The Divided Mind Of Christ

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86 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    I forgot to turn on the comments…my bad.
    Thanks to Duane for catching it…

  2. Surfer51 says:

    I have always had a problem with slavery. How can a man take over the will of another? Isn’t that what witchcraft seeks to do?

  3. Em says:

    ….praying for the well being of nations, but not centered on their interests… A centered thought worth holding onto…
    IMNSHO 😇

  4. Jean says:

    I would have preferred as a title to the article The Divided Body of Christ, rather than The Divided Mind of Christ. The mind of Christ is in no way divided. The mind is in the head, not the body.

    Otherwise, Michael, I think there is some good food for thought here. Thank you for speaking your mind in the freedom of the Gospel.

  5. Em says:

    I think “mind” conveys our situation
    Serious Christians need the mind of Christ… We are all imperfect and not uniform in our development of His mind…

  6. Jean says:

    As long as Christians continue to conceive of Jesus Christ as a better Moses, the new Law giver, the “body” of Christ will continue to be divided. Why? Because intrinsic in the fallen human nature is the desire for self-justification.

    Therefore, fallen human beings who see Christ as the new Law giver, makes sure His Word gives a Law that justifies “me.” While I’m at it, I want civil laws which say that the way I want to live is just.

    Instead of the mind of Christ, you end up with a projection of yourself.

  7. Michael says:

    Jean,

    The law was fulfilled in Christ,not abolished.
    We look to Christ and the precepts of God to learn how to live in a way that promotes righteousness and justice.
    We strive for practical holiness…when we pray “thy kingdom come” we desire to be one participating in its arrival.
    That has nothing to do with self justification or projection…it’s a desire to be an ambassador of Christ and His kingdom.

  8. Steve says:

    “Well being of nations” seems too abstract, hard to define and somewhat political. I choose to say ALL people rather than nations. And if we want to be more specific about who we should love, I think it starts with your neighbor. So I’m more interested in a discussion of who are neighbor is on an individual basis and not so much what a nation is. Who was Jesus referring to when he says neighbor?

  9. Michael says:

    Your neighbor is anyone in need of your neighborliness…

  10. Em says:

    A neighbor is anyone whose life you, personally, can impact
    (granny definition. 👵 )

  11. Jean says:

    “We look to Christ and the precepts of God to learn how to live in a way that promotes righteousness and justice.”

    Not really. We learn (1) how to be justified before God; and (2) the fruit we produce “proclaims the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” and “they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” I don’t buy your analogy to OT Israel where the Christian is set up as the prophet of God to the civilian government. As I’ve said before, the prophets spoke to their own church.

    “We strive for practical holiness…when we pray “thy kingdom come” we desire to be one participating in its arrival.”

    You may strive, but in vain. God is holy and whatever else is holy is derivative and made holy by Him alone. Moreover, we don’t participate in the arrival of the kingdom except insofar as we passively receive that kingdom by faith, and later by sight when Christ returns.

    This reminds me of N.T. Wright’s kingdom building, social justice, nonsense. Again, instead of focusing on the vocation of the Church, people in the vein of Wright would rather try to make good fruit without attending to the good trees. It is simply unbelief in the power of the Gospel and God’s Word to justify the ungodly and sanctify a Christian people.

    “That has nothing to do with self justification or projection…it’s a desire to be an ambassador of Christ and His kingdom.”

    An ambassador speaks for the king. He speaks only what the king tells him to speak. Otherwise he misrepresents the king, by imputing thoughts or words to the king, which originate in the would-be-ambassador’s mind.

    Would-be-ambassadors divide the body of Christ and also turn people off to Christianity. St. Paul was an ambassador for Christ. What did he speak:

    “[I]n Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

    Is that too little of an ambassadorship for a minister of Christ?

  12. Em says:

    God’s people, the redeemed, ARE ambassadors… some are better at it than others, but God has no “would be” ambassadors

    And God’s ambassadors can and will offend, turn some off and even die trying. 🙋

  13. Michael says:

    Jean,

    That may be a fine representation of Lutheran doctrine, however, I am not a Lutheran and your presentation affirms my preference for Anglicanism…

    As someone who has read Wright with discernment, yet great profit, I will refrain from doubling down on your insult to his theological works, though it is noted.
    Your characterization of those of us interested in biblical social justice is grossly inaccurate and unfair, but I shall overlook the offense.

    Has God changed his mind?

    “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
    (Micah 6:8 ESV)

    “cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
    (Isaiah 1:16–17 ESV)

    ““Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”
    (Isaiah 58:6–10 ESV)

    “They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks the truth. Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time. Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.”
    (Amos 5:10–15 ESV)

    ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.””
    (Luke 4:18–19 ESV)

    Yes, we will fail to achieve complete practical holiness, but the Word you use a bludgeon demands we strive for it.
    It also demands that we who have received the inputed righteousness of Christ take actions that show we are indeed the recipients of that grace.

    “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
    If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
    (James 1:22–27 ESV)

    As I have a deep Trinitarian theology I believe the heart of God expressed in the older testament is the heart of Jesus as He said “if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father”.
    As my theology is incarnational I believe that our actions in in this life matter greatly to God.

    We are ambassadors of a kingdom that is already, but not yet. Our presence here is supposed to be a sign of how the kingdom come will operate when the King has come.

    Our ambassadorship is more than words though based on the Word…it is our whole life lived out in longing and faith for that which is to come.

  14. Jean says:

    Okay, fine. The Southern border is a perfect example. Nobody has a word from God, so, applying the WWJD hermaneutic, one Christian says tear gas was the godly approach and another Christian says it was ungodly. And the issues go on and on. That’s how you divide the body of Christ. Meanwhile, the Gospel is silenced.

  15. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Some of us would submit that we do have a word from God…many words actually, that speak of Gods concern for the poor, oppressed, and persecuted.
    The Gospel has not been silenced…it’s shouted out loud every time we seek to follow Him.
    It’s an utterly false dichotomy and absurdly poor argumentation to say that we cannot obey the words of Christ and proclaim the Gospel as well.

  16. Michael says:

    There is an Anglican church down on the border that crosses over the line every day to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the people there.
    Every day they also celebrate the Eucharist with them at noon.
    They are my model church…

  17. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    “An ambassador speaks for the king. He speaks only what the king tells him to speak.” I agree with you. I would submit, however, that barring some new revelation, the King has spoken.

    I would be very concerned if someone said that God has given them a new revelation about precisely what should be done on the southern border with regard to legislation, type of fence to be built (or not), who should be the commander of the troops, etc. I think, with me, you would be appalled if you heard such a new revelation.

    What we do have, however, is what the King has already spoken. “To do justly”, to “walk humbly”, to “care for the stranger”, etc.. We do not have to guess about what he has said. When we do those things in direct opposition to the government of the day, we become a prophetic voice whether we wish to be or not. Luther spoke to the issues of his own day and the actions of those in authority, sometimes wisely, at other times not so much – the Peasants Revolt comes to mind. He spoke, however, believing he was doing so as an ambassador. At the Diet of Worms when he made his courageous stand, he was speaking to political authorities in addition to religious authorities. In the end, it was the political authorities that gave him protection having heard a prophetic voice. Here’s the important thing, by raising his voice as an ambassador, political authorities changed their mind.

    Do we not have that same responsibility today?

  18. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I knew I should have called you first… 🙂
    Well said…

  19. Jean says:

    “Some of us would submit that we do have a word from God…many words actually, that speak of Gods concern for the poor, oppressed, and persecuted.”

    Yes, we have a word, but God is not a God of confusion. The border falls to temporal rulers. They serve the poor by means of the rule of law, and more specifically by curbing evil perpetrated by law breakers. God establishes the ruler, not the church. Our government serves its citizens and upholds its laws.

    The church serves the poor within its own estate from God, by the means of Word and Sacrament ministry and secondarily, works of mercy.

    The church doesn’t establish or manage the government. Citizens working as masks of God hold our government accountable.

  20. Michael says:

    “Yes, we have a word, but God is not a God of confusion.”
    Then someone needs to tell Him about 20,000 plus denominations…

    Duane has made the case I should have…

  21. Jean says:

    Apparently, Congress just agreed on a new Farm Bill. In that bill there are extravagant benefits for the poor. I’m not complaining, just noting it. There are lots of similar decisions our government makes for the poor among us every day that Americans can be thankful for.

  22. Jean says:

    The 20,000 denominations is not God’s confusion but wicked man’s.

  23. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    As a serious question, would you have made the same argument in the 1930s in Germany or Italy? Closer to home, would you have made that argument as the SS. St. Louis was turned away from our shores?

  24. Michael says:

    “The 20,000 denominations is not God’s confusion but wicked man’s.”
    Or maybe just different expressions of an infinite God…

    However, I think God’s heart for the poor, oppressed, and persecuted is quite clear…

  25. Jean says:

    “However, I think God’s heart for the poor, oppressed, and persecuted is quite clear…”

    That’s all of humanity and why Jesus came. “Come to me all….”

  26. Jean says:

    “Or maybe just different expressions of an infinite God…”

    Do mean that God is not one, or is He like an elephant and Christians are like blindfolded people who feel just one small part?

  27. Michael says:

    First, God does call all people but a cursory look at the Scriptures shows Him with a specific heart for the poor and oppressed.
    As to the myriad of denominations…we all see through a glass darkly…

  28. Jean says:

    “First, God does call all people but a cursory look at the Scriptures shows Him with a specific heart for the poor and oppressed.”

    I don’t deny that. I don’t know anyone with a cursory knowledge of the Scriptures that does.

  29. Em says:

    Christians are not blindfolded, neither are they pure (holy). We grow in nurture and admonition and we do not grow as a uniform unit. We are a dynamic of individuals, who are, or should be, a testament to the grace of God.
    Thankfully, our Lord is quite able and patient to accommodate the spiritually Asperger among us as well as those who are more like Paul the apostle

  30. Xenia says:

    Nobody has a word from God<<<

    Many have heard from the God of All Compassion on this, and many other social topics.

  31. Xenia says:

    The 20,000 denominations is not God’s confusion but wicked man’s.<<<

    I do agree with this but it is an ironic statement coming from a Lutheran, as the Reformation was the event that opened the door for the birth of 20,000 denominations.

  32. Jean says:

    It is ironic, Xenia. The bondage and tyranny of the anti-Christ gave the appearance of unity, but it was the devil’s unity. Today, the devil picks off Christians and churches onesie-twosie.

    For some reason, a lot of Christians think Jesus would be more popular after His resurrection than before His crucifixion.

  33. Duane Arnold says:

    “For some reason, a lot of Christians think Jesus would be more popular after His resurrection than before His crucifixion.”

    What!?!

  34. Jean says:

    I’m happy to engage your question, Duane. What specifically do you want explained?

  35. Duane Arnold says:

    Explain…. although you have not addressed my previous question.

  36. Jean says:

    Duane,

    Your last question was posted on this thread (from the perspective of my computer) in the same minute as a comment from Michael. For some reason I did not catch it at the time. Thank you for pointing that out. You asked:

    “As a serious question, would you have made the same argument in the 1930s in Germany or Italy? Closer to home, would you have made that argument as the SS. St. Louis was turned away from our shores?”

    Regarding pre-WWII Germany, I’m no historian, but I understand that there were two things going on: (1) There were civil votes for government; and (2) there was an ecclesiastical controversy because Germany had a State church.

    If I was a citizen of Germany, I would not have voted for a candidate or party which exulted one race over another. If I was a cleric in the State church, I would have objected strenuously against (i) racists false doctrine; and (ii) aligning the church with the government. Are we in agreement, thus far?

    I think there are definitely things we can learn from pre-war Germany, but we must never forget that German had and has a State Church. Therefore, in drawing analogies, we must be careful that we are comparing apples to apples.

  37. Duane Arnold says:

    Actually, they did not have formal state church under Wiemar until it was put forward by the NASPD church legislation. You might also look at the RC position. You would do well to read the Barmen Declaration.

  38. Duane Arnold says:

    “When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, his administration tried to reorganize the old confederation into a unified German Evangelical Church as Hitler wanted to use a single Protestant church to further his own ambitions. This utterly failed, with the Confessing Church and the German Christians-led Reichskirche opposing each other. Other Protestant churches aligned themselves with one of these groups, or stayed neutral in this church strife.”

  39. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    Further to the point, when Prince Frederick gave protection to Luther in Wartburg, he was breaking the law and disregarding the command of his lawful ruler Charles V. We applaud his actions in hindsight, but let us make sure that we do not rewrite the history of this disobedience to “lawful authority”.

  40. Jean says:

    Duane, there is ample evidence in the Bible for a Christian to disobey a ruler’s edict, the obedience to which would cause the Christian to sin. It was also understood that the Christian could suffer punishment by the ruler for such disobedience.

    “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

    You’ve taken the conversation in a different direction, which is fine with me. And I don’t perceive a disagreement in principle.

    I don’t agree or disagree with your history of Prince Frederick. Is it true that Luther was promised safe passage back to Wittenberg, but whoever made the promise reneged? If so, there may have been lawlessness on more than one side.

    Also, Pharaoh was the lawful ruler of the Israelite midwives.

  41. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    Luther was assured safety, but it was revoked by the Edict of Worms, promulgated by Charles V:
    “For this reason we forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favour the said Martin Luther. On the contrary, we want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic, as he deserves, to be brought personally before us, or to be securely guarded until those who have captured him inform us, whereupon we will order the appropriate manner of proceeding against the said Luther. Those who will help in his capture will be rewarded generously for their good work.”

    The Two Kingdoms doctrine falters when the state violates Christian principles. Our first priority is obedience to that which God has spoken. The “divided mind” comes when we parse those principles to align with, for instance, the practice of slavery (as Michael laid out above) or to say we have nothing to do with the suffering neighbor or stranger. This was the dilemma faced by Bonhoeffer and before him by Wilberforce. It is recognizing that no matter what political system we are living within, there is, for the Christian, a higher obedience to another kingdom…

  42. Jean says:

    Duane,

    I again agree with most of what you wrote in your last comment. My only disagreements are (1) this topic has nothing whatsoever to do with the Two Kingdoms doctrine, and (2) Christians may be divided, but not the mind of Christ.

  43. Duane Arnold says:

    When some Christians, supposedly on the basis of Scripture, support state sanctioned actions with regard to slavery, discrimination, turning away asylum seekers, while at the same time other Christians, again on the basis of Scripture, oppose such actions… there is a divide. Simply stated, both may be sincere, but both cannot be right.

  44. Jean says:

    Agree. “Sincerity” is another related topic. Man lies, God does not. Man’s greatest sincerity is tarnished by sin. Lurking behind interpretations are our sinful desires. Therefore, one should be very cautious about extrapolating out from God’s Word. Lutherans aren’t perfect, but I very much appreciate the caution that the LCMS employs in discussions of current political events. It is nothing more than obedience to the Second Commandment.

  45. Michael says:

    First off, blog article titles are teases to draw interest, not statements of doctrine.
    Second if speaking against the dividing of families, warehousing children, and demonizing migrants is against the Second Commandment I’ll gladly split hell wide open.

  46. Em says:

    I have a dear neighbor, much younger than i… When i am out on the land here she is afraid i’ll fall. Ignoring my protests, she grabs my arm with one hand, putting her other hand on my back. Since the ground is very uneven (marmots are not cute!) her help makes it very difficult for me to navigate.
    My point is? God bless her. Her intentions are the very best. Maybe we all need to consider the intent of some things we don’t appreciate in our churches and politics too… Dunno, tho, do i?
    Above all else, i believe God sees our hearts… He says they are deceitful and desperately wicked, but He sees and his work of grace is our hope …
    No, i won’t be offended, if anyone thinks, “yes, but…”. 😏

  47. Steve says:

    So there are roughly 8 billion people on the planet. I estimate every single person could use some neighborly love. So am I commanded by Jesus to love each one of these persons as a neighbor? When and how do we decide one person’s interest or group of people should trump another person or group? What standard do we use?

  48. Michael says:

    Steve,

    This is not that complex.
    Concentric circles help perhaps.
    In the middle are my family and close friends.
    There is my church family.
    There is the community I live in.
    There is a country I can vote in and speak to policy.
    There is a world I share with the billions.

    Within those, there will be places where… after caring for family… I can participate in some way that furthers the kingdom of God and demonstrates His heart.

    We aren’t all called to the same people or places.
    We who claim Christ are called to model His compassion and righteousness where we are called and where we have input into policies that can either hurt or help people.

    We can support those who care for their neighbors as we care for ours…recognizing that we all are neighbors in Christ.

  49. Em says:

    Michael, concentric circles? What a great visual. Very helpful – IMHO, of course. 😇

  50. Michael says:

    I spend most of my time helping with my godson, my church, and preparing to start another church.
    The ministry here takes time.
    That doesn’t leave a lot of time for other projects, but I do use a lot of what time I do have studying the refugee and migration issues and have for many years.
    I can take you to the exact spot in Juarez, Mexico where God called me to do so.
    He made it clear that these folks were my neighbors…though I lived 1700 miles away.
    I’ve tried to be obedient to that while encouraging those helping neighbors who live here with me.

  51. Michael says:

    Thanks, Em! 🙂

  52. Xenia says:

    So am I commanded by Jesus to love each one of these persons as a neighbor? <<<

    Yes, as God gives you the means and puts them in your line of sight.

  53. Jean says:

    the utter confusion here makes not only discussion difficult, but it makes understanding difficult.

    (1) The government does not have the command of love. It has the command of making and enforcing law, using the sword when necessary, and punishing evil.

    (2) The Good Samaritan literally walked by the man in the ditch. His neighbor was right there in front of him. All of us have neighbors right in front of us, in fact in our homes for most of us. Christians will differ greatly regarding who to love with the resources they have and what that love consists of.

    If the US government decides to lawfully close the border to migrant crossings, then perhaps the loving thing for advocates of the migrants is to help them somewhere else or work to find countries who will take them. I’m not offering solutions on what neighborliness is, but it can vary greatly and Christians should not pit their desires and solutions against other on the quality of Christian love. They can, however, battle it out in the political realm. That’s if we are fostering Christian unity.

  54. Michael says:

    Jean,
    When did Christian unity become an issue Lutherans advocated?
    It’s only confusing because I do not accept your categories and distinctions. My first duty is to the kingdom if God and my actions, political or otherwise, start there.
    So in the case of the migrants for example, I will see them as God sees them. I will not demonize or slander them for earthly position or gain.
    We can differ on how we resolve these and other issues…even differ with vigor.
    What we can’t do is pretend that in some sense they are not our neighbor.

  55. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    I thought we weren’t discussing the Two Kingdoms, at least that’s what you were insisting… 😊

  56. Michael says:

    Most of the country has legal abortion.
    How is this a “Christian” issue when people fleeing death and violence is not?
    Do you not advocate for the unborn and a change in law?

  57. Duane Arnold says:

    For me to help my neighbor, welcome the stranger, give refuge to those fleeing death and violence are all matters of conscience. Additionally, I believe my demands of conscience stand on an overarching Scriptural mandate. Even Luther admitted:
    “We are to be subject to governmental power and do what it bids, as long as it does not bind our conscience but legislates only concerning outward matters… But if it invades the spiritual domain and constrains the conscience, over which God only must preside and rule, we should not obey it at all but rather lose our necks. Temporal authority and government extend no further than to matters which are external and corporeal.”

  58. Duane Arnold says:

    By the way, the original German of Luther’s statement is actually stronger… much stronger.

  59. Em says:

    As i observed in telling of my neighbor’s good intentions in helping me navigate the marmot damaged ground, sometimes our good intentions can come from a good heart, but do not really serve what we intend…
    So many questions we must ask ourselves before we impose our conclusions on our neighbirs… 😶

  60. Michael says:

    Em,
    That may we’ll be true.
    What matters is that we start from a place of compassion.

  61. Duane Arnold says:

    To take it even further, Luther identified three realms in which we were to exercise holiness (with specific reference to the Sermon on the Mount) – the office of Priest (Church), the Estate of Marriage and the Civil Government. As Luther said, this was about holiness, not salvation, i.e. it is the acting out of our faith. As he wrote:
    “Above these three institutions and orders is the common order of Christian love, in which one serves not only the three orders, but also serves every needy person in general with all kinds of benevolent deeds, such as feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, forgiving enemies, praying for all men on earth, suffering all kinds of evil on earth, etc. Behold, all of those are called good and holy works.”

  62. Jean says:

    Duane,

    I endorse the Luther quote.

    Michael,

    “I thought we weren’t discussing the Two Kingdoms, at least that’s what you were insisting… ”

    We’re not. What we are discussing is the inter-relationship between two Temporal (Left hand) estates: The church and the state. They are both established by God; and they both have enumerated responsibilities in Scripture. The church should not seek to rule the state; and the state should not seek to rule the church.

    As what typically occurs when social justice takes pride of place in discussions, the gospel is set aside. Thus, we are not even talking about the right hand (eternal) kingdom of God. However, there is the kingdom which provides the treasure that doesn’t rust, that moths don’t destroy, that thieves don’t plunder.

    This is what should take pride of place in the church: Jesus Christ, who raises the dead and bestows an eternal kingdom. The faith to apprehend Christ comes by hearing the word of Christ. It doesn’t come from social justice.

    I am not against social justice, but not at the expense of either the Gospel or the unity of the body of Christ.

  63. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Claiming that I neglect the Gospel to advocate for those God advocates for is a damnable lie …and won’t be tolerated again,
    You can disagree with me all you want, but you won’t distort my ministry again,

  64. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    You might want to go back and do some more reading… both in Luther and on this thread. No one is saying or has said what you have suggested…

  65. Jean says:

    I am going to say something that may offend you. I don’t want to and am saying nothing you haven’t heard, but you have not yet admitted it, so it may offend. For that, forgive me.

    There has been a fair amount of virtue signaling on the blog. Comments like (all paraphrases): “they worship a different God than me,” “I don’t recognize their God,” “I have trouble considering them brothers in Christ who attend certain events. Even here, “the divided mind of Christ.”

    The whole inference is that Christians who don’t see certain social issues the way you do are deficient in some way. At a minimum, you come across judgmental to those who disagree with you. How do you proclaim the Gospel when alienating your readership or any other audience?

    Where is the Gospel? Where is the acknowledgment that we are all sinners, who harbor corrupt views of our neighbors in one way or another? Where is the forgiveness in Christ proclaimed that covers our defective views and sins against our neighbors? Where is grace for Christians in America who don’t see the border issue the way you do? Are you the arbiter of God’s heart on the issue and the Christian response?

    The article Quiet Time seems to be an acknowledgment that you’re driving readers away. How is the Gospel served or furthered by driving readers away?

    This is just one perspective, which is limited and flawed. Please forgive my flaws.

  66. Michael says:

    Jean,
    You can take all your conservative pejoratives for people who want to live the Gospel and shove them up next to Luther.
    Everyone I know that is involved in “social gospel” is in it because of the Gospel, for the sake of the Gospel and by the Gospel.
    I haven’t said anything about how to deal with the border issues…I’ve said a great deal about how we should think about the people on the border…straight from Scripture.
    If that’s offensive, I’m ok.

  67. Jean says:

    Are you implying that I use Luther writings as suppositories? 🙂

  68. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    I will not be offensive, although you have been on several occasions. It my come as news to you, but you are not the standard or arbiter of faith, practice and/or belief for either this community or, indeed, numerous communities of faith represented by those here. All here are not bound by your particular strictures, nor do many of us wish to be. Perhaps that is enough said…

  69. Em says:

    Michael at 2:36… I start from a slightly different definition… what comes first is reverence and obedience to the God that made us and redeems us… But…
    That, then, puts me exactly where you start, doesn’t it? ☺

  70. Michael says:

    I must step back. I’m angry and discouraged but have a service to do. They deserve better, so good night for now.

  71. Em says:

    I just came in from wading thru mus and snow – when i bought my Raichle hiking boots in 1966, i never dreamed i’d be putting them on some 50 years later, let alone using them to slog thru the muck to get feed to horses 😲 – i haven’t really sat down to think on the latest opinions on the thread here… But
    I do believe, if one is Roman Catholic, Lutheran … maybe even orthodox or ? then one has placed their confidence in a set of doctrines that leave very little wiggle room to affirm folks like me 😐
    But that said, i like to see them in the same light as the dear neighbor i mentioned earlier… I appreciate the efforts but my faith is not as feeble and my confidence is not as delusional as they’d suppose…
    The host here puts up with me even tho i am not an academic, nor a teacher and my favorite teacher(s) are folk dear Michael can’t abide 😊
    He deserves our respect and appreciation for this forum – IMNSHO . again….

  72. Steve says:

    Back to the concentric circles. This I find fascinating and quite perplexing. For some reason I don’t think the story of the good Samaritan fits this model. The wounded traveler and the good Samaritan were strangers if I recall with no affinity other than simply a chance encounter.

  73. Duane Arnold says:

    Steve

    Sometimes your neighbor is simply the one who appears before you needing your help… Doesn’t fit into the circles, but it seems to be the reality of life.

  74. Em says:

    Fit into the circles? I think the guy lying on the side of the road wounded was in the circle just beyond the family circle, but still within arms’ reach ..?…
    Some circles are beyond our physical reach, but still not beyond our concern in the chain… there are so many links these days…

  75. Steve says:

    I’m wondering what folks here think about John Allen Chau. The missionary that was recently murdered by the sentinelese tribe. If you listen to some, they will say he was asking for it. But some of the same pundits will also be crying foul when our border patrol uses tear gas on migrants.

  76. Michael says:

    We move in and out of the circles…sometimes all we do is pray for a need beyond our reach…

  77. Michael says:

    Chau made an illegal, ill informed, decision.
    Whether God told him to is between the two of them.
    I do believe he was motivated by love, which is more than I can say for the tear gas shooters.

  78. Michael says:

    Em,

    I would gladly serve you the Eucharist and I celebrate what God has done in and through you.
    Period.

  79. Steve says:

    Well, I don’t know any of the tear gas shooters and I’m certainly not going to try to judge their motives. Most likely they following orders from their superiors which is expected and honerable else you probably get discharged, fired and unable to work.. So this brings up another question, can a Christian ever truly serve in a war knowing they will have to shoot to kill? I honestly don’t know the answer to this question and I think I could be persuaded either direction. I lean towards the pacifist side but I also believe in a strong national defense. But even this I hold onto lightly knowing that my eternal citizenship is in another world.

  80. Michael says:

    Steve,

    That’s a long topic for a blog, but I strongly suggest a book by Preston Sprinkle… “Fight”.
    He comes down on the pacifist side but presents all the arguments well.
    I think I agree with him, but I also know I would have no problem shooting someone threatening a loved one.
    Consistency is difficult in a fallen world…

  81. Em says:

    Michael at 6:14…. Thank you… with a lump in my throat and a bit of a tear in my eye, thank you
    God keep

  82. Michael says:

    Before I leave this dumpster fire of a thread I want to address the accusation of “virtue signaling”.
    This is a pejorative term that some conservatives use to indicate that people expressing concern over some group or social issue are insincere, only wanting to be seen by others as virtuous.

    If I’m guilty of such, I’ve been guilty of it for over fifteen years online and longer in my less public life.
    I have paid a hefty price if my only goal was to be seen as virtuous by people who by a majority find my position lacking virtue.

    My message about migrants and refugees has been consistent from the beginning.

    That message is simple…wherever these people are from and whatever circumstances they are fleeing, they deserve to be seen as people Christ died for, people who are worthy of compassion and grace while we consider all the other issues that surround them.

    That is not a political policy statement, it’s a state of heart.

    I believe it’s a biblical, Gospel centered mandate.
    Because i believe that, the insults and vitriol are to be counted as blessings…may God help me to do so.

  83. Jean says:

    Michael,

    I did not use the term “virtue signalling” as you have defined it, and if the proper definition does connote a person who is insincere about a belief, then I misused the term and sinned against you. For that I owe you an apology and do in fact apologize. I do not doubt your sincere concern for Latin American migrants. I believe you are sincere about your beliefs and advocacy on their behalf. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to recognize my error and make amends.

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