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139 Responses

  1. EricL says:

    This week’s shooting in San Bernardino was only 20 miles from where I live. My family regularly shops nearby and our doctors’ offices are just two blocks from where the final shoot-out occurred. Last night we were down there to run some errands/ shop and had to detour around the street where the black SUV was still sitting. Some thoughts:

    1. I’m tired of the politicians and the Facebook ranters who so quickly come out, trying to use this terrible event to justify their warped ideologies. Have you no compassion or empathy? Can’t you express your condolences for the victims and your anger at the killers without turning it into a political circus?
    2. I despise the NY Post and the many national “news celebrities” who have been mocking others for expressing the desire to pray. Really? Calling it prayer-shaming? These news people don’t seem to get the fact that the vast majority of Americans are believers of some type or other. The hubris is amazing.
    3. I’ll admit that I’m edgier about things now. My wife and I took our two boys to a Corner Bakery Cafe for dinner in Redlands yesterday. Three young Middle Eastern men sat at a nearby table, one of them proudly wearing his Qatar soccer shirt. This was less than 48 hours after that radical Muslim couple shot dozens only a few miles away. The young men did nothing unusual, just ate their meal, but I was still ill-at-ease. The flaunting of his ethnic pride/ sports pride seemed tone-deaf to me, and even a bit threatening. It shouldn’t have, but it still affected me that way.

  2. I don’t understand why people don’t look at simple solutions to issues. Why go through the effort to try and outlaw weapons etc. Why try to figure out if something is terrorism. Why even deal with violence.

    Just do this. If you use a weapon in a crime – it doesn’t matter what the crime – you get the death penalty.Justice serve … Done!

  3. Em says:

    it is interesting to see what the “smart, educated” folk have to say about the above… i heard one educated blowhard opine on TV that most Republicans are without college degrees and, therefore, are not able to think things through properly – it was the blowhard’s position that we don’t have all the facts and those who have not been trained to think are exhibiting simplistic, knee jerk reactions to violence such as this San Bernardino incident
    hmm… really? our President, who has been “trained to think” came out of the gate blaming the NRA – course that was spin – spinning seems to make one dizzy, tho

    i believe that our western world has been the beneficiary of the Christian religion and yet somehow today the present inhabitants of the Ivy Halls on down to most Community Colleges are taking credit for a society of laws and order – a society which has nurtured achievement and at one time in the past, did know how to think – IMHO

  4. Jean says:

    “I don’t understand why people don’t look at simple solutions to issues.”

    MLD, which of the 350 or so mass shootings that occurred this year alone was perpetrated by someone who would have been (or was) deterred by the death penalty?

    Actually, there is a simple solution to a lot (not all) of these shootings. The problem is the people who don’t like the solution are either comfortable with the status quo or are duped by the people who are comfortable with the status quo.

  5. Michael says:

    What is the solution?

  6. Jean,
    Perhaps another 350 were deterred by even the laws we have today. We have no idea how many would and are deterred because they don’t do the crime.

  7. Em says:

    we all want a simple solution, eh? i do, but the only one that i can think of involves Divine intervention…

    i have tried to be open minded on the issue of gun control – it certainly would seem to eliminate a lot of shooting … 🙂 my aforementioned educated blowhard opined that one couldn’t do nearly as much damage, if all one had was a knife… i guess that’s correct, so i guess, if i were a terrorist i’d use bombs… a case can be made, tho, for private citizens having only shotguns and hunting rifles and all handguns purchased requiring training and a concealed carry permit… but then i grew up when Roy Rogers always beat the bad guys with amazing aim and just 6 bullets…

    that said, i think the ticking time bombs in the USA are all the marginalized children coming into the world with nothing required of them and no standards to model – no good ones –
    what do you want to be, little one? answer, i want to grow up and riot and rob and be rich – say what?
    would that it were possible for churches to run those Sunday morning buses again – taking the little heathen sponges (i was one once) and affirming them with faith and possibilities

    just sayin, cuz i can .. and it’s snowing like mad again … ugh

  8. Em says:

    350 mass shootings this year? in the U.S? how’d i miss that news?

  9. AA says:

    Well couple of points.

    If gun laws worked then France should be really safe.
    Gun shows should be area of incredible carnage, when was last time you heard about somebody getting shot at a gun show?
    Baseball bats are involved in far more crimes and firearms, where are the cries for baseball bat law.

  10. Michael says:

    I’m about as far from being a Republican as you can get…however…

    Mexico has radical gun control.
    They have slaughters like ours every day before lunch…then some more after dinner.
    Criminals will always have guns.

    Our problem is that we have created a culture of rage while simultaneously removing any foundational moral standards or ethics.

    My guess is that the terror is just beginning…

  11. Jean says:

    “Criminals will always have guns.”

    In the US they will, as long as Smith and Wesson are treated as the 4th and 5th persons of the trinity.

  12. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I grew up with guns.
    We learned to shoot when we were just past toddlers.
    Every kid in town owned a .22 before they were 7 or 8.
    There were guns everywhere .
    Nobody ever shot anyone or even thought about it too much…

    The problem is in our cultural soul…

  13. Em says:

    “My guess is that the terror is just beginning…” i think that it is a good guess, myself

    “Our problem is that we have created a culture of rage while simultaneously removing any foundational moral standards or ethics.” exactly and it’s a monster of a problem just beginning to surface …

  14. Michael says:

    Em,

    We simply can’t promote the kind of rage and division we are and think that no one is going to die.

    The Islamic terrorist will have to take a back seat to the Timothy McVeighs of the country…

  15. AA says:

    I believe you’re correct Michael, unfortunately.

    The heart of man is desperately wicked .

  16. “In the US they will, as long as Smith and Wesson are treated as the 4th and 5th persons of the trinity.”

    Jean, that is genius!

  17. Em says:

    well, i’m not a Republican either, but neither am i a Democrat…
    my late husband’s family came from Pennsylvania and they all had guns, knew how to use them and did so as did their neighbors so i don’t think guns are just a part of a wild west mindset – they should be just a necessary tool – natural part of life

    up in this river valley where i am now every home for 30 miles has at least one gun – not much crime here even tho we are far from police protection – there were a few robberies a couple years ago – that stopped when we started putting our yard tools away

    with due respect, from where i sit, thinking that a gun law will stop what is fomenting now is blind naivete and making gun law the issue is a dangerous diversion

  18. Em says:

    “In the US they will, as long as Smith and Wesson are treated as the 4th and 5th persons of the trinity.”

    cute – good bumper sticker for a smile, but like most such slogans it is silly

    it is time for me to bow out of this mindless give and take – and wait for the real genius to show up here and solve this issue – it will take genius to do so IMNSHO

  19. Michael says:

    Em,

    Making gun law the issue will be deadly if pushed.

    The distrust of authority and government would explode into something terrible.

  20. Steve Wright says:

    Muslim terrorists take a backseat to nobody…

    most of all a reference over 20 years old that had all of two, TWO co conspirators – none of whom motivated by religious fanatacism but actually a perverse and very wrong and evil rage at the government’s actions at Waco and Ruby Ridge.

    How many Muslim attacks have happened since OKC? And my Dad was in that building a week prior…McVeigh can rot in hell but he is such an exception to the rule…but I do remember Bill Clinton at the time speedily telling us all that Rush Limbaugh is responsible for provoking that violence. And every progressive nods their head approvingly….yes, free speech.

    I think it was just a couple days ago that such madmen who take out their issues with the government with lethal force were somehow food for thought…wonder what MIss ODM wrote about McVeigh back in the day.

    (EricL – I too am less than 25 miles from the site – we had three difference church families with direct connection there…including one brother who was making a delivery there one hour before the Muslims attacked)

  21. I think we need to look elsewhere from guns as the solution.

    G, can probably agree with me as we both live in the same city. I am sure that there are just as many guns per capita here as in any city and we have almost no crime. I don’t worry about my neighbors having guns. So, I doubt guns are the issue.

    My youngest son (37) has a closet full of guns, AK 47 knock off – sniper rifles – 350 six shooter etc. I don’t worry about the possession of guns turning him into a mass murderer.

    Now, society drugging of our kids for the past 30 yrs may be an issue

  22. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I have not said anything, anywhere that diminishes the evils of Islamic terrorism.
    I am echoing what I was told in a meeting of very conservative pastors …that being that the frustration and rage being expressed by many in our churches could become quite dangerous, quite soon.
    But if course, we’re all wrong because everyone but you is.

  23. brian says:

    “Have you no compassion or empathy? ” I have tried to not have those for many years as they are not effective, efficient nor do they breed success. I have failed, but I keep trying.

  24. EricL says:

    Wednesday’s attack really shook my wife, for you just wouldn’t expect a terrorist attack in an unimportant place like San Bernardino. The city is bankrupt and falling to pieces. It once had two malls, but now one is shuttered and the other is like a ghost-town. People are getting killed there almost weekly (I think 46 last year), but it is usually drug or gang related. It is a city of poor blacks, poor whites, and poor Hispanics.

    Just a month ago our small group was in the downtown area at a local church helping to feed the poor and assisting with a Sunday night service. It just isn’t a community that you would expect terrorists would want to target. Its claim-to-fame is being mentioned in an old song about Route 66 and being in the news for going bankrupt.

  25. Scott says:

    Michael, regarding your #19, Obama has made it clear he intends to restrict gun access via executive order, then again, I’m sure you already know that 😉

  26. Michael says:

    Actually, Scott, I didn’t.

    I pay little attention to that stuff…more interested in the pulse and feelings of the people.

  27. Michael says:

    People who choose to conceal carry don’t bother me.
    The only reason I don’t is because I don’t want that responsibility and don’t want to live somewhere where I have to carry to be safe.
    That’s bondage, not freedom.
    If I lived in some other places, I might carry myself.

  28. Michael says:

    I don’t even see why the Liberty story is a story.
    It’s a conservative bastion of the Bible belt.

    I wish those two had been blown to hell before they harmed people too.

  29. Michael says:

    The “good” people in this scenario were probably the ones who didn’t plan on killing everyone they could that day.

    I’ll accept that.

  30. Scott says:

    The “good people” are the cops who risked their lives to blast those muslim terrorists to you know where.

    I’m sure the parents, spouses and siblings of those who had their lives snuffed out by those terrorists wish that there were a couple of law abiding citizens packing in that office who could of intervened in some way.

  31. Anne says:

    Restricting gun access to those on the terror lists, domestic abusers, and mentally ill would not limit families from having guns in their home for protection or carefully veted folks from conceal carry. So why are folks so against any form of gun control? I really don’t get it and trying to understand. Thanks!

  32. Michael says:

    Anne,

    I wouldn’t object to those strategies.

    People need to deal with this honestly.
    There are a lot of people who believe that they will have to defend themselves against their own government or it’s actions.
    They will not give up the right to bear arms for any reason.

  33. Anne says:

    These days unless you have rocket launchers (like some private country boy militias in NM I used to know of), if the govt wants to take you out, you’re facing drones and heavy assault vehicles. Plus in some neighborhoods, I’m sure you couldn’t put it past them to bomb the hell of “domestic terrorists”. Doubt/hope it never comes to that kind of govt coming to pass though nothing surprises me anymore. I could have never invisioned the world we live in now 20 years ago.

  34. surfer51 says:

    As I lay in bed deep in thought about the incident I wondered what the outcome would have looked like if someone with a legal concealed weapon permit were present and had reacted in time to save some lives.

    Then my thoughts were, “What if the first responders arrive and mistake him for one of the shooters and blow him away too?”

    Then I think, “What if he has a special issue badge that he can hold up and thusly make it known to the first responders that he is one of the good guys.

    But then I think to myself, “What if a shooter gets a permit to conceal carry and the special badge prior to their act of malfeasance?”

    This stuff is not going to go away no matter what we do.

    People will have to become more aware of their surroundings and those who are around them in public settings.

    Perhaps even becoming fearful of public gathers such as being at church.

    My wife and I were at a movie theater when a big Muslim family came in.

    I watched the crowd to see if there would be a reaction. None other than people looking in their direction longer than usual.

    No one got up and left.

    We are living in perilous times indeed.

    We will start thinking proactively,” in what would I do if? scenarios.”

    Always planning what to do if a shooter were to suddenly appear at any given moment.

    Being aware of the nearest cover etc.

    Who wants to live like that?

    Come quickly Lord Jesus come quickly…

  35. Jean says:

    “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done…. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

    Idolatry leads directly to a debased mind. Once God gives a person up to a debased mind, that debased mind actually approves of his/her wickedness. That my friends if the definition of a bound will.

    There is only One who can free the bound will. Therefore, I will pray that God would raise up preachers of Christ in America who will preach Christ for us. Not God without Christ; not about Christ; not a little bit of Christ (as though Christ is a preacher’s prop for a message on some relevant hobby horse); but the Christ alone crucified for our sins and raised for our justification.

  36. Em says:

    Anne’s #34 makes sense to me…

    outlawing guns to make the country safe, tho, has about as much logic to it as does outlawing donuts to cure the obesity problem in the nation…

    the world is changing and not in a good way – freedom now means every man, woman and child doing what is right in their own eyes now

    or worse… the woman in San Bernardino was a pharmacist by training, a new mother and she barged into a gathering, killing people (some of whom had feted her with a baby shower earlier) to please a phantom? on the face of it this is demented or demonic… and i don’t for one minute think that she and her husband acted on their own – an isolated pair of sympathizers? – too many bombs ‘n stuff in their garage… much of this incident doesn’t add up – i hope they’ve left a trail of crumbs that leads to the destruction of a whole terrorists’ cell… and perhaps, reveals even more – pray for the baby and pray for the safety of all of us now

  37. Michael says:

    I hate politics as a rule, but this needs to be spread far and wide.

    I suggest you fast forward through Todd Friel to what my friend Perry has to say.
    This is why people don’t trust the government…

  38. Em says:

    jean’s 36 – that’s good stuff – amen!!!

    “There is only One who can free the bound will. Therefore, I will pray that God would raise up preachers of Christ in America who will preach Christ for us. Not God without Christ; not about Christ; not a little bit of Christ (as though Christ is a preacher’s prop for a message on some relevant hobby horse); but the Christ alone crucified for our sins and raised for our justification.”

    worth repeating and prayer worth praying – IMHO

  39. Anne says:

    Outlawing drunk driving hasn’t eliminated drunks driving and the deaths they cause but it has saved lives. Drunks and guns are somewhat more lethal than donuts 😉

  40. Soldier of Jah says:

    Please pray for my church as it is in Redlands. We had a beautiful service earlier today. Hope was the central theme. One sister had a beautiful prayer where she even prayed for protection for the family of the male shooter and that there wouldn’t be retaliation against them. She also reminded us that Jesus died for the shooters family as well. My girlfriend works directly across the street from where the terrorist lived in Redlands. She works at a Christian ministry. She was a bit shaken up by it being so close to her. Our service today reminded me that no matter what, we can’t allow hate to enter into our hearts.

  41. j2theperson says:

    Why don’t we just ban mental illness and extremist ideology? I’m sure doing so would be just as effective as banning guns would be.

  42. Michael says:

    SoJ,

    Good word…we’re praying for you and EricL and those in the area …

  43. Soldier of Jah says:

    Thank you Michael!

  44. Steve Wright says:

    Guns save lives, protect lives, and are a hindrance to attempts to take lives every single day.

    Driving drunk has zero positive good to a society.

  45. Em says:

    it seems to me that, if we could solve society’s problems by banning, that the 10 Commandments just might have a chance of saving the world… but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t consider all possible solutions now… short of mayhem…

    for the Redeemed, it is time to know where and how we stand and do it… pray for the pastors and the teachers – we need good ones

  46. Em says:

    #38 is a ponder, BTW –

  47. Nonnie says:

    Speaking of Timothy McVeigh and his accomplice, Terry Nichols, some people, at the time, even believed there was a connection with a muslim terrorist group from the Philippines, called Abu Sayef. They were very active at the time with plane bombings and kidnappings. I lived there at the time and heard about that (possible) connection. i’ve always wondered.

  48. Em says:

    yes, Nonnie, i remember that very early on there were reports that the two men were seen having breakfast in or near a downtown hotel with two muslim men that were identified by name, seemed to have been in Oklahoma on business… i tend to forget that there is or was a very active oil production presence in the south Pacific – both Shell and CalTex that i know of…

  49. Em says:

    i picked up on this report today and a couple questions come to mind: is this a good idea? and is this where Christians should now put their energies and focus?

    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Interfaith-event-to-counter-bias-suspicions-directed-at-Muslims-360686001.html

    for sure, it is way better than focusing on hatred of people who think Muhammed is God’s messenger… dunno, tho, do i?

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The idea of inter faith prayer is total anti Christ

  51. Em says:

    but… MLD… these are Lutes! … is there, for a child of God, a way of praying that is “inter-faith” and not anti Christ? i dunno… it would take a mature – very mature – prayer warrior to do so – if it would even be possible

    but, in practice, how does the Church take our stand loud and clear? un-condemning of their fellow man while standing firm against false religions – deeply held, but definitely false religion? and how do we make it clear to shallow or immature Believers that the Church doesn’t do vigilante in the name of our Savior?

  52. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, the Lutes are ELCA – so they are confused.
    Here is the issue – when praying do you hold their God’s to be real God’s? Do you amen their prayer? If not, why pray with them.

    This is what the prophets of Baal did – pray to any God they could confer up.

  53. bob2 says:

    I’m sure there will be persecution soon…but against ‘liberal’ churches.

    It’s already happening, and I predict more.

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This is like our president (doesn-t matter which one) ends a speech with “God bless America” and the muslim, the hindu, the buddhist, the jew, the Mormon and the christian all day amen – because it is meant to resonate with all.

    Any old god will do.

  55. Em says:

    it is something to think on – IMV – learning to stand – to stand up front and center(ed) in and for Christ … why is it that we have this instability, torn between the greatest, most powerful facts available to man and an unspoken sense that we must defer to our fellow human’s viewpoint? is this grace or just polite society’s influence on our behavior?

    Gayle Irwin has popped up here with mixed reviews, but when i heard the man i wished that i could defend the Faith as he did … long, long years ago

  56. Jim says:

    What we have here may very well be the only spot in the internet that had a rational conversation that referenced guns.

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think that the best way to stand up for Christ is to refute the false gods of those religions the gods of the Jews the Muslims, the Buddhist the Hindus and the Mormons and stand up in to say that they’re not true and to refuse to pray with those people – now we can pray for them but not pray with them.

  58. Em says:

    refute them, yes … from a teaching platform it seems clear and easy, but for the man/Christian on the street going about the commerce of everyday life in these times … just how aggressive should we be … in these perilous times?
    maybe it’s for the individual to decide – dunno

  59. Em says:

    #58 … maybe that’s because some of us have guns and we just might know where you live … 🙂 🙂 🙂

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, I am speaking in reference to interfaith prayer service only. I would not participate … Would you?

  61. Em says:

    MLD, would i participate? if i were a teacher and asked to be a part of the leadership, absolutely not – period. as a layman, could i do so with the intent of neighborliness? i think that i’d feel guilty if i did and guilty if i didn’t… course, i could converse with those gathered and make my stand clear, i.e., “i am praying to the one true God, thru the only mediator, Christ Jesus and the rest of you might want to do so also…” dunno…

    God keep and, again, thank you for sharing your the Hebrews lessons – many ponders

  62. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Because it’s open blogging I have a question relating to Calvary Chapel in the past posts + articles referencing split that is seemingly going on within this group of affiliated leadership. Hesitate to say church as each is indepent and denies those who attend avoice (membership). What exactly are the dividing issues that are causing tension among them?

  63. Michael says:

    I’ve already written numerous articles on this subject.

    Basically it boils down to how much fidelity must be paid to each of Chuck Smiths ways and doctrines.
    The CC movement were people that were affiliated with Smith…and he was the identity of the movement.

    He’s gone and so now all these independents struggle to find a singular identity…indeed there isn’t one anymore.

  64. Independ should be independent.also what hold them together. what principle are in placethat causes them or to justify their position to align with one anotherand where is the line of separationthat is causing havoc among them. infant the ability to avoid accountability by joining together in numbers then reiterating the same tactics of power and control that they hold over those who attend there respective church, particularly when their behavior, integrity and honor is in question or is being questioned by those who attend their church.

  65. Michael says:

    This is really simple and the most common form of church government in the country.

    They swear fidelity to the autonomy of the local church.
    This is also a Baptist and Pentecostal point of view on church government.

    I get so tired of pointing this out…this isn’t a CC distinctive, it’s an American and Baptistic distinctive.

    It’s never going to change.
    N.E.V.E.R.

    The question then becomes what involvement one desires to have with churches that have no outside and (often no inside) accountability?

    Evidently, it doesn’t matter much as this form of governance draws exponentially more people than any other.

    CC was formerly aligned around Smith’s theological stances.

    That is no longer a universal, thus the current stress.

  66. I know have written much on this, MichaelMichael and how poured much time effort and heartfelt concern into both concerning not just CC. If you were to make a list on these issues what would that was contain?

  67. Do you think they strive because people really don’t want to be held accountable either so each is left to their own devices, desires, and justification to do if they so wish while claiming the name of Christ?

  68. Michael says:

    It is quite literally a book full and hopefully I will finish that book.

    I hesitate to say anything as I am becoming more and more “radicalized” as to what I believe about the church.

    Basically I reject the whole ‘corporate” model as being anti-Christ and believe that unless a “family” model is in place that what is going on isn’t Christian at all.

    I also don’t believe a whit about the current model of what constitutes being a pastor.

  69. Michael says:

    Uriah,

    There are many who believe that local church autonomy is biblical and support the doctrine because of that.
    I disagree, but I’m in a small minority.

    Some don’t want accountability.
    Some don’t want someone in the city telling them how to run a church in the country and vice versa.

    Not all who embrace the doctrine have wicked motives and it would be sinful to impute such to them.

  70. I meant ” thrive.”

    “People” meaning those who attend.

  71. Michael says:

    They thrive because of a consumer mentality that values the show over substance.

  72. Michael says:

    Americans value independence and success above all else.

    The church is supposed to value family and relationships above other earthly concerns.

    The church looks like the culture.
    There is the problem.

  73. Family is good if it is not toxic abusive, and dysfunctional (that is, a closed system or s system that enable s corruption and abuse. Even this is a type of family but in my mind fall terribly short of being led and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

  74. I agree— been thinking upon this for se te now. My heart grieves.

  75. brian says:

    I actually agree in a strange way with MLD about the “God bless you” statement from the president. I will admit I use that phrase at times for others and I do mean it but I get very nervous when it is reflected to me, I have come to understand that “God bless you” sometimes comes with a very high price. It could also be selfish even sinful to hope for that because it selfish and self-centered to actually want anything from God, ever. That was another one of those subtle lessons drilled into my soul back when I was in fellowship.

  76. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Would you list, say three teachings (doctrine), that CS taught vs. others which is creating this tension. what is it that sound would like to become reformed, or Orthodox or even liberal rather than evangelical.

  77. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    darn it.

    Mean to say, Or is it a case of some wanting to be reformed, Orthodox or even more liberal. or all three.

  78. Josh the Baptist says:

    Not to nit-pick, but I’m thinking there is a mixing of terms, here.

    Autonomy, in and of itself, could not possibly be the problem. If the Bishop is a scoundrel, than all congregations under him will suffer. IF the local pastor is a scoundrel, his congregation will suffer.

    Michael himself is pastor of an autonomous congregation.

    I think we should be talking about polity, instead. There is a huge difference between congregational, elder led, and pastor led church polity. All of those occur in autonomous churches.

  79. Jean says:

    #81, Josh makes a good point about the different ways a local church can be self-governing.

    My problem with the word “automomy” or “autonomous” is that even self-governing churches should never view themselves as autonomous, because Christ is the head of the church. Therefore, every church should operate in total submission to the Word. I don’t think Josh would disagree with this clarification, but I wanted to bring it out.

  80. Josh the Baptist says:

    Absolutely, Jean. All autonomous churches, minus a few cults, would agree with that.

  81. Michael says:

    Uriah,

    Smiths theology and doctrines were grounded in a modified form of the 20th century Pentecostal/ holiness movement.
    He added an even greater emphasis on eschatology and the Moses Model form of the senior pastor led governance.
    More than anything else, he was the last word on everything.

    The internet opened up new horizons for all of us, including CC pastors.
    It exposed us all to different theological traditions and thought.
    Now that he is dead (and in some cases as soon as he was dead) some took that as an opportunity to think more deeply about these things.

    I have been told more than once that while this blog hammered the CC scandals it also introduced Lutheranism, Orthodoxy, and Calvinism to people in ways that were unique and thought provoking.

    Elsewhere, the writings of N.T. Wright have had a huge impact.

    In private, Calvary Chapel today has been likened to kids going to college…the old man isn’t watching and the student can experiment and try different things without the threat of discipline.

    There is a large group that still behaves as if Smith is still alive and thus the conflict…

  82. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Thanks, Michael. This really helped in gaining clarification

  83. Babylon's Dread says:

    The great issue of life is authority. Every issue revolves around this one. Free churches have a particular problem of authority. We claim that if we accept Biblical authority that the matter is solved but that is not true on many fronts. First, who interprets the Bible. That is where free church pastors derive their authority. They claim a hegemony on interpretation in the church. The second front rises here. Where did we get the Bible? The answer is of course that the church recognized the Spirit’s authority upon the apostolic and prophetic texts and gave us an authoritative Bible. So then we ask whether it is possible to have an authoritative Bible without assuming an authoritative church to recognize it. Suddenly we inch back toward Rome. This problem always remains only slightly addressed by free churches.

  84. Xenia says:

    Well, back to Constantinople, actually. But your observation that maybe an authoritative Bible might require that it be read within an authoritative Church is insightful, BD.

  85. Em says:

    “The great issue of life is authority. Every issue revolves around this one. ” amen

    God calls us sheep – thank God for grace

  86. Steve Wright says:

    The flip side is that there is relatively little in the Bible that needs significant “interpretation” – as God has been pretty clear in revealing Himself and His will in its pages. Especially on the most fundamental point of all – salvation in Jesus Christ.

    Pretty hard to explain my salvation otherwise….since there was no church, pope, bishop or pastor involved. Just God’s Spirit at work through the reading and receiving of the Scripture – convicting of sin, and pointing to Jesus.

  87. Em says:

    hmmm – thinking on #89… does it not then boil down to who we, as individuals give authority to?
    i think that God the Holy Spirit is nearer and more able than we realize – perhaps because we have so much interference from leadership – perhaps well intentioned – as they try to interpret, i.e., make relevant God’s plan
    is the job of the pastor, the teacher, the counsellor to direct us in thinking and feeling and doing correctly or should not the teachers feed us sound doctrine upon which we as individuals blossom and grow in Christ? how discouraging it must be to have a flock that has no appetite for being taught
    is the high point of the gathering of Believers a soon fading “afterglow?” and that leads me to ask, is a worship leader a good thing or as practiced today a contrived thing – like a pep rally? dunno – i really don’t
    if i am taught well, won’t the worship come out of the abundance of my heart?

    random chain thinking today … sorry

  88. Steve Wright says:

    does it not then boil down to who we, as individuals give authority to?
    ———————————————————————
    But there is a scope to that authority. To use two of our friends here (and to try my best to do so accurately) – Xenia and MLD both have very similar evangelical backgrounds, each for multiple years.

    Through a theological journey of personal study, as Christians, they both became convicted that their evangelical churches were wrong on certain doctrines. Not wrong on Jesus as the Savior, the Son of God, the one who died and rose again. Our Lord. (Note – I do not say the doctrines were trivial or secondary somehow because obviously they are not to either of them)

    They both left their evangelical churches to join churches that practiced and taught those theological doctrines that they had come to believe were proper – and in doing so they each put themselves under the authority of those new churches and their leadership structure and their interpretation of the Bible.

    (My apologies to Xenia and/or MLD if that is not a fair representation)

  89. Michael says:

    Em,

    Those are good questions and ones that have been on my heart lately.

    I’m learning to believe in the fact that the Holy Spirit indwells everyone I’m teaching and my job is to bring them the best information available on whatever text we’re teaching.

    For example, I taught on the section of the Sermon on the Mount that many brethren believe teaches pacifism as a doctrine of the church.
    It’s pretty powerful stuff when you read it as it’s written…
    The next week I taught them how the church developed the doctrine of the “just war” theory and the scriptures used to support it.

    That gave them a balance of information and it is up to the Holy Spirit to help them discern how to merge those things.

    I didn’t tell them how or what to think, I gave them the tools to prayerfully think themselves.

  90. Jean says:

    “The next week I taught them how the church developed the doctrine of the “just war” theory and the scriptures used to support it.”

    Michael,
    I don’t know if you’ve noticed it or not, but most of the contemporary conservative Christian news and social media I read and hear has abandoned any restraints or limits of a historical Christian just war theory. You are more likely to hear about making the Sand in Syria “glow.”

  91. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I’ve noticed. 🙂

    It was a very interesting experience for me.
    I never teach topical sermons.

    After we had taught this passage I could sense they were all troubled by the applications that could be drawn from it compared to what they had been taught before and the current social climate;

    ““You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
    (Matthew 5:38–48 ESV)

    So I felt like the Lord would have me mediate that with a teaching on the “just war” theory and the restraints and limits that our forefathers in the faith placed on this sort of engagement.

    It was probably the most well received message I’ve brought in over 20 years…it allowed them to think seriously about the matter from many perspectives.

    It has produced ongoing discussion…and I’m grateful to be among such people.

  92. Josh the Baptist says:

    I love the statement on war from the Baptist Faith and Message. I will say, if we started hiring and firing based on fidelity to the BF&M, there would be a lot of empty pulpits next Sunday, based on this article alone:

    XVI. Peace and War

    It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.

    The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.

    Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.

  93. Michael says:

    Josh,

    That is pretty direct and succinct.

    Thanks for giving us that to ponder…

  94. Xenia says:

    I can’t really say that I left evangelicalism for Orthodoxy because of study. That came later. I left evangelicalism because I was miserable and became Orthodox because of a somewhat mystical experience.

  95. Em says:

    since i do a lot of gleaning here, the above reminds me of the two kingdoms (MLD, i think) – who is my neighbor? doesn’t that boil down to the one on one – person to person approach as we serve in The Kingdom?
    however, if i am a soldier of my nation then i have placed myself under the authority of a chain of command which, in rendering unto caesar that which is his, i might have to go launch a missile or shoot somebody etc. and this is acceptable to my Lord – IMO (i know, eliminate nations and we’ll eliminate wars … ya think?)
    as a private citizen and a Christian, can i support war? in the simplest of terms, it seems reasonable that if you shoot at us we can shoot back – but i’d prefer to see you accept Christ as your own personal Savior and Lord – Orthodox, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, non denominational, any of them – but enter into God’s peaceful Kingdom John 3:2-7

  96. Xenia says:

    I never did a side by side comparison of evangelicalism vs Orthdoxy until after my conversion.

    We’ve noticed that those who study themselves into Orthodoxy are prone to studying themselves right out of Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is more a life to live than a set of doctrines to be studied and affirmed. Of course, study is a very good thing.

  97. Jean says:

    #99,

    I agree whole heartedly with Xenia. One cannot possibly live in the eschatological “yes” of new creation on study alone.

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

  98. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    “and in doing so they each put themselves under the authority of those new churches and their leadership structure and their interpretation of the Bible.”

    2 points and they are minor to your comment.
    1.) I think it was a matter of finding authority – not putting oneself under authority.
    2.) I was not so much disagreeing with individual doctrines that made me move – it was the overall reasoning behind how you look at or develop doctrine.

  99. Em says:

    “We’ve noticed that those who study themselves into Orthodoxy are prone to studying themselves right out of Orthodoxy.” hmm… is this true of evangelicalism also?

  100. Jean says:

    Em #102,

    “is this true of evangelicalism also?”

    It’s difficult to address this question directly for concern of offending folks here. However, perhaps Steve’s earlier statement might provide a clue: “The flip side is that there is relatively little in the Bible that needs significant “interpretation” – as God has been pretty clear in revealing Himself and His will in its pages.”

  101. Em says:

    re #102 – perhaps my question should have been asked regarding Protestantism, rather than Evangelicalism … or to rephrase again, can one study oneself into the Faith and back out again?

    if one is looking for a religious identity, i don’t think one will ever be satisfied with Christianity, but if one is looking for the answer to the question, ‘why am i here?’ they’ll either embrace the Faith or despise its answers … am i off topic (again)? could be … it’s been a wet, cold tiring day fraught with marauding deer

    God keep all close and comforted

  102. “can one study oneself into the Faith and back out again? ”

    One cannot study themselves into the faith – that would do away with the need for the Holy Spirit. Faith then would be just providing enough information.

    I don’t know that you can study your way out – you can be persuaded out.

  103. Em says:

    point taken, MLD … but i believe that one can reach the point of no return from the Faith – the new birth – the eternal security thing … 🙂

    just sayin

  104. Steve Wright says:

    I don’t think you can study yourself into the faith either….

  105. Jean says:

    Xenia, in #99, did not say “study yourself into/out of the faith”. She said study … into/out of Orthodoxy. There’s a major distinction between the two.

  106. Xenia says:

    Jean is correct, I was referring specifically to a particular type of convert to Orthodoxy, not to Christianity in general.

  107. surfer51 says:

    Just in case you didn’t know that there is another route for your families health care that is all faith based and incredibly affordable!

    My son was able to lower his families monthly health care protection cost tremendously.

    Perhaps you can too…

    Share this with your Christian friends and family.

    http://shekinahfellowship.blogspot.com/2015/12/health-insurance-to-expensive-for-your.html

  108. surfer51 says:

    Worship Him For He Is The Lord God Almighty!

    Let our focus be upon the Lord who sits upon the throne.
    http://shekinahfellowship.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-lords-worship-leader-kent-henry.html

  109. anon says:

    Anyone available to exorcise the spirit of bigotry from The Donald?

  110. Em says:

    since i think it is reasonable to conclude that God gives a nation the leadership they deserve, pray for this nation – but exorcising Donald T. might be interesting to watch, hope the cameras are rolling 🙂

  111. Michael says:

    Trump is a genius.
    He is simply repeating out loud what perhaps a majority of people in this country are thinking, but don’t dare say out loud.
    He has parlayed years of lies about the border and immigration that created a scapegoat for us to blame our problems on into a populist revival.
    Anyone who thinks he can’t win is utterly delusional…people are afraid and angry and he is their voice.
    This billionaire is the hero of the common man.
    He is also vermin of a sort I can not speak of adequately…

  112. Ixtlan says:

    “This billionaire is the hero of the common man.
    He is also vermin…”

    What does that say about the common man?

  113. Michael says:

    Ixtlan,

    It says (in this case) that he (or she) has been purposefully misinformed and preyed upon.
    The common man in this country relies on common sense and values that can be measured by a sense of well being.
    The common man knows that unemployment is not a 5%…he knows his health care premiums have shot through the roof and he knows that Islam is not an ideology of peace.
    He is taxed to death on what he does make.
    He doesn’t have time (unless he was unemployed like I’ve been) to read deeply on any issue.
    He bases his opinions on feelings and the input of those who he thinks understand.
    He is probably white and at least culturally Christian and he’s been told that this government is opposed to all he holds dear over and over again.
    He believes he has been lied to about almost everything.
    He is angry and tired and Trump is singing the song of his people.

  114. Steve Wright says:

    Anyone who thinks he can’t win is utterly delusional
    ———————————————————
    You see, Michael and I can agree on a political point. 🙂

    The Republican hierarchy in office and at places like National Review are really beginning to panic. I must say it is fun to watch as someone who has been so disgusted with these same people for the last several years.

    They were convinced he was going to fade away. Now they know they are in serious trouble. What’s worse, all of their candidates are not only behind Trump, but Carson and Cruz too. So they seem to be trying to rally to Rubio which would be ironic since he began office as a Tea Party candidate (but has properly gotten in line in recent months)

    Maybe Jim and I will get our wish for a President Hillary after all…then again, could HIllary beat Trump? The Dems couldn’t beat Arnold in CA when they beat any other Republican by 20 points every time.

  115. anon says:

    Haters gotta hate.

  116. Em says:

    question is will the Republicans nominate Trump because he’s ahead in the polls and might get them the Oval Office once again? … or will the party nominate “one of their own?” i suspect Hillary is hoping for Trump and licking her chops (if she has any)…

  117. Michael says:

    “Haters gotta hate.”

    Such comments are worse than useless.

    If we don’t start to understand why someone like Trump can be so popular, than someone worse can come in his wake.

    If he came out for religious protections against homosexuals he would win in a landslide…because the common man is sick of that agenda as well.

    The anger and frustration in this country is palpable…and no one wants to admit or deal with it.

  118. Steve Wright says:

    Em – The Republican party despises most all Republican voters that actually are responsible for their majorities in the Senate and House.

    That’s the starting point in trying to guess how things are going to play out….

  119. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    I think it is possible to hate, without being hateful.

    The first is a position one holds towards an ungodly behavior of another, whereas, the second exhibits a heart, mind, and behavior that is similar to that person (s) whom is seen as being ungodly and most worldly.

    I also believe that it is possible to hate a person without incurring the condemnation of God. In the O.T. it tells us that God hates men of iniquity. He also does not listen to the prayers of the ungodly, nor the prayers of those who mistreat their wives. Hmmmm.

  120. Babylon's Dread says:

    Trump at least understands that we have an enemy who has an agenda. That is the idiocy of all others. Anyone who is not sick of the indoctrination of Obama about Islam is blind and deaf. 8 years of Obama has brought us to Trump. The same way that 8 years of Bush brought us to Obama. But again, Trump at least sees that there is an enemy who wants us submitted, they are focused. They are clear. They are committed. I would say their chance of victory over us is about the same as the chance of homosexual marriage becoming normal in my lifetime.

    I won’t vote for Trump … unless he is the choice against more Obamanation. Trump is not running for emperor he will not have an easy path. But Obama and Bush before him has shown us how to have increased power at the tip of the spear, so anything could happen.

    Wake Up America Dread

  121. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    “I don’t think you can study yourself into the faith either….”

    Not so sure about this. There have been many who have read the Word and come to Cross of salvation.

    There have also and are many who are presently studying or searching for answers whom are trying to prove to themselves that God does not exist, yet in doing so, we also know there have been some whom by doing so, hit a great wall, and then came to the faith.

    Steve, perhaps you meant this to be understood in a different context?

  122. Michael says:

    BD,

    Trump sees nothing clearly but opportunity.

  123. Babylon's Dread says:

    Michael,

    Trump has no chance.

  124. Michael says:

    One of the things I’ve lamented over the last couple years is the fact that if I took this blog hard right politically I would have no problem supporting myself through ad revenue.

    My audience is mostly conservative Christians, thus mostly Republican… and if I were to tailor this site to those political views I would be set.

    You give the people want they want to hear.

    I can’t do that…anymore than I could take it hard left.

    I prefer to avoid politics as much as possible anyway because it distorts the gospel from both sides.

    Trump has no such scruples…

  125. Michael says:

    BD,

    You’re wrong.
    I have been saying for some time that the backlash against all of this far left idiocy is coming…and it’s arrived in the person of Trump.

    People will vote for him and lie about it after he’s elected…

  126. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    “Trump sees nothing clearly but opportunity.”

    Many would say this is a positive way of handling difficulties. It certainly has proven successful for those who have had to overcome much adversities and rise among the crowd that look upon difficulties as insurmountable, complicated, and undoable.

    Not that I would vote for him—I’ve already pledged my vote. Unless, she really screws up—-but for now, no one can hold a candle to her. IMO

  127. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    ROTFLOL

    “People will vote for him and lie about it after he’s elected…”

  128. Steve Wright says:

    Uriah, as I said earlier, my own testimony is salvation through the word and Spirit alone (no church, preacher, message etc)

  129. Jean says:

    “Trump has no such scruples…”

    Uh, Trump is on record saying that his favorite book is the Bible. 🙂

  130. Steve Wright says:

    Frankly, I don’t know how Trump does not win New Hampshire – and if anyone thinks the New Hampshire primary winner does not have a shot at the nomination…….

    Romney won the nomination almost totally by winning the blue states that Obama was easily going to carry in November. You think New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland Republicans (what few there are) are going to vote for Cruz or Carson? Those delegates start to add up…

  131. Steve Wright says:

    Also, almost every state until mid March is proportional delegation (but you need a certain percentage which Trump will get). So nobody is pulling away from Trump early, even if he does not technically “win” most of these states. These are also mostly the red states.

    Then, when the blue states vote, many of those are winner take all.

    The Republicans thought they could tweek the process and they actually have helped Trump and I expect a lot of shenanigans at the convention – the delegate rules for voting allow for a lot of backroom dealing.

  132. Em says:

    well… i hate to join the conspiracy folk, but among the movers and doers in the western world today i’m pretty sure that there is a fear of the Muslim – they see a religion that is, strangely, flourishing and fostering terrorists both actively and passively – the old line Muslim, the core of movement, really believes that they are superior to rest of us, pagans and Christians alike – in their own minds they have a divine right to rule the world – a diabolic right? … and, i suspect that the core thinks that their time has come – dunno

  133. Em says:

    i should have added that i think the “movers and doers” are afraid of Trump’s approach to our problems – all these folks want to do is protect their own assets, so i think that they’ll move heaven and earth to keep him and his kind from being elected

  134. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If she is not in jail by election day, I have no doubt that Hillary will win the election.

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