The Weekend Word

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61 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

    Here Jesus shows us the distinction between Law and Gospel. The Law humbles us. It is God’s alien work. We are completely passive. It is painful in that it brings to nothing that which is (I.e., the old Adam), so that by the Gospel, God’s proper work, He can create a new man/woman.

    The verse reads as if we humble ourselves, but such an action only creates a false humility. God the Holy Spirit must through the Law humble us and keep the old Adam ever humbled until he is six feet under.

  2. Josh the Baptist says:

    “The verse reads as if we humble ourselves, but such an action only creates a false humility.”


    Jesus stuttered, or something?

  3. Josh the Baptist says:

    Seems like the last couple of weeks we’ve hit a “what Jesus MEANT to say” patch.

  4. Jean says:


    You’re right, I forgot the Baptists. You guys are able to do works meritorious in the eyes of God.

  5. Josh the Baptist says:

    At least we believe what Jesus said.

  6. Jean says:


    No, Jesus meant it, just like he means all kinds of commands that he gives in the Gospels. But that doesn’t mean that we can to them. In fact Jesus give us commands that are impossible for us by your own strength and will to do. If we could do them, salvation would not be by grace.

    Remember Nicodemus: “How can a man be born when he is old?”

    Remember Jesus disciples: “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

    How can one be humbled unless he is first shown the total unworthiness of his works? A person is humbled when he is shown the pit of hell and looking down he comes to understand that if not for the grace of God (and nothing in him), that is where he will spend eternity.

  7. Josh the Baptist says:

    Oh, OK. I guess just poor wording in your first comment then.

  8. Jean says:

    “At least we believe what Jesus said.”

    If you believed what Jesus said, then why do you deny his very words regarding Baptism and Communion?

  9. Josh the Baptist says:

    We don’t. We “do this in remembrence” of Him.

  10. Josh the Baptist says:

    That’s a lame old canard, anyway. It didn’t work when Luther repeated over and over in his debate with Zwingli, or in the 500 years since.

  11. Josh the Baptist says:

    But no need to go down that road. Your first comment sounded like you were correcting Jesus. You clarified. All good.

  12. Jean says:


    What is it that you’re doing in remembrance of Him?

  13. Jean says:

    So, Josh, your tradition, following apparently Zwingli, takes the very clear and repeated Word of God, saying Baptism (1) is for the forgiveness of sins, (2) makes disciples, (3) regenerates the heart, (4) unites us to Christ and (5) now saves you; and you dump all that grace into the trash heap, so you can produce your own salvation with a sinner prayer?

  14. Josh the Baptist says:

    “so you can produce your own salvation with a sinner prayer?”

    Yes, absolutely.

    If that’s the best argument you can engage me with, don’t bother. I won’t respond to utter foolishness.

  15. Jean says:


    I have corresponded with you enough to know that you are more committed to your pride and tradition than you are to the Word of God. So, no matter what the Word says, you won’t repent. I get that. But for other readers here, here is a sample of the Baptism texts. There are many others that I could share if others are interested.

    “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”

    “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

    “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

    I could go to the SBC website again to show the works righteousness of their sinners prayer method of salvation, but Josh will just tell us that that SBC doesn’t have an official doctrine. So, we can’t seem to pin them down, except that they seem to be committed to denying the Word of God regarding Baptism.

  16. Josh the Baptist says:

    “you are more committed to your pride and tradition than you are to the Word of God.”

    You should apologize, and repent of that, now.

  17. Jean says:


    If you are now in Seminary (as I understand you are), then I will hold you to a higher standard of Biblical knowledge than a lay person. So, if you can show me how the Baptism texts in the Bible don’t mean what they say, then I will apologize.

  18. Josh the Baptist says:

    Ok, someone else I will now avoid here. Enjoy yourself.

  19. Jean says:

    “the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light”

  20. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean just accused me of loving darkness, instead of Jesus.

    Yep, we’re about done here.

  21. Jean says:


    Our discussion is good evidence for why being humbled is not something human beings do voluntarily. Will you humble yourself to Scripture, or is their a higher authority to which you have pledged your allegiance? This is not a small matter. If God distributes his grace through physical means, would it not be malpractice to deny such means to people in need of His grace?

  22. Josh the Baptist says:

    I apologize to MLD for engaging in this at all.

    Good study MLD. Didn’t mean to muck it up.

  23. Xenia says:

    I have corresponded with you enough to know that you are more committed to your pride and tradition than you are to the Word of God.<<<

    What a terrible thing to say to Josh.

  24. Xenia says:

    I have known Josh here for many years and I have always found him to be a humble man who is committed to following God and the Scriptures.

    What the Aitch EEE double toothpicks is wrong with some of you people?????

  25. Kevin H says:

    I usually don’t get too much into the fray here, but I would have to say that Jean’s statements about Josh went too far.

    Both are good men who see some things differently regarding Scripture. What was said to Josh was unfair and undeserving.

  26. Steve Wright says:

    Ok, someone else I will now avoid here. Enjoy yourself.
    Welcome to the party, Josh. (In best Die Hard voice) 🙂

    Jean is as vicious, a theological bubble occupier as any random CC person from some random CC church annonymously complained about on these pages.

    More outrageous than any ODM complained about on these pages…

    “Will you humble yourself to the Scripture” – Good grief what an obnoxious thing to write. As if there aren’t scholars lined up from Oregon to Wittenberg with credentials and experience that would make Jean’s head spin that see the Scriptures outside of Jean’s narrow tradition.

    Jackie Alnor is more worthy of a weekly article on this blog than Jean….if irenicism means anything.

    If we were picking teams to survive the tribulation, Josh would be just about my very first pick. (And as any regular knows, we agree on almost nothing when it comes to politics – but we are truly united in word and deed when it comes to Christ)

  27. Josh the Baptist says:

    I appreciate you guys saying such kind things about me.

    I have not been innocent of being argumentative on this blog, perhaps even with my first comment on this thread.

    I’m sure Jean’s a good guy. I’ve been in enough blog wars to know why someone would strike back so strongly. No Problem. Let’s move on.

    Steve – I’m seriously hoping our strain of eschatology is correct and neither of us is here for the tribulation…but if we are, I’ll give you a call 🙂

  28. Jean says:

    I am fully aware that standing up for the truth (who and what are truth?) is very odd in today’s culture. I also understand that toleration and conflict avoidance is the modern definition of “love.”

    I actually care very much for Josh. My comments reflect my love and good will towards him.

    Josh, I care about you, and sincerely want you to become a solid theologian of Christ.

  29. Josh the Baptist says:

    Sorry Buddy. I will forever now be a lost soul in your eyes. You’ve done your responsibility and can shake the dust from your sandals now.

    But we can peaceable with one another on the blog, and I remove from you all responsibility for eternal destination of my soul.

  30. Xenia says:

    Josh, I care about you, and sincerely want you to become a solid theologian of Christ.<<<

    Could you possibly be more more condescending?

    How long have you been a Lutheran? A few years?

  31. Steve Wright says:

    Jean doubles down @28

    Maybe you just don’t understand how arrogant your “standing for the truth” or your “I want Josh to BECOME a solid theologian” sounds….

    Sort of like Molly Ringwald in Breakfast Club. Which makes Josh, Anthony Michael Hall’s character I guess…(sorry Josh 🙂 )

  32. Josh the Baptist says:

    Other than the smart part, he was the one I most identify with 🙂

  33. Steve Wright says:

    I definitely identified with his inability to make something in shop class. 🙂

  34. Josh the Baptist says:

    I pulled the tail…the light was supposed to come on.

  35. Steve Wright says:
  36. Jean says:

    From the lesson this week:

    “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

    The responsibility of those in positions of influence with these little ones is quite serious.

  37. Bob Sweat says:

    Well, I dare not say a word here. I’m often accused of saying something I did not say. 😉

  38. Xenia says:

    Jean, based on your earlier posts I am wondering if you see yourself as “the person of influence” and Josh as “a little child” in this discussion?

    If I have read you wrong, please forgive me.

  39. Josh the Baptist says:

    Xenia, I think he is saying he sees me as a dangerous teacher, and it his duty to step in to protect those who may be stumbled by me.

  40. Xenia says:

    Or is it that you are concerned that Josh is leading little off-blog children astray.

    Or are you referring to something completely different.

    Please clarify.

  41. Xenia says:

    Ok, option #2 then.

  42. Jean says:

    Xenia and Josh,

    Let me clarify a couple points:

    First, when I said I hope Josh becomes a solid theologian of Christ, I am being completely sincere and not condescending. As someone in Seminary, I assume, Josh, that you are there to advance your theological education and perhaps pastoral skills, etc. Therefore, what I am wishing you is success in your endeavors. I assume you are leaving yourself open to growth in your calling. “Solid” is a very good adjective. However, if you prefer another, such as “first class” or “excellent”, I am willing to amend my wishes for you.

    Second, regarding Matthew 18:6, the application of that verse to our discussion is simply to say that doctrine matters and anyone who is called to pastor folks, especially those new in the faith, either due to age or time of conversion, have a solemn obligation in the eyes of God to teach correct doctrine concerning Christ and salvation. In other words, truth matters.

    God makes His appeal for reconciliation with sinners through the preaching of pastors. Therefore, the task is serious and the consequences of doing it negligently is also serious. More than anything else, I object to the ecumenical attitude which says that we’re all one big happy tent, where specifics or supposed secondary issues don’t matter. Because in reality the disagreements are on fundamental issues.

    We’ve got people here who deny the Sacraments, deny that the Gospels are written for the Church, that the New Covenant is for the Church, and I could go on and on. I’m not accusing Josh of all these errors, but I am saying that it’s a travesty that the god of this world has blinded so many eyes. And pastors will be held accountable for their teaching, either in this life or the next.

  43. Josh the Baptist says:

    Well, that was a much kinder way of saying all that, so I appreciate it.

  44. Steve Wright says:

    My pastoral hackles go up, even though Josh is not in my congregation (and is more easy going than I) he is my friend and he has been greatly disrespected here.

    Jean’s last paragraph in post #42 is definitive proof of his unwillingness to listen and learn or possibly his lack of ability to do so – as the three examples he cites have all been explained in great detail and not in the superficial, false view as his summary.

    And then says that his brothers and sisters in Christ are blinded by Satan.

    Maybe the time has come for Jean to put some credentials on the table. And the regulars for 8+ years know I have NEVER asked that question, but I’ve never seen the likes of Jean put up with on this blog, in fact celebrated with his own weekly opportunity to lecture the rest of us – as well as his consistent commentary going without challenge by the host (leaving it to the likes of Xenia and myself to bring that challenge)

    You see, I could ask Jean to explain certain doctrinal points he either is unaware of or has not studied in any detail – but unless I am one of his professors who can give the assignment, demand its completion and then offer a constructive and critical grade, then what point is there. On an internet blog such doctrinal questions just get dismissed, trivialized, misrepresented, or answered back with further questions.

    So Jean, where is your formal education. When in life did you have professors demand work of you and grade you accordingly? Possibly tell you, “That is wrong” Maybe you have some, but the blog has never heard one way or the other.

    Secondly, what experience of teaching the Scriptures to others has Jean had. In what capacity? Under what pastoral authority? It’s one thing to bloviate online but to teach face to face with people who can challenge you, and to whom if you reply like Josh was addressed here, will get a quick report to the pastoral overseer in charge of that ministry…that’s quite a different thing. Maybe you have some, but the blog does not know. Personally, I can’t imagine you not having a regular teaching ministry within your church, unless there is some reason unknown as to why….you have these lengthy lessons each week. And they are solid lessons within your interpretive tradition. Where, when and to whom have you served?

    MLD for example has taught the Scriptures within the local church on Sunday mornings for many years – to people who have the opportunity to challenge some aspect of the teaching interpretation and application, or even tell him he is full of it on occasion. And MLD has to conduct himself in a way approved by his senior pastor, even among the most difficult and/or ignorant of God’s saints who happens to be attending the study that week. This is no small thing.

    I celebrate the pastoral experience and educational chops of Dr. Arnold (as does the blog in the heading of his every article). His “resume” was also given to us all when he wrote his first column – as if to say “Hey, listen to this guy.” . Dr. Arnold breathes irenicism in his posts and I enjoy reading his work, whether I agree or not.

    If this blog and its audience is the sole measure of Jean’s teaching ministry and experience of God’s word to God’s people, I think that is good to know. It does not mean his teaching needs to change, it just means the people know who they are listening to and what behavior to expect if they dare challenge his narrow focus and tradition.

    I mean let’s face it, when some hippy surfer teenage kid who just got born again and in know-it-all fashion proceeds to teach you the Bible as he spits back the sermon he just heard himself, then one knows to take things with a grain of salt.

    Online though, it can be more mysterious. I know Jean is no teenage boy though…

    Now, I can anticipate the “Jean doesn’t owe you a damn thing, Steve” response that is coming….but this isn’t even Jean’s article. And MLD, pot stirrer or otherwise, would not have responded to Josh (or others) like this today.

  45. Jean says:

    Hi Steve,

    My theological credentials fall somewhere between an armchair theologian and a pub theologian. I have never represented myself otherwise. I love Jesus and enjoy sharing the fruits of my personal devotions. If that isn’t enough for anyone, they are free to skip my articles. If Michael gets tired of my articles, I’m sure he can fill the space with something better.

    I have no desire to engage you in a tit for tat. You have expressed your doctrinal views here over the years and in your sermons on your church’s website. You are definitely heterodox (at a minimum) under the standards of historic, creedal Christianity. If someone asked me if they should listen to you, I would describe you as a false and dangerous teacher. Now, it’s possible that historic Christianity is false, and you are actually an enlightened orthodox theologian. Each reader an decide for himself or herself.

    All that being said, it is my sincere hope and prayer that you God will lift the veil which conceals aspects of the Gospel from you. I harbor no animus towards you.

  46. Josh the Baptist says:

    Well, today is the day the truth comes out…wow.

  47. Steve Wright says:

    Jean…guess what. I do typically skip your articles and you are right, all readers are free to do so.

    Except this thread wasn’t in one of your articles, was it?

    Nor similar threads in similar days that weren’t your articles. Today was hardly a new experience.

    I’ll give you credit for answering my questions. And applaud you staying true to form in your criticism of me – what do I know, right? I’ve been teaching others the Bible, blindly, for 22 years. 22 years of dealing with every sort of person one can imagine, and all out in the open and not hidden behind the security of a keyboard.

    Even the comments I make here for years have my name, and often my church, attached to them.

    Now I know why, as a kid, one taunt I got was Stevie Wonder. I always thought it was a play on my first name, now I know it was a prophecy of my blind teaching that would be coming down the road! LOL

    Enjoy the inner circle, Jean. I know you don’t have a clue how ridiculous you look and the scores of scholars you just implicated as if my doctrine isn’t held by countless numbers, from seminary professors to those in the pews.

  48. Bob Sweat says:

    I agree 100% with what Steve just wrote.

    Judging by his words, I have been blinded by Satan for over 50 years. I should probably cancel my next opportunity to teach from the pulpit.

  49. Steve Wright says:

    If someone asked me if they should listen to you, I would describe you as a false and dangerous teacher.
    A final note. I’m guessing some reading might have thought my earlier Jackie Alnor reference was unfair or jumping the shark….

    But Jean did not disappoint.

  50. Josh the Baptist says:

    It is appearing that Jean truly believes the Kingdom of God is fully enclosed in the LCMS. Sad. Steve is a great teacher, not at all a false teacher. I know that is obvious, but I feel the need to vouch for a friend.

  51. Steve Wright says:

    Judging by his words, I have been blinded by Satan for over 50 years. I should probably cancel my next opportunity to teach from the pulpit.
    Bob, maybe you and I can start a support group. LOL

    I’ll tell you what, there would be a whole lot of us there!

  52. Steve Wright says:


    Bob and I will Skype the meetings of the new support group, so all you east coasters can participate. 🙂

  53. Bob Sweat says:

    #45, Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I thought Lighthouse Trails was bad. Steve and I have had some disagreements in the past, but I would never call his teaching as dangerous.

  54. Bob Sweat says:

    “Describe his teaching”

    I’m so mad that I can’t type my thoughts correctly!

  55. Josh the Baptist says:

    This is sad to me. Up until this morning I considered Jean a friend. I have appreciated some of his writing, particularly on the Lord’s prayer. Don’t agree with all of it, but that doesn’t bother me. We’ve gotten along well. Had what i though were good conversations.

    Today I find this out. Strange, but apparently Steve saw it coming.

  56. Xenia says:

    Listen, I belong to the One True Church and even *I* don’t think typical evangelical teaching is dangerous. Mistaken in some important areas, but not dangerous. I know far too many wonderful Christian people who sat under evangelical teaching all their lives to utterly condemn evangelical teaching.

  57. Bob Sweat says:

    Today is the first day that I have taken the time to read all that Jean wrote. Up until today, I thought he was a she.

  58. Jean says:

    Just to be clear Xenia, I am not speaking for all evangelical teaching, because as you probably are aware, evangelicalism is not unified in doctrine.

  59. Michael says:

    This is why we can’t have nice things… 🙂

    First let me apologize for being absent today and for the brevity of this note as I’m exhausted.

    Second, let me apologize to Steve and Josh…the comments here do not reflect how I feel about either of you.

    Third, I am believing that Jean had a bad day, though I haven’t spoken with him. He has contributed much here and this seems out of character.

    Fourth, I’m committed to ecumenical and irenic discussions here among all of our traditions. This thread isn’t what that is supposed to look like.

    I expect people to defend their traditions with vigor…but we’ll not attack each other with equal vigor.

    I’m going to go lay down now…

  60. Josh the Baptist says:

    Thanks Michael, all good.

  61. bob1 says:


    I agree with Michael that maybe Jean was just having a bad Monday. Hopefully that’s all that this is.

    I really hate to see Christians become so divisive over small issues. If we’re going to have diferent positons on things, can’t we act charitably?

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