Kevin’s Conversations: Gracious Division

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223 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    This is good.
    Watching this current split unfold, the interesting thing is that people assume that such division must be based on godly motives…because they assume that the leaders splitting are “godly” men and always act in “godly” ways.

    This is not always the case.

    There is no way for truth to be spoken because the truth about this split is that it’s personal and “godly” men are supposed to be able to overcome such.

    Real life doesn’t always work that way…so crimes against the church and doctrine must be invented for the split to be justified.

  2. John 20:29 says:

    is it possible that the schisms serve a purpose?

    i’m thinking of sorting and sifting – questioning the status quo spotlights, perhaps where our old (sin) natures (and some wolves, too) have begun to seep into our definition of God’s mandate for church? … Martin Luther might be the clearest example of what i’m trying to express

    as the thinking world sees globalism as the answer to wars and chaos, it occurs to me that way back there God scattered folk back there at the tower building (not Trump’s tower 🙂 ) for a purpose… He didn’t want them seeing themselves as gods (my interpretation)

    now it occurs to me that perhaps the church, too, has to be shook up from time to time, maybe, just maybe, it will cause the God fearing to see things more clearly – get their house back on track or move to a house that is – dunno – just pondering the passing scene

  3. Kevin H says:

    I wonder if we could magically take out from the equation all the personality conflicts and grudges and vendettas over the last 1000 years, how many less groups there would be today?

  4. Kevin H says:

    Em,

    I’m sure many of the schisms serve a purpose. Some of those purposes are rife with sin. But others purposes may be righteous. Some may truly be what God desires if one of the sides is in significant wrong and refuse to change. In other cases, God must work his purposes through the fleshly carnage that we create.

  5. Michael says:

    Kevin, your #3 is a good question.
    All I know is that theologically and doctrinally there’s not a nickels worth of difference between the CC combatants…

  6. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Dear Magnanimous Mike, or Spam Filter,

    and anyone else who may care at all,

    Well,
    this is just great. An apology.

    Isa 11:2-3 (NIV) The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him–the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord–and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears.

    Been mulling over my internet behavior on the last post I responded to…

    I totally played troll. Michael, your blog, your rules. I could have said the things I did without such arrogance or personal shots at you. It was unbecoming of a Christian. We may believe some very different things -ology wise, but I would never doubt your salvation or God’s work in you. My thoughts on BB are subject to change, but from my grazing spot something is amiss at CCCM with ecumenism and watering down of the word.

    and CCA. With all the ecumenism and watering down of the word.

    And lawsuits, and accusations and charges of molestation, Moses model lordship inclusion, cover up, undertherug politics…

    It’s nastiness and bitterness and pants down raw ugliness. Typical of Christians. Whatever. Here’s my apology with all our contentions and fleshly arrogance aside but not hidden.
    I hope we can agree to disagree on the peripherals. I will try harder to put on Christ’s thick skinnedness. I don’t know if that actually makes sense in English or Dutch, but I mean it.

    I have been following a lot of the comments here and there is some chop busting that reminds me of the barber shop I used to go to as a kid (they all spoke Spanish so I didn’t understand a word, but there was obviously chops busting in graciousness, mostly) Frankly, I love it. I hope you will continue to let me hang, to add my 2 cents -1, etc.

    I have totally Internet failed at busting chops in love.

    I am sorry to all here for this monkey and his splattered defecations. On that post. And probably a couple things somewhere else. Can’t remember. Anyway I missed communion because I couldn’t take it in good conscience. So I hope you’ll accept this.

    In His Name and the name of all crow eating humility,

    Jerod Hatch

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Yet in all of Paul’s calls to unity – he had no problem dividing with John Mark and Barnabas – for no other reason than he was pissed at Mark.

  8. Michael says:

    MLD,

    That’s kind of my point…at least the Bible was honest about why they split.

  9. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    You will find that this is a very forgiving, accepting group.
    We’ve had a great deal of practice…

  10. Disillusioned says:

    Michael, you rightly said that

    Real life doesn’t always work that way…so crimes against the church and doctrine must be invented for the split to be justified.

    To me, this is not new behavior. It’s the same tactic used by some CC ‘pastors’ to cause division between brothers and sisters when anyone dares question their motives.

  11. Kevin H says:

    Jerod,

    Thank you for your words of contrition. It’s not easy after some battles on the internet to come back and say, “I acted wrongly”. Your humbleness to do so speaks well for you.

    Now, if you’re going to bust chops with MLD again, make sure to bust his Dodgers. 🙂

  12. Michael says:

    Disillusioned,

    It has not escaped my notice that the same tactics we’ve seen employed against the pews are now being deployed against the pastors…

  13. Kevin H says:

    MLD,

    @ your #7, further proof that we can’t just blindly trust anybody, as we’re all prone to do things wrong. Even for those who have on their resume of having written many books of the Bible.

  14. Duane Arnold says:

    I think it is important to differentiate between the “personal” and the “institutional”. We’ve all experienced being in an institutional setting with someone who differs with us, occasionally even on some points of doctrine (not major but minor).

    When, however, the “personal” is raised to the “institutional” level it becomes something different altogether. Now the person who differs with us must be excluded and a list of faults and contentious issues must be drawn up, placed in written statements… and on it goes.

    As anyone who has done divorce counseling knows, once formal list of supposed reasons to split is drawn up, there’s usually no going back…

  15. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Well said…and that is exactly what has happened here with the CC mess.

  16. Kevin H says:

    The sad thing is the formal list of reasons why CC is splitting, at least of what is being given publicly, is rail thin, both in number and in substance.

  17. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    You keep mentioning ecumenism as a problem.
    Is one flavor of CC the one true church?

    I will add that I am ecumenical…I’ve seen God at work in too many places I was told He wouldn’t go…

  18. Steve says:

    Does anyone have any info on whether this split has anything to do with the lawsuit that seems to be going on now with the CC pastor and is step son? The timing of this split and the fact his step son’s website is offline now is strangely coincidental.

  19. CostcoCal says:

    Heck, Michael, that’s one of the very reasons Calvary Chapel exploded on to the scene back in the day… young folk were told not to go there by their professors.

  20. Michael says:

    Steve,

    It’s totally unrelated.
    Alex is basically under a gag order and took the site down to accommodate the proceedings.
    The trial has been delayed until early summer…

  21. Michael says:

    Costco,

    The reason this blog exploded way back when was because CC pastors were told not to read it during a pastors conference.

    They almost took our server down at the next break… 🙂

  22. CostcoCal says:

    LOL

  23. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Michael,
    I’ve heard it said that a dying, institutionalized church will ecumenize (is that a word?). Historically this seems true. As Brian said and was correct in pointing out, the heads get whiter year over year. I think the bible is clear in not mixing doctrinal errors with truth, I am speaking of Nehemiah and John 4 Christ with the woman at the Well, ecumenize though there are other examples. It brings into the church strife and division rather than purported unity.

    MLD,

    Weren’t Paul and Barnabus both right about John Mark? Like CC, the split was not spirit led- at least that’s what I gather.

  24. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    You didn’t answer my question.
    Which group is without doctrinal error?
    How do you know?

  25. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Everyone has doctrinal error, we all get it wrong (if I didn’t have so many connections at my CC I don’t know what I’d do. I disagree with some core distinctives of CC) but shouldn’t we do the best we can until Christ straightens us out at the bema seat to keep the body and our doctrine free from mixture?

  26. Jerod Hatch" says:

    I only know, admittedly, from my reading of scripture, prayer, and a few others who agree. The majority of Christendom is leaning the ecumenical direction.

  27. John 20:29 says:

    Kevin @ #4 – “God must work his purposes through the fleshly carnage that we create.” exactly
    i think perhaps that is why He permits these dust-ups… without them would the righteous just settle into a comfort zone (as humans are prone to do, i hear) and the wolves among us would overwhelm? …
    not sure i’m expressing clearly what is rattling around in my head …
    “peace and friendship” may be a virtue, but may not be the greatest weapon against evil (yes, i know about overcoming evil with good, but perhaps we need a clearer understanding of “good?”) … again – dunno – just pondering your good food for thought today

  28. Chris Long says:

    Jerod @ 26:

    You do know that there’s only one Church right??

  29. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jerod, maybe define “ecumenical”. I don’t think we are getting what you mean.

  30. Kevin H says:

    I can quickly see this turning into a bunch of responses piling up on Jerod, but I did want to add my two cents and then get out.

    As is often my outlook, I try to find a balance. We cannot accept into the church what is biblically wrong. Where we need to balance ourselves here, however, is in discerning those “biblical wrongs”. There are some things that will be blatantly obvious. But there are many other issues that come down to our interpretation of Scripture because they aren’t plainly spelled out for us in black and white. We may like to take a couple verses as proof texts of black and white for our issue of the moment, but we conveniently ignore others verses addressing the same issue that throw some gray into the matter.

    We ought to have some humility on these issues, realizing that we are depending on our own fallen humanity to discern. And it’s hard to use the “guidance of the Holy Spirit” argument as a precedent for assured rightness when there are other committed Christians also relying on the “guidance of the Holy Spirit” coming to different conclusions.

    This is not to say that we should just throw up our hands and say that we don’t know anything. But there should be some humility in how we interact with other believers, especially knowing that we very well may be wrong on some issues because nobody has it all figured out perfectly. And this is also where we should reflect on God’s calls for us to be united, and try to find a way to put that into action in some measure. Dividing may not always be the best or most God honoring decision.

  31. Mike says:

    From C.S. Lewis “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight”

    I think sometimes this applies to some of us within the church (especially CC and similar eschatologically aligned churches as it relates to ecumenicalism, apostasy, etc). Ecumenicalism is used in the sense of the march toward a false one-world religion as that eschatology teaches will happen at the end time.

    It is dangerous to not care at all and allow apostasy, etc to creep in. But it is just as dangerous to be so intent on finding such errors that you find them even where they don’t exist, or you no longer give a believer the benefit of the doubt in a questionable situation.

  32. Duane Arnold says:

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone have a close estimate of the total average Sunday attendance of the CC Association and/or the total average Sunday attendance of CCCM?

  33. Michael says:

    Duane,

    We don’t know which churches are going to align solely with the CCA yet.

    I haven’t heard attendance figures for CCCM in a long time, but I do know they are way down from the glory days and have been for quite some time.

  34. Michael says:

    Kevin H,

    Well said @ #30 as always.

    I don’t want to pile on Jerod.
    What I’m getting at is that when BB is attacked (or when I am attacked for that matter)…the two terms that are usually used are “emergent” and “ecumenical”.
    My contention is that these have become pejoratives without any objective definition…and I’m trying to get someone who has used both to define them.

  35. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    Many thanks. I know in CCA there are some really large operations, but, equally, there are numerous smaller churches. I’ve also heard from friends in the area that CCCM numbers are way down.

    The reason I ask about numbers is to help assess the real impact of the split. Also, I wonder, human nature being what it is, if smaller churches in the Association are being dragooned, directly or subtly, to go along with the “leadership”. Again, just curious.

  36. ( |o )====::: says:

    :: SIGH :: We humans! We participate, contemplate, then adjudicate until we can’t cooperate, commiserate until we must separate and innovate.

    To militate, then humiliate when it’s time to renovate is something I hate.

    Sorry, that took me awhile to state.

    I’ll step aside so someone can repudiate, capitulate or circumnavigate.

  37. Steve Wright says:

    Duane, there really is no “split” yet, in the sense of your question. I am sure that almost every church out there (with a few exceptions) are listed on both the CCA and the new CCGN.

    CCA is asking churches to pull out of CCGN, while at this time saying they are free to do what they want.

    CCGN (Brian) encouraged churches to stay in both.

  38. Michael says:

    Duane,

    The biggest impact that I have noted so far is on the mission field…where people are worried about losing support if forced to choose one way or the other.

  39. Duane Arnold says:

    #37 Steve,

    Thanks, that helps.

    #34 Michael,

    On “emergent” and “ecumenical”, I think I would simply read them as saying “closet liberal” (religious, not political…)

  40. Kevin H says:

    Duane,

    By my count, there is at least one church (CCCM) who has pulled out from the CCA. And there are at least 4 churches (CC Philly, two other CC’s in the Philadelphia area who were started by CC Philly, and CC Old Bridge also in this part of the country andbpastored by a CCA pastor) who have pulled out of the CCGN, at least when looking at the church locator on calvarychapel.com. Now we just have to figure out all the other 1695 CC’s, and we’ll be good to do that attendance count. 🙂

  41. Michael says:

    It is my understanding, however, that CCCM has sent out a letter to it’s missionaries assuring them of continued support either way…

  42. Michael says:

    Duane,

    @ #39… I think you’re right.
    But even “liberal” is undefined.
    I remember when I thought anyone who read N.T. Wright was on the edge of apostasy… 🙂

  43. Steve Wright says:

    Brian resigned from the council. It seems others have too. I believe CCCM was the only church booted from CCA though after their pastor resigned. Of course, 8 days later, my letter to CCA asking about the council membership remains ignored…

  44. Duane Arnold says:

    #42

    Michael,

    Don’t feel badly. Robert Webber told me that during his last years at Wheaton they ran out of labels to put on him and, since he was getting older, they simply termed him “eccentric”…

  45. Michael says:

    The CCA corporation is still suspended over tax issues and there is still no filing in Pennsylvania…

  46. Michael says:

    Duane,

    ‘Eccentric” I can wear with pride… 🙂

  47. covered says:

    Well done G Man 🙂

  48. Steve Wright says:

    Dave Rolph wrote clearly….(reminds me of what we said last week about some of those remembering how it never was)
    ————————————
    In the early days it was never about Calvary Chapel as opposed to the rest of the church. Chuck worked with people from various different denominations. Calvary loaned money to missions groups like Wycliffe Bible Translators and Missionary Aviation Fellowship. He was friends with Bill Bright and supported Campus Crusade. He was also friends with Chuck Swindoll, John MacArthur, Billy Graham, Francis Schaefer and others. He even had Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Reformed Calvinist woman preach from the pulpit of Calvary Chapel several times. The point is, during the times when God blessed Calvary Chapel in the greatest way, Calvary Chapel was a part of the larger Church of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t a sell-contained “Movement.” History will show that the more exclusive our church (and churches) became, there was a pronounced decline in the influences of our ministries. So in my opinion, a move toward exclusivity will be a move toward obscurity.
    —————————————————–
    If that is “ecumenical” in the mind of some pastors….God help them. Maybe ought to live with the Muslims for awhile to find out what a real enemy of the gospel is like.

  49. Bob Sweat says:

    Steve, I remember a few years ago when Stuart Briscoe spoke at a Northern California Pastors Conference. Some of the pastors had a fit that someone outside the ranks of CC was speaking.

  50. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Josh and Chris
    Well, I’ll be straightforward. Two types. Interfaith and intra-faith. Interfaith: Obviously inviting an Imam to give a sermon or a prayer legitimizes Islam as of God. I would include Roman Catholicism in this type as both the RCC and Islam suppress the people by failing to point to Christ and are dependent upon grace by works. Inviting a Rabbi to sermonize would be the same, for the same reasons.

    Intra-faith type and the type that should make everyon rethink their forgiveness for my previous trolling, would be the tendency of many to associate with those who are interfaith ecumenicals,or those who hold to unbiblical practices such as many within the NAR movement (here I’m remembering the hoopla with Raul, Ryan Ries, Brian Welch and the Whosoevers, Greg Laurie and Lou Engle, and our fave, BB and Holy Trinity Brompton of the Toronto Blessing) and extrabiblical doctrines which place the gospel second and works first (social justice, eucharist)

    It is frightening that a charlatan such as Todd Bentley is in anyway associated with or lent credence for his heresies within the heirarchy of CC prime movers.

    WCC, NCC, ECT are other examples of ecumenical.

  51. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jerod,
    If you were at one of these churches, even just visiting, would you take communion with them? or would you cut them off?

  52. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Interfaith no, otherwise it depends.

    I am not saying that people can’t be saved in those churches, so long as the whole purpose of God’s Gospel is preached. But for the to be communion between two and Christ himself, two must agree. I would be partaking in the hope that someone there was being led as I was.

  53. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    I was at the front of the war with Todd Bentley.
    I’ve covered CC for years…and know it inside and out.

    There is not one, not a single, solitary pastor I know of in CC, that has anything but contempt for Todd Bentley.

  54. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    Have you read the actual documents for ECT?

    I have…because the greatest living scholar of historic Protestantism wrote them.
    Dr. J.I. Packer.

    I defy you to find one thing he wrote that isn’t as absolutely biblical and theologically sound as it could be.

  55. Jean says:

    Jerod,

    “I would include Roman Catholicism in this type as both the RCC and Islam suppress the people by failing to point to Christ and are dependent upon grace by works.”

    Let’s see: Never seen an altar call, baby dedication, a person getting rebaptized after backsliding, or sinner’s prayer for accepting Jesus, recommitments, or a crackers and juice toast at a Catholic church. I think the churches that practice these man made practices have the Catholics beat on works,

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jerod – for the reason you suggested – “But for the to be communion between two and Christ himself, two must agree” – if we can’t agree, we cannot commune.

    This is why, in the realm of the divine service, we cannot commune – we cannot walk along side, those who have opposing views. Outside of the divine service, we can do ‘some’ work. It has nothing to do with who is saved and who is not – it is to not created confusion.

    But my point was that if you think ecumenism is so bad – how would you still associate?

  57. Steve Wright says:

    A cracker and juice toast?

    Wow that is ugly.

  58. John 20:29 says:

    #57 – i have noticed that the subject of the communion bread and cup is quite a holy mystery of efficacy for some folk here… but then to others (me), it seems so clear: “in remembrance” 1 Cor.11:23-26
    however, if one perceives that another is drinking the cup unworthily, then their duty is/would be to warn and to object, maybe even raise a ruckus …. so…. whatchagonnado?

  59. Jean says:

    Steve,

    “A cracker and juice toast?
    Wow that is ugly.”

    If I was exaggerating or lying, I would repent. If I was concerned only about my reputation for telling the truth, I would link the incident which occurred at a Calvary Chapel. But I have been informed that linking the incident might cause embarrassment to one or more of our readers. I have no wish to embarrass anyone, so I won’t link it. However, it was shared on this blog in the past and was seen by multiple readers.

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Wow that is ugly.”

    Ugly?? I find it despicable every time I see it in an evangelical church. Steve – join me in my campaign to stop the ugly. 😉

  61. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Jean,
    absolutely. Dependance upon those things you mentioned in stead of Christ performing his work in us is wrong. Considering anything other than faith in Christ himself as sine qua non for access to the Father’s grace is wrong. So, yeah, although the baptism thing, what if someone doesn’t know if they were ever saved, as I thought, gave their life over to God, again, for the first time, and experienced healing?

    Michael
    Concerning Packer et al on ECT.
    Does the teaching stop when the book is finished, or when the sermon is over? I think of Solomon, who probably had more correct theology and doctrine than anyone, yet still wound up backsliding to the point he was a type of antichrist. It was not that he believed wrong things, but that he did wrong things in the Light of his God given judgement. Did ECT stop JP II from calling evangelicals rapacious wolves, or from protecting pedophiles? No, I believe all this came out later in large degree after men who should have known better given the light of the Holy Spirit in them signed a document that amounted to a moritorium on evangelizing Catholics in lieu of social reform. That’s not why Christ came is it?

    As far as the Whosoevers I don’t understand why Raul endorses Ryan’s Whosoever movement when it is connected to the NAR through not only Head but also Eric Greigson from NAR Tithemi Church in Redlands. Greigson has also spoken on KWVE and has had that ministry endorsed on air. There’re probably far more connections than that. It really seems to me as if doctrine has taken a back seat to politics in CC. Both sides.

    Good on you for calling out Bentley. I came real close to the similar Vineyard movement back in my early college days.

  62. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Kevin H

    Great thoughts and questions. I read it with an Irish accent and that really completes it.

  63. Jean says:

    Jerod,

    “So, yeah, although the baptism thing, what if someone doesn’t know if they were ever saved, as I thought, gave their life over to God, again, for the first time, and experienced healing?”

    This is where you guys are closet Catholics. You just contradicted your earlier statement about faith in Christ.

    How do you know if you were ever saved? If you look inward, at your own thoughts and experiences, you will never know. But, what does the Bible teach?

    The saving doesn’t come from you giving your life over to God, as if anyone actually could or would desire to do so. The saving comes from God who does it by forgiving your sins. That’s why a proper, biblical, understanding of baptism is so important.

    What does Peter say? “and this water symbolizes baptism that NOW saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.” [my emphasis]

    Baptism is what God does. And it’s efficacy is “now”. How do you know if you’re saved? Remember your baptism. It is a sign or sacrament which shows you in a way perceptible to the senses that God has been gracious to you.

    The minute you look into yourself for confirmation that you are saved and away from faith in God’s promises, you are on the road to works righteousness.

  64. Jerod Hatch" says:

    I never implied any of what you said. Of course it is by grace. Of course it is repentance. Of course baptism is spiritual first and symbolic second, like communion. But to look at my redemption and purport to know on which side of the Soteriological divide I fall is kinda, well, y’know…
    I don’t doubt your intentions are good, so thank you. But IMO some lofty intellectual arguments are better left on the high shelf when it comes to the lowbrow muck of salvation.

    One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!

  65. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Jean

    But I did ask didn’t I? No hard feelings, shouldn’t have asked if I didn’t want your opinion. Sorry.

  66. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    Your response demonstrates perfectly why I will slap the next person who calls me an evangelical.
    You associated Todd Bentley with Calvary Chapel…an association that only exists in your mind.
    Instead of acknowledging this false statement you just move right on.

    You put ECT in with some other groups you charge with “ecumenicism”.
    I asked if you’d actually read the documents.
    You haven’t…or you would know that Packer wrote some of the clearest statements of historic Protestant doctrine ever put on paper.
    The purpose of ECT was basically to find enough common ground and places of agreement so that Protestants and Catholics would quit killing each other in Central and South America.
    You can read what Dr. Packer had to say about the documents here.
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1994/december12/4te34a.html

    Instead of dealing with the substance of the matter you counter with some weird quote from a pope and note the occurrence of sexual abuse in Roman Catholicism.

    If I wanted to indulge such foolishness I’d counter with something stupid Franklin Graham said and note that there have been two cases of Protestant sexual abuse in my own town this week.

    This guilt by association crap is exactly what I wrote about in another article…it’s spiritual McCarthyism and it’s evil as hell.

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jerod,
    Question – when you say “Of course baptism is spiritual first and symbolic second, like communion.”

    What difference do you see between ‘spiritual’ and ‘symbolic’? To me they are the same.

    The difference I would look for in both baptism and communion is ‘efficacious’ and ‘symbolic’

  68. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Didn’t move on. Do you know what the Whosoevers is? Do you know who Eric Greigson is? How is airtime given to NAR pastors on Pastor’s Perspective guilt by association?

  69. Michael says:

    Sam Storms wrote this on the correct view of the Lord’s Supper as posited by Dr. Packer… 🙂

    Packer is no fan of transubstantiation of the elements or even any notion of a special, somehow localized attachment of Christ’s glorified body to the bread and wine. There simply is no physical presence of Christ’s body as, in, with, or through the bread and wine. When Jesus spoke the words of institution (“this is my body . . . this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood”), the verb “is” clearly means represents or symbolizes.
    “The idea that Jesus’s words worked like a wizard’s spell,” notes Packer, “changing bread, and perhaps wine too, whether through addition or transmutation, into something other than what they were, has had a good run for its money, but seems impossible, if only because Jesus himself as he spoke was still with them, personally unchanged” (Taking God Seriously, 152).

    Is there any sense, then, in which Christ may be said to be “present” in communion? Yes, says Packer, in much the same sense in which he promised to be with us in Matthew 18:20 and 28:20 (“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”). Packer’s own explanation at this point is important to note, so I cite him at length:

    “It is the presence of the triumphant, sovereign Savior, who is there in terms of his objective omnipresence and here in terms of being always alongside each believer with a sustaining and nurturing purpose. Clarity requires us to say, then, that Christ is present at, rather than in, the Supper. Though not physical, his presence is personal and real in the sense of being a relational fact. Christ is present, not in the elements in any sense, but with his worshippers; and his presence is effected, not by the quasi-magic of ritual correctly performed by a permitted person, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, who indwells believers’ hearts to mediate Christ’s reality to them. It is not a passive but an active presence, known not by what it feels like (often it is, in any ordinary sense of the word, unfelt), but rather by what it does” (ibid., 162).

    Thus when we together, in faith, partake of the bread and wine the latter are understood as a pledge or divine assurance of the reality and provision of the beneficial spiritual effects to which they point. We remember Christ in his atoning death, which is to say we call him to mind in joyful praise, prayer, and gratitude for the gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Packer contends that when we take the elements we should envision them coming from Christ’s hand as his guarantee that in love he will continue to nourish us spiritually forever.
    This is no abstract intellectual reflection on past events. Packer directs our attention to 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 where Paul’s use of the word “participation” indicates that “the ritual eating and drinking that Christ prescribed brings spiritual nourishment to us through unitive involvement with him in the shedding of his lifeblood and the giving of his body to be broken” (ibid., 153). In this way Christ draws believers into identification with his own risen life. From this union, through the Holy Spirit, “spiritual vitality flows: health and strength for devotion and service; inner resources of love, ability, and power that we continue to discover within ourselves throughout our lives” (ibid., 153-54).

  70. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

    Those people? The ‘whosoevers’? – why would you object to them?
    I think I am a whosoever – are there any other whosoevers here.

    Jarod seems to be the only Christian I know who denies being a whosoever.

  71. Josh the Baptist says:

    Packer is right again.

  72. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    You have a complete inability to answer direct questions and deal with objective facts.

    The “Whosoevers” are an evangelistic outreach led by the son of a CCA member.

    Their “associations” are irrelevant unless you want to believe that Ries and Brodersen are closet NAR plants.

    Now, to be quite honest, I wouldn’t walk across the street to hear them,nor would I encourage my son to listen to them.

    I think the music sucks and that they are theological imbeciles.

    That doesn’t mean they are evil, it means I don’t like either the style or substance of what they do.

  73. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I think he nailed it…especially when he notes that Jesus is not present in the elements, but with the worshipper.

    In doing so, I believe he corrects not only Catholicism,but Calvin.

  74. Steve Wright says:

    That is some terrific teaching by Packer. I may make an exception to my appeal to authority phobia and just point to Packer whenever someone wants to argue it. Let them argue with him. He writes much of what I have written dozens of times and is spot on with my feelings and beliefs on the topic, and illustrates the reverence and seriousness with which even us ghastly evangelicals take Communion

  75. Michael says:

    Let me be clear that by posting that, I’m not trying to bust anyones’s chops.

    It’s just that as I wrestle with my own theology, I admire how Packer addresses a complex issue with such clarity.

    The Supper is more than just a mere memorial…something is happening as we partake.
    I believe Packer addresses what is happening and how it is happening in a way that is consistent with Scripture.

    I have struggled with the transformation of the elements and I have struggled with Calvin’s compromise with Lutheran doctrines as well.

    This is where I choose to land.

  76. Josh the Baptist says:

    I didn’t think you were busting chops, but disagreeing with a thoughtful, careful post.

    I agree with you and Packer (you too Steve:) )

  77. Michael says:

    Every few years I believe it necessary to review what one believes and why they believe it.
    We hear a lot of voices over the years that influence us.

    I’m going back to my roots to reexamine some things and make sure my foundation is strong.

    Packer gave me my biblical foundation so I start there…

  78. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I acknowledge the importance of the doctrine of the Supper to our Lutheran, Orthodox, and Roman communion brethren.

    I don’t want to be disrespectful to those deeply held beliefs and doctrines.

    I do want to give a truly Protestant, truly biblical alternative …and I think Dr. Packer does that better than anyone.

  79. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    This thread is an accidental example of what I’m talking about.

    Steve Wright, who is CC, affirmed the writing of a Reformed Anglican, Dr. Packer.
    Josh, who is a Baptist, did the same.

    Neither are contemplating becoming Reformed Anglicans.
    They are simply affirming that the Anglican spoke biblical truth and that’s as far as the “association” goes.

    Now, myself…I do desire to be in full communion with the Anglican church…

  80. Jean says:

    “Now, myself…I do desire to be in full communion with the Anglican church…”

    Does that come with an Anglican discount on N.T. Wright books?

  81. Michael says:

    Jean,

    The Bishop seems to have an allergy to discounts… 🙂

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I would only argue Packers point on this one issue = “the verb “is” clearly means represents or symbolizes.”
    In what universe?

    Would anyone entertain the same logic if I said ‘when Jesus said “I am the resurrection…” the verb am clearly means represents or symbolizes’ – does that fly? Like there is no good Greek words to say represents or symbolizes.

    Now I will give that once you float that proposition, anything goes after that.

    I don’t have it here at work, but I am teaching in Matt 26 this Sunday, and I know I won’t get that far for another week – but I do make the comment that the denial of the true meaning of the supper gets denied because we believe Aristotle more than we believe the actual scriptures. But I will leave it at that for now.

    But you knew I had to say something 😉

  83. John 20:29 says:

    perhaps, it is right to look into how we evangelical types approach the communion table … i know that there are some fellowships and some souls that get a bit perfunctory (i suspect protestant evangelicals aren’t the only ones)…
    Amen and again amen to #69’s Packer quote…?… and maybe we should all meditate there a bit?
    in part:
    “Clarity requires us to say, then, that Christ is present at, rather than in, the Supper. Though not physical, his presence is personal and real in the sense of being a relational fact. Christ is present, not in the elements in any sense, but with his worshippers; and his presence is effected… by the power of the Holy Spirit, who indwells believers’ hearts to mediate Christ’s reality to them. It is not a passive but an active presence,…”
    it is far more to most of us than a cracker and a sip of juice

  84. Michael says:

    John 20:29,

    I think that’s the important passage…and I think it vitally important to communicate that Christ is present and active as we engage in the Supper.

    That was never communicated to me before I joined the Reformed….

  85. Steve Wright says:

    And (back when we had a bookstore), I was more than happy to have Packer’s books on the shelves for our CC church to read and grow thereby.

  86. Michael says:

    Steve,

    That may lead to an investigation… 🙂

  87. Steve Wright says:

    I acknowledge the importance of the doctrine of the Supper to our Lutheran, Orthodox, and Roman communion brethren.
    ————————————————–
    All 3 of which, it is worth noting, believe a Christian can eventually be lost. The Supper is connected to their view on the perseverance of the saints.

  88. Michael says:

    I don’t believe that someone truly regenerated can be lost.
    I do believe, however, that God uses the Supper as a means of grace to “persevere” the saints on their way home.
    It its part and parcel of our union with Christ…

  89. Steve Wright says:

    I don’t believe that someone truly regenerated can be lost.
    —————————————————–
    Neither do I. (for the record)

  90. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    How is Jesus present in the supper if not bodily (as he is having placed his body in the elements) – how do you have a spiritual Jesus? I don’t know which one, but I do know there is a heresy in there somewhere if we declare that the spirit of Jesus can be separated from his body.

  91. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Packer already answered that.

    “Christ is present, not in the elements in any sense, but with his worshippers; and his presence is effected, not by the quasi-magic of ritual correctly performed by a permitted person, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, who indwells believers’ hearts to mediate Christ’s reality to them.”

  92. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I don’t believe that someone truly regenerated can be lost.”

    But then you just relegate people to the “well you were never saved” pile. But then I like to ask – today, how do you know you are saved? What if you deny Christ in your later life – then you were never saved.

  93. Michael says:

    I have been given by God an internal faith in the external promises of God.
    If I was ever tempted to deny Christ it would have been in this last year of multitudes of tribulations…but instead, I’ve been given the grace to believe through it all.

    I could go though a host of things, but I am assured that He has chosen me and because he has placed me in union with Christ I will persevere to the end.

    There is mystery here…and neither my wondrous systematic theology, nor yours can fully answer these things.

    I simply choose to rest in His word and His promises…

  94. CostcoCal says:

    IF you earned your salvation, then you can lose your salvation. Right? The New Covenant takes you and I right out of the equation.

  95. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, – #91 – so Jesus isn’t really there.

    Actually, this is the first time I have seen Packer presented as a mocker. When he says, “by the quasi-magic of ritual correctly performed by a permitted person,” – that is a big chink in his armor. Is that what he really thinks is happening in our churches? Magic?

  96. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Do you not believe that the spiritual is as real as the physical?

    Packer has no desire to be a mocker…he has written more fully on this topic and much of it is available online.

  97. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well, not to continue too far – I just thought his looseness with the language of “is” was beneath his scholarship.

    His interpretation there is based on the presupposition of the reformed that the finite cannot contain the infinite (Aristotle’s position) that then gets applied to the elements because the reformed would say “the elements are physical and limited – how could God ever fit in there?”

  98. Michael says:

    “The exponents of “real presence,” as all forms of this view are labeled, base their belief on Jesus’s words of institution (“ This is my body . . . my blood”), supported by his earlier words in the Capernaum synagogue: I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. . . . Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. (John 6: 51– 55)

    But the thinking purported to find support in the words of institution is not cogent. As mentioned earlier, “is” in these words means representation, not identity. It is “is” as in the leader’s words in the Jewish Passover today when he holds up the bread and says, “This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt.” “Is” here unambiguously means “represents.” And when Jesus said that the way to consume him, the true Bread of Life, was to eat his flesh and drink his blood (which, granted, sounds shocking, as if indicating cannibalism), he was talking about the faith that looks steadily to him as our sin-bearing sacrifice and draws steadily on him to sustain the reality of our spiritual life.

    Says Calvin: It is a false interpretation to apply this passage to the Lord’s Supper. . . . It would have been stupid and senseless to talk about the Lord’s Supper before it had been instituted. Clearly, Christ is speaking here about the constant and ordinary eating of the the “flesh” of Christ, which is done only by faith. (John, ed. Alister McGrath and J. I. Packer [Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994], 170)

    Calvin is surely right. To point up Jesus’s meaning when he speaks of gaining life by eating his flesh, four times over John employs the relatively unusual, very down-to-earth word trōgō, which carries overtones of champing jaws and nonstop chewing, like the English word munch; and he uses trōgō each time in the present tense, which implies continuous, ongoing action. The action relates not to the Lord’s Supper as such, which, as Calvin points out, had not yet been instituted, but to that to which the Lord’s Supper itself relates— namely, direct faith-communion with Christ through the Holy Spirit in response to his own words of promise and saving work.”

    Packer, J. I. (2013-02-28). Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know (Kindle Locations 2187-2193). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

  99. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I understand what Packer says, but the questions goes back to why not first take Jesus at his word – why try to loop around all of these, well this must be what it really means. I have offered up my conclusion (and those of my like thinkers) that the reformed position is based on Aristotelian thought.

    Try this – when Jesus says “I am the door.” (note that he does not say I am A door) but THE DOOR means something – at least in Jesus’s mind. So if his ‘am’ = represents or symbolizes does that mean that he really isn’t THE DOOR but someone else is and Jesus is just his representative? It’s the same language issue.

    I will stick with the hard understanding and the hard consequences.I will stick with Luther 😉

  100. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Jeeeeez,

    Lemme crawl out from the pile. 😀
    I agree with Packer,
    That’s why I don’t understand why a man with such a solid theological and doctrinal background would sign with an institution that re sacrifices Christ, institutes a man and a dead woman as mediators vicariously in place of Christ, protects pedophiles as policy, and legislates the silencing of victims from the Vatican. I read a decent rebuttal of the ECT here
    http://www.gty.org/resources/articles/A149/evangelicals-and-catholics-together

    If those issues are random, sorry, but I can’t get on board with organizations that produce that kind of fruit.

    Btw, did I imply NAR is evil? Never said anything close. Duped? Certainly.

    Sorry, but seriously, what was that objective evidence? I thought I gave objective evidence noting at least one Whosoever NAR pastor on KWVE. I asked a simple question which might deserve a response? how is this not supporting the NAR message?

  101. surfer51 says:

    Alex website has been captured 321 times by the Way Back Machine if anyone is interested in it.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20160505223823/http://calvarychapelabuse.com/wordpress/

    You can remove a website but it always continues on in the Way Back Machine…

  102. John 20:29 says:

    some talk about the word “is” up there…

    well, i am not a Biblical scholar nor a Greek Scholar, but i have picked up on the fact that our English verb “is” is not quite the same as what was translated from the Greek… one example that jumps to mind out of the book of Revelation: “Babylon is fallen” – the word translated “is” doesn’t hint of the fact that the original (guess it’s original) Greek connotes that the fall of Babylon has not yet happened, but it is a certainty… like in the movies when the bad guy says, “you are a dead man.” it hasn’t happened yet but it will… only in Scripture the certainty is more … uhh … certain…

    how many of us are qualified to correct Packer’s theology? there are lots of scholars that i don’t accept their conclusions because their conclusions don’t set well with me, so i can’t criticize not accepting Packer’s words, but …?…
    he’s probably better able to explain the Greek than anyone i’ve seen come thru the Phoenix Preacher’s door so far… might be wrong – dunno, do i 🙂

    above all, as the little Local Church lass once advised my late husband, “enjoy Christ!” what a privilege to know Him, eh?

    FWIW

  103. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em,think about it – when Packer, or any like him say “This represents my body” – they really have Jesus standing there at the table with his disciples saying “this is NOT my body” – I don’t know about you, but I for one do not think he is saying that.

    My objection here with Packer on his point is not his theology but his presupposition.

    Em, if “is” is not a good word, and represents or symbolizes is the equivalent – then why do you suppose, and I am taking a leap here, that not a single translation translates the voice of Jesus saying “this represents my body”?

  104. Steve says:

    Try this – when Jesus says “I am the door.” (note that he does not say I am A door) but THE DOOR means something – at least in Jesus’s mind. So if his ‘am’ = represents or symbolizes does that mean that he really isn’t THE DOOR but someone else is and Jesus is just his representative? It’s the same language issue.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    MLD, If Jesus is the Door, then the Door is Jesus correct? This is great but it means absolutely nothing if you remove all of our common understanding of what a door represents. A door has hinges and a knob, and most important you can open and close it and people can knock on it, etc..

  105. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    This may be what A DOOR means – but it is not necessarily what THE DOOR means.

    It is in the same way that Jesus claims to be THE VINE – and we do see THE VINE in the OT and it does mean something specific – Jesus is not claiming to be a vine, one of millions of vines, but THE VINE.

    So, when Jesus says he is THE VINE and you translate it to mean “I represent or I am a symbol of THE VINE, the I ask, ‘well who the heck is THE VINE?’

    I already brought this up earlier, when Jesus said “I am the resurrection” – is he or is someone else the resurrection?

  106. Erunner says:

    We have a decision we need to make and it’s turning out to be quite painful. I’ve sought advice from Godly men on this issue but now I’m presenting it here.

    Since we left a CC years ago after a very painful departing we have struggled to find a new church home. This is tougher for us in that I am not able to travel very far from home due to my panic disorder and agoraphobia.

    For the last year we have attended a local CC which is very small and we are in need of friendships and a sound teaching of God’s word. Please no comments on CC that are negative.

    I did note we were meeting in a tiny building behind an Episcopal church. I finally met the Priest/Reverend to discuss questions I had and she was quite open with me. She pretty much doesn’t hold to anything orthodox and seems to be a John Shelby Spong clone.

    I went to the pastor with my concerns and he believes God led the church there for reasons I won’t get into but did make me uncomfortable.

    I thought maybe we could remain and possibly be light, etc. to the church from whom we rent from. Now the new agreement allows us to meet in their sanctuary for all of our meetings.

    My concerns are now deep as some of our teaching and worship have been quite disappointing to me. Thanksgiving worship was led by our children. One plays keyboards another guitar and others are up there singing. The oldest would be 13 and the others maybe down to ten years old. They led worship several other times.

    As we are a tiny church I understand there’s not a big pool of “talent” to draw from. but we do have adults who are capable. I cringed through Thanksgiving worship as families were taking pictures of their kids on stage and a few of the kids looked totally lost.

    Our church is heavy on evangelism. But at least two to three times now the pastor has shared about how maybe I knew a man well and he dies and appears before God. The pastor then says I would hate for that man to say to god “I would have believed if only Allan had shared with me.” I couldn’t believe what I heard. He also believes we are at our jobs to be a verbal witness to our co-workers. Again I cringed.

    Each week there is an altar call with all heads bowed and eyes close. When nobody responds to the invitation he then has a time of rededication. Of course people go forward each week.

    The body was never made aware of exactly what the leader of the church who rents to us believes. Maybe that’s not necessary.

    So now we’re faced with possibly leaving another church. I’m running out of reasons to stay there. I know for some of you the answer seems obvious. Leave. Quite honestly it’s feeling that way for me as well.

    The idea of starting over again is painful and discouraging especially in light of issues taking place within our family.

    If you would pray I’d appreciate it. If you wish to comment I’m open. As I stated I have gotten wonderful and heartfelt advice already from a pastoral perspective. Maybe someone who can relate might want to share. If per chance anyone responds I’m off to do some stuff so that would explain my non responses.

    I lean on you guys a lot. Thanks for being here. Allan

  107. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I also have issue with Packer’s lack of discernment between a powerless Jewish event today – the Passover, and not distinguishing that Jesus changed that event when he instituted the Supper.

    The Supper happened at the Passover, but Jesus stepped out of the Passover setting and instituted something NEW and something with power that he put in — himself.

    The ‘bread of affliction’ today means nothing. I know I am taking on the sacred cow, and it is not Packer alone – it is the reformed understanding of the Supper which is miles off from the Lutheran view, but I am willing to take the heat 😉

  108. EricL says:

    Erunner @106, praying for you, my internet friend.

    Personally, I wouldn’t be too worried about the facilities that are being rented, whether it’s a bar, a theater, a school, a lodge, or what have you, you cannot control what is done or shown during the hours that your CC isn’t on the site. As long as the CC isn’t forced to leave up offensive displays or some-such, I don’t think you need to be worried about it.

    As for the CC itself, it sounds like you feel pressured to conform to someone else’s gifting in evangelism. If possible, learn to refuse the burden if it isn’t something God is asking you to carry. We are all called to share the Good News, but not all of us are gifted in evangelism. Others are gifted in hospitality or giving or teaching or….

    I hope you can find a way to enjoy your CC and to be an encouragement to the pastor (who sounds a bit frustrated that the body doesn’t have more evangelists in it).

  109. Steve Wright says:

    Come on MLD, you’re the one always saying how Jesus is the entire Old Testament.

    The Passover was ALWAYS a “powerless Jewish event” both in the past and in the present. It was a memorial of the great working of God in their past, and used to teach future generations of what God had done.

    Man, do you hate the 4th of July too? The Passover had as much “power” as the 4th does.

    Jesus used the Passover to teach that IN ADDITION to it’s historical reference (which for a Jew is something that could be and can be continually celebrated) – the Passover spoke of Him. His blood. His sacrifice. The Lamb of God.

    An earthly memorial to an earthly people seen now as a spiritual memorial for a spiritual people, the Church.

  110. Michael says:

    MLD,

    You’re a Lutheran…you’re going to take issue with anything that differs from your doctrine.

    I actually wanted to believe the Lutheran schema…but I think Packer is right.

    When Jesus instituted the Supper his body was present and remained unchanged…and He uses metaphors to describe Himself all the way through the Gospels.

    Seems pretty simple to me..

  111. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – whether you use a definite article or not, “door” is still symbolic language.

    Let’s say Jesus was speaking literally when he said “this is my body”…well, LITERALLY He would have only been speaking of the bread that he was passing out that day.

    Did he mean every peace of bread ever made was His body? No? Just the bread blessed by Lutheran pastors?

    This is a silly conversation. You can choose to believe that Jesus’s body is literally bread if you want, but your constant argument that we are saying Jesus said “This is NOT my body” doesn’t even make sense.

  112. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    So “I am the resurrection” is a metaphor for what?

  113. Michael says:

    What Steve said too…the Jewish boys would have understood it perfectly…

  114. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I’m not sure why you think that’s a “gotcha” question.
    He is one through whom resurrection is made possible…this is not real difficult or confusing.

  115. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    I said that the Passover was powerless – always was. Jesus made something totally new and inhabited it for power – as it says – to forgive sin. Perhaps not in an evangelical setting as you do deny any efficacious result, but in just about all other Christian settings there is power in the supper.

    Again, it is not by accident that I compare the evangelical supper to a toast to Jesus – and I don’t say that to be rude – but tell me why it doesn’t line up that way. We have gathered together to remember or savior – eat and drink!! (and there is no demagoguery meaning to a toast – it is highly honored in all societies.)

  116. Josh the Baptist says:

    I was reading Luther’s small catechism earlier in the week. The second half of the book was an explanation of the Catechism put out by the LCMS in the 50’s. They made it clear and simple that though they believe in the real presence, that it is definitely a symbolic gesture.

    ‘The door / a door” didn’t seem to bother them as much as MLD.

  117. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Obviously you didn’t read Packer’s little synopsis with care.
    He readily says that there is power in the Supper, that Jesus is nourishing us spiritually, and that it is efficacious for spiritual life.

  118. Josh the Baptist says:

    Wait…are you gonna tell me that Jesus actually meant “Do NOT do this in remembrance of Me.”?

  119. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    OK, so Jesus is not the resurrection – just some metaphorical channel that the resurrection travels through.

    I said this earlier – may have been last night – my objection to Packer’s comment is the way he loosely defines words – and then declares them obvius. But I did as previously if the words are so interchangeable why are there no bible translations that translate the passage represent or symbolizes? Now Chuck Smith was always honest enough to change the wording when he went through the institution – perhaps you do so also – I don’t know. Anyway – I don’t object to his theology here – just his presupposition.

  120. Josh the Baptist says:

    Is your entire argument really built around whether or not definite articles are used in the English translations?

  121. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – you need to work on the concept of Remembrance. It’s not I forgot and now I remember. There is much more to it – it is bringing the party back into the event.

    When God speaks of remembering his people, he is not saying “wow, almost forgot those dudes down there.” No, he is saying they will get all of his promises.

    Likewise, when God says that he will remember these people no more – it doesn’t mean he has the onset of Alzheimer.

  122. Michael says:

    MLD,

    There is no need to interject the obvious symbolism.

    When Jesus said “this is my body” he handed them bread, not chunks of flesh He ripped off His frame.

    When He said “this is my blood” He handed them wine, not a dripping vein.

    Some things just don’t require flashcards…

  123. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – no, but your side is. Whenever – and I mean almost 100% of the time, when I bring up to anyone Jesus says this is my body – someone tosses in the “well he also said he was a door – does that make him wood and hinges. And then they add the original Greek words “Yuk Yuk” 😉

  124. Josh the Baptist says:

    Ok – so what is the hitch? When Jesus says do this in remembrance, is he really saying DON’T do this in remembrance…instead do it in some other way?

  125. Jean says:

    Comment # 121 is a crucial point to understanding Holy Communion. It counters correctly the entire notion of a “memorial” event.

  126. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – In your realm obviously the rational of man (what you think you see and experience) takes precedence over the very words of Jesus.

    I understand – Luther and Zwingli hashed out this very issue of Zwingli’s position of “it just can’t be.”

  127. Josh the Baptist says:

    That’s because it is another time that Jesus is using obvious symbolism. Symbolism does not make either statement meaningless. It is just the tool that Jesus often used to communicate.

    Your rebuttal is always against the use of “the/a”. That doesn’t matter. “Door” has a known meaning without any attached article.

  128. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean – It is a memorial event. Jesus said so himself.

    Anyway – This has gone down silly street. I don’t expect minds to change, and I really don’t care if they don’t change,.

    Packer said it best. I agree with him.

  129. Michael says:

    MLD,

    That is such weak sauce…
    People that believe that because Jesus died and rose again that they will too do not rely on the rational…
    This is a hill (The Supper) that Lutherans choose to die on…they can have it.

  130. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh,
    This is why I changed to Jesus’ claim to be THE VINE – there is specific reference to THE VINE in the OT as opposed to just any old vine out there on the landscape.

    If I am right, what is the meaning put into THE VINE that is differentthan any old vine – and is Jesus that very THE VINE –or is he just a representation?

    Is Jesus THE Good Shepherd or is he just a representative of THE Good Shepherd so we should look to another.

  131. Josh the Baptist says:

    That’s a totally different argument, but Jesus is THe vine and The Good Shepherd.

    Still both are symbols.

  132. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    I will counter Packer this way. The word ‘is’ is obviously the word it is meant to be – is.

  133. John 20:29 says:

    #103 – “…..why do you suppose, and I am taking a leap here, that not a single translation translates the voice of Jesus saying “this represents my body”?

    dunno, could be that the translators assumed that folk reading their translations were …
    logical?

    and #132 – the English “is” must always be subjected to the gist of the surrounding text not matter what the tome, the context is the key… maybe we should eliminate “is” from the English language and require a more precise set of verbs? uh… maybe not

    when all is said and done i guess it must be the responsibility of each Believer (or seeker?) to choose which teachers to give credence and in what context to so do… the Holy Spirit is a good guide when He can break thru our egos – teacher or student, we are all slightly handicapped – thank God for His grace and mercy

    just sayin … cuz i can … so far

  134. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “the English “is” must always be subjected to the gist of the surrounding text not matter what the tome, the context is the key… maybe we should eliminate “is” from the English language and require a more precise set of verbs?” – Bill Clinton

  135. Josh the Baptist says:

    This never ends.

  136. John 20:29 says:

    Erunner, praying…
    your situation has me pondering, too – does God want you to stand? perhaps be a learning tool for this pastor? his position may not make him more spiritually astute than you – maybe he needs to see his error thru an example of faithfulness… i suspect – dunno – that he is ambitious to see his flock grow to a degree that it is coloring his own walk
    pondering and praying for you and yours

  137. John 20:29 says:

    sometimes MLD reminds me of some adolescent one upsmanship conversations that i had with my mother, i.e., “you have to do such and such…” – “no i don’t! all i have to do is be born and die!” 🙂
    hmmm, old Bill C was a pretty cagey guy… they didn’t call him “slick” for no reason…
    #135 – point taken – i quit 🙂

    post script:
    RIP – John Glenn – i count it a privilege to have watched the second half of the 20th century play out … good and evil in the human race was easy to reject or affirm then

  138. Josh the Baptist says:

    Em, it’s hard to quit. MLD is good at what he does. 🙂

  139. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, if you go back and read my #82 – I just took one small exception to the way Packer loosely changed the meaning of a word to get across his point – I would have left it alone, but others pushed back.

    Look, I am happy to back away and take my “symbolic” victory. What victory you ask? Being the only one on this blog to call Packer wrong and live to talk about it. 😉

  140. Josh the Baptist says:

    I read Packer’s chapter on Predestination from Concise Theology, and I think he is wrong about that, though he says it very thoughtfully.

    I think the idea of predestination is a human phenomenon…a time/space issue.

  141. Steve Wright says:

    Josh…be warned. I already had the “definite article in the Greek” discussion with MLD, noting that Wallace devotes like 100 pages to its complexity and differences to how we use it in English.

    He bagged on Wallace and asked me for a one page summary. 🙂

  142. Josh the Baptist says:

    🙂

  143. Steve Wright says:

    As far as recognizing power in the Supper….I haven’t known too many evangelicals who, due to the memorial view, have thrown out the warnings in their Bible found in 1 Corinthians.

    Nor have I found too many who do not make clear that unbelievers are not to partake at all.

    Now, I haven’t found too many who forbid other Christians to partake…that is sort of a Lutheran realm.

  144. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh,
    I agree with predestination / election because it is in the Bible. However, once again I stand against the reformed position. Michael gets mad when I say this but the reformed position is pretty much on a doctrinal basis – this is how God has chosen to populate heaven and hell (I will grant that some reformed have modified the hell part).

    The Lutheran position is that predestination / election is only taught as a point of comfort and mercy. If you read Paul, he is speaking to those who have be through much and have doubts – Paul is telling them not to be concerned because they have been elected for their salvation in Christ.

    How does a Baptist handle it? You can’t ignore it, can you?

  145. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve is full of crap at #141 … in both the English and the original Greek.

    “Now, I haven’t found too many who forbid other Christians to partake…that is sort of a Lutheran realm.”

    Now Steve you are showing your ignorance – the EO does not have open communion nor does the RCC. I would need to look further into the Anglicans because they may not either. I won’t even mention the Church of Christ or some very independent fundamentalist Baptist churches.

    Are you getting your history of church doctrine off the back of cereal boxes again? Time for you to get that MDiv money back.

  146. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    One other thing – I love Daniel Wallace – he is the only good thing to ever come out of DTS.

  147. Michael says:

    I don’t mind respectful disagreement with Dr. Packer…he encourages it himself.

    Besides my personal affection for the man, I post his material because he is the most accessible real scholar I know of that the layperson can benefit from.

    We are, for the most part, theologically illiterate in this age and I always hope that perhaps reading Packer will stimulate interest in further study.

    Now, disrespect for Packer will get you in a heap of trouble here…

  148. Josh the Baptist says:

    The official SBC position:

    Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

  149. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    I would never disrespect the man. He is brighter than me. 🙂

  150. Jerod Hatch" says:

    I’m dyin’

    Best stuff since Who’s On First

  151. London says:

    Erunner,
    You can’t quit a church because of what it’s landlord believes. That’s just silly.

    I’m not sure what your gripe was with the kids doing services. Is it because they aren’t very “good” at performing yet? I’m not sure how they are to get better if they aren’t given opportunities to practice at it. It’s what adults do. They sit through the bad performances of the children around them. It’s what our parents did and their parents before them…the circle of life. Bad performances by children. 😉

    Now, if you want to quit this church, then do so. But don’t try to blame the landlord or the kids. If you don’t like what the pastor is teaching, then have a chat with him, tell him that, and see if you can understand or find a way to help out.

    Being the leader of a small group of people (church or otherwise) is HARD work! No one ever likes what you do, or decide, but they sure are happy to criticize and complain. Of course, people will come up with all kinds of new ideas about what “should” happen…but I’ll be damned..when you ask them HOW to do it, or to come up with a detailed plan about HOW to implement their own idea, suddenly, they are incapable of it. Sure as hell can complain about all the stuff you come up with though…Don’t be that guy!

    Either sit down with the guy, have a talk about what you’d like to see changed, why and HOW, find another church (or not) or suck it up and grow with this one. Those are really your own options I think.

  152. Michael says:

    Jerod,

    What is amusing you?
    I assume you already have thought through these issues and can enlighten us with your wisdom?

  153. Erunner says:

    EricL @ 108 “As for the CC itself, it sounds like you feel pressured to conform to someone else’s gifting in evangelism. If possible, learn to refuse the burden if it isn’t something God is asking you to carry. We are all called to share the Good News, but not all of us are gifted in evangelism. Others are gifted in hospitality or giving or teaching or….

    I hope you can find a way to enjoy your CC and to be an encouragement to the pastor (who sounds a bit frustrated that the body doesn’t have more evangelists in it).”

    Thanks for responding Eric. My concern isn’t related to a gifting the pastor may have in evangelism. It’s because the example that he used and listed I believe are un-biblical. The conclusion one must take is you are responsible for someone’s eternal destiny based on the idea you didn’t share the Gospel with them. I enjoy sharing my faith but if I missed opportunities in sharing with someone that will not be the reason they end up in hell. It will be because they rejected God’s solution for sin through the work of Christ on the cross and his resurrection. Am I seeing this wrong or missing something?

    I find worship to be an integral part of any church service. I’m fine with bringing the kids in at times to share something they have learned but to lead a congregation in worship seems something they are not prepared for especially in light of the fact they are sent off to Sunday School after worship. I guess I’d ask if other churches allow the children to lead their worship. Is that something you’re okay with and I’m simply missing something?

    Would you be okay if your church rented space from a Kingdom Hall or a Mormon church?

    I’m struggling with this and so I am trying to get other perspectives and I appreciate your Eric. Thanks again.

  154. Jean says:

    Josh at #148 mentioned “the free agency of man.” Do you have Scriptural support for that?

  155. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    E,
    I think Greg Laurie started out using an Episcopal church on Sunday nights in Riverside.

  156. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean –

    It’s article V. there are tons of scripture links below the article.

    http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfm2000.asp

  157. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner are currently free agents. 😉

  158. Duane Arnold says:

    Late to the previous discussion on the Eucharist… I am hesitant to say this, but my own position is similar, if not identical, to MLD. It is not about transubstantiation (an outmoded philosophic assertion based upon Aristotelian categories). For me it is simply based upon the words of Christ, who is God incarnate. As God incarnate his words take on the same power as the one who said, “Let there be light” and it came into being ex-nihilo. So, for me, if Christ says, “This is my body”, I believe he creates the reality that he speaks. For me that action is repeated in the Eucharist when the words of institution are spoken. Is it a memorial? Yes. Is Christ truly present in, with and under the forms of bread and wine… for me, yes.

  159. Erunner says:

    John 20:29 @ 136. your situation has me pondering, too – does God want you to stand? perhaps be a learning tool for this pastor? his position may not make him more spiritually astute than you – maybe he needs to see his error thru an example of faithfulness… i suspect – dunno – that he is ambitious to see his flock grow to a degree that it is coloring his own walk
    pondering and praying for you and yours

    Thanks John 20:29 for taking time to respond. I went to the pastor with my concerns after I spoke to the Priest. He was told by a know pastor to dream big and ask God to give us this church as their other location had closed down. That disappointed me.

    If you’ve been here long you’ll know my knowledge isn’t close to what the core group here is. I see myself as someone who disagrees with some things while it appears everyone else is on board.

    If by faithfulness you mean attendance I’m not sure I’m up for that and is why I’m struggling with things.

    I’m trying to do what is right but each week I seem to see (kids leading worship) or hear as I shared above things that take away from my time there. I couldn’t enter into worship with pictures being taken and kids looking lost up front. Others were applauding and congratulating the kids after service. I was saddened.

    Thank you very much for sharing. I really appreciate it. Allan

  160. Michael says:

    Erunner,

    Doesn’t sound like your current pastor is any more theologically informed than those who you cite as unbiblical.
    Sounds like he’s a disciple of Finney…which is another word for “heretic” in my house. 🙂

    I would take kids leading worship over most ‘worship teams” any day of the week…but that’s just me.

    The whole ‘worship” phenomena is a load in my opinion,but I’m a contrarian.

    If you can’t worship in spirit and truth in this place, then it’s not the place for you…

  161. Jean says:

    Here’s your free agency (not):

    “When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

  162. Michael says:

    “So, for me, if Christ says, “This is my body”, I believe he creates the reality that he speaks.”

    That’s a good argument…and you made MLD happy today. 🙂

  163. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean – I’m sure Michael can post some stuff from Packer on the free agency of man if you’d like.

  164. Jean says:

    The doctrine of free agency is farther from good news than Roman synergism.

    It’s awful soul destroying news.

  165. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD does not believe that God still creates ex-nihilo. He has made that clear several times.

  166. Josh the Baptist says:

    You are incorrect.

  167. Michael says:

    Josh,

    The last thing on my agenda today is an argument over predestination…

  168. Jean says:

    Protestant circumcision, without any skin to show it.

  169. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean – You don’t understand what you are speaking about, so I won’t be offended.

  170. Josh the Baptist says:

    Michael – Me too , that’s why I tried to pass the buck to you 🙂

  171. Michael says:

    THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN FREE WILL AND FREE AGENCY
    INABILITY: FALLEN HUMAN BEINGS ARE BOTH FREE AND ENSLAVED
    by J.I. Packer

    The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? JEREMIAH 17:9

    Clear thought about the fallen human condition requires a distinction between what for the past two centuries has been called free agency and what since the start of Christianity has been called free will. Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and others spoke of free will in two senses, the first trivial, the second important; but this was confusing, and it is better always to use free agency for their first sense.

    Free agency is a mark of human beings as such. All humans are free agents in the sense that they make their own decisions as to what they will do, choosing as they please in the light of their sense of right and wrong and the inclinations they feel. Thus they are moral agents, answerable to God and each other for their voluntary choices. So was Adam, both before and after he sinned; so are we now, and so are the glorified saints who are confirmed in grace in such a sense that they no longer have it in them to sin. Inability to sin will be one of the delights and glories of heaven, but it will not terminate anyone’s humanness; glorified saints will still make choices in accordance with their nature, and those choices will not be any the less the product of human free agency just because they will always be good and right.

    Free will, however, has been defined by Christian teachers from the second century on as the ability to choose all the moral options that a situation offers, and Augustine affirmed against Pelagius and most of the Greek Fathers that original sin has robbed us of free will in this sense. We have no natural ability to discern and choose God’s way because we have no natural inclination Godward; our hearts are in bondage to sin, and only the grace of regeneration can free us from that slavery. This, for substance, was what Paul taught in Romans 6:16-23; only the freed will (Paul says, the freed person) freely and heartily chooses righteousness. A permanent love of righteousness—that is, an inclination of heart to the way of living that pleases God—is one aspect of the freedom that Christ gives (John 8:34-36; Gal. 5:1, 13).

    It is worth observing that will is an abstraction. My will is not a part of me which I choose to move or not to move, like my hand or my foot; it is precisely me choosing to act and then going into action. The truth about free agency, and about Christ freeing sin’s slave from sin’s dominion, can be expressed more clearly if the word will is dropped and each person says: I am the morally responsible free agency; I am the slave of sin whom Christ must liberate; I am the fallen being who only have it in me to choose against God till God renews my heart.

  172. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “MLD does not believe that God still creates ex-nihilo. He has made that clear several times”

    If you modify it to say that God “no longer” creates ex-nihilo – I will agree. I do not expect to see a pony materialize out of nothing in the middle of my living room tonight.

    So I think Duane was comparing the power of God’s word.It does not need to be done ex-nihilo – body is already here and bread is already here – how it happens just may be as Packer denies – Magic!

  173. Josh the Baptist says:

    Thanks Michael 🙂

  174. Erunner says:

    London @ 151 Erunner,

    You can’t quit a church because of what it’s landlord believes. That’s just silly.

    I’m not sure what your gripe was with the kids doing services. Is it because they aren’t very “good” at performing yet? I’m not sure how they are to get better if they aren’t given opportunities to practice at it. It’s what adults do. They sit through the bad performances of the children around them. It’s what our parents did and their parents before them…the circle of life. Bad performances by children. ?

    Now, if you want to quit this church, then do so. But don’t try to blame the landlord or the kids. If you don’t like what the pastor is teaching, then have a chat with him, tell him that, and see if you can understand or find a way to help out.

    Being the leader of a small group of people (church or otherwise) is HARD work! No one ever likes what you do, or decide, but they sure are happy to criticize and complain. Of course, people will come up with all kinds of new ideas about what “should” happen…but I’ll be damned..when you ask them HOW to do it, or to come up with a detailed plan about HOW to implement their own idea, suddenly, they are incapable of it. Sure as hell can complain about all the stuff you come up with though…Don’t be that guy!

    Either sit down with the guy, have a talk about what you’d like to see changed, why and HOW, find another church (or not) or suck it up and grow with this one. Those are really your own options I think.

    London, thanks for taking time to respond. I appreciate it.

    First, with what a landlord believes. This is an important issue for me as money given to the landlord will be used to help espouse false beliefs. To reverse it should a Pastor rent out time and space for JW’s? That didn’t cause me to leave though.

    As far as children leading worship I’m not comfortable with it. They can practice and sing when they meet together each week and I believe on occasion be brought in to share a song or two outside of the worship itself. Otherwise have those who are gifted in leading worship and a working knowledge of God’s word lead. Or even one person for that matter. But again maybe there are churches that have children lead worship. I don’t know.

    I was a member of another small fellowship for several years. I was close to the pastor and had his ear as we spoke about everything. I didn’t complain but he ran the church with a very strong hand and everyone who stayed loved everything he did. I left when he attacked me and told me I was in sin for my anxiety. Small churches can be just as dangerous as the larger ones.

    I had no problem bringing my initial concerns to the pastor and I’ll have no issue doing so again. What would I like to see happen is for there to be discipleship for those who are there.

    You’ve given me much to think about London and I do appreciate it. Allan

  175. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Golly Michael,
    I almost thought you said I had wisdom.

    What’s amusing is MLD’s wit, and the argument of “is” resembling POTUS Clinton.

    Not that it’s funny anymore… But since you asked I’ll entertain you with some slapstick.

    I think Jesus took care of the predestination issue with his Parable of the Wedding Feast and bus Parable of the Ten Virgins. There is a number of seats available. Though all are invited, he knows the number who will show, the Jew first and then the Greek, in the end the Jews.

    Matthew 22

    “Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9‘Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10“Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.”

    Micah 4:6 “In that day,” declares the LORD,
                “I will assemble the lame
                And gather the outcasts,
                Even those whom I have afflicted.”

    Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet
                And a light to my path.

          106I have sworn and I will confirm it,
                That I will keep Your righteous ordinances.

          107I am exceedingly afflicted;
                Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.

  176. Jean says:

    I respectfully disagree with Packer, as Michael would imagine. But, I now see how the Reformed use their terms. Thank you for posting.

    The term “free agency” without more obscures the bondage of the will in the unregenerate.

    I would not agree with: “A permanent love of righteousness….” That defies the multitude of warning passages.

  177. Erunner says:

    Michael @ 160 Erunner,

    Doesn’t sound like your current pastor is any more theologically informed than those who you cite as unbiblical.
    Sounds like he’s a disciple of Finney…which is another word for “heretic” in my house. ?

    I would take kids leading worship over most ‘worship teams” any day of the week…but that’s just me.

    The whole ‘worship” phenomena is a load in my opinion,but I’m a contrarian.

    If you can’t worship in spirit and truth in this place, then it’s not the place for you…

    Thanks for responding Michael. Honestly the word heretic never entered my mind. If I thought he was one I’d be gone in a heartbeat.

    Worship for me is important and the more personal it can be the better. I’ve seen folks doing the Temptations with their choreographed moves, etc. Can’t stand it. I’d be perfectly fine with one person with an acoustic guitar. I hear you 100% about kids over performance.

    “If you can’t worship in spirit and truth in this place, then it’s not the place for you…”

    I’ve considered that Michael. Thanks once again for advice you’ve offered through the years!

  178. Jerod Hatch" says:

    Sorry didn’t finish my thought. He knows the number who will show, but there isn’t reserved seating.

  179. Duane Arnold says:

    #172 Yes, the context was “Let there be light”… I don’t believe God has to create it each morning!

    I think Chemnitz is really superb on this question – especially if you ignore the polemics and go to the heart of the argument. Additionally, if some “real” is not involved, II Cor. 11:27 does not make a great deal of sense, especially as it is a post-Upper Room activity which is being described.

  180. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Keep in mind that those are thumb nail sketches of doctrine by Packer.

    You also may be interested to know that many modern translations of Luther’s “Bondage of the Will” were translated by and contain a forward from…J.I. Packer.

  181. Steve Wright says:

    Hey MLD, for the record when an evangelical is talking to a Lutheran, he does not always feel the need to speak of all church history throughout all the denominations, just to avoid being called full of crap.

    I note your appreciation of Dr. Wallace. When he writes a picture book on the Koine article, I’ll make sure to get you a copy. 🙂

  182. Steve Wright says:

    To Erunner’s question…I would just add that “what the landlord believes” is a different thing when “the landlord” is also a professing Christian church meeting on Sundays alongside.

    Not the same thing as renting a theater or community center from a Muslim or atheist who is home all weekend.

  183. Michael says:

    Luther on “free will” from “The Bondage of the Will”:

    “I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want ‘free-will’ to be given me, nor anything to be left in my own hands to enable me to endeavour after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities, and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground and hold fast my ‘free-will’…but because, even were there no dangers, adversities, or devils, I should still be forced to labour with no guarantee of success, and to beat my fists at the air.

    If I lived and worked to all eternity, my conscience would never reach comfortable certainty as to how much it must do to satisfy God. Whatever work I had done, there would still be a nagging doubt as to whether it pleased God, or whether He required something more. The experience of all who seek righteousness by works proves that; and I learned it well enough myself over a period of many years, to my own great hurt. But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. […:]

    Furthermore, I have the comfortable certainty that I please God, not by reason of the merit of my works, but by reason of His merciful favour promised to me; so that, if I work too little, or badly, He does not impute it to me, but with fatherly compassion pardons me and makes me better. This is the glorying of all the saints in their God.”

  184. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane reads the 2nd Martin – I’m impressed. 🙂

  185. Duane Arnold says:

    Chemnitz was a reasonable, moderating voice in his time. Most importantly, he was theologically based in patristics and Scripture. I think his treatise on The Lord’s Supper is a classic… not merely a Lutheran Classic, but a Christian Classic.

  186. Erunner says:

    Steve Wright @ 182

    I would just add that “what the landlord believes” is a different thing when “the landlord” is also a professing Christian church meeting on Sundays alongside.

    Not the same thing as renting a theater or community center from a Muslim or atheist who is home all weekend.

    Thanks for responding Steve. I’ve thought about this and would have zero problem renting a community center etc. from non believers. I have stayed since learning of the Priest’s beliefs but this other stuff is complicating things. Thanks again!

  187. Michael says:

    Damn…now I have to go read another Lutheran…
    But I’m only going to read that treatise in particular… 🙂

  188. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, LOL – 😉 – you got me.

    Hey, you must admit 100 page article on the definite article may be a bit of over kill.

    That’s like the guy who wrote the 600 page commentary on Obadiah – very little of it obviously was on Obadiah and the rest was hobby horse 101.

  189. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    I give this out only to my closest friends. A 21 part series Rod Rosenbladt on Martin Chemnitz’s book on the two natures of Christ.

    https://vimeo.com/channels/christology

  190. Duane Arnold says:

    #187
    Jack Preus’ translation is actually very good, if a bit stilted. I used to wish that his brother Robert had done it (don’t tell MLD – it might be counted as heresy!).

    Actually both brothers were superb Latinists. Tom Torrance once told me that Robert Preus could read a Latin text like any one else would read a newspaper…

  191. Michael says:

    Thanks…those will be my bedtime snacks…love Rod Rosenbladt

  192. Michael says:

    Duane,

    You knew Torrance?

  193. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I warn folks about the Packer translation – every time a Lutheran reads it they come back and ask if Luther was a Calvinist.

    I don’t attribute any dishonesty to Packer – it’s just that he is locked into reformed terminology that comes out in his translation.

    But everyone does get the point – the will is bound and he does slap Erasmus around with no mercy. 🙂

  194. Duane Arnold says:

    #192

    Met him in Edinburgh and spent some evenings with him. He was a good friend of my wife’s great-uncle. Didn’t have a great deal of small talk, but he was wonderful when we turned to theology. Oddly enough, he highly respected a number of Anglican theologians, which I found surprising.

  195. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I have a couple of friends that are Torrance disciples.
    Thus far, I can’t understand a word they say,but they tolerate me anyway. 🙂

    Someday, I will try to understand his theology more fully… I’m just pretty sure it’s way over my head.

  196. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well don’t tell Bobby Grow – because I think he has a man crush on Torrance. 😉

  197. Duane Arnold says:

    #196

    Funny… after Torrance would leave, Uncle Alick would turn and say, “I hope you got something out of it. Didn’t understand a single word he said!”

  198. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Bobby is one of my friends that I was speaking of…I met his writing partner Myk Habets in Geneva and he was one the gifts I got from that trip.
    Wonderful person…
    They both have serious chops…really serious chops.

  199. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I’m with Uncle Alick… 🙂
    I think I’m missing something important though…

  200. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Since Bobby came on here last week and my conversation with him last night on FB – I think I read 10 of his articles. I understood the titles and the page numbers and I looked up a bunch of words. 🙂

  201. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Exactly… 🙂
    Seriously good guy, though…

  202. London says:

    Erunner,
    What do you expect to happen?
    That the pastor is going to do things just the way that is “comfortable” for you?

    I’m not sure why, but I feel irritated by the things you’re saying. I don’t even go to that church, but I feel the need to stick up for the pastor. LOL

  203. John 20:29 says:

    #172 – ” I do not expect to see a pony materialize out of nothing in the middle of my living room tonight.”

    oh, please, Lord … 🙂 speaking as one who knows it could happen even IF the odds are against it

  204. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, I think God’s ex-nihilo creating days ended when he said it is very good and he rested.

  205. Xenia says:

    The loaves and the fishes…. where did they come from?

  206. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Other loaves and fishes.

  207. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Now, if he started with no loaves and fishes and just created pizzas – then I would cheer ex-nihilo 😉

  208. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I missed this yesterday – Thomas Oden died. Now he was one bright bulb.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/december/died-thomas-oden-methodist-theologian-who-found-classical.html

  209. Erunner says:

    London @ 202

    Erunner,
    What do you expect to happen?
    That the pastor is going to do things just the way that is “comfortable” for you?

    I’m not sure why, but I feel irritated by the things you’re saying. I don’t even go to that church, but I feel the need to stick up for the pastor. LOL

    Thanks again for responding London. I’m used to seeing you irritated about things so I’m not put off by what you stated. I don’t expect him to do church based on what I think. That would be pretty arrogant of me. I already know he’d sit and talk with me.

    I fully understand I’m not the man with all of the answers yet at the same time I have personal convictions that I try to stick to. By posting here I was hoping to get the perspective of others which I’ve received. Each perspective was a bit different. It has given me much to think on. Thanks again.

  210. London says:

    Right Erunner.
    Good luck with that.
    Don’t want to bother anyone with being irritated.

    Take Care.

  211. Erunner says:

    Missed you @ 155 MLD. That rings a bell. Might have read it in a book of his. Not sure though. Thanks for the response.

  212. Steve Wright says:

    yet at the same time I have personal convictions that I try to stick to.
    ———————————————————-
    One of which apparently is to continue to make every effort to find a home church to worship God with his family and with the larger Body of Christ – rather than just bailing out and railing from the bleachers.

    I applaud you for that, Erunner.

    And from where I sit and type, you don’t come off at all as a “I want it my way all the time” in this thread. Sounds like you are more than open to lots of compromise and flexibility.

    Anyone who opens their plea with:

    “We have a decision we need to make and it’s turning out to be quite painful. I’ve sought advice from Godly men on this issue but now I’m presenting it here. Since we left a CC years ago after a very painful departing we have struggled to find a new church home. This is tougher for us in that I am not able to travel very far from home due to my panic disorder and agoraphobia.”

    …deserves better in response.

    Blessings.

  213. Xenia says:

    MLD, you are of the opinion that Christ did not create more bread and fish but somehow got members of the crowd to produce food they had brought but were not previously willing to share? There are people who believe this. Are you saying you are one of these people?

  214. Xenia says:

    *unwilling to share.

  215. Xenia says:

    More typos.

    For the record, I believe Christ created, on the spot, more bread and fish.

  216. Erunner says:

    Steve Wright @ 212…. Thanks Steve. Lots of different opinions out there I’m sure. This blog is made up of a lot of folks who have chosen to leave a church or two. I’m fine with the responses. They were each a bit different. Thanks again.

  217. Xenia – wow, how did you come up with that? Jesus created more fish and loaves out of the existing loaves etc. I do not know how he did it But I doubt he did it out of nothing. Jesus is in control of the natural world.

    When he made the wine at Cana why did he have the pots filled with water? Why not just stand over the empty pots, go abracadabra and have pots of wine.
    Creation was over in Genesis.

  218. Xenia says:

    Ok, thanks.

  219. John 20:29 says:

    “Creation was over in Genesis.” ahhh, not so MLD … Ephesians 2:10 🙂

  220. Em, come on. You cannot just open your concordance and just pull out the word created. All people who have ever lived have been created to some extent by God. Not a single one including Adam & Eve have been created ex nihilo (out of nothing).

  221. John 20:29 says:

    #220 – oh MLD, i must disagree (and i didn’t resort to a concordance 🙂 ) but then it’s that new birth thing again… a new creation in Christ…
    and i will not concede that you are in a position to state that God did not/could not create man ex nihilo (i knew what that meant BTW) did God create the dirt of the planet(s) out of nothing back when earth sat there tohu wa bohu? dunno – our frames ARE dust, the dust belongs to God – where He got it, i don’t know, i grant you, but i’d feel silly pondering that…

    God keep

  222. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, 2points
    In the new birth there is nothing new – it is created (more like assembled) out of exisiting pieces and works. The new creation / new birth (I rather call it conversion myself) comes from a preacher, the spoken word, from paper and ink, the written word – and of course you know that I would add water, bread and wine. – it would be much like I start with flour, milk, eggs baking powder / soda (I don’t know the difference) and put it together, put it in the oven and out comes a cake – did I created a cake or assemble a cake – whichever I did I din’t create a cake out of nothing.

    Point 2 – if you continue to insist that God can and maybe would still create a new something out of nothing, you are denying the nature of God. When God was done with his creative work in Genesis 1 and he said it was ‘very good’ – that was his way of saying my work is completed – and then on the 7th day he rested. Em, God was not tired – he rested from his creative purpose. To say he could still create out of nothing is to say that he was wrong and his work was not ‘very good’ but indeed was actually incomplete.

    I will toss in a 3rd point – God cannot do just anything. God is limited.

  223. John 20:29 says:

    MLD 3rd point? reminds of the old question, can God make a rock too heavy for Him to lift?… i guess that you’d say, “no” – i’d say that yes He can, but He’s too smart to do so…
    your point one seems to confine God to man’s limitations
    point two? if Henry Ford followed your example, then we’ll all have to settle for tin lizzies…
    did God complete His work here and rest? of course… He did recover enough to later ‘realize’ that Adam needed a helpmate, tho… to continue with a little more anthropomorphizing of the Deity there
    is that the only work He did or ever will do? … you must know something that is strictly between you and Him …
    why do you think it necessary to point out that God wasn’t tired, BTW?
    but, in that context, i’m ready to rest from this back and forth now

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