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Brian McLaren: Which Holy War?

posted by gp_intern

On Good Friday, 2007, a friend drew my attention to a fascinating editorial by CNN contributor Roland Martin. It expressed in both intellectual content and emotional intensity what many of us think and feel about the state of the Christian community in the United States. Along the way it offered this rather inspiring vision – evocative of the biblical vision of the lion and the lamb lying down together in peace:

I’m looking for the day when Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Joyce Meyer, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, James Kennedy, Rod Parsley, “Patriot Pastors” and Rick Warren will sit at the same table as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Cynthia Hale, Eddie L. Long, James Meek, Fred Price, Emmanuel Cleaver and Floyd Flake to establish a call to arms on racism, AIDS, police brutality, a national health care policy, our sorry education system.

An aside: Martin’s use of the warfare language in the editorial – call to arms, holy war, set our sights, and so on – mirrors the surge in military rhetoric currently (over) deployed by our news media. Every conflict, it seems, quickly becomes a full-blown war – from “The Battle over Anna Nicole’s Body” to “the nuclear option” in Congress to Newt Gingrich’s proclamation during the invasion of Lebanon last summer that World War III had begun. (I found myself using warfare rhetoric just the other day, in a completely inappropriate ministry context. I guess the language of war, like war itself, can be contagious.) We should all do some serious reflection on how the warfare rhetoric we use can turn the tables and start using us.

But putting that important concern aside for the time being, let me quote Martin again. Speaking of the deep polarization between the Christian “left” and “right,” he observes:

Many people believe we are engaged in a holy war. And we are. But it’s not with Muslims. The real war – the silent war – is being engaged among Christians, and that’s what we must set our sights on.

Martin’s insight about the conflicted Christian community in America reminded me of three books I read recently about Islam.

In the last chapter of Caryle Murphy’s A Passion for Islam (Scribner, 2002), the Pulitzer-prize-winning author speaks of “the divisions that mark Islam today as it passes through one of its most crucial periods.” She continues, “It is this internal battle for the hearts and souls of fellow Muslims, rather than Bin Laden’s call for jihad against the West, that is most crucial for the future of Islam’s contemporary resurgence” (276).

Similarly, Irshad Manji’s courageous book The Trouble with Islam (St. Martins, 2003) speaks of the great need for ijtihad – honest reflection, self-criticism, self-examination, vigorous rethinking, renewal, reformation. Manji explores the conflict between those who look inward, seeking to root out internal hypocrisy and religious dysfunction through ijtihad and those who externalize their anxiety by pursing violent jihad against external enemies instead.

Finally, Reza Aslan, in No god but God (Random House, 2005), concludes:

The tragic events of September 11, 2001, may have fueled the clash-of-monotheisms mentality among those Muslims, Christians, and Jews who seem to mistake religion for faith and scripture for God. … What has occurred since that fateful day amounts to nothing short of another Muslim civil war – a fitnah – which … is tearing the Muslim community into opposing factions (266).

As I read Roland Martin’s editorial, I couldn’t help but feel the resonances between his call for conflicted Christians to find a way beyond their impasse and the parallel struggle among our Muslim friends and neighbors in seeking a way forward for their conflicted faith. For all of their differences, members of the two religions have at least this in common: both faiths are in “crucial periods,” experiencing an “internal battle” or “silent war” among opposing factions, a struggle to retain what is true and good and generous, to reject what is inconsistent with each faith’s highest ideals and dreams, and to do so in ways that won’t blow us all to smithereens.

The fact that Martin’s editorial came out on Good Friday got me thinking of Jesus’ role as one who challenged the religious establishment of his day with its polarizations and paralysis. Jesus called for a kind of ijtihad (repentance) among his brothers and sisters, proclaiming a new commandment of love, leading to a new way of being godly people – as reconcilers, peacemakers, servants of the last, least, and lost. I thought about what his message cost him on the first Good Friday, and what it may cost anyone today who seeks a better way beyond the politicized, fractious status quo.

We’ve probably heard many people here in the U.S. ask, “Why aren’t there more moderate Muslims speaking out against the violent extremists and calling for reform in Islam?” As I reflected on Roland Martin’s editorial on Good Friday, 2007, I couldn’t help but think, “Maybe around the world, ‘behind our back,’ so to speak, people are asking a similar question about Christians in the U.S.”

These reflections stayed with me over the weekend and were with me still on Easter Sunday. In his Easter sermon, my pastor quoted Romans 8, where Paul says that the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. Those words challenged me to believe that the impossibility of resurrection is indeed possible … not just in our individual lives, but also in our religious communities, if we are truly open to the life-giving, death-defying Spirit of God. I’m grateful to Roland Martin and cnn.com for prompting this Easter reflection.


Brian McLaren (brianmclaren.net) is an author, speaker, Red Letter Christian, and serves as board chair for Sojourners/Call to Renewal. His next book, due out in October, will be called Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope.



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kevin s.

posted April 9, 2007 at 4:25 pm


Martin begins his editorial with the usual “two-issue” canard with respect to conservative Christians, and then continues with an oblique and unfair critique of our political values.So, essentially the solution is that conservative and liberal Christians need to work together… To become liberal Christians.If you don’t like the politicized, fractious status quo, don’t contribute to it or, at least, don’t hyperlink your entire post to an article contributing to it.



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splinterlog

posted April 9, 2007 at 5:02 pm


Now that you’ve had a chance to throw your tantrum Kevin, I think the rest of us can have a proper discussion! Brian – thanks for your article. Manji is indeed a corageous woman and there are many like her. I have to laugh when I hear the talking heads on the news talk about the need for an islamic “Reformation” – these are people who’ve never lived in a Muslim country. Yes the “war” rhetoric concerns me as well. Is there a “War within Islam”? Well certainly Shias and Sunnis are battling each other in Iraq right now. HOwever, this has less to do with ideological differnces than with the collapse of law and order – which is the root of extremism. As Karen Armstrong explains it, Fundamentalism and extremism tends to emerge in societies at the margins of the international community. Alienation, or at least the perception of it, has more to do with extremism than ideology (which comes later in the equation) I think that part of the problem is that, as you say, we have turned Muslims into the “Other” and are unable to see the Spirit of Christ in them as well – we have much to learn from that great Arab-American poet Khalil Gibran!



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 5:03 pm


The interesting parallel between the internal conflict Islam faces, and the one Christianity is working through is political. Many muslims also consider themselves secularists, in that they believe in a seperation of religion and state. Fundamentalist muslims desire a government structure dominated by religious laws. The same is true for fundamentalist Christians. Pointing out the differences between Islam and Christianity is insightful. We might argue about which would be better: a Christian state, or a Muslim state, or even a Jewish state; based upon the virtues of each of those religions. To do so neglects a better option: none of the above. Sojo makes the necessary break with fundamental Christianity, but the momentum of that break carries them too far, urging government action on behalf of another set of Christian principles: social justice and charity. These are excellent values to argue for, but they are outside the proper role of the state. The state exists to bear the sword and punish evildoers. It does not exist to impose moral rules in order to convict for victimless crimes. Neither does it exist to organize compulsory charity. Progressives shoot themselves in the foot by foisting charity upon the state. Better to work for a more limited state alongside more effective churches and parachurch organizations. A Red-Letter Christian will recognize that Jesus called us to serve the least of these ourselves, and nowhere does He direct us to spread the gospel, be it evangelical or social, through the mechanism of the state. Jesus rejected the crown in part to demonstrate this very principle. He wants disciples to freely choose the cross he sets before them. To deny that performing the gospel entails carrying a cross is to diminish His own death and resurrection. Hardly a fitting message for the Easter season. To impose a cross on anyone who does not freely choose it is injustice of the grossest kind. Nathanael Snow



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jesse

posted April 9, 2007 at 5:05 pm


This is vintage McLaren. Why can’t we all get along? Get past the petty disagreements? The problem is that McLaren’s ideas about “agreeing” means everyone becoming liberal (as kevin said).The reason we can’t agree is because there are honest differences of opinion about the way in which good can be accomplished. To take one of the author’s issues–racism. People like Jesse Jackson believe the solution is through racial preferences. Conservative Christians, on the other hand, tend to view such policies as unjust…we see them as fueling racism in the long run.Though there are differences of opinion on the manner in which good can be accomplished, the important thing to remember is that the church and the kingdom of God are much bigger and more important than politics. Some of the names from this list (and some of the posters on this blog) do not realize this, unfortunately.



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Wolverine

posted April 9, 2007 at 5:10 pm


Roland Martin wrote: I’m looking for the day when Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Joyce Meyer, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, James Kennedy, Rod Parsley, ” Patriot Pastors” and Rick Warren will sit at the same table as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Cynthia Hale, Eddie L. Long, James Meek, Fred Price, Emmanuel Cleaver and Floyd Flake to establish a call to arms on racism, AIDS, police brutality, a national health care policy, our sorry education system. Yes, and I am really looking forward to the day when Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, et al roll over to the conservative side and issue a call to arms on overregulation, high taxes, Islamic fundamentalism, illegal immigration, union corruption, and (since we’re at it) abortion and gay marriage. Look at it on the bright side: We’ll always have something to look forward to! Wolverine



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Christian Beyer

posted April 9, 2007 at 5:17 pm


It doesn’t seem to me that Brian (or anyone he quotes) is expecting everyone to agree on anything other than the fact that all of us have value in the eyes of God and therefore should be valuable to us as well. Even though we may not agree with each other (in fact we may abhor another’s position) we should never the less try to be open and understanding to their point of view.As a former Christian fundamentalist I had a very difficult time dealing with the fact that the person in my life who most consistently resembled Jesus was the Muslim woman living next door.



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Wolverine

posted April 9, 2007 at 6:08 pm


Roland Martin wrote: Many people believe we are engaged in a holy war. And we are. But it’s not with Muslims. The real war — the silent war — is being engaged among Christians, and that’s what we must set our sights on. I find it amusing that, right after writing about the misuse of war rhetoric, Brian McLaren throws this quote at us. Folks, what we have in the church right now is a debate, or maybe an argument. Right now the left and right in the American church are mainly lobbing arguments at each other, not grenades. Sometimes we descend into wisecracks. Occasionally we may yell. Yelling, however unedifying, is not war. If you’re going to go after rhetorical overkill, this would be a good place to start. Wolverine



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splinterlog

posted April 9, 2007 at 6:12 pm


Yes, the Christian Right tends to wage its “just wars” overseas rather than at home.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 6:18 pm


The debate we seem to be having is over who will get to hold the blackjack. Who will gain control over the political mechanism. We hear nothing about renouncing the blackjack altogether as immoral. Until we get to that point it won’t matter which sort of gnostic pagans we become, neither side is exempt from the charge of statism.



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kevin s.

posted April 9, 2007 at 6:45 pm


“Now that you’ve had a chance to throw your tantrum Kevin, I think the rest of us can have a proper discussion!” Exactly. Any dissent is dismissed. So, you can be part of the dialogue so long as you don’t dissent from the liberal viewpoint. So why hide behind this desire for unity? You don’t want unity, you want people to agree with you. That is fine, but don’t pretend it is something it isn’t. “I think that part of the problem is that, as you say, we have turned Muslims into the “Other” and are unable to see the Spirit of Christ in them as well” How can you see the spirit of Christ is someone who does not embrace Christ as their Lord? This statement dismisses the Bible out of hand.



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kevin s.

posted April 9, 2007 at 6:52 pm


“The debate we seem to be having is over who will get to hold the blackjack. Who will gain control over the political mechanism. We hear nothing about renouncing the blackjack altogether as immoral.” I see your point, but I think this is a false choice. A third option would be to accept our disagreements over the blackjack, but recognize that blackjack is not the end, or even really a means to the end.That is my problem with this article. Christians are asked to set aside our differences and embrace what is important, and the what is important turns out to be who controls the blackjack. This is no different from Dobson asking others to quite being divisive and deal unite behind the important issues… Like abortion and abstinence. The problem is that, by pinning their hopes on political justice, this movement has enveloped those who haven’t accepted Christ. As such, we are wrestling with the question of whether Christ is even our savior while wrestling with questions of justice, economic policy, equality, etc…



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 7:04 pm


kevin, What then is the end? A collective end must emmanate from a collective body. Sojo assumes that the American public is a legitimate body. I reject that. The only legitimate collective, the only group that can really use the word “we” is the church. Collectivization requires a change in our human nature. Political movements have always sought to achieve such a change merely by imposing an arbitrary end. Conversion and regeneration make us a part of Christ’s body. Thus “we” become a “we” subject to a common He. I seek to demonstrate that He prescribed a peculiar program for “we” which did not include manipulation of power. Lets the pagans do what they will, “we” cannot have a lasting effect on them by playing their game. We must return to unilateral action by the church as the only means for achieving any objective goals. No other artificial collective can even agree upon an end, let alone a means for achieving it. The economic calculation for doing so is impossible.



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Pastor Astor

posted April 9, 2007 at 7:14 pm


“Maybe around the world, ‘behind our back,’ so to speak, people are asking a similar question about Christians in the U.S.” – You can be assured we are! The mixture of patriotism, nationalism, moralism, modernism and Christianity that evangelical Americans are convinced is an “orthodox faith” is less than appetizing to anyone not from the US. Repent! As a reflection concerning agreeing: I am not sure the basis for unity is meant to be theological agreement, rather it should be love.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 7:18 pm


Simply stating love is a bit of an oversimplification (why is that such a long word…?). There are a set of “essentials” often identified as “orthodoxy” which Christians should be able to come to agreement upon, lest they be not Christians. That said, love is of course central to orthodoxy. I argue that acceptance of a non-aggression principle is also inherant to orthodoxy. Nathanael Snow



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Sarasotakid

posted April 9, 2007 at 7:29 pm


“How can you see the spirit of Christ is someone who does not embrace Christ as their Lord? This statement dismisses the Bible out of hand.” kevin S. Uh kind of in the same way Jesus saw good in the Samaritan who was anything but an Orthodox “Torah-believing” Jew. I don’t think Jesus threw out the Hebrew scriptures by recognizing how the Samaritan who did not profess to be an Orthodox Jew did what the law required, i.e. to love his neighbor. Also it is patently false to say that Christian Beyer’s seeing Jesus in his Muslim neighbor is to dismiss the Bible out of hand. No more than did Jesus reject the Jewish law and scriptures in commending the Samaritan. Christian Beyer’s statement may comprise a rejection of your narrow interpretation of the Bible, Kevin, but that is a far cry from rejecting the scriptures themselves. I agree with Christian Beyer who saw more of Jesus in the Muslim woman who lived next door. He wasn’t so blinded by his religious paradigm that he was unable to see the good in somebody whod does not share his “orthodox” beliefs. Very good article by Brian McLaren!



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 7:34 pm


Progressives shoot themselves in the foot by foisting charity upon the state. Better to work for a more limited state alongside more effective churches and parachurch organizations. Juris How do you do this, by what method, system?



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 7:43 pm


butch, How do we work for a more limited state and more effective churches and parachurch organizations? 1. By quitting the game oneself, and encouraging others to do so. 2. By assuming full responsibility for caring for the least of these and acting on that responsibility. 3. By pointing out the inconsistency of the christian ethic with statist methods, and working within the church to eliminate statist thought processes. If we do #1 we stop contributing to the problem. If we do #2 we can cut the state’s power out from underneath them. If we do #3 we cleanse the church. Again, let the Pagans do what they will. My only concern is the tarnish which accumulates of the name of God when we use it as a tool for statist agendas. I’m not against welfare. I’m against christian support of welfare. I’m not against the war in Iraq. I’m against christian support of the war. I’m not pro-choice or pro-life. I’m against the church’s employment of the state for enforcing the Christian ethic of life, or the Christian virtue of compassion. The church should demonstrate this ethic and this virtue apart from the state. Nathanael Snow



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kevin s.

posted April 9, 2007 at 7:56 pm


“Uh kind of in the same way Jesus saw good in the Samaritan who was anything but an Orthodox “Torah-believing” Jew.” I didn’t ask how we could see good in Muslims. I asked how we can see the spirit of Christ. There is a difference. “Also it is patently false to say that Christian Beyer’s seeing Jesus in his Muslim neighbor is to dismiss the Bible out of hand” I didn’t say this about Christian Beyer’s statement. Christian said the person he met that most resembled Jesus was the Muslim woman next door. I have no qualms with that, though I think he might get out and meet more Christians.”Christian Beyer’s statement may comprise a rejection of your narrow interpretation of the Bible, Kevin,” I don’t think that it has been successfully argued that my interpretation of the Bible is narrow. Have you ever met a Calvinist? That’s narrow (though not necessarily wrong). My beliefs are pretty close to what is largely held to signify Christianity.But yes, I do believe you have to accept Christ as your savior to be a Christian. I still don’t have any problem with Beyer’s statement.”Very good article by Brian McLaren!” I find it interesting that you thought this was a good article when you accused me of being blinded by a religious paradigm for simply asking a question. Ostensibly, the article was about unity between conservatives and liberals, yes? And yet you can read it, embrace it, read my comments, dismiss them as blind, and keep going. What does that say about the article?



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kevin s.

posted April 9, 2007 at 7:59 pm


“No other artificial collective can even agree upon an end, let alone a means for achieving it. The economic calculation for doing so is impossible.” I don’t see how this is at odds with my comment. Perhaps you did not intend it to be.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:01 pm


And yet you can read it, embrace it, read my comments, dismiss them as blind, and keep going. Kevin S. I agree with that choice words in describing your views. I couldn’t have said it better. Well said.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:10 pm


kevin, You do a fine job demonst”rant”ing (was a typo, but seemed so appropriate!) sojo’s fallcies. Yet you have rejected my solution as “a false choice.” Instead you sympathize with use of the state for a different set of ends, which are not legitimate as they assume an illegitimate collective.



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:20 pm


The church should demonstrate this ethic and this virtue apart from the state. Nathanael Snow jurisnaturalist I agree completely with this statement, how does a government program interfere with churches doing anything they feel is consistant with their faith.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:26 pm


butch, Well, historical anecdotes of totalitarian governments limiting the ability of the church to fulfill its mission aside… state programs ought not to affect churches ability to perform their faith. However, when churches adopt use of the state program to achieve their ends the people will tend to adopt an “I paid at the office” kind of attitude toward social justice. In the end, we should all pay our taxes, we just shouldn’t expect them to do any good. Nathanael Snow



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:29 pm


3. By pointing out the inconsistency of the christian ethic with statist methods, and working within the church to eliminate statist thought processes. Juris I’m sure you have thought this out carefully but for a forum like this it seems you must take a particular situation and show how that indivdual thing is good or bad. Abortion is a good example for me, I agree it is not the states business. If your faith or belief directs your choices or behavior then act that way and teach that way.



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splinterlog

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:30 pm


… you want people to agree with you. That is fine, but don’t pretend it is something it isn’t. No I really don’t want you to agree with me Kevin. I’d be quite worried if I did! Anyway agreement is not the point – being able to have a civilized conversation with someone you disagree with is. You have proven again and again – by your snarky comments to Jim, Brian and others – that this is not something that you’re intsrested in doing.How can you see the spirit of Christ is someone who does not embrace Christ as their Lord? This statement dismisses the Bible out of hand. Hmmm, you know the Scripture says that in Him we live and move and have our being. Yes I do think that the Spirit of Christ permeates all of creation. One may choose to reject it, but one may also accept it without the dogmatic trappings of historic Christianity.



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:36 pm


In the end, we should all pay our taxes, we just shouldn’t expect them to do any good. Nathanael Snow jurisnaturalis Don’t get bysited, I think I’m in your camp.Take FEMA, good bad?



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:38 pm


splinterlog, “snarkism” is often merely ironic. In that it contains meaning and helps to persuade. Most of the time a snarky remark can have a meaningful response. Empty snarks – one might call them Donnyisms – do not require a response. That said, I try to refrain from snarking, instead opting to work out more lengthy articulations of my arguement. As a result I get fewer responses than the accused snarks in an order of magnitude. Intense debate which is constructive to thought, and at any rate a good exercise in rhetoric, is not for the faint of heart, nor the simple-minded. Next time one is confronted with a snark, don’t just jump it, (ha ha) but attempt to understand its point and expose any weaknesses in the argument it is making.



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Payshun

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:42 pm


As one of those progressives that believe government should look out for its citizens (especially when it does them harm) then yah I think that government should be used to heal as much as possible. I don’t understand why conservatives are so against the government feeding or helping people when we lack the resources in the church to do it.I don’t care how it’s getting done as long as people are getting fed. p



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:43 pm


butch “bysited”? FEMA… So a government organization which has lots and lots of beaurocratic incentives instead of market incentives or ethics – based incentives turns out to be a slow and wasteful means of rescuing and helping the victims of natural disaster. What I noticed about Katrina was how many people blamed the government instead of crying out to God. Who is your god?



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:48 pm


“I don’t understand why conservatives are so against the government feeding or helping people when we lack the resources in the church to do it.” Pay I think Juris wants the church to step up to the plate, give more and do more. This is fine with me but nothing the government does interferes with that. I think there is a danger giving to much power to the “church”, look at the catholic church over the years or even Jim Jones.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 8:54 pm


Payshun, “I don’t care how it’s getting done as long as people are getting fed.” Your compassion has trumped ethics. Understandable, yet short-sighted. Is it worth it to feed everyone in the world today if it results in mass starvation tomorrow? Never give in to the tyrrany of the urgent. Use of the state empowers it and restricts liberty which is the source of wealth and expands our ability to make a difference in the long run. Nathanael Snow



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:01 pm


Use of the state empowers it and restricts liberty Juris Misuse of the state restricts……….



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:05 pm


butch, “Juris wants the church to step up to the plate, give more and do more.” I call it “assume full responsibility.” “misuse…” Now, we must define what the state is useful for. In Scripture I see it as useful in “wielding the sword” for punishing evildoers, and not much else. I believe all public services could be managed privately and that national defense has ceasing to be a meaningful term since almost all national defense since the Civil War has been national offense. I believe militias are a legitimate form of national defense and that standing armies a re a threat to liberty.



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:10 pm


Oil as a free market business creates a cabal that taxes to extent that economies can pay. I think all resourses oil, electricity, food etc should be managed and conserved etc. Anything that everyone must have should be managed for the common good.



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:13 pm


I believe militias are a legitimate form of national defense and that standing armies a re a threat to liberty. jurisnaturalist Standing armies have always been more of a threat to the “people”. Germany, Russia, this list can go on forever and as far back in history as you want to go.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:15 pm


butch, Do you think that a government would be more responsive too consumers’ preferences than a cabal would? Even before Rockefeller’s Standard Oil was broken up oil prices under a natural monopoly were falling. State sponsored monopolies are much more destructive to consumers’ needs and to economic calculation than natural monopolies.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:15 pm


Agreed on militaries.



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:19 pm


Do you think that a government would be more responsive too consumers’ preferences than a cabal would? Juris The only preferences that should be uncontroled are luxuries. Don’t control buying a gas guzzler, tax the waste.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:19 pm


butch, From past postings I have detected that you are suspicious of big business. I am, too, because quite often big business enjoys some sort of favor from the state. If, however, business were prevented from receiving favors from the state and instead were forced to operate fully “on the merits” I see no reason to despise industry. Nathanael Snow



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Christian Beyer

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:21 pm


Brian puts it so well: Jesus called for a kind of ijtihad (repentance) among his brothers and sisters, proclaiming a new commandment of love, leading to a new way of being godly people – as reconcilers, peacemakers, servants of the last, least, and lost.For many years I identified strongly with a particular political persuasion, My dedication to the cause was so strong and my zealousness to converting others to my point of view so severe that I held anyone who disagreed with me, if not in contempt, then at least with disdain. At some point I stopped listening to them altogether. The only thing worse than someone too thick headed to see things my way was someone who apparently held no opinion whatsoever. Grudgingly I could admit to having some respect for those people who, although terribly wrong, would at least display the same passion for their convictions that I had. Moderates, in my mind, were just fence-sitters , wishy-washy people just waiting to see which way the wind would blow before espousing an opinion. They either lacked the imagination to hold a conviction or more likely they lacked the courage to identify with any idea that might invite controversy. Although perhaps this does describe some of those people who we call moderate I now think a better label might be that of diplomat . Although there is nothing inherently wrong in holding to extreme points of view ( Wilberforce was considered an extremist ) it is usually counterproductive to cease engaging with and listening to your opponents. To forgive your opponents for their wrong-headedness, to listen to their arguments with real sympathy and to show them hospitality is to follow the example of Christ.



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:21 pm


State sponsored monopolies are much more destructive to consumers’ needs and to economic calculation than natural monopolies. jurisnaturalistWe can vote in or out the manager of say oil and I would vote in or out all of these “dept heads”



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:24 pm


Sometimes a gas guzzler is the right car for the job. Who is to decide? The market helps by demonstrating true opportunity costs to each action. Imposition of a moral judgement: “gas guzzlers are bad.” is not helpful in creating policy. Once the door is opened to this sort of judgement, others creep in. You make a statement derrogatory of luxury. I’m not sure there is a Biblical precedent for this position. Solomon made gold as common as dirt, yet was not condemned for this, but for idolatry. Jesus was wealthy as a child, and was never shown to be in want as an adult.



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:25 pm


Moderates, in my mind, were just fence-sitters , wishy-washy people just waiting to see which way the wind would blow before espousing an opinion. Beyer Ike said the only place anything gets done is in the middle of the road.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:28 pm


“Also it is patently false to say that Christian Beyer’s seeing Jesus in his Muslim neighbor is to dismiss the Bible out of hand” I didn’t say this about Christian Beyer’s statement. Kevin S. Yes you did. Read your own post: “How can you see the spirit of Christ is someone who does not embrace Christ as their Lord? This statement dismisses the Bible out of hand.” kevin s.You’re free to express any opinion you want here but when you’re questioned about them, it is probably a good idea not deny what you said. There is a written record here, Kevin.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:29 pm


Moderates tend to be the ultimate blend of Fascists and Communists. They believe in the government control of everything. Hence, things tend to “get done” when they are in power. Bush is an excellent example of a moderate. I’d prefer nothing “got done” because more often than not things tend to “get done” to you rather than for you. Nathanael Snow



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:29 pm


Nice snark Sarasotakid!



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:38 pm


“Imposition of a moral judgement: “gas guzzlers are bad.” is not helpful in creating policy. Once the door is opened to this sort of judgement, others creep in.” Juris When something creeps in we creep it right back out and I’m not saying any luxury is bad. I’m saying that oil belongs to all of us because it was placed there by Gods will (you define how) and we must conserve and manage it.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:42 pm


The *price* of oil conserves and manages its use better than any centralized authority could. Goods held in common are not owned by all of us, but rather by none of us, and as such, no one takes individual responsibility for managing those goods. It has been demonstrated that if the Sierra Club took ownership of ANWAR we could get the oil out of there and insure protection of the environment. The prospect of the government tapping into that same resource is scary.



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kevin s.

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:55 pm


“Nice snark Sarasotakid!” If inaccurate… “You’re free to express any opinion you want here but when you’re questioned about them, it is probably a good idea not deny what you said. There is a written record here, Kevin.” My response was to Splinterlog’s comment that we need to see the spirit of Christ in Muslims. I quoted it, and the responded to it. My response was not to Beyer’s comment about the Muslim neighbor more closely resembling Jesus than any he/she had met before.You simply misread what I said, which is understandable given that you conflate “spirit of Christ” with “good”.



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:55 pm


The *price* of oil conserves and manages its use better than any centralized authority could. Goods held in common are not owned by all of us, but rather by none of us, and as such, no one takes individual responsibility for managing those goods. It has been demonstrated that if the Sierra Club took ownership of ANWAR we could get the oil out of there and insure protection of the environment. The prospect of the government tapping into that same resource is scary. jurisnaturalist The whole argument is based on the first theory “none of us”, the Sierra Club doesn’t own and could not own it? The government could do just as good a job as private interprise. Government now owns it and taps in by deciding who will have rights to natural resources mainly by bids.



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kevin s.

posted April 9, 2007 at 9:59 pm


“I agree with that choice words in describing your views. I couldn’t have said it better. Well said.” You prove my point, then, that this article isn’t about coming together, but is rather about criticizing conservatives.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 10:02 pm


The government could do just as good a job as private enterprise… if it were straighforward in pursuing profits and uninfluenced by lobbyists, if it did not engage in wealth redistribution, etc… in other words, if it were not a government.



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kevin s.

posted April 9, 2007 at 10:09 pm


“Yet you have rejected my solution as “a false choice.” Instead you sympathize with use of the state for a different set of ends, which are not legitimate as they assume an illegitimate collective.” I didn’t reject your solution as false, I merely concluded that you were missing a third (and very commonly held) option that Christians can be active in politics without holding it higher than our faith. You obviously disagree with that option, but your choice was false to the extent that it was not included.In general, I see the role of governmental regulation as necessary to maintain the power of the people. If you make no provision for the protection of human life by governmental entities, you are embracing anarchy, which will ultimately lead to a more powerful government.You can argue, that my end is less government, when my end should be Christ, but you have also argues that less government facilitates a stronger role for the church. Don’t see where I am ranting here.



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 10:18 pm


The government could do just as good a job as private enterprise… if it were straighforward in pursuing profits and uninfluenced by lobbyists, if it did not engage in wealth redistribution, etc… in other words, if it were not a government. jurisnaturalist You do not accept my premise that natural resources are for the common good, I get there with God loves us all. There is no need for a lobbyist with out the existence of Exxon in the system. I don’t see a need of profit from natural resources only a system for use not waste. I know where that goes and I’ll engage that debate.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 10:25 pm


kevin s., Christians may be involved in politics if they are working to eliminate the use of force in as many ways as possible. I don’t reject Christian activity in politics to that extent. However, I reject the use of political mechanisms to achieving Christian ends. You see govt regulation as necessary to maintaining the power of the people. The power of which people? Over what? If you are saying that the government exists to protect the power of the people over government you don’t make sense. If the people need their power protected, what is the threat? You point out that human life needs protecting. I agree. I believe that the courts are sufficient given a condition of outlawry for all those who choose not to abide by the court’s decisions. We do not need any greater state entity. In the meantime I will protect my life with my gun, and I encourage everyone else to do the same. There is a deep and growing literature expounding the possibilities of an anarcho-capitalist institutional framework. It is worth investigating with an open mind. I believe that we could survive absent any government. But I do not wish to impose such an ethic on involuntary pagans. I merely argue that as Christians we are to behave radically differently, rejecting politics as a means of achieving our ends. I harbor no illusion that an anarcho-capitalist society will ever exist, I merely recognize its consistency with the Christian ethic. Conservatism and Liberalism fail in this regard.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 10:32 pm


butch, I will heartily accept your premise that natural resources are for the common good. How then shall natural resources be allocated or even discovered? What incentive will motivate a Rockefeller to hire a chemist and create Kerosene from sticky mud? For what reason will a man sow and reap more than he can consume if not to have opportunity to trade and thus realize a profit? Is there something inherantly evil in profit? Every voluntary exchange requires that both participants profit. Gains from trade make specialization and realization of comparative advantages possible? Are you advocating a malthusian aggrarianism? I think we arrived at this point once before. Natural resources are used for the common good when someone owns them and uses them for his own good. If everything is owned and everything is utilized and managed for the good of the owner then trade is forthcoming and everyone is better off.



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mark

posted April 9, 2007 at 10:40 pm


As usual, I’m not addressing the main point of the article, but… re violent metaphor. Yes, it can be misunderstood (and there are some songs that I have refused to sing when on witness marches that go through Muslim areas because they would be misunderstood). But sometimes it is the only language that will do – hence Paul’s use of it in Eph 6. I am willing – no, I am commanded – to wage war on demons (including the principalities of militarism, mammonism and jingoism) and will show them no mercy when called to attack. It’s just human beings that Jesus won’t permit me to be violent with. re Nathanael’s posts. Nathanael, I’m interested in your stance re the state – it reminds me of where I was at a few years ago. I still reject the constantinian option and welcome your warnings. I think, though, that there are more positions possible than those which have been set out. Have you come across John Howard Yoder’s book on the subject? (something like “The Christian Witness to the State”) – difficult to summarise in a short post, but really worth reading. Mark



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 9, 2007 at 10:45 pm


Mark, I was influenced by Yoder when I sat in on a class Hauerwas teaches. I have read most of “The Politics of Jesus” and various essays by Hauerwas, and am 2/3 of the way through Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship. I also read Resident Aliens by Hauerwas and Willimon. I have also been influenced by the Austrian Economics of Hayek, Mises, and Rothbard. I welcome any criticism of my position and am interested in other similar positions. e-mail me with more I’m done for the day folks! ndsnow@ncsu.edu Nathanael Snow



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Hali

posted April 9, 2007 at 10:45 pm


Wolverine wrote, “issue a call to arms on overregulation…and gay marriage.” LMAO!



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butch

posted April 9, 2007 at 10:51 pm


Juris, I say drugs, cig, alcohol should be legal, and production for sale should be illegal. You can give it away, but you must grow your own poppies, tobacco, make beer in the bathtub. Take out as much crime as possible, my form of freedom!



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Hali

posted April 9, 2007 at 11:34 pm


Butch: “make beer in the bathtub.” eeeeeeeeew!Now, seriously, I will try to avoid contributing to the Christian fitna and address where the lion might lie down with the lamb. Rick Warren has actually been a huge anti-AIDS activist, and he has had Barack Obama speak at Saddleback Church. Senator Bill Frist sends me emails on behalf of the Save Darfur Coalition. Does anybody here say that these are things that Christians shouldn’t be involved with? So what are we waiting for? And just yesterday, Easter, the following article showed up on the Yahoo! news page: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070409/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/haiti_high_cost_of_dying_3 Isn’t this a call for Christian action?



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Canuckelhead

posted April 10, 2007 at 1:29 am


Kevin S says: “My beliefs are pretty close to what is largely held to signify Christianity.” Such bilge reminds me of the words of our Lord, “blessed are the arrogant, for they have arrived.”



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butch

posted April 10, 2007 at 1:35 am


Hali, there are a million examples. We have to choose and rank them 1,2,3 and I don’t discount the value of any of them. Or choose one or more and get after it which is what juris says, the churches are supposed to do it.



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kevin s.

posted April 10, 2007 at 2:32 am


“Such bilge reminds me of the words of our Lord, “blessed are the arrogant, for they have arrived.” Ah yes, and obliquely labelling someone as arrogant is the most humble thing in the world. But you needn’t be humble when you’re right, right?Either way, my statement is quite true, even for most of the posters on this blog, to the extent that they are evangelical.



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Brian Goff

posted April 10, 2007 at 3:11 am


Brian McLaren wrote: “We’ve probably heard many people here in the U.S. ask, “Why aren’t there more moderate Muslims speaking out against the violent extremists and calling for reform in Islam?” As I reflected on Roland Martin’s editorial on Good Friday, 2007, I couldn’t help but think, “Maybe around the world, ‘behind our back,’ so to speak, people are asking a similar question about Christians in the U.S.”" Actually, Brian’s article is a good example of that very debate he wonders about. Those reading this blog and other progressive Christian materials participate in this debate and in their own way live it. So to imply that the debate isn’t going on in the American Evangelical movement to me is not accurate. Besides, the reason that moderate Muslims don’t speak out is that in doing so they take their lives in their hands with real death threats. As of right now, that type of debate is a rarity in American Evangelicalism. Brian



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Christian Beyer

posted April 10, 2007 at 4:27 am


Those reading this blog and other progressive Christian materials participate in this debate and in their own way live it. Good point, Brian Goff.



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kevin s.

posted April 10, 2007 at 4:43 am


“So to imply that the debate isn’t going on in the American Evangelical movement to me is not accurate” I agree as well.



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Mike Hayes

posted April 10, 2007 at 4:44 am


Accomplishing many things in life reduce to a budget for worthwhile objectives. What happens with our budgets for “charity”? Where does most of that money go? Does it assist “thirsty”, “hungry”, “naked” etc. persons? I’ll bet not… I’ll bet most of it goes to buildings… what buildings…?



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butch

posted April 10, 2007 at 5:08 am


Those who believe that there are no moderate muslims speaking out please tell me what muslim you have talked to?



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Austin

posted April 10, 2007 at 5:18 am


Well…they were probably talking to the Muslims like Osama Bin Laden and that whole crew…



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butch

posted April 10, 2007 at 5:22 am


Is there something inherantly evil in profit?” I’m not saying that at all. I am talking about those things that everyone must have. Electricity, roads, hospitals, oil, gold, copper, etc. Coal is a huge source of energy and fairly dirty to burn so only burn if you must and work tirelessly to clean it up. So the government should be all over its use. Don’t dig it for profit only if you must have it without a lobbyist to get laws passed to allow its dangerous use. This type of analysis can be applied to oil, copper, etc. The owners will always try to get the most for their product and sell as much as they can regardless of how it hurts us all. My view is a bit out of balance as is the current condition, now comes an negotiated change toward the middle.



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butch

posted April 10, 2007 at 5:31 am


I see no reason to despise industry. Nathanael Snow jurisnaturalist | I don’t, the law requires a corporation to make all the money it can. Now comes government to regulate industry if it causes a problem for society in general. It is a bit backwards when such as Abbramoff has more power than me or you and I and many more who might agree. We, the people do not have lobbyist. Don’t give all the crap about voting, we have limited choices.



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butch

posted April 10, 2007 at 5:46 am


butch, I will heartily accept your premise that natural resources are for the common good. How then shall natural resources be allocated or even discovered? Juris Now you take me to task on the hardest part, we just have to work on it and do the best we can. The last 2-300 years of using every resource we can lay our hands on as fast as we can and selling all we can for as much as we can leaves us with many problems.War is one of them. You can’t fight over oil or water if everyone owns it.



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jurisnaturalist

posted April 10, 2007 at 1:26 pm


g’morning. butch, When the activity of a firm encroaches on the rights of individuals, let there be torts. Attempting to regulate the industry generates opportunities for rent-seeking behavior which will favor some over others. Articulation is a tricky thing, and imprecise in nature. It also falls back upon the state to do for us what we could do for ourselves, falls back on a legislature to achieve what could be done by the courts. As for bathtub beer… I’m all for legalization of drugs and their production. Why not allow individuals to realize their comparative advantages? You are such a granola! ;) I like the beer other people make, and don’t have the time to learn how to make it myself. Hopefully some other people will like the philosophy, ethics, and economics I make and will trade me some of their beer for it! Mmmmm… beer…. Nathanael Snow



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David

posted April 10, 2007 at 1:42 pm


Why do we as Christians care about the Muslim faith? The only change we should pursue in relation to Muslims is their conversion to Christianity. The change we should seek among the Christian community is a swift departure from the Anti-Christ socialist emergent church . The Christian Church desperately needs a reformation. The current “holy war” in the church is an appropriate one. Christ burned with a righteous anger when addressing the Pharisees of His day. The Pharisees of our day are the Brian McLaren types who promote unity with a fallen world spirit and would use Jesus simply as a means to some Utopian social end. The current “holy war” is a struggle to fight the “revolution” and bring about a reformation. It is a struggle to lead the lamb back to the lion; they must never be separated. It is a war to protect the atonement from becoming a spoke rather than the hub; it’s all the cross. Jesus spoke of love, but He also told us to count the cost. There is a price to pay. There is an appropriate disunity that must occur. This article seems to place Christ as a hypothetical runner-up. To trivialize Romans in the way that McLaren did is unacceptable. That is our cause for the current “holy war” today. The Christian Church today has crossed the line that was drawn once and for all with the atonement of Christ, and they make themselves into unwitting workers of iniquity; for the sake of their own political and social reputations. Our good intentions died on the cross with Christ; because that’s where they deserve to be. The Church has crossed the line from relevance into accommodation (a likely “progression” as we pursue relevance without brokenness). Christ told us that if the world loves us we are not His disciple; this includes the worldly church. Peter said in 2 Peter 3:7 “But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly”. The church needs to stop worrying about the temporary condition of our cursed flesh and concerning ourselves with the commission we received before Christ ascended; to spread the message of the atonement to the ends of the Earth. But even as Jesus ascended His disciples were looking for a temporary social end. We can see this when they asked Him, “will you now at this time restore the Kingdom of Israel?” This is what Christianity looks like without the power of the Holy Spirit, which they had not yet received. Compassion without Christ as the center is satanic. Bono’s efforts are Satanic. McLaren’s efforts are satanic. They are preachers of Satan’s gospel. I will inject this quote from Arthur Pink all over this site, every chance I get: “The gospel of satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit, whereby the human race is regarded as one great “brotherhood.” It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to “the best that is within us.” It aims to make this world such a congenial and comfortable habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to occupy man so much with this world that he has no time or inclination to think of the world to come. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, charity and benevolence, and teaches us to live for the good of others, and be kind to all.” It’s all the cross, it’s all Christ. Let us continue to fight the good fight of this holy war and seek to save the lost through the perpatually offensive message of the gospel, and they will know we believe what we preach through our love; a love that has boundaries… a love that knows when righteous anger is needed, a love that draws the line and stays on the side of truth at all costs.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 10, 2007 at 2:13 pm


David says;“The Pharisees of our day are the Brian McLaren types who promote unity with a fallen world spirit…” But Jesus said; “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:27-28Then David says; “Let us continue to fight the good fight of this holy war and seek to save the lost through the perpatually offensive message of the gospel…” Was it Jesus’ intent that his message be offensive? Would he have called it the Good News? Rather than ram the gospel down people’s throats it would seem that St.Paul recommends that we should at first; “work out your (our) own salvation with fear and trembling.” Phillipians 2:12



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Sarasotakid

posted April 10, 2007 at 4:06 pm


Christian Beyer, I think it’s time the trolls no longer be fed. The ones who disparage Brian. I won’t name names. They know who they are. I would ignore them.



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Deno Reno

posted April 10, 2007 at 4:24 pm


Blessed Are The PEACEMAKERS



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kevin s.

posted April 10, 2007 at 4:39 pm


“Was it Jesus’ intent that his message be offensive? Would he have called it the Good News? Rather than ram the gospel down people’s throats it would seem that St.Paul recommends that we should at first;” I don’t agree that McLaren is a contemporary Pharisee, but I do think that Jesus, at minimum, understood that his message would be offensive. He said it would turn families against each other, and that we would be hated for following him. Yes, we should first ensure our own salvation, and we should not “ram” anything. However, some people are offended by the gospel. One of the pitfalls of the post-modern movement (which is not without merit) is that they hold to the notion that Christians can do an end run around this idea if they play their cards right.”I think it’s time the trolls no longer be fed. The ones who disparage Brian. I won’t name names. They know who they are. I would ignore them.” Again, I am curious as to what you took from McLaren’s post.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 10, 2007 at 4:55 pm


Sure Jesus message was offensive to some. It was most offensive to me when I suddenly stood convicted of the fact that, as a Christian, I was behaving reprehensibly. I was preaching, proselytizing and taking great pride in that I could count myself among the ‘saved’. My friends and I looked down upon the ‘sinful’ of this world, shaking our heads as if to say, “they know not what they do, poor things”.When I was a non-believer the Gospel never offended me, because I rarely heard it. I was offended by those ‘Christians’ who painted a picture of the kingdom that was merely a characterture of God’s reality. The irony is that, once I became ‘saved’ it took little time for me to become a legalist and a Pharisee. I am sure that in many ways I still am one. But I thank Christ that once I realized what I had become and knew that this was not his way, then the burden truly did become light.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 10, 2007 at 5:07 pm


BTW, Sarasotakid. About the trolls who disparage; I don’t always agree with Brian (on this website there may be the false impression that I rarely do). But when he is right he is right, when he is wrong he is wrong (I wonder what that is like?). I think we need to keep inviting the trolls to the table and hopefully they will develop better table manners. That is if we are setting good examples, of course. :)



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kevin s.

posted April 10, 2007 at 5:48 pm


“When I was a non-believer the Gospel never offended me, because I rarely heard it. I was offended by those ‘Christians’ who painted a picture of the kingdom that was merely a characterture of God’s reality.” That makes more sense.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 10, 2007 at 6:32 pm


Let us continue to fight the good fight of this holy war and seek to save the lost through the perpatually offensive message of the gospel, and they will know we believe what we preach through our love; a love that has boundaries… a love that knows when righteous anger is needed, a love that draws the line and stays on the side of truth at all costs. But you do not fight a “holy war” with unholy weapons and, more importantly, an unholy attitude. The church was founded in a decadent, hostile culture and thus never sought political power or anything else but Christ. Also, Jesus did not come just, or perhaps primarily, to “save souls”; His purpose was to have the Father adopt people into His new Kingdom and to bear witness to “the better way,” with alternative values and the like. That’s what Jim Wallis is trying to do; so, I believe, is Brian McLaren. But the established guys on the political right have completely forgotten that, which is why they have lost their way.



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Ben Wheaton

posted April 10, 2007 at 7:22 pm


Rick, I think that the main problem with your point of view is that Christ was not primarily a moral reformer, although the implications of his message involve moral reform. He came to save souls, and ultimately, to die in order to satisfy God’s justice. It irks me that people like Bruce McLaren attempt to say that Christ’s message was primarily about making the earthly world better through “social action.” Issues like poverty, war, etc. will never go away because man is fallen. The ultimate solution to evil is Christ–not Christ the “moral reformer” but Christ the redeemer, who changes us from the inside out. The world is in a state of confusion and war because it is dominated by the devil, and will be in a state of war until Christ returns. Now, this is not to say that we shouldn’t be involved in advocating moral issues (although as as Canadian I should warn you that universal health care’s not all it’s cracked up to be), but it is to say that we should keep a proper perspective in our moral crusading.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 10, 2007 at 7:48 pm


He came to save souls, and ultimately, to die in order to satisfy God’s justice. I maintain that it’s only half the message — a good book to read on the topic is Ron Sider’s “The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience” — but if you read carefully I addressed the concern you had. Remember that Jesus Himself referred to another Kingdom where things will be set right; it is up to the church to model that Kingdom here on earth. He doesn’t always tell us just how to do that, so we need to read the Word and ask for illumination from the Holy Spirit. Now, it will be different for different people. The problem is that we often reduce “salvation” to forgiveness of sins and hope of heaven, which are of course respectively the beginning and the end — but there’s a whole lot missing in the middle. I realize that social reform can go only so far, but He calls us never as individual souls but to be part of a Body.



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Stephen Davidson

posted April 10, 2007 at 7:51 pm


The first blog response from Kevin S. is perfect. Liberals want everyone on earth to become liberals. There is such a minimal amount of racism from whites to blacks, the Lib community has got to invent it. BLACKS CALL BLACKS, nappy headed ho’s all day long. In fact “Pimps” are role models. May I remind folks that Pimps are a form of slave owner. The “White” Christians mentioned in this slash and burn piebce of ignorance written by Brian, is nonsense. There is no big crisis between Christians. ALL Christians believe the Gospel and the New Testeament writers the same way. Liberals are not Christians “IF” they invent new theologies to promote gay marriage and support altering the family and taxing the family into chaos. I have enough black friends – who are Christians – to know that they believe in the Gospel in “VERY CONSERVATIVE” ways. Buzz off Brian for trying to invent problems between black and white Christians. As a white man, I say, it is far past time for Blacks to go after their own cmomunity AND CULTURE, that promotes Hoism, Pimpism, bastard children situations as if they were hero endeavors. And to stop supporting the Democrats who are the very embodiment of Sodom and Gomorrah. Actions and doctrine makes the Christian. Ask Jesus, Peter, John, James, Jude and paul. There are seperate denominations that agree with each other so easily that any Christian could go from one to the other with no problem.Now, you mention Fred Price and Joyce Meyer, now there is a good place to see Christian equity. Both preach heresy as easy as they do the New Testament. False teachers come in any color. I notice that Jim Wallis is an adorable looking middle aged white guy. But his actions and doctrines are as dark as it gets. darkness comes in the lack of color. Brian McLaren, try writing a piece on the consistency of real Islam. Which is real war against non-believers. The Muslims that do not believe taht are like Liberal Christians. They are editing out of their religious writings what they don’t like.Try starting a fight between Buddhists Brian. Talk about a chaotic and inconsistent belief system. Or, Bri-guy, compare human anatomy to those that want to violate it with improper sexuality and to try to make it rational. Now there is a problem. If that is racist, get ready to color my whole body.



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Hart

posted April 10, 2007 at 8:25 pm


Great comments as usual Brian. But I got to tell you, looking at the Joel Osteen pop up add to the right of your article, just sent my head spinning. What a table conversation you have in mind with all the folk you envision at your table! Might I suggest spicey barbecue for the menu. Thanks again.



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Arlene Raudenbush

posted April 10, 2007 at 8:34 pm


In answer to the question, “Why aren’t there moderate Muslims speaking out against violence and terror?” I suggest that we read more of Fethullah Gulen’s work. In the book “M. Fethullah Gulen: Essays, Perspectives, Opinions” is his article “True Muslims Cannot Be Terrorists” which originally appeared in the “Turkish Daily News” September 19, 2001. Reading further we find this spiritual Sufi teacher writing…”this springtime will rise on the foundations of love, compassion, mercy, dialogue, acceptance of others, mutual respect, justice, and rights” (page 31). His teaching and writing has focused on the necessity of establishing interfaith dialogue, building mutual respect, and education of the heart, mind, and spirit. These voices are out there. But are we listening?



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Payshun

posted April 10, 2007 at 8:34 pm


Stephen, You just made this so damn easy to respond to. I am black, progressive, contemplative, mystical and Christian. So I hope this helps you to understand something since your post lacks wisdom or an understanding of recent history.The reason why more blacks don’t vote republican is because of what happened after the Voting Civil Rights Act passed. We saw all the racist good old southern boys stick to the conservative Republican party. We saw important issues to our community ignored by your party on every level and then when we confronted that (Granted I am only 30 but I am part of that history) we were continually rebuffed. Then we saw more less and less welcoming from your party for black people and then more left and then you all started to make inroads and then Katrina happened.Then… The majority of black people won’t vote republican because they see no reason too. The culture of your party prides itself on individualism. A lot of us still think in terms of community development. Those two things cannot fit well together.Now as for everything else as a proud green party member what exactly is evil about Mr. Wallis? How is he a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Please I want to hear this.p



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Payshun

posted April 10, 2007 at 8:37 pm


As for the pimp culture comment maybe you should stick to confronting the problems in your culture like overworking, “white trash” and other elements that make the rest of us laugh and go wtf. p



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Payshun

posted April 10, 2007 at 8:39 pm


Oh and we Liberals don’t want you to become liberal (while you want us to become conservative) we want you to leave everyone that doesn’t fit your narrow lifestyle alone. Leave the gay people alone, leave the condemned alone, stop judging and pretending your crap doesn’t stink.That’s what we liberals want. p



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Christian Beyer

posted April 10, 2007 at 8:51 pm


That’s funny, (not really) but I did not take Martin’s dream of having Falwell et al sitting down with Jackson et al as a wish for racial reconciliation. I (mistakenly?) took him to be addressing the division between the conservative and liberal wings of the USAmerican evangelical church. I guess there is a racial distinction there, although I admit I am not familiar with all the names. Of course there are black conservatives as well as black liberals. That the majority of African-Americans seem to have such disdain for conservative politics is indicative of a problem that cannot be ignored. But is this actually the case within the church?



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kevin s.

posted April 10, 2007 at 8:55 pm


“But I got to tell you, looking at the Joel Osteen pop up add to the right of your article, just sent my head spinning.” I love the ads. “Left Behind”, Christian dating, not-so Christian dating, diet supplements. Someone should visit this site before placing ad dollars, methinks. “The majority of black people won’t vote republican because they see no reason too. The culture of your party prides itself on individualism. A lot of us still think in terms of community development. Those two things cannot fit well together. ” As a green party member, you are surely aware that the Democrats have done just as much to take your race for granted as Republicans have done to alienate it. That said, I am curious about your statement that Republicans are shunned because they are the party of individualism. I think you are right, but that is a rather stunning confession. “Oh and we Liberals don’t want you to become liberal (while you want us to become conservative)” It goes both ways. “we want you to leave everyone that doesn’t fit your narrow lifestyle alone. Leave the gay people alone,” Fine. I don’t know that very many conservatives are sponsoring “let’s bother the gay people” legislation. But when it comes to marriage, well, you are requesting more than just leaving alone. You want active change. “leave the condemned alone,” What do conservatives want done with the “condemned” that liberals oppose. I don’t understand this. “stop judging and pretending your crap doesn’t stink.” I can think of plenty of liberals who are blissfully unaware that their crap stinks… Pelosi, Sharpton, Jefferson, Kennedy… Give me a break. “That’s what we liberals want.”No. You want your values reflected in government, which is fine. Just don’t pretend (as McLaren does) that liberal values represent the compromise solution.



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Payshun

posted April 10, 2007 at 9:04 pm


“I can think of plenty of liberals who are blissfully unaware that their crap stinks… Pelosi, Sharpton, Jefferson, Kennedy… Give me a break.” This is so not true. “No. You want your values reflected in government, which is fine. Just don’t pretend (as McLaren does) that liberal values represent the compromise solution.” I would not dream of it.”As a green party member, you are surely aware that the Democrats have done just as much to take your race for granted as Republicans have done to alienate it. That said, I am curious about your statement that Republicans are shunned because they are the party of individualism. I think you are right, but that is a rather stunning confession.” Why is that stunning? You need to hang out w/ more green folks. We talk about that stuff all the time. “Fine. I don’t know that very many conservatives are sponsoring “let’s bother the gay people” legislation. But when it comes to marriage, well, you are requesting more than just leaving alone. You want active change.” No we want equal rights. There is a difference. Considering there are hundreds of straight couples that swing and do any number of “perverse” things then I think your conservative energy should be focused there instead of intruding on the lives of gay people that just want to enjoy the same equal treatment as straight people. Marriage in this country is a joke. Just look at the divorce rate if you doubt that. “It goes both ways.” For some yah. My mentor is a devout republican. We will never agree on policy but I love him death and I would not change him for all the money in the world. He is one of those evangelicals that believes global warming is a myth… I am contemplative that believes science is not lying… Needless to say we work well together. p



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Payshun

posted April 10, 2007 at 9:08 pm


Correction for me I don’t want you to change to adopt all progressive policy. As a matter of fact I hope you don’t. Oh and the democrats (as bad as they have been recently) are still light years ahead of your party. Not only that but I am not a democrat. I will partner w/ them when it helps my causes but in general I try not to. They are bit too spineless for me. p



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Sarasotakid

posted April 10, 2007 at 9:25 pm


“I think it’s time the trolls no longer be fed. The ones who disparage Brian. I won’t name names. They know who they are. I would ignore them.” Again, I am curious as to what you took from McLaren’s post. kevin s.Res Ipsa Loquitor.



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canuckelhead

posted April 10, 2007 at 9:51 pm


I’m glad somebody asked about all the bs advertising on that beliefnet site. What next – are we going to have to endure listening to Pat Robertson’s “prophecy of the day” in order to access Sojo blogs? A large part of the reason I disdain much of the Christian rhetoric that comes out of the USA is b/c, when all is said and done, good old American capitalism usually wins the day….not all that surprising for the multitudes who think the big C on the T-shirt Jesus wore stood for Capitalism.



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canuckelhead

posted April 10, 2007 at 10:06 pm


Kevin S, was Jesus an evangelical? Would Jesus be an evangelical? As I’m sure you must know, evangelicalism is a comparatively novel expression of Christianity – are we left then to merely pity those poor suckers who had to somehow attempt to please God before the advent of modern evangelicalism?



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canuckelhead

posted April 10, 2007 at 10:10 pm


I hope we can agree that there’s a significant difference between the essential message of Christ being offensive and the messenger’s methodology being offensive?Mind you, with the kind of “messages” that prominent God-guys like Pat Robertson have been offering up of late, one might be excused for being confused in this regard.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 10, 2007 at 11:52 pm


Of course there are black conservatives as well as black liberals. That the majority of African-Americans seem to have such disdain for conservative politics is indicative of a problem that cannot be ignored. But is this actually the case within the church? You best believe it is. The civil rights movement, rebuffed by conservatives, was led by black pastors, for openers, and it is thus no surprise that “compassionate conservatives” targeted black churches basically to buy their silence. I read a story in the Washington Post a couple of years ago that gave the statistic that in Alabama, one of the most politically conservative states in the Union and where 80 percent of whites voted for GWB in 2004, 90 percent of blacks voted for Kerry.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 11, 2007 at 12:22 am


Rick, I’m really not too surprised at those numbers. But what I am curious about is this; is there any tendency for black Christians to be ‘liberal’ Christians rather than ‘conservative’ Christians? (For the sake of argument let’s say that Dobson,Robertson and Falwell are conservative in their theology as opposed to Wallis, McLaren and Compolo being liberal) I hate to get caught out on a stereotypical limb but from what I have seen the opposite situation seems to be the case. The typical ‘black’ church tends to be more on the conservative side when it comes to doctrine and dogma. If this is true (and I am not sure that it is) then obviously it is not always the case that conservative Christians be right wing politically nor liberal Christians be left wing. Yet it seems that this is often what it boils down to on this blog as well as many others.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 11, 2007 at 12:29 am


I hope we can agree that….the essential message of Christ being offensive… I’m not sure about that. I think it can be offensive (as I previously stated) but I don’t think we can all agree on how it can be so. As far as methodology goes, I think that with the Gospel the messenger is the message.



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Canuckelhead

posted April 11, 2007 at 1:18 am


Christian, now I’m really scared if, as you assert, “the messenger is the message.” So Christianity boils down to “The Gospel According to Osteen? Robertson? or fill in the blank?” I guess I prefer to think of the message of the cross, in and of itself, as being “the scandalon” St. Paul says it is. How the “scandalon” is presented by some is indeed scandalous but that cannot be allowed to reflect on the message, can it? Or is the negative reflection on the scandalon absolutely inevitable when it’s communicated by those whose methods and madness are scandalous?



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Christian Beyer

posted April 11, 2007 at 3:12 am


Canucklehead, do you think that Osteen and Robertson are accurately presenting the Gospel? I think we agree more than we disagree on this. What purpose does it serve if we ‘preach’ the Gospel message if we do not have hearts that have been changed by and for Christ? I do not want to start trying to determine who does or does not have Christ as their lord, but I suspect that many do not even though they may say the right things. They ‘know’ the message of the Gospel by head, not by heart. They will know we are Christians by our love, not by our rhetoric.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 11, 2007 at 3:51 am


I hate to get caught out on a stereotypical limb but from what I have seen the opposite situation seems to be the case. The typical ‘black’ church tends to be more on the conservative side when it comes to doctrine and dogma. True — but the fallacy, promoted by conservatives, is that if you’re politically liberal you are then theologically liberal as well. The idea that a conservative, Bible-believing Christian can be politically “liberal” is just short of blasphemous to those on the right, which is why right-wingers participating on this blog always have an argument with just about everyone who proposes a non-conservative thought. And this is also the reason you see few African-Americans in this conversation — they don’t fit either side very well.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 11, 2007 at 4:48 am


I would have to agree with you on this one, Rick. I have seen this to often be the case myself. But what about someone such as myself? We’ve spent (too) much of our time arguing about Global Warming on a couple of the other threads. It seemed to me that there were more than a few ‘liberals’ who assumed that since I held to a different point of view then I must be an anti-darwinian, anti-science Creationist who was sweating out the coming Tribulation. (In fact someone expressed pretty much that exact thought). See, that’s my little crusade. In this last article Brian illuminates in his usual precise fashion just where most (if not all) of us are guilty of hypocrisy, something which appears to be almost unavoidable if we walk on two legs. But we must be very careful because this knife always cuts both ways.



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Payshun

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:00 am


I think we need to define some terms here. When we mention liberal Christians we are talking about theologically liberal Christians. I am not conservative theologically or politically just not entirely liberal theologically. I tend to favor liberal theology because the idea of sola scriptura is a joke to me. I find evangelicalsm to be a dead religion filling the hearts and souls of many of its adherents w/ death and shallow faith. If you have any question about what liberal Christianity is then here’s wiki’shttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Christianity Rick- no sh!t I am a contemplative (and there are not many blacks that practice that tradition) and this conversation borders on pedistrian but it is fun to read what the rest of you write. Instead of looking for answers in black places you all ask white people. I can’t get over that alone. You all are good for a laugh on this stuff.p



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Payshun

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:09 am


Most black churches are conservative theologically. That generally has to do w/ taking on the views of white Christians that mentored and brainwashed them a few hundred years ago. That influence increased and many black Christians bought into conservative theology but some mavericks like King or Howard Thurman were theologically liberal. p



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Christian Beyer

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:28 am


Instead of looking for answers in black places you all ask white people Payshun, how do you know I’m not ‘black’? Well, I guess my name gives that one a way. I had no idea y’all were black or maybe I would’ve asked you the question. Nah…it ain’t that important, this is merely academic. :)Heck, I would’ve thought you were Indian or Pakastani.



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butch

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:59 am


When the activity of a firm encroaches on the rights of individuals, let there be torts. Juris Little aside, torts are under attack. And, lobbyist work tirelessly to effect laws to protect the corporate world removing or making laws to mute tort. Of course making laws is our system.



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Payshun

posted April 11, 2007 at 6:01 am


I get adopted into every non-western ethnicity anyway. I have been adopted Persian, Guamanian… Don’t worry about it. I am used to people assuming I am something I am not. I am in solidarity w/ those ethnic groups. Youre name was not what gave it away. It was the question you asked. I am also glad you did not ask me that question. I am one black person w/ one black voice. I don’t know if i would be the best person to answer the question. i have not done enough poles to answer it fairly but I could guestimate for you. p



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butch

posted April 11, 2007 at 6:14 am


nstead of looking for answers in black places you all ask white people. I can’t get over that alone. You all are good for a laugh on this stuff. Pay And they look to the neocons to understand muslims. If you noticed my question earlier, “who has talked to a muslim, moderate or otherwise”?



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Canuckelhead

posted April 11, 2007 at 6:35 am


A young lady in one of my classes is a devout Muslim from Iran. From what I’ve observed in her actions, speech and interaction with other students, I could readily agree with whoever mentioned way up earlier in this discussion about the Muslim lady next door who was the closest to Jesus he’d ever met. I don’t know about you guys but isn’t one of the shortcomings of blog rhetoric that, for all you know about me, I could be very orthodox in all of my assertions here, yet living a life that is light years away from the kingdom? What would happen to North American Christianity if a moratorium was declared on religious rhetoric and all religious convictions had to actually be lived?



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Canuckelhead

posted April 11, 2007 at 6:36 am


my “guys” is intended in the generic sense



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Christian Beyer

posted April 11, 2007 at 2:07 pm


What would happen to North American Christianity if a moratorium was declared on religious rhetoric and all religious convictions had to actually be lived? Well, I, for one, would feel a lot more comfortable identifying myself as a Christian. Right now I am often hesitant to do so, and it has nothing to do with being afraid to identify with Jesus.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:27 pm


I think we need to define some terms here. When we mention liberal Christians we are talking about theologically liberal Christians. Of which then I definitely am not one, though my political ideology tends a bit toward the left. For that matter, I don’t think that applies to Jim Wallis, either — he will tell you that he himself is evangelical. Most black churches are conservative theologically. That generally has to do w/ taking on the views of white Christians that mentored and brainwashed them a few hundred years ago. Frankly, I don’t think this is true. In the South, black slaves were not allowed to learn how to read; however, many did learn anyway and started reading the Bible for themselves — espcially the parts about justice and especially the Exodus that their masters “never told them about.” Because of that, the black church developed separately from evangelicalism at large, which is what I was talking about.



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David

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:53 pm


My initial comment (ctrl+F FIND: Arthur Pink) had only liberal Christian responses. They also proved my point nicely. Christian liberals seek to lead the lion away from the lamb and cage it once and for all. They think that any refute or polemic automatically points to a legalistic schismatic; we are a religion without accountability. I do agree that without love we are as Paul said, “clanging cymbals”, but what is the Biblical definition of love? When Paul publicly opposed Peter in Galatians 6 for accommodating a world spirit was he simply a schismatic? Was Christ revealing a form of rightful sadism when He informed His disciples that He came, not to bring Peace, but a sword? Of course not! What they were doing is drawing a line. When Christ claimed to be the truth the way and the life, He established Himself as the line. Christ is the standard. Christ is the last revolution. Now, there are only reformations. We are constantly crossing the line and God is bringing us back. He promises to go before us, but when we step out ahead we only end up in the dark. Today this line has been crossed as Liberal Christians try to unite light with darkness. The only way to unite light with darkness is to put out the light. Martin Luther summed up what this drawn line looks like when he said, “Peace if possible; truth at all costs.” Christ said that the world will know us by our love, not our love for the lost, but rather our love for our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. But again, what does real love look like? Would I be a loving Christian brother if I allowed Christians to publicly accommodate a world spirit? The damage this does to all the churches faithfully working to seek and save the lost is incalculable. Most of the New Testament is simply instructions to watch out for false doctrines and wolves. What is a wolf? Someone who takes Christ from the center of the message of the gospel; someone who makes the atonement optional or obsolete. A wolf, ironically, takes the bite out of the message, that is why He is in sheep’s clothing… they have hidden the lion (or wolf in this case). Christ was moved by compassion to feed the five thousand in John 6, but afterwards the disciples wanted to make Him King; he ran. The well-fed disciples hunted Him down and asked for more miracles. Christ discerned their hearts and gave them what they really needed; the offensive message of the gospel. When the disciples heard what He said concerning Himself John writes that “most of them became offended and left Him.” The first thing Jesus said in His ministry was “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand.” Not such seeker-sensitive thing to say.I can easily see that liberal Christians who refute my comments do not study Scripture; even a superficial understanding is rare. Truth to them is whatever is best for humankind, so why bother to seek it out. When truth becomes a conjoined ambiguous grey mass in our own Christian circles, how are we, as protectors of truth, to handle this treasonous ambush? Is it possible to restore black and white? How can we use truth to refute “truth”? We can’t. The only way is to trust that the Truth sees our plight and is eagerly preparing to establish the Himself once and for all. Until then all we can do is say what we must as the lion and do what we must as the lamb; we are Christ’s literal body on this Earth. We must above all get about our Father’s business by praying (seeking God’s burdens) and be prepared to be an outcast. “We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony and we do not love our lives even to death.” “Peace if possible, truth at all costs.”



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 11, 2007 at 6:52 pm


Christ said that the world will know us by our love, not our love for the lost, but rather our love for our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. But again, what does real love look like? Would I be a loving Christian brother if I allowed Christians to publicly accommodate a world spirit? Two things I ask of you: Define “world spirit” and “liberal Christian.” What you just wrote I’ve seen in “conservative, Bible-believing” Christianity since the early 1980s, and I too was generally cast out when I tried to raise some of these issues. In other words, what you said might not be accurate.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 11, 2007 at 7:35 pm


I can easily see that liberal Christians who refute my comments do not study Scripture; even a superficial understanding is rare Gosh, David. I think you have been hoisted by your own petard. Even a superficial reading of Galatians 6 will reveal this advice from Paul; If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. True, Paul did say that those who were encouraging circumcision were doing so because they feared persecution, but by whom? Likely it was the conservative, legalistic members of the new faith who wanted to maintain the old traditions. In spite of what Paul says in Galatians, in Acts he gives other reasons for opposing circumcision. In that case he railed against those who would attempt to exclude the gentiles from the fledgling church, using the letter of the law to bludgeon its spirit. Some would find parallels with how some of today s more conservative Christian elements are objecting to the more progressive happenings within the church. And yet the early Christian church surely progressed from the traditional Jewish faith.



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Payshun

posted April 11, 2007 at 7:56 pm


“Frankly, I don’t think this is true. In the South, black slaves were not allowed to learn how to read; however, many did learn anyway and started reading the Bible for themselves — espcially the parts about justice and especially the Exodus that their masters “never told them about.” Because of that, the black church developed separately from evangelicalism at large, which is what I was talking about.” Well you only have half the picture there. The slave codes that outlawed reading were not in effect for the first 30-50 years of American slavery. They really took effect after the Nat Turner insurrection and the Haitian revolution. Even then slave owners sometimes helped their slaves to read.Even then brainwashing definitely took effect. There is a really great film called Sankofa that explores the role of Christianity in brainwashing blacks during the 17′th, 18′th, 19′th centuries.One can easily see this phenomonon in the lies whites taught blacks about their ethnicity. The biggest lie to brainwash and teach blacks “their place” was the idea that we were descendants of Ham.They used a ridiculously racist idea to create a religious caste system dividing blacks from whites and when that was not enough they then starting to teach house slaves to believe that they were better than field hands… I could list plenty of examples and other information but you get the idea. There was brainwashing going on during the slave times from a religious perspective and that was used next too the slave codes.A black slave could not read but he could listent to sermons instructing him or her on their supposed inferiority. p



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Payshun

posted April 11, 2007 at 8:01 pm


David, I have to admit the love you see are mentioning is part of what the gospel defines as love, but it also involves protecting the woman at the well from self righteous, lying hypocrites, it means visiting the infirmed, it means bringing mercy instead of judgement. I see you lack the wisdom to do the latter so let me say this. God bless you and may your days on this world be long and plentiful. God loves you and despite your disdain for better researched and sound biblical doctrine we liberals still love you. p



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 11, 2007 at 9:07 pm


They used a ridiculously racist idea to create a religious caste system dividing blacks from whites and when that was not enough they then starting to teach house slaves to believe that they were better than field hands… I could list plenty of examples and other information but you get the idea. There was brainwashing going on during the slave times from a religious perspective and that was used next to the slave codes. But even you must admit that was a blatant misuse of the Scripture and the vast majority of African-Americans no longer subscribe to it, especially after World War II when black soldiers came from Europe to the racism they had begun to tire of — which (with, BTW, the help of revival meetings in black churches) eventually kicked off the civil-rights movement. If there is a culprit, it’s Southern culture.



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Payshun

posted April 11, 2007 at 10:15 pm


Yah that’s true but hundreds of years of brainwashing don’t go away in 50 years. It takes a long time to overcome mental slavery. Just look at the older generations and their talk of good hair vs kinky hair, or the brown bag test or… p



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 11, 2007 at 11:22 pm


Yah that’s true but hundreds of years of brainwashing don’t go away in 50 years. It takes a long time to overcome mental slavery. Just look at the older generations and their talk of good hair vs kinky hair, or the brown bag test or… I’ve never seen any of that from anyone older than (now) 70 — except that I have what’s considered “good” hair (but it certainly isn’t straight!).



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Payshun

posted April 11, 2007 at 11:33 pm


I have seen it. But then again I have family in the rural south. The brown bag test is still recent as in the 80′s and 90′s. check out Spike Lee’s School Daze. It documents that stupid process very well and the self hatred light vs dark mentality that still exists in parts of American black culture today. p



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 12:31 am


Rick Nowlin, A liberal Christian is one who unwittingly and with good intentions preaches the gospel of Satan. Arthur Pink wrote, “The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit, whereby the human race is regarded as one great “brotherhood.” It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to “the best that is within us.” It aims to make this world such a congenial and comfortable habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to occupy man so much with this world that he has no time or inclination to think of the world to come. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, charity and benevolence, and teaches us to live for the good of others, and be kind to all.” The latter is also the world spirit. If “Christ Crucified” is not center, it is Anti-Christ. J. Gresham Machen wrote a profound book entitled “Christianity & Liberalism” I would suggest is to everyone on this site. There is a free copy online. Also, read all of Francis A. Schaeffer’s prophetic works.



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Payshun

posted April 12, 2007 at 12:34 am


Umm David, You don’t know what you are talking about. We are all human that’s a fact but there is a difference between those of us in the church and those of us that are not.We liberal Christians recognize that.What we don’t do is seek to look for new ways to create strife. We know the message of loving the least will do that for us. We know the message of Loving God first will destroy families and we don’t need to point out political or theological things that will keep adding to that. Oh and God bless you. p



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Payshun

posted April 12, 2007 at 12:38 am


You are wrong again if the total work of christ is not center then it is lost. Jesus died, rose again and sent the holy spirit. No act is more important than the other. They are all of central importance and are one in unifying fallen sinful man back to God. Do not make the mistake of emphasizing one act of Christ at the expense of others. That is a fools errand and full of the condemnation of the law. p



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 12:47 am


Payshun, What you describe is the Biblical definition of religion; taking care of widows and orphans. That is part of it, but if the message of “Christ and Him crucified” is not center or is obsolete, than religion is egocentric drivel. Some liberal Christians have actually told me that they are able to refrain from saying the name or message of Christ because they can show His love through their actions. This is Satanism and it is of the Spirit of the Anti-Christ. I do not partake in religious displays of my faith because I should, I do it because I must! But the only religious works that matter are the ones done as we abide in Christ. He is the only one Who will be allowed in the Kingdom, if we are not found in Him… we will be told “Depart from me you worker of iniquity.” Even if we plead “Lord, Lord did we not do this and this and help the poor and feed the starving and provide for the sick?” He will simply ask, “What did you do with my Son?”



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 12:55 am


Payshun, Jesus died, rose again and sent the holy spirit. No act is more important than the other. Of Course! You misunderstood. Paul said He determined to know one thing, Christ and Him crucified; not me. As Christians, we accept the resurrection and have the Holy Spirit, but remembering the crucifixion puts us in our place and helps us to constantly recognize our need so that we may only boast Christ.



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 12:56 am


But, to clarify, if the total work of Christ is not center than all is lost.



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 1:04 am


Payshun,We know the message of loving the least will do that for us. We know the message of Loving God first will destroy families and we don’t need to point out political or theological things that will keep adding to that. Loving the least will not do this and neither will loving God first, but preaching the message of the gospel in love will make us enemies of this fallen world; what relationship does light have with darkness. Christ told us that if the world loves us we are not His disciples. To tell someone that Christ is the only way will separate families. To tell people that they are not worthy and deserve to eternal wrath and damnation of the Almighty God, but that for the sake of His love he made a way for us will cause a the world to hate us. Your definition was general, if this is what you meant than I agree.



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Payshun

posted April 12, 2007 at 1:04 am


Jesus died, rose again and sent the holy spirit. No act is more important than the other. Of Course! You misunderstood. Paul said He determined to know one thing, Christ and Him crucified; not me. As Christians, we accept the resurrection and have the Holy Spirit, but remembering the crucifixion puts us in our place and helps us to constantly recognize our need so that we may only boast Christ. The same thing could be said for the resurection and the holy spirit. Remembering that he rose from the dead lifts us out of the dead religion of death and makes us a live w/ him. Learning to listen to the holy spirit makes both of those things reality in the hearts and minds and bodies of all believers.I know I am a wretch. I know I am human, but I also know that I am God’s beloved and that I am both at the same time while I live in this body. I am not condemned. Christ died once for all not so that we can keep reliving his death which was momentary while his eternal life (aka known as the resurection) is forever.Our connection w/ the holy spirit is forever. Those are the aspects that speak to the loving nature of God. That is not anti-Christian or of the the devil but life and life eternal. p



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Payshun

posted April 12, 2007 at 1:09 am


Loving the least will not do this and neither will loving God first, but preaching the message of the gospel in love will make us enemies of this fallen world; what relationship does light have with darkness. Christ told us that if the world loves us we are not His disciples. To tell someone that Christ is the only way will separate families. To tell people that they are not worthy and deserve to eternal wrath and damnation of the Almighty God, but that for the sake of His love he made a way for us will cause a the world to hate us. Your definition was general, if this is what you meant than I agree. DavidYou want to bet. when jesus healed a man on the sabbath the pharisees’ wanted to stone him for breaking the law. When I have prayed for a lesbian woman that was being attacked by the phelps as I stood there I was told by a 5 year old that God hates me. Don’t tell me that loving the least wont get you hurt.Oh and by focusing on the death and damnation aspect of your gospel then you preach death and not who Christ was and what he came to do. Jesus did not have to go around preaching that others were condemned to get them to change.He just forgave them their sins and showed compassion, grace, love, rebuke and hope. What you are offering in your definition is condemnation something Jesus came to end. p



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 1:26 am


Christian Beyer, Why must you group conservativeness with legalism? I have a deep righteous disdain for legalism. I am a young worship leader who wears sandals and shorts on the platform and has a beer on the weekend. I doubt myself, but I do NOT doubt the truth. I also believe that man-made traditions “empty the cross of its power” as Paul said in 1 Corinthians and “make God’s word void” as Christ said. I am simply a follower of Christ and His word. Any program, or denomination or mission that seeks to use Jesus as some socialist prophet or is afraid and ashamed of the offending aspects of the gospel is not a progression but a cliche “revolutionary” digression. One example is the “Amazing Grace” Sundays that have taken the gospel message of freedom through the blood of Christ out of the song and pissed on it through shifting its context to freeing slave children. What good are free children with condemned souls? The letter of the law and the spirit of the law is a fine balance, but it IS a balance nonetheless. As far as the letter is concerned, we are instructed to avoid sexual immorality and abstain from eating meat sacrificed to idols (or idolatry). God’s character is black and white and apart from what we know in His Word, anything done apart from faith is sin for us. I am simply trying to show you that I understand where you are coming from, but the liberal Christians have confused conservative with Christian and legalist with defender of the faith. Just as I have said before, our commission must be lived out with the balance of the lion and the lamb. My polemic, I can assure you, is reserved for the appropriate ears and eyes; I am no schismatic. The liberal Christians are quick to quote Luther yet if he were around today, he would no doubt be deemed a legalistic conservative. And if you would agree that this is the case than I will proudly be labeled as such. “The cross, the cross.”



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 1:34 am


Payshun, I do not understand why you are taking offense at my comments. We seem to be on the same page for the most part. My point was that generally loving “God” or helping the least in some socialist aspect will only win you approval in the fallen world. “Specifics” (CHRIST) was my context. To clear one thing up… Jesus talked more about hell than He did about Heaven. The first thing He said in His ministry was “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand.” What He told His disciples in John 6 caused most of them to leave Him because of offense. BUT Christ said these things out of compassion, “for the joy that was set before Him”; as do I.



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Payshun

posted April 12, 2007 at 1:50 am


Jesus went to his own. To those Jews who were following and did not emphazise hell apart from loving people. Look at the rich man and Lazurus. That whole parable was about God loving the least and when you don’t you go to hell. But some for reason you completely omit that and pretend that is not as important as doing some half assed version of evagelism. Jesus did evangelize solely by words. he did it by actions. Like when he healed the demoniac, he spoke no words about who was or about forgivness of sins. he just healed him, saying come out. When faced w/ the Roman centurion’s request to heal he did not preach one word of repentace. he did acknowledge his faith though, same thing w/ the Syro-Phoneicain woman or the raising of Jairus daughter. my point and the point the of liberals you openly discourage and call Antichrist is that Jesus spoke the gospel thru actions just as clearly as he did by the short interactions that he had w/ the woman at the well and other shorter actions. He had different set of actions depending on the region of the world he was in and the people he interacted w/. You live your gospel as if we are all Jewish and we are not. Also there is no balancing act. Jesus came to make grace the law of creation. If you honor the law to please God you will fail. If you let the holy spirit do it thru you you will succeed. for no act of man can make one rightoues only trusting God and relying on his love, forgiveness can.For some reason you prefer condemning people over forgiving them and that’s my offense at your words. Your point in coming here was to slam people like me when you clearly did not understand our focus and what we believed. Instead of asking questions you judged us. I take offense to that but I forgive you because you knew not what you did. Preach the gospel everywhere you go and when possible use words. A famous man gave me that quote you would do much to learn from him p



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 3:20 pm


Payshun, I take that back, we do not agree. How does one refute “truth” with truth? It may be impossible, because once truth becomes relative, everything is relative save… the truth! Nonetheless, I will attempt. If you think that Jesus did not preach hell and damnation in love than you do not read your Bible. The aspect you are leaving out of the correct approach to evangelizing is the message of grace. You accuse me of simply being a sadist. There is no message of love and grace without the message of wrath and judgment; they are inseparable. People may notice something different about the way you live your life but when they ask you what it is that is different, there is no telling how they will respond to your testimony: i.e. “I was a wretch deserving eternal death under the eternal wrath of God for my sin and disobedience. We, as imperfect humans, cannot DO anything apart from Christ to earn God’s favor and to enter His eternal peace. You must accept Christ or spend eternity under God’s perfect wrath, but He is eagerly waiting for you with open arms if you only say yes to Him. For the sake of His love, He made a way for you to be with Him forever.” Once that is out on the table, it does not matter if you handed them the keys to your Porsche; human pride takes over. Christ said “None comes to the Father unless He draw them.” The literal translation of draw is “drag”. We can’t woo people into the Kingdom with “Christian socialism”… we must simply tell them the gospel in love our commission and leave it up to God to do the rest… it’s His work. There is no Christianity without Christ, if He is not front and center in our message then it is simply about us. Christ is God’s center and receives the preeminence in all things. If Ephesians 3 doesn’t convince you than nothing will. Show me scriptural proof for your method; chapter and verse and in the proper context.J. Gresham Machen writes this in his book “Christianity & Liberalism”: “Very different is this Christian conception of brotherhood from the liberal doctrine of the “brotherhood of man.” The modern liberal doctrine is that all men everywhere, no matter what their race or creed, are brothers. There is a sense in which this doctrine can be accepted by the Christian. The relation in which all men stand to one another is analogous in some important respects to the relation of brotherhood. All men have the same Creator and the same nature. The Christian man can accept all that the modern liberal means by the brotherhood of man. But the Christian knows also of a relationship far more intimate than that general relationship of man to man and it is for this more intimate relationship that he reserves the term “brother.” The true brotherhood, according to Christian teaching, is the brotherhood of the redeemed. There is nothing narrow about such teaching; for the Christian brotherhood is open without distinction to all; and the Christian man seeks to bring all men in. Christian service, it is true, is not limited to the household of faith; all men, whether Christians or not, are our neighbors if they be in need. But if we really love our fellowmen we shall never be content with binding up their wounds or pouring on oil and wine or rendering them any such lesser service. We shall indeed do such things for them. But the main business of our lives will be to bring them to the Savior of their souls.” For the whole chapter go here.



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Payshun

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:03 pm


David, That’s just sillyness. Christ chooses all. We can do nothing but talk. If you think and genuinely believe you bring them Jesus then I have nothing more to say to you except that Christ saves whom he will. You do nothing but talk and in the meantime I will follow Christ’s example and follow what he did. You are wrong.Christ only brought up hell to the religious elite, people that followed the law. He did not bring up hell once to the Syro-Phoenician’s woman, or to the woman at the well or to the Roman Centurion, or to the demoniac. He did bring up hell to the Jewish crowd, the Jewish authorities and other Jewish people. That’s something you completely ignore. we can look thru scripture and look at all the points in time where Jesus used hell and you will see that I am right.Oh and it is not lesser service. Jesus did not look at it as lesser service. He saw it as a mission of mercy and compassion for its own sake so please do not dishonor some of Christ’s work to narrowly taylor your own message. Oh and I will remember J. Gresham Machen when I follow the Good Samaritan and obey Christ’s words. p



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Christian Beyer

posted April 12, 2007 at 9:27 pm


David, you are right. It is a mistake to automatically group conservatives with legalism, just as it is also a mistake to group all liberals with moral or theological relativism. (In fact, I have argued on this blog that sometimes those who most oppose conservatives for a rigid way of viewing the world are often guilty of the same offense.) But one group, generally speaking, would seem to have certain predilections over the other. God’s character is black and white and apart from what we know in His Word, anything done apart from faith is sin for us. God’s character is presented by Jesus Christ of the Gospels (as opposed to what we have in Revelations). He speaks firmly at times, but he is rarely ‘black and white’ about much, other than the hypocrisy of the religious. Like it or not, you interpret the Bible as loosely as anyone else. The ‘sins’ that you choose as examples are the sins that you most likely can and will avoid. Other sins, sins that are perhaps so close to home or so ingrained into our lifestyles that we ignore them are not mentioned. There are the obvious commandments that we now ignore, such as the laws of kashrut or how we cut our hair or the weave of our garments. But the sins of meanness and envy are as bad as those of lust and sexual immorality and much more prevelant.Just once I would like to hear a radio preacher give a sermon on the immorality of our predatory banking institutions, or the greedy chicanery of the state lottery, or how many ‘Christian’ business use Jesus as a marketing tool. You know, that whole ‘mote in the eye’ thing. Besides, you need to chill out just a bit. I understand that guys like Luther, Calvin, Edwards took their salvaton very seriously, but where’s the joy?



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peacelover

posted April 12, 2007 at 9:41 pm


David, you scare me! All this wrath and anger tangled up somehow with God’s love. Take a deep breath–God’s love is perfect, perfect love casts out fear. Take in God’s grace. You imply through your posts that you’ve encountered Christ, but, reading your “God-of-vengeance” “angry Jesus” posts here, I’m not so sure you’ve encountered the grace of Christ. As a liberal Christian, the loving grace of Jesus is central to my life. When I talk about my faith, which I often do, it isn’t in the context of “defending the faith,” it’s in the context of the overwhelming grace of Christ. That is what I want to get across to people who might be from another faith, or who might have no faith at all. I think, though I don’t know, some evangelicals make a big deal of grace, too. Don’t they? Is this an area where left and right can come together, rather than sniping at each other?



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Christian Beyer

posted April 12, 2007 at 9:49 pm


But the main business of our lives will be to bring them to the Savior of their souls. Well, then good luck. The main business of our lives (as you have already suggested) is to make Christ the center and the purpose of our existence. The fruit of this relationship hopefully results in ways in which we can help people to become aware of Christ’s love for them as well as the grace he allows us all. P Payshun’s quote of St.Francis says it all. The last recourse for proper evangelism should be the spoken or the written word. Too many preachers out there saying do what I say as well as do what I do, when what they are saying and doing is not in imitation of Christ.



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 9:51 pm


Christian, The “obvious commandments” that you say we now ignore is the old law that was done away with once and for all through Christ. That is why I wrote that God’s character is black and white. And anything that is grey i.e. drinking wine or watching an R rated movie is only sin if our conviction says it is so. The more we become free in Christ the more we learn to live with the dust on our feet and the more we are able to understand that “everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial”; because we also learn to live more holy without condemnation… it’s all Christ. The sins that are ingrained in us are being worked out of us as we fight the good fight of faith. God is faithful to complete the good work in us until the day of Christ Jesus because there is always deception (sin) in our lives. “God does not give us overcoming life, He gives us life as we overcome in Christ.” The sins that I choose as my example are the sins that we (they) are (were) told to avoid in Scripture when questions arose concerning the part of the old law that the Jews should still follow. We have the black and white example of God’s character and the Ten Commandments. “Thou shalt have no other God’s before me” is a law that pertains to specific sins ad infinitum. But there are really only three sins: Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life… he made it easy for us, we make it hard for ourselves. “But He rarely speaks black and white about much”!!! Show me one instance where He is not black and white and I’ll eat my hat. I am equally sickened by Christian businesses using Christ as a marketing tool. Even worse are churches who use Christ in a neat advertising package to fill the seats. Christ endured th cross for the joy that was set before Him, I take up my cross and endure the fight for the sake of the joy that is set before me; it’s all joy! :)



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Christian Beyer

posted April 12, 2007 at 9:58 pm


Well, I would say that the parables that Jesus used to teach his way of living were very subtle. He could very easily have made an explicit statement about the ways in which we judge others as well as ourselves yet he chose to tell the story of a beaten and abondoned man who was saved by his cultural enemy. Not too black and not too white in that these stories have a way of convicting everyone who hears them, no matter what side of the fence they may reside. Care for some mayo on that hat? ;)



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 10:01 pm


To Payshun and Peacelover, Thanks to Pastor Bob DeWaay for this: Jesus warned about hell to people in general in His teachings: MAT 18:8 “And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire. MAT 18:9 “And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell. That warning was not issued only to Jewish leaders, but to the disciples. This was in a section (Matthew 18) where Jesus warned about giving offense. This warning was prompted by his disciples arguing about who was the greatest. Matthew 18 is not limited in application to Jewish people. Not only that, but there are many references in the Bible about avoiding future judgment. For example: ACT 17:30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, ACT 17:31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. ” That was spoken to Greek philosophers. Unless you remove the idea of hell from future divine judgment, you have to face the implications of what Paul preached. 1TH 1:9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, 1TH 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come. 2TH 1:8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 2TH 1:9 And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 2TH 1:10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed– for our testimony to you was believed. So conceptually Jesus warned about hell to general audiences; Paul did as well.(Caps are to make my point, not to imply yelling… as Paul said “I wrote to you in ‘capital letters’”) THERE CAN BE NO MESSAGE OF LOVE AND GRACE WITHOUT WRATH AND JUDGMENT. I DO NOT EMPHASIZE THE WRATH OF GOD AS SOME LEGALISTIC SADIST! I include it to demonstrate how amazing and perfect His love and grace is. Without the possibility of His eternal perfect wrath His love and grace is too easy, it has no meaning. He saved us not because He needed us, but because He wanted to show us How amazing His love is; “for the sake of His love we are saved”. How are we to get across to the lost their absolute need if they don’t recognize the consequences of not choosing Christ? Christ told us to count the cost for a reason. It is not a peaceful message but it is a message that provides eternal peace to those deserving eternal condemnation.



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peacelover

posted April 12, 2007 at 10:11 pm


Well, David, you bring to bear an interesting perspective on people’s need for the love of Christ. It seems to me that Jesus approached different people in different ways. When I think about it, to people who were already really invested in legalism and not so aware of their own need for compassion, Jesus was downright legalistic–calling them whitewashed tombs and the like. To people who already had a taste of hell and desperately needed compassion, like the woman caught in adultery, the lepers, the paralytics, he just forgave/healed them. I guess most of the people I run across in my life fall into the “tasted hell” category. Maybe grace comes to different people in different ways. The way I figure it, if you’ve already been through hell, if you’re already experiencing guilt over the way you’ve lived your life, or if you’re already in pain over the sin of someone who’s hurt you, you probably don’t need some mere mortal banging you over the head with sin and hell. You don’t need me to tell you hell is real. You’ve already been there.



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 10:20 pm


Christian, Jesus explains His parables and explains that they are for those who would hear and discern the foundational rock solid black and white Godly principles. After Jesus tells the parable of the seeds, His disciples are completely lost, but Jesus explained the point of it to them in black and white. The parables are not some seeker sensitive tool. The principles of the parables are as black and white as it comes. God’s truths are always painted in black and white; analogies are one of the many canvasses He uses to portray them (tilting hat to you, as a gentleman would). ;)



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David

posted April 12, 2007 at 10:26 pm


Peacelover, Absolutely right. But don’t label the message of God’s wrath as an automatic head banger. The message must always be brought about in love. The “Christians” out there with the bullhorn and picket signs are clueless. The gospel is the gospel. The literal definition of gospel is “the message concerning Christ, the kingdom of God, and salvation.” Salvation from what? Should we leave that part out because someone has made bad choices? No, we explain to them their condition and the reason why they feel the way they do, and then we “bang them over the head” with the hope found in Christ. God is not subtle about the fact that He is coming to judge and that he has a place reserved for those who reject Christ. His wrath is perfect and entails eternal suffering the like no one has ever seen. Peaceful? No. Essential for peace. Yes.



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peacelover

posted April 12, 2007 at 10:52 pm


Okay, David. If the whole wrath, lake-of-fire thing is your style, go for it. Maybe somebody will listen. Sounds a little creepy to me, but, whatever. I guess that’s why I’m not an evangelical.



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peacelover

posted April 12, 2007 at 10:59 pm


Also David, minor issue: I think, if my memory serves me correctly, the literal definition of “gospel” is “good news.”



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Christian Beyer

posted April 12, 2007 at 11:39 pm


David, driving home just now it struck me that in many other ways Jesus is rather vague, in fact if you take him literally you may have problems with his credibility. It’s not just literalists and fundamentalis who take the bible literally, atheists do as well. Often, because they choose not to see the metaphor and poetry that is used in scriptures they feel that they are presented with conclusive arguments against the faith.For example, many atheists (and some Christians) have had trouble with Jesus’ apocalyptical sayings. Taken at face value it does indeed look that he is saying in no uncertain terms that within the current generation of his time there would be the end of the world. As followers of Christ we have taken the liberty of interpreting his words in a different fashion, or should I say fashions. I am not saying that Jesus never spoke in absolute terms, just that it did not seem to be a habit of his. Some of his absolutes that first come to mind are;love God, love each other, forgive your enemies, judge not, don’t cast the first stone, and a few more. And then of course, their is the Great Commission, but he does not get into too much detail as to how to go about doing this.As far as some of your scriptural examples go, particularly Matthew 18:8-9, don’t you think Jesus may have been using a bit of irony here? That if you insist upon trying to earn your way into God’s grace then you might as well roll on in without any limbs. It’s futile. However he has an easier, and yes, more peaceful solution.David, when you fall short in serving the Lord, during those times when you selfishly serve your own ego rather than him (and we all do this from time to time), how do you see him as he regards you? Is he “the God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you and is dreadfully provoked”? Or is he like your loving father, abba, who is saddened yet optimistic? BTW, Peacelover, about that ‘tastin hell’ piece. What a great analogy. Thanks.



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peacelover

posted April 13, 2007 at 12:17 am


Christian, I think Jesus was an amazing poet! Actually, I think God is a pretty amazing poet-just look at this incredible world God spoke into being and tell me otherwise! To look at faith and life through the eyes of a poet is such a rich way to relate to God. I think one of the problems of the faith is that both sides, both right and left, have lost a bit of the poetry and grace of the faith. I hope we can get it back.



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David

posted April 13, 2007 at 2:23 am


God help us.



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HASH(0x12844108)

posted April 13, 2007 at 5:27 am


Amen to that, brother. Amen to that.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 13, 2007 at 5:28 am


Oops! That was me.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 13, 2007 at 5:36 am


Hey, David. I just wanted to say that I understand precisely where you are coming from. Less than two years ago I held a very similar theological outlook and quite a few of my friends still do. Needless to say, we argue quite a bit.I know that they are praying for my salvation.



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David

posted April 13, 2007 at 2:24 pm


Ho can we refute “truth” with truth? We can’t.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 13, 2007 at 4:52 pm


No, we explain to them their condition and the reason why they feel the way they do, and then we “bang them over the head” with the hope found in Christ. God is not subtle about the fact that He is coming to judge and that he has a place reserved for those who reject Christ. His wrath is perfect and entails eternal suffering the like no one has ever seen. Peaceful? No. Essential for peace. Yes. There is a saying that truth is more often caught than taught. I’m all for evangelism, but we often wrongly teach that the Gospel is all about “salvation” for the soul — it isn’t. Rather, God calls us into a Body, the Church, and it is as the Body that we are called to function. My personal spiritual focus, therefore, has always been on reforming the church so that we can and will more effectively be a witness to a messed-up world, that we offer an alternative to the system of sin we live it. American evangelicals have largely missed this.



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Payshun

posted April 13, 2007 at 6:50 pm


David MAT 18:8 “And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire. MAT 18:9 “And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell.” You are right this wasn’t mentioned to just leaders but to disciples and again proving my point. Jesus did not always mention hell to everyone. His focus of hell was mainly for the Jews and the religous elite. That was an act of mercy to legalists so steeped in their culture they could not see straight and understand the gracious God that would save a man despite an entire country (ie demoniac and the pigs, by Jesus saving him an entire region’s economy was destroyed.) or Jairus daughter or the bleeding woman. If hell was so important to Jesus why was his message to her your faith has made you well after he had already healed her? He did not mention hell to the woman at the well or the Roman centurion, he did not mention hell to the demonicac (probably because he actually knew what that was like.) As a matter of fact he was pretty selective about it. But you already know that don’t you? p



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Payshun

posted April 13, 2007 at 6:54 pm


I am not trying to ignore the rest of the bible but this whole argument started over Jesus and what he said. So let’s try and stick to that shall we?It keeps things simple or else we could both be here all day throwing bible verses at each other. One for grace and the other for judgement. That’s immature and downright counterproductive to coming to an understanding. p



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Payshun

posted April 13, 2007 at 7:01 pm


Ofcourse there can be a message of grace and love w/o God’s judgement or else it would not be a message of grace and love.Remember John’s letters and his admonission to his followers. Only those that fear judgement are not perfected in love. Love is the perfecting agent and it is a very dangerous agent indeed. Men were killed for love like our savior Yeshua (Jesus) or the disciples or … You cheapen love and the mercy that truimphs over judgement by fusing it w/ judgement. jesus came to end sin’s condemning power over man don’t you think you and other’s like you should live that out to? Try going up to a prostitute or someone you know that is a sinner and forgive them. Just do it, no strings attached no demands asked just do it and see what happens. Part of my mission on earth is to follow Christ’s words to his disciples in John. He commanded his team of men (and women) to forgive and their were stiff penalties if that did not happen. That comes from Jesus teachings on prayer, the parable of the unjust steward (you know the guy that had defaulted on a loan and then held his neighbor thru his neighbor in jail even though he had asked for mercy.) If you live your life in the manner you do w/ such strict standards about the role of hell then you will be judged by those standards. My hope in this conversation is that you will understand that mercy triumphs over judgement and that God’s love is far more lavish than you have even begun to touch. p



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David

posted April 13, 2007 at 9:20 pm


“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Romans 1:18-32



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ArtT

posted April 14, 2007 at 1:40 am


ArtT Greeneville, TN Re: Your Thursday, April 12 blog entry. Brian McLaren: Which Holy War? Your blog entry and attendant article by Roland Martin disturbs me on a number of levels. Let me see if I can sort it out and place it in some rational form. First off I am disturbed by Martin’s article because I see it as an attack (a little war language there) on Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians yet you want to spin it into something positive. This is not surprising because the first two paragraphs of Martin’s article mouths the mantra of the Religious Left (which is far more Left than Religious) or Emerging Church or whatever you are calling yourselves these days.It seems to me that you are doing exactly what you accuse the Religious Right of, to wit, focusing on two issues to the exclusion of all else; the Right on abortion and homosexuality and the Left on Justice and Poverty. However, you do throw in Environmentalism, but only because it has become the bastion of far left liberalism from whence you spring. The next thing that struck me was the quote you pulled from Martin: I’m looking for the day when Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Joyce Meyer, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, James Kennedy, Rod Parsley, “Patriot Pastors” and Rick Warren will sit at the same table as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Cynthia Hale, Eddie L. Long, James Meek, Fred Price, Emmanuel Cleaver and Floyd Flake to establish a call to arms on racism, AIDS, police brutality, a national health care policy, our sorry education system.The subtle equating of Fundamentalists and Evangelicals to lions while portraying Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton et al to lambs would be laughable was it no so pathetically erroneous. Need I remind you of Sharpton s participation in the Tawana Brawley fiasco and Jackson s infamous wealth building by shaking down corporations? But we need not go back that far in history. It seems both were highly involved in slandering the names of the Duke Lacrosse players a year ago and are unrepentant even now that the playres have been proven innocent. And for really cutting edge stuff how can their statements in the case of Don Imus be considered Christian? No, these folks are not my idea of moral leaders. You quote Martin again. Speaking of the deep polarization between the Christian “left” and “right,” he observes: Many people believe we are engaged in a holy war. And we are. But it’s not with Muslims. The real war – the silent war – is being engaged among Christians, and that’s what we must set our sights on.From my perspective it is the same war with two fronts. I see you and your ilk as a threat, not to me, but a threat to Christianity just as much as Islam is.It would appear from your comments and current reading list that you are taking up arms with the Muslims against those you call brothers and sisters yet denigrate daily. Just as the Muslim claims of a religion of peace , so to do your professions of justice and poverty ring hollow. Your words: As I read Roland Martin’s editorial, I couldn’t help but feel the resonances between his call for conflicted Christians to find a way beyond their impasse and the parallel struggle among our Muslim friends and neighbors in seeking a way forward for their conflicted faith. For all of their differences, members of the two religions have at least this in common: both faiths are in “crucial periods,” experiencing an “internal battle” or “silent war” among opposing factions, a struggle to retain what is true and good and generous, to reject what is inconsistent with each faith’s highest ideals and dreams, and to do so in ways that won’t blow us all to smithereens.The above shows me that you are not one that upholds the Christian worldview, rather the postmodern one. Muslim s are not our friends. They are an enemy just as you and your emergent, social, progressive, justice, liberal Social Gospel movement is an enemy of Christianity. The two religions have nothing in common. Why? Because Christianity is truth and Islam is a lie. And don t talk to me about respecting another s religion; you can not respect that which is not true.Jesus did not come to pull the economically poor out of poverty; he emphatically stated there would be poor always. He came for the spiritually impoverished. He did not throw the money changers out of the temple because he was against conducting business but because they were doing business in an inappropriate place. He did not say only the rich were to be charitable (or forced to be), he commended the poor woman for her contribution.Yes he taught us: 37[Jesus] said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matt 22:37-40 (KJV) But earlier said: 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Matt 5:17 (KJV) Not to the exclusion of the Ten Commandments, in fact He emphasized them with the above.While it is true that Jesus did not comment on homosexuality it does not mean that he condoned it. Did he condone alcoholism by turning water into wine? What then, must we tear out whole parts of the Bible because Christ didn t comment on a specific abomination? Jesus may have been the lamb during His time on earth. However, we see a much different Christ in the Book of Revelation and it is not for their works or lack of them that He pours out His wrath on the ungodly. The Religious Left is in my opinion just as great a threat to Christianity as is Islam. If either or you prevail, Christianity as it has been known for 2000 years will cease to exist. If that happens, then behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. Rev 6:8 (KJV)



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Payshun

posted April 14, 2007 at 3:35 am


Wow the fundies come out of the woodworks. Blessings be upon you all. David you forgot some verses. Romans 2:1-3 1Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?4Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,oh and you forgot verse 11 11For there is no partiality with God.Blessings. p



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Payshun

posted April 14, 2007 at 3:37 am


Oh and Art, I hope to God we kill the Christian religion you like. It’s already dead and creating disease everywhere it decomposes. The people that seem to make Islam worse aren’t just the fundimentalists of Islam but Christian ones seem bent on world war 3 aswell. p



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Payshun

posted April 14, 2007 at 3:42 am


Last comment but your religion Art fathered the Crusades, led to the genocide of the Native Americans, enslaved 3 continents and killed 90,000,000 Africans. I hope to God your religion dies quickly and hopefully quietly. we need some real live love in this not some judgement masquerading as grace. p



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Christian Beyer

posted April 14, 2007 at 5:09 am


One more from Romans that Payshun may have missed: 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) Based upon what Paul has just said, what criteria do you use to determine who is ‘saved’ and who is not? Not exactly a black and white situation.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 14, 2007 at 5:15 am


Jesus did not come to pull the economically poor out of poverty; he emphatically stated there would be poor always Yes, but that does not mean the WE should stand by and let the poor suffer. The poor may be with us always and that only means that we will always have that challenge before us. I know we are playing ‘dueling scriptures’ but don’t you remember the parable of the sheep and the goats. Jesus is pretty clear about his concerns there about the poor there. In fact, when we serve the economically poor often times WE are served spiritually by them. Let’s not make the mistake that those who have less money, power, education or bible schooling are the ones who need ‘saving’.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 14, 2007 at 2:03 pm


First off I am disturbed by Martin’s article because I see it as an attack (a little war language there) on Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians yet you want to spin it into something positive. And that is your first problem — you seem to subscribe to a mentality of “get them before they get us.” That does not respect the Scriptures at all. Jesus did not come to pull the economically poor out of poverty; he emphatically stated there would be poor always. He came for the spiritually impoverished. He did not throw the money changers out of the temple because he was against conducting business but because they were doing business in an inappropriate place. Some background is necessary here. When Jesus told the disciples, “The poor will always be with you,” he concluded that thought with, essentially, “You can help them anytime you want.” He also was saying, “You won’t always have me.” When he overturned the merchants’ tables in the Court of the Gentiles, he said, “It is written, ‘My house will be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it into a den of robbers” — implying that they were not only extorting the people but also keeping them from worshipping God. Also, the church exists not to have power and authority for itself but to establish a new Kingdom-ordered community. The Religious Left is in my opinion just as great a threat to Christianity as is Islam. If either or you prevail, Christianity as it has been known for 2000 years will cease to exist. That comment clearly demonstrates your lack of trust in Almighty God, Who always gets His. ALWAYS.



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David

posted April 14, 2007 at 3:12 pm


Art, When truth becomes relative everything is relative save the truth. Rationalism is not rational, the best way we can convince the Liberal Christians is on our knees behind closed doors. This is it my friend… the beginning of the end.Payshun, Telling a person about their condition and position with God apart from Christ is not judgment, it is our commission. Getting into specifics is where we start casting stones. We know one thing.. What then? Are we … any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, everyone is under sin, 10as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11no one understands;no one seeks for God. 12All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;no one does good,not even one.” 13″Their throat is an open grave;they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14″Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15″Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16in their paths are ruin and misery, 17and the way of peace they have not known.” 18″There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For by works of the law no human being[c] will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.Holding the law over someone’s head is judging them. Holding sin over their head as something that needs to be dealt with in order to have right standing with God is the gospel! But the hub of the gospel is the steadfast love and grace of Jesus Christ. When Michael the Archangel stood before Satan he understood God’s authority to the point of saying “The Lord judge you.” It’s all about His authority. The ONLY things we as Christians are allowed to judge, Biblically, are false doctrine and a fellow Christian’s public profession being different or restrained compared to what we know their private profession to be or should be. (Galatians 6) The heart.. is God’s to judge alone!! So I only can trust that the Liberal Christians heart is rooted in a sincere desire to do what is right and that they are not purposely holding back the most essential aspects of the gospel for the sake of their reputation; or for unity where they should not care about unity. For me to act out with a firm belief in the latter would be judgment, for me to pursue “peace if possible, but to provide truth at all costs” is being Christlike. I admit it is a struggel and can only be done in Christ; I have nothing to offer… I am simply the donkey bringin Him through the city. Purity over unity, but unity if possible… I cry out and pray for unity! But unity requires two things which are inseparable: reformation and revival. Each one cannot happen without the other. Reformation is a returning to God’s Word and revival is a fresh revelation of Jesus Christ as having the preeminence in all things. If either one of these is neglected than we have left our first love. There are disagreements that still allow unity i.e. I am an Arian yet have wonderful fellowship with Calvinists (Pre-destination). But there are Scriptural guidelines for when to “not even step foot inside their house.” I pray that never happens but truth demands confrontation as Schaeffer says… it is loving confrontation and it is dished out at all costs.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 14, 2007 at 4:03 pm


“…it is loving confrontation and it is dished out at all costs.” Undeniably. But how is that loving confrontation exhibited? David, Art, it seems that your way of serving the Lord places great emphasis on verbal techniques – preaching, exhorting, chastising where necessary. There are definitely many places where that is appropriate. But wouldn’t someone who sacrifices everything, serving others at the expense of their own personal comfort or safety, never considering the cost to themselves as they share their love of Jesus with the ‘least of these’, be doing the same thing Shaeffer illustrates? Is it because the Church has an obsession with numbers that we feel compelled to go out and play theological ‘tag’ with the world? The emphasis would seem to be on quantity not qualtiy, a fervent desire to save as many souls as we can in the time that we and they have on this earth. Yet ultimately that is God’s province.With a few exceptions I think that the lives of people like Dorothy Day and Mother Theresa are better examples of effective evangelizing than the vast majority of Christian exhorters, who are primarily preaching to the converted. The mystery of the poor is that they are Jesus, and what we do for them we do for him. Dorothy Day



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David

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:32 pm


Christian, What do you mean by “share their love of Jesus with the ‘least of these’”? Do you mean sharing the love of Christ verbally or only in actions? There are different levels of Liberal Christianity and I don’t know you from Adam. I want avoid stereotyping all Liberal Christians; they are not all equally deceived. I hope you are not a part of the “actions only” heresy. Mother Theresa was a heretic. (Take asome time to wipe the coffee from your computer screen) I doubt, although can never knoe, that her actions will count in Heaven. Jesus says that if the world loves us than we are not His disciples. Let me give you one example of why the world (lost and religious) loved Mother Theresa. In her book Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations and Prayers, she says: “We never try to convert those who receive [aid from Missionaries of Charity] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied. It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.” (Pages 81-82) This is Anti-Christ. Any work that is done outside of Christ without Him front and center and not done in His name is filthy rags; we remain nothing but workers of iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23) Christ tells us that He is the only way to the Father, this is the gospel. He also tells us in John 6 that the will of the Father is that “we believe in Jesus”; another translation says “the work”. With this in mind… re-read Matthew 7 :21-23 and see if anything starts to click. Jesus also told us in Matthew 10: “What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. (Why should we be afraid of being killed if we are being pansy liberals who accommodate the world at the expense of the souls of others? There is no fear of death without offense. And the offensive is simply the proclamation that Jesus is the only way and everyone has sinned and falls short.) Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[f] 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[g] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.34Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. (How does this happen the Liberal way?)37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” John 16:8-11 “And when he comes (the Holy Spirit), he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” That is the judgment we talk about and proclaim! And the lost must know they are a part of this judgment apart from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I just have to finish John 16 because it’s so awesome…”His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Yes! Awesome!



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David

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:35 pm


Oh, an to answer your question… the latter is loving confrontation. :)



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Payshun

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:41 pm


David “Telling a person about their condition and position with God apart from Christ is not judgment, it is our commission. Getting into specifics is where we start casting stones. We know one thing..” yes it is. It is not for you to give the judgement of God at all. For God and God alone can judge what a person’s condition apart from him is. Why won’t you see that? There were Roman centurions in Acts that were worshippers of El, Yaweh, God and they kept the heart of the law intact w/o following all of the specifics God still answered their prayers and protected them. What you are saying is essentially false. If God were committed to them before they knew Jesus then what does that say about what you are saying.God in his mercy sent Peter to them but then how many others did not recieve a “Peter” and yet God saved. It is for him and him alone. Umm David, They all already know. That’s all your version of Christianity has talked about for the last few years. Many feel condemned and unloved from God because of the crap you spill. Instead of lifting the burden of judgement off you add to it. Christ had some pretty harsh words for folks like that.I don’t need to repeat them, I think you already know them. Oh and I am glad you brought up the beauty of John. The Holy Spirit’s job is to convict those of sin, not yours, he is doing it so I would highly recommend you let him do the job because from what it sounds like your screwing it up. p



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Payshun

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:42 pm


I wish I had more time to post, since you brought up John because there are some serious gaps in your theology. But may God’s blessings fill you w/ love, peace and joy. Oh and leave Mother Theresa alone. None of us on this board are fit to untie her sandle let alone do the work she did. p



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David

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:46 pm


More scary Mother Theresa quotes with some comforting quotes by Tim Challies: “I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic” “I love all religions. … If people become better Hindus, better Muslims, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there.” “All is God — Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, etc., all have access to the same God.” “Mother Teresa believed that there is spiritual value in suffering. Once, when tending to a patient dying of cancer, she said “You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you.” (Christoper Hitchens – The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, p. 41). For this reason she would not prescribe pain killers in her clinics, choosing instead to allow her patients to experience the suffering that she believed would bring them closer to Christ. Despite the tens of millions of dollars donated to her charity each year, her missions were rudimentary and offered no real health care. Her missions mainly catered to the critically ill and simply afforded them a place to go to die. It is interesting to note that when Mother Teresa became ill she would travel to the finest health care facilities to receive treatment.” (Tim Challies) “Pastors of Protestant churches around the world continue to speak of Mother Teresa in saintly terms. They hold her up as the ultimate example of self-sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. From the pulpits they discuss how she responded to Christ’s Great Commission to spread the gospel to all lands. The reality, though, is that if she preached at all, she preached a false religion. In so doing she provides us with an example not of a Christian responding to God’s call, but an example of deeds of charity and compassion completely separated from the Truth.” (Tim Challies)



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David

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:46 pm


Oh and Christian, Concerning the “vagueness of Christ”: Check out my John 16 reference from my last response.



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David

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:49 pm


yes it is. It is not for you to give the judgement of God at all. For God and God alone can judge what a person’s condition apart from him is. Why won’t you see that? Actually, quote all of your last commenter [here] . You have not read all my posts if you think I don’t see that or that I am “spilling crap”. What more can I say?



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David

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:51 pm


Payshun, When you get some more time… let me know my holes. I am interested. :)



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David

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:52 pm


Payshun, If those Mother Theresa quotes don’t boil up a righteous anger, then there is really nothing more I can say to you.



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David

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:54 pm


to clarify… not because I am too good, but simply because we are not on the same page, and I will never turn to yours.



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kevin s.

posted April 14, 2007 at 11:07 pm


“True — but the fallacy, promoted by conservatives, is that if you’re politically liberal you are then theologically liberal as well.” By and large, this blog proves suggests this is not a fallacy, though you certainly do not have to be conservative to be conservative theologically.



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kevin s.

posted April 14, 2007 at 11:12 pm


“This is not surprising because the first two paragraphs of Martin’s article mouths the mantra of the Religious Left (which is far more Left than Religious) or Emerging Church or whatever you are calling yourselves these days. ” Equating the religious left with the Emergent Church isn’t much more fair than equating evangelicals with fundamentalists. There are a number of emergent folks who were turned off by the over-politicization of the church, and they are not eager to see a movement that embraces the same politicization on behalf of liberal causes.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 15, 2007 at 12:39 am


By and large, this blog proves suggests this is not a fallacy, though you certainly do not have to be conservative to be conservative theologically. Relatively few African-Americans frequent this blog, which is why you see that.



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David

posted April 15, 2007 at 3:47 pm


If you agree with right to abortion and gay rights; if global warming is a concern to you… if you are against loving our neighbor Iraq as ourself and saving them from an oppressive dictator than you are a liberal. If you take this stance and are a nominal Christian, you are by no means a follower of Christ. I am not accusing anyone here of believing this… I am just stating a general fact. Kevin, The key leader of the Emergent Church movement is Brian McLaren; all I have to do is read his material and I can rightly label a supporter of the Emergent Church as a liberal Christian; liberal by association… What does the Emergent Church offer besides the prostitution of Christ’s Holy Bride and a form of religious socialism? The answer is… nothing. John 15:1-11 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” john 15:18-22 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin,[c] but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23Whoever hates me hates my Father also.”



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David

posted April 15, 2007 at 3:55 pm


Romans 3:21-26But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it– 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” John Stott says this: “‘But now’ of 3:21 is one of the greatest adversatives of the Bible” The above verse is the hub of the gospel. It is the relief from the tension of the truth of our condition and God’s eternal and perfect wrath against the unregenerate humanity. They are inseparable and the world we hate us because of Christ’s name not because of our self-righteous charity; that is the “gospel of Satan”.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 15, 2007 at 10:16 pm


What does the Emergent Church offer besides the prostitution of Christ’s Holy Bride and a form of religious socialism? The answer is… Methinks you know very little about the “emerging church.” I was talking to an older Presbyterian layman a couple of months ago, and he believes that the “emerging church” is trying to get back a sense of the holy, which is missing in much of the baby-boomer-driving contemporary evangelical church.



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kevin s.

posted April 15, 2007 at 10:58 pm


“Relatively few African-Americans frequent this blog, which is why you see that.” That’s probably true. My brother heads up an urban city church. Back when I was more interested in the emergent church, I talked to him about it, and he noted that the movement largely appeals to affluent, white 20-somethings, and so he didn’t see a lot he could take from it. However, it seems to me that African-American churchgoers all to often to let folks like Jesse Jackson (who doesn’t exactly lead by example) speak for them. Why is this so? Or, alternately, why don’t we hear more about the dissent if it isn’t so?



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David

posted April 16, 2007 at 2:41 am


Rick, I know the facts about the emergent church. What else is there to know? Give me an example of the “Holiness” the emergent church is “restoring”. What does that look like to you and the leaders of the movement?



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David

posted April 16, 2007 at 2:48 am


Oh and btw… I have a Presbyterian source as well; J. Gresham Machen and his book “Christianity & Liberalism. Check it out here. It’s more relevant now than when he wrote it. It is truly profound, and the best defense of the gospel I have read. It is irrefutable.



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David

posted April 16, 2007 at 2:54 am


And just so everyone here knows… I used to think the way you do. I was into the seeker-sensitive, avoiding the name of Christ and wooing people in to God through charity and love garbage. God opened my eyes… it’s all in His word; in black and white… and red. Really what happened is… I finally became a follower of Christ.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 3:39 am


I know the facts about the emergent church. What else is there to know? Give me an example of the “Holiness” the emergent church is “restoring”. What does that look like to you and the leaders of the movement? Oh, do you really know, first-hand? Have you interviewed any of its leaders, checked out its theology or attended any of its services? (I’m a journalist by trade and training, so I think this way.) I bet not — you probably just read a book or two that are on an approved reading list and written by people who can’t stand anyone who has a different approach than the “approved” one. I finally became a follower of Christ. Spare me your arrogance — I’ve been a true follower of Christ for nearly 30 years, and I would never put someone down for thinking differently if they are within the bounds of Scripture the way you do routinely. That said, I see there’s an ideological component of your faith too, and I have problems with that.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 3:44 am


However, it seems to me that African-American churchgoers all too often to let folks like Jesse Jackson (who doesn’t exactly lead by example) speak for them. Why is this so? Jackson’s influence in the black community is overstated, truth be told. But with black contempt for conservatism being what it is, the more conservatives hate on him the more popular he becomes. Same with Bill Clinton, BTW. And conservatives hate those guys so much because of sheer envy.



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Payshun

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:05 am


David, May God’s blessings fill your life w/ joy, love and peace. May his love great you and welcome you. May the love of God empower you to become alive again. May love be the power that transforms you into a man of grace and not condemnation. You are a legalist that pretends to believe in grace but hides behind really twisted ideas of the gospel. If you think Paul’s inspired writings are the hub of the gospel there is not much too much more I can say on this subject. Paul is great but every book he wrote was commentary from the lessons of Jesus himself. Maybe you should start there and see how Jesus himself treated people from different cultures. The reason why you like Paul is that he was a recovering legalist and his writings were about that. I love how Jesus tells Anias (sp) that paul would have much to suffer for God’s kingdom. After all the lives he took, the land and homes he seized and everything he did he deserved death and yet God spared him to suffer. Are you willing to take Paul’s cross? p



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Payshun

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:15 am


Now let’s take a look at Jesus healing of the Demoniac. Mark 5:1-5 1They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.As you see this one was crazed, powerful enough to break chains, he came to confront Jesus for some reason. 6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” Interesting too that Jesus doesn’t break into your Gospel message and start telling him right there that he was a sinner and needed grace. Instead he precedes to heal him. let’s keep going. 9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.As is the practice in the near east once a spiritual being’s name is ascertained the exorcist has the power and Jesus cast them out. 11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.That act plunged the entire region into financial dire straights and yet Jesus message to the man was simple. Let’s keep going to see what it is. p



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Payshun

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:20 am


14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.They were scared of him not just because he freed a man from hell but because he hurt their economy badly. 18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[c]how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. All Jesus does here is simply say tell what the Lord did to him. He did not say I am going to die and believe in me or you will die. He did not even say don’t sin again. But he did say tell the people. Where is your gospel message? I thought Jesus was all about doing what you are doing. He was but to the Jews first and then to a Samaritan woman but even then to everyone else they did not get it verbally instead they got it thru miracles (which you discount as lesser.) Jesus never saw them as lesser and he saw the freedom and healing to the demoniac as his chief reason for going to a pig infested region of the world. Where was that message that you admire so much? Oh yah it was in the healing and selfless act of love Jesus had for the healed man. p More soon.



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Payshun

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:25 am


The Syrophoenician Woman Mark 7:25-30 The Faith of a Syrophoenician Woman 24Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. 26The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27″First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 28″Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” 30She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. No verbal message again but healing and that was her message. That God saves and loves all people regardless of their ethnic identity. jesus in one simple act reestablished God’s love to a person that just simply believed. Again no message let’s keep going. p



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Payshun

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:32 am


The Roman Centurion 5And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” 7Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9″For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. 11″I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment. This centurion was the oppressor of his people. This would be akin to a freed black man healing a southern confederate’s soldier’s servant. Yet Jesus in his mercy and love healed the servant w/ a word. The centurion was more humble and contrite than any of the children of Israel. This centurion knew his wretchedness and yet trusted God in ways that none of the other Israelites had.The message the Christ gave him was the healing and faith of his belief in him. Was he saved by hearing the Gospel or the act of the healing? You tell me. p



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Payshun

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:44 am


I can show a lot more where Jesus would say that the sins of others do not always lead to accidents, I could point out the fears and insecurities of many of the people. But I think those three stories show the gospel message in a way that your twisted and judgemental message simply falls the test of time and immortality. Those stories of Jesus’ love are timeless and when we get to heaven you will meet them and they will tell you that they were saved by the acts of Jesus and not the message that he never spoke that day. As for Mother, she was amazing. Did you know on her first night in Kolkata she cleaned feces, vomit and maggots from a leper lying in a gutter? Did you know that she encouraged suffering in her own church where she would take on the roles of the poor and died w/ less than a suitcase to her name?She understood that you don’t always have to convert someone to bless them. Jesus did the same thing. He never asked the Centurion, The Demoniac or the Syrophoenician woman to convert instead he just loved them just like Mother did.You despise love because you don’t understand it. You despise love because you hate what it could mean for you and you are jealous that God could love that much. I realize I could be wrong here and for that I apologize in advance because you are still God’s beloved and saved by his sacrifice, resurrection and endwelling of the Holy Spirit. But you have a unique opportunity to follow the acts of Jesus and be a person of grace, forgiveness and love. Just like those three people knew their own wretchedness and accepted it you must be more free of your own just like my struggle to be. May God bless you on the journey. p



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David

posted April 16, 2007 at 3:41 pm


Payshun, We are going in circles. Your examples are so ridiculous in keeping with your contextual implications that I don’t even know how to respond except to whip out “Christianity 101″. You have (not as an attack but for you to realize) foundational misunderstandings of the Christian faith, Christ’s message and purpose in His miracles. You obviously don’t read my posts in full because I have addressed these issues indirectly and directly. You have not addressed any of my posts directly while I have done so with yours (save these last). There is not enough space here to address this, but everything I would say to you is in J. Gresham Machen’s book Christianity & Liberalism (i have provided a link to an online copy in several previous posts). Dr. Greg Bahnsen explains this about Machen:”The modernism of the early twentieth century (that has “progressed” faster than any comparable time in history)was not simply a theological variant within historic Christianity, not merely a new version of Christian doctrine which retained at its center the evangel. It was, according to J. Gresham Machen’s analysis in Christianity and Liberalism, a departure from the Christian religion altogether, abandoning the proclamation of the supernaturalistic good news of redemption which had distinguished the Christian church throughout history. Liberalism was, and is, simply another religion or philosophy of man in competition with the historic biblical faith. Accordingly, the battle with modernism is more than “polemical theology” against an exegetically weak or inconsistent school of evangelical Christianity. It is apologetics with unbelief.” I do understand where you are coming from. But you are, for some reason, skipping over the essential aspects of the ministries of Paul and Jesus; I believe that is referred to as propaganda. I don’t accuse you of knowingly doing this but you are caught up in a movement in which the leaders are well aware. And as for your Mother Theresa examples, I don’t care if she was crucified on a cross… here obvious avoidance of Christ as the center of her ministry and her ecumenical heresy is enough to deem her actions self-righteous. And we all know that these acts, no matter how pious they seem, count for nothing on the other side. I do not despise love, I despise self-righteous love… I despise philia, but worship agape! I find it an honor to be labeled a legalism among Liberal Christians. We can discuss this further over a beer and Fuente Fuente Opus X.



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David

posted April 16, 2007 at 3:57 pm


Rick, …and I would never put someone down for thinking differently if they are within the bounds of Scripture. Absolutely! Have I interview leaders? I have listened to many interviews. Emergent theology? I read everything I can get my hands and eyes on. The leader’s books, articles, blogs, sermons. Soujourner is a goldmine of liberal theology. The last thing I want to be is a theological polemicist or a schismatic who needlessly spreads discord. But when there is a true need to defend my faith I am well aware and prepared to be labeled as such. I know my heart and God knows my heart, that’s all I care about. Attended Services? I have attended them via service podcasts. As long as methods do not accommodate the world I only care about the message; I am all for relevance to the world, but as we pursue to be relevant apart from being Christ centered be are doomed to become worldly; bad company corrupts “good morals”, but it can never corrupt dead men and women. And Rick I can assure you it is not arrogance. There is a very clear example in the Scriptures of what a follower of Christ says and does. This is the last word and is not open for interpretation. There are countless nominal religious Christians who appear pious and, I believe for the most part, have good intentions. But our good intentions were nailed to the cross and dies with Christ, when He rose from the grave he gave us our intent. When He said we would “do greater things than these” (His miracles), He meant that we would bring people to salvation through the message of redemption… through the name of Jesus. Apart from a Christ-centered message of redemption from sin and eternal death, Christianity cannot be labeled as such; it is a new religion which worships the god of this world. We are told in Scripture that the Anti-Christ will do many wonders and miracles. People will confuse Him for Christ because of His apparent concern and display of “love”. But we are told how to discern the spirits in 1 John 4:1-6: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” Ring a bell?



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David

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:06 pm


For the other Christians in this comment blog… has anyone checked out Payshun’s homepage? Does anyone have an issue with it? Curious to find out…



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:52 pm


The last thing I want to be is a theological polemicist or a schismatic who needlessly spreads discord. As someone who has been around numerous theological circles for several decades (though I myself come from a Reformed orientation), I know from experience that spreading discord is exactly what you’re doing. And as for Machen’s book — I am familiar with him, as he is the founder of the denomination in which I grew up — you have to consider the times. The “conservatives” of that day were into defining “pure doctrine” while the “liberals” were interested primarily in the practical outworking of a relationship with Christ. Incidentally, the “conservatives” were almost never involved in the works of mercy (such as building hospitals and serving the poor) that the “liberals” did — but, if you read the words of Jesus, the liberals actually were closer to His message. Essentially, the book appears to be an excuse to remove certain people from the Body of Christ (I confess I have not read it very carefully), and that will never do.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 16, 2007 at 6:03 pm


And just so everyone here knows… I used to think the way you do. I was into the seeker-sensitive, avoiding the name of Christ and wooing people in to God through charity and love garbage. God opened my eyes… it’s all in His word; in black and white… and red. Really what happened is… I finally became a follower of Christ. And I used to think as you do now. We must have passed each other in the hall at some point. But seriously, David, “charity and love garbage”? You don’t think that Jesus placed a premium on charity and love? “Black and white…and red?” Other than one particular book, do we even need red letters to understand what it is that Jesus is saying?As far as that one book other than the Gospels which uses red letters,could that be where some of the problem lies. Do you believe that Jesus actually uttered them? Whoever John was, he admits that what he relates to us was not ‘real’, that it was probably a dream or an hallucination much like those of Daniel’s. He refers back to images found in the Hebrew apocrypha, such as the book of Enoch, and little of what he tells us has anything to do with the Gospels. There has been much controversy over the years within the church as to whether or not this book should even be included in the canon, with Martin Luther saying that he opposed it’s inclusion as one cannot find Jesus in it. As opposed to the Gospel of love and forgiveness that Jesus shared, John’s revelation is one of vengeance and wrath, encouraging many of the church’s historical excesses as well as (I would presume) much of fundamentalist theology.



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Payshun

posted April 16, 2007 at 6:27 pm


David, I am glad you brought up my page. I have addressed everything your twisted points have brought up and yet you will only address very little of mine. We are going in circles.It’s sad that you would be labeled a legalist and feel proud of that. It’s really sad. My heart grieves for you. As for what Mother believed about Jesus here are some quotes. “Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet especially your family. Be holy let us pray.” “I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days and her only lament was: My son did this to me. I begged her: You must forgive your son. In a moment of madness, when he was not himself, he did a thing he regrets. Be a mother to him, forgive him. It took me a long time to make her say: I forgive my son. Just before she died in my arms, she was able to say that with a real forgiveness. She was not concerned that she was dying. The breaking of the heart was that her son did not want her. This is something you and I can understand.” “Like Jesus we belong to the world living not for ourselves but for others. The joy of the Lord is our strength.” This one is most important. “There are so many religions and each one has its different ways of following God. I follow Christ: Jesus is my God, Jesus is my Spouse, Jesus is my Life, Jesus is my only Love, Jesus is my All in All; Jesus is my Everything.” Who are you to judge her? Please explain your Christianity 101. How am I taking them out of context? Each one of those people believed that Jesus saved. That was their salvation and the salvation that saved their loved ones. For you to not care about that says more about your scarred heart than anything I have said.We both believe that the other has taken the word of God out of context. You believe I am a heretic while I have not labeled you as such. I will not label you as such but by your own words you have condemned yourself. My prayer for you is that self condemnation and judgement run from you so that you can love rightly. Christ is indeed the center of our prayer but believe me the broken already know they are sinners. You ignore one element of his. Christ came to save the sick, the sinners the broken, not the well. You from your writings have shown that you are well. You judge what you believe off of what you know. Case in point. Actually David I have addressed your points directly we just will never agree on much of what the Gospel is, how to love or anything else. You have no right to decide who is and who is not Christian. You are not God so please stop pretending to be. Unlike Mormons that can genuinely claim they do not believe in the truth of the one son liberals do believe in Jesus and follow his actions and commandments.I will never again embrace the death of your fake Christian religion. it leads to death and condemnation. The Jesus I know is a God of the living. p



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Payshun

posted April 16, 2007 at 6:37 pm


Oh and one more thing David. I am not asking you to change. I am asking you to stop being so judgemental. Believe what you want but let God and God alone decide who is not Christian, who is and is not going to hell. It’s not your job besides none of us are fit to do it, not even Paul. p



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Payshun

posted April 16, 2007 at 6:51 pm


Oh I forgot to add these to my original post. Thank God I am not an evangelical. Christ is indeed the center of our prayer but believe me the broken already know they are sinners. You ignore one element of his. Christ came to save the sick, the sinners the broken, not the well. You from your writings have shown that you are well. You judge what you believe off of what you know. Case in point. “And Rick I can assure you it is not arrogance. There is a very clear example in the Scriptures of what a follower of Christ says and does. This is the last word and is not open for interpretation.”Too bad you just interpreted it. “There are countless nominal religious Christians who appear pious and, I believe for the most part, have good intentions. But our good intentions were nailed to the cross and dies with Christ, when He rose from the grave he gave us our intent. When He said we would “do greater things than these” (His miracles), He meant that we would bring people to salvation through the message of redemption…” This is so wrong I don’t know even where to begin but if you had read Romans, and Hebrews and John and … You would never be able to say you bring people Christ or that any of us do. Talk about pride. God saves and God saves alone using us as sons and daughters to show how much he loves. Christ brings himself sometimes thru his people and other times all on his own. We bring nothing except for the cross, the resurrection, and the Holy Spirit. You said: “Apart from a Christ-centered message of redemption from sin and eternal death, Christianity cannot be labeled as such; it is a new religion which worships the god of this world.”You are absolutely right too bad that is not what you have said the faith is. If anything your point and this has been the biggest one is that you have to tell people they are sinners. My point is that sinners already know. That’s where we disagree. “We are told in Scripture that the Anti-Christ will do many wonders and miracles. People will confuse Him for Christ because of His apparent concern and display of “love”. But we are told how to discern the spirits in 1 John 4:1-6:” Keep taking the scriptures out of context. The antichrist will only bring death and destruction and will only seek to put himself in the place of God. Mother Theresa when asked to become a god by some of the people she “loved” rejected it heartily and only gave Christ the glory. Can you in your pride and foolish accusations say the same? p



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David

posted April 16, 2007 at 8:00 pm


Get behind me Satan! How can I refute “truth” with truth? I can’t. It’s all prayer from here on out. Only God can bring you back into His reality, and I will attach to my commission the sparing of Christians from the new, and yet age-old, Liberal religion falsely labeled Christianity. Christian, that blasphemy concerning the book of Revelation is intolerably incredulous. FYI, it is Jesus addressing the Seven Churches and its irony is tragedy. The last church addressed in Revelation 3 is the church of today! What is God’s wrath on this Earth look like? He “hands us over to our debased mind” … He “spews us out of His mouth.” The condition of the church in Laodicea was so putrid to Him that He literally throws up. Jesus here says that instead of knocking on the door of our hearts he is literally knocking on the door of the church yet we leave Him at the doorstep and audaciously believe we are doing His will. I groan for the end, I pray for persecution here for Christians so that once and for all the liberal Christians can be seen for what they are; and Christ may once again receive the full glory due Him. Martin Luther, the legalist of his time, ended his 95 Theses with an especially inspiring exclamation… 93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, The cross, the cross, and there is no cross! 94. Christians should be exhorted to strive to follow Christ their Head through pains, deaths, and hells. 95. And thus trust to enter heaven through many tribulations, rather than in the security of peace. 96… “Peace if possible; truth at all costs.”You are in my prayers… The cross, the cross!



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Christian Beyer

posted April 16, 2007 at 8:59 pm


David, the cross is the pivotal point of all history no, of all time. And the cross that Christ asks us to bear is often that of having to forgive and love not only those that we despise and who despise us but also those who despise Jesus. He loves them no matter what and we must also as well. But where is any mention of this cross of Jesus in the Book of Revelation? Where can we see God s love and compassion displayed as we see it portrayed on Golgotha? Contrary to what my fundamentalist friends often tell me, Jesus’ Gospel of love, compassion, forgiveness is the true meat of the Gospel. This is what we have the hardest time digesting, the idea that no matter how repugnant the act or the actor, God allows us no option but to love that person as he would. The idea that the righteous will be avenged by God through bloody and violent campaigns, that there is some powerful dualistic being who, in opposing God, is causing the world s suffering, that those who have hurt us will someday get theirs – this is all milk . It goes down easy because it is how the world works . It s what we are used to, it s how every cheap Hollywood movie is staged and resolved and it puts us in the enviable position of watching the losers suffer the way we think they should. No matter how much stock we may or may not put into the inerrancy and infallibility of scripture it must always be looked at through the lens of the Gospel. Actions speak louder than words and what Jesus did with his life drowns out any arguments over what he said.



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David

posted April 16, 2007 at 9:55 pm


Predictable. I will simply remind the Liberal Church of this warning… “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.[f] Amen.” According to your reasoning we should remove most of the books from the Bible save the gospels, but the gospels are nothing without the prophecy of the Old Testament. Revelation 19:10 “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 10:18 pm


The last church addressed in Revelation 3 is the church of today! What is God’s wrath on this Earth look like? He “hands us over to our debased mind” … He “spews us out of His mouth.” The condition of the church in Laodicea was so putrid to Him that He literally throws up. That’s not the original context of the verse. There were springs in Laodicea that were either hot (for bathing) or cold (for drinking). When Jesus made that comment about the church in Laodicea being neither cold nor hot, his reference was to its uselessness. I pray for persecution here for Christians so that once and for all the liberal Christians can be seen for what they are; and Christ may once again receive the full glory due Him. There are a lot of so-called conservative, Bible-believing Christians due for an unpleasant surprise at the Judgment. Jesus even had a word for them: “I never knew you.” That said, the most important thing is that God, through the cross, reconciles us to Himself and forms a new “tribe” in the process that displays His glory to the nations. This was his intent with ancient Israel.



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Christian Beyer

posted April 16, 2007 at 10:43 pm


Well, since I have already been accused of blasphemy (I am tempted to be proud of that as you were of being called ‘legalist’), why do you believe that the Book of Revelation has as much validity as the four Gospels? As I menitoned, there has always been controversy over this book, Luther doubted that the Holy Spirit had anything to do with it and it does seem to contadict much of what the Jesus who walked this earth did and said. That being said, I think the book has much to say to us, John shows us how we, as the church, fall short of our goal of serving God. There is a lot of good stuff in there about being corrupted by the culture, our own ‘Babylons’ of today and yesterday. But is it ‘factual’? Was it intended to be taken as anything more than allegory and hyperbole? Is it really a prophecy of how the world will come to an end, with a blood stained Jesus on his charger, wielding a sword in battle? Is it Christ that we follow or has the Bible become an idol?



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David

posted April 17, 2007 at 12:23 am


The Word is God.



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David

posted April 17, 2007 at 12:30 am


Rick, Thanks for expounding, was that your point? That said, the most important thing is that God, through the cross, reconciles us to Himself and forms a new “tribe” in the process that displays His glory to the nations. What in my posts has led you to believe that I do not agree with this? It is so much more than a tribe… we are His Bride!



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David

posted April 17, 2007 at 12:58 am


I never knew you implies relationship. Relationship with God comes through prayer and seeking Him first and His Kingdom. The one who does this “diligently” and with a heart which truly longs after Him is known by God. Jesus told the disciples that the reason they were unable to cast out a demon was because it requires prayer and fasting. The demons know only those who have a relationship with God… Prayer gets us into the Heavenly network. Look at Acts 19:11-16: “And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus, whom Paul proclaims.” 14Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all[d] of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”The Jewish exorcists tried to cast out the demons in the name of Jesus (Matt. 7:22) but they had no authority over the demons. The demons knew Jesus and Paul. How does one obtain authority over demons? It is through the same means which we establish relationship with Him.In Luke 9 Jesus says that “this sort of power comes only through prayer and fasting”. So the demons said in a sense “I never knew you” and then proceeded to possess the Jewish priests. It is obvious they did not have a relationship with a living God, they simply were religious men. It is important to note that the disciples in Luke 9 were unable to cast out the demon. They had a unique plight at that time; they were the first Christians. Hindsight is 20/20 and they did not have this luxury which we now possess. These were the same disciples who gave up hope after Christ died, even after all Jesus had done and said… their faith was still absent of a helper. The Holy Spirit is our helper which keeps our faith and hope alive. There is no prayer without hope and faith; faith first. How many of us would be the ones who saw and heard yet did not believe? How many of us are still without a prayer life? It is scary to ponder. My point is that what God was saying, or will say, when He said “I never knew you” was simply… you never cared about a relationship… you only cared about “doing” … like Martha they were/are “busy with too many things” and all Jesus wanted was for Martha to come and sit at His feet. That is all He wants from us… “I never knew you” = “You never sought me…” “You never prayed.”



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David

posted April 17, 2007 at 1:00 am


Sorry… *God’s word, “I never knew you”, implies relationship.



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Payshun

posted April 17, 2007 at 1:08 am


The Word is indeed God but the word is Jesus Christ. p



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Payshun

posted April 17, 2007 at 1:34 am


David God Bless You!! May God go before you and bless all you do.Mark goes into greater detail explaining the experience. Mark 9:17-24 17And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; 18and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” 19And He answered them and said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” 20They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. 21And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22″It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” 23And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ (C)All things are possible to him who believes.” 24Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”The person that cried out and prayed was the father. he prayed “I do believe help my unbelief” He was the key to freeing his son. Oh and I do not ignore Revelation because it’s harsh. I love it. It ranks up there w/ my top 5 books in the bible. My favorites include starting from: 1. Ezekiel 2. John 3. Isaiah 4. John’s Letters 5. Revelation.Revelation is harsh and rightly so the church at the time was going thru persecution that stateside Christians have rarely ever faced (unless your black.) My master Ezekiel is harsh and brutally harsh to his Jewish community. So I don’t have a problem w/ hard teachings quite the opposite. I think the hardest thing to do is to love people that you don’t like. Tolerance is the cheap version of that. I hate it w/ a passion. I would rather radically love than not.So the question is will we as Christians love God and our neighbor or not? p



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Christian Beyer

posted April 17, 2007 at 2:10 am


Revelation is harsh and rightly so the church at the time was going thru persecution that stateside Christians have rarely ever faced (unless your black.)” Actually, there is some scholarly research to suggest that John was not privy to this persecution himself. He only mentions one martyr by name and as for himself, he may have been a man of privilege. As Pliny the younger has written, when a Christian refused to renounce Jesus after the third request he was invariably executed. If John was exiled to Patmos (as some suggest) then he may have had some standing with Rome (which would belie his condemnation of those who benefited from a moderate relationship with Rome) Whoever he was, and whatever he was talking about (and who can really answer that question, eh?) I seriously doubt that his writings are much more than the very stylistic sermon from an overly dramatic yet poetic preacher.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 17, 2007 at 5:52 am


Thanks for expounding, was that your point? Who the heck gave you the right to say who’s a “true believer” and who isn’t, based on your limited criteria? That was my point. I was recently reminded of a question once asked of Charles Spurgeon: “Will we see John Wesley in heaven?” The Puritan preacher responded, “I fear not … because he’ll be so close to the throne of God and we’ll be so far away.” Spurgeon and Wesley of course, had severe theological differences but Spurgeon respected Wesley as a man of God. You should do the same for those of us who don’t think quite like you. And BTW, some of us do read the Scripture and know it well.



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canuckelhead

posted April 17, 2007 at 7:06 am


“The last church addressed in Revelation 3 is the church of today! What is God’s wrath on this Earth look like? He “hands us over to our debased mind” … He “spews us out of His mouth.” The condition of the church in Laodicea was so putrid to Him that He literally throws up.” Our thanks goes out to the Tim LaHaye/Jerry Jenkins clone for definitively clarifying this complexity once and for all.



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canuckelhead

posted April 17, 2007 at 7:08 am


Liberals 12 Conservatives 7 Jesus 0



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David

posted April 17, 2007 at 4:01 pm


Rick, Of course I cannot make that judgment… only God knows. But we do have Scriptural guidelines as to what a follower of Christ looks like; it is black and white. Go to Payshun’s site and see if “Follower of Christ” jumps off the page. He calls himself a “follower of Christ”. What would you say? There is a difference from judging a fellow Christian who is truly fighting the good fight and revealing a wolf… which is what payshun is. I can say that with conviction and no fear. And do you have any thoughts on my “I never knew you” explanation? I do agree with you Rick. And I do not know you well enough to know how much of the liberal theology you embrace. You sound conservative to me. The problem I have with the Emergent Church and Liberal Christianity is as J. Gresham Machen said: The modernism of the early twentieth century was, and is, not simply a theological variant within historic Christianity, not merely a new version of Christian doctrine which retained at its center the evangel. (In this cas we are able to still preserve unity i.e. Calvanists and Araians). It was, according to J. Gresham Machen’s analysis in Christianity and Liberalism, a departure from the Christian religion altogether, abandoning the proclamation of the supernaturalistic good news of redemption which had distinguished the Christian church throughout history. Liberalism was simply another religion or philosophy of man in competition with the historic biblical faith. Accordingly, the battle with modernism was more than “polemical theology” against an exegetically weak or inconsistent school of evangelical Christianity. It was apologetics with unbelief. I refrain as much as possible from discussing differences in doctrine i.e. amillennialism vs dispensationalism because these don’t really matter in the least; we lean not on our own understanding in these matters but simply trust God with all our hearts and acknowledge Him in all our ways. But when Christ is removed to any degree, what remains is a false religion.



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David

posted April 17, 2007 at 4:03 pm


CORRECTION: Dr. Greg Bahnsen said those words in reference to Gresham’s thesis.



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Payshun

posted April 17, 2007 at 6:44 pm


Ok so now I am not a follower of Jesus. Wow. Bless you man.p



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Payshun

posted April 17, 2007 at 6:45 pm


What clear guidelines are we talking about? p



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Payshun

posted April 17, 2007 at 6:53 pm


Oh and one more thing. I am a man not a wolf so let me turn the cheek feel free to hit me there too. My God you truly are decieved. My heart breaks for you. p



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David

posted April 17, 2007 at 11:13 pm


What clear guidelines are we talking about? What clear guidelines do you think I am talking about?



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 18, 2007 at 12:00 am


Of course I cannot make that judgment… only God knows. THEN DON’T EVEN SAY IT!!! And I do not know you well enough to know how much of the liberal theology you embrace. You sound conservative to me. You are correct in calling me a conservative and that I embrace no “liberal” theology. However, having stepped outside the bounds of the theological culture I grew up in I learned that others outside of it also had Christ, which also means they had truth — maybe not quite the way I saw Him, but it was real nonetheless. That said, the conceit I notice in your posts suggests that God works only through “conservative” Christians. My hero in the faith, Martin Luther King Jr., was quite liberal in his theology but God used him anyway. Thus, God is far, far bigger than any theology.



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Payshun

posted April 18, 2007 at 1:35 am


no David, You don’t get to be lazy. You brought up the point you speak on it. Cmon I am waiting. p



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Canuckelhead

posted April 18, 2007 at 1:48 am


David, it strikes me that, rhetoric notwithstanding, your theology is profoundly man centered. If I recall correctly, God once used a jackass to communicate his intentions, so what’s with all the focus on the qualifications or lack thereof of the messenger?



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nathan j walker

posted June 19, 2007 at 1:04 pm


thank god for blessings and miracles and every good thing amen=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=



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