Things I Think…

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115 Responses

  1. bob1 says:


    I don’t agree. I saw “60 Minutes” last night and they had a segment where they gathered pro and antiTrumpers from Grand Rapids, Michigan together. Highly enlightening. Unfortunately, most of us won’t (because of time constraints, etc., not because wd wouldn’t want to, IMHO) belong to a group like that who can hash out what voters on each side say. and believe. But we need to get past the mindless sloganeering, bumper sticker “solutions” and seek to understand those who see it differently than we do. If we can’t do that, then I see little hope for our Republic.

  2. Stephen says:

    Re #3:. It’s the same way for many reasonable people on the other side of the issue.

    I can’t help but wonder why the reasonable people on both sides of the issues are only encountering unreasonable ones.

  3. Stephen says:

    On a more positive note, however, it does seem that the New York Times newspaper ran two articles: one from a liberal and one from conservative. Shock and horror: both are reasonable and there’s really no reason to disagree with for either side.

    If someone is reasonable that is.

  4. Babylon's Dread says:

    Ancient cures was a classic blast

    30 Dread

  5. Looks to me that you answered your #2 concern. I am experiencing the same re-reading experience and find the bible much more exciting and challenging without the tinted lenses of previous teaching which I accepted unquestioningly.

  6. covered says:

    Michael, when I look at your scriptural reference on #5, then I see your comment with regards to the Biblical definition of a Christian etc., what do we say about the following verses? What do we say about verses 13-17? While we all piss and moan about how bad things are today, and they are, I believe that when Peter wrote this Pilate, Nero and Felix were in office. I could be wrong but isn’t Peter telling us that as believer’s our focus is on serving and honoring others and while doing so, we will not look like the rest of the world? Isn’t that the distinction? Finally, I have much to learn and submitting is something I struggle with but it doesn’t change the standard.

  7. bob1 says:


    I agree with Michael as far as he goes…but this isn’t first-century Jerusalem. And an ‘evangelical’ view of how to relate to society right now is a hot mess. ‘Evangelicals’ are more divided and confused than every. So, it’s complicated. I was reminded of this reading a paragraph from a new book on evangelicalism by the president of Fuller Seminary:

    “In its current mode, Evangelicalism contains an amalgam of theological values, partisan political debates, regional power blocks, populist visions, racial biases, and cultural anxieties, all mixed in an ethos of fear. No wonder it can be difficult to know if one is still an evangelical.”

  8. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    #9 is funny – did you read that on a bumper sticker?

  9. Michael says:


    Let’s post the verses first .

    “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”
    (1 Peter 2:12–17 ESV)

    I think the one thing that stands out to me when you put all these verses together is that the “church” is to be a recognizably separate people whose lives are open to observation from the “world”.
    They should be able to tell the difference…

  10. Michael says:


    I may make it into a bumper sticker…want one?

  11. Jean says:

    #9 “It’s taken me a lifetime to learn to read what the Bible says without the interpretive lens of some Christian sect. It’s a much more interesting book now…”

    This is both (1) impossible, and (2) non-biblical. However, I understand this is the claim of the rugged individualism that popularizes American evangelicalism.

    This actually breeds sects, heterodoxy and heresies. It creates what we often lament about the state of the church.

  12. Michael says:


    I spent years reading through the dispensational lens.
    Then I read through the Reformed lens.

    Now, I’m trying to read what the book says without a template laid over it that sometimes distorts things to fit a systematic theology.

    It’s difficult to recognize all the preconceptions I bring to the text, but it’s worth the effort to try.

    As far as it being “non-biblical”… which lens is the biblical one?
    The one you happen to embrace?

  13. Michael says:

    As far as the “rugged individualism” charge… I belong to a sect that embraces all of church history and it sets the parameters for orthodoxy.
    Haven’t strayed from that an inch…

  14. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “As far as it being “non-biblical”… which lens is the biblical one?”
    The lens of studying with others.
    Hey, even the translations you are reading from come with a sectarian slant.

  15. Michael says:

    I study with far more others than most…I just refuse to wear any glasses permanently.

  16. Josh the Baptist says:

    That is a confusing statement, Michael. How is it different from the “just me and my bible” guys?

  17. Jean says:

    I will quote four texts and capitalize what I want to emphasize in each:

    “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is MY RULE IN ALL THE CHURCHES.”

    “so that THROUGH THE CHURCH the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”

    “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word AS TAUGHT, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”

    The Bible teaches that doctrine is entrusted to the church, is to be taught by those called by the church to preach and teach, and is to be uniform among individual congregations.

    In His high priestly prayer, Jesus prayed: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me THROUGH THEIR WORD, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

    The Bible teaches that Christian doctrine is founded on the words taught by Jesus and the apostles (i.e., “through their word”). Thus, Christian doctrine should be apostolic, that is in conformity with the teachings of the apostles. If the doctrines are not in such conformity, they are not salutary and should not be recognized.

    Hence the Nicene Creed: “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.”

  18. Michael says:


    Because me and my bible also rely on 2000 years of Holy Spirit filled teachers that I study as well across sectarian lines.

    The Anglican communion draws from all the other traditions without the need to be dogmatic about the interpretation of any.

  19. Michael says:


    I know all those things.

    You think the LCMS fulfills that.

    I do not…I could never and would never join that sect.

    What should be, won’t be until Christ returns…for now I choose to believe that knowing that all believers belong to the one church is the best we can do.

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    Not sure about everybody else, but God called me to a living Church… not a museum of lifeless artifacts.

  21. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 18 – Hmm, OK. I would probably say the same then. I do acknowledge that sometimes I have trouble seeing things other than through the view which I learned them though.

  22. Michael says:

    “I do acknowledge that sometimes I have trouble seeing things other than through the view which I learned them though.”

    We all do…and it’s even harder when you come from very dogmatic sects like I have.

  23. Jean says:

    “You think the LCMS fulfills that.”

    I think the LCMS aspires to that, which is a lot more than many. But it is a human institution, which by definition means as long as it is filled with forgiven sinners, it will fall short.

    The Lutheran Confessions are a faithful exposition of the Scriptures on the doctrines they teach. The Confessions incorporate the three ecumenical creeds are not the property of the LCMS.

  24. John 20:29 says:

    #7- that observation ought to drive us to Christ… in a dancer’s terms, He has been described as the still point in an ever and increasingly spinning world

    #9- we are enriched by good, sound academic instructors comparing Scripture with Scripture, but we cheat ourselves and the Holy Spirit if we dont pick up the Bible and let God feed our souls, Himself… Yes, i know there are the misguided and, perhaps, tricksters who will claim the Holy Spirit has given them “special” knowledge … Isnt that a silly justification for not letting God, Himself One on one nurture and admonish your soul thru His letter to you?
    Was Gutenberg a tool kf the devil? Really?

    Just sayin

  25. Michael says:

    “The Lutheran Confessions are a faithful exposition of the Scriptures on the doctrines they teach. ”

    In your opinion.

    I will say they are orthodox, within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy.

    I reject much of them.

  26. Jean says:

    However, the purpose of my #17, was not to compare my particular tradition to others, but to make the case that doctrinal formation was entrusted to the church, through the apostles, and that preachers and teachers should hold to those doctrines.

    Yes, everyone should read the Bible, but under the guidance of sound teachers who teach apostolic doctrine.

  27. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Just last week I read the newer Anglican catechism that JI Packer consulted on. Sounded pretty dogmatic to me.

    Michael I am curious though, is there any fairly major doctrine held by the Anglican church – at least those who still believe the Bible that you reject?

  28. Michael says:

    “Yes, everyone should read the Bible, but under the guidance of sound teachers who teach apostolic doctrine.”

    Again, this hinges on definitions.

    We would disagree on who the sound teachers are and maybe even what constitutes apostolic doctrine.

    I’m open to being taught by the whole church over it’s entire history…up to today.

  29. Michael says:


    “Michael I am curious though, is there any fairly major doctrine held by the Anglican church – at least those who still believe the Bible that you reject?”

    None whatsoever.

  30. Nathan Priddis says:


    We shall be as a City on a Grassy Knoll. The eyes of all the people shall be upon us.
    John Winthrop. 1630….sorta

  31. Michael says:

    I spent twenty some years reading the bible with Dr. Packer and I’m grateful for every moment I did.

    Now, I’m also spending time with some of his contemporaries who saw things differently…and I’m glad for every moment.

    Anglicanism allows me the privilege of learning from everyone who is orthodox…

  32. covered says:

    Hey Michael, I agree wholeheartedly with your comment at #9. I would add that it’s a bit ironic that the one who wrote these verses is the one who once packed a sword and cut off a guys ear. Isn’t it interesting that it’s usually suffering that causes us to want to get it right? Since the Fla. shooting last week along with the untimely death of a local 25 year old kid who loves the Lord, I don’t seem that interested in nonsense that distracts me from wanting to be more submissive. Nothing like suffering and pain to put us back on track and remind us who we are in Christ.

  33. Michael says:


    Amen to all that…suffering makes you boil it all down to essentials.

  34. covered says:

    Nathan @ #30, I don’t like it sometimes but yes

  35. Jean says:


    Do you consider any of the teachings of the apostles non-essential?

  36. Michael says:


    We would not necessarily agree on what the apostles taught.
    I hope I have been clear about what I believe the essentials are.

  37. Muff Potter says:

    @ #9:

    For me it’s been emancipating to read Scripture for its own sake and not through somebody else’s say so. I’ve found (in my opinion) that it (the Bible) ain’t as cut and dried as I once believed it is.

  38. Michael says:


    As I say I read in community,but not beholden to a particular community.

  39. Jean says:

    “I hope I have been clear about what I believe the essentials are.”

    Not at all to me.

  40. Michael says:

    Frankly, so much of the emphasis on doctrine takes away from relationship with Christ.

    The reality is that Xenia is thriving spiritually in Orthodoxy, Jean and MLD in Lutheranism, and I’m happy in Anglicanism.

    Same God, different ways of understanding Him.

  41. Michael says:


    I keep it simple on “essentials”.
    The three early creeds and the kerygma of 1 Cor 15.

  42. filbertz says:

    I’ve been a Christian for over 50 years and I echo what Michael said about reading the Bible without an overlay of a sect or system. It is a challenge, and the echoes of my past days often intrude. Unlike Michael, and many others here, I haven’t found a port to anchor my theological skiff. I’m still out in the high waters hoping to solidify my understandings of and proofs for the basics of the faith. In fact, I think I may cut away my anchor altogether and stay out of the ports entirely–there’s something about sailing that doesn’t happen at moorage in the still waters of a harbor.

    it’s not only a more interesting book, but a more personal Savior, and challenging sojourn.

  43. Michael says:


    That was really well said…

  44. Jean says:

    To be ordained in the Anglican communion you are looking at, are you required to take an oath to uphold the 39 articles?

    Would you?

  45. filbertz says:

    I don’t mean to sound derogatory toward anyone whose craft is ‘in port.’ Surety is a fine thing as long as one understands its boundaries and expectations.

  46. Michael says:

    “To be ordained in the Anglican communion you are looking at, are you required to take an oath to uphold the 39 articles?

    Would you?”

    Welcome to the Inquisition.

    I affirm the 39 Articles of the Anglican Communion.

    My doctrine and practice is examined and discussed every week with one of the most qualified Anglican priests in this or any other country.

    He says I’m doing well…

  47. filbertz says:

    I would hope that all of us hoist sails regularly, taste the brine, and let the winds fill our sails and blow through our hair. Great sailors don’t become so sipping Chablis gently rocking in a cove. Lots of nonsense goes overboard when our ‘faith’ gets put to the test ‘out there.’ My whole scheme and system was jettisoned a few years ago, and frankly, it was a colossal waste of time, energy, and effort.

  48. Jean says:

    I’m just trying to understand you on the essentials for you. No inquisition. I followed up because just saying the creeds are the only essentials lacks two matters IMV:

    (1) The creeds are brief confessions, which have implicit within them a fuller meaning which is known through historical context.

    (2) The creeds are mainly “occasional” in that they address historical controversies.

    Therefore, traditions wrote confessions to fill in the gaps. I assume the writers of the various confessions considered them very important, if not essential, regarding their doctrinal content.

  49. Michael says:


    God has a way of putting us “out there” whether we like it or not…

  50. filbertz says:

    Michael, I concur. Thankful today for another thought-provoking list.

  51. John 20:29 says:

    ?. #42
    Some have anchored their souls in “haven of rest” and some have left their anchors to “sail the wild seas” … and Jesus is their drogue chute?

    sorry… now i’m gone.

  52. Michael says:


    It’s really quite simple.
    A “Christian” will believe certain things about Christ.
    Those baseline beliefs are in the creeds and 1 Cor 15.

    Now, I also affirm some other things, like those contained in the 39 Articles.
    I don’t demand that you affirm them to be held as a brother in Christ.

    There are some LCMS doctrines I find…unpalatable.
    That’s ok…I still affirm you as family.

    We agree on the essentials as I see them, even if you don’t see them the same way.
    Thus, I’m free to affirm you.

  53. Jean says:

    I appreciate that Michael. That’s a whole different issue, but I appreciate your affirmation, and you have mine.

  54. Michael says:

    There are essentials to being a Christian and various sects put a entire different set of essentials on top of those.

    I’m not real interested in the second set…even though in my communion we’re allowed to debate those too.

  55. Duane Arnold says:

    #46 Michael

    My ordination “vow”, was simply this –

    “Will you remain faithful to the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church?”
    “I will.”

    It is similar with the continuing Anglican bodies.

    No inquisition needed. This, of course, is only after you have proven yourself academically sound, passed the exams in the canonical areas, submitted to psychological/psychiatric testing and have been approved by the Bishop and the diocesan standing commission on ordination.

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – to ask a person what they may believe or confess is not an inquisition – you know that and you are playing the victim. To ask gives a starting point for discussion.

    So, “I affirm the 39 Articles of the Anglican Communion.”
    In the spirit of ecumenical thought could I just as easily state that I reject the 39 Articles and still be considered an Anglican in good standing?

  57. Michael says:


    I may have to cheat on the psychiatric eval… 🙂

  58. Duane Arnold says:

    Reading my #56… did I really say “no inquisition”? I may want to revisit that statement…

  59. Michael says:

    “In the spirit of ecumenical thought could I just as easily state that I reject the 39 Articles and still be considered an Anglican in good standing?”

    By whom?

    I wouldn’t think so, but you don’t have to be an Anglican in good standing to be a fine Christian.

  60. Duane Arnold says:

    You are as mentally sound as myself… uh oh… another statement to revisit!

  61. Michael says:

    I have to go pick up Trey…I’ll answer anything else later…

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Will you remain faithful to the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church?”

    So this sounds pretty dogmatic and that entertaining theological positions that do not support or agree with “the doctrine and discipline”, would be off limits and out of bounds.

  63. Duane Arnold says:


    A little less restrictive that this…

    “ Do you acknowledge that the Lord has called you through His Church into the ministry of Word and Sacrament?
    + Do you believe and confess the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
    + Do you believe and confess the three Ecumenical Creeds, namely the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds, as faithful testimonies to the truth of the Holy Scriptures, and do you reject all the errors which they condemn?
    + Do you confess the Unaltered Augsburg Confession to be a true exposition of Holy Scripture and a correct exhibition of the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church? And do you confess that the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Small and Large Catechisms of Martin Luther, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, and the Formula of Concord — as these are contained in the Book of Concord — are also in agreement with this one scriptural faith?
    + Do you promise that you will perform the duties of your office in accordance with these Confessions, and that all your preaching and teaching and your administration of the Sacraments will be in conformity with Holy Scripture and with these Confessions?
    + Will you faithfully instruct both young and old in the chief articles of Christian doctrine, will you forgive the sins of those who repent, and will you promise never to divulge the sins confessed to you? Will you minister faithfully to the sick and dying, and will you demonstrate to the Church a constant and ready ministry centered in the Gospel? Will you admonish and encourage the people to a lively confidence in Christ and in holy living?
    + Finally, will you honor and adorn the Office of the Holy Ministry with a holy life? Will you be diligent in the study of Holy Scripture and the Confessions? And will you be constant in prayer for those under your pastoral care?”

  64. Michael says:

    Anglican’s differ on many doctrines…it’s acceptable within the communion. Anglicanism isn’t so much about rigid doctrinal stances as it is about worship…as reflected in the liturgy and the Book of Common Prayer.

  65. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane @65 – exactly! so when I go to an ordination service, I know what the new pastor is confessing.

    A funny story – at one ordination service I was sitting with a couple of older ladies – well heck, old ladies – and when the pastor came to “the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope”, one leaned over and said “I didn’t think that we gave any power to the pope.”

    I snickered inside and told her I would explain later. 🙂

  66. Duane Arnold says:

    Much that is admirable and much that is… too much…
    At least for me.

  67. Jim says:


    Regarding your #3, perhaps you could speak plainly on the gun issue. I have a Tavor, which is a civilian version of the rifle the IDF chose to replace the M4. It shoots AR rounds out of AR mags. I also have an AK 47, converted in the Serbian factory to should AR rounds with AR mags. For all intents and purposes, they might as will be AR 15s, which is the civilian, semi automatic version of the military’s M16/M4.

    Do you believe that I should be able to own them? If not, and I choose to not turn them in, should the govt just look the other way?

  68. Michael says:


    You are the most consistent Libertarian I know. 🙂

    First, you know and I know that gun confiscation would be bloody as any other war we’ve been involved in.

    That simply isn’t going to happen.

    I don’t care if you have those weapons…I’m very concerned about the nutcase across the street who likes to show us all that he has similar weapons.

    I would start this conversation with one about background checks and waiting periods…

  69. Jean says:

    Duane at #65,

    The way I read those vows, as a lay person, is as completely blessed. That I can expect these things from my pastor brings great comfort and encouragement. There is not a single thing in those vows that is not a blessing to the laity.

    What am I missing? Vision casting? New doctrines? Downgrading the inspiration of God’s Word?

    Give me a pastor yoked to Christ and His Word every day.

  70. Michael says:


    Your pastor is no more yoked to the Word than Duane, Josh, and myself.

    He is no more orthodox than us either.

    I’m glad you’re blessed by that sect…it doesn’t mean you have to insult the rest of us.

  71. Jean says:

    Why do you think I’m insulting anyone.

    I’m saying that my tradition believes the confessions are a faithful exposition of Scripture, which a pastor most avow. To us, in our tradition, that it being yoked to Christ and his Word.

    That’s the way traditions work. We don’t have confessions that say “we think” or “it might be.” That’s the nature of confessions.

    I am not insulted by the 39 articles, even though they do not agree with my confessions. The 39 articles say the Book of Concord is wrong on certain points. I’m not insulted.

  72. Michael says:

    This is insulting.

    “What am I missing? Vision casting? New doctrines? Downgrading the inspiration of God’s Word?”

  73. Jean says:

    Duane said the Lutheran ordination vows are “too much.” I asked back what am I missing, since he thinks the vows are “too much.”

    Vision casting, new doctrines and the downgrading of inspiration of God’s Word are all prevalent in many church bodies. In fact, some even on this blog have talked about new revelations from Scripture, or revisions to previous doctrines, that have arisen in the past few hundred years.

    Form criticism has called into question the infallibility of God’s word.

    There are no accusations or insults coming from me. I am just asking.

  74. Michael says:

    Some of us don’t believe God settled everything in the 1500s and passed the results on to the Lutherans only…

  75. Jean says:


    At #76,

    Fair enough. That’s an honest answer. I appreciate it.

  76. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael @76,
    Neither do we. We believe Luther recovered those 1st century truths / teachings that were lost during the Roman era of running the church. If it wasn’t for the Lutheran Reformation (and it was unique from the ensuing reformations) and the work that they did with the princes and emperor of the holy roman empire we would all still be speaking Latin.

    It was almost single handily the Augsburg Confession and the Apology that changed political minds in favor of opening up to non RCC groups.
    Then came along you followers who just had to tweek things that did not need tweeking.:-)

  77. Josh the Baptist says:

    ” In fact, some even on this blog have talked about new revelations from Scripture, or revisions to previous doctrines, that have arisen in the past few hundred years.”

    Whatsoever could this be talking about?…hmmm. 🙂

    That is an interesting question though. Past few hundred years? Why is 1500 better than 1700?

  78. Jean says:

    “Why is 1500 better than 1700?”

    As MLD said, and I quote: “We believe Luther recovered those 1st century truths / teachings that were lost during the Roman era of running the church.”

    There is nothing better about 1500 than 1700 when it comes to new doctrine. We believe in apostolic doctrines.

    But others believe that new doctrine has been revealed in the past few hundred years. Those are simply transparent differences, with no value judgment.

  79. Josh the Baptist says:

    Every group I’ve ever been in thought they were recovering the true 1st cetury form of Christianity.

    Probably the doctrine that you say has been revealed in the last few hundred years, the person who believes that doctrine thinks it was there at the start and just recovered.

  80. John 20:29 says:

    New doctrines are so unimportant and treacherous, but as history unfolds prophesies become more understandable… the puzzling verses require less and less declaration that it is all symbolic … IMV
    We may not be able to call the shots before the events unfold, but Scripture prepares each the the generations with more depth, more clarity, more understanding of what is to unfold – hopefully, strengthening us as we do deal with false teachers and miracle workers … and alien beings ?

    New doctrines? No… Growing in the nurture and admonition of God? Developing the mind of Christ and Spiritual duscernment? Yes. IMNSHO …again

  81. Duane Arnold says:

    Bible… yes

    Creeds… yes

    The Book of Concord and all that accompanies it… no. I don’t wish to obtain ruby glasses to interpret.

  82. Duane Arnold says:

    #75 Jean

    “Form criticism has called into question the infallibility of God’s word.”

    I assume you have entered into an extensive study of form criticism. I would be most interested to hear your analysis of Bultmann, Cadbury, Lightfoot and others…

  83. Jim says:

    Thanks for your response @ #70, Michael. You’re correct, you’re more centrist on this issue than I has assumed. I can be a consistent assumer, too…

  84. Jim says:

    5 & 6 in the OP are really good, BTW.

  85. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Anglicans not liking Lutherans is nothing new. Robert Barnes studied with Luther and took Lutheranism back to his British homeland and was executed. I am sure there was more too it but that’s what happened.

    On another point, I am relieved to see that Duane and Michael are not in agreement with the teachings of Mart in Chemnitz — that would make strange bedfellows.

  86. Michael says:

    Thanks, Jim…always glad to see you here.

  87. Michael says:


    I have nothing against Lutherans…I have two teaching here.
    Have many of Luthers collected works.

    I really, really, don’t like the LCMS attitude and I think the doctrine of “unionism” is appalling.

    That’s ok…I’m not LCMS.

    I’m glad you have a home that nourishes you.

  88. Duane Arnold says:


    “On another point, I am relieved to see that Duane and Michael are not in agreement with the teachings of Martin Chemnitz…”

    Actually, Chemnitz’s works on The Lord’s Supper and The Two Natures of Christ were both formative for me and remain in my library to this day. As Michael has said, we can approach Christian doctrine from a variety of views without fear…

  89. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “As Michael has said, we can approach Christian doctrine from a variety of views without fear…”

    You make it sound as if we can’t. I have a very large library of non Lutheran books – and I read them with no fear (although I do not understand your use in that phrase.)
    I am a big fan of William Lane Craig and I am going through his 3rd rendition of his Defenders series (as I did the previous two).
    My library contains 2 shelves of writings from Calvin, RC Sproul, Francis Schaeffer Michael Horton and I think I once sent Michael a photo when I was unpacking from my move about 10 JI Packer books (along with hundreds of other non Lutherans. I have systematic theologies from Boice, Ryrie, Grudem, Ennis, – I also have about 50 reference books that came out of Baker and Eerdman’s.

    No fear – open reading — but I do have a base I go back to – a plumb line – the Bible, the Creeds and the Lutheran Confessions. I will admit, it’s a little harder for me to buy the ‘theology fad ‘ of the day.

  90. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, @89 – “and I think the doctrine of “unionism” is appalling.”
    We agree on something – I too find unionism appalling. Wait, I thought you were a big proponent on unionism?

    I’ll have to chew on that one for awhile.

  91. Duane Arnold says:

    Twisting people’s words do not diminish what they have said…

  92. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    What did I twist? It is quite difficult having a conversation with you with that attitude.

  93. Steve says:

    I’m wondering what Michael or some of the Lutherans think of Abraham Kuyper and his vision. I was introduced to him on Sunday during the sermon and he seems to make a lot of sense to me but before I start reading him I was curious if anyone had some thoughts.

  94. Michael says:


    Kuyper is very influential in Reformed and Calvinist circles.
    I admire his genius, but much of the subject matter he addressed bores me to tears, so I’m not the best person to ask.

  95. Jean says:


    I have little knowledge of Kuyper, but if I were in your position, I would ask myself and maybe my pastor: Why are you bringing him up in my church? What is the purpose?

    The reason I ask is that Kuyper’s 7 spheres theology is credited by some in a relatively new movement in American churches called variously Dominion theology, New Apostolic Reformation, or 7 mountains theology.

    If your church desires to move your congregation in this direction, you will want to be aware of it and all its theological implications.

  96. Jean says:

    To supplement my #97,

    In an age when many churches, especially large budget churches, are desperate to show growth, and meet budgets, there is intense competition for members between churches and intense efforts to retain members. In this environment there may be an appetite for trying “new things” or following “what’s working” elsewhere.

    Therefore, I think every Christian should be very watchful, and skeptical, about what “new” teachings are being introduced at their church and why.

  97. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean @98 is right on.

  98. Steve says:

    Thanks Jean and Michael for your input. Jean, Kuyper was brought up during our study of the book of Daniel while studying his vision of the statue of the world kingdoms (Babylonian, Medes, Persion and Roman) that was crushed by the Rock (God’s everlasting kingdom). It was just a side note and not the main gist of the sermon. He mentioned two errors in the past. The error of Christendom which is reflected primarily with western Roman Catholicism where the church ruled everything and the opposing error of State run churches like in communist type churches in the East where the state rules everything . Kuyper proposed an opposing point of view where God was ruling all these different spheres. It tied in nicely with Daniel’s vision and seemed appropriate for our Asian American church I attend having both a western and eastern dimension.

  99. Michael says:

    Kuyper is not responsible for how his work and ideas have been distorted.

    I would recommend going to the source material and reading for yourself.

    If the relationship between God and state is interesting to you, there’s not a better place to begin than with Augustine and Kuyper.

  100. bob1 says:

    I think it’s very sloppy thinking and unfair to tie Kuyper to the latest New Apostolic Reformation lunatics. What they have in common, IMHO, is that they’re trying to extend the Lordship of Christ to all of culture. That’s not a sin. Charles Colson, for example, was an uber admirer of Kuyper. Kuyper also held political office in The Netherlands, FWIW.

  101. Jean says:

    “Kuyper is not responsible for how his work and ideas have been distorted.”

    That’s a strange statement. I didn’t see that allegation above. I agree with it, but didn’t see it.

  102. Michael says:

    “The reason I ask is that Kuyper’s 7 spheres theology is credited by some in a relatively new movement in American churches called variously Dominion theology, New Apostolic Reformation, or 7 mountains theology.”

  103. Jean says:

    Yep, those are groups who some say have their roots in Kuyper. They’re “new movement”, so obviously the are not Kuyper’s movement. How could Kuyper be responsible, except to the extent (if any) that the new movements use him correctly?

  104. Steve says:

    Thanks Michael and bob1 and Jean. For the record our pastor was not saying that Kuyper’s idea was infallible. He purposely avoided any kind of implications seemingly knowing this could be controversial and taken out of context. But I do like the fact that God and his kingdom is ruling over everything including culture.

  105. Michael says:

    I find it unnecessary to even mention the two schools of thought in the same breath.

    There is a great amount of literature from scholars and from Kuyper himself on his ideas.

  106. Jean says:

    Hi Steve,

    Setting Kuyper aside, there’s a fair amount of agreement among many traditions that God is ruling. The issue that comes to the fore in these discussions is “how” does He rule, and what are the roles of various “orders” of creation in mediating His rule.

    Lutherans generally follow a two kingdoms approach. In the left hand kingdom, God’s rule is hidden or providential and his mediated through the orders of family, government and the church. These orders are governed by the law.

    In the right hand kingdom, or kingdom of God, God governs by grace, which is mediated through faith in Christ. Christians and some non-Christians participate in the order of the church.

    All human beings live in the left hand kingdom. Only Christians live in the right hand kingdom. Thus, Christians have dual citizenship.

    More can be addressed if anyone is interested in a further discussion.

  107. Steve says:


    For the most part of what I have read on here I agree with the Lutheran understanding of the left and right handed kingdoms. However, I am hesitant to dogmatically say this is the only lens or rubric to view how God rules. I admit this subject is very cloudy to me but I’m open to learning more.

  108. bob1 says:

    Kuyper’s thought also had a lot of influence on Francis Schaeffer, or so I’m told.

    I mean, “Jesus is Lord” is among the earliest of apostolic confessions.

  109. Duane Arnold says:

    I’m currently rethinking the concept of “dual citizenship” and especially using Augustine as a source for the concept. I think his intent may have been different than what is commonly assumed.

  110. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Ahh The New Perspective on Augustine

  111. bob1 says:

    A question for those smarter than me:

    I know Luther is seen as someone heavily in the Augustinian wing of the wider Church.

    How different is his two kingdom theory from A’s “the city of God/city of Man?”

    At least externally, they look pretty darn similar, to me.

  112. Jean says:

    Horton’s article roots Luther’s 2 kingdoms in Augustine’s 2 cities. It’s a well done article.

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