The New Christians

The New Christians


Ending Christian Euphemisms: “The Lord Laid It on My Heart”

posted by Tony Jones

I received loads of great comments about what Christian euphemisms we should drag, kicking and screaming, into the light of day in an attempt to euthanize them. I won’t be able to tackle them all, but I’ll highlight some of my favorites this week.

Chris Enstad nominated this beauty:

“The Lord laid it on my heart…”

Which is a euphemism for: This is something I want to do.

I grew up in a home in which, while faithful and Christian, we didn’t talk a ton about faith. In fact, most Christian euphemisms were new to me when I went to college and got involved in an evangelical ministry. It seems to me that liberal Protestants have far fewer insider euphemisms — that’s probably because we’re more “worldly” and “secular” (read, not residing in a Christian ghetto).


So I don’t remember my parents ever blaming “the Lord” for one of their decisions, good or bad. It would have probably seemed highly anti-intellectual to them to do so.

Thus, it surprised me a bit when I started hearing people talk about their decisions, big and small, were directly influenced by the God of the Universe. And by that I don’t mean that they brought biblical reasoning to bear on their decisions, but that God deigned to whisper in their ear about what they should do.

Of course, I don’t mean to say that I believe in a non-interventionist God. I actually turn to God for aid in many decisions, big and small. But I can’t say that I ever felt God actually stir my brain juices, which is what it always seemed like when someone used this phrase, “The Lord laid it on my heart,” or something like it.

What’s really most odious about this phrase is when it’s used to justify something that’s otherwise unjustifiable.

So, let’s hear it: When have you heard (or used) this euphemism?



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Carla

posted October 19, 2009 at 10:39 am


It’s along the same lines as “the Lord laid it on my heart” but I think the idea of “calling” is a justification for all kinds of good and bad activity on the part of Christians. People use it to explain why they are making a decision others might question–living in a dangerous neighborhood or taking a low-paying job–but I found that many of my fellow seminarians used it to avoid the bitter truth which was that they couldn’t really figure what else they wanted to do so they decided to be pastors.
And of course it gets used to avoid lots of things Christians know we should do but don’t want to. A friend whose husband is a corporate big-wig who lost his job said he hasn’t felt “called” to non-profit work. I wanted to ask her if he felt “called” to sell tires or toothpaste or contact lenses (aka the kinds of jobs he was looking at) but that seemed mean. I once heard Bart Campolo preaching on this idea of calling and he said that we should all assume we are called to serve the poor and the oppressed unless God tells us otherwise since the Bible is quite clear about that calling and a little less clear on who should be in sales.



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nathan

posted October 19, 2009 at 10:51 am


i hate this phrase precisely because it takes what people are claiming and tries to place it beyond the scrutiny of others. There’s no higher court of appeal than God, so it shuts down conversation/dialogue/discernment.
This phrase rises out of hyper-individualism and bad ecclesiology.
i also know that some people use it with the best of intentions…
People would do well to learn that there is no self-authenticating christian identity/calling/etc. etc.



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nathan

posted October 19, 2009 at 10:54 am


another thing, when you talk about “blaming the Lord”…i see that phenomenon all the time…
it’s like people don’t want to take responsibility for their life, so they always pass the buck to God if things don’t go well.
then every little decision that the “Lord laid on their heart” turns into a crisis of faith when the odds come down against them and something doesn’t work out.



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Jim

posted October 19, 2009 at 11:22 am


I went to a rather Christian college, and a variant of this phrase was used frequently (and despicably) in romantic relationships. “I just feel God leading me to break up you.” It’s a fantastic way of avoiding responsibility for an unpleasant interaction. But then, what if the other person feels God leading quite differently?



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brgulker

posted October 19, 2009 at 11:54 am


A girl broke up with me because “the Lord laid ‘singleness’ on her heart…”
Kind of the Christianese version of, “It’s not you, it’s me.”



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James

posted October 19, 2009 at 12:00 pm


This goofy “Lord laid it on my heart” stuff is sentimental well-meaning Christian speak for “I think such and such.”
The problem arises from assuming the biblical experiences ought to be normative, when in reality the biblical prophets and such were written down precisely because they were out of the normal. The experience of “hearing God” or being inspired of God was very rare in human history. In instance when God did intervene into the normal natural course of human experience, that was a big deal, and so it made it into the written record. But in NO WAY is the biblical experience to be “normative,” nor was it ever “normative.” If you were an average Hebrew, you lived a quite life of quite obedience to Covenant life and work. You never saw a miracle, you heard the Word of God via the words left by Moses, and you went about life.
Todays evangelicals wrongly assume that they ought to be having the same experiences they read of in the bible, and that creates all manner of odd, self-deceptive individual behavior.



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Panthera

posted October 19, 2009 at 12:25 pm


Either we are free-agents, capable of loving or rejecting God or we are not.
All this BS about ‘God laying something on my heart’ is really just an after-the-fact attempt at justifying a decision we wanted to take, anyway.
It cheapens us, it blasphemes God.
It is also illogical. When God decides to work through us, He certainly does so by engaging us as people he imbued with free-will. We are always in a position to say ‘yes, my Lord’ or ‘no, my Lord’. There are never threats or dire consequences held up before us if we reject his desire. That would be to influence our free-will.
This euphemism is probably one of the most degenerate of all the filth the conservative Christians spew from their mouths.



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Mac

posted October 19, 2009 at 12:26 pm


I agree that the phrase “the Lord laid it on my heart” can be used to justify one’s personal convictions and decisions. And I also agree that slapping God’s approval onto personal convictions for decisions is a poor way to give authority to either.
However, I am curious: How should we go about talking about an interpersonal relationship with God? If the Spirit of God really dwells within us, in what ways can we talk about our interaction with him?
To give you a little insight on how I try to answer such questions, I think we need a place to describe such interaction. In fact, I don’t think the problem rests with the euphemism itself (“God laid it on my heart”) as much as how that euphemism has been used to advance personal agendas.
So here is another question: Are any of you willing to argue that God does not or cannot lay something on someone’s heart?



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Panthera

posted October 19, 2009 at 1:05 pm


Mac,
I am quite sure God ‘could’ lay something on one’s heart. I just don’t think that is His way.
There are several ongoing studies which demonstrate that many of our dearly held beliefs about what characterizes us as ‘superior’ to the rest of the animal kingdom is not, necessarily so. Cats are capable of inter-species cooperation. Dogs can feel concern and risk their own lives for other dogs, not just their masters.
There may very well be a sense of what is right built into us by God. Whatever good we do in this world is, in and of itself, a dialog with God.
Personally, I have always felt that the Matthew 6:1-34 summed it up rather well…and is, of course, the antithesis of American conservative Christianity which is based on gay-bashing and loudly uttered vulgarities which pass for prayer…while studiously avoiding doing good. Come to think of it, John 5:14 answers the question.
My personal feeling regarding those who go around claiming that God tells them what to do is that they are liars or pathologically ill. There’s no Biblical basis for it, but lots of the worst horrors committed in history were done in God’s name.



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Panthera

posted October 19, 2009 at 1:12 pm


beliefs ARE not…
Sigh. Anybody who thinks English is easy should try thinking in another language, speaking a third and simultaneously writing in English at the same time.



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Mere_Christian

posted October 19, 2009 at 1:21 pm


“Worldy and secular” as in not residing in the Church at all.
The fruit of liberalism has been shown to be non Christian more often than anything Jesus or His Apostles had something to do with.



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Panthera

posted October 19, 2009 at 1:36 pm


Mere_Christian,
For those of us who live in the real world of subject, verb and object, full-stop, repeat, would you mind terribly trying again?
If ’tis not too much bother for you.



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nathan

posted October 19, 2009 at 2:48 pm


I think Mac’s question is a good one.
I believe God speaks/leads/guides.
my only caveat is that such things are not self-authenticating. There’s a community called Church that the Spirit speaks through. We are a body.
These things are tested in the community.
Paul and Barnabas were not released to ministry solely on their whims/desires. The Church in Antioch sought the leading the Spirit together.
A Church commissioned Paul…he was not free to just run about willy-nilly…



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Barry

posted October 19, 2009 at 3:11 pm


Mere_Christian,
Jesus was not an Evangelical. Liberals are Christians too. Deal with it.



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nathan

posted October 19, 2009 at 3:33 pm


Tony,
are you going to do a post on the euphemism of “postmodern” to mean “bad”?
i thought your rebuke of the Harris twins (the video from the book expo) was right on about turning postmodern into a junk drawer word for whatever evangelicals disagree with.



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Mac

posted October 19, 2009 at 3:42 pm


I appreciate Nathan taking my question seriously.
The issue to me is whether or not God interacts with humanity through the presence of his spirit. And if he does, how do we go about taking about those interactions in a way that avoids trying to authenticate our personal values with some sort of divine authority.
I agree that such things are not self-authenticating. Just because someone thinks they “heard” something from God doesn’t mean they actually did…and so I think that there needs to be a great deal of humility when we discuss our perceived interactions with God in addition to (a) testing it within the context of community and (b) testing it with what the Bible has to say.
All that stated, I think throwing out the euphemism mentioned above doesn’t really solve the problem. The real issue is how we discuss our interaction with God. If people stop using phrases like “God laid it on my heart,” other phrases will be used such as “I sensed God saying” or “I felt God’s prompting” or whatever. Maybe some other phrases are more honest than others based on divine-human interaction and the degree of confidence one could have that they actually heard from God, but the euphemism itself is hardly the issue.



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Edward Green

posted October 19, 2009 at 3:59 pm


A youth worker once asked me.
“What is your heart for?”
I replied,
“Pumping blood around my body. Yours?”
Which was cruel. But made a point. I had just met them and they slipped in Christianise.
But trust me at the other end is people who have no sense of the divine being an active part in their lives through spirit word or sacrament.
Oh and Mere Christian are you really a student of the Anglican divines?



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Carla

posted October 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm


Mac,
I think you raise an excellent point–we ought not to automatically throw out the sentiment with the wording. However, I do think the euphemism is the issue. Personally, I’m not bothered when people say they feel God leading them toward a decision. I am a big believer in gut instinct which I think is one of the ways God speaks to us. But when I tell people about the choices I’m making based on a gut instinct, I think I have to take responsibility both for my belief that this is God’s leading and that I might be wrong about that.
For me, the problem with “The Lord laid it on my heart” is that it takes away the human responsibility to practice discernment and process decisions within the context of a community of faith. It suggest infallibility on the part of the speaker–that they should not be questioned or disagreed with. And it suggests that any fallout from the decision will lay at God’s feet, not the feet of the person making the decision. So I think phrases like “I felt God’s leading” or “I sensed God’s presence” are different in that they put the responsibility back on the person speaking. They are actors in this decisions, not passive receptors of God’s secret message.



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RJohnson

posted October 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm


“The fruit of liberalism has been shown to be non Christian more often than anything Jesus or His Apostles had something to do with.”
Mere_Christian, the Lord has laid it upon my heart to speak to you about your judgmental attitude and your assuming that you know the mind of God well enough to counsel others in such an adversarial manner. He suggests that you re-read how His Son confronted those viewed as sinners within society vs. how He confronted those viewed as “righteous” within society. Often He had his harshest words for those who, like you, stand in judgment of others.



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Robert Morwell

posted October 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm


I realize this isn’t exactly on-topic, because it’s not a euphemism…
But, could we please dispense with peperrng prayers with the word “just” as in, “Lord I just wanna say, that if you would just answer our prayers and just help us to be better Christians we might just stop using just so much… We’re just saying…”
I would just love for that to stop.



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Tom LeGrand

posted October 19, 2009 at 5:40 pm


I hear all of the arguments against the euphemism, “The Lord laid it on my heart” and its numerous variations. “God told me…” “The Spirit is leading me…” etc., etc. I have heard the idea that “God just doesn’t want me to have a boyfriend right now,” and heard it quite a bit in college. This, of course, generally changed when the boyfriend that the girlfriend wanted happened to profer an invitation!
It is often bad ecclesiology. I recall a woman who came and told our pastor a few years ago, “God spoke to me and told me that we are supposed to do _______.” The pastor responded, “It’s funny that God didn’t tell me or anyone else in our church!”
However, let me play Devil’s Advocate (a dangerous term when posting in this forum! lol):
I do not think it is excessively arrogant or naive for a believer to anticipate that God can “speak” to them, provided there is a very large dose of humility attached. God “spoke” to many ordinary people, and those were often the ones that were chosen as prophets or messengers or others trusted to carry out a task. Plus, when the wisdom of the Holy Spirit is promised, it does not say that the Spirit is reserved only for “special” believers. The Spirit can work in ALL people.
I don’t think the euphemism is actually the problem. As always, it’s the usage (or misuse) of the phrase. I do think that God sometimes “lays” things on my heart, but not necessarily in the way that preachers or overly-“pious” believers might use it. I feel that God usually lays it on my heart to change ME, not tell everyone else how to change. It’s usually a conviction about what I need to do, or how I need to re-think my actions/attitudes/relationships/etc. And it is never to be used as a justification for my own action/inaction on anything.
I would not be an advocate of tossing this euphemism. But I would very much advocate a serious reconsideration of how we use it. Well, in the end, maybe it WOULD be easier to toss it and start over???



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James

posted October 19, 2009 at 7:43 pm


Mac said: So here is another question: Are any of you willing to argue that God does not or cannot lay something on someone’s heart?
God laying something on someone’s heart is known as “biblical inspiration,” which happened a few rare times to the true OT prophets and Apostles and to the writers of scripture. The only other intervention of God is known as the “miracle”—these are those rare instances when seas parted, blind men saw, dead people came to life again, and jars of oil refilled themselves without human hands. In the bible, miracles are stunning nature-defying events.
Interventions of God have always been very rare, even in biblical times. They were so remarkably marvelous and unusual that they were written down to mark the occasions and to encourage all men to believe and obey the commandments and wisdom teachings of the Covenant.
Of all God’s people who have ever lived, about 99% lived lives without any direct divine intervention *in the biblical sense.* Instead, they lived life enlightened by the ways and teachings of God for mankind, as is the intent of God for mankind anyway.



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pastorboy

posted October 19, 2009 at 8:37 pm


Trust in the Lord with all of your heart
and lean not on your own understanding
In all of your ways, acknowledge Him
And He will direct your paths.



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nathan

posted October 19, 2009 at 9:47 pm


what a lovely scripture passage.
and it speaks to the trustworthiness of God’s good heart toward us.
but we are speaking about the economy (the “how”) not the “if”…
i don’t trust “lone ranger” christians…or even the ones who refuse to understand the corporate nature of christian identity.
the Church is not some mere aggregate of individuals in some kind of divine “support group” that has no purpose beyond helping us gut it out and grit our teeth until “we all get to heaven”.



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Tom LeGrand

posted October 19, 2009 at 11:00 pm


James, I think you are badly underestimating the work of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit in the Bible and badly underestimating that same work in the current world. Just because a lot of people misuse or misunderstand this phrase doesn’t mean that God does not legitimately act upon someone’s heart. And just because everyone in the Bible wasn’t hit on the head with some stone tablets or blinded while walking down a road doesn’t mean that God didn’t “speak” to them in some form or fashion. That’s an excessively literal interpretation of the economy of the Holy Spirit.
If what you say is true, then God is very distant and only directly interacts with a select few. This leans towards a Kantian view that I do not find to be true in the witness of scripture.



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James

posted October 20, 2009 at 12:25 am


To Tom, I am not underestimating. I am properly estimating. The bible is the record of extraordinary interventions and in no way represents normal living at any time. The average Hebrew would not have ever experienced a miracle or a prophetic word personally. Rather, they lived as a Covenant people obedient to what was spoken by God through Moses and then certain key prophets at critical times in history.
In the bible, the action of the Holy Spirit is always of the miraculous sort, whether of raising people from the dead or key predictions of events on the near horizon to the original audiences.
The bible, which is filled with divine intervention, is the “highlights film” of redemptive history and in no way reflects ordinary life for the masses at any time.
The bible is indeed a book of miracles, true moves of the Holy Spirit marked by marvelous events that were objectively observable and therefore shocking and worthy of being written down for posterity.
Today’s evangelicals are stuck watching a highlights film and mistakenly thinking that this level of divine intervention is normative, when such wasn’t even normative for the average Hebrew at any point in the biblical era.
In the most tragic of cases, you have these charismatic evangelicals who call themselves “prophets,” even though they never actually predict anything in the future, but rather shoot random Prophetic Word arrows and then go draw targets around wherever they landed. These people mean well but are stuck with the problem of assuming that God OUGHT to be working with everyone each day as He did with Moses, with Elijah, with Jesus, and with the apostles. But that’s the mistaken fatal error. Those people are famous precisely because what they experienced was entirely EXTRAORDINARY and rare and out of the normal course of nature.
So, Tom, you may think it is cold for God to have used just a few prophets and miracleworkers to install a whole new teaching for mankind’s salvation, but that’s the reality of what God has done. God has never been interested in making everyone a miracle working prophet. Rather, he wanted men to reform and live in accordance with his light and love and higher law, which he had to impart somehow. That higher light and law was *instituted* infallibly through rare undeniable miraculous events, such as the Old Covenant by Moses and the New Covenant by Jesus and the apostles.
People today who say they are being guided by the Holy Spirit even as those in the bible have no miracles to show for it. They have no predictive insights to future events. They do not have genuine miracles as Moses and the Apostles and Jesus did.
God is not “cold” for having installed a Covenant with men that leads us all to truth and restoration and love of neighbor.



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Lainie Petersen

posted October 20, 2009 at 1:09 am


One aspect of personal discernment that can be problematic is the notion of immediate return: If God “lays something on our hearts” we expect the confirmation of that “conviction” to be both imminent and in the form of some positive result. When the positive result doesn’t manifest, or if things get worse, nor nothing happens at all, we doubt whether we understood God’s intent. Yet it may well be that God has asked someone to do, or be, something without permitting them to reap, witness, or know the fruit of their behavior.
While I dislike “Christianese” as much as the next person, I think that we would do well to respect the way in which others may respond to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We would also do well to remember that God isn’t done with this “story” yet: Our actions and relationships may have long-term implications that we simply aren’t aware of.



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Luis

posted October 20, 2009 at 1:19 am


in spanish is the same “el Señor puso en mi corazón…”
and yeah, I hate it too jajaja
saludos desde Chile!!!



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Panthera

posted October 20, 2009 at 1:28 am


Of course, pulling the ‘God card’ has been one of the tools of the trade for self-appointed prophets for thousands of years. Requiring miracles is the antithesis of faith. We find those who experience these miraculous callings most frequently among those who, lacking faith, demand a literalistic interpretation of the universe. There is a reason why conservative Christians in America most closely resemble Iranian extremist politicians in their views on torture, women, gays and the death penalty. Same world view, same egoistical conviction that they know God’s mind. Somebody or other in sandals and long hair had a few words to say on that very subject, but, well, never mind. He was just a Jewish Rabi, nobody of importance to real Christians like Paul or Reagan or so.
When your Christianity is paint-by-the-numbers, it’s easy to believe someone who tells you ‘God laid it on my heart’.
Yeah, right. How convenient that that thing which God laid on your heart invariably is gay bashing, returning women to the stone age, supporting conservative Republicans or some get-rich-quick scheme.
The people who slogged away helping the first victims of Aids, the people who marched for equal rights for Negroes spoke very little of God laying things on their hearts. They did, they did not justify their actions through lame excuses. It was the opponents of civil rights and the hateful monsters who rejoiced at the pain and suffering of the victims of Aids (‘God’s revenge on homosexuals’) who talked about God laying things on their hearts.



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Greg Gorham

posted October 20, 2009 at 3:27 am


I do think the euphemism is definitely overused and has been used to justify all sorts of nonsense that had nothing to do with God and everything to do with that particular individual.
But I don’t think we can do away with the idea of God speaking to us, whether its through words or feelings or images or circumstances, etc. I don’t see what sense it makes to see the Bible as a book of exceptions. Why would we need a book of exceptions? If the Bible is supposed to help guide us today, packing it with all the exceptions would be totally unhelpful. And what kind of “Father” wouldn’t want to speak to his children?
Dallas Willard wrote a very, very helpful book on this called “Hearing God” a few years back. Excellent reading.



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Greg Gorham

posted October 20, 2009 at 3:46 am


I’d also add its only in the first world where the idea of God speaking to people seems weird or a problem. In the rest of the world, Pentecostalism is spreading faster than any other version of Christianity and people regularly expect to hear from God. The idea that God doesn’t speak directly anymore would fly in the face of the majority of those Christians.



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Panthera

posted October 20, 2009 at 6:15 am


I am not so sure about that, Greg Gorham. I’ve traveled a fair amount and find that the ‘simple’ people in the third world aren’t necessarily simple. Conversely, you still have tens of thousands who fall for this nonsense all the time in Europe, even in the civilized West.
It just strikes me as enormously odd that one never hears of God laying something on someone’s heart like helping the widows and the orphans, practicing mercy and forgiveness…instead it’s always hatred towards the Other or some get-rich-quick scheme.
Can’t think of any exceptions, actually. I am not saying the age of miracles is through, just have my doubts that the Father of such a devout and righteous Jewish Rabi would tend to only speak to fat, fornicating, hate-spewing, white-skinned Republicans – and that the the Holy Ghost really has nothing better to be inspired about than another few carats of diamonds in gold sittings on obscene luxury goods.
Show me the quiet priest in Germany in the 1930-s and 40-s who hid Jews and homosexuals. Show me the Dutch farmer who tipped off the Roma on his land that ‘they’ knew and were coming. Of them, I am willing to believe the Holy Spirit had a hand in the matter. Of Pat Robertson whom God seems to be constantly talking to, well, hmm. Why should the Priomogeneter of all need the US to eliminate tin-pot dictators? Why should God really inflect Katrina on New Orleans just to punish the US for not putting us gays to painful deaths?
We have free-will. God would never, ever speak to us in any manner which would deny us the exercise of that free-will.



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Jesse Turri

posted October 20, 2009 at 8:39 am


Money quote: “But I can’t say that I ever felt God actually stir my brain juices”



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Mac

posted October 20, 2009 at 9:23 am


Carla,
I really appreciate your last post and I think you have accurately highlighted another danger with claiming God has laid something on your heart–namely, that such a statement could be used to relinquish one’s own responsibility for the actions or convictions attached to whatever is currently on one’s heart. I completely agree. The two main misuses I anticipate from the above euphemism are:
(1) attaching God’s name to a belief or action to give it more credibility. Horrible things have been done throughout history in the name of God and I already touched on this problem above.
(2) attaching God’s name to a belief or action in a way that allows you not to take ownership for your actions or beliefs.
Perhaps the only thing I am really contributing to this discussion is that I think we need to preserve some vocabulary for discussing how God interacts with us. And here I am not referring to biblical inspiration (contra James). How do we describe God’s interaction with us through his Spirit in a way that does not (a) simply attach divine authority to a personal conviction; (b) relinquish our role and responsibility; and (c) leaves room for humility–a humility that recognizes we are not perfect at hearing or interaction with God’s Spirit?



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Greg Gorham

posted October 20, 2009 at 9:41 am


Panthera, I would totally agree that God doesn’t override our free will. And there’s example after example of that in the Bible, where people argued with God and with what God was telling them to do. But the fact that we can choose not to listen doesn’t mean that God isn’t speaking. Or the fact that what some people interpret as messages from God are simply delusions. The counterfeit doesn’t prove that the real doesn’t exist.
Also, I never, ever said that the two-thirds world was filled with ‘simple’ people. Nor would a belief that God is still speaking make one simple. That’s not a conclusion’s the majority of the world would reach. I believe something like 40% of the Christians in Africa are Renewalists, and they’re also seeing the fastest growth rates. I’m sure more accurate information can be found online. Harvey Cox’s new book, The Future of Faith, discusses the growth trends in Christianity around the world, with a long section on the kinds of Christianity spreading throughout the global south. Pentecostalism will be playing a big role in Christianity’s future, regardless of whether we find it odd or creepy or hard to understand.
Mac – I like the way they did it in the Book of Acts, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” They acknowledge their role in the process, while refusing the rule out the notion of the Holy Spirit guiding their decisions, and put “seemed” in front to acknowledge they could be totally wrong, but are going with it anyway.



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Mere_Christian

posted October 20, 2009 at 10:45 am


From Barry
October 19, 2009 3:11 PM
“Mere_Christian,
Jesus was not an Evangelical. Liberals are Christians too. Deal with it.”
I will, and we’ll see if they qualify as you judge they do.
John (the Baptist) was the first “evangelical” human. (Maybe Mary or Joseph, or John’s mom and dad. But that’s for another day.)
Gabriel and the rest of the angelic choir being those that presented “The Evangel” even before John heard it. Jesus also was certainly an Evangelical, as Evangel means “The Gospel.” Which of course Jesus preached even after his execution.
Liberalism was and is the preaching of pop culture or occultic beliefs attached to, or overiding Gospel soundness. Or as we see (again) in the 21st Century (AD), inserting political correctness to override and overwrite the Gospel/Apostolic witness.
The canard/threat of “judgmentalism” is a ploy employed for the effect of silencing the Gospel (The Evangel) from being preached. Jesus and His Disciples and Apostles went out of their way to oppose what liberalism does TO the Gospel by judging what is and what isn’t right to teach and believe. That is why in large part the Epistles were written. Written to combat false teachings and false teachers infiltrating and infecting The Church.
Jude’s letter to fellow Christians as well as Peter, John, James and Paul’s writings, ALL, seek to combat the influence of liberalism when it becomes the world infecting The Church. And that is easy to see if one opens their eyes as Jesus preached and the Apostles taught.
Comparing the newest incarnation of false teachings like “Emergent” theology evolving from the liberal and progressive religionism: “do as thou wilt, though harm none,” shows by good judgment, the yeast that exists in liberalism. There is right anf there is wrong. There is a measure of which to judge that by. The Apostles and Disciples present it.
The gauntlet has been cast down at the feet of Christians IN the Church, by the judgmentalism of Liberals. This judgmentalism that says: “You orthodox believers have it wrong. The Apostolic testimony was for a day long gone by. ANYTHING CAN GO within the Church structure “now” as long as you play your cards right. Play by secular rules and make everyone feel good.”
Well, the Apostles wrote that that was not going to be the case. And certainly Jesus preached the “outing-ness” of being in The Church. Ekklesia meaning: “The called out ones.” What is called “heresy” in Church history, is known by the Apostles as false teachings by false teachers that have been called to those gathered around not desiring sound doctrine. Look at how creepy the term “coming out” has been warped by “the world and its ways.” Now it means celebrating and encouraging lascivious licentiousness and certianly not the structrure of the Gospel and Apostolic witness.
Tony Jones may not like it when “Evangelicals” go after some Christian that wanders away from the Apostolic treatment of The Evangel, but the Evangelicals are keeping to the right path. Christians are called to judge right and wrong by the method of testing ALL THINGS and holding fast to that which is truth. That is also known as JUDGING right from wrong.
One major theme of Christ Jesus in The Evangel is making a choice whichs employs a judgment, between following His teachings or following the teachings of worldy people. As can be seen when comparing liberalism to the writings of the New Testament, is that the two are firmly incompatible far too often in far too many places.
The Gospel, is not political correctness. It is a judgment made by all that choose it. Jesus and His Apostles and Disciples paid a heavy price for their judgmentalism. And as can been seen in the Liberal, Progressive and Emergent movements as they preach a different gospel, modern day Evangelicals are facing a strikingly similar environment in the 21st Century AD as did their brothers and sisters of the Apostolic foundation of The Church.
And isn’t it fascinating that Jesus, the Disciples, and the Apostles, warned that this would be the case.



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James

posted October 20, 2009 at 10:50 am


To Greg,
God has spoken his message to mankind through the biblical prophets, and that information is now to be followed and obeyed.
The bible is for us today because it contains the contents of the message God wanted delivered. We need only obey it and implement it into all aspects of our lives and society.
The prophets and miracleworkers were absolutely exceptional, and they appeared only briefly as the objective instrument/mouthpiece by which God made Himself and his message known.
But in no way were prophets and miracleworkers ever normative or widespread in Hebrew life or in Christian history. They were raised up to deliver covenants and God’s instructions for how men are to live and organize their society.
God has spoken to his children. But our job now is to do what was spoken. That’s a very good Father indeed.
Pentecostalism is spreading faster not because of real biblical-style miracles and prophets but because the masses of people are hungry for God and the gospel. I personally know some of the “charismatic prophets” and can assure you that they are nothing like the prophets of the bible. They just spout thousands of emotional statements each month and then, AFTER A DISASTER TAKES PLACE, they go back and find some generic doom utterance they gave and say, “look at how I predicted this.” It’s totally fraudulent and absurd, and is nothing like what the biblical prophets did.
The true biblical prophets gave bold, out-on-the-limb specific predictions of future events. Moreover, they were put to death if the predictions turned out false. Today’s Pentecostals are just generic guessers who shoot hundreds of Prophetic Word arrows and then go draw targets around wherever the arrows landed. Most people are too uneducated to know the difference. Even you probably don’t know the difference. Superstition is a powerful force over people who don’t know how to evaluate claims as credible or not.



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Daniel

posted October 20, 2009 at 10:52 am


“The Lord laid it on my heart.” Been thinking about this post for a while now and the following thoughts have arisen. This euphemism could sometimes be:
A – An attempt to blame God for our poor decision (as pointed out in the post and comments)
B – An attempt to recognize humbly give credit to God for a good decision
And/or
C – Someone who actually had their “brain juices” stirred by God.
I’m also wondering if the approximately 40 human authors that God used to reveal Himself and His will to us ever used a phrase like: “The Lord laid it on my heart…” That would be the ultimate “heart laying”!



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James

posted October 20, 2009 at 10:57 am


Panthera: There is a reason why conservative Christians in America most closely resemble Iranian extremist politicians in their views on torture, women, gays and the death penalty.
James: This statement is full of logical fallacies.
Panthera: God laid on your heart invariably is gay bashing, returning women to the stone age, supporting conservative Republicans or some get-rich-quick scheme.
James: Absurd.
Panthera: It just strikes me as enormously odd that one never hears of God laying something on someone’s heart like helping the widows and the orphans, practicing mercy and forgiveness
James: My goodness that’s erroneous and out of touch with historic reality. Christianity is the leading religion responsible for the development of the hospital system, orphanages, adoption agencies, world hunger relief programs, etc. etc. These things exist in Western society today because Christianity pioneered and implemented these institutions and values. Get an education.



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Liz

posted October 20, 2009 at 11:56 am


I would be glad to see this one go away as I
am leery of anyone who uses it.
I do believe there are special circumstances where God is more
invasive but my experience tells me that those are exceptions and
not the norm. I think that God wants us to become people who know
what God wants us to do because we have been transformed.
On the other side of the coin I am weary of people agonizing over every decision by wondering if something “is God’s will”. When I was involved in leading women’s ministry in the evangelical circle women would constantly make prayer requests for deciding all sorts of things that I really don’t think God had a preference about. It seemed to me that most of the women were of the mind that if they could figure out God’s will about whatever decision they were trying to make then life would be easier. They wanted to know
which job to take, house to buy, where to send their kids to school,
invest their money, vacation etc. I typically tried to guide them to ask other questions – does either decision help or hurt others especially the least of these, does either decision cause me to neglect something that we all know God wants me to do, does either decision make me more focused on myself or on others, etc. What I discovered is that most of the time their decision making was still driven by “what will make life easier or more fun”.



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Panthera

posted October 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm


Greg Gorham,
I’m glad you qualified that. At first reading, I took it as the usual attack on us ‘librals’. My apologies.
James, I will quote your quote of me, adding my thoughts after yours. Sigh.
James
October 20, 2009 10:57 AM
Panthera: There is a reason why conservative Christians in America most closely resemble Iranian extremist politicians in their views on torture, women, gays and the death penalty.
James: This statement is full of logical fallacies. Well, no, actually it is not and if you really want me to do so, I will be more than happy to post the very very long list of corresponding actions and beliefs between the two groups.
Panthera: God laid on your heart invariably is gay bashing, returning women to the stone age, supporting conservative Republicans or some get-rich-quick scheme.
James: Absurd. Really? You see, I live between Europe and the US and have the opportunity to observe just exactly how Catholics, Protestants and other Christians groups in Europe approach Jesus’ two commandments and how the conservative Christians in America do it. Again, I should be, if not happy, at least very willing to post the relevant hate crime data between European Christians and American conservative Christians when it comes to gay bashing, treating women like dirt and prostituting our Christian belief to serve the needs of the Republican party.
Panthera: It just strikes me as enormously odd that one never hears of God laying something on someone’s heart like helping the widows and the orphans, practicing mercy and forgiveness
James: My goodness that’s erroneous and out of touch with historic reality. Christianity is the leading religion responsible for the development of the hospital system, orphanages, adoption agencies, world hunger relief programs, etc. etc. These things exist in Western society today because Christianity pioneered and implemented these institutions and values. Get an education.
James, I have benefited from a rather good education, thank you. As a Christian (or are you one of those who deny that gays can be Christian?) I am one of those people who try (and often fail) to live up to Jesus’ direct commandments on loving my neighbor as myself. As someone who can read and analyze statistics, I am also, however, in the position to clearly demonstrate the difference between how non-fundamentalist Christians in America and Europe spend their limited resources helping people and that on which the conservative Christians spend their money.
You can’t have it both ways, claiming all the good for your limited version of Christianity and shoving all the bad off on to my progressive Christianity.
Just let me know if you want those statistics…which, of course, you and your ilk will promptly pretend are not relevant.



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james

posted October 20, 2009 at 2:39 pm


Mr. Panthera, comparing Christians to muslim extremists is totally nutty. Christianity is non-violent.
Plus, are you the same as the muslim extremists because you oppose sex with animals and they also oppose sex with animals??? C’mon. Quit using such childish comparisons.
If Europe is like the U.S., crime against gays *because they are gay* is among the rarest of all events. And in fact, gays are celebrated all throughout our media complex. While Christians rightly and scientifically distinguish between sexuality that is ordered to its natural reproductive design and sexuality that deviates away from this natural design, Christians don’t care what goes on in the privacy of the bedroom (for the most part). So, your comparisons that try to make Christians look like monsters are just silly and unserious.
You know who is really hated in America? Fat people. I bet that’s true in Europe as well. Nobody is despised like a fat person.
By the way, all crimes are acts of hate” People should be prosecuted for thefts, assaults, rapes etc. — but not for thoughts or words. Freedom of speech is a bedrock right in the U.S. and it should be thus everywhere. Do you believe in freedom of thought and speech?



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Panthera

posted October 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm


Where to begin, James, where to begin.
First, we do agree, at least, that fat people are discriminated against.
Now, let’s see. OK, the hate-crime legislation has nothing to do with the freedom of speech. You are free to continue to preach your hateful words in your church against me. That right is guaranteed to you by the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.
The hate-crime legislation is aimed at those who commit crimes against specific groups with the intent of terrorizing that group. Christians are among those protected by the bill. Do you fundamentalist Christians ever even bother to read legislation, or do you just believe the BS which your wing-nut Faux news tells you? Never mind, the question was rhetorical.
As long as we are on the subject of Christians. I am a Christian. So are you. Where, please, did Jesus say that only conservative, fundamentalist, literalistic, Republican voting, gay-bashing, illiterate American nationalists get to be Christians? Where did Jesus say anything about homosexuality? You’ll have to actually read to find the answer to that.
Surveys – we ran through them here on Beliefnet a few months back – showed consistently that roughly 2/3 of fundamentalist Christians like you support torturing America’s enemies. You did see the impassioned speeches against hate-crime legislation by Texas congressmen on the floor of the House, didn’t you? And you still dare to maintain conservative Christians are better than the Islamic terrorists running Iran? In what way? The only reason you aren’t out there stringing us up is because the Constitution prevents you.
You define your Christianity through hatred, not through love of God. Else you would not insist that only you and your narrow, perverted world view is Christian.



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James

posted October 20, 2009 at 6:32 pm


Panthera,
All violent crimes are hate. Calling them hate creates a redundancy and accomplishes nothing.
Next, yes, Jesus said that only the obedient were his true disciples. Those who violate God’s will and law and teachings are dammed and will experience full separation from God eternally. Now, that could be you, it could be me, it could be anyone that refuses to comply with the Creator’s will. One standard law will apply to us all.
You sound like you worship a god that is a “love-only” god. Unfortunately the god of the bible is a love-and-justice god. So, my god actually loves me but *can and will* refuse me if I repeatedly willingly offend him by choosing to violate his plans and designs for mankind. And I would certainly deserve it.
But I’m dedicated to forsaking many of my natural impulses to do all those acts that anger Him greatly and injure others. They are natural impulses for sure, but they are wrong, and I use my will to override them as best as possible. Hope you’re doing that, too.



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Panthera

posted October 20, 2009 at 7:12 pm


Totally wrong, James. If I were into the vanilla-pudding, new-age concept of God, life would be much easier…but that wouldn’t be God.
Our only hope of salvation lies in God’s mercy. I believe that long-haired sandal-wearing Jewish guy, Rabi what’s-his-name, you know, son of a carpenter, comes in there somewhere, to, but maybe I’m just confusing things.
If you want to play the ‘take it literally’ game, we can. But what’s the point? These fights over human rights for me and my husband and all the other oppressed gays, lesbians and transgender are, in the end, not so much about us as they are a convenient excuse for fundamentalists to avoid having to focus on the really hard part of being a Christian, loving our neighbors as ourselves.
God’s forgiveness is ours, an undeserved gift. You deserve it no more than a gay man does and no less, for we are all sinners.
Since you are so focused on my sexual life, here’s 3 questions. False witness is a sin, remember.
1) Jesus said the thought of sex with a woman was equal to the act. When did you stop having any sexual fantasies about any woman except your wife?
2)Do you ever have sex except for procreative purposes?
3)Do you ever, heaven’s above, I shudder at the thought, have any form of sex except direct sexual intercourse?
If you answer yes to any of the three questions, than you are sexually exactly on the same plane as I am. I can easily prove this using the Bible, too.
There is no basis for your assumption that my monogamous, faithful, true, loyal and loving marriage is the same wild sexual religious worship Paul was (understandably) upset about. I don’t doubt that God will take me to task for many things. For loving my husband? No.



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Barry

posted October 20, 2009 at 9:13 pm


Mere Christian: Read your history. Evangelicalism has only existed since the 18th century. Therefore Jesus cannot have been an evangelical. The same goes for liberal theology. You’re reading your own biases into scripture. Nor have you given any reason for your apparent belief that liberals are not true Christians (or not Christians at all).
What are the biblical requirements to be a Christian?
* Repentance
* Belief in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God
* Baptism
I see nothing there that disqualifies liberals as Christians.



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Tom LeGrand

posted October 21, 2009 at 12:15 am


To James:
Let me be clear. I never said that God was “cold.” I said that your view of God means that God is distant and separated from us, and this is not at all true to the Biblical witness that you claim to follow. If God meant to interact only with a select few, then why did God enter the world in the person of Jesus Christ? Why was the Holy Spirit promised and manifested–across a wide range of people–at Pentecost? Are you honestly so narrow-minded that you believe God only works in big-time events? You really think that God does not interact, on any level, with ordinary people?
I never claimed that God had to make everyone a prophet or a miracle worker. There are plenty of people in the Bible that God worked through on a smaller, quieter scale. Sorry, but I believe that God is love as the scripture says, and thus doesn’t simply choose to work through or speak to only the big-time “favorites.” You are completely missing the New Testament witness of the incarnation and manifestation of Christ and the Spirit. Your willingness to limit the work of God to only exact replicas of the stories of miraculous events in scripture is sophomoric. I have not seen anyone pick up their mat and walk–does this mean that God is not working or speaking? Is God only interacting with television ministers these days?
I do agree that the Spirit does not work completely outside of the community of faith, but it is also not limited to the types of interaction that existed with the prophets. The Bible does not exactly tell us that John was inspired to write his gospel–does that mean God was not working or speaking through John?
You need to read Kant’s “Religion within the Limits of Pure Reason.” You may think that your views are orthodox, but they lean heavily towards a Kantian view of faith.
To Panthera:
You said, “It just strikes me as enormously odd that one never hears of God laying something on someone’s heart like helping the widows and the orphans, practicing mercy and forgiveness.”
I’m sorry, but this is grossly overstated. I’ve known of many Christians who had these things “laid” upon their heart. Jimmy Carter, Millard Fuller, Dorothy Day, Lottie Moon, etc., etc.
And, actually, me.



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Panthera

posted October 21, 2009 at 7:25 am


Tom LeGrand,
quote
You said, “It just strikes me as enormously odd that one never hears of God laying something on someone’s heart like helping the widows and the orphans, practicing mercy and forgiveness.”
I’m sorry, but this is grossly overstated. I’ve known of many Christians who had these things “laid” upon their heart. Jimmy Carter, Millard Fuller, Dorothy Day, Lottie Moon, etc., etc.
And, actually, me.
end quote
Tom, the point I was making is not that God never speaks to us. I guess I didn’t express myself broadly enough. People like Jimmy Carter who do good don’t go around hammering the rest of us with how much he is following God’s will, he just does. I was refering to, and I stand by, all those fundamentalist American Christians who use this euphemism to scream their hatred and drive their private agenda. Do you want examples? I can give you quite a few, sadly. We could tie down YouTube for hours just with the Teleevangelists, alone.
One this line, NPR has filed cease and desist against the conservative Christians trying to have us declared sub-human again in Maine. These conservative Christians, who actually do often say ‘the Lord spoke to my heart’ are now not only under investigation for refusing to open their books as required by Maine law (the ‘No on Prop.1 people complied with the law completely, opening their books both to the public as well as to the oversight agencies exactly on time).
The hate filled advertising the conservative Christians have been broadcasting with the imprimatur of the NPR was stolen, it has been lifted out of context…and it was originally broadcast in a completely other setting. They have so far refused to comply with the cease and desist, pretending their lawyers are studying the matter.
That, Tom, is what I was referring to. Far too often, this false witness (a sin to progressive Christians, not, obviously to fundamentalists) is done in the Lord’s name.



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Your Name

posted October 21, 2009 at 8:07 am


James,
“Most people are too uneducated to know the difference. Even you probably don’t know the difference.”
I’m really not sure why you’re saying this. I don’t believe any of the end-times “prophets”. I don’t believe in the Rapture or the Tribulation or anything like that. I’m not sure why, when someone says God can speak today, you jump to the most ridiculous examples of that and then assume that must be what the other person is referring to. It’s not. I think Tom said it wonderfully – we do have the Holy Spirit. God is present in and through everything in the world. Why is it so hard to believe that a God, who became a human being, whose Spirit permeates the whole world, who created everything, and with billions of people running around created in his image, could interact with us on some level?
Panthera,
Glad I got that clarified too! I think we’re on the same page!



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Greg Gorham

posted October 21, 2009 at 8:09 am


James,
“Most people are too uneducated to know the difference. Even you probably don’t know the difference.”
I’m really not sure why you’re saying this. I don’t believe any of the end-times “prophets”. I don’t believe in the Rapture or the Tribulation or anything like that. I’m not sure why, when someone says God can speak today, you jump to the most ridiculous examples of that and then assume that must be what the other person is referring to. It’s not. I think Tom said it wonderfully – we do have the Holy Spirit. God is present in and through everything in the world. Why is it so hard to believe that a God, who became a human being, whose Spirit permeates the whole world, who created everything, and with billions of people running around created in his image, could interact with us on some level?
Panthera,
Glad I got that clarified too! I think we’re on the same page!



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Tom LeGrand

posted October 21, 2009 at 9:08 am


Panthera:
“That, Tom, is what I was referring to. Far too often, this false witness (a sin to progressive Christians, not, obviously to fundamentalists) is done in the Lord’s name.”
Yeah, I totally see your point on this. I was just pointing out to be cautious that you don’t make overly broad generalizations based on what you, unfortunately, been subjected to.
“Subhuman?” Wow…just, wow…I’m at a complete loss.
Playing amateur psychologist for a minute, you have clearly had to hear and endure things that I have not and I probably cannot even understand this. However, you have to be a little careful not to let your frustration overwhelm you into saying/thinking, “ALL evangelicals, ALL church people…” etc. I think you risk losing some people who are willing to hear you and come to a better understanding, and it weakens your point. I am evangelical, fairly orthodox, but I want to hear what you are bringing to the table.



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James

posted October 21, 2009 at 9:49 am


Greg,
I don’t have a problem agreeing that Christians are to have a *biblically informed* conscience that guides moral behaviors and decision making. So, if that’s all you’re advocating, I’m in agreement.
But if you have ever met the charismatics/pentecostals, they are of the false notion that *normative* Christianity ought to be one of modern day prophets and miracleworkers like Moses, Jesus, St. Peter, and Elijah. These people are sincere but sincerely wrong, and the results are delusional for them and their communities. To maintain their fantasy, they redefine what “miracles” and “prophecies” are, so that they can claim they are happening. So, for example, Jesus healed a blind man (a true miracle), but these charismatics prayed for a sick person who recovered naturally using doctors and such and they call it a miracle. Or, Jesus preached the certain destruction of his nation and Temple at AD 70 four decades before it happened (a true prophecy), and these charismatics wait till AFTER 9/11 to claim they predicted it through some vague doom opinion they once uttered.
“The Lord Laid it On My Heart” can become very much a delusion like the charismatic delusions I just listed above.



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James

posted October 21, 2009 at 10:10 am


Tom, I don’t believe that God is “distant” when he has already given us his mission, an international ecclesial community, a form of worship, and an ethical/moral way of life that we are commanded to live out in all arenas of human experience. *This constitutes big interaction. It is big intervention.* It plays out each day through us as the world’s Christians act upon such things in myriad ways.
But to think that the Holy Spirit is giving you or anyone additional ongoing miraculous inspiration like that which is depicted in scripture is provably false. In fact, such miraculous personal inspiration was never normative at any time. The two peak periods of that miraculous form of inspiration were the times of Moses and Christ, coinciding with the establishment of the two top Covenants.
I don’t think that the bible depicts God working on the “small quiet scale.” He used the miracle-class power to institute a people and charter for mankind, and we are to act out that charter. The result is nothing less than the transformation of humanity over time.
Neither you nor television ministers are experiencing the miracles of the New Testament apostolic era. Sorry to break it to you. You’re just not, and you’re wrong for assuming true Christianity should be experiencing that unique historic situation.
So, I am not “limiting the work of God.” I am properly recognizing it and living my life in compliance with the instructions given through the prophets. Our job is to LIVE out what was instructed as the dutiful servants of God commissioned to transform everything in accordance with the revealed message of God.



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Panthera

posted October 21, 2009 at 10:25 am


Gerard,
I suspect you are quite involved in the currently unfolding events res the Pope’s easing the way for those in the Anglican church who wish to go over to Rome. I’m totally ignorant about the situation, having been but a wee bairn in Henry VIII’s day, so tell me if I’m wrong, but could this not be a means for Benedict XVI to do an end run around the no-marriage-for-you limitations of the last few centuries?
If one follows Osservatore Romano (and I don’t all that closely these days, I have rung up two free transatlantic flights and my flyer’s card is now literally in platinum since July), the impression comes across that he was not all that happy about the sexual transgressions by any member of the clergy, not just the gay clergy. This decision feels much more like the Cardinal Ratzinger whose texts I have read, than the decision of a committee. Too brilliant a stroke, to compelling the argument.
In any event, neither priests marrying nor gays marrying was ever delivered ex Cathredra as unfailable dogma, no? Funny, how we’ve been arguing the Church’s flexibility recently. Well, I was, anyway.
Do you think this decision will be good for both churches? I am not sure all those who now go over are quite the personality to meekly swim the Tiber and crawl on bended knee over that rough granite….sailing their barges down de Nile has seemed more their outlook until now.



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Panthera

posted October 21, 2009 at 10:27 am


Sigh, sorry about the messed up posting. This gotcha! systems sucks.
Tom said:
“Subhuman?” Wow…just, wow…I’m at a complete loss.
end quote
Tom, bear with me here for one moment.
You may recollect that Negroes were initially considered to be 3/5ths equal to humans, that is, sub-human in the Constitution. This state of affairs was not fully rectified until Virginia vs. Loving.
At the very latest with this decision, the Supreme Court of the US held that all humans had a right to marriage.
I don’t think we should have any disagreement there, except for those conservative Christians here who are racists (but racists are pretty much only tolerated on Beliefnet over on crunchycon, so I doubt you’ll see much from them here.)
The US is a constitutional republic and a limited representative democracy. Core to the government of this country is the Constitution and the amendments. Separation of church and state is clearly defined in the First Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”
The tenth amendment basically says that all rights which appertain to humans may not be abrogated by the government, except when cause is given.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”.
The fourteenth amendment governs how humans are treated under the Constitution:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Sorry about the long text.
In short, the only basis for denying secular marriage and equal rights to gays, lesbian and transgender is religious, not constitutional.
Nobody denies that conservative Christians demand that we be denied equal rights, we need only look at the video recordings two weeks ago when the hate-crimes bill was under discussion. Ditto, the opposition to ENDA and the imposition of DOMA.
Either we homosexuals and the transgender are human, in which case the Constitution is being grievously breached across at least three separate Amendments…or we are sub-human, in which case the persecution by conservative Christians is legal under US Constitutional law.
You can’t have it both ways.
If this sounds extreme, well, remember please, as I write this, I am, here in Europe legally married and our marriage carries both the same rights and responsibilities as would a cross-gender marriage. The moment we land in the US, we are not even legally related to each other.
You asked what sort of treatment I had received to take such strong positions. Well, let’s see. Here is just a brief summary of one unpleasant three month period a few years back.
– both parents were in the hospital, both needed a kidney, I was the only available donor to either, my brother only to our father. He told the hospital I had Aids (I do not, I am also Hiv -) because they won’t accept donations from HIV+ or Aids patients, I was struck from the list…never mind that I was able to prove I was negative. Had my both kidney transplants been necessary, one of my parents would have died because of my fundamentalist brother’s lies.
-once it became clear that I held power of attorney and not my red-nex relations, they decided to teach us a lesson. I was so severely beaten that I have lost much vision in one eye, had several broken bones and now have what we locally call ‘cowboy caps’ on my teeth. My husband through himself into my defense and had a lung punctured when they kicken in his ribs. He nearly died.
-the hospital denied up visitation and medical power of attorney rights to each other, although these were legally binding and had been properly prepared. We had to wage two lawsuits to force the hospital to even let us see each other!
I could go on for quite some time, but I think this is an adequate example.



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Panthera

posted October 21, 2009 at 10:54 am


Well, I think the other thread has just about put an end to any desire I have to participate in these discussions, at all.
Tony, I know you don’t like to interfere, but this is getting to the point where people are being attacked even for their names – see ‘unbiblical’.
You may want to moderate these somewhat? (That was a weak attempt at saying please.)



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Greg Gorham

posted October 23, 2009 at 12:14 pm


James,
I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. I agree that there are plenty of couterfeits and fakes out there. But you’re severely limiting the activity of the Creator of the universe, who is free to do and act however he pleases, whether or not that freaks you out. God is very much alive and active today, if you are willing to see.



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Mr. Incredible

posted November 5, 2009 at 8:57 am


Why is it that, wherever you go, Panthera ALWAYS writes about homosexuality and marriage? He always sneaks it in there, and, no matter what the subject is, he manages to manipulate the conversation around to those things. Everything he writes revolves around those things. It’s no wonder, then, that we must respond, and, thereby, take a thread away from the subject. It’s not OUR fault, rather HIS.



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Panthera

posted November 8, 2009 at 5:43 am


Mr. Incredible,
You grant me too much power, if I might quote one of your favorite expressions.
Do, please continue to participate, regardless of me. I can’t think of any single person here who has done more to illustrate the claim of gays and transgendered that we really are under attack from a segment of the conservative Christian community. Anyone who spends anytime at all reading your posts will have their eyes opened to just exactly what many really mean when they talk about God’s love. Only, the last time they heard such affirmations, it was in German. The Endlösung was, however, the same goal.



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another opinion

posted November 9, 2009 at 3:55 pm


To further clarify the non- or sub-human charge, frequently on B’net’s boards, gay people are referred to as, or gay relationships are compared to (and I quote):
“plants”, “rocks”, or “bicycles” (see under “marryin’ a …”), “beastialists”, “necrophiliacs”, “rapists”, “child-molesters”, “sons of Molech”, “Satan’s minions”, “worse than terrorists”, “evil” (see also “evil for all eternity”), “diseased”, “sick”, “in need of a ‘cure'”, “scum”, etc.
Almost all of these charges come from self-described “Christians”. How they follow the example and teachings of Christ, namely to love one another and to do to others as you would have them do unto you, escapes me.
But Panthera is absolutely correct. You/they both see and treat gay people as less than human.



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miss bliss

posted December 3, 2009 at 1:29 am


panthera –
i am what you would call a conservative (probably fundamentalist) christian and i am not a “gay-bashing, illiterate American nationalist.” i do not want to throw homosexuals out into the street. and yes, as a matter of fact, i do read legislation for myself. please don’t lump like that. and please don’t insult me.



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Mary

posted March 16, 2012 at 10:14 am


After reading this post I felt so sad. I prayed the Lord’s Prayer this morning and God did lay on my heart a desire to search for a creative way to speak and see this prayer. I have a heavy work load and to be honest, looking up new ways to say the Lord’s Prayer wasn’t on the top of my list, but clearly it was on Gods. To be stirred, to be nudged or just clearly directed is all about God laying something on your heart. Have you never had a person’s name come to your mind and moments later received a phone call from that very person? Or, someone needs prayer and you think of that person and find out later, they were in some difficult situation? We are all stirred by God, not all of talk about it, but it happens. I love it when someone has told me that God has laid my name on their heart, it brings me such comfort and it blesses the Body of Christ. When we are in tune with the Holy Spirit and can verbalize the kindness, love and grace of our Father.



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Wes McFarland

posted July 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm


If you’re asking for justification for everything God wants you to do then you have no faith in your life. if you’ve never had a feeling of “brain juices” or heart strings being strumbed then I would question my closeness of my relationship with God. You have to step out on faith because you feel it’s the right thing to do. God does lay things on my heart. When He does this I cannot stop thinking about it until His will is accomplished or He lays something else on my heart. If we always waited for some kind of physical evidence to move forward on a decision then we would miss out on a lot of blessings and be miserable for not taking part in His will.



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James

posted January 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm


A cristian euphemism I dislike (but probably shouldn’t worry about . “Lift me up in prayer”. Sounds cool and is trendy . We talk about lifting Jesus up but acc to John 12:32 that was a technical term for the cross. I know we mean but biblically speaking we don’t need to lift him up! Not again!!!



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Roger H Frost

posted March 20, 2013 at 1:16 pm


Dear My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

I am going through my first Perspectives Missions Course http://www.perspectives.org so I will put all things up to God

Why can’t I find important Financial Papers or when I want to find that lost key or wedding ring my wife through off the balcony 19 years ago, but supernaturally remember what I need when I need it when working in tune with the Holy Spirit in my life. Thank you Blessed Lord of my life



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gary

posted September 3, 2013 at 10:45 am


Good morning. I read you blog entry and I am a little confused. You say you believe a personal God (paraphrasing) but God has never spoke to you personally. I would suggest that he speaks to you constantly, but you are choosing to not listen. When a Christ follower says God laid something on their heart they are saying I believe God said this to me. The alternate phrase might be, God spoke to me. I hope this message finds you well. Have a blessed day.



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click here to unsubscribe

posted June 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm


Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. I



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Alison Scott

posted August 15, 2014 at 7:46 am


Hello everyone, today is August 15, 2014, and I’m now responding to this Euphemism titled: “The Lord Laid It on My Heart” I believe in this Euphemism, there are times God is speaking to us to do something whether we like it or not. Mainly, to surrender your life to him. How about this scripture Hebrews 3:15 – “Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. Also found in Psalm 95:7-8. And if you really, really, have a close relationship with the Lord, you will feel the presence of God and His voice upon your heart. When it is all said and done and our life has ended here on this earth, the only thing we will be judged by is our heart. So, are you doing what God said for you to do today. “God laid it upon my heart to ask you?” PEACE!



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