Things I Think

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228 Responses

  1. Paige says:

    So many good ones, Michael….. thank you …. My online moments are very brief while I am blessed to have so much family around…..

    3.The 20 minutes I spent showing grace to a “bad” kid yesterday has more potential for real cultural change than the next year of my blog articles….

    Amen…..

    and 9. I confess…if you truly love God and your neighbor as yourself I don’t care what Christian tradition you embrace…

    Amen and amen….

    Thank you…. God bless you!

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, Paige…and blessings to you and your expanded clan!

  3. Josh the Baptist says:

    What’s the difference between sacraments and ordinances? The state of the taker’s heart?

  4. Michael says:

    The differences are in what the sacraments do and how they must be delivered.

    In traditions that believe in sacraments as opposed to ordinances the proper delivery of them requires the participation of clergy.

    I’m not saying anything about anyones heart…

  5. Josh the Baptist says:

    No particular kind of clergy? Specially anointed, or can anyone say “I’m clergy”?

  6. Michael says:

    Josh,

    In most traditions that view the Lords Table and baptism as sacraments the clergy are believed to have a special calling.

    One cannot appoint themselves an Orthodox priest or a Lutheran pastor…

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    In my view it is the difference between grace being delivered in the elements (sacraments) or the activity being in obedience to a command – to take and eat and / or to be baptized (ordinance).

  8. Josh the Baptist says:

    Is your church sacramentalist?

  9. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – But it must be delivered by the proper minister to be a Sacrament, right?

  10. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Yes.
    We didn’t start that way, but I grew into it.
    I don’t believe I have any special anointing, but the elements do.
    I’m missing your point…

  11. Josh the Baptist says:

    So in this case, the difference between a sacrament an an ordinance, is that you say it is a sacrament? Is that correct?

  12. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Let’s take the Lord’s Table as an example.

    I believe something actually is happening when we take the bread and wine…in some sense we are being fed the body and blood of Christ.
    We are being nourished by the person of Christ and receiving anew His work on our behalf.

    It’s a mystery to me and I have no ability (or desire) to fully comprehend what is happening in that time.

    Previously, I was taught that it was simply a memorial of some sort…

  13. Josh the Baptist says:

    OK, so the difference is what the taker believes. Got ya.

  14. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’m totally missing your point, but I do hear the anger.

    Sacramental churches and those who view sacraments as ordinances have made this distinction for 1500 years…I’m not sure what you’re getting worked up about.

  15. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’m not angry. I’m asking questions.

  16. Michael says:

    Baptism holds the same distinctions…in my previous circles it was “the outward demonstration of an inward change”.

    In sacramental traditions, God is actually doing something to the baptized, the baptized aren’t simply demonstrating something.

  17. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yep. I don’t think that actual sacramental traditions just let you decide on your own that you are performing a sacrament, but such is do-it-yourself evangelicalism.

    I guess I’ll just hope I put on a good performance Sunday.

  18. London says:

    Josh is asking good, valid questions. I do not read any hint of anger in his replies at all. Just clarifying questions.

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – I don’t know about a proper minister but I do believe that there is an office of the ministry instituted by Jesus and to them he has given the authority to handle his body and blood. Otherwise I would be wondering why Jesus did not institute the supper at the feeding of the 5,000 – same type of eating event.

  20. fyi says:

    #10; one of your best thoughts ever!
    #7; I love it when you speak King James…

  21. London says:

    Well, until that last snarky comment 😉

  22. Michael says:

    I’m still missing your point…
    If your point is that I am not ordained by a sacramental tradition but I’m still officiating over the sacraments, the you do have a point.

    My choice was to resign and disband the church or incorporate my new understanding into the existing church and seek ordination through another tradition.

    That’s what I’m doing, but it is discordant.

  23. Josh the Baptist says:

    London, I’m not angry. I was just trying to figure out why I’m not as good as another Christian this time. No biggie.

  24. Michael says:

    fyi,

    I like to talk KJV in conversations to amuse myself… 🙂

  25. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – Your reading including the 5,000 would require apostolic succession, then, right?

  26. Michael says:

    “I was just trying to figure out why I’m not as good as another Christian this time.”

    I never said or even intimated that.

    The genesis of that thought came about from talking to people who felt that could do church without attending church and just listening to a popular teacher.

    It went hand in hand with knowing really good pastors who don’t have the ability to put on a good show on Sunday morning and suffer for it.

  27. Dan from Georgia says:

    If I may change the direction of this comments section, even briefly. Re number 5, I have become tired of the near-constant deconstruction of almost everyone and everything in the church these days. Progressives deconstruct everything conservatives say and do, and vice versa. I know some people and institutions deserve to be torn apart, but man, you mention a certain pastor you read or listen to and there’s always someone to tear them down.

    On another note, GO VIKINGS!!!!

  28. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I almost wrote something similar this morning about our need to believe and speak the absolute worst about people who disagree with us.

    I heartily concur with your last sentence… 🙂

  29. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Not apostolic succession as much as a proper ordaining of the person.

    Here is the point of your original question – sacrament and ordination are not the same – they are 2 separate events.

  30. Josh the Baptist says:

    You don’t think slightly disparaging towards those who don’t believe in sacraments?

    I mean, its good. I’m not angry. I’ve just jumped through enough hoops.

  31. Em ... again says:

    i seriously doubt (my own viewpoint) that there is a mysterious change in the wine and bread as one ingests it, other than what your digestive system imparts – that, to me, is mysterious in itself…
    the ingredients symbolize what must be reverenced… My body was broken – for you… My blood shed there on that hill – for you… was holy blood and atonement…
    the sacrifice is an unspeakable and an unfathomable gift of God’s faithfulness and immutable love – righteousness and justice agreeing with holiness and expressing His love… focus on that for therein lies what changes one – the working of the Holy Spirit changes one by doing thus
    if one takes communion with a focus on a mysterious ingestion of holy blood and holy flesh (even Jesus’), one misses the whole point that our Lord was making – again this is my viewpoint …
    and i’m sticking to it … above all else, if out of context 🙂 … 2 Cor 9:15

  32. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Not apostolic succession as much as a proper ordaining of the person.”

    But the supper was shared with the 12, not the 5,000. So the office must have passed through the 12.

  33. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’m convinced in my heart that God is doing something, taking actions, in the sacraments.
    The majority of my close friends do not.
    For us, it’s a point of discussion,not division.
    The finest, most godly men in my personal life were not sacramental in theology.

    No one is asking you to jump through any hoops.

  34. Josh the Baptist says:

    Oh, EVERYONE is always asking me to jump through hoops. Christianity via the internet is exhausting.

  35. Josh the Baptist says:

    Do you tell your close friends that they are just putting on a show? I just don’t get how that doesn’t cause division.

    Anyway, no biggie. I wouldn’t disparage you for your change of beliefs in this secondary matter.

  36. Josh the Baptist says:

    “as a proper ordaining of the person.”

    That is more my question with you MLD. How does one become properly ordained. For you, there is has to be a succession that leads back to Luther, right?

  37. ( |o )====::: says:

    “OK, so the difference is what the taker believes. Got ya.”

    I think Josh has a very valid point, it’s all in the volition of the receiver, to receive something with a mindset, beliefs, and volition to remember Jesus.

    “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
    -Jesus

    “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
    -Paul

    Once a small group of us worship musicians, during a rehearsal, decided that we’d stop everything and remember Jesus and celebrate His love for us and His presence, so we took our Coca Colas, our Doritos & bean dip, thought about Him and thanked Him out loud for being our God, and told each other we see Him in each other in our unique ways.

    God and people, present together.

    It’s not the stuff, it’s The God Who Is There and those who recognize Him, transcendent, and present in each person.

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh,
    “But the supper was shared with the 12, not the 5,000. So the office must have passed through the 12.”

    I don’t know where you get that – but I will say that the ordaining process started with the 12 and went down. Unlike many Pop American pastors today – you cannot just declare yourself a pastor … well, in America you can do anything you want but I don’t think God recognizes it.

    Hey, I don’t remember but isn’t it all called ordinances in the BF&M? Do they ever refer to them as sacraments?

  39. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    What ( |o )====::: described is definitely an ordinance and not a sacrament 😉

  40. Josh the Baptist says:

    No, we don’t believe in sacraments.

  41. Michael says:

    Josh,

    My friends, then and now, are judged by performance.
    The point is not that they desire to be performers, but that this is what people expect of them.

  42. Em ... again says:

    3.The 20 minutes I spent showing grace to a “bad” kid yesterday has more potential for real cultural change than the next year of my blog articles….

    oh how these “bad” kids need affirmation, direction and successes in things positive – may the blessings redound, Michael – praying

  43. CostcoCal says:

    Coke. Doritos. Bean Dip.

    A snack that’ll give you a heart attack but tastes kinda good.

  44. Dallas says:

    5. Isn’t it found to often be the case that once everything has been torn down, that we start seeing who it was that was knitting everything together in the first place?

  45. CostcoCal says:

    I think bread and wine are more sacred. 🙂

  46. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 41 – Certainly some truth to that. Not completely sure what that has to do with ordinances, and I don’t believe in virtual church( or satellite campuses), so that doesn’t apply.

    I’m pretty sure my flesh would evaluate the preacher’s performance in a Lutheran church, too. Admittedly, they do more to quell that up front, but I’m a cynical dude.

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think bread and wine are more sacred. ?

    I think bread and wine are more in line with what Jesus instituted,

  48. Josh the Baptist says:

    Sorry for all the choppy posts. Busy day here, but this is interesting.

    MLD, follow me on this, and correct me where I’m wrong. To be a pastor, you must be properly ordained. That ordination must come through others who were ordained before you. That, according to you, originated with the 12. Now I’m guessing you guy’s think the true ordination was lost somewhere between the 12 and Luther, and he rediscovered it. Thus, now a true Lutheran pastor would have to be able to trace his ordination back to Luther himself, otherwise someone somewhere just declared himself a pastor. Right?

  49. ( |o )====::: says:

    “sacred” is an agreement between the minds of the participants

    “reverence” of a space, place, symbol, and intent are what are in play

  50. Jean says:

    “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16)

    This verse, along with the rest of this chapter and the next one, and the Gospel accounts, are good enough for me.

  51. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Admittedly, they do more to quell that up front, but I’m a cynical dude”

    Yes we do – for starters we make him stand up front in a dress. That will keep you humble 😉 .

  52. Josh the Baptist says:

    “we make him stand up front in a dress”

    The uniform is so that you will know he is holier than you, and should be revered.

    I’m telling you, i’m cynical. 🙂

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – “Right?” … No

  54. Josh the Baptist says:

    Please explain.

  55. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – next Sunday wear a dress to church and see if anyone thinks you are holier than they are. Report back 😉

  56. Paige says:

    Regarding the above discussion, How To Do Stuff: As am am currently enjoying a very busy home, filled with my adult male (unsaved) offspring, I am hearing that a good deal of their distaste for anything like church, is because of ‘hair splitting’ ….and the seeming one up man-ship that attends it. Not a critique, but an observation based on the discussions I’ve overheard and/or been part of in my own home, aka ‘mission field”.
    They are looking for genuine love from a humble source, not a teaser to entice them into another set of rules.
    Just sayin’
    This is why I absolutely love the #3 post about 20 minutes of grace to a ‘bad’ kid…IMO, that is The Right Way To Do Stuff. IMO….. and the only way I can ‘preach’ to my sons…. grace.

  57. Josh the Baptist says:

    Well said Paige.

  58. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, honest question. Didn’t you say you once were allowed to assist in serving the church communion?

  59. Josh the Baptist says:

    And I couldn’t tell you how touched I’ve been by your facebook posts about the reunion. Amazing!

  60. ( |o )====::: says:

    The greatest failure is to not discern Jesus within the community.
    All partaking nourishment, all slowing down, making sure everyone can partake, that no one goes hungry, seeing and sharing the provision, celebrating that moment, that gathering, those individuals present, the sacredness of >that “now”< is the heart of the experience. Bread & wine are not required. Believers minds fixed on Him and each other are what are in play.

    If you had a group of believers in an Arctic research lab, surrounded by hungry polar bears, with no ability to get bread & wine, does anyone honestly think Jesus would consider their "remembrance of Him" any less sacred?

  61. CostcoCal says:

    MLD, I hate to admit I have never once had bread and wine for Communion. Only Welch’s. I’m not super stoked about that.

  62. CostcoCal says:

    “The only way to preach to my sons….Grace”

    Spoken like a seasoned saint. So true. So true.

  63. ( |o )====::: says:

    Costco,
    You can pick up a fine Shiraz and some matzo at Costco. 😉

  64. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – “Thus, now a true Lutheran pastor would have to be able to trace his ordination back to Luther himself, otherwise someone somewhere just declared himself a pastor. Right?”

    No.

  65. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD @ 55 – Some Prosperity Preachers take to wearing clerical collars and the like. Anything to distinguish between the clergy and the laity.

    Now, that being said…a man can absolutely NOT wear a dress to a SBC in small town North Carolina. Not happening. 🙂

  66. ( |o )====::: says:

    …and a dress at Nordstrom

  67. Steve Wright says:

    As an aside, I don’t think it is a crazy dispensational thing, or crazy Messianic Jew thing to simply note that Jesus, a Jew, was eating and celebrating the Jewish ceremony of the Passover meal with His disciples, other Jews, when He instituted the Lord’s Table. He is described by Paul as our Passover and I assume most here see at least some connection to His crucifixion and the orders to Moses about the first Passover sacrifice and the blood displayed on the door that would spare one from the judgement coming.

    No connection at all with the feeding of the 5000 or 4000.

  68. Josh the Baptist says:

    So MLD, where does the ordination come from?

  69. Costco, you got Welch’s? Most churches go for the generic stuff!

  70. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    “MLD, honest question. Didn’t you say you once were allowed to assist in serving the church communion?”

    I do almost every week – but I am not doing the institution of the Supper – and some Lutheran congregations would probably toss me out on my ear – perhaps even Jean’s 😉

  71. CostcoCal says:

    Welch’s means you are very serious about Communion. Just not serious enough to serve red wine.

  72. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “No connection at all with the feeding of the 5000 or 4000.”

    Both were eating events. Note that in the upper room there were a multitude of people – but only the 12 participated in the institution of the supper. Why not the whole group?

  73. Josh the Baptist says:

    I don’t think the age of the grape invalidates communion.

  74. ( |o )====::: says:

    Thing is, the feast, the table, isn’t just for the family, the tribe. Jesus told us to invite the “unclean”, the sick, the poor, the downtrodden to our feasts. Instead pf practicing what Jesus said, we’ve become insular.

  75. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Grape juice means you don’t follow Jesus’ instructions. I probably should put a winkey, but I am torn.

    So as to not cause too much offense … what the heck 😉

  76. Josh the Baptist says:

    Doing this in remembrance means you do follow JEsus’ instructions.

  77. CostcoCal says:

    Josh….you don’t say!? Just kidding around, brother.

  78. Josh the Baptist says:

    Me too 🙂

  79. CostcoCal says:

    MLD. At first I though you said, “I probably should put in some whiskey”

  80. CostcoCal says:

    Sorry for my sour grapes, Josh.

  81. Josh the Baptist says:

    Ahh, everyone gets a little whiny now and again.

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well Welch’s has nothing to do with the ‘age’ of the grape. It is made purposely through pasteurization to keep it from fermenting and becoming wine. It is made to be no wine.

  83. Josh the Baptist says:

    OK. I don’t think the pasteurization of the grape invalidates the communion.

  84. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Either does bean dip and coke to some

  85. When we get to heaven I imagine Jesus saying to us, “Man were you guys loose with some my teachings!” or “Man were you guys uptight about a lot of stuff!” Looking forward to finding out which is which.

  86. As to Michael’s post, I especially resonate with #’s 2 and 9.

  87. Nonnie says:

    6, 9, & 10 really resonate with me. Thank you!

  88. Michael says:

    Thanks, PH and Nonnie…I’m never sure if I’m coherent. 🙂

  89. covered says:

    What Pineapple Head said @ #85. Priceless…

  90. CostcoCal says:

    Well, Jesus cites David as being okay with eating bread from the Table of Shewbread.

    I would have assumed that to be a no-go.

  91. @ Michael: very coherent, but definitely not in the mainstream. Which is okay with me.

  92. ( |o )====::: says:

    “Either does bean dip and coke to some”

    With Jesus, and anyone invited present, it’s a feast!

    =)

  93. Jean says:

    “Either does bean dip and coke to some”
    “With Jesus, and anyone invited present, it’s a feast!”

    Does Jesus promise to be present in bean dip and coke?

  94. Why didn’t Jesus even invite everyone in the room to his first supper?

  95. Owen Wells says:

    Michael,

    Your #6 is my favourite today. The trick for me is not becoming too prideful when I see it – I have to remember that I actually didn’t have that much to do with it. 🙂

    #91 – I, too, am glad you’re not mainstream.

  96. Jean, my Mexican gardener Jesus has promised to be present if I have been bean dip and coke available.

  97. Owen Wells says:

    MLD – is your mexican gardener on his way to the cross in the morning? 😉

  98. ( |o )====::: says:

    Jesus promises to be present “wherever two or more are gathered together” in His Name, so, indubitably.

  99. Xenia says:

    The person who has the authority to officiate over the sacraments is not “better” than any other Christian, he has just been called to a special role in the body of Christ. Do we think our doctors are better people than us? Would we allow anyone, for the sake of being egalitarian, take out our appendix? As St. Paul said, different people have different roles in the body of Christ.

    We do have Apostolic Succession in the Orthodox Church. All that means is that the one who ordains a priest was ordained by someone who was ordained by someone who was ordained by someone….. who can trace the laying on of hands all the way back to one of the 12 apostles (if you count St. Paul and not Judas.) This is a precious connection to the early Church. It provides continuity. This is different from the Roman Catholics who believe Apostolic Succession must derive from St. Peter only.

    Apostolic Succession also involves orthodox (small “o”) theology. While the RCC has valid Apostolic Succession (half of it is the same as ours), they went off the rails dotrinally, so if an RCC priest wanted to be an EO priest, he would have to be re-ordained.

    Michael, I am intrigued by your intentions to move towards a more sacramental way of doing church. God bless you!

  100. ( |o )====::: says:

    “Michael, I am intrigued by your intentions to move towards a more sacramental way of doing church. God bless you!”

    Ditto! It serves to quiet our busy minds and hallows the present.

  101. Michael says:

    Thanks, Xenia, Gman…it’s been an ongoing process for a few years now.

    I have very different ideas about what my job is today vs. when I began… today it’s much more about getting out of the way and proclaiming what God has done and what He is doing than demonstrating what I know.

  102. ( |o )====::: says:

    Absolutely!

    It’s more like being a tour guide of a spectacular forest than a Docent in a museum.

  103. CostcoCal says:

    “…than demonstrating what I know.”

    I really like that. A refreshing, good example for us all.

  104. filbertz says:

    Michael…your #3 about grace and ‘bad’ kids: that’s why I am a public school teacher.

  105. Michael says:

    fil,

    It’s God’s work you’re doing.
    We forget what a word spoken in time or a simple act of kindness can do to change a young persons perspective for a lifetime…

  106. Michael says:

    Just to be completely honest…Trey forced me to be gracious…and I’m glad he did.

  107. I appreciate your perspective fil.

    It’s the same reason I volunteer at our rescue mission/shelter.

  108. Paige says:

    I’ve actually experienced a very “sacred” communion in my car, while in a parking structure, with a cookie and Pepsi…. incredibly reverent and desperate for His Presence….. For my little world, sincerity of heart is the most significant ingredient…

  109. Josh the Baptist says:

    G – Good to see you today. It’s been a while.

  110. Dan from Georgia says:

    Especially like your number’s 9 and 10!

  111. Josh the Beloved says:

    I disagree on number 1.

    The decline of the church in America is when it embraced materiaism and the love of the world and the things that are in the world.

  112. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I agree with Michael’s #1 and I agree with Josh’s comment #111.
    The only new thing I would suggest would be the timing of this decline – and I would say it began with the opening of the very 1st Church on American soil because it was infested with people – and actually we have never risen above that.

    Any prominence gained by Christianity has come through numbers and power – which both are anti Christian marks.

  113. Jean says:

    I was thinking about Michael’s #1 and decided to go to the SBC.ORG to see if I could learn about the “ordinance” of the Lord’s Supper. The first search result I received by searching for the word “communion” is an article written by a previous SBC president named E. Y. Mullins.

    According to Mullins in his day, the Lord’s Supper was considered “restricted communion.” One had to comply with 4 “prerequisites” to partake in the Lord’s Supper.

    (1) Must have a heart regenerated by God’s Spirit.
    (2) Must be baptized by “immersion.”
    (3) Membership in a local church of Christ.
    (4) Cannot believe communion is a sacramental means of grace.

    It appears at least at one time, and still resident on the SBC website, are a closed communion tradition which is more strict than many others.

    If anyone wants the article, I can work with Michael to provide it.

  114. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I love it – “Cannot believe communion is a sacramental means of grace. ”

    After all this time it turns out to be in good standing, Josh cannot commune with me. 🙂
    nor with many others here who are not members of a local church.

  115. Al says:

    “You grow old when you refuse to forget what’s behind and press on to what will be….you must be more excited about tomorrow than you are fond of yesterday if you truly want to live…”

    LOVE that one. Excellent stuff. Amen!

  116. Josh the Baptist says:

    Mullins was an important theologian in SBC history, but had no authority to say what goes on in churches. I’m sure most Baptists practice some form of closed communion, though probably not as strict as what Mullins lays out.

    Other than that, like he said, we don’t believe in sacraments.

  117. If I recall, Jon Courson had a more sacramental view than most CC’s. Costco, any insight on this?

  118. ^^^ Of communion, that is.

  119. London says:

    I was raised from 8-21 years old in the SBU.
    Never once heard those rules stated about communion.
    Maybe our church was the odd one out, but the only thing I remember is you had to be carrful not to partake “in an unworthy manner”.
    You needed to be a confessing Christian, be sure you didn’t hold any grudges against anyone that you hadn’t dealt with first, and we did communion together, not as individuals (everyone ate the cracker at the same time) then the juice…as the scriptures were read.

    I always grew up believing communion was something sacred. Can’t remember if we called it a sacrament or not, guess it wasn’t important enough to be drilled into my head like the other stuff was.

  120. Potatoe Head says:

    Great thread.

    Although I don’t go along with the apostolic succession being the only way of ordination.

    In first Corinthians twelve verse twenty eight it says that God set some in the church.

    I personally believe that no one can set themselves in, only God can do it.

    And that He can set someone in who is not in the apostolic succession email chain that must not be broken.

    (Said with a smile)

    There really are some great men and woman of God that are plainly called of God to serve that are not in the chain.

    I think the chain is just for bragging rights ultimately.

    You know how apostle Paul felt about that kind of thing.

    “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos.” First Corinthian three verse four.

    God’s Fellow Workers
    …3for you are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and dissension among you, are you not worldly? Are you not walking in the way of man? 4For when one of you says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? 5What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, as the Lord has assigned to each his role.…

    There is the key, ” …as the Lord has assigned to each his role…”

  121. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    God uses people and means even in the ordination of a person to the office of pastor. The call and ordination are quite important and cannot be circumvented by attestation of the one who thinks himself “called”

    How many here just allow someone to walk of the street into your church who then pronounces that he has been “assigned the role” and he would like to fill the pulpit that day.

    Any takers – or do you first want to know who he is, how he has been prepared and by whom? Everyone seems to be an open minded, free thinker until it comes to your own church – then we want to see the pedigree.

  122. Josh the Baptist says:

    Like I asked earlier MLD – where does the ordination come from? Who does the ordaining?

  123. Josh the Baptist says:

    Baptists don’t require ordination. Of course, our grape juice doesn’t require a special anointing, either. OF course, to do weddings you would have to be ordained, but I think that is the only legal issue. Each church can decide whether they require a pastor to be ordained or not.

    Mostly for us, ordination is a sort of seal-of-approval. If I was ordained by MLD, it would say to the other churches I went to that MLD believes in my ministry. He vouches that I’m a good guy. It is also some accountability. If I fall into sin, I shame those who vouched for me as well.

  124. Jean says:

    Ordination serves two purposes:
    (1) A church body to protect the people, foster unity and promote good order, may desire to establish qualifications for pastors: character, theological training, etc. ! Tim 3 would provide a starting point.
    (2) The person being ordained takes a vow to uphold the office he is being ordained into. So, for example, he agrees to teach and preach in accordance with the doctrinal positions of his church body.

    I don’t see how anyone would complain or question the wisdom of ordination.

  125. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – “Baptists don’t require ordination…”

    We know, we have seen Perry Noble and Steven Furtick 😉

    Baptist allow just anyone to hang out a shingle and start their own church business?

  126. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean – I think ordination is wise. I don’t think ordination gives you sepcial powers to turn wine into blood, etc. (I know that is not the Lutheran belief).

    MLD – I think Noble is ordained. Steven may have been, but it would have been since he started Elevation.

    “Baptist allow just anyone to hang out a shingle and start their own church business?”

    Pretty much.

  127. Josh the Baptist says:

    From Perry Noble:
    “#4 – Are you ordained?

    Yes, after appearing before an ordination council of the Saluda Baptist Association and approved unanimously I was ordained into the ministry by North Anderson Baptist Church on May 28, 1995. ”

    Often what happens in Baptist churches is that a young guy is gifted and charismatic, and so people hurry to ordain him, and it ends in misery.

  128. Jean says:

    Josh,

    “I think ordination is wise. I don’t think ordination gives you sepcial powers to turn wine into blood, etc. (I know that is not the Lutheran belief).”

    Just to clarify (because I think we’re on the same page), pastors have no special powers, whether ordained or not. The Word of God has the power. Trained pastors apply God’s words of Law and Gospel which repents and regenerates sinners.

  129. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    Sorry to be late in this thread. Your view is actually very close to the patristic view of sacramental theology. The Eucharist, in that understanding, is not about us, it is about Christ. Christ is the Priest and he offers himself as the victim to his people. The power of the act is not in the worthiness of the celebrant, but in the power of the words of institution that are said over the elements. Although I am not a Lutheran, the Book of Concord actually has a wonderful passage about this very issue…

    “…no human words or works create the true presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Supper, whether it be the merit or the speaking of the minister or the eating and drinking or the faith of the communicants. Instead, all this should be ascribed solely to the almighty power of God and to the words, institution, and arrangement of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    For the true and almighty words of Jesus Christ, which he spoke in the first institution of the Supper, were not only effective in the first Supper; they remain so. They retain their validity and power and are still effective, so that in all places in which the Supper is observed according to Christ’s institution and his words are used, the body and blood of Christ are truly present, distributed and received on the basis of the power and might of the very same words that Christ spoke in the first Supper. For wherever what Christ instituted is observed and his words are spoken over the bread and cup and wherever the consecrated bread and cup are distributed, Christ himself exercises his power through the spoken words, which are still his Word, by virtue of the power of the first institution. He wills that his Word be repeated, as Chrysostom says in his Sermon on the Passion, “Christ prepares this table himself and blesses it; for no human being makes the bread and wine, which are set before us, the body and blood of Christ. Rather Christ himself, who was crucified for us, does that. The words are spoken by the mouth of the priest, but when he says, ‘This is my body,’ the elements that have been presented in the Supper are consecrated by God’s power and grace through the Word. Just as the saying ‘be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth’ [Gen. 1:28] was said only once and yet is continually effective in nature, causing it to grow and multiply, so these words were said once. But they are powerful and do their work in our day and until his return, so that in the Supper as celebrated in the church his true body and blood are present.”

  130. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh,
    A Lutheran pastor holds the office of ministry as a vocation called by God. Nothing special, in fact if he had the power to turn wine into blood I would not partake.
    Vocation is vocation – Luther made the claim that a woman in her vocation as a mother, changing a dirty diaper is just as much a spiritual work as that of any ecclesiastical leader.

    But I do think that ordination is a God involved thing and more than just a letter of introduction as you claim.

    Looking at Noble & Furtick I agree with you, Baptist ordination does not work. 😉

  131. Ms, ODM says:

    Amen to #10 – the rest are iffy

  132. Steve Wright says:

    It is interesting that lengthy Lutheran quote specifically says our faith as to what is happening with the elements is not relevant, since it seems to counter the idea that the partakers of communion not only have to be believers (obviously) but also agree with what is taking place.

  133. Steve Wright says:

    On the whole sacrament versus ordinance thing, does not the ELCA have a sacramental view in keeping with Lutheran beliefs? Yet doctrinaly MLD has called them apostate. They have a variety of political stances that the LMS would not affirm…so is it really political differences or doctrinal, and rather a hybrid of both? And does the sacramental thing matter at all in this presumed Christian decline?

  134. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    I know anything other than the paragraph in a church bulletin serving as a statement of faith is considered a lengthy quote so I will help you. 🙂

    You are not to be considering or to be concerned about the what – the how it is happening – because we do not know how the presence happens – just as it does. A history lesson – much of the Book of Concord was written to explain why Lutherans were differernt from the RCC but still Christian.

    The RCC says the bread and wine turn into Body and Blood – Lutherans reject this but claim that Jesus is present in, with and under the elements (a saying that in the original language means “we don’t know how it happens.” – but it does.)

    So we do believe “what” is taking place – not the “how”.

  135. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, I don’t care about the ELCA political stances – I don’t even know if I know them oor if I disagree with them.
    They are apostate doctrinally and this is why I don’t take communion with them – my mother in law is ELCA and I sit during their communion.

    Now my stand it about their leadership and their denominational decisions – they still have many good churches and pastors who ignore the leadership.

  136. Em ... again says:

    ” Luther made the claim that a woman in her vocation as a mother, changing a dirty diaper is just as much a spiritual work as that of any ecclesiastical leader.”

    ahhh… Michael observed that looking back is not good, but…
    no one here knows from experience what it was to change that dirty diaper in Luther’s day… cleaning up baby was the easy part 🙂
    unless she was privileged to have help, she then had to take those disgusting nappies to her wash tub (probably boiled them at some point) and that tired mommy then lugged them out to a clothes line somewhere to hang them one by one (how many does a baby go thru in 24 hours?)… maybe closer to calling of the ecclesiastical leader than we realize…

    this morning i find it strange that the Church could discuss what happens to the elements of the communion table when swallowed … dunno

    God keep

  137. Michael says:

    Ms. ODM,

    Anyone who promotes Alex Jones should never call anything else “iffy”…

  138. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Thank you for that.
    I spent years trying to desiccate the mystery of the Table so I could understand it and explain it…now I simply receive what Christ is doing by faith.

  139. Duane Arnold says:

    #138

    Michael

    It’s really what I’ve come to in my understanding… “It’s about Christ, it’s not about us…” Then again, that’s what I’ve come to understand about most things connected to the Christian life…

  140. Steve Wright says:

    Is there not though a difference between those churches who believe in eternal security/the perseverance of the saints/once saved always saved (however one wishes to express the lingo we all know what we are talking about in saying it)

    And those churches who do not….like MLDs and Xenia’s.

    If I am saved/the elect – I love the time of communion. However, what is God “doing” to me in that moment that He is not/will not do for the saved/elect individual not at the table that morning???

    I’ll take any input from the gallery but this is a major reason for my memorialist view on the table.

  141. Al says:

    “1. Historians will note that the decline of Christianity in this country coincided with the embrace of the god of pragmatism…”

    I think it has a lot more to do with the rise of the Internet and people being able to compare notes and communicate their stories.

    Previously, Churches controlled the Narrative and could lie and gloss over known problems. Not anymore.

    The bloom is off the False Rose. Turns out the Church Leadership, like the Church, is made up of sinners. The Leaders are not “special” and they are no different than any other walk of life.

  142. Al says:

    “I’ll take any input from the gallery”

    Input: It doesn’t matter. Go sell insurance.

  143. Michael says:

    The unbeliever who partakes does so to their judgment…just as they listened to their own judgment when they rejected the Gospel that should have been proclaimed before the cup.

    “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
    (1 Corinthians 11:27–32 ESV)

  144. Al says:

    Michael said, “Anyone who promotes Alex Jones should never call anything else “iffy”…”

    LOL, touche!

    Someone call the burn unit….stat!

  145. Steve Wright says:

    Al, your #142 is nothing but an uncalled for snarky, trolling personal attack attempting to interrupt a conversation.

    Showing once more that your promises to Michael about not disrupting the blog are about as stable as the Oklahoma weather.

    I will depart the conversation now.

  146. Al says:

    “The unbeliever who partakes does so to their judgment…just as they listened to their own judgment when they rejected the Gospel that should have been proclaimed before the cup.”

    Ya, but no one knows for sure if they are “truly saved!” or not, so that verse doesn’t really have any power IMO.

    Everyone thinks they are saved and the other guy isn’t. No one knows for sure.

    NO ONE can clearly articulate how I can know for 100% certain I am saved and “of the Elect!” None.

    It all ends in this: “Um, I dunno, it’s a mystery.”

  147. Jean says:

    Steve,

    Lutherans believe that sinners are saved by grace, that is God’s gracious favor and undeserved love towards humanity for the sake of the vicarious satisfaction made by Christ on the cross.

    That grace creates faith, so that sinners may be forgiven and justified by faith.

    That grace is offered and made operative for believers in the Word and the Sacraments.

    Faith receives the Holy Spirit (Gal 3:14).

    Therefore, Lutherans believe (and the Scriptures witness to the fact that) Christians need God’s grace and faith throughout their whole life, not just at one point in life. That is why, Christians need to continue receiving God’s means of grace.

  148. Michael says:

    Alex,

    We do not have place for gratuitous shots…it takes the whole place down.

  149. Al says:

    “Al, your #142 is nothing but an uncalled for snarky, trolling personal attack attempting to interrupt a conversation.”

    Absolutely, except the “attempting to interrupt a conversation” part. I expect you’ll continue to strain gnats for the rest of your brief existence while swallowing the Camels of your “Associated” Calvary Chapel Pastor fellow Elders and Leadership.

  150. Al says:

    Posts crossed in cyberspace. I’ll ignore Steve’s hypocrisy on your blog. Ironically, I am asked to just ignore his bull***t but he requires special protection from words I type. Rather ironic.

  151. Em ... again says:

    the answer to Al’s quandary is – IMV – pretty well summed up in 2 Thes 2:7-12 … all the confusion is symptomatic of the times – the end times or the approach of the ending of the end times – as you may prefer … or maybe all time – dunno

    #139 – “It’s really what I’ve come to in my understanding… “It’s about Christ, it’s not about us…” Then again, that’s what I’ve come to understand about most things connected to the Christian life…” AMEN and amen again – again…

    just reading the comments and sayin … again

  152. Michael says:

    We are writing in community…most are not interested in our personal issues with each other.

    This has been an excellent discussion and valuable to many…I want to keep it going that direction.

  153. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    It’s the same issue I have with your position on baptism. What does it matter that you are baptized. What is God going to do for you who is baptized that he is not going to do for the guy who is not baptized.
    Well, there are promises attached to baptism that I do not see elsewhere – so I would say God will do those things for the baptized that perhaps he does not do for those not.
    1.) we are told we are buried with Christ and raised with him to life in our baptism
    2.) we are told we are clothed with Christ in our baptism
    3.) … well, you should know them all by heart now as we have discussed them many times.

    So, what ever is promised in the Supper — and there are promises – perhaps the one not partaking forfeits those.

    But let’s be honest for a minute – and I am the only one who says it consistently – our views are as wide as the Grand Canyon. My view is the sacraments are God generated and they are God delivering grace to us the body.
    Your view is that the ordinances are man generated and that you are delivering your obedience back to God.
    We don’t even need to argue right or wrong – but we do need to recognize and acknowledge the difference.

  154. Jean says:

    Al,
    Polity aside, Steve is a well informed advocate for a popular stream of soteriology in the US. Having his doctrine represented here in discussion is beneficial to those exploring the faith.

  155. Duane Arnold says:

    #140

    Steve, (if you pick this up) – Michael’s post does indeed deal with the case of the “unbeliever”; but we recognize that there is often a “marginal” area as well. Classic sacramental theology holds that the Sacrament is not only a Means of Grace, but that it also effects grace in the recipient. Somewhat along the lines of “Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief…”

  156. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Could you send me more info on #155… I didn’t know that…

  157. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane – I would be interested also in what you mean. To me that would seem to be the classical definition of a means of grace – that God does a work in you through the physical element of bread, wine, water, paper, ink, vocal cords etc.

  158. Al says:

    Jean said, “Steve is a well informed advocate for a popular stream of soteriology in the US. Having his doctrine represented here in discussion is beneficial to those exploring the faith.”

    I agree with the first statement above, not so sure about the second statement, but that you perceive it as beneficial is valid and some are heavily into Doctrine and Theology, while most of the masses couldn’t care less. That’s the reality of the situation.

    Those sitting under Steve and the vast majority of Calvary Chapels and similar Evangelical Sects couldn’t care less about Doctrine and Theology, they have their own System and very loose “Transformation Gospel” angle and historical arguments to them are like discussing Physics with a 3rd grader. It just isn’t on their radar.

  159. Duane Arnold says:

    Yes, we accept the Sacrament as a “means” of grace. That is, a channel through which God’s grace is imparted to us. At the same time, however, the Sacrament “creates” grace within the recipient – the forgiveness of sins, the strengthening of faith, etc. We move from passive reception to active participation… I used to know the Augustinian reference on this, but you know how that goes…

  160. Al says:

    “Yes, we accept the Sacrament as a “means” of grace. That is, a channel through which God’s grace is imparted to us. At the same time, however, the Sacrament “creates” grace within the recipient – the forgiveness of sins, the strengthening of faith, etc. We move from passive reception to active participation… I used to know the Augustinian reference on this, but you know how that goes…”

    You must be a Lutheran. That sounds remarkably like MLD’s “Prosthetic Arms” Analogy.

    It’s still Synergism, it still requires an act of what we perceive as “Free Will” on behalf of the partaker of the “means of grace”…”receiving” is an act of will, or what I would assert is the illusion of will.

  161. Al says:

    Yet, ironically, none of our acts are truly from “Free Will”…as Sam Harris likely rightly observes….we have the “Illusion of Free Will” from an observable Scientific perspective and Neurological perspective.

    The “receiving of the means of grace” is preceded by a number of involuntary neurological functions and cause-effect correlations leading up to the moment you perceive you make some sort of “Free Choice” in receiving….where as Neuroscience observes….all of your functions leading up to that “receiving” are involuntary.

    You perceive you had a separate sentient “choice” in the matter….but Neurologically, you did not, not really. Not consciously.

  162. Duane Arnold says:

    #158

    Al, I was one of those “3rd graders” who sat under people like Steve. I came to faith at CCCM. I have carried that evangelical theology with me all the way through to a PhD in patristics. People grow in faith. Generally, I’ve found I’m usually more on the mark in what I affirm, rather than what I denounce. Just a thought.

  163. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Al’s idea of monergism is that you are walking down the street minding your own business and God’s pixie dust falls on your head. You have an idea that something happened but you are not quite sure what and then you find yourself in heaven some years later.

    What he does not understand is that your reaction to God’s grace (which he calls free will) is indeed a first act by God.

  164. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I’ll have to research that out…it sounds entirely plausible to me and I’d like to read more.

  165. Jean says:

    Duane,
    In your #159, is the term you’re looking for: gratia infusia?

  166. Michael says:

    Alex,

    This is a very beneficial conversation to my readers and myself.
    Those who are uninterested can move to something that interests them.

  167. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    I’ll look for the reference and send it along…

  168. Duane Arnold says:

    #165 Yes, that is the term, but there is a passage that is escaping my “once vaunted memory”!

  169. Al says:

    You are what you are b/c that is the Design. That’s the Plan. At least in what we perceive as this present reality and existence, though “time” is also a perception.

    I take strange comfort in the realization that all of you are wrong….yet all of you are right, in the sense you are compelled to do what you do and your extremely brief and insignificant role in the Design and Plan is part of the Design and Plan.

    We’re all, essentially, playing our part and we were all meant to cross the paths we’ve crossed and have the experiences we perceive we’ve had.

    Consciousness is an amazing concept. What “is” without perception? Without a Conscious being to perceive it? <—God stuff right thar, part of that "Mystery".

    Soteriology, blah blah blah. It's what you were designed to emphasize and argue I guess and many will read the same text and come to a different conclusion….and whether they are right or wrong….we'll likely never really know….or we'll find out it really didn't matter much, yet it did b/c the struggle and disagreement was part of the Design.

  170. Jean says:

    Duane,
    I think (and I’m moving out of my comfort zone here) the RCC, EO and Reformed all hold to a version of gratia infusia, but the Lutherans do not. I think at one end of the spectrum would be the doctrine of theosis, while at the Lutheran end is the doctrine of the Simul.

  171. Al says:

    Michael, I am VERY interested in it.

    I am fascinated by people. The more into their particular angle the better.

  172. Al says:

    I love how human religious sects have turned “God” into a Science.

    …yet many of the same sects have an arms’-length relationship with Science.

    A beautiful disaster.

  173. Michael says:

    Jean,

    One of my stranger studies has been the similarity of the Orthodox doctrine of theosis with Calvin’s doctrine of union with Christ…not so dissimilar as one would think.

    Now that I’m over the Reformed allergy to anything with “infusion” in the title, I will search this out more…

  174. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    If I remember correctly, although Luther loved Augustine, he did have some problems with On Grace and Free Will and some of the other anti-Pelagian writings. Melanchthon, however, was a bit more nuanced… All this is said from one (me) who is not a Lutheran…

  175. ( |o )====::: says:

    Josh @ 109, thanks, appreciate your thoughts throughout.

  176. Jean says:

    Duane, Michael, et al,

    “A thousand years before the Reformation, St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430) had fought strongly against the errors of a monk named Pelagius. Pelagius taught that sinners could contribute to their salvation by their own efforts, apart from God’s grace in Christ. Relying on St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, Augustine held that Adam’s fall into sin had so corrupted human nature that the human will was completely depraved and enslaved to the flesh. But Augustine believed that sinners, following their conversion and infused with renewing grace by means of baptism, begin to be healed, and are actually empowered by God’s grace to perform inherently good works. Christians, according to Augustine, do continue to commit some sins, but they also begin to do more good things and fewer bad things as they are gradually justified by God.

    This Augustinian understanding of justification by grace, later rejected by Luther, was nevertheless of great help to him at the beginning of his career as he fought against the crass work-righteousness of indulgence selling. But try as he might, Luther’s troubled heart would give him no rest. Despite his best efforts, Luther could not find in himself that pure love that Augustine said Christians were capable of manifesting following conversion. After years of struggle over this question, Luther finally discovered that the Scriptures teach that sinners are saved “through faith alone.” God’s grace is the sole basis of salvation for the sinner only when it is appropriated solely through faith.

    Luther had learned from Augustine that only the grace of God could save him. But Luther’s rediscovery of the Gospel in all its clarity took place when he came to see that he did not first have to do something to merit God’s saving grace. Philip Melanchthon, Luther’s colleague at the University of Wittenberg, writes in the Augsburg Confession: “Our churches also teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake through faith when they believe that they are received into favor and that their sins are forgiven on account of Christ, who by his death made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in his sight (citation omitted)”.

    The implications of salvation “through faith alone” permeate everything we Lutherans believe and teach. For example, we believe that the conversion of sinners is a gift of God and not the result of any human effort or decision. Lutherans therefore confess in the words of Luther’s explanation to the third article of the Apostle’s Creed: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel.” (Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, p. 15).”

    file:///C:/Users/jdragon.GLOBAL/Downloads/What%20Do%20Lutherans%20Believe%20by%20Nafzger.pdf

  177. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Melanchthon, however, was a bit more nuanced…”

    In modern parlance we say ‘he was all over the board’ (at least in the 2nd half of his life after Luther. 😉

    However, his Loci is a masterpiece.

  178. Duane Arnold says:

    #177

    OK, you found me out! I’ve always had a “secret admiration” for Melanchthon. I did like the book by Lowell Green, How Melanchthon Helped Luther Discover the Gospel: The Doctrine of Justification in the Reformation. He seemed to think it was more about “emphasis” than “real differences”. This admiration for Melanchthon did not always help me when I was attending a LCMS seminary in the old days!

  179. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Melanchthon is a great study. He was a boy genius – he us in university I think at 12 and was a professor at 21.

    He wrote his Loci something in 1521, just 4 yrs after Luther nailed the 95 theses – The Loci is amazing – and his later writing of the Augsburg Confession cemented his place in the Reformation hall of fame.

    His only downfall was he fell into a bad crowd … the Calvinists. It’s sketchy if he ever regained his sanity. 😉

  180. Al says:

    Was Pelagius “saved”?

    In hell? Not in hell?

  181. Al says:

    Don’t answer, you will absolutely not like where that discussion goes LOL

  182. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Was Pelagius “saved”?”

    He could be saved – but not for that theology … perhaps he saw the truth and died in peace.

  183. Josh the Baptist says:

    Isn’t that a God-only kind of question?

  184. Al says:

    “Isn’t that a God-only kind of question?”

    BINGO! Winner winner chicken dinner.

  185. Al says:

    MLD said, “He could be saved – but not for that theology … perhaps he saw the truth and died in peace.”

    So, you are stating you are certain Pelagius is in hell if he believed that his theological opinions were “correct” as stated in his writings that got him labeled a heretic and excommunicated, correct?

    If Pelagius didn’t have what became an “orthodox theology”….there is no way he could be saved, in your opinion…correct?

  186. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Al – it’s not about theology – people go to hell for 1 of 2 reasons.
    1.) sin
    2.) giving God the finger when he tries to save you.

    There is a whole theology class right there in #2.

  187. Al says:

    Did Pelagius love God and love his neighbor? Ironically, “Mr. Free Will” was probably more moral than most of those you’d deemed “saved for sure!”…especially Luther who was a Cretin. Don’t get me wrong, I love Luther, he was such an a-hole. But, c’mon. If it’s your “Correct Theology!” that saves you then all you have done is create another way unto salvation that is other-than faith, which you have to accept “Mystery” or you turn the Gospel into a Science and then I can turn Science onto your “Correct Theology” and deconstruct it into the dust.

  188. Al says:

    MLD, agreed, it’s not about “Correct Theology!”

    And most aren’t “giving God the middle finger!”….they are giving you and your opinions and your Gurus’ opinions and your Church Constructs and your Church Councils and your carefully constructed Doctrinal/Theological boxes the middle finger.

    All false idols. Yet, we cling to them b/c that’s how we were Designed. We are desperate to eschew Mystery for Certainty.

    Part of the amazing Human Condition.

  189. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Bad theology can come under the classification of giving God the finger.

  190. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Back to Melanchthon and his Loci – for anyone who wants an easy listen on the subject – go here. Topics at the bottom.

    http://www.thinkingfellows.com/loci

  191. Al says:

    MLD said, “Bad theology can come under the classification of giving God the finger.”

    According to which Council?

    You seem to assert that a construct of men equal God.

    You have a Circular Logic, you point to God, but the reality it is men telling you “this is correct! this is God!” and then you dispute that particular Sects “council” or Guru or men telling you what is correct theology and so on and so forth.

  192. Al says:

    MLD, you will never escape the paradox that when you point to “God!” there is always a Group of men you are really pointing to….defining for you what is “correct” and what is heretical.

    That is the reality of the situation and it is deeply flawed, yet it is how it is intended to be. Part of the Mystery.

  193. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Al – I am not a deconstructionist. I do believe things can be known.
    You and Sam Harris disagree with me … but then you really can’t know if you know that – can you.

  194. Al says:

    Every man and woman makes their decisions based on what they are convinced their conscience informs them after they ask and answer the big questions of human existence etc.

    Most don’t give it much thought at all, they just exist and they usually gravitate to whatever tradition they were raised in. Evangelicalism is full of low IQ folks who just exist and follow along to whatever their particular Guru and Sect tells them as Gospel truth.

    Overwhelmingly, studies show that High IQ folks tend to be much less religious b/c they ask questions and operate more logically and demand things like evidence etc.

    Ironically, the “Correct Theology!” crowd tends to be Higher IQ in the Christian Tent….and try to turn God into a Science with an “-ology” for every jot and tittle.

    Yet, the paradox is….God is not a Science….yet Science observes the fingerprints of God and Design.

    Remarkable. Ironic.

  195. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Every man and woman makes their decisions based…”

    Out of ‘every man and woman’ – how many have you personally surveyed?

    Otherwise you are just depending on what other flawed people have said. You haven’t done the hard work yet have you?

  196. Al says:

    Not tracking w u on that one mld lol. Ur going to have 2 mld’splain the rationale behind that last comment

  197. Jean says:

    Al,

    Paul already observed way back in 1st century Corinth that the “word of the cross” is foolish. Thus, it can only be received by faith (or as Jesus said, like a child).

    If he wants to save people in 2016, then we must believe that he preserved his Gospel for us in the Scriptures. We apply reason ministerialy, not magisterialy, to the text.

  198. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Al – you made the claim to know what ‘every man and every woman’ does in a certain setting. If you have not interviewed this ‘every man and every woman’ then you are depending on the flawed (can’t know anything – your claims) people who I guess have surveyed ‘every man and every woman’ on this topic.

    I have caller ID so I probably avoided being in the ‘every man and every woman interview.

  199. Al says:

    MLD, that is nonsense and you know it. It was a generalization based on observation and universal consensus….which, ironically, your Group does to develop its “Correct Theology!” and just further establishes my point about humans, human nature, epistemology, morals/ethics, “truth” etc etc

    You are not special. Your Group is not special. You have opinions based on the consensus of your Group’s Gurus and leadership and you base your “Correct Theology!” on the consensus of those opinions. It is Self-Verifying, Circular etc. It is. Nothing you can say will change that fact. That’s the beauty of Logic and Reason. You are entitled to your opinions, but you can’t wiggle out of facts we can universally observe. That’s the “Science” of Logic. It is much more reliable than your opinions. Now having stated that, I most certainly do have my own “opinions” and they are just that….opinions. I have very little certainty in much of anything outside the Laws of Physics we are bound by consistently in what we perceive as this present existence and I’ve leaned Human Nature is extremely reliable and predictable and consistent as well.

    I am not dissing your Theological opinions, rather I am accurately noting they are opinions and not Absolute/Objective Truth that we can verify for certain. “Correct Theology” is an opinion. You cannot know for certain if you are actually correct. That’s the macro-point. Not sure if you have the capacity to understand the rationale or to test my assertion accurately against Logic/Reason…most likely you will name-call in the manner you do and troll, which is fine too. That doesn’t bother me, but it does seem to disrupt the blog.

  200. Al says:

    Jean, agreed, in that context Paul seems to have acknowledged what I am asserting…yet so many cling to Paul’s writings and then create a “System of Theology!” that looks remarkably like an Idol to worship.

  201. Josh the Baptist says:

    There is no such thing as truth that we can verify for certain. Our senses are too limited.

  202. Al says:

    “There is no such thing as truth that we can verify for certain. Our senses are too limited.”

    We can verify things like Facts and Universal Truths.

    That is the World of Science and Scientific Method and why we have things like computers and internet and modern medicine etc.

    As I’ve asserted many times early on here on this blog…and it holds “true” today 🙂

    There is Absolute/Objective vs. Relative/Subjective Truth….and then we appeal to an Authority to be the arbiter and definer for us of what our Relative/Subjective “truth” is in each and every Group.

    The Absolute/Objective stuff is things like gravity, laws of physics, mathematics, philosophical logic, computer logic, etc

  203. Al says:

    For example:

    If Jesus actually walked on water, that would be a fact and a truth that is Objective/Absolute. The problem is that many don’t believe what is presented as an eye-witness account in the Gospels. It would have been truly supernatural and defied the laws of physics. It happened or it didn’t. I’m cool with “it happened” and if it did, then the observable event would be an Absolute/Objective Truth that defied the universal laws of physics, rendering the even supernatural.

    The Pilate Stone found in archeology is a fact. The observable archeology is fact. The Sea of Galilee is a fact. The Dead Sea is a fact. The Hebrew Culture is a fact. The extant historical documentations of Cristus and Crestos (aka Jesus Christ) are facts (though some will question the reporting, but the extant reporting is a fact, the underlying issue that is reported is in dispute).

    Now if I take the writings of Paul and I begin to re-interpret those writings from the lens of a particular Guru and Hermeneutic etc, I am now in the realm of Relative/Subjective Truth…and I am relying on an “Authority” aka a Guru and Sect and their hermeneutical system/approach to define for me what is “correct” and “true!” from a Theological perspective. Opinion and not a demonstrable fact or universal truth.

  204. Al says:

    “event” not even above.

    Fact: I make typos.

    Opinion: “B/c you’re a jerk and you type too much!”

  205. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Al,
    I think your comments fall into the ‘Relative/Subjective “truth”.’ – which in MY GROUP – (better known as sensible community ) – would call hogwash. Why should I trust what you say? – it is relative only to you and your brain cells, which Sam Harris says are not in your control.

    But if you want to say that the impact of the Holy Spirit is non existent in explaining the things of God go ahead. My only beef with you over the years is that you deny the basics of the Christian faith (which is fine – most of the world does) but you still claim to be a part of it. – I think that would make you a CINO – Christian In Name Only.

  206. Josh the Baptist says:

    “The Absolute/Objective stuff is things like gravity,”

    Nah, gravity is just what we perceive. Our perception is not large enough to say it is absolute fact. We once perceived the world was flat as an absolute fact. AS our perception was enlarged, the “fact” changed.

    Something like the Pilot Stone could be a hoax, or a misinterpreted find. We just don’t have enough information to say that anything is absolutely true.

  207. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Al, to your last paragraph in your 203 – why is it wrong if I look at something through the lens of a ‘guru’ and come to a conclusion – but you do the same when you search Google for a Sam Harris quote (fill in the blank for your other gurus) and that is OK as it crystalizes your mind for sharper thought?

    Any hypocrisy here?

  208. Al says:

    MLD, your reading comprehension is suspect.

    I clearly stated they are my opinions and I am not certain about much of anything other than Absolute/Objective Truth and truths/facts and I’m pretty confident in Human Nature, it is pretty reliable and predictable.

    I can’t have a discussion with you if you cannot demonstrate basic reading comprehension.

  209. Al says:

    I won’t discuss it with MLD any further. If anyone else has an opinion or feedback, I’m all ears and eyes.

  210. ( |o )====::: says:

    “gravity is just what we perceive.”

    “Oh gravity, stay the hell away from me
    Oh gravity has taken better men than me (how can that be?)
    Just keep me where the light is…”
    https://youtu.be/Fo4746XZgw8?t=5m24s

  211. Al says:

    MLD said, “you deny the basics of the Christian faith”

    Hogwash, to borrow your term and I’ll bite since I’m bored.

    What are those “basics” you state? I bet you can’t state them.

  212. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Believing in truth.
    Is Jesus the only way to the Father. Simple yes or no (it does not get any simpler or basic than that).

    I’ll bet you cannot answer yes or no.

  213. Al says:

    Your turn. How can I be saved for sure? What must I do to be saved?

  214. Al says:

    Can I be saved apart from hearing a gospel message?

    Did the OT figures hear a gospel message?

    Dd the OT figures “receive the means of grace” in the way Lutherans propose is “salvation”?

    The vast majority of humans in human history have never heard a gospel message, were they created for eternal damnation? They never heard, how could they have a “choice” in the matter?

    Are Adam and Eve in heaven or hell?

    Is Rahab the Prostitute in heaven or hell?

    How were people saved for sure in the Early Church before the Church Fathers convened in many councils over the many years and then defined for you watch “Correct Theology!” is?

    Can a “Good Samaritan” be saved without a “Correct Theology”?

  215. I guess I was prophetic when I said you could not answer yes OR no.
    But since no is part of your answer you therefore are calling Jesus a liar.

    My group and gurus have ruled that calling Jesus a liar eliminates one from Christianity. But as I said earlier, most of the world joins you in not wanting to be a Christian.

  216. Jean says:

    We shouldn’t speculate about God’s hidden will. We should only follow his revealed will. His revealed will promises grace through his Son. His hidden will is none of our business.

  217. All of you follow up questions do not follow what I asked.
    Did something or someone else provide for their salvation other than Jesus? If you think so then you are not a Christian?
    Why do you fight it – build your own golden calf and save yourself.
    I will stick with Jesus alone as the answer.

  218. Al says:

    Was Justin “the” (That was for Xenia) Martyr saved? (He didn’t hold an orthodox view of the Trinity)

    Is Pelagius in heaven or hell?

    Is Marcion in heaven or hell?

    Is Constantine in heaven or hell?

    Is Jacob Arminius in heaven or hell?

    Are all the Popes in heaven or hell?

    Is Chuck Smith in heaven or hell?

    You don’t know. Why is that?

  219. Al says:

    “I will stick with Jesus alone as the answer.”

    But you do not nearly do that. My “faith” is much more “Jesus alone” than yours is from what you’ve espoused over the years. You add all sorts of stuff, caveats and “prosthetic arms” etc

    My faith is in “Jesus”…I’m a minimalist in that regard, you are the guy that adds all sorts of stuff to it.

    Faith is not “certainty” it is “hope”…there is much mystery and those who are intellectually honest admit that truth.

  220. Al says:

    I think there is “God” and Jesus (in some form).

    My “faith” is in that.

    Then I watch the rest of you idiots play God and tell everyone what God really said etc.

    Then I ask questions and find out you are idiots and don’t nearly know the Mind of God and can’t.

    Then I go eat a sammich and get some stuff done so I can pay my kid’s bills.

  221. Perhaps you did not understand the question. I know you get distracted working on your wrong answers.

    Is Jesus the only way to the father? I toss you soft balls and you whiff.

  222. Al says:

    To clarify before I get scolded:

    When I say “you idiots” I am referring to the general “you” and all the Human Gurus, Human Pastors, Human Councils, Human Denominations etc. Not MLD, not anyone specifically on this blog.

    It’s the Archetype “you”

  223. Al says:

    The Paradox is this:

    We as humans are desperate for Certainty. We are DESPERATE for Dogma and tightly defined Boxes.

    We desperately want what we perceive as this present Existence to make sense, to have some sort of purpose, to be under control.

    We desperately want to save ourselves. We DESPERATELY want to be able to perform some sort of task or penance or check off some list to make us feel as if we are “Saved from the Fires of HELL!” etc. Desperate for that. It’s deeply human.

    Then God gives us a Rule Book that doesn’t make a lot of sense, it’s imperfect, it’s got flaws, it doesn’t fit together that well.

    Then we have men who stand up and claim Guru-ship who then argue their opinions better than the other schmucks and a consensus is won after long battles and then a bunch of humans follow that guy and erect Monuments to him and pay homage to him and then quote his take on the bible etc and then they build churches with a that guy’s name etc.

    At the end of the day….the Paradox that is hard to swallow….is we don’t really know for sure. We are afraid of Mystery. We’re scared to death that we don’t know for sure and we spend our lives trying to convince ourselves and others that we are CERTAIN! when we really are not.

    Luther on his death bed was not certain. None are in that passing moment. Some die more peacefully then others, but everyone has a lot of doubt or a little doubt….they are wondering “what is next” and “Did I do enough?” and “Did I believe the right thing?” etc.

    you will face your own end sooner than later. You will have the same angst as Luther if you have a heads up and aren’t taken quickly.

  224. Al says:

    “Is Jesus the only way to the Father?”

    Is that with or without “prosthetic arms”?

  225. That is a pretty long answer to avoid ansering my question. You challenged me to give you a basis to the faith. I gave it to you – it is knowable and you run – but you are like the octopus (or is it the squid) who shoots out the oil like substance as he runs and hides.

  226. Michael says:

    The chances of this conversation becoming something that anyone else would want to participate in is exactly nil.

    It’s done now.

  227. Em ... again says:

    darn, i was about to opinionate … again 🙂

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