The Weekend Word

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180 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    “The Law always works in service to the gospel – so the judging (presenting the law) has to be with the purpose of driving people TO Jesus – NOT – away from the church.”

    This is among the best things you’ve ever taught. Very well done.

  2. Michael says:

    Why would we ask again for salvation?
    He said yes, the first time. 🙂

  3. Michael says:

    If you only ask for forgiveness and salvation you ignore the rest of the Scriptures that tell you to ask for everything.
    “You do not have,because you do not ask”….

  4. Em ... again says:

    #2 -perhaps we confuse repentance (one time event by which we gained our redemption) with confession of sin(s) (an on-going need)?

    at least that’s how i see it…

    foolish and unlearned, yet still wishing to avoid strife… Em

  5. Michael, you added the word only which was not in my point.
    Second you accursed me of being parochial the other day – is it not parochial to think that we would pray and ask for salvation and forgiveness only for ourselves?

    … Or since I already have forgiveness and salvation now it is OK to turn my attention to my quest for the red corvette? 😉

  6. Owen says:

    This lesson is very well put together. I feel like I have been taken out behind the woodshed…… 😉

    “Here is the proper way to judge others – first fix yourself.
    Then you will be too busy working on yourself to work on others.
    Look at yourself before you judge others and then determine if you still want to judge others.”

    This reminds me of the scene wwhere the woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus. And He said, “Let he amomg you who is without sin cast the first stone.” Then he sits there writing in the dirt……

    I know we are not told what He was writing. I like to think he was writing their sins (or perhaps their girlfriends?).

    But I think the point that was made in the above, “too busy working on yourself to work on others” is pretty much the crux of it.
    I struggle with this. A lot. I have a lot of personal pride in a lot of areas. And therefore I tend to judge others who don’t measure up in the areas I think I am so good at.
    Is is when God takes me out behind the woodshed……

  7. Em ... again says:

    it isn’t good to think that we’re here to fix everybody else, but i must add that i think we can spend too much time “working on ourselves” – …?… say what? ….
    because, if we focus, really focus on our real hero and king – Jesus and all that His life and work are about, we will change …
    maybe kind of like old married couples that begin to look alike
    (not, however the same as people who look like their dogs – or is it vice versa?)

  8. Owen says:

    Em,

    Good thoughts. I think the point is that we have no right to judge others because we are all alike in sinfulness (“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….),

    I agree with you – more time spent with Him is bound to result in becoming more like him. Probably a preferred method of “working on yourself.”

    Oh, and I hope that, as my wife and I age further, we do not start looking alike – I don’t like the thought of her looking anything like me! 😉

  9. Jean says:

    “because, if we focus, really focus on our real hero and king – Jesus and all that His life and work are about, we will change …”

    I find myself in total agreement. 🙂

  10. Owen says:

    The saying comes to mind, “we become like those we hang around the most…”

    Don’t know the source (it’s been around a long time), but I think it has an application here.

  11. Jean says:

    Good thought Owen.

  12. Well actually I don’t even know that we are to work or think of our self but it was in contrast to judging others – because even if we fix ourselves we are still not to judge others.

  13. Well actually I don’t even know that we are to work or think of our self but it was in contrast to judging others – because even if we fix ourselves we are still not to judge others.x

  14. Jean says:

    MLD,

    Surely you are not proposing that Christians happily keep on sinning so that grace may abound?

    “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
    Mark 1:15 ESV

  15. I think people are when they think the Christian life is about making themselves better vs serving their neighbor.
    A non Christian can take a self improvment course and better themselves.
    I think I was agreeing with an.

  16. CostcoCal says:

    I gotta say; CNN is tamer than Fox News.

  17. Boy auto correct ate me alive #16 –
    “I think people err when they think…”
    and at the end;
    “I think I was agreeing with Em”

  18. Michael says:

    “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.””
    (1 Corinthians 5:12–13 ESV)

  19. JoelG says:

    Does anyone have any specifics of what Jesus is talking about in verse 6? What is He referring to? Giving what exactly?

  20. So it’s one to one in the votes for judging others.

    But then I guess the vote was one to one with Jesus and Paul.so we are in good company 😉

  21. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Just pointing out they we often have to hold more than one Scripture in tension….

  22. Joel, I think he is saying to be careful who you offer God’s gifts to. 2 points
    1.) do not feel obligated to offer Jesus to professing Jesus enemies as they will use it for harm and to lead others astray.
    2.) not all people deserve to hear the gospel at all – some folks until the holy spirit turns them are not allowed any gospel comfort – but are to be hammered by the law continuously.

  23. Michael, I understand but is Paul saying to judge the bad guy in your church before you have removed your own ‘plank’
    Do we toss out the one guy because we have judged his sin as worse?

    I think the difference may be in repentance. We are not judging their sin but their lack of repentance.

    The same would be for the woman in adultery – Jesus didn’t care that thy judge the woman, in fact it was required that she be judged … by those without their own sin.

  24. Michael says:

    “We are not judging their sin but their lack of repentance.”

    Absolutely nailed it…

  25. But the Paul admonition may just be counsel to the ‘church leaders’ for proper order in the church – but not by the church laity to use on each other – and that’s where most people object as they think they have as much authority to judge.

    Jesus admonition is to always forgive – how many times must we forgive 7×7?

  26. Michael says:

    I don’t buy the “church leaders” argument…the whole church is being addressed as at fault for failing to exercise Mt. 18.

  27. Em ... again says:

    #19- isn’t that what the PhxP is all about?

    i’ve read threads here on forgiveness as God intends His people to practice it and am still a bit blurry … does God forgive? yes … but don’t we have to ask Him? “forgive us our trespasses”
    we aren’t the adjudicators of “those who trespass against us,” but do we forgive without the perp indicating penitence? 🙂
    if you’ve stepped on my toe without realizing it, then i forgive you without an apology, but what if you step on my toe on purpose, look me in the eye and walk off? i realize that i don’t get to run up and stand on your foot, but…
    it seems like there are shades and degrees of offense that may call for different measures?

  28. Michael – so you then believe that all church discipline should be by the vote of the laity? It sounds like you are calling for congregational rule. When you say it is to the whole church, I as an individual can go around judging my fellow members?

    I think there is something missing.

  29. Em, God’s forgiveness was applied to you on the cross without asking you.
    So, when we forgive others, why do we demand that the ask us for forgiveness?

    I said this in the study last week or a couple of weeks ago that God forgave us freely with no input or action from us, but somehow we ask that folks beg our forgiveness or at least prove themselves to be worthy of our forgiveness.

    Be generous in forgiveness and let her rip. Join me, become a forgivenitarian. 🙂

  30. Em ... again says:

    #30 – why do we demand? i don’t think we do “demand”…
    perhaps it is in the interpretation of the word, “forgive?”… i prefer the word “forbear”
    not every offense requires going to the one offended and asking forgiveness … that could be awkward at the very least but…
    i might ask, then, since all sin was forgiven at the cross, why do we now ask God to forgive us, why do we pray now to be forgiven? doesn’t it have to do with relationship?

    and for the record – IMV – judging – as opposed to forgiving – implies taking measures to even the score and has no place in a Christian’s life – of course then we have the question of discerning and that is another topic 🙂

    to repeat myself, “it seems like there are shades and degrees of offense that may call for different measures?”

  31. Owen says:

    Em,

    In agreement with MLD, we forgive whether it was asked for or not.
    If someone has wronged us, knows it, and apologizes, then our forgiveness blesses both parties.

    If someone wrongs us but does not feel the need for repentance, we still forgive them before God and in our hearts. Rather than carrying the offense around.

    I think it’s the attitude of our hearts toward others, in light of God’s mercy toward us.

    As for the judging aspect, I still struggle with that one….although I think you may be on to something with “discerning” – something for me to chew on.

  32. The commands, whether from Sinai or the mouth of Jesus are all things that are counter to what we want to do – we are told to love our neighbor because it is our nature to hate and want to destroy our neighbor.

    We are told not to covet because it is our nature to covet.
    We are told not to judge because it is our nature to judge (read my notes on verse one about Idol and DWTS etc.

    And we are told to not only forgive – but to forgive generously and continually – because it goes 100% against our grain to forgive at all. Has anyone had to tell their 5 yr old to tell his sister he was sorry? How willing was he.

    We even fight the very words of Jesus – surely Jesus didn’t mean to forgive in this case or Jesus didn’t mean this guy – if Jesus only knew what I know…

    In other words – there are ‘circumstances’ … NONE!

  33. Cash says:

    The one that always got me was the “what measure you use (to judge) it will be measured to you.” That’s why I have come to believe that forgiveness on our part is so important to God. Remember the parable of the wicked servant who got forgiven for his debt and then went and threw someone into debtor’s prison? It seems God takes this forgiveness stuff very seriously.
    How terrible to be judging others when we ourselves have been forgiven so much and continue to be forgiven on a daily basis by a gracious and merciful God.

  34. Em ... again says:

    “If someone wrongs us but does not feel the need for repentance, we still forgive them before God and in our hearts. Rather than carrying the offense around.”

    the reason i am snagged on this aspect of interaction is because of what i’ve seen … it isn’t carried out well … (most of what offends us is misunderstanding and shouldn’t even be under consideration in the first place – wish i could underline that) – it is easy to be like Pilate and wash our hands of the matter (sometimes we should) … too often what the Church is calling forgiveness is a worldly attitude of “oh, forget it” (but “it” lurks)

    however, if you are truly the aggrieved party, you are told to pray for the one who offends and i, personally, put that in the category of forbearance… you may call that forgiveness, i call it waiting to forgive when asked 🙂

    note! you do not “carry the offense around” … or as MLD interpreted my view, “demand” forgiveness – those are sins that, if present, you must ask God to forgive

    not picking nits or preaching – just sorting thoughts here this a.m.

  35. Em ... again says:

    #33- “. Has anyone had to tell their 5 yr old to tell his sister he was sorry? How willing was he.” in addition to his pride, probably he didn’t want to lie because he wasn’t really sorry 🙂

    that is one of my hot buttons – unless, they’ve accidentally harmed another, don’t teach your child to lie, saying, “I’m sorry” when they aren’t sorry and what they need is to face the fact that their behavior was wrong

  36. Michael says:

    “Michael – so you then believe that all church discipline should be by the vote of the laity? It sounds like you are calling for congregational rule. When you say it is to the whole church, I as an individual can go around judging my fellow members?”

    I think it’s clear that the whole church is responsible for the health of the church.
    Every member of the church should have the ability to speak to issues that compromise the spiritual health and integrity of the church.
    The modern evangelical church has lost all sense of the local church as an organic unit where what one does affects all.
    As vs. 5 states the issue isn’t that we are never to judge, the issue is that we are to judge ourselves first.
    We are not to be hypocrites and we must understand that discipline in the local body is always meant to be rehabilitative, not retributive.
    Jesus is addressing the heart here…Paul gives us the application of this teaching in the body life of the local congregation.

  37. I disagree that Paul has given us liberty to judge our neighbor in the guise of us protecting church purity. I am sure that he has posed that to leadership as an administrative function.
    I am not to run around accessing the brethren of being evil for smoking because I have now ‘fixed’ myself and am now a non smoker.
    In other words we never get the whole plank removed from our own eye. I will listen to the claim of successful plank removal from their own eye. Start now – 🙂

  38. So let’s move to the end of the article. Is the narrow gate / path part of your witnessing took box?
    Do you boldly proclaim that Jesus Christ alone is the absolute only way to the Father and that God has promised that this narrow gate / paste is hard and perilous?

  39. Jean says:

    Some how Matthew 11:30 is true also. How do you hold that verse together with 7:14?

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean, I am missing the connection. Are you saying that Matthew 11 Jesus is saying that when you proclaim the narrow path / gate to unbelievers – that Jesus is the only way to the Father that your life will be easier – that your burdens will be lifted?

    I will repeat my note at v.14;
    Notice that Jesus does not say, the road / gate is narrow but I make it easy
    No, he says “hard” – but the reward is great.

    The Matt 11 verse is talking about something lse. This is why I refuse to play dueling verses – Jesus always loses when we do. A reader is left with “Jesus can’t make up hismind.”

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    But note that there is a Highway to Hell but only a Stairway to Heaven 🙂

  42. Michael says:

    Again, we must hold the scriptures in tension.

    In Matt 11 Jesus is contrasting His “yoke’ with that of the Pharisees … works vs. grace, law vs.gospel.

    In this passage He’s asserting what He says throughout His witness…that the true way is narrow and only those who overcome make the journey whole.

    Following Jesus is the way of the Cross.

    As to the other issue on the table…every incident of church discipline begins with confrontations below the level of clergy.
    The end of the matter may require their intervention, but it starts with lay people and elders.

  43. Em ... again says:

    the yoke is easy and the burden is light, but the road is narrow and there are wolves, so stay yoked and under the reins of the Lord

    err… something like that

  44. Michael, we only hold statements in tension if they are speaking of the same thing, Matt 7 & 11 are not.
    Context must be protected. In 7 Jesus says it is narrow and hard – says nothing about easy. So if you are speaking to someone about the narrow path are you going to tell them it’s easy or hard ?— Jesus did not give 2 answers here and neither should we.

  45. Steve Wright says:

    MLD you need to let go of the ESV connotative use of the words, easy and hard. You are treating them in a denotative fashion and that is a mistake. There is a reason most all other translations do not translate that way. The idea of narrow, compressed, restricted can connote “hard” but the words in the text are NOT the normal words for easy and hard.

  46. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, in the past you have remarked that when discussion of the Greek text arises, one must question why these great translators “never” see it the way of the discussion.

    So to use your own standard, I just looked up 7:13 in 14 English translations, and only 2 of them translate the word as “easy” (RSV, ESV) – the rest almost universally translate it as “broad” with one exception which uses “spacious”

    My hunch is that by translating narrow, straightened, compressed in the next verse as “hard”, the translators contrasted with “easy” in the verse prior. The two words used in 7:14 are very synonymous and both mean “narrow” so we get “narrow” and rather than a repeat, we get “difficult” as a connotative meaning for “compressed” – other connotations for that same Greek word in the Bible are translated troubled, afflicted, tribulation etc.

    However, I believe the abundance of evidence, whether English or Greek, is that Jesus is contrasting a wide, broad path to destruction (many going that way) with a narrow path to eternal life (and few going that way)

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, I am a bit confused – I went in to your teaching on these verses and you read it as;
    “…wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many that go by it, because narrow is the gate, difficult is the way which leads to life to those who find it.”
    How is your using ‘difficult’ different than my use (the ESV use) of the word ‘hard’?

    So others know, Steve’s teaching on this topic is very good and leaves no wiggle room for any other way to the father.

    The ‘difficulty’ or hardness does not come from compreeion down to a narrowness – the hardness comes from not going along with the crowd and the beating you take. Stand in a crowd and announce that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven … especially if you do this in a college philosophy class – see if your college life does not automatically take on a more difficult aspect.

  48. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The Roman Catholic Church in their catechism show that they do not believe in the Jesus is the only way to the Father jive – in their catechism #839 – 841 they seem to indicate that Jews and Muslims hold an equal status – which I find odd since they still hold Lutherans in anathema. Funny how the devil gets in and says Jews and Muslims Good — Lutherans bad and they buy it.

    My mother in law this week while we we on vacation brought up how at her church (ELCA) that twice a year her church hosts all the other religions in the area for a joint worship Jews, Muslims, Hmong, Catholics etc – a message from each and meals together.
    She’s 92 so I go easy on her. I know she is saved as a baptized former LCMC – but talk about Satan getting in to deceive people. I told her it is not right, but she now thinks LCMS are too judgmental … so I took her and my mom (89 and Jewish) out to the casino where we had more common ground. 🙂

  49. Jean says:

    MLD, you stopped reading just in time to slander the RCC.

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean – about the Jews and Muslims?
    841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

  51. Jean says:

    MLD,

    There are plenty of things that one could criticize the RCC for without slander. Picking one or two questions out of context is a violation of the 8th Commandment. Read all the way through Question 846 if you truly want to understand, much less communicate to others, what the RCC confesses regarding salvation through Christ alone.

    Or, you could go back to the Weekend Word. 🙂

  52. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean – read up on the RCC doctrine of implicit baptism of desire – you do not even need to believe in God to be a part of God’s plan of salvation.

    One quote here – “3. Persons who do not believe in Christianity or God — due to a sincere but mistaken conscience — but who love their neighbor selflessly. Their true love of others implicitly includes the love of God, and all who truly love God desire the path to salvation, which includes baptism. This type of baptism of desire is fully implicit, since the person implicitly loves God by loving their neighbor and implicitly desires baptism.

    https://ronconte.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/roman-catholic-teaching-on-implicit-baptism-of-desire/
    — this is the Weekend Word – who is on the narrow Jesus Only path

  53. Jean says:

    “845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. the Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. the Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.”

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean,
    Check into it further and you will find that the doctrine is yes they come through Christ – whether they know it or not – it it Christ that made the way, but you do not have any acknowledgement of it. I remember listening (probably 20 yrs ago) to Patrick Madrid at Catholic Answers speak of this – and he is probably today’s RCC chief apologist.

    You can find them online.

  55. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Sadly, this seems to be the identical view of the ELCA. Funny how we run full cycle.

  56. Jean says:

    MLD,

    I am not going to spend another second researching RC doctrine. I don’t have the time or the interest. One thing I do understand is that in any tradition, whether RCC, EO, Lutheran, Reformed, etc., different traditions use the same or different words, but the meanings can be very different. Take the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist for example. If I wanted to critique another tradition, I would feel bound to undertake a reasonable study of their terminology and doctrines, so that I would have a reasonable chance of understanding where they are coming from.

    Unless you want to shadow box, perhaps you could teach the narrow gate in conversation with traditions who are actually represented (and participate) on this blog. However, you have the 1st Amendment, so carry on.

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean,
    First, I am not saying RCC peeps are not saved – but I am saying they have a looser version of who is.

    Second, I assume that all here hold to an explicit Jesus Only view (narrow path) – but people here are not the only people we run into in life. We do run into Christians, and if not should be warned that there are those who do not hold to Jesus Only as the way to the Father.

    Third, we still have that Lutherans are anathema to the Roman Church. 😉

  58. Jean says:

    I think you may find some diversity here on this blog on a couple topics, which perhaps the RCC (I don’t know) have explicit doctrines to cover:

    (1) The baby that dies at birth, neither having heard the Gospel nor having been baptized?

    (2) The Indian in the Brazilian rain forest who has never met a Christian, much less heard the Gospel?

    There may be some other examples I ‘m not thinking of at the moment.

  59. Josh the Baptist says:

    “I think it’s clear that the whole church is responsible for the health of the church.
    Every member of the church should have the ability to speak to issues that compromise the spiritual health and integrity of the church.
    The modern evangelical church has lost all sense of the local church as an organic unit where what one does affects all.”

    Michael says this above. His first two sentences are completely correct, but then his conclusion, I think is way off base.

    I would argue that the modern evangelical church is the only church in history that has given power to laity to address problems.

    Obviously the early church had problems with it, because Paul addressed it.

    Post-apostolic it got much worse.

    Keep going to the Papacy and the institution of transubstantiation, and the laity is completely removed of all ability to address issues in the church.

    This wasn’t addressed at all until the reformation and the bible getting translated into common languages. Still, as you know, this little bit of power was met with sever persecution.

    So yeah, I’ll say it again, no lay person in the history of Christianity has had more say in the health of the local church than the modern American Evangelical.

  60. Going back – does my comment about Robin Williams have merit?

  61. Josh the Baptist says:

    I don’t know what you were trying to say about Robin Williams. I seem to recall a video of him talking about becoming a Christian, but I may be wrong.

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The point that at his funeral, the Billy Crystal comment that Williams was in heaven with no mention as to why he was in heaven. (and being pronounced in heaven by a non religious Jew (Crystal)

    This gives the impression that he is there because either he is a good guy or “one of us” (entertainers)

    This is a comment on the wide path / gate

  63. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – Maybe I am misunderstanding your point and am confused why you spend all the time in the comments arguing the “hard” thing….To your followup to me, yes, it is hard to follow Jesus in a world that hates Him. It may even cost one his/her life. However, salvation is not hard at all. It is a free gift we receive. Period.

    As to my teaching. I read from the KJV so yeah, I read it as they translated it. If you listen to my elaboration on the teaching of the two verses though, it was 100% devoted to the contrast between the narrow, Jesus-only, path, and the broad popular path. Narrow and broad. Not hard and easy.

  64. Steve Wright says:

    Crud. I meant I read from the NKJV….

  65. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – re: Robin Williams. Though I did not use that same illustration, I did use a similar one, namely how some Christians get excited every time some famous celebrity uses the word, “god” in a quote or interview. I had seen a facebook post with a list of 20 or so celebrities who supposedly were Christians…despite all evidence except the one “god” quote.

  66. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    My beginning point for the “hard” was in contrast to the point brought up that it had to be compared and or held in tension with the Matt 11 quote about the easy yoke — which is something else completely.

    I just wanted to hear if people have trouble witnessing to a Jesus Only way to the father – as I said above, my mother in law’s ELCA church would – and I know many other Christians who would say that it is a ‘narrow’ Christian view to say such.

    Also we have the issue of many evangelical – perhaps fundamentalist churches promising that ‘coming’ to Jesus will solve all you problems – depression gone, money in the bank etc – vs coming to Christ may lead to a harder life.

  67. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I think our disconnect comes from my very limited exposure to congregationalism.

    All of my experience is with pastor centric models.

  68. Xenia says:

    Josh, along with the power of the laity to affect the local church comes the power of laypersons to invent their own version of Christianity and cause the never-ending schisms in the post-Reformation world. Children of the Reformation have come up with worse “heresies” than transubstantiation.

  69. Xenia says:

    And… I have seen congregational churches torn to pieces every few years when the elected deacons (a popularity contest in many cases) decide the pastor isn’t obeying their whims with enough diligence.

    The ugliest meetings I have ever attend were Baptist congregational meeting.

  70. Xenia says:

    I will go so far as to say that having attended all kinds of churches in my life, congregationalism is the worst form of church government. It really can get brothers hating brothers.

  71. Steve Wright says:

    I know Xenia knows this, but “evangelical” does not equal “congregational”

    I did not see Josh express support for congregational rule (MLD mentioned the word in passing in a rebuttal up there to Michael)

    I also am not sure I would equate the electing of deacons by the congregation with congregational rule per se…..

  72. Josh the Baptist says:

    Michael, I think you are judging a large group based on a very visible minority.

    Xenia,
    I agree with most of what you have said. Congregationalism can be bad and can be abused.No question about that.

    My comment about transubstantiation wasn’t about the heresy involved, but the fact that it elevated the Priest above the laity more than ever before, and certainly more than even in a Moses Model American Evangelical church.

  73. Steve Wright says:

    You guys ever hear the expression, “That’s not a bug, it’s a feature”

    A lot of discussion about church governance can come down to that. What on one hand is a weakness in some contexts, is a strength in others.

  74. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think we need to go back to why governance came up.
    Did Paul instruct or give authority to individual church members to ‘judge’ each other or was that an administrative instruction to the church leaders.

    I say to the church leaders in order to keep order in the church. Michael took the side that it is the individual member’s job to keep others in line. I used the example of the ex smoker.

    All of this in contrast to Jesus telling us not to judge others without first fixing our self.

  75. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, the thing is, Paul was dealing with something that was an obvious sin, even a sin in the Gentile world. Res ipsa loquitur one could say.

    As often noted here, Corinthians is not a pastoral epistle to a certain leader(s) but rather was written to the church as a whole.

    So I don’t know if the issue involves “judging” at all – not in the sense Jesus speaks of here.

    Christians must always call out sin as sin. And sin is what God has said sin is. (Thus, your smoking example falls flat because there is no revelation from God on the sin of smoking)

    If someone is guilty of adultery, it is not “judging” to say so. Or to deal with it as necessary. Now, if someone is seen having lunch with a woman not his wife, and one judges the guy must be stepping out, one would be in violation of what Jesus is teaching.

  76. Xenia says:

    I am not a fan of modern Roman Catholicism and I don’t know how they operate on the parish level, but in a typical Orthodox parish, the pastor (priest) is in charge of Liturgical matters (under the direction of the bishop) and the laity has an elected parish council that makes decisions about when to paint the church, what charities to support, etc.

    This system can be abused, too. Any system can be run off the rails by a good old boys club (the parish council) or a cult of personality (a charismatic priest.) But there’s always the bishop who can set things aright but of course, he may be a charismatic good old boy himself. But there’s a Patriarch over him. As long as humans are involved trouble is inevitable but it will eventually be set aright because in my world, even patriarchs can be fired. I think the EO laity has more “power” than in Catholicism but that’s just a guess. Laity can’t change theology, of course.

    As for translating the Scriptures into the common language, this has always been the Orthodox way, from Sts. Cyril and Methodius who translated the Scriptures and service books into the Slavonic language of the day in the 9th century to Russian missionaries who did translation work among the native population in the 19th century.

  77. Xenia says:

    Russian missionaries to Alaska, I forgot to say.

  78. Josh the Baptist says:

    I think Xenia perceives me attacking her tradition, which is not the case.

    In this case, I’m not making a judgement call for bad or good, or which I prefer. (I am a congregationalist, and convicted that it is the best polity, but that is not the point I am making at all.)

    Michael’s statement was that modern evangelical laity have no way to ensure the health of a congregation. I think even Xenia would agree, that modern evangelical laity are more free to affect the leadership of their congregations that any other group in history.

    She thinks it is the wrong way to do things, and has witnessed the pitfalls, but I think she agrees that an unprecedented amount of “power” has been placed in the hands of laity.

  79. Xenia says:

    I agree, Josh, that an unprecedented amount of power is found in the hands of evangelical laity and I do not think it is a good thing.

  80. Xenia says:

    I don’t think you are attacking my tradition, Josh, because you never mentioned Orthodoxy. I am just adding more information to the conversation.

  81. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, my point about the ex smoker, in jest, was that is what many think the ‘taking the plank out of your own eye’ is about.

    “Hey, I used to smoke and now I have rid myself of that sin and it is now my job to make sure you do too.”

    I did not advocate linking the Paul passage to Matt 7 at all – I see no link – Jesus was clear – do not judge others (although I do think in context he is speaking of judging motives.

  82. Michael says:

    Josh,

    We may have a regional difference. I see little congregationalism here…actually little of the SBC.
    CC has been a huge influence here…

  83. Michael says:

    “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.”
    (1 Corinthians 5:12–13 ESV)

    Jesus tells us not to judge, Paul demands that we do.
    I think that deserves some work and would be seen as contradictory by many.

    It’s our job as teachers to work these things out…

  84. Josh the Baptist says:

    Xenia @ 80 – Thanks. Just making sure we were understanding each other 🙂

    Michael @ 83 – Even CC’s place more power in the hands of laity than pretty much any tradition before them.

  85. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I don’t know which CC’s you’re referring to, but I don’t see much of that.
    In fact I would argue that point rather vociferously…

  86. Michael says:

    As Xenia wrote on the other thread…

    “My experience at my old CC is that the laity had zero power. Only one person had any power at all and the only power an attendee had was the power to leave.”

  87. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 84 –

    Obviously, we are to judge. We have to judge correct teaching, false prophets from true prophets, etc.

    I teach that Jesus’ admonition against judging is 1.) A strong condemnation of hypocrisy, and 2.) that we sure should be sure in our proclaimed judgement, not speculative. For instance, if someone asked me where is Robin Williams today, I could not answer. I simply don’t know. That is not my place to judge. If someone asked me if Williams used to many curse words in his movies, assuming I had seen the movies, I could probably make a fiat judgement on that.

  88. Josh the Baptist says:

    Ok, since I don’t want to argue the CC issue, let’s just ask how many actual churches you are referring to vs. how many Modern Evangelical churches there are?

    Are you saying that your statement should have been, “Calvary Chapel churches have lost all sense of the local church as an organic unit where what one does affects all.” ?

  89. Josh the Baptist says:

    Still, as I’m finishing a semester of church history right now, I’d disagree with you even on that, but I don’t want to get into that argument right now.

  90. Michael says:

    What I’m saying is that this Scripture has little meaning in corporate evangelicalism;

    “For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
    The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
    (1 Corinthians 12:14–26 ESV)

  91. Steve Wright says:

    Going back to my bug/feature comment.

    How easy is it for a Catholic, Lutheran, or Orthodox church to have a split? Where a large percentage of the congregation just moves two blocks away and opens the doors the next Sunday? It happens all the time in evangelical circles, usually around some issue of needed/ignored church discipline.

    We have remarked that one problem with church discipline today in evangelical circles is that the sinner just goes to a new church and does not miss a beat. If the new church is advised of the guy’s discipline, odds are pretty high the new church will spout something about “practicing grace here” and be happy to have a new attendee. The Lutheran or Orthodox worshiper can’t do the same (at least and remain part of the same denomination). If Xenia or MLD’s church boots someone in a formal disciplinary process, where are they going to go? If they do travel to another Lutheran/Orthodox church, a simple phone call will (I assume) get them booted from there as well.

    However, the other side of that coin is the Lutheran or Orthodox member who is part of one of those “good old boy” churches Xenia described that can exist on occasion likewise has no place to go (except maybe in those large enough cities with more than one church).

    Voting with one’s feet without one being required to leave their basic faith tradition is actually a lot of power. When done en masse, it can certainly cripple any church ignoring needed discipline.

  92. Josh the Baptist says:

    Michael, I am telling you that it has more meaning in corporate evangelicalism than in any tradition ever. Even the church that Paul was writing to was obviously not doing it well, since he wrote to correct them.

  93. Steve Wright says:

    What I’m saying is that this Scripture has little meaning in corporate evangelicalism;
    —————————————————
    Actually, I see a lot of pressure and manipulation in corporate evangelicalism to get people serving in some capacity. Just look at the plethora of ministries in a larger evangelical church and the push to get people “involved” in some group or another.

    It so goes against my beliefs that I am questioning if I have not gone too far the other way and actually need to do a little more to encourage people to step out….

  94. Michael says:

    Josh,

    @93…We’ll agree to radically disagree. 🙂

  95. Steve Wright says:

    Josh, I agree with your #88 as to what Jesus was talking about with His judging remarks.

    I use the illustration of being critical of someone you see who has fallen asleep in church. For starters, you have no idea if that person was awake all night tending to a sick loved one, or a baby in need, maybe working the graveyard shift to feed the family – and yet they still made the effort to come to church but just physically could not stay awake.

    So by judging the mere observance that the person is asleep, and concluding that is terrible, then

    A) You better not look for excuses to miss church, no matter how rough a night you had

    and

    B) You better not fall asleep in church, EVER, for you have set a standard against yourself.

    Better to be gracious to all when we just don’t know all the details, but yeah, if I can call out adultery, when in fact that has happened, I will call it out – and I will not be bothered by setting a standard that if I am ever guilty of adultery, I too will be judged.

  96. Xenia says:

    There are Orthodox church splits, never over theology, usually over perceived heavy handedness on the part of a bishop. One can always join another jurisdiction under a different bishop. Sometimes people will organize under a schismatic bishop and so cannot take communion at a canonical Orthodox parish but these little rebellions and schisms usually fizzle. There are more options in Orthodoxy than in the RCC.

  97. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    To Steve’s #92 – I don’t think a church split could result in a new Lutheran church opening up down the street – at least in the same synod. The split would have to be authorized somewhere along the line through the district president and who knows what else.

    When my church split, those who left went to another LCMS church or to a couple.

  98. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – Just for fun I checked the CC locator for churches within 20 miles of mine. I eliminated the ones on the other side of the mountains (20 miles as the crow flies) and still was left with 20 other churches within 20 miles.

    I did the same for the LCMS. 20 miles from the one that is our neighbor here. I see there is only six.

    Now, in addition, there are dozens and dozens and dozens of evangelical churches that are essentially no different than a CC within those same 20 miles. Such a Christian would not feel they are abandoning much of anything by starting to worship there (indeed, I have lost many families to other non-CC evangelical churches in the area).

    And of course if a split is large enough with a desire to start a new church, while they may not easily become an official CC in the databank…big deal. The people aren’t really giving up any sort of identity

    In contrast to one who identifies and wants to remain a LCMS….there just is no comparison in terms of the options available.

    (Again, this is all in the context of the power of the laity in modern evangelicalism)

    I did not do a similar search for Xenia…I assume out here it might be even more limited than the LCMS.

  99. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Perhaps Lutherans do being miserable together and don’t feel the need to split. 🙂

  100. Xenia says:

    If there aren’t a lot of easy options- easy escapes- maybe the disgruntled will have to stay where they are and learn to work things out.

  101. Josh the Baptist says:

    Xenia – I think that is Steve’s point. The lack of options takes away even more power from the laity.

  102. Steve Wright says:

    Exactly…so the denominational structure of such means the leaders have all the power and not the laity….which was the point Josh and I were making.

  103. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This is kind of funny. Xenia and I come from quite different governing bodies yet we think more in terms of office and see no power struggles between laity and clergy .

    Josh and Steve are trying to mete out what constitutes power and who should have it.

    It’s not in the governance – it is in the office.

  104. Josh the Baptist says:

    No we aren’t.

  105. Josh the Baptist says:

    I haven’t made one judgement call about which I think is better. i was refuting a statement made by Michael.

    AS far as this conversation goes, I am unconcerned about who has power or who should have power, only pointing out that the laity have more say in leadership in Modern Evangelicalism than in any other group in the history of Christianity.

    Xenia has agreed, and said that it is bad.

    I’m not saying whether it is bad or good, only that it is.

  106. Michael says:

    I’m saying it isn’t. 😉

  107. Josh the Baptist says:

    Right, I understand that. MLD, apparently thought I was arguing something else.

  108. Steve Wright says:

    Well, I don’t want to put words in Josh’s mouth. However, when I wrote #103 above it was within the context that the laity would be more likely to have to forsake his/her tradition than your average evangelical.

    Josh wrote earlier “So yeah, I’ll say it again, no lay person in the history of Christianity has had more say in the health of the local church than the modern American Evangelical.” – and I am amen’ing that point.

    My 103 may look contradictory to that point, but hopefully, in the flow of discussion, it will be seen not to be.

  109. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t know – I see conversation going on as to who has power — there is no power to be had.

    I will hold up #102 & 103 as examples –

    102 = “Xenia – I think that is Steve’s point. The lack of options takes away even more power from the laity.”

    103 = “Exactly…so the denominational structure of such means the leaders have all the power and not the laity…which was the point Josh and I were making.”

  110. Josh the Baptist says:

    Ok MLD – We used the word power at some point. That wasn’t the discussion. Mark it up to my poor use of vocabulary.

  111. Steve Wright says:

    New Testament Greek has two main words for “power”

    One of those words is synonymous with authority. The other is ability.

    Both uses have been involved in this thread….

    Thus some confusion…

    And thus proof once more the Greek language is better than English. At least as to the wider vocabulary.

  112. Josh the Baptist says:

    And I actually started off by quoting Xenia’s “power” in her #77.

    Can’t I just say that’s not what the conversation was about? Xenia has actually agreed with all I’ve said, and just added her opinions about the merit of those facts.

  113. Jean says:

    I am LCMS Lutheran. My pastor once told me that the laity should be well catechized because they have a responsibility to call the pastor to account if he decided to teach or preach a doctrine inconsistent with the Confessions. That’s the congregational check and balance.

    But, what if you want to talk about power and authority, the Lutheran Church places it squarely in its Head, who spoke by His Word. Lutherans believe that the Confessions in the Book of Concord are an accurate exposition of the essential doctrines contained in the Word.

    Therefore, it is the Confessions (as a compendium of the Word) that are looked at to norm and “supervise” the pastor and congregational life. I think having a tradition, which actually means something, and is taken seriously, helps a lot when it comes to church problems. However, I do agree that as long as the church is inhabited by sinners (and even non-Christians – which I think is a good thing), you are going to have issues.

  114. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, this whole conversation has been in English – so I do not understand why we need a Greek interpretation.

    I think it’s funny, I say the conversation with Steve and Josh has been about power – Josh chimes in and says he used the word power but didn’t mean to and Steve gives Greek interpretations of the word power to prove that he was not speaking of power.

    OK 🙂

  115. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – My statement is that Modern Evangelicals have more ability to address the health of the congregation that any group in the history of Christianity.

    Do you agree or disagree?

    If you’d like to change the subject to your question of power, feel free, but to this point that has not been what we are talking about.

  116. Steve Wright says:

    Let’s provide a real world sort of example. Since church discipline and judging is what got this ball started.

    A guy’s wife leaves him, and thus the church. Guy keep coming to church, worshiping as if all is well. People begin to notice and start making judgments, without knowledge. Maybe the wife left him for another guy. Maybe he is a wife abuser and she fled for her safety. People start taking sides, gossiping and so forth.

    Who has the power, as in authority, to investigate such a situation for the health of the church? Is it the role of the leadership or the entire congregation?

    Now, let’s say that enough people know the wife to know that she did flee for her safety, and that the guy is an abuser. However, he also is best friend and loyalist to key people in leadership (i.e. Senior Pastor but necessarily only him) – and so this abuser keeps worshiping the Lord each Sunday sitting next to others in the church who know he is an unrepentant wife abuser. Because the leadership refuses to do anything, making some appeal to forgiveness and grace to excuse unrepentant behavior.

    It eventually gets so bad that a couple dozen couples and their families decide, after one final appeal to the leadership to excommunicate this guy that falls on deaf ears, that they are going to use their power, as in ability, to all leave the church en masse, causing a massive departure that affects the ability of the church ministries in all areas from finances to servant volunteers to morale. Those still there after the split, who were previously in the dark, are made aware of why these families all left and so within the next month many of them leave as well.

    Both examples of “power” are seen in this illustration. As I said prior, what is a bug to one group (those who wish for regional appeals up the district chain of command) is a feature to another group (who otherwise would not have any options after said appeals if wanting to stay within the faith tradition)

  117. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – just pointing out the deficiencies in English and “power” is a good example. Why we can get confused. See my illustration above.

    You love the Dodgers. Love your wife and grandkids. Love those free samples at Costco.

    Yet your feelings are different in all three….

  118. Nonnie says:

    Steve….” this abuser keeps worshiping the Lord each Sunday sitting next to others in the church who know he is an unrepentant wife abuser. Because the leadership refuses to do anything, making some appeal to forgiveness and grace to excuse unrepentant behavior.”

    The thing is, if a corrupt leadership were backing an abusive husband, they wouldn’t just be “refusing to do anything.” They would be proactive in gas lighting the abused woman. “She is crazy, you don’t know what this woman has done to him.” etc, etc. Your example is too simple. Any men in power who back an abusive man over an abused woman would not be remaining silent. They would have a script to play out to discredit the “crazy woman.”

    I completely agree with you that the folks in the seats have the power to walk and not support. Yet, we see time after time how they don’t leave, and instead declare, “Well, he’s such a good teacher, bla bla bla.”

    Agreed….the pastor could not “pastor” without folks sitting in the seats.

  119. Steve Wright says:

    Good addition, Nonnie. Yes, the leadership would no doubt come up with discrediting stuff against the woman…how successful that would be would depend on the amount of people in my illustration who know the woman (and the abusive husband) and thus know the truth.

  120. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Yet your feelings are different in all three….”
    You are correct – those Costco samples go right to the top. 🙂

    No matter how you describe the words or actions, you seem to have them centered on some type of power struggle – like it is built into the natural church relationship (laity v clergy) and is to be expected. I guess that is where I get confused.

  121. Steve Wright says:

    Not at all, MLD! I do not think a power struggle is natural at all. In fact, the number one reason I began to post on this blog is to seek to try and diminish what was, at the time some 8 years ago, a pretty stark division between pastors and laity. To try and bridge some gaps, both in making sure to hear the concerns of people as to abusive leaders, but also to explain some situations and issues that, if one has never had the leadership role and its responsibility, one may not understand exist.

    Power struggles, by definition, in my opinion, would be the mark of an unhealthy church, no matter the tradition/denomination.

  122. Josh the Baptist says:

    I do think a power struggle is completely natural anywhere two humans are together. Be it a marriage, business, or church. The natural man desires power and is threatened by anything he perceives interrupts his flow of power. Yes. I think that is natural and should not surprise us that it pops up in church settings.

    That being said, that was not the point of my discussion, but I’m cool with the changing subject. I think I made my point.

  123. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well I do think that Josh is correct that we never want to do it God’s way – and this is why Jesus has given the commands to forgive generously and to not judge others.

    Go back to my #33 – I make this perfectly clear – we are given these commands because it goes against our nature. As I say in my #33 we even fight the very words of Jesus

    My last line in #33 should have read – “In other words – there are NO ‘circumstances’ … NONE!

  124. Steve Wright says:

    Well I do think that Josh is correct that we never want to do it God’s way
    ———————————————————–
    Speak for yourself.

    Now, if you want to say that we fight (war) against our flesh’s desire to do what the Spirit intends, then I agree 100%. That is a battle that will go on until glory.

    (That’s one of the things that bothers me on occasion as you teach, MLD. And I know it is old ground in our conversations, but it is as if you forget the indwelling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit Who resides in every believer. We are not the same people in Christ as we were in Adam, and the difference is the Holy Spirit’s presence)

  125. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, I find it odd that you did not take exception to Josh’s similar comment.

    But go back to what I said in my #33 – “The commands, whether from Sinai or the mouth of Jesus are all things that are counter to what we want to do – we are told to love our neighbor because it is our nature to hate and want to destroy our neighbor.”

    Why is a holy spirit directed person commanded to love God and to love thy neighbor – if it is such a natural thing for the believer to do?

    Look, no one needs to command me to take a Sunday afternoon nap – that my friend is something that comes natural to me. 🙂

  126. Jean says:

    “(That’s one of the things that bothers me on occasion as you teach, MLD. And I know it is old ground in our conversations, but it is as if you forget the indwelling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit Who resides in every believer. We are not the same people in Christ as we were in Adam, and the difference is the Holy Spirit’s presence)”

    Sometimes modern Lutherans get stuck on forensic justification to our detriment. However, this is an overreaction to evangelicalism and is not classic Lutheranism. MLD could have rightly said “our old Adam never wants to do things God’s way.”

  127. Steve Wright says:

    I disagree about the power struggle. When I became a member in a local Baptist church for a couple years, I went in with eyes wide open, knowing that I was not going to agree with everything and that it was not my place to try and change the church after my own wishes – and likewise that my power was in bailing the place if it ever crossed a line I could not support. Which is eventually what happened.

    In teaching this Fall at Bible College, there is no power struggle. A school asks a teacher to teach, subject to the rules and guidelines of the school, and the teacher teaches the class as he sees fit within those guidelines. If the teacher wants to violate the rules, the school sends him packing. If the school wants to dictate to the teacher exactly what he is going to teach, the teacher tells the school to find someone else….no power struggle.

    And as to marriage…well, just give over all the power to your wife and you will stay together for life. 🙂 Right, MLD?

  128. Steve Wright says:

    if it is such a natural thing for the believer to do?
    —————————————–
    Which nature? Old or new?

  129. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Which nature? Old or new?”

    First off it is all me – so I will speak in schizophrenic language here for those who have been trained to – I said this many times over long periods of time. The old man can hear only the law – that is the only thing he can respond to. The old man cannot hear the gospel at all.

    The new man does not need the law but hears it anyway but responds only to the gospel.

    But we are only one person and when my old man goes somewhere bad, he takes my new man along.

  130. Jean says:

    Train us then MLD. If evangelicals understood the Simul, it would be a valuable lesson.

  131. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    “And as to marriage…well, just give over all the power to your wife and you will stay together for life. ? Right, MLD?”

    As I am sure you know – in marriage you can be right or you can be happy. 🙂

  132. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean – you need to do the teaching on the Simul – you’ve been there, done that and you have the T Shirt 😉

  133. Steve Wright says:

    Look…I come from the point of view that Romans 7 is Paul writing as a Christian. And that chapter expresses the desire of a man to please God – and the recognition of his inability and many failures in seeking to do so…

    MLD said “we never want to do it God’s way”

    If “we” means we Christians, indwelt by the Holy Spirit (and not people in Adam)

    If “never” means…never.

    And if “want” speaks to a desire, a longing, a will of the heart…

    Then I disagree 100%. And Paul backs me up.

    Now if you Lutherans translate we, never, and want, somehow differently….(maybe it’s in the Greek 🙂 )

  134. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    I may overstate things to a point but you still need to address the commands of Jesus to the spirit led man.

  135. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ooops! hit go too fast. Why does the spirit led man need to be commanded to love God and Love neighbor?

  136. Steve Wright says:

    Well, I will put aside the issue that there were no Spirit led men when Jesus taught (before Acts 2), to get to your larger point of our need today, as Spirit led men, to obey our Lord’s commands.

    Just because I am in Christ, how do I know the desires I have are from God, or from my flesh – the old sin nature? I have been very clear that there is a battle between the two all the days of our (Christian) lives. There was no battle as an unsaved heathen.

    What is the standard, the revelation, from God that shows me the difference? Well, His word of course.

    This is also why when someone says “God’s Spirit led me to do XYZ” I can say with absolute certainty that God did NOT lead the person to XYZ, if XYZ goes against God’s word.

  137. Jean says:

    “Well, I will put aside the issue that there were no Spirit led men when Jesus taught (before Acts 2), to get to your larger point of our need today, as Spirit led men, to obey our Lord’s commands.”

    What? Yes there were.

  138. Steve Wright says:

    Jean, I would quote you the many verses on the topic from John, chapters 14, 15, and 16 but there are so many that my post would go into moderation.

    Needless to say, all of our Lord’s words about the Holy Spirit are in the future tense. Something still to come….

    The Holy Spirit was always WITH them of course, but Him being IN them was still future, as Jesus says plainly.

    15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

  139. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Micah 3:8 – But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.

  140. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Numbers 14:24 – “24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.”

    Caleb has a different spirit

    Numbers 27:18 – “So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.”

    Where is the spirit? Indwelling Joshua

  141. Jean says:

    In Hebrews 11, there’s a list of the so-called Hall of Faith from the OT. Who converted them?

    Who were the OT prophets led by?

    When Jesus sent out the 12 in Matthew 10 to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons”, Who was working through them?

  142. Steve Wright says:

    Well…I did not know I needed to outline the entire doctrine of Pneumatology 🙂

    I think it is a pretty simple, understood point. As I said, Jesus spent the better part of 3 chapters just hours before the cross to explain the future coming of the Spirit into the lives of all believers. We see the fulfillment in Acts 2, as Jesus again explained in the first chapter of Acts before His ascension.

    Of course the Holy Spirit had a ministry in the Old Testament, as He would come (and go I might add) upon certain individuals for a purpose as God willed.

    This is far different than the indwelling, sealing, baptizing work of the Spirit at the moment of salvation to EVERY believer.

    Is your argument, MLD, that, as to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, absolutely nothing happened to the disciples from the time they were leaving their nets to learn from Jesus, including the Sermon on the Mount, through the book of Acts?

    For what it’s worth, I think one of the clearest contrasts is with the disciples hiding for fear of their lives after the crucifixion, to boldly facing the same powerful men and preaching Jesus, even when threatened and beaten, after being filled with the Holy Spirit. As Jesus said in Acts chapter 1, they received power to be His witnesses once the Spirit came upon them.

  143. Steve Wright says:

    If I have to take on both the Lutherans, I need Alan Hawkins to even the sides… 🙂

  144. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, my quoted verses are clear that the spirit is in and indwelling in these folks – Micah, Joshua, and Caleb – there are others.

    There may be a fullness at Pentecost but not a newness – that would be a dispensationalist view exclusively (a whole new work)

  145. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    God’s spirit has always been with the believer – even the OT believers – Psalm 139:7-10

    “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”

    Are you saying that today we have more of the Holy Spirit?

  146. Steve Wright says:

    That Psalm speaks to the omnipresence of the Spirit.

    I’m not going to get hung up on “fullness” versus “newness” as you differentiate and I have already agreed the Spirit was indwelling (and empowering) those OT saints you mentioned.

    It’s not like I am remotely saying the Holy Spirit did not exist until Pentecost you know. I’m not a heretic.

    Now…since as usual I address every Scripture you throw at me, how about you giving me a detailed explanation of what you believe as to the verses I raise (and have raised for several posts). Why Jesus spoke as He did in those chapters in John before the cross and the first chapter of Acts. Whether you think Peter was just as filled with the Holy Spirit (and if so, why) when he was washing his nets listening to Jesus preach in the early days, when he denied the Lord three times, when he hid for his life after the crucifixion, and when he preached boldly at Pentecost.

    If there was no change, you have a lot of Scripture to explain. If there was a change, then my point stands – Jesus did not preach to a crowd of Spirit-led me when He first gave the Sermon on the Mount.

  147. Steve Wright says:

    You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
    ——————————————
    I quoted this above, MLD. You telling me “God’s spirit has always been with the believer” is a point I already first made to you (because Jesus said so clearly)

  148. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, I need to drive home, but part of that change and boldness was because they saw the risen and then ascended Jesus.

    I think fulness vs newness is a critical point just as is the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit.

  149. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So if the Holy Spirit has always been with the believer – OT & NT why are we having this discussion. Remember, this began when you made the claim that there were no spirit filled believers before Pentecost

    Your #137 above – “Well, I will put aside the issue that there were no Spirit led men when Jesus taught (before Acts 2)”

  150. Steve Wright says:

    part of that change and boldness was because they saw the risen and then ascended Jesus.
    ————————————————————–
    So just mental then?

    Even though Jesus ordered them to wait until Pentecost to be empowered as witnesses by the Spirit…even though they themselves did not preach to unbelieving Jerusalem until Pentecost and the Spirit’s coming upon them….

    As to your second point, the problem with semantics in discussing with you over the years is you often insist I am defining terms in a manner in which I am not. So “newness” is a pretty loaded term. Yes, there is some aspect that is “new” or else Jesus would not have promised something yet future, and in fact explained that He had to go away first BEFORE the Spirit came in this “new” way. I have discussed some ways in which this is “new” to Christians. But at the same time, as I already have made clear, there was a definite role of the Holy Spirit throughout the Old Testament.

    The Holy Spirit, as the 3rd Person of the Trinity, shares equally, fully, and simultaneously in all the attributes and essence of God. So please be careful when declaring what I believe as to His “newness”

  151. Steve Wright says:

    MLD…this jar of cashews is with me as I sit on the couch.

    In a moment, a few of them will be in me.

    You don’t see the difference?

  152. Steve Wright says:

    Remember, this began when you made the claim that there were no spirit filled believers before Pentecost

    Your #137 above – “Well, I will put aside the issue that there were no Spirit led men when Jesus taught (before Acts 2)”
    ———————————————–
    MLD. I just saw this. Classic.

    Note what you first write as the summary of what I SUPPOSEDLY wrote.

    Then compare it to my actual quote that you cut and paste.

    Two different things. Yes, there were Spirit filled believers before Pentecost, as your wonderful OT Scripture examples point out. I never said otherwise. And as a study of those passages will note, they were filled to fulfill God’s purpose in their lives. We read of the Spirit leaving people too in the OT (never do we of anyone in the Church)

    However, that crowd of Jews listening to Jesus were not Spirit filled. There is no indication, or reason they would be. In fact, the parables were confusing to the multitudes and Jesus had to explain them to the disciples because even the disciples were not (yet) filled with the Spirit Who would guide them into all truth. They were “natural men”

  153. Steve Wright says:

    For those reading. MLD referenced a couple verses in Numbers (as to the Spirit on Caleb and Joshua)

    If you go back a little further in Numbers, you see a great example of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. He comes upon select people, as God wills, for a specific purpose, and most importantly, as noted by Moses himself, the Spirit most definitely is not upon ALL the people of Israel. In fact, the indication seems to be only Moses was empowered by His presence before these new 70 (note the use of “bear it yourself alone” by the LORD) Here are the key verses..
    —————————-
    Then the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone…..Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it. Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” (Num 11:16,17,25-29)

  154. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “However, that crowd of Jews listening to Jesus were not Spirit filled.”
    Because they were not Christians yet.

    In your #151 – you can’t make anything out of them waiting and not preaching – they were doing what Jesus told them to do. So what about the boldness of the OT prophets – how did they do that with no Pentecost moment.

    God was doing what he has always done with his people – he gave them a special anointing as he always did. This time he used a different means.

    Look at Elijah and Jeremiah, with no special indwelling in their day?? You need to rethink this – your dispensation model boxes you in and forces you to come up with the “new and improved” way God deals with his people.

    In fact I will ask it this way – did Elijah and Jeremiah have a lesser quantity of the Holy Spirit – did they have a different kind of Holy Spirit? Just what was the difference that they had?

  155. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, your #154 – you are poisoning the well and setting me up.
    “For those reading. MLD referenced a couple verses in Numbers (as to the Spirit on Caleb and Joshua)”

    My quotes showed that Micah and Joshua clearly were indwelled by the spirit – as inside and not upon as you wrongfully assume. Caleb, I am sure can be inferred that he too was indwelled.

    This is my point – God works the same. It may be more inclusive in the NT but it is the same action.

  156. Steve Wright says:

    Yes, there were Spirit filled believers before Pentecost, as your wonderful OT Scripture examples point out. I never said otherwise (post 153)

    (I’m just going to repeat what I already wrote, the more you ignore me and insist I am saying something I most clearly am NOT.

    I am glad to see you acknowledge the disciples listening to Jesus give the Sermon on the Mount “were not Christians yet” (your 155). I could not have said it better myself.

  157. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, back to the #137 thing. I asked why a spirit filled Christian would need the law – and your reply in #137 was that there were no spirit filled believers back when Jesus was teaching.

    What am I missing here? I am trying to maintain the context of our blog conversation and you are trying to deflect to a larger doctrinal issue.

    I asked a question, you gave an answer and now you are trying to nuance that reply.

  158. Steve Wright says:

    I gave you an answer in #137. Here it is again, without the one sentence (blame Jean for getting us sidetracked. 🙂 )
    ————————————-
    Just because I am in Christ, how do I know the desires I have are from God, or from my flesh – the old sin nature? I have been very clear that there is a battle between the two all the days of our (Christian) lives. There was no battle as an unsaved heathen.

    What is the standard, the revelation, from God that shows me the difference? Well, His word of course.

    This is also why when someone says “God’s Spirit led me to do XYZ” I can say with absolute certainty that God did NOT lead the person to XYZ, if XYZ goes against God’s word.

  159. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I am glad to see you acknowledge the disciples listening to Jesus give the Sermon on the Mount “were not Christians yet” (your 155). I could not have said it better myself.”

    No, I will not let you change what you said above. You said ““However, that crowd of Jews listening to Jesus were not Spirit filled.” There is always a separation when Jesus speaks between the disciples and the multitudes.

    The disciples were believers and the multitudes were not. To carry this out, you are sayig that Jesus fed his body and blood to unbelievers – and going further, I would come to the conclusion following your thought that communion is for unbelievers only as they prepare to become believers.

  160. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I asked in #136 – “Why does the spirit led man need to be commanded to love God and Love neighbor?”

    Your reply in #137 began with the immediate comment – “Well, I will put aside the issue that there were no Spirit led men when Jesus taught (before Acts 2), to get to your larger point of our need today, as Spirit led men, to obey our Lord’s commands.

    You clearly made the point with the answer to my question “no spirit led men before Acts 2” – and then completed the thought with a different topic that even you acknowledge you are moving onto.

  161. Steve Wright says:

    Believers, yes. Christians, no. (i.e. The Church)

    Yes, communion for believers. Absolutely. Now, by “believers” when listening to the Sermon on the Mount or partaking even of Communion, did they believe that Jesus would die for their sins and rise again (like The Church believes)….If so, they had a strange way of expressing that belief from the hours of the arrest in the Garden until He appeared face to face with them (after not believing the initial witness of the women)

    But we digress once more. We’ve had that argument before and I don’t want to repeat it now.

    I do appreciate the distinction between the disciples and the multitudes. However, when did the disciples get filled with the Spirit. When they left their nets? You have any Biblical support whatsoever of what you propose, and if they WERE so filled, why did they need Jesus to explain the parables to them, the same parables that confused the multitudes confused the disciples until Jesus explained them.

    Why did Jesus breathe on them in the Upper Room after the resurrection saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit”….where did He go that they needed that?

    And as to those disciples that, in John 6, left Jesus and no longer followed Him, did the Spirit exit them.

    And how about Judas? He was one of the 12. Did he have the Spirit. We are told about Satan entering him, but we sure aren’t told about the Spirit leaving Judas.

    You see, I am building my entire doctrine of the Spirit on what the Scripture actually TELLS us, concerning the Holy Spirit, not my hunches and assumptions.

    A lot of your Holy Spirit doctrine involves verses that don’t mention the Holy Spirit at all.

    Alas, I will have to read your responses later but even if we disagree, I trust I have made myself clear as to what I do believe…and teach.

    Blessings.

  162. Steve Wright says:

    #161 – MLD, I was being snarky. Based on prior discussions with you.

    Seriously, ignore my first sentence and the rest of the answer is my sincere reply to your question of why, though we have the Spirit within us, we still need the commands of our Lord.

  163. Em ... again says:

    not to rabbit trail… but the comment thread above reminds me that i am not clear on what the Lutheran interpretation is of John 3:3-7 … the new birth comes by water baptism in their view? okay, then what is it that is born? what do Lutherans interpret a spiritual birth to be?

    my understanding is that we are living as a two part being – body and soul until the new birth which “births” in us a spirit, alive and capable of understanding spiritual things – it is not the indwelling Holy Spirit which would take us down a different path of doctrines…

    (i did read http://www.ligonier.org/blog/simul-justus-et-peccator/ 🙂 )

  164. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Believers, yes. Christians, no. (i.e. The Church)”
    ‘Christian’ is not a biblical designation for the Church – it was a name given to them, probably by outsiders.

    Believers – Followers is more accurate. And they are believers in the same vein as those who came before them.

    I can’t speak about the crowd that left Jesus in John 6 because the Bible doesn’t speak to it. As a good Lutheran I must remain silent where the Bible is silent. About Judas, we can pretty much assume he had the spirit as he went out with the others to preach, convert and to cast out demons – but I cannot address what that interaction may have been when Satan entered Judas.

    But I am sure that I can find an evangelical commentary that will explain it all to me with about 15 pages of commentary. I tell my class, most commentaries are written based on the white spaces on the Bible page.

    When you ask .”If so, they had a strange way of expressing that belief from the hours of the arrest in the Garden until He appeared face to face with them (after not believing the initial witness of the women).” Are you suggesting that today – Christians living with confusion, doubt, trouble understanding the Bible or even those who get in a bad situation and doubt their faith that they are not and never were a Christian and did not have the holy spirit?

    Much of the Christian population goes back and forth between strong belief (remember Peter was not going to doubt or betray) and doubt and confusion. So I don’t think I would use that to show that the disciples did not have the holy spirit.

  165. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, good for you to research the simul

  166. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yeah, that went weird.

  167. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, may I ask where you get the body, soul spirit idea? As you state then the spirit is something new that was not in existence prior to conversion?

    I can clear up the John 3 question you have and does it equate to baptism. If you look at John 3 this way I think it will help.
    “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of (water and the Spirit), he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (water and the spirit) being one action. This is what we see in baptism – ordinary was with the word of God added.

    Think about this – whatever it is, you need it to get into the kingdom of God. If it is just a spirit think – where is the water? I would be interested to hear your thought.

    I think it is similar in Acts 2 – that you must (repent and be baptized) … again one singular action.

  168. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh “Yeah, that went weird.”
    Why would you say that?

  169. Steve Wright says:

    Believers – Followers is more accurate. And they are believers in the same vein as those who came before them.
    —————————————–
    Agreed. Those who came before. (You mean the Old Testament saints, right?) And the John chapter 6 guys stopped following. You talk about the silence of Scripture and yet your whole argument here is based on silence. Just get the concordance. Look up spirit, (you will get Holy Spirit included in your search results), and THEN build your pneumatology. Spend a lot of time in those later chapters of John when you do and focus on the future promise Jesus was making about the coming of the Spirit, and the need for Jesus to leave before He came and fulfilled this future promise.

    Now, I answered you with multiple points and direct questions and you took a couple of the weaker points (like how Christians today still get fearful) and you completely ignored the rest of it. My post 162. I won’t repeat them again.

    It’s tiring…and I’m calling it a night.

    (P.S. Yes, Christians get fearful, doubtful, confused, and a host of other emotions. That is why we also need God’s word to be that light to our path, we need the promises of God’s word, we need the exhortation, the commands, the security – all that is found in the revelation of God to us.)

    According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:3-4

    and of course…

    All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    Doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness…sounds pretty good and necessary to me.

  170. Michael says:

    Em,

    I’ve never heard that proposition…ever.
    Where did you get that?

  171. Steve, even though you tried to run from your comment you dig yourself deeper. You have made the case that if I ask a non believer friend to read any of the Gospels that they will have no fear of running into the holy spirit because he has not yet been sent.
    You will make a defense but oddly it will turn out to be my position.

  172. Em ... again says:

    #168,171
    i really can’t recall where the teaching came from – i know that there are two views and they stem from Genesis… Adam’s death… one view is that the spirit of man is there, but not functioning, the other view holds is that the spirit is not in an unregenerate man – he left the garden with a dying body and an immortal soul… the new birth is obviously not a physical one, our flesh will die… and the new birth is not a “new” soul, but is a quickened spirit – at the birth of our spirit (born of God the Holy Spirit) our soul goes on in the old and dying body, but now with a living spirit, with a new capacity, new views of Truth – … which probably has a great deal to do with eternal security as a doctrine… but one can extrapolate from there that not all of those little spiritual embryos grow to viable life – the seeds on poor soil…
    those that do take hold have the capacity to grow in Christ – to overcome the old man’s domination (not the inclination, which is with us till death)
    i am not a teacher and am not putting forth the above as Doctrine over which i’ll do battle… i don’t even recall, if it was part of the late R.B. Thieme’s presentation… it has been my view of the new birth as far back as i can remember
    i am not a teacher and the above is very loosely presented – no attempt to build a case, or defend it – just a quick answer the questions that i believe were asked?

  173. Steve Wright says:

    You have made the case that if I ask a non believer friend to read any of the Gospels that they will have no fear of running into the holy spirit because he has not yet been sent.
    ———————————————–
    This is bizarre. The sort of bizarre that has only one possible good explanation for its posting…that you are having a second discussion with someone on the internet and got confused on which thread you were posting.

    To me The Weekend Word is a teaching thread..and that is what I do with my life. I teach Scripture. I know Michael has many readers who never comment and on occasion I hear from them, that they have learned something from my posts. I am not trying to “win” here. There is no score being kept.

    No reader today could ever conclude what you just wrote above by reading this thread. And to do so while claiming some sort of “victory” maybe, possibly, speaks to the reason why you refuse to dig deep, to wrestle with the verses I have repeatedly offered up, to make as clear a presentation of your Pneumatology as I have sought to do with mine.

    Maybe you just simply haven’t thought it through. I mean there is no crime in that. I might not have either if I did not have to spend multiple hours and a lot of tuition money to take a class that insisted I think through the doctrine of Pneumatology to such a level that I am forced to present and defend those conclusions to review and criticism by men far wiser than me. I don’t claim mine is the only possible view. But it is developed and deals with any and all Scripture one might want to address on the topic. (And no, I have not exhausted all that here in this thread)

    Maybe you don’t have the answers to the questions I have asked in asking you to defend whatever it is you are arguing. And so maybe that is why you keep throwing wild “conclusions” as to what I supposedly have said/am saying, in order to stay on offense like this is a contest or game.

    Because I just can’t believe you REALLY think that I do not believe the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, or that He leads people to Christ through the written (or proclaimed) word of God.

    If you do though, for your own sake, stop listening to my online messages as sermon prep. You don’t want to waste time with someone you have concluded is a heretic.

  174. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    I don’t know if I can take anymore low blows here in this conversation. Let me just say that I was taking 3 yrs courses at Liberty and 2 Simon Greenleaf long before you ever thought of being a Christian. I have spent the money and written the papers
    I was returning your snark a bit as you earlier went through about 20 post before you said you we snarking.

    “Maybe you don’t have the answers to the questions I have asked in asking you to defend whatever it is you are arguing.”
    You asked about the obtaining and the disposition of the holy spirit of those in John 6 and with Judas Iscariot and I answered you – but it was an answer that you would not accept – and I will repost it here for those who read along to know that I have been fair in this conversation.

    “I can’t speak about the crowd that left Jesus in John 6 because the Bible doesn’t speak to it. As a good Lutheran I must remain silent where the Bible is silent. About Judas, we can pretty much assume he had the spirit as he went out with the others to preach, convert and to cast out demons – but I cannot address what that interaction may have been when Satan entered Judas.”
    See, as always, you ask the questions and I give my answer. Then you came back and said I should get out my concordance and do a study on pneumatology – well I did and I still find no verses that clear up the John passage or anything about Judas – (which you knew I wouldn’t.)
    And don’t make it sound like I took this conversation down the road – you made the U Turn with your #137 claim that made both myself and Jean almost fall out of our seats, your constant pushing on the future of the holy spirit while acknowledging he was there working with the disciples all along – dismissing all possibilities that John is talking of a fullness and not a newness and even going to the point where you attempt to make a distinction that the disciples were believers and not Christians.

    The more I think about it, this may relate to your theory that the new covenant of Jeremiah is not for the Church but is for Israel and in a dispensational schematic it all makes sense.

  175. Em ... again says:

    #174 – thank you for the links, Michael… it is enough to be certain that we have an, evidently, immortal soul and a now dying body – even tho, this old body has served me well, i’m sure looking forward to that new body 🙂

  176. Jean says:

    I am following up on the dialogue between Steve and MLD from yesterday. Steve wrote:

    #137 “Well, I will put aside the issue that there were no Spirit led men when Jesus taught (before Acts 2), to get to your larger point of our need today, as Spirit led men, to obey our Lord’s commands.”

    #162 “Believers, yes. Christians, no. (i.e. The Church)”

    Steve is chopping the Bible up into dispensations again. Let’s look at the big picture here and correct that:

    (1) Since the fall, mankind has been dead in sin. No one before or after Christ can turn to God in faith without the work of the Holy Spirit in that person.

    (2) Paul goes to great lengths in Romans 4 to show that Abraham was saved by faith “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” Abraham must have had the Holy Spirit if he had faith. He would not have had faith without being enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

    (3) When Steve asks questions about Judas, a fundamental error he is betraying with his supposition is that the Holy Spirit will ever depart from an apostate. This is despite the fact that the Bible is full of warnings regarding apostasy. For Steve, Judas couldn’t have had the Holy Spirit, because Judas betrayed Jesus and hung himself. However, assuming Judas fully participated in the works of the other disciples, he may have been like Israel’s first king Saul, who had the Holy Spirit, but then went apostate.

  177. Em ... again says:

    i think we are really mixed up on God the Holy Spirit… 🙂
    more than any here would want to admit, all of us are attempting to fit the Holy Spirit into a compilation of doctrines…
    God knows our limits as we Redeemed try to understand Him – it’s still a good thing, i think He thinks… dunno, tho do i?

  178. Em ... again says:

    ” We are told to judge fruit – not to judge motivations.” this will be my takeaway from this lesson as i really don’t know …

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