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60 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    2018 .

    What’s the first thing you think about?

    For me sadly: The narcissism of our POTUS and the media’s co-opted narcissistic response… MeToo gave way to ME ALONE.

    On the other hand… if you limit your intake of public discourse — drastically — you increase your personal quality of life. So I did that and got some peaceableness.

    And for complete escapism it was Philadelphia gridiron greatness, Golden State court artistry, and Boston diamond mastery. Sports was an enjoyable respite from reality this year.

    Mammon, Aphrodite and Mars reasserted their trinitarian mockery of human weakness but on the ground human goodness was everywhere evident even if sometimes hidden by the weeds.

    And the boys of Thailand were pulled from a cave but not without sacrifice.

    Bring on 2019 and I’ll not Dread it.

  2. Michael says:

    BD,

    Good question.
    I think of the division in all aspects of the culture…and the absolute lack of leaders with wisdom or virtue.
    How did we become so bereft of what once made us great?

  3. Michael says:

    My other cause of angst and apocalyptic thought is the lack of truth or discernment in the public discourse…discourse that creates policies that affect the lives of billions.

  4. Em says:

    Someone yesterday was talking about population increase worldwide – combined with the inability for public figures to hide their flaws and problems anymore – it is a whole new dynamic… If ever there was a time for the Church to stand strong and uncompromising in the Faith, it may be today.
    NO MORE (material) prosperity gospel… Time teach the real, eternal riches… Or so it seems to me…. 🙆

  5. Jerod says:

    1. It’s already over. That was way too fast.

    2. Christian individuals are much less liked now than the same time last year. It used to be Christianity. Now it’s the person. There is virtually no platform for even the most humble of the remnant.

    3. My job security may well be endangered by my faith and it’s application to special needs people (treating them as if they are cognizant of everything around them).

    4. Child abuse is an accepted form of parenting in our society.

    Nothing good, there :-/

    Happy New Year?

  6. Em says:

    As i said/pontificated, it is a whole new landscape… the biggest change i see in progress now is a slide into an elite powerful minority in control of the rest of us – mind and body…
    Government of by and for the people has depended on a true power of the ballot. It was good while it lasted and as far as it went…
    Mob rule won’t solve the greed and elitist problem… But we can sure pray for a respite in which to rethink and regroup, perhaps?
    As is so often noted here, this world is a foreign kingdom, but our King IS omnipotent and He knows every hair of your head, let alone where you are at the moment… Preachers, teach us how to be strong, how to grow in faith – please. We’ll pray for you and thank God for you, His grace provision to us

  7. Jean says:

    In light of some of the comments here regarding 2018, I received permission from Ryan Couch to invite the readers here to join a Facebook Page that Ryan started and moderates, called Real Life Grace.

    It is a closed group formed for the purpose of promoting a grace centered Gospel which is effective to do what it promises, placing sanctification purely in the passive righteousness category. Along with hundreds of members, there are pastors and seminary professors who donate their time to share theology resources, answer questions and lead some live weekly devotions.

    It is not for polemics, politics or course debate. I’ve seen a lot of people coming out of legalistic churches who have found Real Life Grace to be a safe place to ask questions and discuss theology.

    I don’t know what tradition Ryan is personally, as I have never asked him, but the page is not a Lutheran page. I know there are Lutherans in the group, but I assume there are Christians from many other traditions as well, who value a grace centered Gospel.

    If this interests you, please look up the page or Ryan on Facebook.

  8. Michael says:

    I fail to see what soliciting people for another site has to do with 2018…

    Ryan is a former CC pastor who seems to have taken a liking to Lutheranism.
    I’ve known him for years and he lives about three hours from here.
    I’m sure he’d be delighted if I joined his page…not…

  9. Linnea says:

    I work with a bunch of 20′ somethings who do not tolerate my values or beliefs. It’s lonely. I wonder if my adult sons will ever find a companion to marry–their values and beliefs are so different from their generation. I wonder if we’ll ever see revival before this generation passes…yet, I pray for it.

  10. Jean says:

    Michael,

    I met Ryan through your blog. If he says you are welcome, I have no reason to doubt his sincerity.

    If Ryan has taken a liking to Lutheranism (which I cannot substantiate by any membership), perhaps it’s on account of Luther’s re-discovery (which had been buried under Roman doctrine) of the Gospel of justification by faith alone.

    Please join!

  11. Jean says:

    I was re-reading Michael’s previous comment: “Ryan is a former CC pastor who seems to have taken a liking to Lutheranism.”

    This is no small thing. What Michael reports is nothing less than a miracle of God, that He had mercy on Ryan. Praise the Lord.

    I would ask Ryan, if he is following this thread to please right an article for the blog testifying to his turn from CC theology to grace. How did hit happen. Who helped you? What Scriptures illuminated you?

  12. London says:

    Jean,
    I’m thinking that if Ryan wanted folks to come to his FB Page, he could invite them himself.
    He is a long time poster here. He knows folks from here and is probably FB friends with many.
    Poaching isn’t cool.

  13. Xenia says:

    I believe grace was and is taught at Calvary Chapel. I say this as a former 20- year long attendee. Lutheranism has not cornered the market on grace.

  14. Jean says:

    London,

    There is no intent on the part of Ryan or myself to poach. That is the last thing from anyone’s mind. Facebook is a different medium altogether and is complementary with a blog site. For example, blogs offer articles which typically are much longer than a Facebook post. Actually, a Facebook page is adapted to post a blog article. Thus, I think if Michael so desired, he could post his blog articles to Ryan’s Facebook group.

  15. Jean says:

    Xenia,

    “Lutheranism has not cornered the market on grace.”

    It most certainly has not. Now, I want everyone who agrees with us to post something that demonstrates we are correct.

  16. Michael says:

    If I want to ask Ryan a question I’ll pick up my phone and call him.
    If I want him to write here, I’ll do the same thing.

    “I would ask Ryan, if he is following this thread to please right an article for the blog testifying to his turn from CC theology to grace. ”
    “This is no small thing. What Michael reports is nothing less than a miracle of God, that He had mercy on Ryan. Praise the Lord.”

    This is the supreme arrogance and rudeness that I can’t stomach in Lutheranism and I have no interest in being part of a group of them.

  17. London says:

    Jean,
    Mansplaining is also not cool.

  18. Michael says:

    London,

    I agree with both your points…and my blood pressure is rising…

  19. Jean says:

    Michael,

    I am at somewhat of a loss to understand your concern. But I do not dismiss it in the least. Would it be helpful to contrast a typical CC or evangelical conception of grace with that of Luther? I can’t speak for Calvin, but would be happy to hear his perspective as well.

  20. Michael says:

    Jean,

    There are many devout believers in CC.
    It is no miracle akin to regeneration if they choose another theological stance as they mature, nor do mature believers necessarily have to leave Calvary Chapel.
    It takes ungracious hubris to assert otherwise.

    You’re about to lose this platform…your responses here to myself and others could easily lead one to believe that Lutherans only extend “grace” to those that sign off on all their “distinctives”.

    As one who doesn’t think Luther cornered the market on truth, I resent that and I sure as hell won’t promote it.

    I will take up the poaching issue with Ryan personally…

  21. I had to look up “mansplaining”

  22. Jerod says:

    Jean

    I took your comments about Ryan finding grace by a miracle as sarcasm. It was funny :-b

    If you weren’t being sarcastic then you were hilarious 😀

  23. bob1 says:

    Maybe it’s just me…but the Lutheran on here seems to be wanting to argue that CCers don’t know God’s grace or something. Really? You can’t be saved without God’s grace in Christ! I find that highly amusing. All Protestants emphasize God’s grace, as I’m sure do the Orthodox and RCC.

    I do understand that probably a certain percentage in CC have perhaps gotten sidetracked by legalism…but it’s one hell of a leap from that to saying Lutheranism is superior or is the answer, and/or tha tthey know God’s grace better than other Christians. Maybe that’s not what’s being asserted. But if that’s the case, Lutheranism comes across as almost cultish, as in, “When it comes to God’s grace, all Xns are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

  24. bob1 says:

    Another thought about grace…

    Don’t remember where I read this recently…but C.S. Lewis was at some type of conference
    about religions. Someone asked him what make Xnity distinct…He said, “Oh, that’s easy.
    Grace.”

  25. Duane Arnold says:

    Reading the thread this morning, I’m glad I was watching “Bruce on Broadway” on Netflix last night…
    Spoiler alert – he ends up the two and a half hour show with the Lord’s Prayer…

  26. Jean says:

    Michael and everyone:

    1. Poaching/Solicitation: It was never my attention to poach readers on behalf of a Facebook group. To my knowledge that is not how social media behavior works. I learned of this blog upon reading favorable comments about it on iMonk many years ago. I didn’t drop iMonk and join this blog; I added this blog. I receive more than a half dozen blog articles each day and my FB feed has posts from at least a dozen groups daily that I am a member of. I’ve never heard of someone dropping one group when joining another. People typically add; and if they drop the reason is intrinsic to the group they drop.

    I did solicit Ryan’s FB group. I thought Ryan was a friend of the blog and that my invitation would not be received negatively. For that I am sorry. I see numerous external blogs and sites Linked on the blog every Tuesday and didn’t see my action as particularly different than that, but now I know it is. Please don’t blame Ryan; the invitation was completely my idea.

    2. Grace. I am quite aware that virtually every Christian tradition would affirm grace and hold it in high esteem. So, because I don’t know Ryan’s tradition, I asked him for a succinct definition of what he believes. I conveyed what he told me, which is: “a grace centered Gospel which is effective to do what it promises, placing sanctification purely in the passive righteousness category.”

    That is one among probably many definitions of grace. It is relatively close to both Lutheranism and Reformed, such as Michael Horton, but even here, we would have to define terms such as “passive.” However, I can’t tell from the definition whether Ryan leans or is Lutheran or Reformed or something else. I do not know.

    I do know that one of my best FB friends and regulars here is very transparent that she doesn’t agree with monergistic sanctification, so she would define grace differently. That hasn’t stopped us from being good friends who share a lot of other things in common.

    3. CC. I did not know that Ryan had any history in CC, much less as a pastor, until you mentioned it here last night. We have no CCs here locally and, thus, the only thing I know about CC comes from this blog.

    Your regular articles about CC are among the most popular articles on the blog, measured by number of comments. Those comments run more than 90% negative. In fact I am astonished how negatively CC is portrayed by your readership, typically without much (or any) push back by you or anyone else. Therefore, I have been painted a very dark, cult-like picture about CC from the articles and readers here. Though there are a couple people who comment positively about their current CC; they are in the minority by far.

    If anyone has found a healthy, grace-filled experience in their current CC, I am sincerely happy for you and apologize for treating the CC movement with content. I would like to clarify that the way I read your articles is that you are painstaking to provide objective, historical information, which typically is backed by evidence and reliable sources. So, I don’t think you slander CC, even though some CC supporters appear to accuse you of slander or lying about CC.

    4. “You’re about to lose this platform” I feel very hurt that after so many years here, that you would treat me as disposable. I say something that rubs you the wrong way and boom! I’m gone. I’m not a perfect person and don’t always recognize how something I write might be taken, and I don’t have all the facts sometimes. But, please don’t make me walk on egg shells when participating here.

  27. Duane Arnold says:

    A simple apology to Michael may have been a bit more appropriate…

  28. Michael says:

    I will set aside my amazement that someone would lecture me on how social media works and try to make this brief.
    Social media etiquette would normally be that solicitations to other sites be first signed off on by the site owner.
    I knew Ryan wasn’t involved in this as Ryan has half a dozen ways to contact me and is not interested in poking the bear.
    I wouldn’t have had a problem with it had it been handled properly.
    It’s not something I’m interested in as I would rather pass a kidney stone than argue with a bunch of Lutherans over arcane points of theology.
    This site is ecumenical…and it was ecumenical before I was an Anglican and when I was Truly Reformed.
    I wasn’t proselytizing anyone to be a Calvinist then, nor am I seeking Anglican converts now.
    We’re here for the purposes of mutual learning and fellowship, not to declare the superiority of the sect we belong to.
    Finally, you didn’t just rub me the wrong way, you rubbed a lot of long time readers the wrong way.
    That…is a problem.

  29. Babylon's Dread says:

    Linnea,

    I am praying also for this generation of young. They do not hearken to our voice. They hear other voices. Ultimately if those voices produce salient fruit in their lives we will lose them permanently. However the hunger for meaning will rise again in their children and others. Living a life of meaning is what called our generation to Christ. We missed some important things and we used too much coercive power. Coercion is the enemies tool and when we wield it we sound like a dragon and we betray our goals.

    Just a thought or two, but I think they will hear again and I think we will be surprised where the help comes from. The Lord will open the earth to swallow the vomit of the dragon. We will see.

  30. Xenia says:

    I’ve been thinking about why Jean’s innocent invitation went south so fast.

    He can’t be blamed for thinking the absolute worst about Calvary Chapel, if the PhxP is his only source of information. (He could be faulted for thinking the PhxP *is* the only or even the best source of CC info.) Most of us here are ex-Calvary Chapelites and on this blog we have found a place to air our grievances, and we have a lot of them. You can’t go into a room of ex-smokers, some with lung cancer, and expect to hear anything good about Marlboroughs. You are not going to hear much good about CC here, either. The PhxP is a much needed venue for those of us who need some place to think about our old CC experiences. Frankly, as time wears on, I have lost interest in trashing a church that played the background music for my family as we grew up. There are so many happy memories. Someone whose knowledge of CC mostly comes from the blog-writings of the disgruntled will not know about the good times- and most of the times were very good.

    Now, I think some of CC’s theology is pretty bad but not for the reasons Jean thinks. It was their monergism that I couldn’t take. For me, this is a problem with all of Protestantism, both Calvary Chapel AND Lutheranism. I didn’t have the vocabulary for it at the time, but it was the monergistic view of grace that sent me packing. So not only does Calvary Chapel have grace (as I believe they do) they have exactly the same kind of monergistic grace that the Lutherans have, which I abandoned for synergism. It may be expressed differently in practice, but it’s Protestantism through and through. And am not a Protestant.

    Apart from this core doctrinal disagreement, which I have with almost all Protestants, CC has some issues that are unique to them, especially the Moses model. Their emphasis on the Rapture and all its attendant notions is also one of their specialties to which I say “No thanks.”

    Concerning recent topic of contention I want to say that some of us, CC and ex-Calvinists alike, have sat through decades of sermons/books/radio shows/studies about the Reformation view of salvation, based on Justification by Faith [alone]. Even if you believe this theology, which I don’t, one has to admit that this type of doctrinal teaching completely overshadows Christ’s Sermon on the Mount teachings 99 percent of the time. To sum up 40 years of teaching: “Jesus said to obey His commandments but Paul said nope so we’re going with Paul.”

    So you can see why some of us are tired of that and believe there has to be more to walking with Christ than endless rehashing the topic of justification, even if one believes the Five Solas.

    So that’s what I think. Jean’s a good guy and we don’t need to pile on him. He believed the conversation over on Ryan’s FB page is wonderful and that we’d all benefit. I suspect many of us are tired of that kind of conversation and just want to concentrate on Sermon on the Mount type stuff, if it isn’t too late, but Jean’s motives were good. But we are the wrong audience, I think.

    Love to everyone,
    Xenia

  31. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    That… was brilliant.

    “So you can see why some of us are tired of that and believe there has to be more to walking with Christ than endless rehashing the topic of justification, even if one believes the Five Solas. ”

    Exactly…

    I amen the whole comment, even as I remain a catholic Protestant…

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think some here are feigning outrage at Jean’s recommendation. What in his initial post was upsetting? What in his initial post at 3:34pm yesterday has not been done in the comments section of the Linkathon thread?
    Hundreds of times over the years we have added links and recommendations to other sites telling each other “you should really check this guy out.”
    I know I have done so to multiple Lutheran sites and podcasts. Xenia used to link to varying EO priest’s websites or Ancient Faith Radio. CC guys would link us to some featured speaker’s page with glowing recommendations.

    I don’t remember any of us requesting prior approval – but perhaps that is the new normal.

  33. Duane Arnold says:

    I’m not outraged… I’m bored with hearing the same four notes in the score. It feels like a John Cage concert.

  34. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I think “outrage” is exponentially too strong.
    Try “annoyance” or “irritation”.
    It did come across as something akin to poaching, but may well have been nothing more than enthusiasm to join like minded believers accompanied by the usual denigration of other beliefs.
    Historically there has always been a difference between recommending sites and invitations to join up with a group…I’m not sure it matters at this point.
    I’ll use Xenia’s statement as my own and move on…

  35. Jean says:

    Xenia,

    Thank you for putting a good construction on my invitation and for explaining the source of your indignation. It is noted with gratitude.

  36. Em says:

    Just a quick drive comment – out of context for this good thread
    Yesterday a comment was made (to bait us i’m sure). Quoting something being spewed about today: God, if there is one raped Mary, the mother of Jesus. It was mixed in with a lot of other unbelievers’ dogma, but folks if this doesn’t scare you, it should. It is a comment that God, Himself, won’t take lightly.
    If you hear this said by anyone, is it not something that we MUST respond to? Or … am i just old fashioned? … don’t think sk

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, it is true that we march to a different tune. I guess being Christocentric can be likened to a 4 note symphony.
    I just finished a study I was doing for a future class pointing out the importance of Calvary, the cross, the fruit of Jesus on that tree and the present day benefits for us today – hey, that’s my 4 notes.
    But I pointed out that contemporary Christianity, giving a nod to Good Friday as an historical event, encourage their adherents to move on to things more important – perhaps the things you talk of.

    As to John Cage and his music, I remember Francis Schaeffer using the same argument as he set up his Christian theology of those “more important” things in How Should We Then Live – living out political works with son Franky.
    To each his own – as for me I will stick to the 4 notes. Grace lives on.
    But I will let Jean defend his comments. 🙂

  38. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Your Lutheranism is no more Christocentric than our Anglicanism…and it’s that sort of provocation we can really do without.

  39. Michael says:

    Em,

    It doesn’t scare me at all.
    It’s wrong, but unbelief is.
    I’m more scared by the type of abuse that creates people that hate the faith that much.

  40. Duane Arnold says:

    Good to see MLD has not changed… or maybe not… 😊

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, your are showing an unwarranted sensitivity here. I made no comparison to Anglicanism. I was accused of being a “4 note” guy and I just identified that with my Christocentric platform. But, and this is important – if you are saying that your Christocentric stuff is not a 4 noter and is something else, then you are the one making the distinction.
    Now I will note and point out that you never correct Dwayne who is the king of divisive comments as noted by his “4 noter” & John Cage comparisons. But as I say to each his own.

  42. Michael says:

    MLD,

    When debating with Lutherans one must always go in knowing that Lutherans believe that they alone are the correct purveyors of doctrine and practice and a negative comparison is always soon to come.

    If one can understand that going in, then some discussion is possible.

    If I assumed wrongly in this case, it would only be because the standard has long been set.

    I think Xenia addressed what was inferred by the “four note” comment and your throne as the reigning king of divisive comments is under no threat from Duane…spelled D-U-A-N-E.

    Some find this characteristic of yours endearing…indeed, to each his own.

    Now, I must prepare for the Viking game and further conflict will be dealt with mercilessly if it interrupts the necessary rituals to be ready for the Bears…

  43. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    I was only concerned about your “unwarranted sensitivity” 😁… I must say, I’ve not noticed it.

  44. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well I have been very careful Here today to not be divisive and I think I have suceeded – hence my comment about you sensitivity.
    Auto correct to my voice commands must not know which Duane I refer to.
    At this time too I will exit to see my Cardinals lock up the worst record this NFL season – but assure a sweet draft pick. 🙂

  45. Dan from Georgia says:

    Micheal,

    I too am readying for the Vikes-Bears game! Going to the local sports bar-restaurant to cheer them on!

    As far as what is going on here…this is getting REALLY OLD and TIRESOME.

    Keep being ecumenical Michael! I and many others are turned off by any one faith practice saying they are God’s chosen remnant. I live in the South where Baptists (Southern and Independent) think they are the cats meow to the Lord. Where I came from in MN, the Calvinsists at Bethlehem Baptist (John Piper’s old church) were all that, along with the Evangelicals and places like Solomon’s Porch.

    I have no personal beef with anyone here, btw.

    It all stinks.

    Enjoy the game!

  46. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I suspect that I’m going to need a drink or three for this one…

  47. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael et al…

    Still love you all!

    Yeah, this game could get ugly if Chicago keeps their starters in, and seeing how they plugged up the Vikes running (and for that matter, scoring) game last time!

    MDL, good Luke today (maybe – if you want the high draft pick)!

    Kevin H if you are out there…keep Nick Foles!

  48. Jerod says:

    I will acquiesce that Michael’s ecumenism is far more palatable than other types.

    I draw the line at reincarnation of the body and blood in the Eucharist, but this place has helped God show me that grace must abound toward others at least as much as it has in my life.

    Thanks for that Michael, MLD, et al.

  49. Xenia says:

    MLD suposes: “Well I have been very careful Here today to not be divisive and I think I have suceeded…”

    When you make the insinuation that some here are not as Christocentric as you are, you have not succeeded.

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – where did I imply that? I only pointed out that if I had to answer to Duane’s charge that I was striking on 4 notes only or that I was making a limited clamor ala John Cage and his music then it was because I was Christocentric in my theology.
    Duane seemed to be lobbying for something of a grander symphony scale – perhaps something as I suggested in the class notes I had just finished writing.

    But let me ask this – why is it not divisive on Duane’s part to make accusations of my theology? Think on this – he fired the first shot – but he is the Golden Boy and goes unscathed. That is on you, not me.
    I am pleased with my position – my church preaches on grace and justification every single week as the main topic and not a side note to the unbelievers at the end of a message.

  51. Em says:

    Michael @ 11:05… I see your point, but….
    What scares me is not the unbeliever with an ax to grind, rather it is the egregious accusation. God, the God of grace, will not always hold His wrath in check. I don’t want to be here when He comes down on such an insult, nor do i want to stand by, saying nothing when such a demented, undisciplined mouth accuses God of rape (not referring to the one who posted the comment)… I guess i have reached the end of my forbearance … err something 😡 dunno ….

  52. Duane Arnold says:

    MLD

    Believe it or not… my reference was to Jean, not you! Sorry if that pops your bubble…

  53. Xenia says:

    where did I imply that?<<<

    I remember this game.

    Not playing.

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, I will just take that last reply to be out of your embarrassment for making a less than wise accusation, it was indeed directed at me. I spoke of feigned outrage (not Jean) and you immediately replied you were not outraged but…
    A simple apology would have been acceptable.

  55. Michael says:

    MLD,
    He was referring to Jean…and your comeback tour is about over.

  56. EricL says:

    BD started this thread by reminiscing about 2018. Was the comment thread that followed a real one or did Michael just snip and paste the best of 2018’s most infamous comments?? Can I add to it? Maybe we can create our own Mad Libs:

    “I bet ___________ would make a great terrorist, considering how good he/she is at hijacking a comment thread.” (Fill in the blank with your favorite PxP commenter)

    “Being a ___________ ain’t bad, but my tribe is so much better.” (Pick a denomination or church group)

    “Michael Newnham favorite musician is ___________________, favorite team is ______________, and favorite animal species is __________________.”

    Happy final days of 2018!

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will depart but first I must call for some honesty here. Jean’s last previous comment was at 6 am in the form of an awkward apology. No mention on his part of outrage.

    At 10am I make the charge of feigned outrage and Duane fires back at 10:10 am that he is not outraged etc.

    It’s one of those inconvenient truths, but the deck is stacked.

  58. bob1 says:

    It’s always great when someone knows you better than yourself and corrects you.

    How did we do here w/o MLD? Quite well, if you ask me.

  59. Em says:

    Why does it feel like no one is thinking much here today/tonight? Too many tired sounding comments
    Must be a tired bunch of PhxPeeps… understandable… Maybe…

    God keep

  60. Duane Arnold says:

    MLD

    When you indicated there was outrage, I simply said that I was not outraged, but bored… it had nothing to do with you… although I am once again bored… again…😊

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