Things I Think

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231 Responses

  1. The Beatitudes are law passages so they are doing exactly what they are meant to do – drive you to the cross.

  2. I left evangelicalism for regular Christianity … go and do likewise. 🙂

  3. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I sure would have never known that if you hadn’t told me…on the other hand, that might have been my point.

  4. Michael,
    Take it as a clarification for those, most in American Christianity who teach the Beatitudes as Gospel

  5. filbertz says:

    Babylon’s Dread remains one of the most respected individuals on PP, not because of his theology, but for his wit, wisdom, heart, love, and transparency. Happy birthday, and may your tribe increase.

  6. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, I for one truly do not want to see this blog be a burden to you. It should be one of your joys, as it is a net good in this world of ours (pun intended 🙂 )

    We have talked past each other in recent weeks – though always on-blog. I don’t think much of folks who feel like ripping you personally through private message – as we all here have said, this may not be a church, but there is something about it being a community, and thus I at least see you as being an elder, and there is a reference or two in Scripture about how the elders are to be treated. Plus, it just is bad form to the host.

    I know you are the last guy simply looking for an “Amen chorus” and slavish approval. And I know this post is not asking for one.

    However, I will make it my aim to make your “blog-life” easier. If I post, I will try to post affirmations, answer questions, maybe make a contribution or two….

    Peace.

    (virtual handshake extended)

  7. Xenia says:

    The problem I notice Michael, if I may be so bold as to make a personal observation, is that there are two Michael Newnhams that host this blog. One is the Mighty Blog Warrior Michael who wants to roar into action whenever he sees abuse and injustice. The other is the Meek & Mild Michael who wants to turn the other cheek and offer words of compassion to everyone.

    One Michael will write an article and will get a certain response. The next day, the other Michael will write a blog article that is different in tone and seems to be in conflict with the first article. People respond and both Michaels feel attacked.

    This is what I have observed.

  8. Dusty says:

    X, and both Michael’s are protectors of the innocent, the broken and the abused, Both Michael’s are needed and loved!

  9. Dusty says:

    happy birthday Dixie Dread!

  10. Michael says:

    Steve,

    To be honest, when I sat down to try to write yesterday, I wanted to shut down instead.
    I’m afraid to write what I think anymore…afraid to share what I’m seeing in Scripture and hearing from those who are ‘outside the camp”.
    It’s not the reactions from my “enemies” that got me…it was those from friends.
    I even spoke about it in church last night and we rarely talk about the blog.
    The church and our culture engage in this talking past each other, then separating into camps of hostility.
    It’s not working…and I don’t think it’s biblical.
    My hope is to engage issues here holistically…there is truth on both sides of all these divisions.
    i affirm your virtual handshake and you are free to comment as you see fit.

  11. Dusty says:

    Michael said, ‘My faith and my heart have been judged and found wanting in dozens of emails and comments online.’

    don’t listen to lies like that……

    .your heart and faith are pure!

  12. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Always be bold. 🙂
    There is truth to what you say…because I see that same dichotomy in Scripture.
    I believe we must say that sin is sin…and we must also weep over those caught in sin and desire God’s best for them.
    It’s a very difficult balance to achieve and I am constantly falling off one side or another.
    My problem is that I do it in front of a couple thousand people instead of in my head… 🙂

  13. Dusty says:

    both Michael’s are hurting

    ((((((hugs big brother)))))))

  14. Michael says:

    Dusty,

    Pure, I’m not…but I’m trying to make repentance my way of life.
    I don’t do that real well, either. 🙂

  15. Michael says:

    When the major influences in your life are J.I. Packer and Jerry Lee Lewis, some amount of confusion is to be expected…

  16. Dusty says:

    Michael, you do what you do from a pure heart – I don’t see hate there, only love

  17. Dusty says:

    You always want what is best for others….and put them before your own comfort…

  18. Michael says:

    Dusty,

    I am as full of darkness and sin as anyone…the first step to dealing with it is to recognize it.
    Thank God for people like you who aren’t looking for it… 🙂

  19. Noelle says:

    Please, I beg you, keep doing exactly what you’re doing.

    PS- #8 has me thinking.

  20. Ricky Bobby says:

    “The question for me is not whether or not Aristotle, Plato, and the other greats of philosophy influenced the early church…the question is how much did God influence them?”

    Yes, that is the point I hoped the Group would consider.

    “God” certainly influenced or “inspired” Plate, Aristotle and Neo-platonists like Plotinus.

  21. Dusty says:

    Michael said,’I am as full of darkness and sin as anyone’

    me too.

  22. Ricky Bobby says:

    Happy birthday to Dreadly! Good man IMO. Love that guy.

  23. Dusty says:

    Noelle !!!! 🙂

  24. Steve Wright says:

    The other big backlash this week was over my joy at the Kings winning the Stanley Cup
    ————————————————————–
    Anyone who rips on a guy for celebrating his team winning a championship…well, those are fighting words indeed.

    Sooner Steve

  25. Dusty says:

    #8 hopefully far enough away so they can’t hurt us any more.

  26. Noelle says:

    Dustaroo!!!

  27. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael said, “We have entered a time in American evangelicalism where we our fidelity to the faith is judged by who we define as our “enemies” and how harsh and consistent we are in our condemnation of them.

    It is as if we want the eschatological judgments of the end to fall today…not only on the wicked, but on any one not completely in lockstep with the desire to see them commence on those targeted.

    My faith and my heart have been judged and found wanting in dozens of emails and comments online.

    I’m “soft on sin”, a “cultural compromiser’, even a “blogging traitor to the faith” dispensing “cheap grace” to underserving heathen.”

    It’s b/c “the Faith” has been misconstrued and has mutated into an Apologetic and is measured in professing agreement with a particular Consensus in Evangelicalism.

    It’s really not a “faith” anymore, it’s more akin to a political affiliation or socio-political sect than a true faith.

    There is no room (or very little room) for disagreement or doubt or uncertainty. Any doubt, uncertainty or disagreement is viewed as being an “enemy”…whereas actions of those who say the correct things according to the Apologetic’s Consensus don’t count…you can be the biggest scoundrel in history and there’s grace for you as long as you agree with the Consensus on the major issues.

  28. Michael says:

    Steve,

    One was a rather prominent pastor who mocked me for saying that “we” won.
    After 40 plus years of being a fan of one team, I think I’m entitled to the magisterial “we”.

  29. Paige says:

    Michael, IMO, the battle has escalated a lot lately. It’s not just your experience. I’m sorry you’ve taken more than the ususal flack lately…… Love you, love your writings & blog, but if you need to shut down for self preservation and being there for Trey…. do what’s best.

  30. Jean says:

    Topic #4 and comment #1, I don’t agree with an interpretation that would seek to relieve Christians from embracing the ethics Jesus illustrated in the Beatitudes or that would water down or eliminate the command on his followers to practice them.

    I agree with what John Frye posted on Jesus Creed on 6/6/14 in review of McKnight’s book, SGBC: The Sermon on the Mount. He can say it better than me, so here’s what I think:

    “Scot substantiates how Jesus is the new and better Moses going up on the mountain, sitting, and issuing a new kingdom of God moral vision. Jesus actually expects his new people to live out that vision in the world. Jesus didn’t give the conclusion to the Sermon and not really mean it. Nor did Jesus do a head fake with Mega-Law so we would crumple and cry for grace. Radical obedience to Jesus is the claim on our lives. The Sermon thrives on and requires a robust Christology: Who exactly is Jesus of Nazareth? Jesus embodied the Sermon and enables his followers to so the same.”

    “Scot ends chapter two on a sober observation that something has gone “terribly wrong” in evangelicalism as some systematicians have driven a deep wedge between justification and sanctification. We must not perpetuate the old Law versus Grace model. God tells us what the demands of kingdom living entail. The sharp claims of kingdom ethics cause us to lose our breath. God does not lessen the demands; “God graciously provides the power for us to do what Jesus teaches as we live in the Spirit and in light of the coming kingdom…” (54). Disciples (students) do what the Teacher does and commands.”

    I also think there’s another false choice lurking in some views: The choice between (i) following, often failing and feeling guilty, or (ii) not following and not feeling guilty.

  31. Michael says:

    Paige,

    Thank you…love you and I’m so glad you’re a part of this.
    I’m going to take it like the rest of life right now…one day at a time.

  32. Steve Wright says:

    I watched the Spurs celebration last night and saw both the owner and the players talk openly about winning for the fans. I doubt either the owner of the players would be upset about a fan (especially of the 40-years long variety) using the “we” in celebration talk.

    As a Sooner alum, I’m definitely using “we” when talking about our titles…even if it is the womens softball championship. 🙂

  33. filbertz says:

    Noelle,
    If you’ve been following that controversy in Idaho regarding foster care/adoption–that birth mom is one you may remember meeting with…

  34. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I think there is more nuance in the justification/sanctification- law/gospel debates than we usually acknowledge.
    I do believe that the Beatitudes are one thing for certain…the kingdom manifesto for the people of God.
    It’s totally counter intuitive and counter culture…

  35. Jean,
    ““Scot substantiates how Jesus is the new and better Moses ”

    Are you saying you agree with this?

  36. Firstly, Michael, happy Father’s Day! =)

    Secondly, “The church and our culture engage in this talking past each other, then separating into camps of hostility.”

    Here’s a true story, freshly experienced, and I’m still pissed….

    My niece visited us this weekend and we took her to The Getty Museum in Santa Monica. It was a time of richness being immersed the art that has endured. We were mesmerized by the Impressionists and I must confess, inspired by Ansel Adams.

    Fresh from the joy of human culture we hit 3rd Street Promenade
    http://www.soulbridgemedia.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/DSC_1211-128-copy.jpg

    We were in search of good food, people watching, and a place to unwind after the grueling hours of enjoying the museum 😉

    We went directly to a restaurant that has a Gluten Free menu so one of my daughters who has Celiac disease can have healthier fair.

    Sadly, tragically, a street “preacher” was shouting through a bullhorn “the gospel”, bible quote after bible quote of the problem of sin, the certitude of hell and the solution of the free sacrifice of Jesus Christ Who gladly and freely took the sin of all humankind and shed his blood that any who would accept Him will be assured everlasting life, heaven and eternity with God.

    The tragedy?
    His tone,
    His delivery.
    His timing.
    His volume level.
    His shrill little bullhorn.
    His attitude.

    He was anything but welcoming.
    The physical distance people kept from this guy told it all. He wanted no conversations, no relationships. He was going to have his say, tell the sinners how to get saved and not back off, not back down and not respect anyone else.

    Good News, delivered harshly, is bad news.

    His insistence that he was going to take over the public area on a Saturday night when people had paid parking and bought a meal at a nice restaurant, hoping to sit outdoors and enjoy the ambiance with family, friends and even strangers was forever marred by the obnoxious droning of a man who thought ‘truth & urgency” were the greatest expression of the love of Christ. Santa Monica had permitted the guy, a cop was watching from across the street and in the name of “free speech” he ruined the night for well over 200 people.

    Each and every individual who experienced the guy now has a tainted view of biblical christianity, christians and what it means to share one’s faith, and once again Jesus is hindered by those who place no value on kindness and gentleness.

    All this to say, when your “friends” are attacking you for being kind, gentlemanly and thought provoking and only want to cheer you when you unleash a bullhorn it’s time to find new friends who would rather help you work the crowd, one by one, and woo each person to Jesus.

    You are doing a great job in your writing, Michael, and it’s time to cultivate relationships with those who will join you in being “a healer” rather than “a warrior”. Any jerk can disembowel an enemy, few are willing to take the time to warm someone while they have the chills.

  37. Jean says:

    Michael, #35, I agree and think your observation applies to many current interpretive issues. I think when Wright, in the article I think you may have linked the other day, said that each generation needs to do the work of interpreting the bible fresh, he’s absolutely correct, because we interpret the bible through our worldviews, which change from generation to generation.

    At the present time, the church in America has a lot of issues with how to treat one another as well as those outside the people of God. A lot of it has to do with poor discipleship by church leaders and the infection of politics and culture into church leadership itself. It’s precisely at times like this (and I think you’re part of the solution) that faithful Christians need to reexamine the bible to see how to best navigate the people of God (ourselves individually and those to whom we influence) in the next stage of the new exodus.

  38. Ricky Bobby says:

    A certain PP regular going by the handle “FYI” has got to be pretty stoked about the NBA Finals….

  39. Well I should have paid attention and been FIRST today. Thanks for the greetings. They are well received. Feeling happy about the day but found out that Tony Gwynn died today and that is very very sad. He was one of the truly good guys.

    On the other hand I am musing over the fact that some think 616 is actually the mark of the beast and of course that makes me happy. Along with the list of things that happened on this day in history. First, the Vandals sacked Rome in 455 and second in 1965 Bob Dylan recorded the greatest song of all time …. Like a Rolling Stone.

    Peace to all even those who don’t want it.

    616 Dread Dixie’s Dandy 😉

  40. Jean says:

    MLD, #36, I’m saying that I agree with what McKnight and Frye say about the application of the Sermon on the Mount for Christians today.

    If you have an issue with Matthew’s apparent use of typology regarding Moses and Jesus, there’s quite a bit of scholarship on that. Do you have an objection? What is it? Perhaps that would be a better topic for next week’s open blogging.

  41. I don’t see Jesus as a new and or better Moses.

  42. Ricky Bobby says:

    G, well put, good word.

  43. Jean says:

    (lo)====::::, 37, Best advice I’ve read today. Thanks that thoughtful comment.

  44. Noelle says:

    Of course I remember meeting with her, Philly. I haven’t been following. Do you still have my email? Would you send me some info?

  45. Noelle says:

    Mercy, I love reading Guitar Man.

  46. Ivan Solero says:

    Its funny, some believers truly want harm to others if they do not follow the legalistic route. I don’t really understand this? Michael, you have been a encourager because you realize and pen that “we” are all humans and as such, we need to forgive and move on, but more importantly its about relationship modeled after Christ. If legalism would have it, we would all become Christ robocons, running around with our glorified legal pads marking, scolding and handing out spiritual demerits. When you think of it, its this type of culture and attitude that tries to think in God’s terms. Don’t go there. More people have been driven away from Christ because of this attitude. My ears prick up when I hear what I call condemnation talk with verses parsed throughout. Instead as using our bible as a pillow we use it as a hammer. In my utopia, I would like to stand next to Jesus watching someone condemn another brother and see Jesus reactions to this.And really see if the person who is admonishing still believes he is doing it for Jesus. The sad truth he probably is not, but for his own human selfish reasons. In the end, do any of us want anyone to go to hell? To be apart from God? To be sent out of our spiritual family? That’s really the questions here. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you really need to see if you are in Christ or even saved. That’s what it comes down to.

    There’s so many issues but Frank Viola gave 7 reasons why people leave Jesus and the Church. Here’s number 4

    “4. The stupidity and ignorance of so many Christians.
    Regrettably, many Christians believe whatever they read or hear. Those who are wiser and smarter don’t want to be associated with that lot. So they start thinking, “If Jesus was the Savior of the world, why are so many of His followers so stupid?” . . . “If Jesus is the head of the church, why is His church so dysfunctional and so toxic in so many cases?” So they start questioning the claims of the Lord Himself.

    He touches on the endemic issues you raise, and how the outcomes occur. Continue your ministry. If it was easy, so many others would be doing it. Remember, when you receive hate, you hit a vein. Love you Brother!

  47. Michael says:

    Thank you for the encouragement, Ivan.
    I don’t think Christians are stupid…I think there is much fear, confusion, and anger that is accompanying seismic cultural changes.
    How we address those changes going forward is going to determine what influence we have and how much peace we walk in as things progress.

  48. Michael says:

    Jean…I totally agree with your #38…not sure what my role is, but those are great points.

  49. Michael says:

    G,

    Your #37 is rich…thank you.

  50. fyi says:

    RB: Stoked? Doesn’t begin to describe how I/we feel about the best demonstration of basketball seen since showtime! And, of course, I am being completely objective… 🙂

  51. “Christianity thrived under Nero and Vespasian…how did that happen?”

    Isn’t Christianity thriving today under all sorts of ‘complications’? 2 Billions Christians – 1/3rd of the world’s population. I don’t think the church has ever before attained that proportion.

  52. Jean says:

    MLD, many of us don’t think Christianity is thriving in America and it breaks our heart to live in the midst of this decline.

  53. In the world, Christianity seems to be doing quite well.

    I look at the culture in America and i see much going on “christianlly” – there are still churches on every corner, radio stations galore dot the radio dial and on the TV, where I am in SoCal there are at least 6 – 8 Christian TV channels.

    Go to a Barnes and Noble and the shelves are full of Christian books… and ask anyone and they will tell you they are Christian.

    But Christianity moves around – there are now more Lutherans in Africa than there are in America … and there are a bunch here.

  54. I think that there are less church goers today, but not less Christians. It used to be proper to “do church” or you had to be a closet atheist.

    Now you get nothing socially (status) by going to church and you no longer need to be a closet atheist.

  55. Jean says:

    MLD, I’m glad things look good in your part of the country. From my perch, I see a ton of cultural and societal problems facing our country, and the church either unable or unwilling to find its voice or actually joining in the mischief.

  56. Jean,
    I am going to guess that we are from the same generation. I don’t think the church dealt with cultural issues any better “in the good old days” then they do now.

    Do you remember when your parents neighbors were confirmed bachelors? What were those? I sometimes think that we really did think life in America was like Ozzie & Harriet or Leave it to Beaver.

    But it wasn’t – it was just as rank as today – society and perhaps the church as a part of society kept it under wraps, but it’s not like it wasn’t there.

    I am sorry that in your lands the church no longer speaks out against those social and cultural issues – but down here they shout against abortion and same sex marriage etc.

  57. London says:

    I really want to talk about 9 but I’m at work.

  58. Jean,
    Here’s something I ponder daily…

    I have freedom of thought, association, speech, and if I can influence anyone within my touch to discuss our individual understandings of faith and Jesus I can have a wonderful conversation, full of give and take, and if, God willing, He moves upon that person’s consciousness to embrace Him then we have a moment where “The Great Commission” has moved forward my one more person coming to faith in and loving Jesus.

    We can then go to any number of christian gatherings within driving distance to meet, pray, sing and discuss our faith and read our bibles freely, then we can go our for pie afterward and ask God to bless our calories as we quietly bow our heads and even hold hands while praying.

    If we’re respectful of others around us, they return that respect and remain a bit more open to the idea that faith in Jesus is a possibility for them, and the next step is up to us.

    This is the current state of American culture, along with other stuff that we can choose to either engage or click away from.

    I’m posting all this to give you a sense of encouragement and opportunity, that it just isn’t all so bad.

    I hope you can be uplifted by this.

  59. “I sometimes think that we really did think life in America was like Ozzie & Harriet or Leave it to Beaver.”

    it was, black & white, then it became more colorful…
    http://www.viajesconmitia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/1pleasant_soda-jeff.jpg

  60. But G and I live in the same city, so perhaps ours is just the Holy Land and the rest of America isn’t so full of christian bounty. 🙂

  61. I’ve had the privilege of working in the 7 Western United States, have visited Paris, London, DC, Boston, Manhattan, spent 2 weeks Leaf Peeping across the Northeast, and have family in CdA Idaho, I can attest to the exact same freedoms in every locale.

  62. I was just reading that ISIS has ordered the destruction of all churches in Mosul.
    Here is an article to think and pray on.
    http://news.yahoo.com/iraqi-christians-flee-homes-amid-militant-push-122359051.html

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

    Time for churches across America to petition the government to offer refuge and airlift to anyone who wants asylum from this religious persecution

  64. I agree with G’s #64.

  65. Nonnie says:

    Amen to G’s 64!

  66. Jean says:

    Does “G” = ( lo )====::::? Cause “G” is a lot easier. In any event Thank you and MLD for the words of encouragement and positive outlook. I need to hear that regularly.

    I acknowledge that the church speaks out against abortion and same sex marriage, but where is the church when the executions are botched, when the government wants to invade foreign countries, when the poor don’t have access to affordable health insurance, when the wealthy get an estate tax reduction while the poor and middle class get squat, or when the fossil fuels lobby opposes all efforts to develop renewable energy in this country (are Christians aware that we’re seen in many quarters as anti-science)?

    I can think of at least 3 possibilities: (1) some powerful forces in the American church are beholden to these special interests because they’ve sold out; (2) this strand of Christianity actually believes their positions, which in my opinion are unbiblical; or (3) my position is unbiblical.

    Michael has warned me that some of my positions are inconsistent with those of many of his readers. Time will tell if my contributions are edifying or are contentious. I will leave if contentious is the consensus; my goal is not to waste anyone’s time. I would only say in advance of your responses that I am trying to present and defend views that I believe are biblical, acknowledging that I am as capable as anyone else of getting things wrong.

  67. jean says:

    And, as long as I’m pissing everyone off, where is the church’s voice when mass gun violence and attempted mass gun violence are becoming a weekly occurrence in this country. I wonder how popular my local mega-church pastor would be if he (because there are no she’s) spoke about restrictions on certain types of guns and magazines and enhanced background checks. I suspect we all know the answer.

  68. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jesus was pro-gun.

    “I did not come to bring peace, but a semi-auto hand gun”–J.C.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152243098030369&set=gm.603680789729866&type=1&theater

  69. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jean, on a serious note, guns are not the issue, it’s about the right to self-defense and protecting your life, your loved ones and your neighbor.

    At its core, the Bill of Rights of which the 2nd amendment is a part, is the legal protection of what we consider an inherent or inalienable right to self-preservation…and it is entirely “love your neighbor” to protect them from harm.

    You can pass all the laws you want restricting guns, and as Australia and Mexico show (both with very strict anti-gun laws) only the law abiding citizens will obey that order while the criminals and lawless will simply have carte-blanche to victimize unarmed law abiding citizens.

  70. My answer to gun control is the same as King Leonidas:
    μολὼν λαβέ

  71. Michael says:

    Jean,

    We’ll go down together. 🙂
    There is a long list of things that we can’t discuss without incredible rancor…and that lack of dialog is paralyzing church and state.
    I’ll add my passion to the list, which is immigration reform.

  72. jean says:

    RB, I’m as sinful as the next Christian, maybe more so, but the issue form me is what my Lord asks of me. The Lord wants me to be a law abiding citizen, but I don’t get my ethics or values from the Bill of Rights or the 2nd Amendment; I get them from the Bible. One of these days, Michael willing or during open blogging, we can have a debate about guns and the bible, but I don’t see “stand your ground” or an “inalienable right to self-preservation” in the bible. I see a Lord who tells me to pick up my cross and follow him.

  73. Michael says:

    My gut feeling is to embrace some sort of gun control.
    However, my exhaustive studies of the situation in Mexico inform me that if you outlaw guns the cartels and the government will kill with impunity if they so desire.
    Guns are outlawed in Mexico…and the populace are nothing but targets as a result.

  74. Jean,
    “And, as long as I’m pissing everyone off, where is the church’s voice when mass gun violence…”

    Forget “The Church” – what is your individual congregation doing? To me, when it comes to political issues, there is no such thing as “The Church” –

    The church sends out individual Christians to be good citizens and pick up the slack where needed – not some massive CHURCH action.

    Above when people called for the Church to lobby the government – is that what we want – that the church now becomes a lobby group? Do the church now start to grease the palms of politicians to get what it wants?

  75. The bible is not “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” it was never meant to address every modern political issue.

  76. I do not trust the government in it’s various functions to protect me or my family.
    Police just react after. They are also quickly being militarized and are as much of a threat as criminals.
    I sure don’t trust “human nature”

    Nope, my right does not come from the Second Amendment.
    The right to bear arms comes from me having a gun.
    I am the guarantor of this right and only I can either lay it down or have taken by force.
    I do not go out and seek violence, but those who come seeking it should know I feel no compunction in defense of things I hold dear.

  77. Jean says:

    MLD, my congregation, part of the UMC, has in my opinion lost its prophetic voice. In my opinion, the church is a body, where individuals are called to use their gifts as part of the body of Christ, not as individual independent contractors (so I disagree with part of your comment).

    I believe the church is called to speak truth to power, not get in bed with it like a whore.

  78. EricL says:

    Jean, there is an even bigger issue that is ignored when it comes to the terrible mass murders we have seen over the years: what do we do with the mentally disturbed who have violent tendencies? Under conservative politicians, we emptied the asylums to save money and give them “freedom”, under liberal politicians we continue to let them roam among the rest of society so that they won’t stigmatized, placing so many others at risk.

    I don’t think there are any easy answers on this complex problem, but at least we should admit it’s the actual problem. I want to see the mentally disturbed treated with respect and given the chance to succeed in society as much as they are able, but I also want society protected. Can we force them to accept time-released drug implants that will help stabilize them? Can we change our laws to make it easier to get them involuntarily committed for long enough time to truly stabilize, but without going too far in the other extreme? Something needs to be done.

    I wish that the politicians and media would stop their grandstanding on the pro-gun/ anti-gun thing and would look at real solutions before another disturbed young man skips his meds and therapy, and kills. Dead is dead, whether by knife or gun. The fellow is Santa Barbara used both, to the rue of six victims.

  79. Jean,
    ( lo )====::: = guitar = “G”
    G is fine 😉

    I’m pretty much with you, “(2) this strand of Christianity actually believes their positions”

    If they be “biblical” or not, since I do not believe the bible to be a single thing, I would have to examine belief based on context of the passage and how it lines up to Jesus’ words and practice in the 4 gospels.

    I’m with Derek when he says, “The bible is not ‘Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth’ it was never meant to address every modern political issue.”

    As far as views which are incongruent with the readers, I’m a Universalist, Preterist, pacifist so I self filter my general beliefs unless there is a discussion to which I think I can contribute.

    Glad you’re here.

  80. One of my FB Friends just posted about open carry for guitars. I’m all about that as long as the headstock is down to avoid accidental shredding

  81. Jean says:

    Derek, I respect you a lot, so when I respond to some of your comments (in this case #77), I do so not as a personal attack. I acknowledge that this topic is a hot button.

    In my opinion, this whole arm-society-to-the-teeth movement is an experiment to see if a society can bring order and security through violence and evil. In other words, can mankind overcome evil with evil. Even in the early church, I understand, with the formulation of the “just war theory”, the proponents acknowledged that the just killing of the enemy is a sin, but they thought God would forgive them because the cause was just.

    I see this and some other libertarian ideas as rolling back the order that God ordained through the creation of governments. I see, in this posts-modern world, where institutions are not trusted, where corruption is rampant and where even truth itself is relativized and contingent, as the work of the devil. It’s idolatry that people are seeking self-preservation instead of looking to God for life and security.

    So, I see the current gun movement as unbiblical, evil and will ultimately fail to bring about the very peace and security that its proponents are promising. If we look closely within ourselves, we might acknowledge that bound up in our worldview (and in the American church), we have unknowingly embraced some of the Enlightenment and Epicurean philosophies that have pushed God out of our lives.

  82. Jean says:

    EricL, There’s some wisdom in your #79. Thank you for sharing.

  83. Jean says:

    G, in light of your beliefs, when I review DeSilva’s Unholy Allegiances: Heeding Revelation’s Warnings, I hope you’ll contribute your views to the discussion.

  84. Jean says:

    G, I just comprehended your decryption of your name (I’m incredibly slow on creative matters). Very nice. Do you play guitar hero? Or are you an actual guitar hero 🙂

  85. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jean said, ” but the issue form me is what my Lord asks of me.”

    I can understand that, which is why I usually ask my anti-gun friends to consider this: I respect your right to lay down your life to a bad guy (and the lives of others) and be unarmed, I simply ask you to respect my right to not be an unarmed victim and to allow me to try and stop the threat to myself and/or loved ones and/or my neighbor.

    The reality is, there will always be humans who will not obey the rules who will have a weapon and who will try to victimize a soft/weak target.

    We must deal with things as they are, not as they should be. As such, being armed with some training is a good thing, not a bad thing….and protecting the sanctity of life of yourself and others is righteous and not wrong when confronted by evil and those who wish to take your life from you.

  86. Jean says:

    RB, I definitely respect your view. As a follow up, I would like to know how you would extrapolate your view to the following scenarios:

    (1) stand your ground? Is a person entitled to take another’s life if he/she is threatened, but could safely retreat?

    (2) pre-emptive war?

  87. Eric says:

    I think the US has an unfair electoral system that entrenches two-party rule. Other parties will never get anywhere until this is fixed. It’s obviously better than the one-party rule of many places, but you need to look to look to the rest of the developed world for something better.

    That said, a more democratic system does not guarantee a better government. Also the US system mitigates some of the problems of two-party rule.

    Jean 67: The church spokespeople on political issues often will agree with some of these issues, but argue that those issues already have advocates, while the “moral” issues don’t.

  88. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jean, here’s my current opinion about both, assuming Michael is OK with us having a discussion about this, I don’t want to dominate a thread on a tangent.

    1. “stand your ground”: I think it’s right and righteous for a person to defend themselves against someone who is trying to kill them, whether it’s in their home or at a park or on a University campus walking (i.e. a college co-ed being assaulted etc, a woman jogging etc). “Retreat” isn’t necessarily “safe” or the best option, I leave it to the individual to make that judgment in during an attack. If the perp attacks and the victim, often women, feel threatened…I am fine with “stand your ground” and “castle doctrine” and the right to self defense.

    I don’t want a woman having a moment of indecision as to whether she is justified in protecting her life b/c some anti-gun politician blurs the rules causing her to second guess her God-given instincts to protect her life.

    If a perp attacks a woman in park while she’s jogging and the woman feels her life is in danger, she can stop the threat IMO. If I’m on the jury and it is shown the perp was armed and confronted her and tried to victimize her…and the woman shot him in self-defense, she’s getting acquitted if I have that say.

    2. “pre-emptive war”: I don’t like this doctrine. I think the recent examples are testament to the fact that doctrine can be misused. I am a non-interventionist, I don’t think we should be world-police with our soldiers/military. I think we should protect Americans and act in a defensive posture. I think if we’re force to fight, we should hit very hard and kill a lot of folks quick, then pull back and try diplomacy again, rinse and repeat as necessary, but no nation-building, no long campaigns, unless it’s purely defensive and we’re under direct attack at home.

    The only time I’d advocate a pre-emptive strike is if it could be shown there was an imminent threat to US soil, say North Korea finally having a nuclear missile operational that could reach Commiefornia. OK, maybe we’ll let that one fly. If they have a missile capable of hitting Texas 🙂 …in which case, we bomb and drone the heck out of them until they give up. No reason we couldn’t stop the threat w/o boots on the ground in a police action.

  89. Jean,
    The Church has one job and that is to forgive sin. It is not the job of The Church to fix the world.

    The Church sends out Christians who in their vocation are to love and serve their neighbor – this is what fixes the world.

    When The Church thinks that it has a mandate to fix the world, we end up with Crusades and forced conversions.

  90. Let’s be real hear – if we wanted a safer environment with less gun violence we would change the laws – use a gun in a crime of any kind, you get executed … no exceptions.

    That way only the bad guys are punished – and that for their bad acts.

  91. Jean says:

    MLD, I appreciate your input. However, your description of the vocation of the church is sorely lacking. E.g., Matt 5:13-14; Rom 12, 1 Cor 16:1-2; 2 Cor 5:20, etc.

    The church is the means through which His kingdom comes and his will is done, on earth as it is in heaven, until He returns. E.g., Eph 2:4-10; Rom 5:17.

    We don’t have to agree on everything or even most things. However, in the future, if you want me to respond to any of your positions, back them up with scripture. Your style is laziness, and I am not going to spend even one more comment in sincere conversation with someone who is too lazy to pick up his bible and back up his pronouncements.

    It’s easy to throw out bombs and sit back and chuckle; but that type of behavior doesn’t edify or uplift anyone.

  92. Jean,
    You may be more diligent than me in posting scriptures, but nort a one of those backs up your position. Except perhaps the 1 cor passage each of the others is about God’s work in us towards our salvation (forgivness of sin) and the work we then do as individuals to carry out our vocation. Ephesians 2:10 is an individuals mandate to do the works (vocation) that God has laid out.

    Perhaps you can show me where the whole church body goes out to do a work – where the Church say at Ephesus goes on a mission to lobby even local government – you don;t see it. But what we do see in the early church is individuals carrying out great works in their vocation.

  93. ,I work in real estate and real estate financing. People need homes to shelter and protect their families and people need ways to finance those homes – that is the vocation to which God has called me. So, if I successfully carry out my vocation, then it puts others in a better position to carry out theirs – thus we can each say that we are loving and serving our neighbor.

    The guy I buy my bagel from each morning is living out his God given vocation feeding me so i get a good start on my day … and he may not even know that he is serving the Lord and may not even be a Christian – but as long as he offers a quality product at a fair price, he is loving and serving his neighbor.and he is God’s man in that place.

    I’m sorry – but it’s not just religious acts, that please God … in fact it rarely is.

    But perhaps we see God differently.

    And as for your snotty “better than thou” attitude conversation does not need to be “backed up by scripture.” only a pharisee would demand that, and an insecure one at that. Truth is truth no matter the source.

  94. Muff Potter says:

    G-man wrote @ # 37,
    Any jerk can disembowel an enemy, few are willing to take the time to warm someone while they have the chills.

    Much agreement here Michael, and this is why I keep returning to your blog. You’re not afraid to engage with the ‘weightier’ matters of the law and to hell with the stuff that doesn’t mean squat.

  95. Jean says:

    MLD, I see Paul’s use of the metaphor of the body, with all the complementary parts being necessary and equally valuable, as meaning that the body (i.e., the church) works together to do good works. So, I disagree with your interpretation the passages.

    Democratic government was not around in the 1st century. In this century the church has the ability and in my view the obligation to lobby for laws which give dignity to and promote the welfare of all mankind, because life is from God and humans are made in His image. I’ve already made my views on this subject known, but to summarize, it would in my opinion be hypocritical for a Christian to try to separate Christian ethics from what his/her government should do on any issue. The bible is clear that God uses government institutions. Why wouldn’t the body of Christ use those same institutions?

  96. Jean says:

    MLD, I’ m sorry if I came across as “better than thou.” What I should have said is that any jerk can pontificate as though their opinion is truth. In fact, that’s what post-modernism is all about, so we see that everywhere. However, since this is a Christian blog, where I assumed people are interested in what the bible teaches, It makes sense to me to test our opinions against the truth of scripture.

  97. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jean said, “However, since this is a Christian blog, where I assumed people are interested in what the bible teaches, It makes sense to me to test our opinions against the truth of scripture.”

    1 Timothy 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

    🙂 😆 😉

  98. Steve Wright says:

    it would in my opinion be hypocritical for a Christian to try to separate Christian ethics from what his/her government should do on any issue.
    ———————————————————–
    Hi Jean, while I might not use the word, hypocritical, I certainly agree with your general comment here. We may be citizens of an earthly kingdom, but we live out those earthly citizenship duties as Christians…and we should do so 24/7

    But that is on the individual level. So may I ask, when you say “the church” has the obligation to lobby for laws etc.- do you mean the organized community of believers we think of as a local church – or are you using the term simply as Christians, in the plural sense, acting as individuals.

  99. Jean,
    If you only act when your whole church is mobilized, well you guys are an ineffective bunch. But I tell you this, without using scripture as a false backup – that i am not like so many that I see who say, one of several things.
    1.) my day job supports my ministry
    2.) I can’t wait to get off work so I can do ministry.

    The doctrine of vocation is lost on you evangelicals. You have a system where your tent making is separate from your religious life.

    If that floats your boat – So be it. I am not your ministry leader.

  100. Steve,
    “or are you using the term simply as Christians, in the plural sense, acting as individuals.”

    That’s my position that he has been arguing against.

  101. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jean, I was just kidding, you don’t have to be in silence and all subjection, that is just one of many bible verses no one really believes or practices today.

  102. Jean says:

    Hi Steve,
    You ask a very good question. I don’t want clergy telling me who I must vote for. I also don’t want to give clergy or my denomination Carte Blanche to speak on my behalf on issues. However, I think it might be okay for a church, group of churches or a denomination, acting with the consent of a majority of its members, to engage in lobbying government on social and moral issues. What do you think?

  103. I love it when people like Jean toss around terms like post modern. I doubt that he realizes the modernity came out of the enlightenment … which was no friend of Christianity.

    But, I am sure he heard Hank Hannegraff or someone talk about it on the radio and bought it.

  104. Ricky Bobby says:

    MLD, I think Jean is a she not he.

  105. Jean says:

    MLD, I whole heartedly agree with the premise that there is no sacred/secular divide in the Christian live.

    No where in anything I’ve written did I minimize or eliminate the Christian’s obligation to do good works. For me it’s not either/or.

  106. I didn’t bring up good works – I spoke only of serving and loving your neighbor through your vocation.

  107. RB,
    I think Jean once said that his name was the male European version.

    Hey Jean – you a chick or a dude?

  108. Jean says:

    RB, I know you were kidding (maybe it was the 3 happy faces). For the record, I’m a he and have always been one 🙂

  109. Jean says:

    MLD, #47, point taken. I’m not against those things either.

    If I was a chick, would you be any nicer?

  110. London says:

    This (hopefully) fits with number 9.

    This weekend I spent some time at a social event with someone I highly respect and trust completely.
    We were all talking at the dinner table and he mentioned a story about being at a sandwich shop waiting for his sandwich to be finished being made when he saw a man and woman sitting over at a table. The gal was singing a bit along with the piped in music. Then, she started cursing, used his name and then looked at him and said “that’s right xxxxxx, F*ck You!”

    It was the day he was going to start “prayer walking” around the area of a major city’s downtown where he’s recently started a job.

    He said it was quite odd, but he is sure it was a demon that was addressing him through that woman cause she looked right at him.

    So, what do you guys think? 1) are there demons that speak through people? 2) if it’s not that, then how can you explain it?

    This guy is not a liar. That’s not an option.

  111. Steve Wright says:

    Jean, I think I at first frustrated a few of our folks at church for not being political in my role as pastor of the church, especially those who know my personal beliefs and share them – but they’ve come to expect my public neutrality in my pastoral role these days. .

    However, I think I am right in not being political. So my answer would be a qualified, no, as far as lobbying government as a church. I qualify it because I have encouraged, from the pulpit, making their voice heard to Free Saeed, but even there it was as a facilitator to give info to private efforts as citizens (myself included) – and not as the church as a whole, per se. But even that is a unique situation and very nonpartisan

    However, I was curious for your opinion and not looking to debate. But it leads to a followup question. Rather than the local church (with consent and approval of the majority of its members as you said) lobbying for a social or moral issue, would you make a distinction with a church working hard to get someone elected that shared the values on the issues of the majority of the members.

    I’ll give an example (recently posted on my facebook). A bunch of liberal clergy in Chicago met last week to officially endorse the Democrat governor of Illinois in an embattled reelection bid against the Republican challenger. In their view, it isn’t just one issue but just about all of them where they think their guy is better than the other guy.

    However, in the speech which was recorded, the one pastor was saying to his fellow pastors that their priority for the next few months was to find unlikely voters and basically make every effort to get the election win come November. I have no doubt that the political views of these pastors match the vast majority views of their congregations so their churches will not be opposed for partisan reasons.

    So forgetting any 501c3 issues (not to mention the nasty things said about the other party) do you think such an effort is a legitimate role of these pastors and churches. If it is OK to lobby for an issue, why not for ALL the issues at once through the governor candidate?

    Do you see a difference. What do you think?

  112. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jean said, ” I’m a he and have always been one”

    LOL! Never know these days. That made me laugh 🙂

  113. London,
    Did your friend question this girl at all, like “hey what’s up with that?”

    It could have been that she mistook him for an ex boyfriend.

  114. erunner says:

    London, what you described reminds me of what happened to the Apostle Paul in Acts. I have no problem believing your friend.

    Acts 16:16 And as we went to prayer, it happened that a certain girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by divining.
    Acts 16:17 The same followed Paul and us and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the Most High God, who are announcing to us the way of salvation.
    Acts 16:18 And she did this many days. But being distressed, and turning to the demonic spirit, Paul said, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out in that hour.

  115. Ricky Bobby says:

    The literal Greek says the girl has the “spirit of Python” which was a Greek mythology…yet the bible seems to claim it as a real spirit.

  116. London says:

    a boyfriend who had the exact same name as my friend….not likely MLD.

  117. Ricky Bobby says:

    That has always been a verse that seems to get retranslated to “divination” to get around what looks to be a pretty clear endorsement of a Greek mythology as being a real spirit.

    The bible literally says the girl had the “spirit of Python” which is “in Greek mythology the name of the Pythian serpent or dragon that dwelt in the region of Pytho at the foot of Parnassus in Phocis, and was said to have guarded the oracle of Delphi and been slain by Apollo.”

    So, the bible literally says the girl had some supernatural powers that were from the Pythian serpent in Greek mythology.

    Why is that?

    Why is there no real fortune telling today, just bogus psychic friends network garbage?

    The bible affirms a Greek mythology and fortune telling as real…yet not today?

    I understand Cessationism for Christians, but for the heathens too? Doesn’t seem to add up. Makes me think the supernatural claims were all exaggerated or we’d see something in evidence today, if not from Christians, from the heathen “spirits” that the bible affirms.

  118. Jean says:

    Steve, again a very good question. I want to be careful in what I write in the moment, so let me answer your question this way, and ask for your response: Some people are influential by reason of their vocation, or personal charisma, or wealth, etc. In a democratic society, voices compete for influence in the political arena. I think influential Christian voices have just as much a right to participate in the process as anyone else. I don’t think these voices can remain silent if and where government is going to commit an injustice. I’m reminded of William Wilberforce in England and MLK here.

  119. Michael says:

    London,

    Such an experience is consistent with the biblical record and experiences that I know of.
    I would have little doubt of the reality of the encounter if it came from a person of proven integrity .

  120. Ricky Bobby says:

    London, the person probably knew him but he didn’t know her. He probably offended a friend of hers, maybe a friend who was a jilted lover or any number of potential offenses. Nothing supernatural about what you described.

  121. Jean,
    I look forward to your review.

    I’m a graphic designer by trade so they typographic moniker is a fun little branding.

    I’ve been playing guitar since I was 15, I’m 58.
    I play acoustic guitars, electric guitar & guitar synth, often in altered tunings.
    The late Michael Hedges, the very much alive Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Phil Keaggey are a few of my favorite guitarists and performers.

    People keep asking me back so I think that’s a positive sign. 😉

  122. Ricky Bobby says:

    If that sort of thing was real, you’d have heathens conjuring real spirits/demons and telling real fortunes and making real predictions or revealing real things about real people for big money and not the caricature hoaxes we see on tv and elsewhere.

    There would be real life examples of real demonic phenomena…and there are not.

    It’s not so much the lack of Christian “supernatural” manifestation that baffles me as the Cessationists have “an” explanation for that…it’s the fact there are no verifiable heathen manifestations of the supernatural that pass any sort of mild scrutiny.

  123. London,
    I see it as pure humanity at it’s quirkiest, no demons, possible mental illness coupled with relationship drama.

  124. London says:

    Michael, the other experiences you have heard of, they were people that you wouldn’t think are making up stuff? I KNOW my friend isn’t making stuff up, it’s just not in him to lie, but, I wonder if he’s could be misinterpreting what he heard in some way.

    He’s new to that city, so I’m sure he hasn’t had time to offend people there…..yet 😉

  125. Steve Wright says:

    Jean, I support Christians in America running for office, and likewise see nothing wrong with Christians helping someone running for office to get elected. The alternative is a government 100% controlled by the atheists and pagans. But in my view that is all individual – and not a ministry of the local church.

    What led to my question is simple. If there was a big issue about to be voted on in D.C. or some proposition on the ballot, (let’s say concerning one of the many issues you listed earlier in this thread) and you allow for a local church to rally its members to lobby or vote in support of that issue (as you stated above), then it seems the same logic would apply to rallying them to support a candidate who aligns with them on ALL the issues (or at least far more than the opponent)

    But now aren’t you back to your complaint about not wanting the church to tell you who to vote for?

    This is why I stay clear of it all, when it comes to my role in the pulpit, as overseer of the local church. Now, at the same time, while it is true I never stop being a pastor in terms of identity, I do not hesitate to share my personal political views in my personal forums (i.e. facebook) where my influence is different.

  126. London says:

    But G, how to you explain that she knew his name?

  127. Jean says:

    RB, when you get to speed commenting in rapid succession, I’m wondering if if I’m witnessing one of those heathen manifestations 🙂

  128. Ricky Bobby says:

    She could have been listening in on his conversation with a person at the counter. Your friend probably said his name to the person making his sandwich in conversation and simply didn’t realize it or remember it…and the girl was listening in.

    There are a ton of logical explanations that are not “it was the devil!”

  129. London says:

    Yeah….me either. That’s why I’m not sure what to do with the story.

  130. Steve Wright says:

    London, I also support the view that it possibly was a demon. I believe in the reality of demons and in demon possession.

    RB, The Bible says that an idol is nothing. So the Brady Bunch tiki necklace that brings tarantulas to hotel rooms and causes surfers to wipe out is nonsense.

    However, the Bible also says that those who worship idols, with a view to the idol, are worshipping demons. I believe that explains the Greek in that passage

    The most prevalent place in this world for idol worship is probably Hindu India and I have no doubt that there is much demon possession there.

  131. Michael says:

    London,

    I have no doubts…none… about the reality of supernatural evil.
    None whatsoever.

  132. When weird stuff happens I just figure I don’t have enough info, and wait ’til I can learn more about the matter, but I’m done giving “spirits” any credit.

    Humans are far more challenging to deal with without introducing a wild card of folklore.

  133. Ricky Bobby says:

    Steve, agreed to a degree.

    The bible clearly affirms those “spirits” that the heathens were worshipping are really “demons” or “gods” to the heathens.

    Why no real demonic phenomena from any of the heathen groups today, but the bible claims they did legit supernatural things back in the day?

  134. Jean says:

    #126, Steve, when the Catholics organize their youth rallies in DC and bus in thousands for a weekend to demonstrate against abortion, I support that type of organized effort and I think it makes a difference both in the political arena and in the lives of the people who go.

  135. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael, I believe in “evil”…but your definition of “supernatural” seems to be the OT and NT bible kind that describes some very verifiable stuff…stuff that just doesn’t happen today like the bible describes.

    When have you seen a demon-possessed girl tell real fortunes today? Nada.

    When have you seen a yogi levitate for real today? All hoaxes, a common trick, well debunked. Did the hindu demons take a century off?

    When have you seen a Christian pastor do a real miracle like walk on water or turn water into wine? None.

    Even the Catholics have given up on the Lourdes “miracles” as none have been verified since modern medicine and science was able to debunk the claims.

  136. Steve Wright says:

    I would say that demons possessing another, and causing that person to hurt himself or others, speaking through that person and so forth is definitely demonic phenomena.

    I don’t know offhand about demons doing supernatural miracles in the New Testament in a manner God would do..

    For example, there are many people who claim that a fortune teller told them about something in their past that absolutely nobody knows, and certainly that the stranger fortune teller could not know. But this is not a miracle. Demons (which don’t die) simply SAW the event in the past taking place. The demons SAW that you lost your watch under the washing machine last month etc.

    Much like London’s friend’s story – that demon, if it was one, did not supernaturally conjure up the friend’s name. It simply knew the name from witnessing the past.

    Back to the fortune tellers, demons of course can’t predict the future – but the ability to inform on a past event, accurately, is certainly enough to convince the person who believes in the fortune teller to listen to whatever predictions or advice he/she might make for their future – for a nice fee of course.

  137. London,
    Your friend, the “prayer walker”… reminds me of many friends who see all things as spiritual, and that is where I am immediately skeptical and want more info 😉

  138. It’s sort of like when everyone around me is doing Tequila shots and I decide to be the designated driver, I just know it’s gonna get interesting…

  139. Ricky Bobby says:

    Steve, I would accept telling the past that could not be known to a supposed psychic as legit..but they’re all cons. They all have a technique they use to draw things out and a way to hint at things and cue from the facial responses etc. It’s a sort of con-artist science, I’ve researched it and they’re all fakes and frauds. It’s a gimic just like the yogis walking on fire and levitating.

    Steve said, “I would say that demons possessing another, and causing that person to hurt himself or others, speaking through that person and so forth is definitely demonic phenomena.”

    Science and medicine has without-a-doubt proven what you describe above to be paranoid schizophrenia and other severe mental illness, not demons.

  140. Ricky Bobby says:

    ….though I am open that ‘demons’ is a biblical metaphor. Demons could very well be the inherent potential for evil that is in each human or some sort of physiological reality and the mental illness itself.

    Instead of “paranoid schizophrenia” it was called “demons” in ancient times. Heck, maybe Jesus doled out lithium or anti-psychotics and that was described as “he cast out the demons!”

  141. London says:

    I’m not willing to say there’s no such thing as supernatural good or evil. But, it would be good to understand ways to separate what was “real” from what is urban legend.
    That’s what I struggle with.

    I don’t think as a Christian, I can say there are no demons or evil spirits unless I’m willing to say I don’t believe what the Bible says Jesus said or did.

    If I believe the Bible is a work of fiction or good literature only, then I suppose I can say that demons are just make believe like hobbits or the tooth fairy.

    Dunno

  142. London says:

    “London,
    Your friend, the “prayer walker”… reminds me of many friends who see all things as spiritual, and that is where I am immediately skeptical and want more info ;)”

    Right, I get that. He probably sees most things as having some sort of spiritual origin and many things he says, or does, I’m not inclined to participate in, but this was a different type of story.

  143. London,
    I’m convinced tha 99.44% of the kind of stuff you’re describing has a reasonable backstory and given enough time anyone would figure it out.

    I believe Jesus did deal with evil & demons but the Gospels are about Jesus’ supremacy over all things, especially the spiritual, that’s why the story comes early in the narrative, to establish that Yeshua wasn’t a mere Rabbi with great perspectives

  144. Ricky Bobby says:

    I think “demons” are real…just real as mental illness is real or real as in man’s capacity for doing evil is real.

  145. Steve Wright says:

    London, my personal view is that when the missionaries in idol worshipping nations testify of demonic possession, they are accurate. The reason there seems so little of it in America’s history (or for that matter Europe) is because the Christian influence in these nations and the very limited idol worship. I’m using idol in the true religious sense and not like when someone talks about money or golf as an idol in their life.

    Now of course, it is more common to find idol worshipping religious centers and individuals in the USA, and thus I expect to see an increase in demon possession as well.

    I am reminded of the head of the Jesus Film Project (Paul Eshleman) who did not really believe in demonic activity when he started at Campus Crusade. He kept getting reports from the mission field that he was skeptical of, but more and more reports came from multiple different sources in different nations, and he could not believe all these Christians were liars, simpletons or overly superstitious

    Then he testifies about a lengthy spiritual warfare battle he and his family faced here in the USA. Many, many different phenomena and weirdness. He then shares (and all of this is in one of his books about the Jesus Film Project) that he felt the Lord speaking to his heart that if he was going to lead this project, and the multitudes of men and women on the frontlines bringing the gospel to those who had never heard, then he would have to get past his doubts about the reality of the demonic world. Which he did.

    I’ve met Paul, and I am close to many people who have worked with him for many, many years – he is not a con artist or story teller.

  146. London says:

    “Much like London’s friend’s story – that demon, if it was one, did not supernaturally conjure up the friend’s name. It simply knew the name from witnessing the past.”

    Where are you getting that a particular demon, in my story, the one that called my friend by name, would have known him from the past?

    Unless you are saying the are some how omnipresent and knew both of them in the past. My friend just moved down to that city. Did the demon follow him from his old town?

    Can you explain how that would work? Not being snarky…

  147. Steve Wright says:

    London, demons are angels…messengers. They, like the good angels, are organized and they get around….and likely very quickly. I think Scripture agrees with all of that.

    So my opinion is that one demon travels with the info to another demon.

    We have angels traveling with messages in the Bible as well…

  148. Steve Wright says:

    I should add that there are probably hundreds of millions of them too. None of them omnipresent, or omniscient

  149. London says:

    I don’t think people are con artists or story tellers. What I think is that they interpret what they see or hear through a lens of religion that leads them to believe what they are seeing is something other than reality.
    We might see something “odd” and thing…hmmmm that’s odd…then google it and find there’s a perfectly logical, medical reason for it. They might say “oh, that’s a demon”

    Those are the stories I tend to be very skeptical about…but sometimes, I’m not sure.

  150. Ricky Bobby says:

    Well, the satanists and occultists certainly agree with you that demons are real…yet none of them can conjure up anything that is verifiably supernatural that passes the mustard with even mild skeptics.

  151. London says:

    So Steve, if they knew my friend at all…they would know that if they say “F*ck you” to my friend, that would just hack him off more and make him more determined to do whatever it was they were trying to get him not to do.

    So, even if they are quick…they must not be very smart

  152. Ricky Bobby says:

    “So, even if they are quick…they must not be very smart”

    LOL 😆

  153. Steve Wright says:

    I have a tape of Walter Martin’s description of personally performing an exorcism.

    There is no natural explanation to what he describes, and in fact the reason he was there is because the parents of the teenager called him because of the strange phenomena they were going through, coupled with her changed behavior.

    The only alternative is Walter Martin was lying through his teeth in that entire testimony.

    One of my closest friends in the world lives in India but has been a Christian his whole life (his Dad was a pastor). I believe the examples of demon possession he provides and I believe I have seen a couple myself when I was over there in the late 1990s.

  154. Steve Wright says:

    So, even if they are quick…they must not be very smart
    ——————————————–
    Vile insulting language is something I have heard associated with demons – and in fact Martin mentions that as well in the tape I referenced above.

    If it was a demon, it HATES your friend.

    As far as not being smart, they rebelled against God to follow another created being. I would say they are quite stupid.

  155. London says:

    So Steve, if there’s so many of these things around, why are the instances like the one my friend described so rare? Wouldn’t you think that any christian could say that we’ve had some experience like that?

    I know that people say if you’re doing something for “the kingdom” then Satan (or his minions) will go after you but, i don’t see evidence of that every time someone tries to do something God says to do.

  156. Ricky Bobby says:

    Well, the closest I’ve seen to demon possession is Bob Grenier in a violent rage, but I chalk that up to plain old evil vs. demons, but who knows.

  157. Steve Wright says:

    London, my answer is that demon possession is rare in America.

    Demon influence is everywhere, and the Bible says (Eph 2) that we all are being led by the prince of the power of the air until we come to Christ. Satan is the god (small g) of this world.

    And as I say when I preach on this stuff, just because one does not bow the knee to some black altar of Lucifer does not mean that Satan is not at work in his/her life. And just because someone says they don’t believe in the devil, does not make his reality any less so, much like the atheist saying he does not believe in God does not make it so.

    As Christians we are tempted constantly by him and his minions, working with our flesh and this world, for God certainly does not tempt us. How much more the rest of the world who do not have the Holy Spirit and His power indwelling within.

    Anyway, I am not aiming to convince anyone of anything here. This is simply what I preach, how I explain it, how I answer these sorts of questions when presented, and how I line it all up with what the Bible reveals to us about demons and Satan, OT and NT, and both before the cross in the life of Jesus in the gospels, as well as afterwards in early church history in the book of Acts (Luke writing accounts of both)

  158. Ricky Bobby says:

    Steve, God did tempt Abraham according to the bible.

    Genesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham

  159. London says:

    I didn’t take it that you were trying to convince anyone of anything. I appreciate everyone who took the time to respond with their take on the topic.

  160. Ricky Bobby says:

    1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

    This verse implies that God does essentially tempt folks, he is in charge, he allows temptation…the verse asserts that only God allows you to be tempted and provides a way for escape which is essentially God tempting/testing you even it’s by proxy.

  161. London says:

    I just find it odd that some people have these types of experiences, or say they do, yet others have none.

    not that I’m volunteering mind you 🙂

  162. Ricky Bobby says:

    London, I’d welcome it, it would resolve some things for me. Send a demon, go for it. Levitate some stuff. If I saw it with my own eyes, was able to put my hand in the wounds, see it myself…like Thomas the Apostle…it would go a long way for me reconsidering some positions I now hold regarding the nature of the Christian religion.

    As it stands right now, w/o any evidence, I am very liberal theologically and lean toward a metaphorical and allegorical read of things vs. literal.

  163. Steve Wright says:

    RB, The Genesis reference is translated in most other versions as “tested” and that is how the word is usually used – in fact often of the Jews trying to test (tempt) God.

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=H5254&t=KJV

    So not tempt in the sense to encourage evil – to encourage sinful activity. The idea of Israel tempting God to do immoral evil is a non-starter.

    God in His sovereignty certainly ALLOWS temptations, in fact by leaving Satan and his demons still around He pretty much guarantees it. These are certainly tests of our faith, but God is not the source of the temptation. I believe though the promise you cited is that God knows our weaknesses and fraility and thus limits these tests, what He allows, based on what we can handle and grow from…not to destroy us.

    And as an aside, I do not think demons are at the source of all temptations to sin. There is enough in our depravity and carnality to cause us plenty of issues even without their influence.

  164. I shouldn’t even think of it but London, demons in people is common and expelling them is common. Seen it dozens of times.

  165. Ricky Bobby says:

    Steve, “tested” is a synonym for “tempted” and the KJV says tempted. It’s the same hebrew word used interchangeably for tempted or tested or tried.

  166. Ricky Bobby says:

    Steve said, “but God is not the source of the temptation”

    Who created the demons and the devil? Are you stating that there is something that exists that God did not create?

  167. London says:

    what do you mean you shouldn’t even think of it?
    and how to you know it’s a “demon” and not mental illness? In the moment, how can you tell the difference.

    Not picking a fight…actually want to know. It’s the “how” questions that don’t make sense to me.

  168. Ricky Bobby says:

    Steve, you would assert that God created all things, that God is sovereign over all things, that nothing happens w/o God giving the go-ahead…

    …then you state “well God’s not the source of it”

    That doesn’t square up.

    But, that’s enough from me on the issue, G’nite all. Good discussion. Don’t want to beat a dead horse.

  169. London says:

    Dude’s gonna leave me hanging…… :mrgreen:

  170. where there is education there is no “demonic”, only “illness”

  171. London says:

    Jesus was limited to the thinking of his time then?
    I mean, he’s the Creator God of the universe, he knows everything, so why would he not just say…”here, let me heal you of this disease or illness” instead of say, casting demons into a bunch of pigs?

    Do you think he limited himself to the philosophy and folk thinking of the time in which he lived?

    dunno…just asking….

  172. London says:

    ERunner…I’m going to ask him why he didn’t try to cast the demon out then.

  173. teleman says:

    ‘where there is education there is no “demonic”, only illness”

    Wow…..Jesus (as portrayed in the red letters) must have been uneducated/ill-informed/un-enlightened, etc.

    Matthew 12:27 ‘….if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you….’

    Perhaps G is casting aspersion upon education and not Jesus……let us hope so…

  174. London says:

    Why don’t you just ask him what he meant?

  175. teleman says:

    Sorry…didn’t mean to presume…..was only trying to show the implication of education trumping Jesus….Hey G, what did you mean?

  176. All I meant. was that the matter is sure to be controversial. I have seen demonization so many times I cannot count it. So many Christians are really practicing unbelievers. Some believe the Bible but not anything that is outside the Bible. Some believe the Bible was full of superstitions of the times.

    I have seen and heard demonic voices and manifestations in people with regularity. The mental illness aspect is real and a minister must be very careful with the people to understand the difference. Sadly mentally ill people are often demonized. I was surprised reading through this discussion. I didn’t encounter anything that I have not heard with regularity.

    The most important thing is for a person to know who they are. Demons always submit to a person who knows who they are in Christ. One quick story. I was working with a man who used to get up and run out of the room when the demonic presence was unveiled in him. The demon would make him run away in order to prevent expulsion. I decided to anoint the doorposts with oil before the meeting. I did not announce this or prepare the person with this information. The demon manifested and the man jumped up to run out. He stopped at the door like he had hit a wall.

    I was shocked and asked what happened. He stated, “You know what you did, I couldn’t go through that door and you knew it.” Well I didn’t know it but I was impressed and amazed. The man left without his demon.

    It isn’t rare. But one thing I have learned to do over the years is to not focus much on the demon. Here is the principle: get rid of garbage and rats leave. So I deal with the person over their ‘garbage’ and when we clean it up the spirit goes without much fuss.

    I won’t spend much time defending these comments. Those who won’t hear don’t hear. There is a great deal of literature available on the matter. Much of it by really redouble sources. I refer to one non charismatic source. C Fred Dickason Demon Possession and the Christian

    http://books.google.com/books/about/Demon_Possession_and_the_Christian.html?id=Yx4NsiVtnL8C

  177. “really reliable”

  178. Oh and one more thing about how do you know it is a demon and not a mental illness?

    1. Experience, with honesty and serious care for the people you are working with.
    2. Demons respond to the Name of Jesus… if the problem resolves at the name of Jesus the either you had a demon or you healed a mental illness. Ministry has outcomes. A good outcome is an indicator.
    3. I said it above but mental patients often have the sad reality of multiple problems. They sometimes, not always by any means, have demons that enter them easily because and in conjunction with the illness. I find mentally ill people to be less able to maintain their freedom unless the mental illness is healed.

  179. Bob says:

    “Who created the demons and the devil? Are you stating that there is something that exists that God did not create?”

    RB

    Don’t confuse demons with temptation. Temptation is not a “thing” as in created nor is evil. These are actions, adverbs, adjectives and such, a result of a reaction to a lust or desire.

    Now did God create the ability to be tempted? Yes and therefore it, the ability to be tempted, is good. It’s what a person does with that ability that becomes evil.

    In some circles it is known as the “evil inclination” and yes it is given by God.

  180. PP Vet says:

    As we all know, wisdom develops as revelation is combined with experience.

    Nothing worse than when those without wisdom (revelation plus experience) expound on a topic, and never is this more the case than in this area. But nice to hear the wisdom from SW and BD.

  181. J.U. says:

    A month ago or so I wrote a whole screen full of my attempt to describe the source of wisdom combining senses (experience) with memory, etc. and then added revelation to the discussion.

    PP Vet said it in one sentence. Thank you PP Vet.

  182. Xenia says:

    Education along with its cousin science are today’s idols. Anything one has more faith in than the word of God is one’s idol.
    Happy birthday Dread. I believe every word of your #178.

  183. London says:

    PP Vet,
    The only comment on the subject that really didnt add value to the discussion was the one you just made.
    I appreciate every single comment that people made in response to my question from last night.
    Please do not insult the people who participated in an honest, and for me, helpful conversation.

  184. Jean says:

    “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; his is a shield to those who walk with integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;” (Prov 2:6-10)

  185. Bob says:

    One must also remember the one who was given great wisdom in scripture also fell mightly to the very subject he had written about in reat detail.

    Hear, my son, your father’s instruction
    And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;
    Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head
    And bornaments about your neck.

    I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me.

    I adirected my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.

    Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women,

    For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.

    Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon.

    And in the end he faced his own words:

    The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

    To this day the Jewish Rabbis debate the after-life future of this man and to Christians it is often noted He, Solomon, is not mentioned in the “hall of faith” of Hebrews Chapter 11.

    Why is it a man who epithat is one of utter and complete failure, the fall of a nation, and immorality and yet is still read today to glimpse at and understand his wisdom?

  186. London says:

    Need to go to work, but wanted to say thanks to everyone who has participated in this discussion so far.
    I appreciate that everyone took it seriously and was willing to share their thoughts and experiences.

  187. Michael says:

    London,

    I’m glad you brought this matter to us.
    In my opinion the biblical narrative is there to inform us that there is the thinnest of membranes between what is seen and what is unseen…that if we were given eyes to see we would be astonished at the spiritual conflicts going on around us.
    This is, in my opinion, the most neglected and misunderstood area of theology in the modern age.

  188. Steve Wright says:

    I didn’t share this last night as it was more a non-experience experience. A pastor friend in another state led an exorcism with a 2nd pastor and told me all about the details. There is zero chance he is simply telling me a story to yank my chain.

    I met the possessed guy a few days before at a prayer meeting. I was from out of town so I met a lot of people, none of whom I knew (except my pastor friend) but my first impression of this guy was he did not want to be at a prayer meeting. He just seemed to seethe with rage, and a lot of it was in the eyes. I figured he was an unbeliever dragged there by his wife. He was not in my prayer circle (we broke into small groups) so I did not observe much more that night.

    The night before my last day on the trip the wife came to my pastor friend and described her husband’s behavior etc. and the demonic conclusion seemed very possible. My friend has seen a lot from this guy too. So we planned that when he got off work the next night at about 5 or 6, she would call us and we would just show up at their house and see where it went from there.

    That next night, the time came and went and he did not come home. We spoke to the wife many times who had no idea where he was (this was in the mid 1990s before everyone had a cell phone on them). It got later and later to the point of getting very worried about his safety because he ALWAYS came straight home after work. By that time we knew there was no way we could come over that night as I had a plane to catch early that morning. He finally showed up around 2 AM so at least we were glad to know he was safe.

    My pastor friend did the exorcism a couple days later, without me, but with a second pastor that he asked to come with him to aid.

    I saw the guy on a return visit a couple months later for a wedding. The joy of the Lord filled his life, those eyes were so completely changed. He told his wife that the voices (demons) told him that night not to come home. So he just sat in a bar all night, not even drinking, running out the clock until they said it was OK to go home.

    I believe this lines up with my earlier comment that the demon messengers can go around and tell the other demons information. They are all around us (as are the good angels) and they heard our plans to ambush the guy when he got off work. They also know, as Dread said, that they are powerless when confronted in the name of Christ. So they avoided the confrontation that night, but of course my pastor friend had made it a priority so it took place eventually.

    I also think these details would rule out simply a healing from a mental illness as I do not know how a mental illness could give someone that sort of knowledge about a planned meeting between his wife and two pastors.

  189. Exorcisms are no big deal. I watched one Saturday morning … and the baby didn’t even cry when the water was poured on his head in the name of the triune God. All went great.

  190. Michael says:

    I wasn’t aware that babies were demon possessed.
    Teenagers, yes, babies, no.

  191. Xenia says:

    We exorcise babies before baptism, too. Doesn’t necessarily mean they are demon possessed,, just removing all devilish effects (for the time-being.)

  192. “Nothing worse than when those without wisdom (revelation plus experience) expound on a topic”

    …but then, where would we be without the Internet 😉

  193. teleman,


    “Wow…..Jesus (as portrayed in the red letters) must have been uneducated/ill-informed/un-enlightened, etc.

    Matthew 12:27 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] ‘….if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you….’

    Perhaps G is casting aspersion upon education and not Jesus……let us hope so…”

    Reread the thread, just as you’re pulling verses out of context so you are also commenting on something without reading the context, in this case, the conversation and posts preceding it.

    I fully affirm Jesus and what He said, but the point isn’t about measuring the prevalence of possession or the details involved but that the detractors of Jesus were completely missing the point by misidentifying Jesus and His source of power and authority. The Gospels are about telling the readers Who He Is, not about piecing together some spotty theology of possession.

    Back to my post, I am neither casting aspersion on education nor upon Jesus.
    I am pointing out the fact that in educated cultures (non-superstitious) where Western scientific method is practiced, the idea that something “demonic” happened is absurd 99.44% of the time and that there is a measurable, rational and reasonable explanation for London’s friend’s story, including the possibility that her friend is prone to being winsomely hyperspiritual.

  194. Dusty says:

    I have seen demonic exorcisms and participated in exorcisms. I think the reason we don’t ‘see’ as many here in the USA is ‘cuz we rationalize demonic experiences away as other things. It has been my experience that demonic possession is common in nursing homes and among the homeless and mentally ill. Americans think they are too smart to believe in something from third world countries believe in…..maybe?

  195. Michael says:

    I believe that because we do not acknowledge the presence of malevolent spiritual beings, nor the fact that our weapons against them are not carnal, we find ourselves defeated and oppressed in areas where we could have victory.
    The enemy attacks the weakest and least protected first…I believe that the sexual abuse of children, the school shootings, the violence on the border, and a host of other issues have a root in the demonic.
    There are also measurable, quantifiable, and rational reasons for these terrors, but the root is in hell.
    Both need to be addressed.
    Yet, prayer meetings draw flies and few others…

  196. Dusty says:

    X and MLD said,’We exorcise babies before baptism,’

    that kind of makes sense to me.

  197. Dusty says:

    Michael, #197 Amen

  198. Dusty says:

    London, of course a demon would call out your friend – a prayer walker….to try to intimidate him or throw him off his game, so to speak, and to alert others of his presence.

  199. Xenia says:

    where Western scientific method is practiced<<<

    and believed above everything else.

    But not by me.

  200. Dusty,
    you wrote, “…demonic possession is common in nursing homes and among the homeless and mentally ill”

    This is why I try to drill down to the cause & effect using science and avoiding the unmeasurable wild card of “evil spirits”.

    Nursing homes are full of folks who are dealing with age and meds related chemical imbalances in their bodies. I work for a critical care nurses’ association and we teach nurses elder care. Dementia is a loss of cognitive abilities that happens in seniors. A person suffering dementia is often confused, irrational, terrified, cannot identify loved ones, might be prone to cussing up a storm due to frustration and anger at their condition.

    The homeless are usually folks also suffering from mental illness or milder socialization issues, sadly often exacerbated by substance abuse.

    None of this is “demonic”, all of this is the human body and mind responding to chemical and societal extremes internally and externally, including bullying and abuse at the hand of opportunists.

    All of this is part of the sad human condition that some theologians use the concept of “the fall” to explain (I’m not inclined to believe in that anymore). Others of us simply step in the gap and do what we can to ease the suffering and help in some way to make a compassionate human connection.

  201. Xenia says:

    Regarding exorcising and baptizing babies, I have noticed (and so have others) that when babies who come from generations of pious Christian families are exorcised and baptized, it is often a very peaceful experience. When the children of recent converts from paganism are exorcised and baptized, there is often a lot of crying and protesting. As if the devil didn’t really want to let go of this child. (Not saying anyone was demon possessed necessarily, just influenced and maybe oppressed. Like Michael says, the Enemy goes after the weakest.)

    I suspect some of you are imaging a scene from The Exorcist but actually, its just a few prayers. We also spit on the devil, a nice touch. Ptooi! Take that, you old serpent! (Godparents spit on behalf of babies; adult converts do their own spitting.)

  202. Western scientific method is how we develop medicine & medical procedures, develop products, improve farming, expand communication, teach, cause the arts to spread and flourish.

    Show me proven benefits in abandoning Western scientific method and I will consider an alternative point of view

  203. Pakistan?
    India?
    The Sudan?
    Uganda?
    Saudi Arabia?
    Iran?
    Iraq?
    Syria?

    …Bueller?

  204. Dusty says:

    G, I understand what you are saying, but I have witnessed first hand demonic accounts in both nursing homes and homeless as I have worked extensively with both.

    Upon entering the room of one elderly man he started crying and told me he would behave if I would ask the two men behind me to leave him alone…there was no one but me in the room…he was talking about the two angels who were protecting me from him….he was known for his violence and foul mouth….toward everyone but me…I prayed for protection each and every time I had to deal with him…

  205. Dusty says:

    I am not saying all elderly, homeless, nor mentally ill are demonically possessed….but that it is common….I have mental illnesses and I know I am not possessed.

  206. Michael says:

    G,

    I rejoice in every scientific advance and would never suggest abandoning the pursuit of knowledge.
    There is more to our existence than the rational mind can embrace…I don’t understand it except in part and I only define it as far as the text allows me.
    Yes, I would say that at the root of all the evil in those places is demonic influence and activity.

  207. Dusty says:

    G, do you not believe in the demonic?

  208. Dusty,
    Pretty much, no, in the 99.44% of the time.
    …I still leave room for the .66%

  209. Dusty says:

    Who said anything about abandoning western science? I take medication each day just to get though….but I believe in the demonic activity I see around me and have seen my whole life.

  210. Michael,
    Solutions are developed by healthy problem solving methodologies.
    Any methodology is defined by assumptions which have to be accounted for and managed.
    The texts about evil spirits and the demonic are minimal compared to the ethical pronouncements we’re required to consider and uphold.

    The “prayer walker” might want to make a point to introduce himself to the young lady and explore why the rough talk was offered his way. That’s far more productive use of being a representative of Jesus than to theorize and never engage the person.

  211. my comment about Western science was addressing this comment…

    where Western scientific method is practiced<<<

    and believed above everything else.

  212. Dusty says:

    G, it is a hard pill to swallow if you have not seen with your own eyes…but I have seen, heard, felt, and smelled demonic….for for me it is real….

  213. Michael,
    Your comment, “…at the root of all the evil in those places is demonic influence and activity.”
    Here’s what I find problematic in that world view, any of the trained nurses we send into the elder care environment is well equipped to deal with the wide range of behaviors and acting out that they encounter. Any “evil” they encounter is patient based behavior, or in rare cases elder abuse. The nurses are empowered and encouraged to not view themselves as passive onlookers and they make the quality of lives better by direct involvement in the well being of their patients and extended families.

    This is all based on Western science, the science of medicine, the science of psychology, of economics and ethics.

    There is no room for any assumption of an evil spirit in this.

  214. Dusty,
    I’ve experienced it as well, I simply refuse to allow demonic activity as a factor.

  215. Michael says:

    G,

    I would dispute that the texts addressing demonic activity are minimal.
    One of my great frustrations both politically and theologically is that we do so much division of “either/or” and too little of “both/and”.

    We indeed engage the ethical pronouncements…without neglecting the other.

    “Both/and”. 🙂

  216. Michael,
    Fair enough, and wherever either of us might not see something, we’ve got each others back no matter what.

  217. Dusty,
    Ditto on this between the 2 of us as well. 😉

  218. Ricky Bobby says:

    X said, “and believed above everything else.

    But not by me.”

    You do believe in science and the scientific method or else you would go to your priest only the next time you have a health crisis and not the local science-based hospital.

  219. Ricky Bobby says:

    The Scientific Method and observations of science utilizing things you do believe in like Math and Physics and Chemistry etc are all “of God”…he created the stuff, the order we observe in Creation and this Universe etc.

    To deny science and the scientific method and scientific disciplines like Math, Physics, Chemistry, etc is to deny the reality of what God created….that we can observe and verify with tons of tangible evidence.

  220. Xenia says:

    RB, I am blessed with good health. Actually, the last few times I had a health issue i did go to Fr. G. instead of the doctor. But if I had something I thought was serious, I’d go to the doctor because this is the epoch in human history where God has placed me.

    However, it’s not the purpose of the Christian life, which can be lived just as well (if not better) no matter what technology has brought us. I could be just as good a Christian (probably better) if I lived in a village in England in the year 400. And since living the Christian live- our life in Christ- is the most important thing there is, technology scarcely matters. If it can be used for good, might as well use it. As they said in the Navy, smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em. But science and its developments are superficial as far as what really matters.

  221. Ricky Bobby says:

    I would disagree, no surprise there. Science has “loved its neighbor” in a very tangible way by eradicating disease, healing many people through modern medicine, feeding many people who would have previously starved to death, given fresh water to many who would not have it etc etc.

    Humanity and “love your neighbor” has benefited tremendously due to science, with the caveat that science also produces more efficient ways for humans to kill each other.

  222. It is not “due to science” – it is due to people who learned how to use science.

    everything was already there, even if unknown – but then God gave people the knowledge, power and curiosity to utilize what was before them.

    There is no entity or substance known as science. So science did nothing

  223. Xenia says:

    Science doesn’t love anybody. (You knew I would say that.) It’s given us some fancier ways to help our neighbor and as you rightly point out, fancier ways to kill our neighbor. God expects me to love my neighbor with whatever means I have available. If it involves advanced technology, well that’s fine, that’s the epoch in which I live and those are the tools I have been given.

    I am glad for C-sections. I have a lot of friends who would be dead today if it weren’t for C-sections. Back in the day, when a woman learned she was pregnant, she was filled with fear and joy. Joy for a new baby but there was the fear that she might not survive childbirth. All through that pregnancy the mother is very mindful of her own possible death, especially as the due-date draws near. That close connection with life and death which faced every woman before modern times had a serious impact on a woman’s Christian life. I do not want those days back- I want my newly pregnant daughter in law to survive the year! But with all this technology, we have lost something. But God has permitted this and I am not complaining. But I don’t put faith in any of it. Scientists change their minds all the time- that’s the nature of scientific discovery. The Bible does not need updating.

  224. Bob says:

    Strangely I find myself 89.5% in agreement with G on this subject. I would also go a bit further and write that it is my experience people don’t need demons or the devil’s influence to be and act evil. The bible is full of a whole lot more men and women acting evil without being possessed.

  225. Ricky Bobby says:

    London said, “Jesus was limited to the thinking of his time then?”

    No, not IMO, more that those witnessing Jesus and those Jesus was communicating to were limited in their extremely ancient understanding of things…to an ancient, paranoid schizophrenia was “demon possession” so Jesus used terms they were familiar with.

    Imagine if Jesus told them, “hey this dude’s a paranoid schizophrenic, I’m going to cure his mental illness now”

    Folks then wouldn’t know what he had just said b/c those words had no meaning then.

  226. “to an ancient, paranoid schizophrenia was “demon possession” so Jesus used terms they were familiar with.

    Imagine if Jesus told them, “hey this dude’s a paranoid schizophrenic, I’m going to cure his mental illness now”

    Folks then wouldn’t know what he had just said b/c those words had no meaning then.”

    agree completely

  227. filbertz says:

    noelle,
    sorry, I’ve been out for a couple days…no, I don’t seem to have your email address anymore, but I’d like to have you check out the controversy & how it relates to A.

  228. Here are a few examples of my personal experience.
    1)When I was a kid my mother was the neighborhood fortune teller. Among other practices she used a pendulum that swung over a an alphabet to spell out words. One afternoon, as she was consulting with the pendulum, she was told that my father was having an affair. She was also instructed to go and check my fathers wallet in the hideaway compartment to find a picture of his girlfriend. She did so and found the picture and confronted my father. He beat her up and tore up the pendulum board. This is one of many instances of similar supernatural events/ coincidences that happened in my home. Once my mother became a Christian all of her premonitions and messages stopped.
    2) When I was into the occult, I would daily enter into a trance like state to commune with my spirit guide. I can see how this could be explained as a fabrication of my mind, and probably much of it was, however as my despair grew and I became suicidal I turned to Jesus one night and was instantly changed and delivered from a long term depression and daily drug use. That was over twenty-five years ago, and while I have have had minor episodes of depression over the years, I have never experienced that horrible torment of that time again.
    3) When I first started to follow the Lord, I went through a career change, and while I was trying to get my bearings (1987-1989), my low paying job wasn’t providing enough and was very poor. I would cry out to God in need. During that year on two occasions I found $100 bills on the ground, on four occasions I found $50 bills, I can’t recall how many $20’s I found, but I seem to recall five times. Once I found a money clip with 5 twenties , but there was also a business card close by for a limo company. I needed the money, and I become used to finding cash with no way of finding an owner, but this time there was a clue of how I might reach the owner of the lost cash. I called the limo company and asked if anyone had reported lost cash.The woman excitedly said “yes!” In those days I was very eager to witness to everyone in public, so I explained that I was a Christian and I wanted to glorify God in my good deed. She said “I am to, and the driver who lost the money is a backslidden Christian, who was just in the office saying that if God loved him then somehow someone would return his money, but he said that would have to be a miracle because it was just a clip with no ID. He was pretty blown away and gave me a $20 reward. Oh and also during that time I really needed a need futon, so I earnestly prayed on day in my room. A half hour later I heard someone calling out in our living room ( I shared a house with several guy so people were always coming and going) “I’ve got a brand new futon here free for anyone who wants it, otherwise I’m headed to Goodwill.” There were many more similar stories during that season, and looking back I suppose I could have gone to police stations to report found money, but I just never thought of that at the time. Anyhow, when you find fifty bucks in the gutter at third and 37th street, chances are that nobody’s going to go to a NYC police station and chase it down. Of course this isn’t scientific proof, but it was my experience. Now provision does’t usually come as dramatically as it did in that season.
    4) When I first arrived in California, I was desperately seeking for how God might direct my life, because i seemed to be floundering. I was at home listening to a live service on the radio, and I was feeling so dejected, and I said “God you need to answer these two questions ( I can’t recall what the questions were, but they had to do with my current circumstance and a direction choice). I felt that I was suppose to go to the church where the live broadcast was being transmitted from and talk to the man who was leading worship ; Oden Fong. By the time I arrived at the church the service was over, and Oden was surrounded by a large group of people. I was about to leave, but someone said; “Oden, you’re supposed to pray for this guy.” Oden took me to a secluded area of the sanctuary and I was about to tell my story, but Oden stopped me and said “don’t speak.” He went on to pray a prayer about for future, hand described a creative and artistic kind of ministry. The prayer ends with him saying;”and comfort him that the two questions burning in him tonight are not the questions are not important, but will soon become meaningless.” Within a week, a new opportunity presented itself that made the other two questions moot, and his prayer description of my future turned out to be true.
    These are jus a few of the stories that have become common place over the years, and yet my life remains very pedestrian overall. I understand that these events are not absolute proof of anything, but my conscious requires me to process these things carefully. I believe these to be signs and miracles that spoke to the depths of my heart and mind that Jesus in the way the truth and the life, and that He cares for me.
    Maybe I’m quaint, or delusional, but for me to choose to analyze this away, is something I’ve already tried to do in the past. My results were disastrous. Sometimes the comments here about prayer, miracles and the supernatural are discussed as if it’s a courtroom, and the legal process is the ultimate authority in determining truth.
    My I point out that the lady has a blindfold on, and we all know that legal argument can sometimes be obviously wrong and just as esoteric as perception. How do you decide what’s true, and what you believe?

  229. Michael says:

    Michael,
    Good stuff…we’ve traveled some of the same roads…

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