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32 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    True or false?

    “Sometimes you have to come within inches of actually believing something before you can truly understand it enough to disagree with it.”

  2. Josh says:

    Hmm. True, because it says “sometimes”. Most of the time, the things we malign, we don’t fully understand.

  3. Michael says:


    I know it’s true for me…I have to go way deep into something to fully grasp it…

  4. Josh says:

    Yeah, who is the quote from.

  5. Michael says:

    Preston Sprinkle asked the question on Twitter.

  6. Josh says:

    Oh…in that case:


  7. Michael says:

    Sprinkle is one of my favorite current writers…

  8. Josh says:

    I know. I was kidding 🙂

    I do think the statement is true most of the time, and we could better understand our own beliefs if we fully understood the things we disagree with.

  9. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You may wish to be a little more specific. When the Heaven’s Gate cult was going to be taken out by the Hale-Bopp comet in the 90s, I did not need to come within inches of believing it to understand them.

  10. JoelG says:

    “Sometimes you have to come within inches of actually believing something before you can truly understand it enough to disagree with it.”

    This sounds right. Can anyone give a specific example?

    I don’t think same-sex marriage is acceptable to God (anymore than my divorce). But I can’t say I ever came close to believing it.

  11. Michael says:


    When I read the apologetics for SSM, some of them are reasonably compelling…though I still reject them
    I’m neck deep in studying various forms of universalism…and some of them are very compelling.
    I’ve rejected some of them…but not until I wore them for awhile…

  12. Michael says:


    Perhaps thats why he said “sometimes’…

  13. EricL says:

    Unfortunately, too many tourists at our national parks experience this, when they believe that bison is safe to hug, that bear needs a pat on the head, or it’s okay to go beyond the ropes and warning signs and climb right to the edge of a crumbling cliff to get the perfect selfie. Getting within inches of your false beliefs can have devastating consequences.

  14. Michael says:


    We have that happen at Crater Lake frequently…

  15. Pineapple Head says:

    Preston Sprinkle: What a cool name!

  16. Jean says:

    Sprinkle seems to imply that beliefs are freely chosen, and can be freely discarded. Neither sounds like a belief to me. Isn’t a belief the passive response to an encounter with evidence or an argument the recipient finds compelling? If so, the belief is overcome only by more compelling contrary evidence or arguments. The result would a new belief or no belief and just doubt.

    Rather than sitting in judgment between between God and the devil over the source of a teaching, when if God and the devil are fighting over us for who we will serve? If so, then we should be discriminating about what we read and who we listen to.

    Therefore, as it pertains to Christianity, Paul exhorts Timothy to guard sound doctrine, because the devil is crafty: “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”

  17. Michael says:

    God has never told me not to read something…or not to listen to someone.
    That’s fear based and I will have no part of it…

  18. Jean says:

    To each his own. However, please consider 2 Tim 3.

    Fear can be healthy and even the beginning of wisdom, if well placed.

  19. j2theperson says:

    I don’t know that the issue so much is disagreeing or not. I need to know basically nothing about something to decide (fairly or unfairly) that I disagree with it. So, I don’t think gaining a deep understanding of an issue is necessary to reject it, but if you want to persuasively argue against an idea and convince other people of the wrongness of an idea, it really helps if you have a strong understanding of it and, having come close to believing something, can also help you argue more compassionately because you understand personally/emotionally where the people who hold such a belief are coming from.

  20. Xenia says:

    Well, I don’t agree with the statement, for the most part.

    I have what the world would consider to be a narrow range of things I believe about God. I think the vast majority of the world’s philosophies and theologies are wrong, fatally wrong. Even from a good distance away I can smell sulfur. I don’t need to get any closer.

    (I am not talking about plain vanilla Evangelicalism, by the way. They are a-ok with me, for the most part. God love them.)

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Walter Martin used to tell the story of how bankers trained to spot counterfeit bills – and it had nothing to do with studying the counterfeits. You trained on nothing but the authentic bills and you got so good at knowing the sight and feel that when a counterfeit came across, you knew it.

    This is the same here – I don’t need to stuff the false, the whacky or the new shiny dime of theology into my brain or spirit. I know the authentic and just give the others a wave of the back of my hand.

    Some need to jump in up to their neck in the false to hopefully find out it is false — most however drown in piss poor theology.

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    “Sometimes you have to come within inches of actually believing something before you can truly understand it enough to disagree with it.”

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I think my problem is with the word “disagree”. There is much in theological systems I’ve come within inches of embracing that I believe and affirm, but some aspect or another has prevented me from taking the final step of “actually believing” (something which sounds a bit ambiguous). Even then it is not so much that I “disagree” as that I see it in a different light. I “agree” with the greater part of classical Lutheranism, as I “agree” with almost all of classical Orthodoxy. The fact that I am not a Lutheran or Eastern Orthodox, however, is not the result of agreeing or disagreeing, but a combination of culture, history and a certain theological perspective…

  23. Em says:

    EricL’s 10:20 is well worth pondering…. IMNSHO

  24. BrianD says:

    I lost my sister Charise early yesterday morning. It came as a shock, although she had been struggling with health problems for quite some time. She leaves behind a husband, two kids, four grandkids, a mother and two brothers, and plenty of extended family and friends who are all grieving in their own way. Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  25. Xenia Moos says:

    Lord have mercy.

  26. j2theperson says:

    I’m so sorry, BrianD. 🙁

  27. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Brian’s, so sorry to hear this news. It’s been a rough couple of years for you.
    If there is anything I can do for you, let me know.

  28. JoelG says:

    My condolences to you BrianD and your family in this heartbreaking time. ?

  29. Em says:

    God give strength and comfort to Brian and his family now – in Jesus we ask this – thank You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thanlkYou

  30. Jean says:

    What is gained in the communal life of Christians and included in the creedal confession: “I Believe in the Communion of Saints”?

    “This is the communion of saints, in which we glory. And whose heart will not be lifted up, even in the midst of great evils, when he believes that which is indeed the very truth; namely, that the blessings of all the saints are his blessings, and that his evil is also theirs! For this is the sweet and pleasant picture which the Apostle Paul depicts… ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.’ Is it not a blessing to be in such a company in which, ‘whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it’? …

    Therefore, when I suffer, I suffer not alone, but Christ and all Christians suffer with me; as He saith, ‘He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of My eye.’ Even so others bear my burden, and their strength becomes my own. The Church’s faith supports my fearfulness, the chastity of others bears the temptations of my flesh, the fastings of others, are my gain, the prayer of another pleads for me. In short, such care have the members one for another, that the comely parts cover, serve, and honor the uncomely….

    And so I can truly glory in the blessings of others as though they were my own; and they are truly my own when I find joy and pleasure therein. Let me, then, be base and vile; yet they whom I love and admire are fair and beautiful. And by my love I make not only their blessings, but their very selves my own; so that by their honor my shame is made honorable, by their abundance my poverty is filled, by their merits my sins are healed. Who, then, could despair in his sins? Who would not rejoice in his pains? For it is not he that bears his sins and pains; or if he does bear them, he bears them not alone, but is assisted by so many holy sons of God, yea, even by Christ Himself. So great a thing is the communion of saints, and the Church of Christ.”

    – Martin Luther, The Fourteen of Consolation, The Blessing On Our Right Hand (1519) [Citations have been omitted]

  31. Jean says:

    I sent the sent the following to a group of family and friends today, who range from agnostics to devoted followers:

    Let us receive this one name tonight or tomorrow morning.

    In the Name of Jesus
    By Johann Gerhard:

    “Thy name is holy and true; therefore let Thy name be true in respect to me; be Thou my Jesus and my Savior! Be Thou my Jesus in the present life; be Thou my Jesus in death; be Thou my Jesus in the last judgment; be Thou my Jesus in eternal life. And assuredly Thou wilt be, O blessed Jesus; because as Thou art unchangeable in essence so wilt Thou be in mercy. Thy name will not be changed, O Lord Jesus, on account of one miserable sinner like me. Nay, but Thou wilt be a Savior even to me, for Thou wilt not cast out any one that cometh unto Thee. Thou hast given me the desire to come to Thee, and surely Thou wilt receive me when I do come, for Thy words are truth and life (John vi. 63).

    “What if the propagation of original sin in me condemns me, yet Thou art my Jesus. What if my conception in sin condemns me, still Thou art my Jesus. What if my creation in sin and under the curse condemns me, nevertheless Thou art my Savior. What if my corrupted birth condemns me, yet art Thou my Salvation. What if the sins of my youth condemn me, still art Thou my Jesus. What if the course of my whole life, defiled with most grievous sin, condemns me, yet Thou remains still my Jesus! What if the penalty of death to be inflicted upon me for my sins and various transgressions condemns me, yet art Thou still my Savior! What if the awful sentence of the last judgment rise up against me, yet will I trust Thee, and fly to Thee as my Jesus, my Savior!

    “I am sinful, reprobate, condemned; but in Thy holy name there is righteousness, election, salvation; but in Thy name was I baptized; in Thy name do I believe; in Thy name will I die; in Thy name will I rise again, and in Thy blessed name will I appear at the judgment. In Thy name every conceivable good is provided for my soul, and stored up in reserve as a sacred treasury. Alas! how much of this good have I lost by my own distrust; and blessed Jesus, I fervently pray that Thou wilt graciously remove this distrust far from me, so that I, whom Thou dost so mercifully desire to save by Thy precious merit and life-giving name, may not condemn myself through mine own fault and unbelief.”

    – Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations

  32. BrianD says:

    Thank you all for your kind words and condolescences.

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