Things I Think…

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116 Responses

  1. Paige says:

    1. depends on which church circles you circulate in. I attended a wonderful packed launch yesterday that was a ‘cell division’ of another huge church, and am remotely part of a very very large and alive church.
    2. John Mac….. don’t care
    3. Football…haven’t cared. Ever.
    4. Cats are smart.
    5. I’ve been marveling at the wonders of geology lately and it makes me greatly look forward to finally being in the Presence of our Creator. Enjoy each day here. Greater things ahead.
    6. Love the story of Joseph. I also struggle with the desire to walk by faith and believe that God is in the details of mundane life, yet have no choice but to carry on, in Faith and worship. …. the geology definitely leads to worship.
    7. CC –don’t care.
    8. love the saying ‘you have never looked at the face of someone God does not love’. It’s a good lens for maintaining relationships. So are Boundaries.
    9. Not going to waste my limited energy being angry anymore. Too tired .
    10. Read This Present Darkness (again), some anatomy books, gardening books, read the internet a lot on home decor and recipes, and read Matthew and Acts. Acts blew my mind and our new church is going through Acts, so will keep reading it daily. I’ve decided I need to read at least a chapter of Acts every day for the rest of my life…. great reminders of God’s Power & Ways.

  2. Patrick Kyle says:

    Brother, No one has manipulated me into missing anything from the NFL. The spoiled rich kid hypocrites did that all on their own..

  3. Em says:

    I read the daily fire updates – from the last week in July all through the month of August .. 😀 Ours was a 50,000 acre fire that didn’t have to happen – “limited resources” they told us
    I know that’s not what you meant, Michael … sorry

    #6 – for me that is one of the most stunning examples of the incredible omnipotence of God….

  4. Dan from Georgia says:

    Hi Michael….

    Re: Aaron Rogers….did that surprise anyone? You know as a Vikings fan I LOATH the Packers. With Rogers they are a Super Bowl threat…without him they are 5-11 at best. And it pains me to say all that.

    Re; the social Gospel and the pushback…I read bits of the anti-social Gospel screed and it seemed kinda juvenile, like it was pulled from the myriad twitter and Facebook rants from those that hate the social Gospel. Somewhere in the Book it talks about the healing of the nations, dishonest weights and scales, discriminating by having people of “value” having the best seat, etc.

  5. Babylon's Dread says:

    Count me as one who thinks Brian Zahnd is part of the problem he is decrying. He is making church irrelevant for more people than he is attacking. (Just my opinion) He has transitioned from dogmatic certitude to dogmatic doubt. His outworking of the faith is basically universalist and while he does not traffic in fear he definitely traffics in anger.

    I did look at the article and found it less like what I describe above than most of my surveying of his work.

  6. Dan from Georgia says:

    More responses from your’s truly…
    4. Can’t wait for fall…loveliest time of the year in the south.
    5. Right now as I am close to 51 I have been having more pessimistic thoughts. I think counting our days will be the therapy I need to not despair of aging.
    6. I once read a comments online somewhere where a person responded to someone’s concern by stating that “God doesn’t give one iota of care about your feelings” – or something like that. I wonder if the person who said that considered what they were saying to this struggler if the tables were turned on them.
    9. Where are you seeing anger fatigued, for example. In my life, I am also tiring of trying to convenience every pro-Trump person on some websites that they are not playing with a full deck.
    10. Am ashamed to admit I haven’t read anything of value. I have a reading desk, however, that I am finally going to set up. I know I need to read more and surf less.

  7. Michael says:

    T is using my computer for home school so I’ll respond later…interesting takes so far…

  8. Babylon's Dread says:

    Psalm 82?

    Oh that is a can of worms… elohim?

    Who are these elohim – the text does not say they are men. It only says that they will die ‘like men’ One wonders if you are seeding a cloud here.

    Let us Dread

  9. Jean says:

    Michael,

    You know that I have a strong theology of temporal justice. But here is the problem with the church as an exponent of social justice: She has no expertise or calling from God to solve the border problem or the issue of immigration, documented or otherwise.

    Within the constellation of issues involved in border and immigration are (1) security; (2) stewardship of finances; (3) fairness for applicants; (4) mercy of applicants under threat; (5) qualifications in need by our country; and probably a host of other relevant issues. The church simply is not suited to work on these issues, but, on the other hand, the government is called to manage these issues.

    This is not to side with MacArthur, but to point out that there are different spheres of responsibility among the household, church and state, and when any of the three intrude on the other(s), we are intruding on the institutions established by God for our own good.

    The church has a vocation to preach the Word of God, Law and Gospel, which does teach us to love our neighbor as our self.

  10. Babylon's Dread says:

    I would say that the life of Joseph is a particular case for particular providence but it does not make a universal case for particular providence but my head hurts whenever I try to think of it.

    Universal Dread

  11. Babylon's Dread says:

    My reading will refer to an above post:

    The Unseen Realm by Michael Heiser
    The Fourth Cup by Scott Hahn
    Intellectuals by Paul Johnson
    A History of the United States by Paul Johnson
    Paul: A Biography by N. T. Wright
    The Gospel of Matthew-A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary by Craig S Keener
    How the West Was Won by Rodney Stark

  12. Babylon's Dread says:

    “idolatry is at the door” – ouch

  13. Erunner says:

    I no longer will watch a complete NFL game. I did tune in during the 4th quarter last night to see teh Packers comeback. I’ve long thought football is a brutal sport and I got tired of seeing so many career changing injuries. The final straw was all of the kneeling and so forth prior to games. Never have seen CK as any type of hero. So I have chosen to view different things.

    The CC story is difficult to see unfold. At this point I’m a bit sour on CC due to so much scandal and personal experience.

    My wife and I are praying for a real fall instead of heat stroke!

    Meeting together with Christians of different stripes should be a natural thing. We’ve botched that up badly.

    Anger fatigue. For me it’s not the anger I express as much as that which is in my heart. That’s the real issue for me.

  14. Dan from Georgia says:

    My anger fatigue isn’t just political-related, but just the whole spirit of online communication and the whole environment we are in today. The longer I participate in the anger-du-jour, the shorter my life gets, the less joy I have (ask my wife about that one), and the angrier I get. I for one hope anger fatigue spreads like a plague.

  15. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    To #10, my reading list.
    1.) I am rereading my Perry Mason books that I read in the late 80s / early 90s. I have 60 of them. I put them in chronological order and have read the first 6, originally published in the 1930s. One good thing of getting older – I don’t remember any of the plots. 🙂
    2.) I read another 100 pages of The Power Broker by Robert Caro – the story of Robert Moses who built 20th century New York – just about everything. It’s 1,400 pages and I have been working on it almost 2 years. I am 1/3rd done.
    3.) I just received the first volume in the Walt Longmire Mystery series – The Cold Dish – this should be fun – modern day cowboy / sheriff stuff. I highly recommend what they adapted from the books on Netflix.
    4.) I had my son bring me my baseball card collection at the beginning of summer – so I have been reading the backs of 1,000s of BB cards. It is interesting that I used to be able to read them with no problem – now I need my glasses and my magnifying glass – I guess the writing shrunk in storage.

  16. bob1 says:

    To say that the church shouldn’t involve itself in an issue because it’s not an “expert” seems pretty simplistic to me.

    Bonhoeffer wasn’t an expert in church-state relations, Was he wrong to
    step in in Nazi Germany and attempt justice by wanting to assassinate Hitler?
    Or was it enough to know Rom. 13:1?

    John McCain when he was a POW, tried to get his captors to follow
    international norms of civility. Was that wrong?

    I can see Jean’s point but it depends on how you define “church.” A
    local congregation? A national denomination? This needs definition
    if it’s going to have any teeth.

    I’m sure as hell going to get involved with immigration issues as a citizen.

    We don’t have to do everything as a Christian. We’re blessed in our free
    society to have the freedom to join with others of all kinds of persuasions toward common goals.

  17. Reuben says:

    1) This guy does not get it at all.

  18. Steven says:

    Read:

    Extreme ownership
    Sacred parenting
    Cherish
    The Marriage Builder

    And a slew of others that i don’t remember because they are packed away for our move to our new house.

    If it/we weather Florence successfully that is.

    Prayers are appreciated as it’s apparently going right over us as at least a category 4 if not 5.

  19. Jim says:

    I asked the question here a couple of weeks ago, “what is social justice?” Judging by the comments here, it’s about immigration. Is that the primary issue?

  20. Jean says:

    Bob1

    “To say that the church shouldn’t involve itself in an issue because it’s not an “expert” seems pretty simplistic to me.”

    How is this wrong? For example, how would a church evaluate the needs of security vs. easy entry? How would a church evaluate what the appropriate number of asylum seekers should be? How would a church evaluate what the appropriate measures are for securing the border? How would a church evaluate the proper taxation of the citizenry to pay for immigration?

    These are just a few of the issues. And the church represents 100s, 1000s or even millions of Christians (if we’re talking about a denomination). Who’s view does the church represent? Should they take a vote, or should the clergy decide? Can the leadership bind the consciences of the members by taking a stand?

    And again, do seminaries teach classes in border security to their students? The average pastor has no more expertise in border security than any lay person. Why should he or a church body be able to represent the views of its members in a matter which God’s Word does not address (beyond general notions of justice)?

    And while doing all this “important” temporal stuff, where is the proclamation of the Gospel?

  21. bob1 says:

    Well, churches and church people can learn new stuff, can’t they? Just like other people, they
    need to study the issues, debate, and come to some conclusions. Just because a church can’t come
    to specific conclusions (like the number of asylum seekers that’s acceptable) doesn’t mean they can’t do something!

    Most denominations have guidelines about current issues, including, I’m sure the LCMS. I like the idea of parishoners at each parish to come up with their own
    guidelines, using their denomination’s stands as guidelines.

    Plus, as I said previously, you can always act as an individual if you believe that’s what God would have you do.

    “Why should he or a church body be able to represent the views of its members in a matter which God’s Word does not address (beyond general notions of justice)?”

    I disagree. God’s Word says plenty. There are at least 2000 verses in the Bible about justice and poverty. To just hide your head isn’t much of an option, IMHO.

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    https://www.amazon.com/CEV-Poverty-Justice-Bible-American/dp/1585169730/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536641805&sr=8-1&keywords=justice+bible

  22. The Dude says:

    The baseball season is coming to a close.College football is king …..NFL doesn’t interest me very much.I will start watching it around play off time .
    Cat’s are the preferred pet to have around the house.
    John MacArthur has list of things that he opposes.His list can fill up a phonebook with all that opposes.

  23. Jean says:

    Bob1,

    I would hate to see a church split over some of these social justice issues. Using the example of immigration, you could have two groups of Christians in the same church who could see many of the issues I raised above differently. One group placing an emphasis on border security and stewarding taxes for the benefit of our neighbors and future generations here, while another group may place the emphasis on meeting the dire needs of as many poor or endangered immigrants as possible. Both could have their hearts in the right place and could cite Scripture, while promoting opposed solutions.

    Would you really want to see that temporal controversy well up in a church body to the detriment of the fundamental mission of the church and unity of the membership? How many similar controversies (e.g., capital punishment, well fair, public education funding, affirmative action, etc.) would it take before the entire church or body was destroyed?

    Again, these important issues (I don’t dispute that) are not given to the church to solve. God’s order is based on His wisdom, which typically appears weak to human reason, which is why it is so often ignored by man who in His fallen state grasps at equality with God.

    However, for the men and women who inhabit the estates of household, citizenry and government (at various levels), they can use their God given wisdom, along with the Word of God (if they are Christian), to guide their actions and votes on these various justice issues.

    Does that make sense?

  24. Captain Kevin says:

    Erunner yesterday at 2:44 – “Never have seen CK as any type of hero.”

    Thanks E. You really know how to lift a brother’s self-esteem!

  25. Michael says:

    I didn’t say a word about the border or immigration.
    I was writing about social justice in general
    The concept is broader than the particulars.
    Frankly, I have no idea why so many found it confusing or confounding unless they do so willfully.
    Let’s take the verse I quoted.
    Who are the groups that it names?
    Who is God commanding to care for those groups?
    Can we assume that God’s heart has not changed?
    Take all the verses on the topic and it’s pretty obvious what God’s heart is and what part of the mission of his people in bringing the kingdom is.
    Churches could split…because they’ve been taught that temporal political considerations are more important than the concerns of the kingdom of God.

  26. Erunner says:

    CK, I sure hope you realize you weren’t the CK I was referring to!

  27. Xenia says:

    What did I read this summer….

    I have been in the mood for Dickens, so Nickolas Nickleby and Bleak House, recently There’s no one quite like Dickens for pointing out the hypocrisy of churchy people and fake charities. Seriously, apart from the Scriptures you can’t do much better than Charles Dickens if you have a heart for the poor and need encouragement.

    Still plodding through The Wheel of Time series and getting bored pretty fast. Jordan does not compare to Tolkien.

    The Silmarillion.

    (Now I’m reading the recently published Fall of Gondolin.)

    FEAR just dropped into my Kindle this AM. Holy Moley.

    I just downloaded Brian Zhand’s *A Farewell to Mars.” I follow Zhand on Twitter and I like him very much, with a few reservations. This is a man who wants to be Orthodox, whether he knows it or not.

    Working my way through a book called “The Pillars of Orthodoxy,” a biographical look at some early defenders of the Faith.

  28. Em says:

    Social justice as a responsibility of the Church is a ponder…. Jean and others on both sides here make a lot of good points – IMHO 😇
    Living in a democratic republic does bend the issue a bit.. Mob rule isn’t what that term defines, is it? Do we the people run the country or have we become too big to control? At any rate, one thing is clear to me – i think 😳 – we can practice social justice in our own conduct… It will be imperfect because we are imperfect…
    or so it seems to me today

    While i was “evacuated” i sat in the motel lobby reading a book that i’d dashed off 9 years ago (needs editing) – the characters were taken from the adult world around me as i grew up… it struck me that those sincere, honest people would be scorned today as rubes… While i thank God that our citizens who are black are being integrated and appreciated, it almost seems that we are more riddled with prejudice and intolerance today – more subtle, but more destructive… not sure that social justice will ever be the norm…..

  29. Jim says:

    Michael,

    Pardon my confusion. I can assure you that it is not willful.

    Regretfully, I’m not as humble as I’d like to be, but I’m not ashamed to ask, “what are we talking about?”

  30. Michael says:

    Jim,

    The fact (and it is a fact) that God commands us as the people of God to address these issues and even enumerates them for us repeatedly.
    We have politicized this and now call it social justice.
    I call it “what God says “

  31. Jim says:

    We are in agreement. I’ve argued this point here in the past, as some have made demands of the state that are clearly the Church’s job. It was the term, and the ever changing issues that fall under the term that had me confused. I’ll stick with “what God says”.

  32. Michael says:

    Jim,

    We’ve confused church and state and their responsibilities to the point that who does what is indistinguishable.
    Unfortunately under our current system of governance and the politicization of the church we would have to start over completely to achieve what a libertarian would desire…and people would die in the meantime.

  33. Jim says:

    I think that the American church is quite happy to abdicate her responsibility to the state. Your conclusion is correct.

  34. Jean says:

    “What God says” permeates all spheres of life. What I’ve argued is that He gives different responsibilities to different estates.

  35. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I do not see God making that distinction in any of the passages addressing this matter.

  36. bob1 says:

    Jean,

    Sure.

    And I agree with Michael, that if a church splits over social justice issues, then they’re putting
    temporal concerns above eternal ones, which is a mistake. I still say that we’re blessed to
    live in a society where we can still act as individuals, even if others at our church are in
    disagreement.

  37. Babylon's Dread says:

    “I think that the American church is quite happy to abdicate her responsibility to the state”

    I COULD NOT DISAGREE MORE – that is a simplistic assertion not based on thinking through how our history has worked.

    1- Christians do not abdicate to the state they have historically permeated the state filling the state with values that are deeply rooted within.
    2- The state is better able to actually perform some of the deeply held values of Christendom because of the power to make law and levy taxes. Those powers are derived from a people whose values are profoundly rooted in the Judeo-Christian worldview.
    3- Everywhere Christianity goes it a. cares for the poor and the widow b. opens hospitals and care for the sick c. Educates the children and promotes literacy. These values over time get taken over by a state who then secularizes them. BUT THEY CAME FROM THE CHURCH and represent the church’s influence in culture.

    I am not suggesting that believers are solely responsible for this process but without them it would not have happened at the speed and pervasiveness we have experienced.

  38. Jean says:

    “These values over time get taken over by a state who then secularizes them. BUT THEY CAME FROM THE CHURCH and represent the church’s influence in culture.”

    I fully agree with this statement. The Church should inculcate biblical values. Those values are then exercised by Christians in their various vocations in life.

    At the same time, a value, such as “justice” is exercised by the State quite differently than “justice” is exercised in the Church or in the household. The same with “mercy.” The same with “peacemaking.”

  39. Xenia says:

    All I have to say is, if we are going to rely on churches to feed all the hungry, home all the homeless, and pay for medical care for the elderly and impoverished of the nation, we are in big trouble.

    You know, churches? The organizations we regularly excoriate here on the blog for being selfish and heartless?

  40. Jim says:

    BD,

    Good people disagree over issues such as these, and I won’t waste peoples time with my seemingly extreme views. I will note that you sort of proved my point, and would wonder where you would find the smallest hint in Scripture that affirms your statement below. State>Church?

    “2- The state is better able to actually perform some of the deeply held values of Christendom because of the power to make law and levy taxes.”

  41. bob1 says:

    I agree with Xenia.

    Most churches are barely scraping to get by, let alone feed all the hungry and clothe the homeless.
    They don’t have the money and resources. Maybe in 1810 they could’ve, but this is 2018.

    Here I’d also agree with Jean, that “division of labor” is the right principle to follow.

    When ideology meets reality, reality wins. Thankfully!

  42. Duane Arnold says:

    In the Epistle to Diognetus, the Church was said to be the “soul” of the world. I tend to think we are meant to be the “conscience” of the world, especially in regard to social justice issues. We cannot solve all the problems as the Church (although many try) but we can speak to the priorities that we find in Scripture and in the Christian tradition. For example, we can agree that hunger, poverty, war, homelessness, and the like are not in accord with God’s will or purpose. We cannot “solve” the issues, but we can speak to the issues, help when and where we can and seek to bring others into that understanding. I think we get so caught up with the label of “social justice” or the “social gospel” that we forget the real meaning behind the terms. Just my opinion.

  43. David says:

    Wish I could comment more, although lots of good thoughts already. Nonetheless…

    1) As is the case with a lot of the post/ex/progressive Evangelical crowd, Zhand is at least half right. As others have said for the past 20-30 years (Tony Campolo on the left, Cal Thomas on the right, Michael Spencer somewhere along those lines), the church is going to pay dearly for its heavy concentration of right-wing politics and narrow dispy preaching. Many of the crowd he’s discussing react to their fundamentalist upbringing with little understanding of the past 2000 years of Christianity as it’s been practiced worldwide — they just know the “Left Behind” version.

    That said, it doesn’t really address the pesky problem of the mainline and progressive church collapsing as well while churning out atheists. I would love that we would become Orthodox, but ultimately I think he’d end up an Episcopalian: One that saw room for Spong and Schori but little room for a Kwashi or Luwum.

    2) The MacArthur wing trying to divide God’s commands from God’s commands is a weird, useless little tantrum. That said, give him 3-5 more weeks and he’ll be on another one, so there’s that.

    3) Football is not my game – we need to bring rugby to the US.

    4) I don’t have cats but my yard is full of squirrels. They’re racing to beat the deadline too.

    5) I have a friend with terminal cancer who is starting to do this as well.

    6) His ways are not our ways, and I remember the Bible is not Encyclopedia Brown where all answers will be revealed if we just skip to the end of the book. Job doesn’t end with God revealing it all a test but rather a pronouncement of God’s attributes and blessing of Job for reasons unknown to him.

    7) Confession: Calvary Chapel is very far out of my wheelbarrow. This part of the Jesus Movement’s history is eye-opening and a little sad at once. I grew up non-dispy and the thought of my pastor declaring the end of the world at some point is extremely foreign.

    8) Someone may have to unpack this one for me, sorry. That said, I work with people with disabilities and Jesus is so very active in the people around me that the stories could last for years.

    9) I guess I don’t see it since we always seem to be 3-4 days away from the latest national outrage. I wish Christians were better at picking their battles on this, but there are people (from every angle) with vested interests in keeping us angry.

    10) I read a ton of books to finish my master’s but for fun:

    – Reaching Out and Bringing In: Ministry to and with Persons with Disabilities
    – Various Flannery O’Connor short stories
    – Everything Happens for a Reason and other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler
    – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (just started this one)

  44. Reuben says:

    Xenia, “the church” is selfish and heartless. No question. I don’t know what Russian Orthodox do here in the US, but I can tell you what they do in Europe and Asia! The “church” in the US is most heartless and selfish, and all you have to do is look to the people “flocking” away, and basic financial statements. The benevolence fund, or food pantries/clothing storage are most typically funded by individual donors, and the church has little if anything at all to do with it. Churches have staff to pay and vans to buy and sound systems, and obscene senior pastor salaries and parsonage allowances and you name it. It’s that way in the UK, Australia, Central and South America, more so pronounced in it’s selfishness and heartlessness world wide by the Catholic Church, who while funding some massive projects like old folks homes pitched in by all in the diocese, still charge the old folks thousands of dollars a month to live there, and they claim these are non-profit services? How about the hospitals that rake in hundreds of millions in the name of god and non-profit service, funneling the money right back into the church that in turn opens a room for homeless vets to stay warm at night behind a 40 or 50 million dollar building. This is rampant, exclusively religious, and does not hold a candle to UNICEF or Doctors Without Boarders who accomplish billions in actual aid under the banner of secularism without anywhere close to the “overhead costs” of garbage Christian charities who are still more interested in facilities and staff and CFO salaries than actual work.

    I think BD said somewhere up there that these concepts are born of the church, which they are not, and what the heck does it mean “secularizes them”? When a state takes on universal healthcare, it does so for the good of humanity, not to bible bash them with how they are receiving benevolence. The church would do well to do the helps for the sake of helping people, taking on an attitude that Michael professes, making it a signature of what you all are, rather than what it is, which is a joke trumpeted as outstanding benevolence, which it flatly is not when you consider how many millions of Christians are tithing hilariously in this country alone. You don’t have nearly enough to show for it. Not even close.

    My father started a church in downtown Denver decades ago when I was a child. He started it out of what was a mega-church before the term was coined, thousands of people in a massive facility that had it’s own very expensive school, and numerous paid programs for everyone in the church. He was shut down after a few years because he was not profitable, because his focus was on food and clothing more so than any other function of the church. This is a decades old problem that Christianity has gotten too deep into pure capitalist thinking to ever recover from. Hmmm, capitalism, a very Christian construct as well. They pour money into the church to get what they want out of it. The trend is staggering, and will not change. You are witnessing your own religious death.

  45. Captain Kevin says:

    Erunner, yes, I realize. 😃

  46. Reuben says:

    And whoever the nonsensical blathering idiot was that wrote that article in the first thought, he would do well to ask actual Atheists why they are Atheists, people who have actually left the church, and most importantly god, because he does not get it at all. He is a Christian preaching to Christians, and Christians like to be challenged just enough with something that makes just enough sense, but they will not be held to actual truth. There is a fairly famous closed Atheist/Anti-Theist group I am a part of that is comprised entirely of current and former pastors from all over the world who do not believe one iota of what they teach or taught. I have never read from a more loving group of humans in my life, and it is almost always why they ended up leaving their own churches. Imagine that. Some of these people were big, but most were never heard of, wrote no books, were not caught up in some massive scandal, just guys trying for decades to do it right, and they discovered they could do it better on their own than with the church. So what failed? Was it them? They all told themselves it was their fault, till they started to see reality. Then they went down roads like me, realizing more every day the foul nature of what they taught people. Some, like me, turned to drastic measures to atone for what they did, and I tried to drink myself to death. This guy has no idea the agony ex-pastors have gone through, both Atheist and Theist, and if he spent as much time getting to know his local ex-pastors who have since gone “off the rails” as he spent writing that drivel, he would learn the true damage the church has done to pastors and parishioners alike. These people did not buy lies, they embraced truth. They loved immensely, and were kicked in the gut. I wish some of them could set this idiot straight. God failed us, and he fails us in all sorts of traditions, all sorts of denominations, all sorts of theology, and we discovered we were better off without god. Listen to this quote, and the sheer stupidity of the observer:

    “he had not so much lost his faith in Christianity as he had lost his credulity for fundamentalism”

    No sir, he lost his faith in god.

    “I did my best to explain to him that he had made the modern mistake of confusing historic Christian faith with early-twentieth-century fundamentalism.”

    No sir, he lost his faith in god. You can blanket it in any contrived buzz words you like, god failed him. Game over. This is not about post-modern church as opposed to early fundamentalism, this is about god. This isn’t about empiricism or the enlightenment, this is god. Does god truly exist? Irrelevant, and pointless to even debate, this is about what god does, and we who have been “so arrogant” to suggest humanity can do better on its own.

    This dude truly infuriates me. That is one of the worst articles I have ever read.

  47. Em says:

    One thing that i’ve noticed over time is that a lot of people walk away from God because they have confused the corrupted institutional churches with God….
    Some wag has asked, if Jesus called His people out in the Rapture that some of us expect, how many of our present churches would even notice the change?

    Did Lot fail his social justice responsibility when he ran out of Sodom? 😳

  48. pstrmike says:

    Reuben,
    We’ve known each other for some time and I think we have always held each other in respect.
    I might not know completely how you feel, but I will briefly share my personal experience, and it is not my intention to attempt to shoe horn you into my construct.

    I tried atheism for a period of time, at a time when I was not nearly as well read as I am today. Part of what drove me there was so many things that happened in my church experience that I could not reconcile. I came back after a period of time, not so much convinced that there is God, but that there really wasn’t any other alternative.

    Evangelicalism has wired itself with three main values: power, progress and certitude. All three of these things are products of modernist thought. Our cultural epistemologies are like the air we breath; they surround and support us, but we are often oblivious to its presence. While it is important to recognize cultural influence, these things in and of themselves are neutral.

    What we have is a God who blesses, and also curses; who gives life, and also death; who heals and brings sickness; wealth and poverty. These things are hard for me to accept, but I am still learning – and will until the day I die – to live with them and not demand a level of certainty to live with, but to commune with the mystery. If it were not for the Incarnation, and God’s offer to us of Theosis, I don’t know if I could stay in the faith any other way.

    I try to be very careful with stewarding God’s money. I could earn more working full time at a fast food place than I do pastoring my church. Yes, I have another source of income, but I have never seen the church as my personal ATM. Our church’s monthly budget expenses is probably less than what you earn monthly as an HVAC tech (I’m assuming you are still do that). I actually attribute that to God’s provision, which further reinforces my caution in stewardship.

    I haven’t read this article that you responded to, and I probably won’t. I also don’t think anything I’ve written to you will make any difference. But you and I go back aways, and so I thought I would at least reach out in response to your posts.

    Humanity sucks, but God is good.

    Peace.

  49. Babylon’s Dread says:

    Jim

    My point was not from the Bible. Nor do all of my thoughts need verses to validate them.

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think we need to be clear about Reuben’s position. Unless he has changed, he does not claim to be an atheist – his claim is to be an anti theist, he recognizes the existence of a god but that god is evil and Reuben hates this god. if this god has any authority at all he should be impeached. Reuben’s position is that christians and all religion followers carry out the evil works of this evil god so society / culture must work to change people’s minds to not follow this evil god and perhaps he will shrivel up and die.

    To argue a position as if speaking to an atheist, to prove God, falls on deaf ears with Reuben as this is not his beef.

  51. Jim says:

    I think that “govt has to do it” folks ignore how generous we are as a nation. Americans gave $410 billion to charity last year. The govt spent approximately $455 billion on all welfare programs in 2017, exempting SS, medicare, and medicaid. I’m going to take a wild guess and posit that more charitable giving passes through to its targeted recipients than govt spending.

    We are not impotent, and do not need to bow before the false god of the state.

  52. Em says:

    To be against God, considering man’s vulnerability would make sense until you consider Jesus Christ…. You have to be a Christ denier (sp?) to continue to judge God as unworthy….
    From my perspective now, humanity is part of a mysterious drama designed to answer Lucifers challenge to be equal with God…. That makes us very important and our response to life on this planet in its corrupted condition very critical. It’s not about me and mine. God could have just struck Lucifer dead back there. That would have demonstrated His power, but it would not have demonstrated righteousness and justice – His complete holiness….
    In the image of God following Pied Piper Satan? serious delusion IMNSHO

    Just my extrapolation from what i’ve seen so far…. Not an attempt at new doctrine

  53. Reuben says:

    pstrmike,

    Much respect, and I hear you completely. I tried to rationalize quite a bit prior to giving up, but MLD is more or less correct in his assessment, and it truly is god who I have the problems with. As you handle finances in the church, you are doing better than most, and I hope you realize that. I have deep respect for pastors who “get it”. Most don’t. Its merely a profession to most, and they hire people like me for crackers to deal with actual people. As you probably know, when I was in Charlottesville, I was working a full time job for $9 an hour, and the church paid me $500 a month. I looked at the books while there, the bulk of the church’s budget was spent on the building rent, and the pastor of course, who was making what I would consider quite a bit of money. I am a journeyman in HVAC these days, and make around 75-80K with some overtime, and the pastor made quite a bit more than that. There was virtually no budget for “benevolence”, thus the standard model. This was from a church of 200 on a packed day. I was admonished for not tithing enough. Calvary Chapel man, I don’t know. I did know numerous pastors, and they all made a healthy bit more than comfortable livings. It was the associates and teaching pastors who made crackers, and were expected to be full time on cracker wages.

    Em,

    I have covered this before, but I will state it again. I completely reject the notion that I am created sick, and ordered with the threat of hell to be well. I will not exchange my life for the identity of Jesus. All Jesus does in put a smiley face on eternal torture, or eternal life in exchange for being judged for thought crime, and denying one’s self even unto death. No. Not ever. As for god striking someone dead, he did that to almost anyone who’s identity ended with “ites” and stood in the way of god’s plan for the last “ites”, the Israelites. That in and of itself is the most bigoted and racist god one could think of. God is still that way today, except the name has changed to Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and Mormons, etc… Did you know Buddhists are killing Muslims? Religion has it’s own wars that I completely condemn. Not down with Jesus at all. He has already relegated most of humanity to eternal torture, and that is post smiley face Jesus. He gives, and he takes. The ultimate narcissistic psychopath. Screw Jesus, and that is my polite way of putting it.

    It still bothers me to no end that the article was apparently somehow valid. As I said before, pastors who became Atheists or Anti-Theists always boil it all down to god. It is what we all can’t deal with. I have better morals than god does. Period. The actions of the church aside, because it is all justified in the name of Jesus, god himself is a vile thing. Also, as I said before on another thread, one of my dearest friends is a Muslim woman, and she has better morals than Christians do any day. Her heart is more for humanity of any stripe than I have seen from most Christians. Michael and pstrmike seem to be rarities.

  54. Reuben says:

    Jim, what is the false god of the state? You just outlined massive spending the state provides, and like gibberish, you follow it up with “the false god of the state”? What does that even mean?

  55. Em says:

    Reuben, if your conclusions were accurate, you would have a case….
    I think that when all the dust settles and this drama comes to a conclusion, we will find that we weren’t victims or even pawns…
    Don’t stop pondering and critiquing…. or getting in the face of us evangelical types either…. I don’t for one minute think that i’ll change your deductions, but i do believe that, the more one look, the more one learns IF one can be honest with oneself and i’m sure you’d tell me to do the same… 😇

  56. Reuben says:

    “Don’t stop pondering and critiquing…. or getting in the face of us evangelical types either…. ”

    That’s a mighty nice thing of you to say! Seriously, thanks! And I would tell you to do the same. We agree on things!

  57. Jim says:

    Reuben,

    I contrasted charitable giving (voluntary) and govt spending (wealth distribution by force). The numbers were similar. This, and my false god statement were in response to a common worldview expressed by BD in this thread, pasted below.

    “The state is better able to actually perform some of the deeply held values of Christendom because of the power to make law and levy taxes.”

    My view of the state will always sound like gibberish, as it is so far out of the norm.

  58. Steve says:

    I agree with BD on Brian Zahnd. Personally I do not find it appropriate to blame Ken Ham for folks becoming atheists. From my perspective we teach our kids about creation in Sunday School out of Genesis and then somewhere around high school we tell these same kids to finally grow up and stop believing in Santa Clause and btw all that creation story we taught you when you were a kid, it’s complete nonsense. It didn’t really happen that way, trust us. We know better cause science says so. For us folks that still believe the story we were taught as kids are ridiculed for believing, told we are simpletons and anybody like Ken Ham that may try to view science in light of scripture instead of the other way around is considered a fool. Where is the charity for those of that still believe the simple story? I’m not condemning anyone who is a Christian for believing in evolution but treatment the other way around is not recipricol.

  59. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The only reason people are atheists is because they hate God. If I remember correctly, the Bible backs me up in this.

  60. Em says:

    MLD… a person makes their decision regarding God with their heart, not their brain…. heard it said somewhere and it makes sense to me

  61. Xenia says:

    Personally I do not find it appropriate to blame Ken Ham for folks becoming atheists.<<<<

    I haven't read the article yet but I can respond to this.

    I taught at a Calvary Chapel high school for some years. The goal was to prepare these kids to debate university science professors on the topic of evolution by means of pseudo-science, of which Ken Ham is certainly not the worst source out there. Fossilized hats in Australia, dinosaur tracks in Texas- ammunition that would cause a PhD to fall speechless. That's what they said. The principal loved to tell the story about how he stood up in science class, let loose a few paragraphs of creationist arguments, and felt victorious when the professor was… well, speechless.

    A belief in a literal 6-day young earth creation was foundational. If you didn't believe that, you didn't believe the Bible and if you didn't believe the Bible you were not a Christian. As simplistic as this sounds, it was a a syllogism they felt could not be defeated. So forget about the Beatitudes, load them up with irrefutable arguments that men and dinosaurs were alive at the same time.

    Well. If your faith in Christ is based on this, you are in trouble when you go to any college other than an evangelical Bible college. You stand up in class with the Baghdad Battery story and today's professor will not be politely speechless, he and the rest of the class will fall into hysterical laughter. And you realize you've been sold a lot of fakery and if you think, like you've been taught, that to be a genuine Christian you have to believe in strict creationism, you might just decide to throw in the towel. No hating of God involved, you just feel like you've been fooled.

    As it happens, I believe in Old Earth creationism. God has all the time in the world.

    Why not teach the kids that God created the heavens and the earth and that many people take Genesis literally and some believe it is a grand poem, but Jesus is why we are Christians, not an opinion about science. Armed with that, students might make it through college science classes with their faith in Jesus intact.

    I belong to a church that teaches free will so that might conflict with the beliefs of some folks here. Doesn't matter. If you emphasize the strictest view of creationism possible, which is a CC distinctive, and you think by means of snark and Kent Hovind you are going to devastate your college profs, you are going to lose some kids. Teach Jesus and you won't go wrong.

  62. Jean says:

    Xenia,

    What is the the Baghdad Battery story?

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, the only decision a person can make towards God, with brain, heart or both, is rejection. We are against God, no one seems God – it is God who seeks us and it is God who makes a decision towards us.

  64. Em says:

    God is not reacting to our feeble mental processing or our fickle affections, but He knows full well what we are and no one gets left out of God’s Kingdom because God is capricious and passed you by because it simply wasn’t your day or you wore the wrong color socks 😇
    Or so it seems to me, MLD

  65. Xenia says:

    Jean, the Baghdad Battery is an ancient artifact that consists of a ceramic vase with a metallic insert. No one knows the function but it dates (says the experts) from the first centuries after Christ. Some creationists believe it is much much older and is proof that the early descendants of Adam and Eve had advanced technology and that this artifact is proof they used electricity. I have a creationist friend (of the sort mentioned in my previous post) who writes Christian novels and a one had as its premise the idea that the early descendants of Adam and Eve were so advanced they had space travel, as evidenced by a memorial plaque found by modern scientists on the planet Mercury that was written in ancient Hebrew. This is the soup we swam in at Calvary Chapel.

  66. Jean says:

    “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

    You will say to me then, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’ But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?”

  67. Jean says:

    Oh, my, Xenia. I clearly am sheltered. I guess that’s all I can safely say.

  68. Xenia says:

    I don’t think most- or any, really- evangelicals believe that the early descendants of Adam and Eve had space travel. 🙂 But they point out things like the Pyramids, that we can’t really duplicate today, as evidence. It is part of their belief that not only did man NOT evolve from lower creatures (I agree with them on this) but man was a technological genius from pretty much Day Six. It’s part of the whole strict creationist ball of wax.

  69. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, I guess we have a difference. The big difference between Lutherans and all the Bapticostal type denominations is that they ask at the end of the service, “have you decided for Jesus – have you lived your life for Jesus?”

    The Lutheran asks, “has Jesus decided for you – has Jesus righteously lived his life for you?”

  70. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I should correct my last statement. While the evangelical asks …
    the Lutheran proclaims that Jesus has decided for you and we proclaim that Jesus lived his righteous life for you.

  71. Jean says:

    MLD,

    I have found that even within the larger group that affirms the infallibility of Scripture, not all of that larger group affirms power and efficacy of the Word to convert a sinner. To those who deny this power and efficacy, the work in conversion falls back on the sinner.

  72. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean,
    There is a fundamental difference how we view conversion. The evangelical Bapticostal type sees conversion as the act OF the will.
    The Lutheran looks at conversion being an act UPON the will.

  73. Em says:

    Somehow we have to cone ti terms with the fact that we have no virtue in us that gets us into the Kingdom… yes, but…
    We do muddy the waters a bit if we try to say that, “I was just going along minding my own business and zaap, God saved me. You can tell by the halo over my head now.”
    That wouldbe rather like a woman saying, “I was just going thru the mall to get some new shoes and zaap, thus guy grabbed me, slapped duck tape over my mouth, threw me over his shoulder, marched me to the courthouse and married me.”
    We do respond to God’s revelation of who we are are and who He is… Deny or affirm what He so graciously reveals to us….
    The sheep knowing His voice thing…

    But then we evangelicals do like our illustrations. 😏

  74. Em says:

    Duct tape not duck tape. 😳. Maybe it IS tape for ducks now… dunno

  75. Steve says:

    Xenia,

    While I was enrolled in a secular institution taking a college microbiology course I was taught strict evolution and I felt the other students would benefit from seeing another point of view. I borrowed a video from my local CC by the late Dr. A.E Wilder-Smith who has earned 3 PhDs. Apparently the PhDs didn’t carry any weight what so ever with this professor who didn’t have her own. My point is the other students really missed a great opportunity to hear another perspective all because most of the academic world has closed their minds to anything but atheistic evolution. Now regarding the education at a CC high school, I understand and I would never in a million years send my kid there. I guess its kind of paradoxical.

  76. Xenia says:

    Steve, I am pretty sure you would agree with me that Jesus Christ should be the main focus of a high school Bible curriculum.

    from Wikipedia: Wilder-Smith earned three doctorates; his first PhD in 1941 in Physical Organic Chemistry from Reading University, England, his second in 1964 in Pharmacology from the University of Geneva, and his third from Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich.

    ^^^ THIS is the person that should be informing the CC high school students, not the whackadoodle Kent Hovind. Show Wilder-Smith’s videos in Bible or science class, but don’t make creation vs evolution the entire substance of your school’s Christian education. And students do not have the prerogative to tell a college professor what videos should be shown during class time. Make an announcement, invite students to your house or church, and show it on your own time.

    My point is this: Creationism in not the central focus of the Christian life. Jesus is. Teach the students how to imitate Christ and they won’t be rocked by the evolution /creationism debate. They will be free to make up their own minds on that topic but their faith in Christ will not be rocked. You do not have to deny evolution to be a Christian, you can believe that God used evolution. This in not my belief but it is not a damning belief.

  77. Reuben says:

    Em, if you google “duck tape”, there is a brand actually called that. There are even ducks on the label. Apparently it’s a thing?

  78. Steve says:

    Xenia, I only ask this as curiosity into your thinking. Would you consider denial of the Virgin birth a damable belief and if so why? And how exactly would this be different than what you are proposing here? If God could use evolution and presumably create Adam from a monkey decandant would their be a problem with the idea Mary and Joseph having sex and some how God put his Spirit in their baby Jesus. Since the Bible refers to Jesus as the second Adam why would the miraculous conception of Jesus be so important ( which I assume it is in Orthodoxy) and the more natural evolutionary process for the creation of Adam be acceptable? I ask because these two issues seem closely related.

  79. Michael says:

    If they taught creationism in any school my godson attended I would yank him out immediately.
    The last thing I want is one interpretation of Genesis being passed off as science.

    The school can teach academics, the church and I will teach the faith…

  80. Xenia says:

    Steve, I believe Adam and Eve were unique creations, not the product of evolution.

  81. Xenia says:

    In fact, I don’t actually believe in evolution at all, I think God took His time in creating the universe and its inhabitants. On “Day Six,” which I personally do not believe is a literal 24-hour day but an epoch, God created Adam and Eve. I believe this for the very reason you brought up: Jesus is the 2nd Adam.

    As for the Virgin birth, I believe that is an essential but I am not in the business of damning folks.

  82. Xenia says:

    It is part of their belief that not only did man NOT evolve from lower creatures (I agree with them on this)<<<<

    This is what I wrote up above yesterday. I clearly said I agree with those who do not believe man evolved from animals.

  83. Steve says:

    Xenia,. I’m not in the business of damming anybody either. But creationism almost seems to be an essential to me similar to the Virgin birth. I’m not advocating any of this be taught in science class but what is taught in science class evolution doesn’t belong there either. It’s disgusting to me. Evolution is not science. That is the problem. Science needs to be observable and repeatable. Evolution is theory, not fact and maybe it belongs in a philosophy course but not our biology courses. You just can’t prove it and it has many flaws. It contributes nothing to our understanding of life. Absolutely nothing.

  84. Michael says:

    If creationism is an essential, I’ll split hell wide open…

    God is the Creator…but how He created and how long it took are beyond my pay grade.
    I like the discussions at Biologos a lot…

  85. Em says:

    Well, i think… 😀

    There’s a good chance tbat this planet is really oooold, but it is pretty clear that the animal kingdom we live with was created by God for us … sometimes i wonder if the evolutionary “evidence” is not simply evidence that God is a God of order, of design consistency … The theory that we see few transitional fossils is because evolution takes a really, really long time always seemed a bit if a stretch to me…. but i am not a scientist

  86. Xenia says:

    Maybe I should define what I think creationism means. Where I came from, it meant an extremely literal interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis. Everything was created in six 24-hour days, about 6,000 -10,000 years ago. This is what I was taught all my life. This is what I remember Ken Ham and Kent Hovind (“Dr. Dino”) teaching and it is what was taught at the high school where I worked. If you are saying one has to believe in this strict version of creationism to be saved, then I disagree rather strongly.

    I believe that God, in six epochs, created everything. While I personally do not believe He used evolution to do this, a person who does believe God used evolution as a tool to create the universe and its inhabitants is fine with me as long as Adam and Eve were a special creation.

  87. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I believe in a 6 day creation – why not? The Bible says 6 days, that’s a pretty good reason. Time was a part of the creation – and I don’t think God needed long periods of time to create – the scripture says he spoke things into existence – I don’t think he created things the way we saw Pinocchio’s dad do it — “OK, there is another giraffe, that’s 5 now.”

    But there are many things that I believe to be true that I do not favor teaching in the public school – like the workings of the resurrection.

  88. Michael says:

    It’s not something I get wound up about…all these different takes can fall under the umbrella of orthodoxy.
    Xenia mentioned Dr. Dino and I started to cramp up immediately…

  89. Xenia says:

    Dr. Dino came for vacation Bible school at my old CC years ago (before he was sent to prison for tax fraud.) The kids all had a great time. I was uneasy.

  90. David says:

    “Evolution is not science”
    Tell that to scientists that are Christians…

  91. David says:

    Here’s a good, well reasoned page on the whole creation thing…
    http://www.swordandspirit.com/library/writings/science/writings_science/beginning.html

  92. Reuben says:

    Steve, you drew out a line that goes way back to hacks like Walt Brown and Kent Hovind and Ken Hamm, “evolution is just a theory”. This is a clear misunderstanding of what a scientific theory is, which immediately condemns the fools who coined the phrase. Everything you claimed in that post is dead wrong, so wrong that it is almost sad. This kind of talk is why it was easy to demonize people like Richard Dawkins, who squarely drilled dead that exact statement if you would like to read from an actual biologist. The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker drew such rage from a handful of evangelical “science” hacks, and they riled up Christians to such a degree that he wrote The God Delusion in square response. All three books I can send to you. The Selfish Gene was written back around when I was born, as impactful as A Brief History Of Time by the sadly recently departed Stephen Hawking, and it has been the singular most controversial book written, not amongst scientists who took his theory and ran with it, but engineers like Walt Brown who wrote a book of outright lies that I used to hand out to kids to combat their science teachers way back when I was a youth pastor. That is one of those regrets that started me drinking. His book was so wrong that I was teaching kids to defend absolute fairy tails from the first page to the last. The problem is Christians don’t read. MLD being one of the rare exceptions, as he apparently read my favorite book that has nothing to do with science, but squarely attacked religion in ways I simply could not yet formulate when my fall began. He thinks it is all hogwash, but he also believes in a 6 day creation, which I could never support in the way Genesis recounted by a guy who was not there, and then he repeated it as poetry, and the religious have been bonkers about it ever since. You need to be educated at the very least on what a scientific theory is before you say such things.

  93. Steve says:

    Reuben, the very first day of my microbiology course the profession stated to us, we are going to be studying evolution and she said its not a religion so just accept it as fact. But she was teaching a belief system that happened to eliminate God. Not sure how you can do that, but evolution in its deceptive brilliance does exactly that. In fact, she went on to state that the “theory” of evolution is so well established that it should be considered a” law” almost like the law of gravity. That was one sad scientist. Sorry but she had a very closed mind, one that has no room for a good and loving God.

  94. Steve says:

    “Evolution is not science”
    Tell that to scientists that are Christians…
    __________________________________________________________________________
    Sure, I ask them what is scientific about evolution. How do you observe it and how do you repeat it? Its not science, its conjecture. If you want to study genetics and how one organism may be similar to another for one reason or another in the lab that’s great, but making the grand conclusion that evolution does that all life descended because of millions of mutations over millions of years and the survival of the fittest I think is the biggest fairy tail in the world. Again, its not science. Its really more of a religion.

  95. Reuben says:

    So you literally deny science entirely then? Because you believe it to be a belief system? You won’t read books on evolutionary theory because you didn’t like your teacher? You think scientific theory is a religion? It seems to be your personal bias that dictates what you think, because again, you are saying things that are obtusely uneducated, even for a Christian.

  96. Xenia says:

    I cannot speak for Steve, but in my case I had it pounded into my head that any deviation from a strict creationist view was going to send me to hell eventually. I was frankly scared to read scientific material. I felt like I was denying God. But in reality, all scientific reading did was provide me with another way to think about how God might have created the world. The bubble of fear popped.

  97. Xenia says:

    I have come to believe that much fundamentalist believe is based on fear, be it religion or politics.

  98. Xenia says:

    fundamentalist *belief*

    What is the opposite of fear. It is love. Perfect love casts out fear. And how can we manifest love? By being thankful and grateful. The more gratitude we feel for the things God has given us, the less we need to be afraid of everything.

  99. Reuben says:

    “I have come to believe that much fundamentalist believe is based on fear, be it religion or politics.”

    We agree on that, Xenia.

    I was taught much the same. Science was the devils propaganda wing, etc… Reading “The Selfish Gene” blew the doors wide open to the possibilities for me, even when I was a Christian. The book is as old as me, haha, so it was well outdated by the time I got around to it, but it blew my mind. I always wondered how I could have never considered god to be so complex!

  100. Jim says:

    I think that it’s more important to define evolution than creationism. I believe in a 6 day creation, but I don’t care if its six days or 6 million years. I can live with six days, as I think the fall and the flood caused mother earth to not age gracefully.

    I do think that believing that primordial soup evolved into Adam is walking on thin ice. Of course, the soup theory is now falling out of favor, and will be replaced by a new “experts agree” theory, and then by another.

  101. steve says:

    My perspective is quite different from Xenia or Reuben. I am a by product of public high school and advanced secular education including more biology, chemistry and physics and engineering than I can even remember. Creationism was never spoke about, not even once in my many years and years of training. I’m challenging much of that training. It seems to me many if not most of the great scientists of the past where much our foundation in science comes from recognized God. It has only been recently where God has been ripped out of science maybe for political reasons I don’t know.

  102. Babylon's Dread says:

    What is lost in the creationism debate is the function of Genesis as revelatory for our faith. Genesis is not written to give the biological and astronomical structure of the universe. It is written to unveil the foundations of the covenant people’s knowledge of God. If it is one of the books of Moses then Moses was recording the oral history of the Hebrew people and laying down foundations for their faith.

    It reveals how things that are seen were made by one who is unseen. It reveals the ontological structure of the universe. It reveals the foundations of understanding what is seen by what is not seen. Science is an empirical investigation. Creation is a revelational construct.

    In Genesis we get the covenantal foundations of our faith. It is not written to provide foundations for a surgeon. It is written to provide foundations for the human familial life with both God and one another. It is written to unveil the moral and spiritual conflicts that form the rationale for a God who would send his prophet Moses to rescue his people from their exile in Egypt and forward to their destiny as God’s own people.

    We can learn much about the covenantal familial life but very little about the actual structure of the universe. Evolution cannot teach us about the relationship of God to man any more than Genesis 1 can teach us about the adaptability of species to environment.

    We err when we force an ancient writing into a role for which it was never devised. We err when we subject the foundations of our faith to the evaluations for which it is not subject. The scientific method cannot test an uncreated creator.

    By definition Genesis 1-3 is inaccessible to science. Man as an image bearer of God is not able to be examined by those who have no eyes for unseen things.

    Revelation knowledge is not empiricism.

  103. Babylon's Dread says:

    The creation debate is illustrative of unintended consequences in poor theology. The inerrancy debate has always been weak because it uses language that is accessible to the scientific method but inaccessible to the actual claim. Inerrancy is a scientific word. The writers of scripture claimed inspiration but not inerrancy. That kind of investigation never occurred to them. By using the word inspiration they were actually saying that an uncreated being added his breath both to his created agents and their writings concerning the unseen creator and his intentions.

    No writer of scripture claimed to write or speak with empirical inerrancy they claimed to speak with the voice of the one who fashioned speech. Inspiration means God has made known his will not that God has released the blueprint of his work. We know a God whose footprints are in the sea not the sand.

    Inerrancy commits the fundamental error of debate. It overstates the claim. Whenever someone over reaches in conversation or sermonizing they guarantee failure.

  104. Michael says:

    BD,

    Those last two comments are gold…

  105. David says:

    I like this quote about looking at science and the Bible…

    “Christianity and science claim different special insight into our past. Christianity claims that the record of the Bible gives us the best information on Who did it, less information on how it happened and the least information on when. Science tells us that the record of nature best tells us when it happened, tells us less on how it happened, and reveals the least on Who did it.”

  106. pstrmike says:

    Good comments, dread!

    Unfortunately, the church jumped into the stream of Enlightenment, without first testing the waters.

  107. Em says:

    IMHO
    the only thing in Genesis 1 that “modern” scientific thought could take issue with is one word – God
    And we know what our Bible says regarding someone who declares that there is no god…..

    there’s a whole lot of thinkin goin on here -to paraphrase a piano man…. and that’s good, is it not?

  108. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I like what pstrmike said about the church and the enlightenment.
    As I am sure you are all aware 🙂 Philipp Melanchton said in the introduction to his Loci Communes (Commonplaces) – the mysteries of God are to be adored – not investigated.

    I might add that humans have a great talent that when we don’t understand something we make stuff up – words obscure. When the Lord leads us to the point of saying “wow” we should just bask in him.

  109. Steve says:

    Ok, this is my last post on this. I didn’t mean to highjack it with the creation evolution debate. However I’m not sure though what constitutes religion and what constitutes science. Most here wood agree that the Ken Ham approach is not right for public school in science class. But I would argue the Biologos approach has the same problem. Does this mean we are stuck with the Richard Dawkins approach for public schools? All of these problems would go away if evolution was recognized for what it is. It’s not science. It is a made up construct that tries to explain the meaning of life. Biogos is simply a religious overlay of a secular world view.

  110. Michael says:

    Steve,

    It seems clear to me that it is science…actually a number of sciences working together to try to explain part of the natural world.
    I’ve never seen it used to explain the meaning of life.
    Biologos is a site that helps us actively engage in and wrestle with the issues…it is not monolithic in approach.
    It’s not something I would separate over…unless your view was in the schools.
    Then I would separate the kid from it…

  111. Jean says:

    I would object to making inerrancy the crux or locus of the evolution/creation debate. In other words, Moses did not make a mistake. However, the enlightenment died usher in a way of examining Scripture which seeks to divide the historical from the theological. In fact, some theologians actually prioritize the historical over the theological to an extent which almost extinguishes any theological content from the text.

    In my humble opinion, Genesis 1 and 2 are not perfectly written to express God’s Word to us about the matters contained therein, which were comprehensible to readers not just today, but to the original hearers and readers of those texts.

    God desires to be worshiped as a Trinity who spoke creation into existence in a series of 6 24-hour periods of time, followed by an indeterminate day of rest. This is the power of the divine Word, which does not merely point to something, but brings it about. The text proclaims that human beings were created in the image of God, that creation is very good, that rest from work is important, and many other things.

    Did God condescend to Moses in age, timing or “how,” to reveal his creative work in words that Moses and his original listeners could understand? It’s pretty clear enlightenment thinkers have imposed on the text questions which would have been unimaginable to Moses and his contemporaries.

    Would God create in such a way that makes his physical world appear as so many contradictions and lies of its own?

    What violence to the book of Genesis do people commit when they draw speculative non-biblical inferences about our beginnings?

    What happened when Copernican helocentrism and earth shaped as a globe were finally accepted over ANE theories supported by religions? Those concepts are still reflected in Scripture, but we do not call them errors (at least I don’t). But, these were the way ANE people saw the world with the science and observations that had at that time. If God spoke them them condescending to the level of their understanding, was he lying? I would answer “no.”

  112. Xenia says:

    Just speaking for myself and not denigrating anyone else’s view, I find the idea of God slowly creating creatures over long periods of time more majestic than on days five and six saying “Animals!” and the animals appear, all of them at once, megalodons, T. Rexes, woolly mammoths, giant camels, chipmunks, guppies, hummingbirds and all. I think God enjoyed creating the various creatures and since He has all the time in the world, why not spread it out?

  113. Jean says:

    My last comment has two very bad typos:

    1st paragraph: “died” should be “did.”

    2nd paragraph” “are not perfectly written” should be “are perfectly written.”

  114. Babylon's Dread says:

    Much more is at stake in Genesis 1-3 than the creation v evolution. The evolutionists have virtually accomplished their task of discipling our children over this issue now the deconstructionists are assaulting the binary imagery that is vital within the text.

    It is time for us to function as people in exile. Pilate crucified Jesus outside the gate and every secular institution of man has joined the jeering procession furthering his rejection. In addition apostle Paul was violently thrown from synagogue after synagogue our churches are in the process of ushering the apostolic doctrine from the institutional walls. Either the church will bear his reproach or she will continue to look to man for greater revelation of how to reshape god.

    Whatever I plan to do it is not capitulate to the spirit of the age for the sake of favor. When the water is rising it is best to seek higher ground.

  115. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – the text say that God said let there be… and there was…

    As I said above, I can’t picture God making giraffes and sabre toothed tigers one by one like Pinnocho’s dad.
    But I don’t know – and against all evidence, when Jesus said “this is my body” I believe it is on face value.

  116. Reuben says:

    Steve, I am going to push back on the very foundations of what you are saying with an analogy I could not have said better myself. The guy debated here is William Lane Craig, another hack, and you can search out the entire debate on YouTube if you would like. Around 2:50 is the point I need Christians who use the Bible as a science text book to get.

    https://youtu.be/WCMHsnGI8Jw

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