Things I Think

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121 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Michael, this is perhaps your best “Things I Think” post, since I’ve been following. I agree with 1-10. You often articulate thoughts I have had, but could never write down as well.

    I think with all the choices people have today, about what cable news they watch, what radio talk shows they listen to, what authors they read, what Christian radio or TV they watch, what blogs they visit, etc., if we’re not careful, we can fence ourselves into our own little thought-world ghettos where everyone thinks and believes just like me. From their, the next step is: everyone else must be dead wrong and worthy of condemnation. This may not be the entire problem, but I think it plays a big part.

  2. #1 – if you quit writing about biblical issues, you allow the political side to win.
    #2 – be that prophet

  3. Michael says:


    Thank you…especially since this one was a tough one to write in my current mental state.
    There are probably at least a half a dozen topics that I would love to bring a discussion of nothing but Scripture on…but they would devolve into political wars in minutes.

    I didn’t address your second point this week, but wanted to…we no longer disagree over interpretation, we condemn those who differ, based on political and cultural points, not necessarily Scripture.

  4. Michael says:


    Sometimes I think about being that prophet…then I count the cost and know that at least today…I can’t afford it.

  5. Bryan Stupar says:

    Most excellent!
    3 + 4 go together IMO, and are well stated.
    7 + 8 are challenging & potentially life changing.


  6. Dusty says:

    good morning everyone….have a great day!

  7. Michael says:

    Thank you, Bryan…they probably do go together, but coming up with 10 of these every week is a bear. 🙂

  8. Michael says:

    Good morning, Dusty!

  9. Dusty says:

    #2 praying for the up-rising of prophets for the Kingdom

  10. Dusty says:

    Good morning Michael, hope you are well.

  11. Dusty says:

    Michael said, “…they probably do go together, but coming up with 10 of these every week is a bear. 🙂 ”

    But they are always so rich and thought provoking.

  12. Jean says:

    Michael, I’m not getting the “subscribe” email response.

  13. Ixtlan says:

    be that prophet……. after last week? but then again, which prophet did Israel not persecute?

  14. erunner says:

    Michael, I came across this on FB. “On Friday, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. voted to divest from stocks in three companies which sell products to Israel. By singling out Israel for condemnation, the Presbyterians will encourage the very forces that have prevented peace in the first place. As Israel’s enemies in America seek to undermine her, we must work harder than ever to encourage her. Click here to tell Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Presbyterians don’t speak for you!”

  15. Rob Murphy says:

    Did I not choose you twelve, and one of you is the devil?

    Perfect love in words. This declaration chills me every time I think of it.

  16. Michael says:


    What are you trying to subscribe to?

  17. Jean says:

    Michael, it’s all good now. When I sent #12, I then received the subscribe email. 🙂

  18. erunner says:

    I get that the PCUSA is liberal but I’m curious if what they do concerning Israel enough for people to declare it’s a sign of the end???

  19. e,
    You have now moved from newspaper eschatology to Facebook eschatology 🙂

    For some reason I missed the part in the Olivet Discourse where stock portfolios were a sign of the end. No one is required to invest in Israeli companies to ward off the anti christ.

  20. erunner says:

    MLD, it’s all about I will bless those who bless Israel…….. I’m not up on the various branches of the Presbyterian Church but I found the comment to be interesting. I’ll stick to the Left Behind series! 🙂

  21. Xenia says:

    In a democracy moral issues will become a matter of politics. If I say abortion is wrong, I am also saying America’s abortion laws are wrong and I have now entered the world of politics. I would not be concerned with the private lives of homosexuals if they had not made their inclinations a matter of public policy. I hate politics but here I am, in a democracy of sorts, and if I don’t participate in elections, etc., I have no one to blame but myself if the country goes down the toilet. Personally, I would prefer a monarchy and then I could say “Hey, none of this is my fault!” but that is not the case and I do have a responsibility, futile as it seems. There’s a kind of fatalism abroad in this country among Christians (some Christians) which says the country is doomed, it’s reached a tipping point and we can’t go “back.” (Back to what, I wonder.) I share this feeling but I must attempt to overcome it. Sadly, this involves politics.

  22. Steve Wright says:

    all issues now have a political component
    Key word is “now” in that sentence IMO. Something I have said many, many times.

    Such was not always the case in America….

  23. erunner says:

    Xenia, I appreciate your comments. It seems Israel has become an idol of sorts for some. As far as governments go I’ll wait on a theocracy!!

  24. dswoager says:

    Not that I don’t agree with most of what you are saying, but I thought I would mention that my amen to numbers 1-4 would require me to use my caps lock.

  25. Michael says:

    I want to revisit Judas briefly…the narrative around the betrayal is fascinating.
    Jesus never removed or withheld His friendship…He even received the kiss of betrayal.
    Can you imagine what Peter would have done to Judas if Jesus would have “outed” him as the traitor at the Last Supper?
    He never called him out for his thievery or treachery…He offered Himself until the very end.
    Is this descriptive of the unique ways of Christ or prescriptive of how we are to treat the morally depraved enemies of the church?

  26. Michael says:

    Thank you, dswoager. 🙂

  27. Steve Wright says:

    (to add to Rob’s verse (John 6:70) cited in post 15)

    The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said. Matt 26:24-25

    Judas seems an example of hating the sin but loving the sinner. Maybe the most fascinating thing about the Judas narrative to me is that Jesus obviously treated him as He did every other apostle as none of them suspected Judas as the obvious betrayer.

  28. Q says:


    People use the term, Kingdom of God, as if it has a universal meaning that everyone understands; I have not found this to be the case.

    Some believe it is universal over all creation, some think it is synonymous with the church, some the gospel, some think we are in it now, some think it’s here but not yet, some think it’s a future literal 1000 year reign, some think it’s future eternal state, some see it as different aspects of what is mentioned above…

    So I find it hard to understand what a person means unless I know what they mean when they use the term. I can’t be the only one???

    What do you mean by the Kingdom of God and how is it declared?

  29. Michael says:


    That is a great question.
    I have been radically…and I do mean radically… influenced by the writing of N.T. Wright on this topic.

    “From Matthew to John to Acts, from Colossians to Revelation, with a good deal else in between, Jesus is hailed as already the Lord of both heaven and earth, and in particular as the one through whom the Creator God will at last restore and unite all things in heaven and on earth.”

    The basic premise is that the resurrection began the rule and reign of Christ over all things and His reign is all about recreating and restoring that which was lost in the Fall.
    We are all active participants in this.

    “When God wants to take his power and reign, putting the world to rights as he’d always promised, he doesn’t send in the tanks. He sends in the meek, the broken-hearted, the crushed in spirit.”

    The Christian’s central purpose, therefore, is not to become personally saved but instead to be laborers in the construction of that kingdom until God finally completes it. And the deepest purpose of the Christian church is not to pursue converts but to pursue justice.”

    “Jews believed that the coming of the kingdom of God meant the ousting of Israel’s national enemies. The Promised Land was being ruled by the Romans, who kept Israel in bondage to feed its empire. The battle cry for exiled and subjugated Israel was “there is no king but Yahweh” (N.T. Wright, NTPG, 302). However, Yahweh’s kingdom was not made manifest through the ousting of Rome, but rather through the defeat of humanity’s real enemies: namely, sin, Satan and death. Jesus said, “If I by the finger of God cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Lk. 11:20). This indicates that Israel’s God is becoming king and that the enemies – sin, Satan and death – that have held Israel captive, are being cast down. The kingdom of God denotes the coming of Israel’s God in person and power, and this, through forgiveness, deliverance and resurrection, is happening now. He will do again what He did in the exodus: come and dwell in the midst of His people. The kingdom is the fulfillment of Israel’s destiny. Israel’s God becomes king through Jesus’ work, life, death and resurrection. The people of God are summoned to follow Jesus as king. “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace…who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God is king’” (Is. 52:7)”

    That is so brief as to do damage to the whole of his thought…but it’s so cohesive and so utterly biblical when studied in full that it has changed much of what I formerly believed.

  30. Jean says:

    Q, You raise a good point. We sometimes use “jargon”, but even among Christians, we might have different meanings. So I agree that sometimes definitions are helpful.

    I can’t speak for Michael (I look forward to his response), but for me, I look at Col 1:13-14: “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” On that basis, as well as other scriptures (like the parable of the mustard seed), I believe that disciples of Jesus live presently in his kingdom, which is already, but not yet fully realized. At the same time, I recognize Christ is already reigning over creation at the Father’s right hand (1 Cor 15:25; Phil 2:9-11).

  31. Jean says:

    And, I would add to my #30, everything Michael said in his #29.

  32. Steve Wright says:

    Jean lists 3 aspects to the idea of God’s kingdom. I agree with all 3 and would add either a 4th or a sub-aspect of one of the 3 and that is that what we might call Christendom (i.e. the mixture of the tares and the wheat) also is given the label.

    We find verses of support for all four distinctives.

  33. Ricky Bobby says:

    Bible presents what look to be competing narratives about “God’s Kingdom”…in one narrative it is a reign on earth and eventually a new earth…in another it is some sort of “heaven” and other-worldly dimension that is the white puffy clouds and mansions of gold etc etc.

    There is even a narrative that asserts some sort of spiritual-only dimension where Jesus rules and reigns and some sort of “heaven” right now where Jesus is at the right hand of God the father and reigning…yet there is no resurrection of the dead yet.

    I don’t think we really know what “God’s Kingdom” really means yet.

  34. Ricky Bobby says:

    There is another strong case that can me made from part of the bible narrative that “God’s Kingdom” is in your mind…and is really “you” and your conscience and your will, your essence, your spirit etc.

  35. Ricky Bobby says:

    Luke 17:20-21 “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

  36. Michael says:

    The narratives only “compete” if you force them into isolation from each other.
    They end in the same place…with heaven and earth becoming one and God dwelling among His people.

    Justice and righteousness will reign …all wrongs will have been righted and we will once again live in God’s very good creation.

    “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
    And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.””
    (Revelation 21:1–8 ESV)

  37. Jean says:

    RB, #35, I think “within you” may be a poor translation or your interpretation is off. I don’t think Jesus was telling his opposition that the kingdom of God was in their minds. I think Jesus was saying that the kingdom of God was in their midst, in the things Jesus and his disciples were doing.

  38. Ricky Bobby says:

    The literal Greek word is “entos” or “within” followed by Jesus’s next words “you”…or “the Kingdom of God is within you” as the King James states as well as most other bible versions.

  39. Ricky Bobby says:

    Of course there is an apologetic to try and explain that clear statement by Jesus away…and it starts asserting that you can’t trust a bible translation and that you can’t trust one clear statement by Jesus…which is always quite ironic as the rest of the time those holding to a particular apologetic state you can trust the bible translations and that statements by Jesus are absolute and true.

  40. Jean says:

    RB, none of the NASB, ESV or NET translate it as “within you” (although there may be footnotes). Why do you think that a literal translation into an English word which didn’t even exist when Luke was written is the superior translation to convey what Jesus meant? I’m not resorting to apologetics.

  41. Ricky Bobby says:

    ◄ 1787. entos ►
    Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
    From en; inside (adverb or noun) — within.

    Jesus, according to the Gospel of Luke, said literally “the Kingdom is inside you”….and the following Bible translations state this:

    King James Version (which is the official bible according to most Christian sects)
    American King James
    God’s Word Translation
    Jubilee Bible 2000
    American Standard Version
    Douay-Rheims Bible
    English Revised Version
    Websters Bible Translation
    Weymouth New Testament
    World English Bible
    Young’s Literal Translation

    and many other bible translations.

    Which bible has it correct?

    There’s a big difference between “the Kingdom of God is in you” vs. “the Kingdom of God is in your midst”

  42. Ricky Bobby says:

    I won’t belabor the point so as to conform to the rules of the Core Group of the blog and the blog host.

    There is a big difference as to what Jesus literally stated and even the many bible versions disagree…which is a problem in and of itself when appealing to the bible as “the absolute word of God, every jot and tittle!”

    I am more inclined to believe Jesus literally said “the Kingdom of God is within you” as many of the bibles state…but who knows for sure. Your guess is as good as mine…though some will tell you with all certainty that “thus sayeth the Lord!!!!!” and “the bible says so!!!!”

    …err, not so much.

  43. Jean says:


    “King James Version (which is the official bible according to most Christian sects)”

    Are you serious? I must not get out enough, because I haven’t met any of them.

    “Which bible has it correct?” Well, read it in context. Is Jesus telling his opposition that the kingdom of God is in his opponents? Is Jesus talking about a when or a where?

  44. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jean, the truth is, Jesus could very well have been telling the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God is within them…that each human has the opportunity to feed the Good Wolf and feed the good spirit and run from the devil or bad spirit that is also within each human.

  45. Michael says:

    Let’s say for the sake of argument that the KJV has this passage right. (I don’t think so, but it’s irrelevant to my point).
    We don’t have to engage in the “either/or” argument…we engage holistically with all the passages about the kingdom of God and we say “both/and”.

    There is a sense in which the kingdom is within us as the Holy Spirit indwells the true inhabitants of the kingdom and are led by Him in advancing it outward.

    I don’t think it fits in that well with the contact of the passage, but neither does it negate the rest of teaching on the matter.

  46. Steve Wright says:

    The Greek word is not clear-cut, only appears one other time in the whole NT and to add to the issue is the need to understand the uses of “within” in early 17th century England. (We certainly do not use the word “without” today as it was formerly used.)

    Which is why, in addition to the context (Jesus speaking to His enemies) we always interpret Scripture with Scripture, and doing so, I believe, makes the idea of “in your midst” or “among you” as the better understanding (and I write as a KJV/NKJV man).

  47. Steve Wright says:

    When I mentioned four uses of kingdom, to elaborate, 2 concern the individual relationship, and 2 concern the global relationship. And there is a parallel. Obviously any talk of a kingdom of God must speak of a sphere where God rules.

    So on the one hand, God rules the world, today. He does so in part by allowing things that one day will be done away with and when He will rule the world without those allowances, and His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

    God rules Christendom today too. He does so in part by allowing the tares to grow with the wheat but one day His rule will result in the exclusion of the tares.

    So at the end, (as Michael referenced from Revelation) there is but one kingdom, consisting of all the saved under one King. I am in the kingdom now, spiritually/individually, and one day that kingdom will be realized in the earthly. This is the already/not yet aspect to the kingdom in my opinion.

  48. Q says:

    What someone believes the kingdom of God is seems to depend on at least two things, 1 what is the church and when did it start, 2 eschatological beliefs.

    I believe that the kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven are for all practical purposes the same thing because they are used in the gospels interchangeably.

    I think the bible has five phases to the kingdom of God, 1 Old Testament prophecy of the kingdom, 2 when it was at hand in the presence of the King being in person, 3 the interim period after the King was rejected, 4 the manifestation during the Millennium, 5 the eternal state.

    We now live in the interim phase, Pentecost until the rapture, where the church is related to the kingdom of God but is not one and the same, although all those in the church are in the kingdom.

    If I understood Steve Wright correctly I agree, that the kingdom of God has two aspects, the outward profession of all who profess Jesus as their King, and the inner reality (those born again).

    I believe the purpose of the Church is to live godly, preach the gospel, and disciple.

    If I understood Michael correctly, his view is more of a reformed view (kind of Abraham Kuyper like) and I see things differently. I do not see some universal working with Jesus to redeem the universe (cosmos?) I do not believe man has the power to do that, but Christ will at his return.

    I also think that Jesus meant in your midst because of who he was talking to, they had hardened their hearts against him and rejected the evidence he gave as being the King so it could not have been in them.

  49. Q says:

    I also agree with Steve Wright’s #47

  50. Ricky Bobby says:

    We are both the wheat and the tare. The Kingdom may very well be “within” as the KJV and other bibles state Jesus said.

  51. Q says:

    The wheat are real believers, the tares are professing believers. They are separated and have different destinations.

  52. Ricky Bobby says:

    I think it’s yet another metaphor…one where you choose an “either/or” like Michael states above (ironically).

    It very well could be that the entire bible narrative and very sizable and noticeable “paradox” is not an either/or…but in context is actually a story and metaphor of the internal struggle that all humans are born with…the struggle between good and evil within…and that God took care of the evil part by sending Jesus to the cross…and eventually God will reconcile all…though some may have to endure some form of punishment before they are reconciled…some will have to have their tare part, their chaffe part burned away metaphorically…which probably includes all of us to a degree no matter the judgment.

  53. Ricky Bobby says:

    For example, Peter an apostle, a disciple, “filled with the holy spirit”…was also Jesus’s “enemy”…Jesus referred to him as “satan” here:

    “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”–Jesus Christ addressing Peter literally…in the bible, no matter the translation.

    There will be an apologetic to explain this away…but the facts are the bible states that Jesus addressed Peter as “satan!”

  54. I think that Jesus was addressing Satan who was influencing Peter.

    Jesus would have to be one stupid dude not to know the difference between Peter and the actual Satan.

  55. Jean says:

    Q, #48, if Jesus is in the redemption business, then his followers are too. But you raise an issue that is current within the church: What is the mission of the church and of individual Christians?

  56. Dusty says:

    “I used to be addicted to the hokey pokey, but then I turned myself around.”

    ~Chevy Chase

  57. Dusty says:

    couldn’t help myself….it was just too cute. 🙂

  58. Ricky Bobby says:

    MLD said, “Jesus would have to be one stupid dude not to know the difference between Peter and the actual Satan.”

    Well, now you are taking a “paradox” and making it an “either/or” like Michael said we shouldn’t do above.

    It could very well be a “both”…the devil inside.

  59. A Christian does not have the “devil inside”

  60. Ricky Bobby says:

    MLD, do you deny the fact the bible states that Jesus addressed “Peter” and not satan…”and Jesus turned and said TO PETER”…”get behind me Satan!”

    Jesus clearly states, according to the bible, that he was addressing Peter…yet he called Peter “Satan!”…a paradox if there ever was one.

    How can Peter also be Satan?

    Well, satan in that case was in Peter…satan was Peter’s flesh or evil side that wars against the spirit…satan that is the evil in each human was who Jesus addressed in that instance.

  61. RB,
    I guess that is a very good explanation from some New Age point of view – it’s just not a Christian view.

    Go find some rainbow chaser and run it by him.

  62. Ricky Bobby says:

    “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”

    “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

    “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”

    “but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”

    “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”

    “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.”

    MLD, do you have “evil” in you?

  63. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael, I would request that you apply your own rules and moderate MLD’s comment above which is conflict-inducing and inappropriate. Thank you.

  64. How could hanging around New Agers be conflict inducing? It would take all you had to stay awake or not stoned 🙂

  65. RB,
    “MLD, do you have “evil” in you?” Heck no!! Why would you think so. You err when you make the equivalence that “sin nature” is evil.

    But you are big into ying and yang, dualism, good gods and bad gods – so I guess you project that onto Christian truth, you will come up with some strange comparisons.

  66. Ricky Bobby says:

    It is the paradox that the bible self-presents…and what Michael says is not to be taken as “either/or” that leads to opinions that are subjective but fit within the context of the ever-competing narratives of the bible.

    Everyone is forced to try and resolve the paradoxes.

    I will take a breather and not engage you and won’t go conflict-oriented now so as to conform to the rules, even if you choose not to, and even if Michael chooses to unequally apply the rules on here.

    Good day.

  67. To anyone but RB,
    The Bible is pretty clear and is not there to confuse people.
    Jesus does not want anyone to think that the Apostle Peter is Satan nor does he want Christians to worry that they can become possessed by Satan. End of that story.

    There are many paradoxes in the Bible and Lutherans are the best at living in tension when scripture says both sides of something … this is not one of them.

  68. Jean says:

    RB, I don’t believe that in Paul’s argument in Romans Chapter 7 he is describing the Christian predicament. I believe, along with Michael Bird, Douglas Moo, Ben Witherington, III, and others, that Paul is speaking about the Jew living under the law. Here is Bird’s short synopsis for your consideration:

    “While many might take great comfort in a Christian reading of Rom 7:7-25, furnishing proof that even the Apostle Paul struggled with sin in his Christian life, providing hope and succour for the rest of us in our struggle against the flesh – and it’s a position supported by scholars no less than Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Dunn, and Cranfield – yet the basis for such a reading is really quite flimsy. Paul is not talking about Christians in this section since the statement “I am of the flesh, sold under sin” (Rom 7:14) conflicts with what he says about Christians in Romans 6 where he declared that they have been freed from sin (Rom 6:6-7, 17-18, 22). The speaker struggles to obey the law (Rom 7:22, 25), whereas Christians are free from the law (Rom 6:14-15; 7:6). And if this is a Christian being spoken about, then goodness me, where is the Holy Spirit? Surely the transforming work of the Holy Spirit should get a word in somewhere here, but it doesn’t! We have to wait until Rom 8:1-17 to hear about the Holy Spirit, and there we are informed that the Spirit “has set youfree from the law of sin and death” (8:2), the requirements of the law are fulfilled by those who “walk … according to the Spirit” (8:4), “by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the” (8:13), and “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves” (8:15). In other words, reading Rom 6:1-7:6 and Rom 8:1-17, which bracket Rom 7:7-25, shows that those who are in Christ Jesus and who share in the Spirit, have been saved from the horrible things spoken about in Rom 7:7-25. So the “I” of Rom 7:7-25 cannot be a Christian if Christ has delivered us from slavery to sin, if believers are under grace not law, and if the Holy Spirit enables believers to fulfil the just requirements of the law. Yes, there is an on-going struggle with the flesh for Christians (see Rom 8:1-13; 13:14; 1 Cor 3:1; Gal 5:13, 16-17, 19), however, that is not the point here: it is instead a redemptive-historical argument about the law’s goodness and its limitations in God’s plan.”

    I understand there is disagreement on this interpretation; however, for me this is the most persuasive.

  69. Dusty says:

    MLD said, “The Bible is pretty clear and is not there to confuse people.
    Jesus does not want anyone to think that the Apostle Peter is Satan nor does he want Christians to worry that they can become possessed by Satan. End of that story.”

    just ‘cuz it is worth repeating. 😉

  70. Dusty says:

    MLD is not evil!

  71. London says:

    I think other people think Christians can be possessed by satans demons. Not Satan himself.

  72. Ricky Bobby says:

    “Jesus does not want anyone to think that the Apostle Peter is Satan ”

    Well, the facts are Jesus, according to the bible, addressed “Peter”…the text states “Jesus turned TO PETER” and then called Peter “satan”…he literally said, while looking at Peter and addressing Peter…”Get behind me Satan!”…at least that’s literally what the bible states.

    Now, that doesn’t make any sense, unless you do some major assumptions that MLD does…and the typical apologetic does….yet in the next breath the apologetic states we are to take the bible literally and not make assumptions…when it suits them.

    Clearly Jesus addressed Peter as Satan. This forces one to assume that Jesus is either crazy (which is not the case)…or that Satan is a metaphor for the evil human flesh warring in Peter (which is plausible due to much in scripture)…or that the bible got that part wrong and Jesus really didn’t state that to Peter while addressing Peter specifically.

  73. Dusty says:

    Christians can’t be possessed by Satan nor demons ….where the Holy Spirit lives is no room for darkness…however Christians can be harassed by them…

  74. Ricky Bobby says:

    Dusty, I would assert that MLD is evil and good, like all humans. I’m sure if MLD was honest, he’d cop to having done some evil in his lifetime, my interaction on here with him has demonstrated to me that he is a sinner and does commit evil like the rest of us. It is man’s reality: we are a mix of good and evil…capable of great good and great evil, all from the same “tree”…it isn’t an “either/or” as Michael suggests is how to deal with paradox above in the thread.

  75. Ricky Bobby says:

    “Demon possession” is again a metaphor and not what you think IMO.

    When the bible says “the devil entered Judas” or that Jesus healed the “demon possessed” etc, it is ancients articulating a concept that is unknown to them and even not fully known to us. It is a very crude description that leads to error and assumption.

    We now know that Jesus cured paranoid schizophrenics of their mental health issues, they were not possessed by literal disembodied spirit creatures…the “voices” were in their minds due to chemical/biological imbalances etc.

    “the devil entered Judas” is likely metaphor for Judas gave himself over to his evil desires and acted on them in betraying Jesus for money.

    “Get behind me Satan!” addressed to Peter by Jesus affirms this.

    Jesus was simply telling Peter to quell his evil desires and get with the program.

  76. Ricky Bobby says:

    Dusty said, “where the Holy Spirit lives is no room for darkness”

    Well, not according to many examples in the scripture or bible.

    The bible asserts that “satan” who is the metaphor for evil is in heaven and dwells with God and does God’s bidding and argues with God to let him test or tempt different folks and argues with God against folks etc.

    Plus, the bible also asserts that the Holy Spirit or “God” (you can’t separate the Trinity…or can you?) is “In all, through all, and all in all” and that even in hell, there is “God” which includes the Holy Spirit etc…so clearly the Holy Spirit dwells, is “with”, and exists alongside “evil” all the time.

  77. RB,
    Here is where you are wrong (amongst many places) – You said “states we are to take the bible literally and not make assumptions…when it suits them.”

    Everyone takes the Bible literally – when it speaks in poetry, it is to be taken as literal poetry – literal narrative, literal apocalyptic.

    What we are not to do is take the Bible literalisticlly.

  78. “The bible asserts that “satan” who is the metaphor for evil is in heaven and dwells with God… ” where do you get this stuff? Satan was cast from heaven quite some time ago?

  79. But I will say that Satan has gotten into my sprinkler system out back and I need to go work on it. 🙂

    I think I will try that “get behind me Satan” stuff out there.

  80. Michael says:


    I haven’t been in front of a computer for hours and I’m not going to run home when you and MLD are having a pissing match.
    Your views are so far beyond anything resembling historic, orthodox Christianity that it should be no surprise when Christians who do hold to some form of historic, orthodox Christianity object strongly.
    Finally, I have no doubt that Jesus knew the difference between mental illness and demon possession.

  81. I wasn’t having a pissing match – I was trying to be that prophet who stands up and tells idol worshipers and false gos worshipers that they are wrong.

  82. London says:

    Can’t believe I’m going to say this….but is dont think RB is acting out of line at all (or MLD)
    Personally, I think this has been a great thread.
    Q’s question about Kingdom was great and the conversation has been helpful.
    Even if RBs thoughts aren’t “orthodox”, they aren’t (so far) aren’t too far off track of “normal” conversations people have every day.

  83. Michael says:


    I was only responding to claims of unfair moderation…I simply can’t be here 24/7.

  84. London says:

    Oh. I guess I missed that post.

  85. I enjoyed the depth and complex thought that undergirds this list

  86. brian says:

    “I have no doubt that Jesus knew the difference between mental illness and demon possession.”

    I agree Jesus did, He was / is God. It is the application of what scriptures say or how they are “interpreted” and I would hold that if one looks at how the Church has dealt with the mentally ill can make one wonder. Now many in the church have done wonders with people with mental illness, but even on this blog it has been discussed many times how people with mental health issues have been treated by some aspects of the Church.

    I have seen people writhing, cutting, biting, ripping their hair out down to the skull etc. I prayed, fasted, asked the elders to pray, etc. It had no effect, now the behavior modification, the medications and other fallible human interventions worked wonders. Now I am fine saying God did answer these prayers by giving us the interventions, I think that is how God works most of the time. That does not diminish my faith even a little bit. I have no doubt about satanic influences and demons such as what is going on in Iraq and in Mexico or in the sex traffickers etc.I dont know if that makes any sense.

  87. erunner says:

    It seems pretty simple to me. If scripture says that people were possessed that pretty much settles the issue.

    It seems the mentally ill can’t catch a break. I’ve read too much about people who have a mental illness and have been abused by kooks telling them they are possessed. Hillsong church ministries did a bang up job on that with girls who were anorexic. They even did exorcisms on these poor girls. Imagine surviving that at the hands of a church ministry you or your parents trusted.

    Now we have some attributing schizophrenia to people in scripture who were demon possessed. You really have to read something into scripture that isn’t there to come to that conclusion.

    No wonder so many afflicted with mental illness are so loathe to come forward to get help.

    Thank God for those who work with the mentally ill with compassion, wisdom, while not bringing some strange ideas about scripture into the equation.

  88. Dusty says:

    Good words EBrother!!!! Thank God for you!

  89. Dusty says:

    Michael said, ” I have no doubt that Jesus knew the difference between mental illness and demon possession.”

    Amen to that!!!

  90. erunner says:

    Thanks Dusty.

    #1… I’m trying to understand what’s going on with what are describing as a crisis concerning the influx of children across our southern borders.

    Your heart has to go out to these innocents regardless of how or why they are in the position they are in. These children need care.

    On the other hand it doesn’t seem possible for us to take in an unlimited number of children and do what it takes to give them a future.

    How do we as a nation respond??

  91. Dude says:

    Bless you……I have a brother who struggles with mental health issues.He refuses to step into a church because the way Christian fundamentalism treats the mentally ill.Sadly the damage is done….my brother won’t even discuss it now.

  92. Michael says:


    I’ll write an article on the children on the border as soon as I have the guts to do it.
    Probably won’t be today…
    The real question isn’t what do we do as a nation, but what should we want to do as the church?

  93. erunner says:

    Thanks Dude.

    Michael, I realize the topic is flammable to say the least. One comment though.. it seems that how we respond as a church in a sense is tied into how we as a nation address what’s happening now at our borders. I’ll wait for your article before I comment any further.

  94. Ricky Bobby says:

    MLD said, “where do you get this stuff? Satan was cast from heaven quite some time ago?”

    I get it from “the bible”


    “6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.

    7 And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”

    Satan was in heaven talking to the “Lord” about Job…after he was banished from heaven.

  95. Michael says:


    Our response doesn’t have to be tied to political considerations, though it will be.
    To be as honest as I can be I doubt I’ll ever write it…the strife would blow the whole place up.
    I don’t have what it takes to navigate that right now.
    This is exactly what I was thinking about when I wrote #1…

  96. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael, there is zero evidence of “demon possession” today, every case has been accurately diagnosed, when examined, as some observable and verifiable form of mental illness.

    Again, Jesus was simply using words that had meaning in that archaic day. If Jesus had stated, “I just cured that dude of paranoid schizophrenia”…the ancient cave men would have looked at him and said “what the heck is that?” they had no understanding or context or meaning to apply to mental illness or paranoid schizophrenia…so Jesus called it what they called it “demon possession!”

  97. Michael says:


    Mental illness is an organic disease.
    Jesus knew the difference between healing and exorcism.
    You reject the scriptural witness and the reality of present day demonic activity.
    I don’t.
    Not much left to discuss.

  98. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael, I take offense to the charge that I was “in a pissing match” with MLD. That is not true.

    I was stating, very responsibly and politely, my opinions…and it was very germaine to the topic of this thread…I was well within “the rules” and have conformed to your wishes of conduct…and was not engaging MLD in a “conflict” manner, I was merely answering questions that were asked of me and answering them using very non-confrontational words…whereas he began name-calling and demeaning etc which is supposedly against your rules.

  99. erunner says:

    Michael, I’ve noticed your ‘quietness’ and am not surprised that #1 was on your mind when you wrote it. I’m sad that you can’t write it due to our inability to keep things civil.

  100. RB,.
    You make this too easy – “Satan was in heaven talking to the “Lord” about Job…after he was banished from heaven.”

    Well, obviously he had not been banished yet! 😉 See, banished means “not allowed back in.”

  101. Michael says:


    I have more pressing concerns at the moment and I’m not going to drive home from an appointment to moderate the blog.
    Your views are frankly offensive to many and I let you post them in moderation.
    MLD is also offensive at times and I’ve spoken to that as well.
    That’s about all I can deal with presently.

  102. Michael says:


    There are few things I feel as passionately about as immigration, children, and the border.
    It just ain’t worth the stress right now…

  103. Ricky Bobby says:

    That is a new one, now my opinions which are held by many liberal christians are “offensive” and actionable.

    It’s not enough to require conformity to your rules of conduct, now an opinion that is contrary to yours is “offensive” and actionable for moderation.


  104. Ricky Bobby says:

    MLD, that doesn’t make sense. The bible said Satan was kicked out of heaven…but there he is in heaven talking to God about Job.

    Again, not my words…it’s “the bible”…which presents very contradictory narratives in many areas.

  105. Michael says:


    My kid gets sick at a day camp and instead of taking care of him, I’m supposed to come home and arbitrate between you and MLD?
    Not going to happen.
    I don’t see what he said as offensive…your views on the kingdom are not orthodox Christianity and are much more in line with New Age spirituality.
    That’s not an insult, it’s a fact.

  106. Ricky Bobby says:

    You always found the time to moderate me and ban me when others asked you to.

  107. Ricky Bobby says:

    MLD’s comments were name-calling and in a mocking manner that elicits a negative response and starts up a conflict, which you’ve stated many times to me that i am the source of conflict on your blog which is why you moderated me and have banned me at times and shut your blog down at times.

    I won’t belabor the point, but it is an example of you not applying your own rules in an equal manner.

    I will take my leave so as to try and conform to your rules even if you don’t apply them equally to others.

  108. I am playing nice over on the Links thread. 🙂

  109. Jean says:

    RB, the Bible has a very simple solution to the problem of mocking:

    “Whoever corrects a mocker is asking for insult; whoever reproves a wicked person receives abuse” (Prov 9:7).

    “Do not speak in the ears of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words” (Prov 23:9).

    If you think these verses apply to any of your conversations, then apply them.

  110. Michael says:

    MLD’s comments (in this case) in my opinion were theologically accurate as to the orthodoxy of your views and where they fit on the spirituality spectrum.

    If I saw them as stirring conflict I would do something about them when I could.

    Your comments are usually going to stir a strong response by their nature…you spend a lot of time attacking things held dear to most of my readers and myself.

    I am only going to do what I can when I can and I’m not going to add blog strife worries to the list of what I’m dealing with at home.

  111. Dusty says:

    I was on last night but did not see anything that needed moderating…just MLD and RB doing their same song and dance….Though I am glad MLD was on to state Biblical truth when needed….and Jean as well

  112. Dusty says:

    Michael , I’m sorry Trey is sick again/still …. will be praying for you both.

  113. Ricky Bobby says:

    Dusty, duly noted that you consider it not offensive to call someone “not Christian” and an “idol worshipper” and that they worship a “false god” and are “New Age” and “rainbow chasers”…personally I find all of those misrepresentations and intentional name-calling intended to harm and slight as offensive.

    I’m sure if I were to use the same terms to describe your opinions, I would continue to be moderated and probably banned if I continued to address my difference of opinion with you in such a manner.

  114. Dusty says:

    RB, call me whatever you want….I leave you for Michael to moderate…..I will not moderated your comments to me or anyone else.

    I thought MLD was referring to your comments as such and not you personally. You yourself said you were conducting an experiment here…How are we do know what you really truly believe….

  115. Dusty says:

    You have been around and around with MLD, If you don’t want to spar with him then don’t.

  116. I said your comments were very New Age (and they were) – I told you to go try them on some rainbow chasers – I didn’t call you one, but I don’t know why you would take offense if I had.

    I did say that I do stand up against idol worshipers and those who worship false gods – that comment should bother only those who fall into that category.

    For me and my own opinion, I say some things are Christian and some things are not – if others here want to be yellow bellied believers and accept every comment as equal to any other as it relates to Christ – so be it … but not me.

  117. Ricky Bobby says:

    That is false Dusty. You have taken that comment out of context. The conduct was the experiment portion (at times)…and the Group and Leader here had rules of conduct that were required to participate w/o moderation or banning…much like churches require.

    Now it is not just conduct, but “opinion” that is “offensive”…and the conduct of others who express an opinion in line with the Group and Leader is given leeway to be offensive and conflict-oriented and insulting…I assume b/c it is an opinion you agree with.

    It is a very arbitrary standard and not at all right or equal scales.

    But it’s your Group and it is Michael’s blog. I just have no respect for him or the Group here as fair and honest brokers and I will gladly depart as a “blessed subtraction” as you call it.

    You are no different than the churches and leaders you rail against.

  118. Dusty says:

    MLD, I appreciate you stating clearly the Gospel and the Bible….and making sure false doctrine is not left to stand as truth.

  119. Michael says:

    Let RB have the last word on this and let’s move on.

  120. Xenia says:

    Dusty reminded us that “Ricky Bobby” is conducting some kind of experiment here, with the PhxPeeps as guinea pigs, I suppose. I doesn’t hurt to keep this in mind when interacting with him.

  121. Jean says:

    RB, no subtraction.

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