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  1. filbertz says:

    there’s an old adage that one becomes more like that which he beholds. I was thinking, perhaps erroneously, that many Trump-supporting evangelicals are becoming more like him–bombastic, critical, touchy, arrogant, and unable to accept correction. Like I said, I may be well off-base, but I’m wondering if anyone else shares that observation. If not, I’ll stand corrected, humbled, and eager to learn. 🙂

  2. Michael says:

    Fil,

    I’m not sure about this as the political opposition is every bit as awful.
    In my opinion, the correct way to view this is that it has become culturally acceptable to speak of anyone you disagree with in the most base ways possible.
    The societal decision to view everything as a black and white, binary choice and to impute ultimate good and evil to those choices will bear horrendous fruit sooner than later…

  3. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael and Fil,

    My observation from several Christian websites is that it seems like the pro-Trump crowd is more apt to engage in name-calling and other hostile online behaviors. However, as Michael stated, it is BOTH/ALL sides that are increasingly becoming more absolute in the pronunciations of evil on their opponents.

    But then again my observation may be tainted because I didn’t vote for Trump.

  4. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I used to think the Christian bunch was worse until I started following the “convinced” pro choice, LGBTQ folks…scary stuff, there…

  5. Duane Arnold says:

    The “conversation” has gotten out of hand. Both sides barely recognize the other side as human. I found out that the singer/songwriter of ‘Hymn for the 81%’ was on Facebook. I went to his time line where I wrote these words: “Great song. Sending you love from The Project in Indy.” Five minutes after posting, someone unknown to me had replied calling me a “Godless Democrat baby killer”. I looked over the timeline and was simply appalled at the things being written by “evangelical Christians”.

    There really is no excuse. It is blind, self-righteous hate. What makes it worse is that it is coming from people who claim the tents of Christianity. This is a scar that will remain with us for years, if not decades.

  6. filbertz says:

    Michael, it could be said that the political opposition has been ‘focused’ on him as well, and therefore has become more like him…just wondering out loud. Besides, my concern is for those who claim to be of Christ, from an evangelical bent–our collective reputations are certainly at stake.

    Of course, there are other issues at play and I don’t wish to ignore them…social media, etc.

  7. Steven says:

    For those of you who attend(Ed) seminary, how did you afford it? I’m investigating it and there is no way I can afford it and (let’s be honest), to take a loan out is a burden I’m not sure our family can afford (I’m almost 50) paying it back long term. I know there are scholarships but, from my research, I’ll still need several hundreds of dollars (per month), even with them.

  8. bob1 says:

    I don’t know how it is today…but back in the late 70s I was going to go to seminary. The denomination I belonged to promised to pay my full freight.
    In return, they wanted me to spend x number of years with them as a pastor.

    I don’t know if that type of thing is still around. But if could commit yourself
    to some type of denominational group, maybe it could open some doors for you.

  9. Michael says:

    Why do you want to go to seminary?

  10. Steven says:

    A fair and pertinent question and very difficult to explain adequately without going into a background saga and dissertation.

    The short answer:. I believe I can use my God given gifts in ministry. I believe I’m stuck without a proper training (and the seemingly required pedigree so many churches in the US require. Letters behind your name and degrees matter in the US). This is something I’ve wrestled with for many years and I can honestly say that there is nothing else I’d rather do than ministry. I’ve had classes/non-accredited training left by seminary grads and have had my giftings confirmed by several respectable seminary grads.

    Learning, teaching and ministering is…for lack of a better term…the only thing that makes me feel that I’m actually doing what I’ve been created to do. (I didn’t my rely on “feelings” to confirm things, but I don’t necessarily automatically disregard them either).

    Nothing is available to me in my current situation and I see nothing coming up in the future…and I believe I might well need to start making my own path toward my calling instead of waiting for one to open up where I’m at (which may well never happen).

    I am hesitant to use the words “calling,” etc because I believe it’s overly used and all but misunderstood.

    So much for a “short answer.”. I hope this gives an adequate, although incomplete, glimpse into the answer to your question.

    Thank you for your time

  11. Steven says:

    Bob1,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. However I don’t think that joining s denomination in order to obtain assistance in this endeavor is something the denomination would appreciate. 🙂

    Still, maybe I’m wrong about that.

  12. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael,

    When I followed the progressive crowd much more in the past, I became convinced that many of them were just as fundamentalist as those they criticized daily.

  13. bob1 says:

    Steven,

    I wasn’t saying you should join the denom. for that reason. It’s more like, if there
    were a denom you’d like to affiliate with, there may be funding opportunites to
    go to sem.

  14. Michael says:

    Steven,

    depending on your faith tradition the answers will vary.
    Usually denoms that require degrees want them from certain schools.
    Non denoms can get a tuition break at Western Seminary through CGN…

  15. Em says:

    Reading here and wondering about online seminary classes? ? ?

  16. Michael says:

    If one simply wishes to educate oneself, there are great online seminary classes you can take for free.
    You can basically takes the same courses for a Masters degree at some really good schools.

    It’s still a huge commitment in doing all the reading and all the writing.

  17. Duane Arnold says:

    Steve

    I can formulate a more cogent answer given time. Going to seminary is a worthy endeavor, but it will probably put your life on hold for three years. Look for scholarships. Look for work-study programs (I graded papers for two years in historical theology). It’s a good bit of hustling, but it can be done. There’s only one reason to go and undertake the risk… has God called you? If so, start on the path…

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    Steve

    As to seminary… As a practical matter, you should consider what you want to to after going to school – pastor a church, youth work, etc. This should inform your choice of a seminary. For instance, being linked with a denomination can assist in finding a position post-seminary. Going the non-denominational route may offer a wider array of opportunities, but may also involve a new church plant. Most seminaries now offer a combination of residential/non-residential programs. The non-residential (usually set up for those seeking second careers) involves on-line work combined with set weeks of being resident at the seminary. This would involve using your current vacation time or working out something with your current employer. The process for a M.Div. from an accredited seminary (ATS) will be three to four years. The cost, depending on the school, will be $40,000 to $60,000. Scholarships can cut this amount in half. Financial Aid is usually available, but at age 50, taking on student debt can be a real burden, especially considering the somewhat low pay you can expect as a newly minted pastor at the end of the process. Additionally, most second career pastors (about 50-60%) are bi-vocational.

    My best advice is to find a seminary nearby and speak to them directly, being very honest about your financial and work situation. They may have special programs or scholarships tailored to people like yourself. If you do decide to try it for a term, I’d suggest a mix of a difficult course (such as introductory Greek or Hebrew) and a more “user friendly” course such as systematics. You’ll have a good idea after one term if the sacrifice and study is really worth it for you. Again, as I said in a previous comment, there’s only one good reason to take this on, and that is about discerning God’s calling…

  19. MM says:

    Steven

    First let me state this, if you are going to seminary or any higher education school just to get a better position or purely recognition I believe you are focusing on the wrong motivation.

    Second in all things, especially getting to know the heart of God, study and education is a life long process and does not end when one is handed their “sheep skin.”

    Since affordability seems to be your biggest barrier I sense you haven’t really considered all your options. There are many on-line legitimate methods of receiving formal education these days and at a reasonable monetary cost. However, the biggest cost is always your commitment and dedication to actually learning the material and this goes well beyond the monetary issue.

    A man doesn’t build a tower unless one counts the cost.

    Decide really why you want the letters after your name, which I believe will help you greatly in your quest.

    Let me offer you this one thing that might help. In reality while it may impress some and open some doors, in the end no one, except those who really love you, cares if you have an MDIV or PHD attached to your name.

    Ministry is about helping others and not how they can help you.

  20. Em says:

    Question (i don’t know if anyone will read or want to weigh in on this one)
    Two of my children at various times and someone this week asked, How could God consign a soul to hell, if they’d never heard the Gospel? ”
    My answer was that IF you hear the Gospel, consider it and reject it you have no hope. If you accept it, you are “born again” becoming a part of the Church. If you’ve never heard the Gospel, God knows hearts and judges you accordingly. What did you do with the Truth you did find? Such as the witness of the stars, the order of the universe. Were you seeking the Creator or just making up a religion or no religion that pleased your ego?
    Is there an answer in Scripture that i have missed?

  21. Michael says:

    Em,

    That will open a can of worms…
    If one is a strict biblicist, all those who do not hear are lost and go to hell.
    Period.
    The only way to save them from the pit is by holy speculation that God is more gracious and merciful than we can imagine…that I find much more in line with who Jesus is and why He came.

  22. Em says:

    Michael, i suspect that there cannot be compromise that is compatible with God’s pure holiness – but i also suspect that that is a two way street

  23. Em says:

    I might add that i see more than one dynamic at work: God’s heart for people and His dealing with nations. With what is going on today in the U.S., the latter is a little worrying… but I know the Church is praying now and that gives me hope

  24. MM says:

    Em

    In Acts and Romans its says, “those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved…”

    Most reference Joel 2:32 as the basis for that statement, But there is also the Prophet Zephaniah who says something similar in 3:9 , which is part of the whole 3:8-11.

    My question is this, what does it mean to “call upon the name of the Lord?”

    The Hebrew used in the prophets is the same name God called Himself at the bush with Moses, you hey vav hey. Which many transliterate as Yehovah. In Acts and Romans the Greek word is master, possessor, … nothing like the Hebrew used by the Prophets. However, it is also the position given, both believed and spoken, the risen Jesus in Romans 10:9.

    My question or point really is this, does God consign people to Hell or do people refuse to call Him Lord. I think the latter and I would add in the greatness, love and mercy of His Kingdom all are given the chance and ability to turn and call Him Lord, regardless if they have heard the actual English or what ever language you choose transliteration of name Jesus.

    BTW I believe it is quite clear He, Jesus, has redeemed all, not some, sin, but do people call on the Lord to be saved?

    Rambling between studies.

  25. MM says:

    not “you hey vav hey”

    yod, hey, vav, hey

    auto correct is a blessing?

  26. MM says:

    Michael:

    “If one is a strict biblicist, all those who do not hear are lost and go to hell.
    Period.”

    I’m pretty strict and yet disagree with you. I know this is just a short scripture byte, but I think it nails it.

    “But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”” (Romans 10:18, ESV)

    Looks to me like at least Paul in the 1st Century believed all have heard. But maybe he meant something else and yet I prefer to believe the former.

    Which leads us back to His great love, mercy and justices.

  27. MM says:

    Em

    My answer is always, “all have heard the gospel in some form or another and the Bible to me confirms it. What people do is reject what they have heard and that is the part I never fully understand.”

    If I came up with a guaranteed method for people to be heart healthy until the reach 120 years old how many would actually do it? Yes I mean guaranteed to live comfortably until the day they drop dead, no disease, suffering or pain, but one has to stop eating meat. Yes 100% no meat at all, how many would jump on the band wagon?

    A few. The rest would come up with some excuse about meat and its qualities for life.

    Sadly the latter is who we humans are, there’s water but we won’t drink it.

    Thanks Em for reading my ramblings, I really only have some observations from the years no real answers.

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    MM

    Romans 10:18… context – “But I ask, have they not heard?”. “They”, I believe, refers to the Jews….

  29. Em says:

    MM and Michael, thank you for the input… I can and do speculate a bit, i know – don’t want to become a MaryB.Eddy clone.. I do think that many received Christ’s amazing atonement before the phenomena of the Church, and it seems reasonable that there are those out there during what i’d call the Church age, who, do not hear the Gospel, but God knows they would receive it, if they did. Not part of the Church, but still recipients of the atonemen, just not serving as the Church is tasked
    Above all, though, i do try to keep in mind that God is Truth and we tend to slide a bit, so… Let God be God and praise His holy Name, He does all things well – to coin a phrase or two. ?

  30. MM says:

    Duane

    Maybe, but it depends on how one interprets the Roman audience and refer back to the 1st chapter of the book. Many interpret a bit broader as in Rom 1:18, 19 which may point to such an audience and reference. Although the letter is clearly written to those who believe and possibly to explain the very question Em was asked.

    I too over the years have been asked the same, and in the end the only clear answer is all have heard in some form or another. The question comes down to how much a depraved mind, how and to what part it plays in refusal to act on what they have heard and know.

    And now it gets messy amongst denominations and doctrines.

    Simple answer, “all have heard it’s what they do with it.”

  31. MM says:

    Duane:

    When I write of the Roman audience I believe it is generally agreed upon they were a combination of Jews and gentiles. So making the statement Romans 10:18 was exclusively written to the Jewish part of the audience may seem correct because of the scriptural reference he used. However, it is also clear the use of scripture in Jewish teaching techniques of the Pharisees would or could include others who did not know the Jewish scriptures as well. Add in the mixed audience and the exclusivity doesn’t fully make sense.

    But opinions vary.

    And even with my children and grandchildren, lack of knowing the rule never excuses them from the natural knowledge of right and wrong. We know there’s a God and yet reject that knowledge.

    Just some thoughts it’s okay to disagree.

  32. MM says:

    Em

    My only question is this, “what is the gospel?”

    The very name Jesus is often said to mean “God saves” or a variation of that and “God” is a reference to Yehovah and not the more generic term “el.” Often lost is it is also a common form of the name “Joshua,” who led the people into the promised land.

    I love that picture, we are led by Jesus into the Kingdom of Heaven.

    So how do we explain the gospel, the “good news?”

    Tough one.

    Sorry hon a roll today, I’m done for now. Thank you for letting me write.

  33. Em says:

    Appreciate thougthts here that obviously come from reverent minds
    It seems to me – FWIW – that there are two sides to the gospel coin
    God has provided redemotion, reconciliation through Jesus’ incarnation, and victory, the resurrection that followed our crucifying of God . get your mind around that fact, if you can ?
    Then there is the birth of the Church with all tat God provides us to represent Him during this time period…
    Kinda makes ya wanna break out in song… Like David. .

  34. Jean says:

    MM,

    “My only question is this, ‘what is the gospel?’ ”

    If Gospel means good news, then what is uniquely good news about the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus? What did Jesus accomplish for us that no other could accomplish?

    If you can work out these questions, then y will find the Gospel.

  35. Jtk says:

    I’ve been going back through one of the courses at RTS, after you recommended it awhile ago, Michael.

    Any thoughts now on that?

  36. Michael says:

    Jtk,

    If you’re talking about Frank James history classes, they remain incomparable.
    Been thinking about going through all three courses again…

  37. Jean says:

    Another false prophet. The Satan is working from both the left and the right to destroy Christ’s church in America. If I didn’t know the end of the story and have the promises of Christ to cling to, I think I would utterly despair.

    https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/02/08/michigan-episcopal-diocese-welcomes-first-female-bishop/4660930002/?fbclid=IwAR3KgxNjHuMWD5a2WhkEOV_Ty-vmCzp3Rifp2MfNK4u3EA_ds58NNR3ycTs

    “Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.”

  38. Jean says:

    From the article Michael linked at 6:18 am:

    “Judge Márquez said prosecutors appeared to be claiming that without clean water and food, there would be more deaths and therefore fewer people willing to cross the border illegally.

    “This gruesome logic is profoundly disturbing,” she wrote.”

    This tactic, which I’ve heard more than once of our current Federal Executive Branch, is evil. Every Christian should applied this judicial decision.

  39. Michael says:

    Jean,
    I wish…but I know better.
    The Border Patrol enjoys cutting those water bottles open to the delight of many….

  40. Jean says:

    In a nutshell, make the life of asylum seekers a living hell if they get here, hoping word will get back to others, and deter them from making the journey. That’s what we’ve come to.

  41. Michael says:

    Jean,
    I don’t say much anymore, but still follow the border closely.
    We have made it hell, indeed.

  42. Jean says:

    Michael,

    Thank you for posting the link. I hadn’t heard of that judicial decision before. I don’t doubt that the judge will be condemned, as any judge, politician or civil servant also would be, who goes against Cyrus. However, it’s always good to hear and read that the Lord has reserved to himself a remnant.

  43. Muff Potter says:

    A win for “religious freedom” that you won’t hear about on Fox news…
    That’s the true true Michael, not a snowball’s chance in hell…

    The Border Patrol enjoys cutting those water bottles open to the delight of many….
    It probably warms the cockles of Robert Jeffress’ heart too, if that’s even possible for a heart of stone.

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