Things I Think…

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91 Responses

  1. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    In the John 5 story I find it more troubling that Jesus on his way in and on his way out stepped over probably another 20 people without offering them help.
    Strange story.

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    “I don’t think there are many, if any, unmixed blessings in a fallen world…”
    Except for love of God and love of neighbor… and even that has been politicized…

  3. Michael says:

    MLD,

    It is a weird story…a very uncomfortable one.

  4. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I put a respectful distance between myself and an old friend because they were really overtaken with politics.
    He’s coming off life support later today…

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    To your #1 I don’t know that the world / church ever “learns”. This is why Jesus left his sacraments – to forgive sin.

    If God himself is striking us down with this pandemic to get us to learn / change, how is that different than Zeus tossing down lightning bolt from the heavens.

  6. Michael says:

    ““My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
    For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
    It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
    (Hebrews 12:5–11 ESV)

  7. Linn says:

    MLD-
    I have long given up on why God blesses one and chooses not to bless another with healing. i am always led back to the fact that God is sovereign and knows what is best for each of us. I was once known as the little girl who would never walk at the hospital where I was treated as a toddler back in the early 60s. My parents were desperate to find help, and located to a large city out of state where a kind, forward-thinking orthopedic resident took me on (of course, due to my age then, I have few memories of this period, but i have photos). I had body casts, spreader braces, and finally, surgery that hadn’t been done before that had risks. But, I walked! Subsequent surgeries over the years, and I continue to walk, but now with one of those fancy Rollators, but I walk.

    When I became a Christian in my mid-teens, and had a flurry of surgeries to keep me walking over several summers, my friends kept praying for. my healing. I prayed fro my healing. My parents, not being believers, just hoped for the best. God did heal me, but not from the walking issues. He healed my emotional pain (pretty crazy family from which I came), my need to always be independent and not receive help, my need to always be right (I was intellectually precocious from an early age), and taught me what a true, loving Father is like. God has truly given me my “best life.” He allowed me to pursue my vocational dreams (teaching), educational desires, and ministry dreams (I was actually able to be an overseas missionary for almost a decade). But, I’ve learned it all is about what He is doing in my life and my response to Him, not the other way around.

    I always pray for God to heal, and I also know that He is often doing much more than just physical healing in the life of the ill or the disabled. That man at the pool of Bethesda had some kind of back story that only Jesus knew, just like He knows each of our individual stories and how to work in our lives. By the way, I’m still walking. I roll around my neighborhood or my school campus (I zoom to my students from my classroom) several times a day. God has a purpose in my walking, and I want to keep fulfilling His purpose in my life until I get to Heaven. There, I will probably take up the 100-yard dash!

  8. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I think that is the discipline of the individual Christian.
    You seem to be saying the worldwide church is under discipline and the unbelieving world is collateral damage.

    So can you tell us the definitive lesson we are to learn? Who was the prophet who spoke this to the worldwide church?

    You may be right.

  9. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I assume that the care of individuals extends to care for the Body of Christ.
    I think there are some obvious lessons about idolatry that have been dismissed…and as I said, our attitudes and behaviors don’t look much different from the world for the most part.
    Discerning the hand of providence is always easier in hindsight…just something to think about.

  10. Michael says:

    Linn,

    Great testimony…thank you!

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – I will end with this because I for one do not think God sends plagues upon his church. I think that defeats the purpose of Jesus. But that is just me, my thinking and my theology.

    I think in the past biblically God has always been clear what the “lesson” was.

    So what happens if science finds the cure and in 6 months the pandemic is over before we learn the lesson? Does that foil god’s will?

    Perhaps I need to listen to Paul Washer to see if this is a top 10 preaching topic. 😉

  12. Jean says:

    “until I thought that unless we’ve learned the lessons God had for us in 2020, 2021 will be worse…and I think it might be…”

    So true. And like I said before, the American church had an opportunity back in February to make a decision in what kind of headlines she would make. What kind of public witness and proclamation.

    Sadly, this is the headline that has been all too frequent:

    https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/albuquerque-megachurches-fined-5k-for-violating-public-health-orders/5962802/

  13. Em says:

    Pondering the points again, Michael..
    Do we focus, try to resolve the corrupted world AND church posers, too much? Are we better served focusing on the Word, the Book that God has gifted us? What He as revealed to the Church there? If we are standing, where and on what do we stand?
    It may be old age, but the dichotomy – world v The Kingdom has never been more clearly defined for me…… 🙆

  14. Michael says:

    Em,

    In too many American churches, the world and the kingdom are considered the same thing…

  15. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    It must be some kind of sickness that holds mega churches to be The American Church and the representation of American Christianity.

    In reality, there are probably 100,000 – 200,000 churches around the country that are not abusing Covid mitigation and protocol but get smeared as those who have not decided to be a good witness in their communities. (Calvay Alb does not represent the American church)

    This nonsense must stop.

  16. Michael says:

    MLD,

    In my area churches of all sizes are abusing Covid mitigation as an assertion of “rights”.
    This nonsense must stop…

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You’ll need to come out of your bubble then.

  18. Em says:

    @10:39
    Amen, Michael…. James 4:4 comes to mind….. 🙏

  19. Xenia says:

    Where I live, all kinds of churches are doing all kinds of things. My old Calvary Chapel has erected a gigantic tent in their front yard, the Baptists across the street have gone strictly online, the local Catholics are doing mass on their front steps, the Greek Church is also following the rules. And there are churches that are doing things half-way or not following the rules at all. You can’t make a blanket statement.

  20. Linn says:

    Michael,
    I keep wondering if my church will end up splitting over the issue. There is strong encouragement to attend, but many are not attending (including me). They are careful-masks are required, you have to reserve a space, pews are roped off to provide distancing, ushers make sure rules are enforced-it’s still against the local county regulations, CDC guidelines, and just good old common sense. If this becomes the litmus test for spirituality, a number of us will probably bolt. We’ll see what the New Year brings, or who in the attending section gets COVID first (although I pray that doesn’t happen). I’m in a part of Northern California where Emergency Rooms look like MASH units, take-in pavilions are set up outside in hospital parking lots, and refrigeration trucks for cadavers have been ordered by the county.

  21. Xenia says:

    I suspect, from what I see on church signs, more churches are following the rules in our town than not. Most churches either show evidence of tents, parking lot services or online services, based on what I see on their property or what their signage declares, or what they advertise on social media.

  22. Linn says:

    Xenia,
    If they don’t offer online services (my open church still does), they will miss out on the most important giving units-seniors. That’s just a fact. Middle-class seniors tend to give faithfully, regularly, and generously (often in proportion to small incomes). You can’t mss that!

    What I find interesting at my church is the lack of outreach to those of us who are not attending. No phone calls or individual emails, but we do get the blanket “come one, come all” invitations on the website or in the direct mail publications. It’s a bit like we have become invisible. Case in point: for the past 20 years I have been involved with the congregation at least 3 nights per week at the church, and Sundays-not one phone call or personal email to see how I am. I’m not making any major decisions until after the plague passes, but I do find some of the ways that churches have chosen to deal with the situation very interesting.

  23. Michael says:

    Linn,

    I’ve heard of numerous church splits and the retirement rate for pastors is increasing daily.

  24. In our area there’s only been one church I’ve been aware of that has been boldly rebellious regarding COVID restrictions. Then their pastor caught COVID, was in the hospital for 3 weeks and it became national news. They may have pulled back a bit on their flaunting of the rules since then.

  25. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    It may well be the those against mitigation are simply proud of the fact and want to proclaim it.
    I do know it’s a bunch around here…

  26. Xenia says:

    those against mitigation are simply proud of the fact<<<

    Yes, some of them seem quite smug. Some act like the rest of us have offered a pinch of incense to Caesar. Some are acting out of humble conviction but I still can't go along with them for the time-being.

  27. Jean says:

    In my town the one mega church has more members than the rest of the 15 or so churches in my town combined. So they receive attention not according to being one of 16, but of representing a majority of the Christians in town.

    One can argue that a small 10-35 member church is fringe or non-representative, but the message of a 2000 member church in a community of 15,000 citizens is loud and rubs off.

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    There is a priest that Michael and I know in the UK. He has charge over two churches with about 40 people in each congregation. He is practicing covid mitigation. He also sends a handwritten letter to each family every week in addition to a weekly phone call to each and every one. He is also providing live videos of the services… He cares about the welfare of his people.

  29. Jean says:

    Sounds like a caring priest Duane. Sounds like he doesn’t covet publicity.

  30. Xenia says:

    I just took a look at the web page of the closest thing our area has to a mega church (they are certainly mega in philosophy) and on the front page is a photo of all of them standing six feet apart in their parking lot, hands raised in worship. They seem to have brought their own lawn chairs and coolers….

    So I do realize there are some people flouting the rules but I am pleasantly surprised to see how many are complying, even some of the most conservative churches in town.

    The local Indie Baptists seem to be following their own rules, sorry to say, although they seem to have a charitable attitude with those who are following the mitigations and staying home.

    Every congregation says they are doing what they think God wants them to do but I can’t help but think some of them are doing what seems right in their own eyes.

    My opinions on this whole topic have evolved since March, as many of my family members have fallen sick (and recovered). Wearing a mask or staying home is not the same as denying Christ to the KGB in Lubyanka’s basement! No one’s being sent to the Gulag for their faith.

  31. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    He was one of my students… and I could not be more proud of him…

  32. The place in our town where I see the most resistance to COVID protocols is Walmart.

  33. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    John 5 and 1 Kings 22 are two of the more baffling narratives in Scripture.

    The letters to the seven churches in Revelation make it “difficult” for me to reject the idea that Jesus does not, will not, or has not passed judgment on regional churches. If different regional churches didn’t have different degrees of faithfulness or tolerance of sin we wouldn’t have gotten those letters. The idea of Jesus abandoning American churches to their various forms of heresy doesn’t seem that inconceivable to me, whether the mainlines or the evangelicals or the Catholics or the confessionalists or whoever the team is.

  34. JimmieT says:

    OK- personal opinion: I’m not totally in the ‘mask camp’ and at the same time I’m not totally in the ‘anti-mask camp’. I, like many others have listened and evaluated both sides of the mask/anti-mask issue. Having said this, I am adamant about my wearing a mask anytime I am in public or in the presence of others outside of my home. My motive comes from God’s command that we are to love others. The principle is not to do anything that would bring harm to others. So, do masks work or not? I’m not willing to take a chance for my neighbor’s sake so I don my mask under the commandment of Love. I don’t wear it because my government orders me to. I take my orders from a much higher authority.

  35. I’m ready for a new eschatology that will help me order my thoughts of the world around me. As I decline it’s more of an urgency. I think I’ve mentioned this multiple times, but it’s paramount in my mind, and why I ask others of their views so much.

  36. Jean says:

    WenatcheeTheHatchet,

    I agree with you. The letters to the 7 churches in Revelation is very informative.

    Moreover, the story of the OT church is likewise informative and instructive. We even see how God dealt individually with the church of the northern tribes from the church in Judah.

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    WtH. It seems that you are saying that the blood of Christ applied to the churches is conditional – that it comes with strings attached.
    Church A, if you don’t walk the line…

    I think my church is the closest a church can get to being the New Jerusalem, but I know that we fall woefully short – and probably deserve to have our lampstand removed – but, the blood of Jesus saves us from even ourselves.

  38. Bride of Christ says:

    MLD, It sounds as if you’ve never read the chapter of Revelation in the Bible. The Lord takes issue with the way many churches are conducting themselves. Obviously many of the Lord’s churches were found lacking. Some lacked morality, some lacked love, their failings were many, and the scriptures are vey plain.

  39. The New Victor says:

    CCSJ is up to close to $1M in fines. Based upon photos I see in the news, their attendance may be greater than pre-covid. Court issues are pending, and local government isn’t happy, yet has yet to blink to send in the storm troopers to shut things down.

    I wish I could return to join the Patrick Henry bandwagon, but I can’t even visit my mom who’s in hospice. She just tested positive. Over a year ago she stopped remembering who i was, and since she’s in hospice, I’m not sure covid makes a difference, though that a locked down nursing home got the virus is concerning.

    Linn- inspiring testimony!

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    BoC – so you are saying the blood of Christ was not sufficient to cover those sins or that it was sufficient but the recipients of Jesus’ salvation didn’t live up to the contractual conditions thus voiding salvation.

    Churches are nothing more than gatherings of Christian individuals. Now we do know that Satan has planted wicked unbelievers in all churches – but even Jesus says to not uproot them.

    Revelation, including ch 2 & 3 is apocalyptic literature and most of the time doesn’t mean what a surface reading renders.

  41. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Discipline doesn’t void salvation…it proves it.
    Your doctrine of the church leaves a lot to be desired…

  42. Jean says:

    Bride of Christ,
    You are drawing (IMO) the correct interpretation of John’s epistolary and prophetic messages to the seven churches, which churches are paradigmatic of the types of issues that churches face in these last days.

    It is noteworthy in those 7 letters that at the end of each letter, John writes:

    “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

    Although the letters are written to 7 specific historical congregations, John seems to have intended that the Church universal (i.e., “He who has an ear”) would learn from all 7 of those letters. In other words, even when written, the 7 letters were to be read and applied by all of the recipients.

    Regrettably, outside of the eschatological interest in Revelation, probably the greater purpose of Revelation (i.e., how does the church and its Christians live among pagans and under the temptations of assimilation and/or persecution) has been under appreciated and under utilized in modern church teaching.

  43. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, so let’s test your doctrine of the church. My church has 1 pastor, about 130 members, 30-40 associate members and many winter visitors.

    Now let’s assume 2/3rds are believers (the wheat) and 1/3rd are unbelievers (the weeds)

    For the sake of this discussion say we fall into the Ephesian church category – what does it mean when we lose our lampstand?

  44. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The language Wth uses at 2:49pm above speaks of passing judgment on the churches and goes so far as to say God has / will / could abandon the American Church – that sounds much more serious — and that is what I am addressing.

  45. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    MLD, you’ve granted that lampstands can be removed and maybe even should be removed. The conceptual slippage between American churches and “the American Church” seems to be yours, not mine.

  46. Xenia says:

    For whom the Lord loves, He chastens.

  47. Jean says:

    I also detect American individualism at work in this conversation. Whereas, in the scriptures, there is more of a communal perspective (IMO) in the life and spiritual health of the Church. It is a body.

  48. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Unlike you, I do not think the Bible always teaches in detailed specifics, but more in general principles.
    If we examine 1 Cor 12 we find that individuals make up an interconnected Body and both are responsible to God.
    In the Revelation passages, the warnings are given to the leaders of the churches in question…so there are levels of accountability.
    One can only guess what the lamp stands being removed means…but it has something to do with the light going out, I would assume…

  49. Michael says:

    My guess is when a Jack Hibbs is on stage with the American flag beseeching God to reverse the election that the Spirit has left the building…

  50. Jean says:

    Leaving it broom clean.

  51. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I don’t see how you can accuse me of holding the scriptures to detailed specifics right after I said Rev 2 & 3 are apocalyptic literature and probably don’t mean what some think on a surface reading. So I don’t hold to those specifics.

    I think that God is threatening action on those churches that have given up on Jesus and Christianity.

    Go back to the church in Ephesus – their crime? They left their first love – what was their first love? Jesus. You leave Jesus you are no longer a Christian organization and you do not get to keep god’s lampstand.

    God is not removing from Christians – but pagans.

  52. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If the ELCA has had their lampstand removed it was after they gave up Jesus and Christianity.
    They are as pagan as you can get – no light, no lampstand.

  53. MLD. Here is a link to the lampstand being removed from his place. Click on discription link for a panel image.

    I believe the date of The Apocalypse of John was earlier then tradition holds. I suspect mid-60’s. The early Judean Church was unique from all other Christians. They practiced (then)Judaism, and went to Temple. The kept the Law, not in theory, but actual Law. One day, their Lsmpstand was removed from his place.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arch_of_Titus#:~:text=Both%20commemorate%20the%20joint%20triumph,is%20carved%20in%20deep%20relief.

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Nathan, the link took me to the Arch of Titus. Is that what you wanted me to see?

    I too think Revelation was not only early, but also the first of John’s writings.

  55. If you scroll down, there is a picture of the Menorah in relief. It’s a panel on inside of the Arch.

    Yes. I think the Temple was in use, and the war had as yet to break out. I also believe the Judean Church had left it’s first love and reverted to zeal for the Law. Paul was told this, and counseled to join other men in performing a vow at the Temple. The discription of this zeal, was it’s unanimity. Paul should not have gone. His arrest would leave a vaccuum since he was the only Apostle to the Gentiles.

    My conclusion: The party of the Pharisees and belueving Priest, had overtaken the the first Church. This Church ended with the destruction of the Temple. It was a hybrid Church.

  56. Jean says:

    Nathan,

    You seem to have made a digression.

    Regarding Revelation, all 7 churches were in Asia Minor (what today is Turkey). They appear to have been mixed congregations of former Jews and Gentiles. None of those churches are admonished against returning to Judaism. Returning to Judaism is not a topic that John covered in Revelation as far as I can find.

    The Letter (actually Sermon) to the Hebrews is probably more apropos to your comment at 12:33 pm. That congregation appears to have been tempted with abandoning Christianity and returning to temple worship.

  57. I would not discribe it as digression. Here are a few reasons I say that.
    -The Early Church began as 100% Jewish.
    -Teachers of the Law, under various name/discriptions, where the primary threat to Paul. They proselytized in areas his doctrine had reached. The source would not have been Gentile, but coming from within a Judean faction.
    -Gentile and Judean became two seperate worlds within the Church prior to 66 C.E. when hostilities would become a physical barrier.
    -The war last 3 1/2 years and the Temple is captured on August 30th. The fulcrum of Judaism was burnt down, leaving any Judean survivors unable to practice a hybridized Christianity. Gentile Christianity is the only game in town.
    -The temple treasures arrive in Rome circa 71 C.E.

    I’ll leave off Judea at this point and turn back to Rev 2-3.

    I read the letters as “parable” or perhaps “cipher”. Remember it is written:
    ..”I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:”..

    Yes, there where seven realife churches in Asia. All seven letters fit together in a parable. It must be read in order, and the first is the Ephesians, the beloved, or adored Church. The parable is one of impending disaster.

    The believers of The Way would have known from childhood..”Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart..”.. But they reverted. The timeframe is approx four decadeslong.

    The Church became virtually Gentile till the end. Smyrna would have overlapped Ephesus.

  58. Jean says:

    Nathan,

    Typically, since the Reformation, all Protestant traditions do not allegorize scripture unless there is a very clear reason to do so. I have found no reputable bible scholars who say the letters are a parable or cipher. In fact, this is the very first time I’ve heard your reading from anyone.

    If you read Acts, all the apostles were in agreement with Peter’s recognition:

    “Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?”

    Moreover Paul wrote:

    “On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.”

    There were never two different Gospels or churches (except in geography) amongst the apostles. There was one Gospel all the time; “the right hand of fellowship” means that Paul, James, Peter and John were unified in doctrine and therefore in a single communion/fellowship with each other.

    Nathan or anyone who knows, is what Nathan is teaching here a dispensational theology? I’ve honestly never encountered it before.

    The Judaizers and the later Ebionites would heretical and never part of the true Church.

  59. Em says:

    What of the “faithful” Jews who for the last 2,000+ years still look for Messiah’s arrival as a conquering king? Do we have reason to believe that the removal of te Church (converted Jews and Gentiles) will be their wake-up ? ? ?

  60. Jean says:

    Em,

    It’s New Year’s Eve. Thank you for making me smile.

  61. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, those “faithful Jews” today are Christ deniers of the worst kind.

    But I will challenge you to search the internet and find a Jewish group who are anticipating a coming messiah who is the son of God come in the flesh – they are non existent.

    The best you find, and it is rare, are those looking for a messiahless messianic age.

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    My 93 yr old mom is the “faithful Jew” – born and raised Jewish, married Jewish, had us 3 boys “clipped” – does all the high holidays, etc.

    She and none of her friends believe in God, heaven or hell. They believe in the Jewish people.

    In her there is nothing for a rapture to “wake up”.

  63. Em says:

    Smile? Scorn, anticipation, denial or? 😁

    MLD, it sounds like you see your ancestors as predictable? Could be
    Thanks for answering my ponder……

  64. Em says:

    A non messiah messianic age? Sure makes sense in light of today’s popular stand, but…
    I remember what my Roman Catholic uncle advised me when i quit college and went to work, “The first thing you have to remember is people are no d*mn good.”

  65. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I know it’s the end of the year. How do I know? For the past week to 10 days my email is full of solicitations begging for my money before the end of the year.

    So which is the biggest whore – the politicians about Georgia or the ministries?

    The funny thing is that in 50 yrs of being a registered voter, I have never given a nickel to a political candidate or a cause. I had an email from Obama today.

    As for the other whores, I think I gave money 40 yrs ago to Focus on the family when my kids were young.

    Anyone else having experiences like these?

  66. Dan from Georgia says:

    MLD,

    We are getting 3-5 pieces of political fliers PER DAY in the mail here in western Georgia. My wife is getting numerous texts per day urging her to vote. Somehow my wife is listed as Black on her Georgia Voter Registration. She’s not black, and this incorrect listing is no fault of her own. Scuttlebutt around here is that the postal workers (already under stress from the holidays and vaccine movements) are NOT happy.

  67. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Targeted solicitations for non-profits cluster in the final quarter of calendar years, but it’s been that way for generations. What’s new are the levels of data-mining and also, possibly, lowered restrictions on e-solicitations. Compared to the old torrents of junk mail e-solicitations at least cut back on paper usage.

    whether there’s an e-equivalent of the Direct Marketing Association I don’t recall.

    Happy New Year.

  68. Em says:

    I occasionally give a few dollars to an R.C. Indian boarding school in S.D. Obviously they sell their mailing list as every single day i receive at least two, often more, requests to donate – i don’t, but the solicitations keep coming… ? ?

  69. Jean.
    You made a number of points. (My comments usually cover too many as is) I’ll concentrate most on the closing question. With that said, I think you might want to re-examine the areas you mentioned, especially Acts. You are missing the cultural chasm between Jew and Gentile.

    Dispensationalism
    Remember, this only exist post 1827. The (largely) Plymouth Brethren will flesh out Darby’s doctrine, by circa… turn of the century or so. Scofield (1906-1909 release) really didn’t create doctrine, he complied and edited other people’s stuff. This means Dispensationalism did not benefit from having a hind sight of modern archaeology. Disp was more focused on historical dispensing of Grace, and a two fold work of God. Israel vs. Church. Earthly vs. Heavenly.

    Here is a link for William M. Ramsey. I think of him as the pioneer in rediscovering the Seven Churches. He travels to the Ottoman Empire and begins examining the Seven. He authors a number of works, one entitled The Lettters of the Seven Churches of Asia. (1904) I reached for my copy after your comment and flipped a few pages. Immediately, I was surprised at how little I remember. Ch. six concerns symbolism. I also saw the word parable. He does not however seem to use the word as I do.
    https://www.giffordlectures.org/lecturers/william-mitchell-ramsay

    Next. Clarence Larkin may be the earliest proponent of a Seven Church Age doctrine. (1917) I have never examined his work, but believe it to have been very influential in the Dispy side of Fundamentalism. The Reform-Dispy rift doesn’t break out till the 1930’s. Larkin’s ideas likely where able to circulate in Fundamentalist associations for awhile.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Larkin
    Brahnam apparently got ahold of Larkins ideas. He was teaching a knock-off version by the 1960’s or earlier. It was a part of the Latter Rain.

    I had not formulated my ideas because they are still in flux. They would likely be unique to me, and go beyond a simple Age doctrine. They would have to also interconnect seamlessly into an overall understanding of Scripture and the nature of reality.

  70. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Em, as in multiple requests from institutions you’ve never heard of before or is it more like a flurry of activity on behalf of the RC Indian boarding school in S. D. just by itself.

    Depending on how big the institution is and its patronage base they may have their own database of past donors they hit up every year or they may have to farm it out to third-party vendors. If you’ve donated to them and want the mailings reduced perhaps give a call to their development office and ask who there oversees donor cultivation. I used to have a day job that involved, when necessary, helping people get less solicitations if they were already sure of how often and how much they could give on an annual basis. Someone at the institution should be able to explain to you how and why so much stuff gets sent at which times of the year and also be able to, ideally, reduce the number of solicitations per year.

    It can be more common for non-profits to BUY mailing lists to cultivate donors at a certain level but once someone’s on the roster hitting them up as often as possible is …. not unheard of in the donor cultivation field.

  71. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, I give to the Indians quite frequently. Usually through their casino division 🙂

  72. I support 2 native Americans: my daughter is part Apache and my son is part Crow. 🙂

  73. Em says:

    Wenatchee @9:52, it is everything from feed the starving Appalachians to Wounded Warriors to starving Russian Jews to national sheriff’s charities to Christian charities of every stripe …. Fortunately for me i KNOW i can’t send money if i want to pay my own bills

    Hoping all have a God blest 2021…

  74. Jean says:

    Nathan,

    “You are missing the cultural chasm between Jew and Gentile.”

    Paul referred to this as a “dividing wall wall of hostility.” And that certainly existed between Jew and Gentile. But in Christ, i.e., in His body, the Church, the wall is broken down.

    That is the point of the much repeated word “one” in the following:

    “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

    So, we should not conflate antagonism between Jews and Gentiles in general in the first century with the fellowship of former Jews and Gentiles who made up the early church. There is no evidence in the NT, or any other writings I’m aware of, that there were two separate and distinct Churches or Christianities (aside from heresies of Ebionites and Marcionism) based on the distinction of Jew and Gentile.

    Paul raised support for the Jerusalem church among the churches in Asia Minor and Corinth and that support was accepted.

  75. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    It is interesting to note that In his Church History (5.12), Eusebius lists 12 Gentile bishops of Jerusalem following Mark, the first.

  76. JimmieT says:

    MLD 12/31 4:49
    Are you discounting ‘Jews for Jesus’ who have been around for several decades whose mission is to lead Jews to a saving faith in Jesus Christ? Read their statement of faith please which also includes faith in Christ’s returning to set up a millennial kingdom?

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    JimmyT – at best Jews for Jesus are Christians and are no longer looking for their coming messiah.
    At worst they are some batardized Christian group trying to merge the 2 religions together or even worse trying to deceive Jews to become Christians.

    I was Jewish for my first 32 years – I know their materials, doctrines and tactics well. I am not a “completed” Jew, a Messianic Jew nor anything other than a Christian.
    We are to leave our previous religion behind – do you ever see Hindus for Christ where you are encouraged to continue your Hindu religious practices after conversion.

  78. Jean, I think the issue is more then just the initial starting point on the day of Pentecost. But here was the conditions before the 120 walked down from the upper room:
    -Gentiles excluded from the Covenant.
    -Jews only entrusted with the Law and Prophets.
    -House of David in ruins and line of Solomon cursed so no decendent able to sit on the throne.
    -House of Aaron is violent and corrupt.
    -Priesthood is purchased from Romans and the Herods.
    -Temple is in full operation but resembles organized crime.
    -Society is highly racist.
    -Judiasm is unstable and riots can be spontaneous.
    -The Temple is part of a fortified complex both for internal and external defense.
    -The Temple is controlled by Sadducees, the Sanhedren by Pharisees. These are two violent political parties.
    -Israel is identified in multiple OT locations as in a state of rebellion.

    The last two go over the heads of modern day Christians. Grasp those, and you are now ready for Acts. Calling the Pharisees legalist, is a modern fail.

    On Pentecost evening:
    -About 3000 believers exist. The Judean Church is highly intetnational from the first minute. No other Church in history even remotely resembles this. “Christian” does not exist yet. The believers are a Jewish sect refered to as the “Way.” It does not exist after the Roman-Jewish War.

  79. Duane Arnold says:

    Nathan

    What do you make of the escape to Pella? Real or a pious fiction?

  80. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Nathan, would your position be that of the mid Acts dispensationalists – that position being that the church did’t begin until into Acts 9?

    On a side note I have issue with using Israel and Jews / Judaism synonymously.

  81. Em says:

    There Scotts who are among the redeemed, O.T. Jews, Scandhoovian redeemed, but…
    In the Church we are one, are we not? A unique Body out of, hopefully, every nation – doesn’t Scripture tell the Church to be ambassadors, but probably not liked, nonetheless?
    I think the word is hate…. We need, perhaps, to get over the idea that we will be feted and admired by the world at large…. Is martyrdom looming? Dunno, but that kinda makes me a bit of a rapture sissy 🙆

  82. Em says:

    MLD, can you elaborate a bit on the statement of “issue?”

  83. Jean says:

    Nathan,

    This will be my final comment on your earlier comment about the lampstand of the Jerusalem Church, the “Jewish” Church, coincident with the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

    I leave you with this quotation from Eusebius (and thank Duane for pointing me to his “The Church History”):

    “For the church there [i.e., in Jerusalem] consisted entirely of Hebrew Christians from the apostles down to the Roman siege following the second Jewish revolt [a/k/a The Bar Kokhba Revolt, 132-135 AD]. Since bishops of the circumcision then ceased, this is the time to give their names from the beginning. First was James, called the Lord’s brother, and after him Symeon was the second….” (4.5)

    After the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the church returned to Jerusalem and resumed operations under Jewish-Christian bishops. In total between 70 AD and 135 AD, Eusebius names 15 consecutive Jewish-Christian bishops.

    Therefore, I don’t see the lampstand of the Jerusalem church being removed due to the destruction of the temple.

    Furthermore, the fact that Christianity is known as the Way at first, does not mean that it held a different doctrine from what the apostles have left us in their letters and the evangelists in the gospels.

  84. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, Israel were the people of God in the OT. Called Israel or Hebrews.
    After the Babylonian exile there formed a new group which did not worship in the Temple – they formed a synagogue system for ‘worship’ – they had no priests and were led by Rabbis. These were called Jews.

  85. Em says:

    Thank you, MLD…. Thank you… Didn’t realize the term Jew didn’t appear until after Babylonian captivity, nor did i realize the rabbi and synagogue came after also

  86. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, I personally do not think that God returned to the Temple after the Babylonian Captivity. Although the Temple was rebuilt, I see no evidence God returned (it was a big event in the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple.)

    I hold that the 400 years of silence was that God left Jews on their own. When did God return to the temple? When he was carried in as an infant and was recognized by Simeon and Anna.

    At least that is the way I see it.

  87. The New Victor says:

    So Nehemiah didn’t do the work of God? And Zacharias wasn’t in touch with God through his duties in the temple? Temple worship was ended when Christ was crucified, and the veil torn.

  88. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The New Victor.
    1.) Nehemiah rebuilt the Temple, but I don’t see God coming back to reside and reign in this Temple.
    2.) We see in the later half of Nehemiah the instructions from Ezra and Nehemiah about getting back to Temple worship, but we see no response to Temple worship after the Captivity.
    2.) I think it is the other way around – that God was in touch with Zacharias while he was on his Temple duties, which I think we all man centered by this time.

    I think God was getting back involved, not in Temple worship, but in his eternal plan as it says in Galatians, the time was right.

  89. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Just to put a bow on this, if God reentered the Temple after a 400- 500 year absence through the presentation of the baby Jesus – when did he leave the Temple for good?
    I would suggest Matthew 24:1

    **don’t even get me started about either if the Temple veil was actually torn or if the zombies later walked the streets of Jerusalem 🙂

  90. TNV. They just closed the veil and kept going. Temple worship continued until 70C.E. I think it stopped only when the Romans where standing inside the Temple. Judaism and the Law ended when as soon as it caught fire.

    What we call Judaism today was recreated at a place called Yavneh, on the coast. It was allowed by order of Vespatian, before the seige ended on 8/30/70.

    I say the Law ended, because a physical Temple must be standing, properly purified, to perform it. Even then, you still need an Ark inside, a Sea outside. And Priest with correct pedigrees.

  91. Jean says:

    God alone can create reality from nothing by his word. Every other attempt is at best a mirage, and at worst a deception.

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