggy – Were you involved with Kip Mckean’s group at some point?

  30. Duane Arnold says:

    #28 Siggy

    With all due repect, I think you are mistaken. For instance, the manner in which the early Church Fathers interpreted the LXX is VERY important! Also, look at the process of assembling the canon… the Fathers were, again, very important…

  31. Siggy the Terrible says:

    The name sounds familiar. If you are speaking of BCoC, I was only involved for two shakes. It was the nineties, I was a lonely college kid.They had a heavy shepherding form of discipleship, no musical instruments, separation from “unbelieving” families, etc. My mom talked me out of it. Is this ringing bells?

  32. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Duane,

    Thx, I don’t know how much respect is due 🙂

    The church fathers can be wrong. Scripture isn’t. Therefore scripture wins every time, even in the silent parts. In His opinion, of course, not mine, winky emoticon.

  33. Josh the Baptist says:

    No Siggy, that would be the mainline Church of Christ then. Kip Mckean started n offshoot in Boston, probably in the early 80’s. It got really big for a while. Planted more churches around the country, then splintered a few years ago.

    It was apparently pretty abusive as well. My Brother-in-law’s brother has been a devout follower since the 80’s.

  34. Siggy the Terrible says:

    All I remember is they said they were part of Boston Church of Christ. Kip McKean sounds very familiar. I met them in Santa Barbara, CA, around ’98. They used to picked me up along with some other guys packed into a little Honda Accord and drove us to LA for some convention, and everyone love bombed us. Kinda creepy to watch people force themselves be intensely interested in this (unbeknownst to them) homeless kid from Santa Barbara. There was some famous Basketball player there from the Miami Heat or something like that relatively new NBA team.

  35. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Josh

    This is it http://jdr.websb.net/sbcoc/cults2.html

  36. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane,
    “Also, look at the process of assembling the canon… the Fathers were, again, very important…”

    With your historical background, perhaps you know – are we Lutherans the only ones who have never closed the canon?

  37. Josh the Baptist says:

    Sig – Yeah, that is Mckean’s group.

  38. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Duane

    I think my little joke might be misconstrued. I meant respect due to me… This is why I never did stand up

  39. Duane Arnold says:

    #32 Siggy

    And who established the canon of Scripture… the Fathers (see Athanasius Paschal Letter 39)…

  40. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Duane

    Who was editing the Canon? God or man?

  41. Duane Arnold says:

    #36 MLD

    An important point. I think Luther had problems with James and less with the Shepherd of Hermas (as I remember). Regardless, there is also the issue of the Apocrypha as found in the LXX forming the basis of the Textus Receipts according to Erasmus.

    Again, it is the tradition. Luther was an Augustinian Friar. He held to Vincent of Lerrins – “that which is held by all in every place”. Luther believed in the tradition, in my opinion.

  42. Duane Arnold says:

    #40 A consensus of the Fathers and tradition led, I believe, by the Holy Spirit.

  43. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Okay Duane

    I’m just trying to keep up.

    So… I don’t see how a process led by the Holy Spirit and finished by the Holy Spirit can be improved upon by man, even if those men were instruments of the Holy Spirit in finalizing the Canon. I don’t think they would equate their opinions or conclusions with scripture.

  44. Duane Arnold says:

    #43 Siggy

    I’ve never equated their opinions with the authority of Scripture, nor would they! I do believe there was a special grace given as they sorted through all the mss. of the period – and Egypt had the most. I don’t think the canon will be improved… it’s closed… it’s a given. We can however gain the wisdom of those even closer to the source – Ignatius, Clement….

  45. Siggy the Terrible says:

    I like that Ignatius drop

    Isn’t he the Jesuit who tried to improve upon prayer with “sens”ual practices? See, you say they wouldn’t try to improve upon scripture, but they did, imo, and scripture warned of those who would

  46. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane – you know, its that homolegumena and the antilegoumena thing.
    It seems that everyone before Trent had an issue with the 7 books. Luther, Calvin, Beza and the very early Church. Trent is really the fiest place that the list is held as absolute.

    It seems everyone has given up and gone over with Rome on this, I need to find the wording in the Book of Concord – but even to this day, Lutheran pastors whether they know it or not hedge their bets on the question – where do the 7 books stack up compared to the other 22?

  47. Duane Arnold says:

    #45 Sig

    I think you are confusing Ignatius Loyola and Ignatius of Antioch…

  48. Duane Arnold says:

    #46 MLD

    I think the phrase for the “seven” is “profitable for edification”.

    All of this, however, points to the importance of the tradition (and reception) in the formation of the canon. There’s a quote from an early father (may have been Tertullian) about the Scripture belonging to the Church and going so far as to say that interpretation of Scripture properly takes place within the life of the Church. It goes back to what I always say – Jesus didn’t come to build a library but to form a Church…

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane @48
    ” It goes back to what I always say – Jesus didn’t come to build a library but to form a Church…”

    I agree – It’s just that evangelicals go nuts when you tell them that the canon may not be as settled as folks think.
    There are serious question that cannot be answered about the 7 books. I hope we are speaking of the same seven
    Hebrews – James – 2 Peter – 2 & 3 John – Jude – Revelation.

  50. Josh the Baptist says:

    We don’t go nuts MLD, we just wonder what you are thinking was left out. Seems pretty complete.

    Hebrews, you have questions of authorship. James – Luther would have doctrinal issues, but others don’t.

    Why would the other books be an issue?

  51. Duane Arnold says:

    #48 MLD

    Yes, the same seven… but I would add for examination the apocryphal books in the LXX as that was the OT used by early Christians. Then you also have to take a look at Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, etc.

    Now, I’m not lobbying to reexamine the canon, but to make the point once again that it was the Church (led, I believe, by the Holy Spirit) that came to the determination. Part of the process was tradition, as well as universality of acceptance and use (Vincent of Lerins). At this time in Christian history, I believe in accepting Scripture and the canon of Scripture as a “given”. We can’t, without the evidence, go back in time and settle every nuance and debate of the process.

    It is why I no longer speak of the “inerrancy of Scripture in the original autographs ” – WE DON’T HAVE THEM! It becomes a meaningless statement. Instead, based on the plethora of manuscript evidence, I speak of the “reliability of Scripture” and, based on the internal content and universal acceptance by the Church, the “authority of Scripture”.

  52. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – this is why knowing Church history is vital. Do you even know that these are issues that have come down through church history?
    You say “Hebrews, you have questions of authorship.” – In my book authorship is a big deal – did an apostle write it or just some guy named Ralph. Which James wrote James? – which John wrote Revelation?

    It’s not just me and Luther – off the top of my head I could include Erasmus, Thomas Cajetan along with Martin Chemnitz, Eusebius, Origin and Jerome and many if not most.

    The Council of Trent is the first real authentic listing of the canon and that was Rome’s reaction to Luther – as they declared more anathemas on those who rejected any of the 39 OT books – the Apocrypha of the OT and any of the 27 books of the NT – and they also declared anathema if you didn’t accept the Latin Vulgate as the true and proper translation. Again, hard nosed anti Luther.

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane @51, again I agree.
    The best way that Lutherans have come to handle this – as all 27 NT books are included in our Bibles also – is how you handle them. Perhaps if you find a stand alone comment is one of those books, you attempt to chase it down in others before allowing a dogma to form.

  54. Josh the Baptist says:

    Mld- Yes, I know the issues dealing with canonization. You are still arguing for Hebrews and James. I gave you those two. I wasn’t saying it wasn’t a big deal. I was saying I understand why you would have issues with those.

    So your problem is authorship with Revelation and James, too. OK. What about the other four. Keep in mind, I am responding to your statement:

    “There are serious question that cannot be answered about the 7 books.”

    I have heard mostly satisfactory answers to the questions that arose around these books. (Hebrews and James excepted). I was just wondering what questions you felt were still lingering.

  55. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Perhaps if you find a stand alone comment is one of those books,you attempt to chase it down in others”

    I think that is a good practice.

  56. Josh the Baptist says:

    “The Council of Trent is the first real authentic listing of the canon”

    This isn’t completely true, though. Not to be argumentative, but the canon was considered official in the 300’s. Trent may be the first church council that we are sure addressed it, but there is solid record of Bishops and Popes speaking of the New Testament canon for 1,000 years before that.

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – not so. There were various lists running around up until Trent with anywhere from 20 to the 27 books … the funny thing was no one cared. Even as Duane mentioned even Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, etc. were included

  58. Xenia says:

    The Council of Trent did not apply to the Eastern Churches, who had a Canon based on St. Athanasius’ Pascal Letter written in the 4th Century.

  59. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yes, with Xenia – Athanasius was 367. I’m sure I could google dozens that affirmed it.

  60. Josh the Baptist says:

    Just so I’m straight – MLD, are you arguing that the New Testament was not canonized until 1545?

  61. Duane Arnold says:

    Athanasius, 39th Festal Letter (as I said above #39). That being said, lists of the canon (more or less complete) were circulating for almost a hundred years before the Festal Letter. One could also make and argument on the basis of the early fourth century Codex Sinaiticus. Finally, there are those who claim Jerome for the establishment of the canon in his Latin translation…

  62. Josh the Baptist says:

    Duane, so you would disagree if MLD is saying the New Testament was not canonized until Trent? (Maybe he’s not saying that)

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – What do you mean whenyou said ‘canonized’
    I am not even allowingfor the Trent canonization. It was done out of spite to Luther – not for some holy piurpose. Just as the several canons of Trent that anathematize anyone who believes in faith and grace alone. Same stuff.

    Do you have a copy of the ‘official’ canonization process? As I said, check history – 1000s had issues and labeled the distinction of books the homolegumena and the antilegoumena.

    Gotta run to work.

  64. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’m not sure having a copy of the process is necessary. If you had Bishops and Popes who adopted a particular canon, that would make it official, right?

    Not trying to start another war, here. Just want to make sure I understand what is being argued.

  65. Steve Wright says:

    I don’t see why a clarification about original autographs when affirming inerrancy is meaningless.

    It may be a faith statement but so is declaring Jesus is alive from the dead.

  66. Duane Arnold says:

    #65 Steve

    It is indeed a faith statement. In terms of the establishment and use of the texts, however, it says nothing of value. I would place the resurrection in a wholly different category as we are looking at a single event, conveyed by witnesses in texts (with hundreds of corollary manuscripts) and bound by the tradition of the Church from the earliest time. To affirm each word of the original autographs as inerrant is not merely affirming faith in a singular event but in literally tens of thousands of such events (i.e. each word). Not saying that it is not possible, but I still think the words, “reliable” and “authoritative” are a bit better and certainly more defensible in discussing the text of Scripture.

  67. Duane Arnold says:

    #62 Josh

    I think there was an “informal” canon that was generally received towards the end of the third century (remember the Romans looking for “books” in the Diocletian persecution). I think it picked up steam with the 50 bibles commissioned by Constantine in 331 (it is possible that Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are surviving examples), but became somewhat settled with Athanasius’ 39th Festal Letter. Not a straight forward process, but one of the lessons of history is that God can work even through messy means…

  68. Josh the Baptist says:

    @67 Yeah, I agree. I think it was all but settled, save one or two books, by about 150ad. But “officially”, yes.

  69. Duane Arnold says:

    #68 Josh

    I think 150 is a bit early (we’ve had this discussion before!).

    I did my studies on papyri with David Thomas from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri project who helped me a great deal. Part of the problem, is that many of the papyri that have been found are heterodox. When Athanasius wrote, he was essentially trying to get the Egyptian monastic communities to get non-canonical and heterodox materials “off the shelf”. They didn’t destroy the papyri, they buried them and these are the things we find. The orthodox collections of papyri, however, stayed in use and, subsequently, were not buried for us to find and evaluate!

  70. Xenia says:

    Duane, do you happen to know Dr. Matthew Steenberg, a patristics scholar who got his DPhl from Oxford? Author of several scholarly books on the topic? (He is now Bishop Irenei.) I wonder if your paths have crossed.

  71. Duane Arnold says:

    Unfortunately, I only know him by his name (he was after my time!) and from his small introductory volume on Athanasius.

  72. Xenia says:

    Vladyka Irenei is the vicar bishop for our area and he is also my teacher and mentor at the SF Orthodox Institute.

  73. Steve Wright says:

    I’ve never heard inspiration defined as tens of thousands of separate events. While the words of the text are inspired, inspiration is a process as well. Since we do have multiple inspired books, the process was repeated (27 times minimum for the NT – not knowing what sort of breaks in the longer books was taken in their writing), but to dissect it into a distinct process for each word that requires faith is a stretch.

    By that logic, the resurrection is certainly not a singular event either. What of the moving of the stone, the soldiers guarding the tomb, the various appearances, the eating while also coming and go at will…even the ascension would need to be coupled with the resurrection and that certainly is a distinct event in time from when He came back to life.

    Inspiration and inerrancy, to me, are crucial to whether the Bible is authoritative. The Bible derives its authority from God, not man.

    I have to define terms like inerrancy, and so I have to explain things like original autographs (and for that matter, translation, preservation) so as to declare that the English Bible in the lap of the Christian in church has authority over his/her life – in matters of faith and practice.

    I appreciate that in the internet age I can reference people to the Chicago conference and statement, whenever someone in my ministry efforts is confused about the subject or what is meant and not meant by the term.

  74. Josh the Baptist says:

    Duane @ 69 – Ah, that’s interesting information. Thanks for that.

    (And yeah, I’m always saying the same things over and again. 🙂 )

  75. Steve Wright says:

    Article X of the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy

    WE AFFIRM that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original.

    WE DENY that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.

  76. Duane Arnold says:

    #73 Steve

    I understand your position. I, however, go from plenary inspiration (as you say, “the words of the text are inspired”) to their placement on parchment or papyrus, to their transmission through the ages, their translation from the most reliable texts that have come down to us, to the words I see on the page. I believe those words to be “reliable” (ms. evidence) and “authoritative” (acceptance in the tradition). To speak of inerrancy in the original autographs, which we do not, nor ever will possess, is a statement of faith.

    To speak of every word (on my part) was generous! It is every letter that counts in terms of expression and meaning. I’ve held a fourth century papyrus (between sheets of glass) in my hands. You attempt to separate the words, letters are missing, a hole appears where the crucial word should be, ink has faded…

    As we do not have the original autographs, can we be assured of their exact transmission? I think not. The authority may come from God, but in practical terms, it was the consensus of the Church and the tradition that placed the canon before us…

  77. Steve Wright says:

    I’m guessing then, Duane, you would part company with the men who drafted and signed the Chicago Statement of Inerrancy….am I correct?

  78. Josh the Baptist says:

    Here is a quote I remembered from Ryrie’s Basic Theology, on how the theories of inspiration have developed.
    “These differences call for precision in stating the biblical doctrine. Formerly all that was necessary to affirm one’s belief in full inspiration was the statement, “I believe in the inspiration of the Bible.” But when some did not extend inspiration to the words of the text it became necessary to say, “I believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible.” To counter the teaching that not all parts of the Bible were inspired, one had to say, “I believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible.” Then because some did not want to ascribe total accuracy to the Bible, it was necessary to say, “I believe in the verbal, plenary, infallible, inerrant inspiration of the Bible.” But then “infallible” and “inerrant” began to be limited to matters of faith only rather than also embracing all that the Bible records (including historical facts, genealogies, accounts of Creation, etc.), so it became necessary to add the concept of “unlimited inerrancy.” Each addition to the basic statement arose because of an erroneous teaching.”

  79. Steve Wright says:

    When I wrote above about inerrancy of the original autographs as a faith statement, in no way does that imply it is some blind faith statement as if I chose to believe someone telling me there is life on Saturn.

    Faith statements in the Christian world are still based on evidence. This is why I mentioned the resurrection of Christ. Not to draw an exact parallel but to note that we believe (i.e. faith) in the resurrection for reasons rooted in evidence. As Duane notes, we have witnesses to the event, sharing in texts, which witnesses and accounts the Church has held to be reliable.

    So it is when it comes to evidence for inerrancy. I will simply quote the Chicago statement once more:

    Since God has nowhere promised an inerrant transmission of Scripture, it is necessary to affirm that only the autographic text of the original documents was inspired and to maintain the need of textual criticism as a means of detecting any slips that may have crept into the text in the course of its transmission. The verdict of this science, however, is that the Hebrew and Greek text appear to be amazingly well preserved, so that we are amply justified in affirming, with the Westminster Confession, a singular providence of God in this matter and in declaring that the authority of Scripture is in no way jeopardized by the fact that the copies we possess are not entirely error-free.

    Similarly, no translation is or can be perfect, and all translations are an additional step away from the autographa. Yet the verdict of linguistic science is that English-speaking Christians, at least, are exceedingly well served in these days with a host of excellent translations and have no cause for hesitating to conclude that the true Word of God is within their reach. Indeed, in view of the frequent repetition in Scripture of the main matters with which it deals and also of the Holy Spirit’s constant witness to and through the Word, no serious translation of Holy Scripture will so destroy its meaning as to render it unable to make its reader “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

  80. Duane Arnold says:

    #77 Steve

    Some, but not all. “Inerrancy” had varied shades of meaning for many of the signers (several of whom I have known). In order to “all stay on the same page” the phrase “applies only to the autographic text of Scripture” was used. My main problem with that article in the statement is the interchanging of “inspired” and “inerrant” (read it and you’ll see what I mean) as the words define two different approaches. Also, the argument is one from silence as we do not possess the original autographic manuscripts. It can neither be proved nor disproved, it can only be believed or not believed…

  81. Jean says:

    A doctrine of the inerrancy of the original autographs has serious limitations.

    (1) We don’t have them, so can’t compare them against the manuscripts we have;
    (2) It assumes that the the autographs represent the completion of the Holy Spirit’s work on a book or letter. Why make that assumption? Does that count out the woman caught in adultery and the longer ending of Mark as inspired texts? What about the final versions of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. How many did the church start with vs. the two we now have?
    (3) Could multiple authors have contributed to a single book over a period of time, which means there could have been sequential drafts leading up to what we have today? If so, which one would be the inerrant autograph?

  82. Josh the Baptist says:

    Wouldn’t you say the vast agreement among manuscripts points to a lot (not all) that we can be pretty certain about in the originals?

  83. Steve Wright says:

    The beautiful thing about the science of textual criticism is that it has nothing to do with the Bible at all. Textual criticism would be necessary and its rules defined if the Bible did not even exist.

    The Bible does exist, and it is subject, as with all ancient literature, to this science of textual criticism and when so subjected it speaks loudly as to what we can confidently affirm to be the original text in the vast, VAST majority of words (letters) and verses.

    As the study of the Greek apparatus shows, there are a small minority of verses that are even open to discussion as to what the original might be. When variants do exist, most of the time there is zero doubt (using the rules of textual criticism applied to any other literature) as to what the original might be.

    On the very, very few cases where there is some legitimate discussion, of course no doctrine solely rises or fallls

  84. Steve Wright says:

    Also, the argument is one from silence as we do not possess the original autographic manuscripts. It can neither be proved nor disproved, it can only be believed or not believed…
    ————————————————
    And we do not “possess” a resurrected Jesus walking around, showing up and eating with us, preparing breakfast etc.

    I do not hesitate to say, as I have from the beginning of this discussion, that inerrancy is a faith statement. It is an important one though.

    I also disagree with your assessment about the interchange of inspired and inerrant in the document, which I have reread in full while I have interacted in this thread.

  85. Duane Arnold says:

    #81 Jean

    Exactly so…
    Now, how about something even more mind bending? The Textus Receptus started as the work of Erasmus in trying to assemble a critical text. He used the available manuscripts of his day working in Europe. Jerome, in assembling the Vulgate, used the manuscripts of his day – 1200 years earlier – working in Palestine. And, of course, neither fully listed their sources. Enough to give me a headache just thinking about it…

  86. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Duane

    There were two…?

    MIND BLOWN

    back to Google

  87. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Inerrancy

    So the question before the house is

    Is God a sloppy editor, who esteems his word above his Name?

  88. Steve Wright says:

    Jean’s questions @81 are all answerable and in fact discussed in great detail in my Bibliology class in seminary. As I am sure they are discussed in any such class in any conservative seminary.

    (So says the false teacher arguing FOR the inerrancy of Scripture.)

  89. Duane Arnold says:

    #84 Steve

    I remember having a discussion with C.F.D. Moule about this issue. He indicated to me that many of our “descriptions” (such as inerrancy) are wholly modern attempts at definition. He then said something that has stuck with me – “You know, the Scripture is not mentioned in the Nicene Creed”.
    I think what he was getting at was that faith and textual studies while possibly related, are also profoundly different.

  90. Duane Arnold says:

    #88 Steve

    No one called you a “false teacher”… this is a discussion, not an inquisition…
    If it were an inquisition, several might be preparing the stake and fire for me!

  91. Josh the Baptist says:

    Steve was called a false teacher yesterday.

  92. Jean says:

    Duane,

    The issue for me is whether the Logos is speaking to me and you through the Scriptures. There is a reason we don’t claim golden tablets or dictation during a dream and that we don’t have original autographs. Like the incarnation of the Son of God, the Scriptures are incarnational. Hidden in, with and under the Scriptures is the divine Word. Is the Power of this Word capable of electing sinners to eternal life through any language, various translations, a manuscript history, etc.? I say yes. I think the issue of inerrancy is way down the list of the problems that beset the American Church.

  93. Michael says:

    In light of the myriad interpretations of Scripture, I think “inerrancy” tries to prove too much.
    Last time I checked there were myriad definitions of “inerrancy” as well.

    I’m leaning toward “authoritative” as a better word…

  94. Josh the Baptist says:

    Leaving Packer on that one?

  95. Steve Wright says:

    I think what he was getting at was that faith and textual studies while possibly related, are also profoundly different.
    —————————————————-
    Yes, but I guess my response is, so what?

    I take Genesis and the creation account by faith, but my study of the natural world and the laws of the universe solidify that faith (especially given the alternative theories to God’s creation ex nihilo that one can study.)

    What are the alternate theories to inerrancy in the original documents? Put another way, where did Paul or the other apostles err? Or maybe the question should be phrased, when did the Holy Spirit depart and leave them on their own, only to return again later?

    Because surely we would not suggest that Spirit inspired text contains errors….

  96. Michael says:

    Josh,

    We all know how much I love and respect Dr. Packer.
    That will never change.
    However, I am reconsidering many things I learned from him while being beyond grateful for the foundation he gave me.

  97. Duane Arnold says:

    #92 Jean

    Agreed… but you are sounding a bit like Barth (that’s a compliment!).

  98. Josh the Baptist says:

    Mainly, for people using an authoritative text, it functions as inerrancy. I do believe in inerrancy, as defined by the Chicago statement, but recognize that the term carries a lot of baggage.

    If one has a high-view of Scripture, I don’t care if he refuses to use the word innerancy. Now, my denomination would largely disagree with me on that.

  99. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, I am sure in my preaching I speak of the authority of God’s word 100 times for every time I mention the word, inerrancy.

    However, at some point we have to deal with why we say the Bible is authoritative. Why it is and not other religious “holy books”

    Which brings us to inspiration, and if I don’t want to endorse a Jesus Seminar approach or similar liberal theological take on the Bible, then I can’t escape a discussion of inerrancy eventually.

    I agree that it is a loaded word though…which is why I am quick to reference the Chicago statement as I find myself in agreement with all 19 Articles as well as the exposition therein.

  100. Michael says:

    I don’t like the term “leaving Packer” as it implies I find him somehow lacking or in error.
    What I’m saying is that I’m allowing myself the freedom to be in conversation with other Spirit filled teachers who may differ in some ways from him…which I think would make him proud.

  101. Duane Arnold says:

    #98

    It has become a “shibboleth” in many quarters…

  102. Duane Arnold says:

    #99 Steve,

    For me the authority is that it has been received by the Church universal under the guidance of the Holy Spirit…

  103. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I think a lot of dogmatism around inerrancy has neglected the role of the church in the formation of the canon.
    The result is a degradation of the place of the historical and modern church…this gets complicated.

  104. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 100 – Well said. No beef from me. I just happen to agree with Packer on this one.

    @ 101 – Yes, most in the SBC.

  105. Steve Wright says:

    Two statements.

    The Bible is the word of God.

    The Bible becomes the word of God.

    I affirm the first and wholly reject the second.

    Now, once more, in affirming the first statement, I have to then deal with the copyist errors found in our translations, as well as the discussions in the margin notes as to whether a verse(s) belong in the text, which requires a little textual criticism education.

    I make every effort to teach the flock God has given me how to handle these things, so that their faith is not shaken, nor their submission to the authority of God as revealed in Scripture is diminished.

    I also am committed to them being taught PROPERLY without any nonsense to Satanic translation efforts to deny the deity of Christ, or pathetic twisting and tortured explanations as to how some king could be two different ages when he came to the throne.

    These things can’t be ignored, especially in expository teaching that does not skip over anything. All the more given the plethora of Greek tools used by people today who may not know the alphabet but can sure tell that the characters in this Greek word or verse are different than in this word or verse….

  106. Josh the Baptist says:

    In fairness Michael (and Duane),

    A Protestant, particularly a modern American evangelical can NOT argue for an authoritative church. That’s just not at all what we’re founded on.

  107. Steve Wright says:

    I do think it gets tricky to look at the role of the Church in the acceptance of the canon, and yet to make clear that we do not think the books in the Bible are God’s word solely because the Church said so.

    That of course is the declaration of the most hostile critics of Scripture.

    The Holy Spirit oversaw the discovery, recognition, and affirmation of the books which are Scripture, as well as the rejection of the books which are not. (Yeah, that is a faith statement too)

    The Scriptures would be the Scriptures even if, hypothetically, there never was any attempt by the Church to collect and canonize those Scriptures.

    Chicago puts it this way in the very first Article.

    WE AFFIRM that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God.
    WE DENY that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, tradition, or any other human source.

  108. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I listen to Protestants every day that argue that their sect is authoritative…
    I’m also at a stage on my own pilgrimage where I’m less concerned about being a good Protestant and more concerned about being a part of the church…

  109. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – so to be a part of the church, have you made the trek down to the local Anglican church for the divine worship service or is this still just an intellectual venture so far?

  110. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 108 – Maybe, and I’d call them in error, too.

    And I wasn’t talking about you as much as I was me and Steve. Our tradition, or lack there of, simply does not allow for an authoritative church. We would probably trace that back to Luther, but I won’t to keep MLD from having a heart attack 🙂

    I agree with you in wanting to be found in Christ, whatever name that is given.

  111. Duane Arnold says:

    If the Church was not the vehicle that God used in the anteNicene, Nicene and postNicene period to gather the canon, debate inclusion, etc., then who was? God works through human instrumentality. That’s part of the message of the Incarnation. From the time of Erasmus, we speak of the Textus Receptus – the received text – who received it?

    This is like saying the Creeds fell from the sky… and a few years later so did a complete Biblical Codex.

  112. Michael says:

    MLD,

    With copious amounts of help from Duane, I’m studying to be received into the Anglican communion and even possibly seeking ordination through the Anglican Church In North America.
    Lots going on behind the scenes here at the PhxP…but most doesn’t need publicity.
    This is a very private and sacred matter to me.
    I will say I self identify as an Anglican now… 🙂

  113. Jean says:

    “WE AFFIRM that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God.
    WE DENY that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, tradition, or any other human source.”

    This statement is more problematic than I remember from having read it years ago.

    Duane,

    (1) First line: Is the opposite an un-authoritative Word of God? Is the Word of God ever unauthoritative?

    (2) When the Codex Sinaiticus was discovered in say 1844, did men examine it and determine it to be authentic and old enough to be brought into the manuscripts which are taken into account in modern biblical studies, translations, etc.?

    There seems to be a gnostic tendancy among the proponents of statements, such as the Chicago statement, who deny that God works through his creation, and more particularly through his Church and image bearers. I understand the desire to not be held to any standard other than their own imaginations, but it is not a biblical understanding of how God works.

  114. Michael says:

    “If the Church was not the vehicle that God used in the anteNicene, Nicene and postNicene period to gather the canon, debate inclusion, etc., then who was? God works through human instrumentality. ”

    Just wanted to make sure that got posted twice…it’s an excellent point.

  115. Josh the Baptist says:

    Duane, obviously the church was used, and still is used. The question would be a matter of passivity. We would argue that the Word receives authority directly from God, not from the Church.

  116. Steve Wright says:

    Likewise, my post above affirms the use of the Church by God. Duane’s comment (and Michael’s repost) does not counter my belief (or my statement) in the slightest.

    Maybe a reread of my 107 above is in order…

    (For clarity, though I think the context clearly implied as much, when I wrote “The Holy Spirit oversaw the discovery, recognition, and affirmation of the books which are Scripture, as well as the rejection of the books which are not.” one could add “The Holy Spirit oversaw through the Church…etc”

  117. Josh the Baptist says:

    “First line: Is the opposite an un-authoritative Word of God? Is the Word of God ever unauthoritative?”

    Most of the people in the world do not accept the Word of God as authoritative.

  118. Steve Wright says:

    There seems to be a gnostic tendancy among the proponents of statements, such as the Chicago statement, who deny that God works through his creation, and more particularly through his Church and image bearers. I understand the desire to not be held to any standard other than their own imaginations, but it is not a biblical understanding of how God works.
    ———————————————————
    At least Jean has moved on to now insulting, outrageously silly and wild statements against far greater men than me….

  119. Josh the Baptist says:

    One might look at the long list of signatures to see if there were any LCMS signers.

    (Spoiler alert – they were crucial in drafting the statement)

  120. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve – how is Jean’s statement insulting except to those with the thinnest of skin?

  121. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I am afraid that some here who are so easily insulted all the time have taken on the persona of the political left.

  122. Josh the Baptist says:

    Come on MLD, that would even be too caustic for you.

    gnostic tendency
    deny God works through creation
    desire to not be held to any standard other than their own imaginations
    not a biblical understanding

  123. Josh the Baptist says:

    But MLD, we could just skip the insults, and have a good conversation.

  124. Josh the Baptist says:

    Here’s a snippet from LCMS website:

    ““With Luther, we confess that “God’s Word cannot err” (LC, IV, 57). We therefore believe, teach and confess that since the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God, they contain no errors or contradictions but that they are in all their parts and words the infallible truth.

    We hold that the opinion that Scripture contains errors is a violation of the sola scriptura, for it rests upon the acceptance of some norm or criterion of truth above the Scriptures. We recognize that there are apparent contradictions or discrepancies and problems which arise because of uncertainty over the original text.”

    I affirm this statement too.

  125. Xenia says:

    Gnostics taught many things, including crazy cosmologies that have absolutely nothing to do with evangelicalism.

    However, they did not believe there was much good to be found in the material world. Everything was spiritualized. Spirit was good; matter was evil, or at least, of no consequence.

    This reminds some of us of the spiritualizing tendencies of some evangelicals, including spiritualized views of the church, communion, baptism, etc.

    This could also include the use of incense, candles, vestments, etc.

    I just finished listening to an EO podcast where the speaker (an EO priest) noted some similarities between some Gnostic beliefs/ practices and some evangelical beliefs/ practices. He hastened to add (as do I) that evangelicals are not Gnostics but rather, they have some Gnostic tendencies.

    I was listening to White Horse Inn a decade ago or so and heard the same thing. In fact, the speakers were directly referencing Calvary Chapel.

    I think I peppered this post with the word “some” enough to avoid the charge of broad brushing. Maybe not.

  126. Steve Wright says:

    Josh, MLD has to stick up for anyone from the LCMS. They’re the only ones he communes with after all….

    No different than some of the Calvary Chapel apologists that have graced these pages, defending the indefensible….

    Then again, maybe MLD thinks those are apt descriptions for men like Packer, Lindsell, Boice, Henry and the others…

  127. Josh the Baptist says:

    “This reminds some of us of the spiritualizing tendencies of some evangelicals, including spiritualized views of the church, communion, baptism, etc.

    This could also include the use of incense, candles, vestments, etc.”

    That second sentence doesn’t remind me of evangelicals at all. What do you mean?

  128. Xenia says:

    Bad writing on my part, Josh. I should have said the common evangelical dislike of these physical “sacramentals” would be illustrative of Gnostic tendencies. Who needs this “stuff?”

  129. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, I did not stick up for anyone. I just asked the question as to why you have turned into such a “snowflake” on this blog – especially after spending the whole political season bashing the left for being thin skinned.

    How can you say I only communes with – as far as you know, since you don’t question anyone who communes with you, that you commune only with the CCs among you?

    As to men like Packer, Lindsell, Boice, Henry and the others…are you such an idol worshipper that you think these fellas are beyond error?

  130. Josh the Baptist says:

    Oh, oK. Understood.

  131. Jean says:

    If one wants to proclaim God’s Word “authoritatively”, then which rule and norm for doctrine has proven more reliable:

    (1) The Chicago Statement; or
    (2) The Three Ecumenical Creeds?

  132. Steve Wright says:

    Here’s the problem with the emphasis on the Church determining the canon versus affirming the canon….the disputed books, especially the apocrypha.

    It is one thing for one’s church (small c) to declare they believe a certain book is or is not the inspired word of God. Arguments can be offered, and sides taken on that debate as with the many debates in Christendom.

    However, if you have the canon being DETERMINED by the Church, then which church (small c) is faithful to the Church as a whole? Obviously, at some point the Church went astray because different churches have different canons.

    Now, the Church consists of fallible human beings and they are just as fallible in groups as they are as individuals. Thus, it is not a shock to discover that different churches have different canons, and the simple fact is that some MUST be in error, because God’s word is His word, whether we think so or not.

    Hey, maybe I should embrace the Apocrypha. Maybe I am in error not to do so. Or, maybe those who do embrace those books are the ones in error. However, both are certainly not correct.

    I have said before, this is a tricky distinction, I realize. And certainly God works through His people to make His will known.

  133. Xenia says:

    Hey, maybe I should embrace the Apocrypha.<<<

    Go for it! I especially commend to your attention the lovely book of Tobit.

  134. Duane Arnold says:

    #113 Jean (and #115 Josh)

    (1) Authority in a vacuum is not authority. One has to ask the questions of relationship – Authoritative to whom? Authoritative for whom?

    (2) Codex Sinaiticus was examined and still is being examined! As a matter of fact they are trying to do a virtual reuniting of it’s variously know parts. http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/

  135. Duane Arnold says:

    Here’s something from Vincent of Lerins (d. 445):
    But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation? For this reason—because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters. For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another. Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation.

    [6.] Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense Catholic, which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

  136. Steve Wright says:

    I just asked the question as to why you have turned into such a “snowflake” on this blog
    ———————————————————-
    Wow.

    Just…wow.

    I thought we were friends, MLD. I’m shocked that you either

    a) also think I am a dangerous false teacher or
    b) think that such a declaration is par for the course and nothing to be insulted by

    Go read that thread from yesterday and you tell me where I was thin skinned. In fact, I stayed engaged with more than a little humor throughout despite Jean’s nonsense.

    In fact, if you look I only got engaged in the first place to stick up for Josh (after Xenia) when he was first equally vilified with foolish and insulting nonsense by a guy who for the first time in his life has a platform to pontificate. That’s what friends do.

    As someone who has given up an awful lot, and watched his family do likewise, in order to teach God’s word to God’s people for over two decades, there is not a more serious charge.

    And it goes totally against what this blog used to be all about…before you and Jean got your own weekly articles and not satisfied with that turned every other discussion into the Lutheran theology hour. Just scan through some archives before and after last Spring or Summer and note the variety of comments and contributors, versus now. More significantly, note the change in demeanor from the two of you – especially Jean.

    This ain’t a church, and I don’t blame Michael in the slightest for looking to provide what is really good content (from the Lutheran view) that both of you write each week. Truly. Yet, if it leads you to pride and big head, (and driving away other contributors and believe me, some regulars have privately written me expressing just that) then you might pray about that. (as us evangelicals like to say)

    Michael…your post 112. I am VERY happy to read this news about your journey and wish you the absolute best in it. I also noted your apology last night late, and while I do not share your view that it was just a “bad day” because it has been this way for several months, I do want you to know I appreciated the support.

  137. Xenia says:

    And it goes totally against what this blog used to be all about<<<

    Well, this blog used to be mostly about criticisms of Calvary Chapel.

    MLD is like the laws of the Medes and Persians: he changeth not. I don't see anything new in his demeanor, which we have all come to know and love…. or at least, consider to be a source of amusement.

    Jean has been a little testy of late…..

  138. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, we are friends – I just remember the days when you would shake those things off easier.

    Look at me, I won’t take offense at your baseless claim “if it leads you to pride and big head, (and driving away other contributors and believe me, some regulars have privately written me expressing just that) then you might pray about that. (as us evangelicals like to say).”

    I am sure my email inbox from PP readers can rival yours. Why would anyone be chased away by my article or comments?

    So I will go back to my #120 and ask again “Steve – how is Jean’s statement insulting except to those with the thinnest of skin?”

  139. Michael says:

    “Yet, if it leads you to pride and big head, (and driving away other contributors and believe me, some regulars have privately written me expressing just that) ”

    This annoys me.
    I get nothing but positive feedback about all our contributors.
    Our numbers haven’t been this consistently high since the bad old days when scandal fueled the site.
    Why would people contact you if they’re not happy with what I do?
    Why not contact me?

    My task (as I see it) is to bring all these ideas that are different from standard evangelicalism out in the open so that we can all learn from the discussion and (more importantly) learn to love all the orthodox traditions and the people that populate them.

    I will feature good writing from all traditions…if someone wants to write from another, I’m all for it.

  140. Michael says:

    “MLD is like the laws of the Medes and Persians: he changeth not. ”

    Now, that was funny.. 🙂

  141. Josh the Baptist says:

    ” learn to love all the orthodox traditions and the people that populate them.”

    I think the issue is that one of your contributors doesn’t want to love others outside of his tradition.

  142. Michael says:

    My inbox from the PhxP is bigger than all of yours… 🙂
    This is a manly kind of competition…

  143. Michael says:

    Josh,

    It’s part of both of the Lutheran and Reformed traditions to think they are the only true keepers of the flame.

    I once felt the same way and was as much of a pain as anyone.

    Jean is actually a fine fellow and a very gifted writer…I will concur that he needs to allow his “fine fellow” side more exposure. 🙂

  144. Steve Wright says:

    Well, this blog used to be mostly about criticisms of Calvary Chapel.
    —————————————————-
    Well…I came here 8 years ago or so…after Skip. After Kestler.

    In my 8 years I would say the blog has been about far more than criticisms of CC and I don’t think that characterization fits at all.

    In fact, that is the exact dismissive claim I used to hear in CC circles from people not involved here. It’s just a CC critic blog.

    No…it’s far more.

    Michael, as to your question, it comes up in conversation with people that I feel have heavy hearts. My guess (and it is only that) is that they love you and the last thing they want to do is burden you. No different than when someone leaves a church and does not tell the pastor, why. It can be frustrating indeed, but often it is out of love for that pastor.

    Just my two cents…

  145. Jean says:

    Xenia,

    My demeanor is chastened. I thank you for your counsel in that matter.

    I realize this is not a church and the size of the tent is at the discretion of Michael alone (the doctrine of sola Michael). I breached the ettiquette of the blog yesterday. For that I apologize to the readers, especially Josh, Steve and Michael.

  146. Michael says:

    Steve,

    Because I truly feel that this place is stewarded by me and owned by all who share here, I need to hear from folks…and I’m more than willing to listen.

    Thanks for the kind words…I do hope we are much more than CC critics.

  147. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I do change. Once I was Jewish, then I changed to become an evangelical and sometimes later I got saved. 😉

  148. Michael says:

    Thank you, Jean!

  149. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Jean is actually a fine fellow and a very gifted writer”

    I agree, and said as much yesterday in the midst of him calling me a false teacher and consigning me to Hell.

    It just doesn’t appear that his goals for writing are the same as your goals for posting his writing.

  150. Duane Arnold says:

    “So, I study Church history for a reason. I study it to look for the lordship of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit through two millennia, not merely in my own time. I look for those writers who, in their time, their place and within their lives had this lordship realized.”

    All the writers (and teachers) that I may reference in my studies would not see eye to eye with me or, indeed, with each other. Yet, they have immense value. I doubt C.S. Lewis and Robert Preus would get along, but I’ve learned from both of them. Chuck Smith and Michael Ramsey would seem to have little common ground, but both nourished me. John Meyendorf and R.C. Sproul are very different writers, but both have helped me in my faith.

    Their commonality was in the Lordship of Christ in their life and work. I recognize the same commonality in this community and pray that it is never lost…

  151. Michael says:

    “Their commonality was in the Lordship of Christ in their life and work. I recognize the same commonality in this community and pray that it is never lost…”

    Amen!

  152. Josh the Baptist says:

    Nicely said, Duane.

  153. Josh the Baptist says:

    ” I breached the ettiquette of the blog yesterday. For that I apologize to the readers, especially Josh, Steve and Michael.”

    Jean, I do hope that one day you will recognize the awful, untrue thing you’ve said about Steve, a brother in Christ, and will repent for that rather than breaking blog etiquette. But I realize you aren’t there yet and pray for your growth.

  154. Steve Wright says:

    For the record, Jean and I used to converse regularly and were facebook friends etc. Got along quite well. I also know that the reader will not see what the person like myself sees when the doctrinal insults start really heavy – because the insults are not directed at the reader’s doctrine. (Yesterday being a perfect example)

    I dug through some archives to get an idea of a timeline in my mind and one can read the very clear change before the article opportunity, and in the months afterwards.

    There is a reason I asked the man what his ministry experience offline was (outside of writing an article for this blog over the last year.)

    Not sure why this is surprising. We’ve all probably seen good, humble guys get their first opportunity to teach in church and receive a bunch of compliments and “great sermon!” accolades and have it change them. God help the person who at a later date offers a criticism of challenge to something in the message….

    Anyway, that’s my observation. Yesterday was not a “having a bad day” moment, and you notice nowhere today has there been the slightest hint of apology or recanting about the terrible things said to Josh (or me).

  155. Steve Wright says:

    Thank you for the apology Jean. My prior post crossed with it.

    When I became sort of a high school baseball stud, being interviewed by the local papers, being scouted….I had one of my longtime coaches sit me down one day and call me out on my pride. I did not think I was acting any differently, but he said it was obvious.

    I appreciate that so much now. Maybe I am all wet, but maybe you can read your many fine comments when you first got on the blog here to now.

    As to me…I guess I’ve always called it like I saw it in the moment…and I know it gets me in trouble and discretion is the better part of valor.

    But I have apologized a lot over the years here, in the heat of the moment saying something in the flesh. However, I have always seen the group here as brothers and sisters in Christ, despite denominational differences and certainly despite any political differences.

  156. Steve Wright says:

    I agree, and said as much yesterday in the midst of him calling me a false teacher and consigning me to Hell.
    ——————————————-
    I have repeatedly as well. Jean’s stuff is very good.

  157. Steve Wright says:

    Amen, Duane.

    (Now if I can come up with a 5th comment in a row, I can pull off a “full Alex” from back in the day. LOL 🙂 )

    Alex is an example (and you had to live through it to fully know, as Josh and Xenia, Michael and MLD did) of the healing power of Christ.

    He and I are truly friends today. Praise the Lord.

  158. Xenia says:

    Alex is an example …. of the healing power of Christ.<<<<

    Amen to that!

  159. Duane Arnold says:

    #157 Steve

    Just read the thread from yesterday… not sure if I’ve ever been call eirenic before, but I appreciate it (truly).

    Now, does this mean I should give your address to the Democratic National Committee fundraising effort?

  160. Josh the Baptist says:

    A little more back on subject…

    An easy introduction to Church History, is going to the search box on this page, typing Church History. There have been dozens of very good, informative articles on this very site.

  161. Steve Wright says:

    I should have said “Alex and I” are an example of the healing power of Christ.

    It takes two for reconciliation, and I was thinking that but it did not come out well when I wrote.

  162. Steve Wright says:

    Duane,

    I actually learned the word, irenic, on this very blog many years ago.

    I’m pretty sure it was stated first in connection to Dr. Packer.

    As to the DNC, by all means, I love reading their solicitation emails. 😉

  163. Duane Arnold says:

    As Josh said… “Going back to the subject…”

    I would commend, especially to non-Lutherans, books by my old friend James Atkinson. He had a gift for taking Luther out of the purely Lutheran world and presenting him as a figure of importance to the whole Church.

    James died in 2011 – his obituary gives you the sense of a life well lived.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/religion-obituaries/8756051/The-Reverend-Professor-James-Atkinson.html

  164. Erunner says:

    I arrived here quite some time ago. I’ve gained much through the years by being here.

    Michael and I have been friends throughout the years. He encouraged me to start my blog and has always been available to me if I needed to talk.

    That being said the blog has evolved/changed to the point I have consciously pulled away from participation.

    Calvary Chapel. Evangelical. Republican. Politics.

    How these topics have been addressed have saddened me.

    As it’s not my place to tell Michael how to run his blog I have chosen to withdraw for the most part.

    I’m thankful for the people I have gotten to know and meet as a result of being a part of this community.

  165. Michael says:

    Erunner,

    You’re welcome here anytime.
    In my defense, this blog has never been without a witness from CC, evangelicalism, or the Republican Party. 🙂

  166. Erunner says:

    Thanks Michael. I pray your health is well and both of us draw closer to God. God bless you friend.

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