Young adults have lost their religion

A Baptist research project finds that the “millennial generation” is “spiritual,” but not “religious.”  Specifically, they are not very Christian:

Most young adults today don’t pray, don’t worship and don’t read the Bible, a major survey by a Christian research firm shows.

If the trends continue, “the Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships,” says Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources. In the group’s survey of 1,200 18- to 29-year-olds, 72% say they’re “really more spiritual than religious.”

Among the 65% who call themselves Christian, “many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only,” Rainer says. “Most are just indifferent. The more precisely you try to measure their Christianity, the fewer you find committed to the faith.”

Key findings in the phone survey, conducted in August and released today:

•65% rarely or never pray with others, and 38% almost never pray by themselves either.

•65% rarely or never attend worship services.

•67% don’t read the Bible or sacred texts.

Many are unsure Jesus is the only path to heaven: Half say yes, half no.

“We have dumbed down what it means to be part of the church so much that it means almost nothing, even to people who already say they are part of the church,” Rainer says.

The findings, which document a steady drift away from church life, dovetail with a LifeWay survey of teenagers in 2007 who drop out of church and a study in February by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which compared the beliefs of Millennials with those of earlier generations of young people. . . .

The new survey has a margin of error of +/-2.8 percentage points.

Even among those in the survey who “believe they will go to heaven because they have accepted Jesus Christ as savior”:

•68% did not mention faith, religion or spirituality when asked what was “really important in life.”

•50% do not attend church at least weekly.

•36% rarely or never read the Bible.

Neither are these young Christians evangelical in the original meaning of the term — eager to share the Gospel. Just 40% say this is their responsibility.

Even so, Rainer is encouraged by the roughly 15% who, he says, appear to be “deeply committed” Christians in study, prayer, worship and action.

via Survey: 72% of Millennials ‘more spiritual than religious’ – USATODAY.com.

Why do you think this is? Is the news all bad? The Baptist slant of the research is evident. Might this be a reaction against Baptist-type piety? Might there be an opening for another kind of Christian “spirituality”?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I think this is a manifestation of postmodernism–they don’t read the Bible, go to church, or pray, but they like the idea of spirituality and so they use that word to self-describe. To borrow a phrase: “I say I am spiritual; therefore, I am.”

    They prefer the word “spiritual” because of its vagueness–you can be spiritual without really subscribing to anything, whereas if you’re religious you actually believe in something.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I think this is a manifestation of postmodernism–they don’t read the Bible, go to church, or pray, but they like the idea of spirituality and so they use that word to self-describe. To borrow a phrase: “I say I am spiritual; therefore, I am.”

    They prefer the word “spiritual” because of its vagueness–you can be spiritual without really subscribing to anything, whereas if you’re religious you actually believe in something.

  • Tom Hering

    Let’s look at those numbers the other way.

    First group of statistics cited:

    • 35% pray with others, and 62% pray by themselves.
    • 35% attend worship services.
    • 33% read the Bible.

    Second group of statistics cited:

    • 32% do mention faith, religion or spirituality when asked what was “really important in life.”
    • 50% do attend church at least weekly.
    • 64% read the Bible.

    Finally, looking at the second-to-last paragraph of the quoted article:

    • 60% say it’s their responsibility to share the Gospel.

  • Tom Hering

    Let’s look at those numbers the other way.

    First group of statistics cited:

    • 35% pray with others, and 62% pray by themselves.
    • 35% attend worship services.
    • 33% read the Bible.

    Second group of statistics cited:

    • 32% do mention faith, religion or spirituality when asked what was “really important in life.”
    • 50% do attend church at least weekly.
    • 64% read the Bible.

    Finally, looking at the second-to-last paragraph of the quoted article:

    • 60% say it’s their responsibility to share the Gospel.

  • Larry

    Why do you think this is? Is the news all bad? The Baptist slant of the research is evident. Might this be a reaction against Baptist-type piety? Might there be an opening for another kind of Christian “spirituality”?

    Yes it is and yes there is. But there is a 50,000 foot aerial view answer to the 100 foot aerial answer to it being a reaction to Baptist peity. I grew up early an unbaptized Baptist, I’ve seen many like me who walked away (whether later in life they ever returned or not I don’t know). It is a mix of good and bad news though. As I’ve also seen personally many teens when I was in the SB church later walk away when they found out they couldn’t be baptized because the elder/pastor attempting to see if they were “ready” for baptism (meaning really converted) said, “you are not ready”. One time one of our official ministers pre-teen child, unbaptized, made an obvious observation, children have an eye for the honest and obvious we adults like to cover up, it was regarding the idea of martyrdom, his son in such a childlike honest seeing the doctrine for what it was in that innocence said, “I don’t have to worry about that I’m not a Christian yet.” His minister father was aghast at this response, but I said at the time, “well according to our doctrine is that not the truth!” Yet we were involving the unbaptized youth in all kinds of evangelical out reach ministry events. When I was asked to teach the youth I reluctantly agreed because I didn’t feel up to the task. After many weeks of classes I began to be worried about what I seemed to detect they thought Christianity was all about. Keep in mind this was no mamby pamby doctrinal church, we where thoroughly “reformed/Calvinistic” Baptist (I know that’s an oxymoron but…) and took doctrine very serious and so taught it. But over time I was detecting this issue of what I thought the unbaptized youth (for the majority report) thought Christianity was all about. Believing always that even teens are bluntly honest, more than ANY adult who has learned the art of “the right answer to the question” I decided to ask an anonymous question (via 3×5 cards, no names, in a box). So I borrowed from Evangelism Explosion and tweaked it a bit the question about basically “if you were to die tonight and God were to ask you why He should let you into heaven what would your answer be”. My fears were confirmed, again children and teens unlike adults are honest and don’t necessarily “give the right answer” just to “get it right”. The details varied a bit from answer to answer but 100% were some form of works and right living. Deeply alarmed because on the one hand we are telling these kids “do these mission things with us” and implying they are part of the church everywhere, but most 99% were unbaptized and this was their answer. His response was a terrifying coolness to it all. I was alarmed because I KNEW where this would go having been there myself. But I went on. Some of those teens well after we left the church later approached the elders for baptism to become Christians, were denied and now have gone into some of the deepest spiritualist darkness one can imagine. I mean these were kids and children I knew very little and now what they’ve become is so sad. The SB used them, then told them ‘your not a christian’ because of _______, we won’t baptize you because of our (putrid and satanic) doctrine, clean things up then come back and convince me. So I have NO DOUBT whatsoever it is a reaction to Baptist peity.

    It’s similar to ANY legalism or antichristic doctrine parading around as “Christian”. E.g. when I was in Utah doing missions out there I got to meet with a number of fairly well known Mormon converts to Christianity, some who have written books and well known. Anyway we interviewed them because it was also a learning experience for us. Some of them had been involved in dual ministries between Mormonism and JWs. We asked the question because it came up that the legalism at length drives many away from Mormonism and JWs, “Once one gets “burned out” on the legalism if Christianity is not there for them, what do they go to?” Without pause or hesitation the resounding answer time and time again was, “Either atheism or agnosticism or some mix thereof”. Which of course is what I did coming out of the SB church not unlike the youth above. That’s the 100 foot aerial answer.

    The 50,000 foot aerial answer is this. Luther nailed it concerning the ultimate impact of what not having the LS as the real and true body and blood of Christ will do. I’m paraphrasing but basically (this is in Sasse’s book) Luther prophetically looked ahead to see what effect such symbolic view the sacrament would be and said it would raze and ravage the country side removing God from everything. And indeed that’s what we’ve come to and one can historically trace it growing worse and worse over time. Everybody blames liberal theology and it is right to do so, but liberal theology didn’t just arise in a vacuum. It’s the logical outcome of fundamentally not believe Christ’s words in the Sacrament. That was Luther’s biggest point about altering the words/meaning of the sacrament and that the word of God could not at length be stable or trusted. Luther was simply gifted with a brilliant mind and insight into this and could extend it and project its effects FAR beyond what ANY of his contemporaries could see. This is why rationalism and liberal theology and evolution and a whole host of “gods out of the picture” things have come about.

    It should be no mystery whatsoever when God is removed from the Scriptures that kid/teens eventually move on seeing that all it becomes is mere ethics and legalism. They want to know like all fallen humanity “where is God for me”, and without the revealed God in Christ, they seek for god elsewhere and end up with nothing but spiritualistic idols. No fallen human being can escape the need of the “pro me”. No God in reality in baptism and no real body and blood of Christ in the Supper, Christ’s words can’t be taken for what they state and thus the rest of the word of God becomes symbolic; then spiritualism leads one elsewhere from a “conversion experience”, or to works as signs of grace/faith to another spirit in some kind of spiritualism to agnostic/atheist searching for aliens (gods) greater than they to fill that vacuum.

    So, yes there is room for another spirituality and not the idolatrous one(s) either, but a real one.

  • Larry

    Why do you think this is? Is the news all bad? The Baptist slant of the research is evident. Might this be a reaction against Baptist-type piety? Might there be an opening for another kind of Christian “spirituality”?

    Yes it is and yes there is. But there is a 50,000 foot aerial view answer to the 100 foot aerial answer to it being a reaction to Baptist peity. I grew up early an unbaptized Baptist, I’ve seen many like me who walked away (whether later in life they ever returned or not I don’t know). It is a mix of good and bad news though. As I’ve also seen personally many teens when I was in the SB church later walk away when they found out they couldn’t be baptized because the elder/pastor attempting to see if they were “ready” for baptism (meaning really converted) said, “you are not ready”. One time one of our official ministers pre-teen child, unbaptized, made an obvious observation, children have an eye for the honest and obvious we adults like to cover up, it was regarding the idea of martyrdom, his son in such a childlike honest seeing the doctrine for what it was in that innocence said, “I don’t have to worry about that I’m not a Christian yet.” His minister father was aghast at this response, but I said at the time, “well according to our doctrine is that not the truth!” Yet we were involving the unbaptized youth in all kinds of evangelical out reach ministry events. When I was asked to teach the youth I reluctantly agreed because I didn’t feel up to the task. After many weeks of classes I began to be worried about what I seemed to detect they thought Christianity was all about. Keep in mind this was no mamby pamby doctrinal church, we where thoroughly “reformed/Calvinistic” Baptist (I know that’s an oxymoron but…) and took doctrine very serious and so taught it. But over time I was detecting this issue of what I thought the unbaptized youth (for the majority report) thought Christianity was all about. Believing always that even teens are bluntly honest, more than ANY adult who has learned the art of “the right answer to the question” I decided to ask an anonymous question (via 3×5 cards, no names, in a box). So I borrowed from Evangelism Explosion and tweaked it a bit the question about basically “if you were to die tonight and God were to ask you why He should let you into heaven what would your answer be”. My fears were confirmed, again children and teens unlike adults are honest and don’t necessarily “give the right answer” just to “get it right”. The details varied a bit from answer to answer but 100% were some form of works and right living. Deeply alarmed because on the one hand we are telling these kids “do these mission things with us” and implying they are part of the church everywhere, but most 99% were unbaptized and this was their answer. His response was a terrifying coolness to it all. I was alarmed because I KNEW where this would go having been there myself. But I went on. Some of those teens well after we left the church later approached the elders for baptism to become Christians, were denied and now have gone into some of the deepest spiritualist darkness one can imagine. I mean these were kids and children I knew very little and now what they’ve become is so sad. The SB used them, then told them ‘your not a christian’ because of _______, we won’t baptize you because of our (putrid and satanic) doctrine, clean things up then come back and convince me. So I have NO DOUBT whatsoever it is a reaction to Baptist peity.

    It’s similar to ANY legalism or antichristic doctrine parading around as “Christian”. E.g. when I was in Utah doing missions out there I got to meet with a number of fairly well known Mormon converts to Christianity, some who have written books and well known. Anyway we interviewed them because it was also a learning experience for us. Some of them had been involved in dual ministries between Mormonism and JWs. We asked the question because it came up that the legalism at length drives many away from Mormonism and JWs, “Once one gets “burned out” on the legalism if Christianity is not there for them, what do they go to?” Without pause or hesitation the resounding answer time and time again was, “Either atheism or agnosticism or some mix thereof”. Which of course is what I did coming out of the SB church not unlike the youth above. That’s the 100 foot aerial answer.

    The 50,000 foot aerial answer is this. Luther nailed it concerning the ultimate impact of what not having the LS as the real and true body and blood of Christ will do. I’m paraphrasing but basically (this is in Sasse’s book) Luther prophetically looked ahead to see what effect such symbolic view the sacrament would be and said it would raze and ravage the country side removing God from everything. And indeed that’s what we’ve come to and one can historically trace it growing worse and worse over time. Everybody blames liberal theology and it is right to do so, but liberal theology didn’t just arise in a vacuum. It’s the logical outcome of fundamentally not believe Christ’s words in the Sacrament. That was Luther’s biggest point about altering the words/meaning of the sacrament and that the word of God could not at length be stable or trusted. Luther was simply gifted with a brilliant mind and insight into this and could extend it and project its effects FAR beyond what ANY of his contemporaries could see. This is why rationalism and liberal theology and evolution and a whole host of “gods out of the picture” things have come about.

    It should be no mystery whatsoever when God is removed from the Scriptures that kid/teens eventually move on seeing that all it becomes is mere ethics and legalism. They want to know like all fallen humanity “where is God for me”, and without the revealed God in Christ, they seek for god elsewhere and end up with nothing but spiritualistic idols. No fallen human being can escape the need of the “pro me”. No God in reality in baptism and no real body and blood of Christ in the Supper, Christ’s words can’t be taken for what they state and thus the rest of the word of God becomes symbolic; then spiritualism leads one elsewhere from a “conversion experience”, or to works as signs of grace/faith to another spirit in some kind of spiritualism to agnostic/atheist searching for aliens (gods) greater than they to fill that vacuum.

    So, yes there is room for another spirituality and not the idolatrous one(s) either, but a real one.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    If it’s any consolation, I think the same situation applies in Australia, perhaps even more so, since we never experienced the Evangelical Awakenings which echo down through American history even tot hsi day.
    Baptist leanings in the research? Sure, nothing is neutral, but in my experience from talking with ministers of other confessions, it’s
    an across the board phenomenon, even among Pentecostals.
    But I think we have to wait and see how this plays out in the future – it is in God’s hands, after all.
    In the meantime thank God, literally, for that 15%!

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    If it’s any consolation, I think the same situation applies in Australia, perhaps even more so, since we never experienced the Evangelical Awakenings which echo down through American history even tot hsi day.
    Baptist leanings in the research? Sure, nothing is neutral, but in my experience from talking with ministers of other confessions, it’s
    an across the board phenomenon, even among Pentecostals.
    But I think we have to wait and see how this plays out in the future – it is in God’s hands, after all.
    In the meantime thank God, literally, for that 15%!

  • Joe

    Larry – I almost always benefit from your comments. Thank you for your willingness to share with us your past.

  • Joe

    Larry – I almost always benefit from your comments. Thank you for your willingness to share with us your past.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Going to church, praying, and reading the Bible are Baptist distinctives? Trusting Christ as the only Savior and sharing His Gospel are Baptist distinctives?

    Say what?

    Speaking as a Baptist myself, I shudder to think that believers of other denominations would see polls based on these questions and suggest that it’s only Baptists who find these things to be important. I respect you guys too much to suggest this, and if it’s proven to me, I’ll definitely be sad.

    Moreover, if indeed we have a situation where kids who grew up in church are apparently unconvinced of the need to pray, read the Scriptures, and so on, then I think that we have our solution to the problem right there. Those in the pews, and those in the pulpits, need to emphasize the power that there is in knowing and understanding the Scriptures.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Going to church, praying, and reading the Bible are Baptist distinctives? Trusting Christ as the only Savior and sharing His Gospel are Baptist distinctives?

    Say what?

    Speaking as a Baptist myself, I shudder to think that believers of other denominations would see polls based on these questions and suggest that it’s only Baptists who find these things to be important. I respect you guys too much to suggest this, and if it’s proven to me, I’ll definitely be sad.

    Moreover, if indeed we have a situation where kids who grew up in church are apparently unconvinced of the need to pray, read the Scriptures, and so on, then I think that we have our solution to the problem right there. Those in the pews, and those in the pulpits, need to emphasize the power that there is in knowing and understanding the Scriptures.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    How many of the lepers went back to thank Jesus?

    The Holy Scriptures point to a “faithul remnant” in several places.

    I do think, however, as Larry says, that there is room for a God who actually shows up in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. I do think that would go along way to taking people off of the religious ladder that leads nowhere but to despair, or phoniness, or self-righteousness.

    The external Word, and not the internal assurance project. That’s a spirituality that is based upon what God has done, is doing, and will yet do…rather than what we are doing.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    How many of the lepers went back to thank Jesus?

    The Holy Scriptures point to a “faithul remnant” in several places.

    I do think, however, as Larry says, that there is room for a God who actually shows up in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. I do think that would go along way to taking people off of the religious ladder that leads nowhere but to despair, or phoniness, or self-righteousness.

    The external Word, and not the internal assurance project. That’s a spirituality that is based upon what God has done, is doing, and will yet do…rather than what we are doing.

  • CRB

    I think part of the problem may be (and I’ve seen this confirmed in a number of cases) is that the parents of those children who no longer attend worship services had a “law motivation” for attending.
    When the children got into their teens and heard “You GOT to go to
    church; after all, grandpa and grandma always went” what would be
    the outccome of such a view of “going to church”? If one does not
    hear a clear distinction between law and gospel in their lives and in
    the church’s preaching in the Divine Service, then where does that
    leave a person?

  • CRB

    I think part of the problem may be (and I’ve seen this confirmed in a number of cases) is that the parents of those children who no longer attend worship services had a “law motivation” for attending.
    When the children got into their teens and heard “You GOT to go to
    church; after all, grandpa and grandma always went” what would be
    the outccome of such a view of “going to church”? If one does not
    hear a clear distinction between law and gospel in their lives and in
    the church’s preaching in the Divine Service, then where does that
    leave a person?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    CRB nails at least a part of it. My wife, along with her brothers and sisters, was taken to church mostly for moral development–sadly real faith was not there. Not a big surprise that finding real faith has been a struggle for my wife and her siblings–though thankfully it seems to be happening.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    CRB nails at least a part of it. My wife, along with her brothers and sisters, was taken to church mostly for moral development–sadly real faith was not there. Not a big surprise that finding real faith has been a struggle for my wife and her siblings–though thankfully it seems to be happening.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    “real faith”.

    Therein lies the problem. Who is to say? Who is to judge?

    That is why the external Word and Sacraments are so central to Lutheranism. We rely on a word that come to us (from outside of us) for our assurance of faith…NOT on anything that we do, say, feel, or think.

    Thanks.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    “real faith”.

    Therein lies the problem. Who is to say? Who is to judge?

    That is why the external Word and Sacraments are so central to Lutheranism. We rely on a word that come to us (from outside of us) for our assurance of faith…NOT on anything that we do, say, feel, or think.

    Thanks.

  • sg

    If you are just talking about young adults, 18-25, I think much of the problem is our culture’s pathological delay of marriage. I mean what truly good Biblical reason is there for women to wait to get married? Men need to have a job and be able to support their families, so you could argue that men waiting makes some sense, but women? Anyway, finding a good mate is logically the most important real world objective for most young people, certainly more interesting than finding a job or career, which is of course necessary. I just don’t see ministry to young people in line with this number one objective. So, much of the ministry to young people seems sort of irrelevant. Sure, some tiny minority wants to be alone, but most want love and companionship and ignoring that ignores their real human needs and thwarts God’s plan for their lives and their development. There is plenty of attention to chastity but not to finding the right person and getting married. There is far too much pressure on young people to delay marriage for too long.

  • sg

    If you are just talking about young adults, 18-25, I think much of the problem is our culture’s pathological delay of marriage. I mean what truly good Biblical reason is there for women to wait to get married? Men need to have a job and be able to support their families, so you could argue that men waiting makes some sense, but women? Anyway, finding a good mate is logically the most important real world objective for most young people, certainly more interesting than finding a job or career, which is of course necessary. I just don’t see ministry to young people in line with this number one objective. So, much of the ministry to young people seems sort of irrelevant. Sure, some tiny minority wants to be alone, but most want love and companionship and ignoring that ignores their real human needs and thwarts God’s plan for their lives and their development. There is plenty of attention to chastity but not to finding the right person and getting married. There is far too much pressure on young people to delay marriage for too long.

  • gs

    Atlanta Journal Constitution
    Divorce law needs no tweaking
    Published on: 03/07/05
    “Early marriage is a key predictor of later divorce. Nearly half of people who marry under age 18 and 40 percent under age 20 end up divorced. It’s only 24 percent for people who marry after age 25.”

  • gs

    Atlanta Journal Constitution
    Divorce law needs no tweaking
    Published on: 03/07/05
    “Early marriage is a key predictor of later divorce. Nearly half of people who marry under age 18 and 40 percent under age 20 end up divorced. It’s only 24 percent for people who marry after age 25.”

  • Larry

    It’s not that “these things” are “distinctly Baptist” prayer, etc…but that due to the doctrine therein one has to wonder why the youth would do them. Which is the very thing I ran into. As real little kids they listen but as they age and reason more and more the doctrine, of the Baptist church, begins to dawn on them. Again, youth and kids are far more honest about what a thing means to them as opposed to adults who impose their false doctrine upon them – they are not nearly as stupid and unperceiving as adults childishly treat them. A kid can put two and two together and be honest about it as to where an adult will double talk about a doctrine hedging his bets just to protect the falsehood.

    That’s why the example of that pastor’s child is apropos, “I don’t have to worry about that…I’m not a Christian (unbaptized)”. Deadly yet innocently honest (he had no theological bone to pick with anyone, he was just a kid hearing what he heard) and equally deadly accurate! One has to wonder what all the “wonder” and “astonishment” with this Baptist poll is all about, do you not understand your own doctrine. Why WOULD they pray? According to the doctrine they are not Christians, pagans prayer but in vain. How do you teach an unbaptized child to pray “OUR FATHER…”, only a Christian can call God Father, only one in Christ can pray that way, only one saved and in Christ can say “OUR”? How do they pray, “forgive us our sins…” being according to the doctrine they are little more than heathen? How can they be taught any of the ten commandments, “to obey their parents IN THE LORD” as Paul says? The commandments to them are, according to the doctrine, is not one wit different than a rank atheist’s view of them, after all they are “not Christians” (according to the doctrine). To teach someone the ten commandments and the “not be saved” (to use Baptist lingo) is rank and overt legalism. Why not just be honest and stop all the word games and say, “work your way to heaven”, because THAT’s EXACTLY what they are hearing. Christ says be like an infant or you will not even enter the Kingdom of God, Baptist doctrine says be like an adult or you cannot be baptized. Is this not obvious! Kids are not nearly as blind and obtuse as adults (willfully) are, they see straight through the doctrines of such and pick up on it and finally at some age, usually beginning around Jr. high age, growing in high school, definitely coming to fruition by college they finally put two and two together; ‘According to Baptist doctrine and piety I’ve been taught, even if only by silence, all my life in such confessions that I never was a Christian’. So they must assess all that doctrine they learned about the commandments and prayer as nothing but rank moralism and ethics that, surprise surprise, they find honestly they cannot live up to.

    This poll doesn’t shock me in the least.

  • Larry

    It’s not that “these things” are “distinctly Baptist” prayer, etc…but that due to the doctrine therein one has to wonder why the youth would do them. Which is the very thing I ran into. As real little kids they listen but as they age and reason more and more the doctrine, of the Baptist church, begins to dawn on them. Again, youth and kids are far more honest about what a thing means to them as opposed to adults who impose their false doctrine upon them – they are not nearly as stupid and unperceiving as adults childishly treat them. A kid can put two and two together and be honest about it as to where an adult will double talk about a doctrine hedging his bets just to protect the falsehood.

    That’s why the example of that pastor’s child is apropos, “I don’t have to worry about that…I’m not a Christian (unbaptized)”. Deadly yet innocently honest (he had no theological bone to pick with anyone, he was just a kid hearing what he heard) and equally deadly accurate! One has to wonder what all the “wonder” and “astonishment” with this Baptist poll is all about, do you not understand your own doctrine. Why WOULD they pray? According to the doctrine they are not Christians, pagans prayer but in vain. How do you teach an unbaptized child to pray “OUR FATHER…”, only a Christian can call God Father, only one in Christ can pray that way, only one saved and in Christ can say “OUR”? How do they pray, “forgive us our sins…” being according to the doctrine they are little more than heathen? How can they be taught any of the ten commandments, “to obey their parents IN THE LORD” as Paul says? The commandments to them are, according to the doctrine, is not one wit different than a rank atheist’s view of them, after all they are “not Christians” (according to the doctrine). To teach someone the ten commandments and the “not be saved” (to use Baptist lingo) is rank and overt legalism. Why not just be honest and stop all the word games and say, “work your way to heaven”, because THAT’s EXACTLY what they are hearing. Christ says be like an infant or you will not even enter the Kingdom of God, Baptist doctrine says be like an adult or you cannot be baptized. Is this not obvious! Kids are not nearly as blind and obtuse as adults (willfully) are, they see straight through the doctrines of such and pick up on it and finally at some age, usually beginning around Jr. high age, growing in high school, definitely coming to fruition by college they finally put two and two together; ‘According to Baptist doctrine and piety I’ve been taught, even if only by silence, all my life in such confessions that I never was a Christian’. So they must assess all that doctrine they learned about the commandments and prayer as nothing but rank moralism and ethics that, surprise surprise, they find honestly they cannot live up to.

    This poll doesn’t shock me in the least.

  • trotk

    Spiritual rather than religious? It all depends what you mean by the words. Is it better to be religious and wrong or spiritual and wrong. I bet half the people had no idea which word denoted Christianity and which false belief, and the other half don’t know what the difference is between Christianity and other belief systems.

    As far as the percentages, the only thing that is discouraging about any of this is the we don’t have 100% of the people in the church committed fully to zealously following God. But if they had surveyed older groups, they probably would have gotten similar results. Oftentimes, the younger groups are just more honest.

    ‘If the trends continue, “the Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships,” says Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources.’
    Hopefully the churches that close are the ones that aren’t certain whether Jesus is the only path to heaven, because I imagine that lots of the doubt seen in the 50% affirmative answer to this question comes from pastors who don’t believe it or who are scared to teach it for fear of offense.

    Of those who confessed Christ (the real group who should concern us):
    •68% did not mention faith, religion or spirituality when asked what was “really important in life.”
    - I don’t know that I would have answered with one of these code words. It all depends on how the question was worded. I probably would have said God (in trinity, if asked for more detail) and others. I certainly wouldn’t have said religion (or faith, because I hate people claiming faith is so vital without stipulating what the faith is in) over saying grace, worship, prayer, the Eucharist…

    These surveys reflect the people who create them. Does it shock anyone that there are people in “churches” and churches that are confused, don’t believe, or who have been mis-taught?

  • trotk

    Spiritual rather than religious? It all depends what you mean by the words. Is it better to be religious and wrong or spiritual and wrong. I bet half the people had no idea which word denoted Christianity and which false belief, and the other half don’t know what the difference is between Christianity and other belief systems.

    As far as the percentages, the only thing that is discouraging about any of this is the we don’t have 100% of the people in the church committed fully to zealously following God. But if they had surveyed older groups, they probably would have gotten similar results. Oftentimes, the younger groups are just more honest.

    ‘If the trends continue, “the Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships,” says Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources.’
    Hopefully the churches that close are the ones that aren’t certain whether Jesus is the only path to heaven, because I imagine that lots of the doubt seen in the 50% affirmative answer to this question comes from pastors who don’t believe it or who are scared to teach it for fear of offense.

    Of those who confessed Christ (the real group who should concern us):
    •68% did not mention faith, religion or spirituality when asked what was “really important in life.”
    - I don’t know that I would have answered with one of these code words. It all depends on how the question was worded. I probably would have said God (in trinity, if asked for more detail) and others. I certainly wouldn’t have said religion (or faith, because I hate people claiming faith is so vital without stipulating what the faith is in) over saying grace, worship, prayer, the Eucharist…

    These surveys reflect the people who create them. Does it shock anyone that there are people in “churches” and churches that are confused, don’t believe, or who have been mis-taught?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Steve–I would suggest that each person is judged by God according to His Word. Apart from a living faith in Christ, taking part of the ordinances does not bring blessing, but condemnation–see 1 Corinthians 11:27 for details. Put gently, the person who trusts in baptism or communion to demonstrate their salvation is likely in for the same nasty surprise as the person who thinks he’s OK with Christ because he “doesn’t drink and doesn’t chew, and doesn’t go with girls that do.”

    Never mind the basic fact that sadly, the theological education in most churches doesn’t even leave kids with the ability to grasp the discussion we could have on these issues.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Steve–I would suggest that each person is judged by God according to His Word. Apart from a living faith in Christ, taking part of the ordinances does not bring blessing, but condemnation–see 1 Corinthians 11:27 for details. Put gently, the person who trusts in baptism or communion to demonstrate their salvation is likely in for the same nasty surprise as the person who thinks he’s OK with Christ because he “doesn’t drink and doesn’t chew, and doesn’t go with girls that do.”

    Never mind the basic fact that sadly, the theological education in most churches doesn’t even leave kids with the ability to grasp the discussion we could have on these issues.

  • Catherine

    I once dated a guy who considered himself a Christian, but he didn’t see the need in attending worship services, never prayed that I could tell, and didn’t even own a Bible. When I tried to explain to him how church was important, even Biblically mandated, he argued with me (boy, was he fond of arguing over anything!) saying he didn’t “shun” believers meeting together, just didn’t find it necessary. He also would speak of his parents in slightly condescending tones, claiming they were “excessively” Christian because they happened to make their faith their top priority in life, were very involved in their church and would participate in Bible Studies and even adopted two little Chinese girls because they felt called to do so. I don’t even know how we managed to stay together that long, because his nature of eschewing “religious trappings” grated at my own Lutheran Conservative Christian upbringing to the point where I would raise my children in the church and I knew he didn’t want any of that.

    He’s now married to an atheist, so take from that what you will.

    It’s really, really hard to find young Christian people my age (twenty-three and thereabouts) in the church nowadays. Many of my friends will say they’re “Christian” but most of them don’t bother with Church, prayer, or the Bible. It’s very troubling.

  • Catherine

    I once dated a guy who considered himself a Christian, but he didn’t see the need in attending worship services, never prayed that I could tell, and didn’t even own a Bible. When I tried to explain to him how church was important, even Biblically mandated, he argued with me (boy, was he fond of arguing over anything!) saying he didn’t “shun” believers meeting together, just didn’t find it necessary. He also would speak of his parents in slightly condescending tones, claiming they were “excessively” Christian because they happened to make their faith their top priority in life, were very involved in their church and would participate in Bible Studies and even adopted two little Chinese girls because they felt called to do so. I don’t even know how we managed to stay together that long, because his nature of eschewing “religious trappings” grated at my own Lutheran Conservative Christian upbringing to the point where I would raise my children in the church and I knew he didn’t want any of that.

    He’s now married to an atheist, so take from that what you will.

    It’s really, really hard to find young Christian people my age (twenty-three and thereabouts) in the church nowadays. Many of my friends will say they’re “Christian” but most of them don’t bother with Church, prayer, or the Bible. It’s very troubling.

  • sg

    gs,

    Part of the reason that people who marry young have more problems has to do with who they are. Smart people don’t marry as young because they are pressured (threatened) not to marry until they finish college or they will be cut off. Since they can achieve higher status in society (the view of their parents, church and employers) they do what is required to get that status. People who cannot obtain higher status because of their lower levels of conscientiousness, low time orientation, modest intellect, etc, are less likely to wait because there is nothing to be gained.

    Back when my mother married at 17 right out of high school, it was a mark of being desirable. Albert Einstein’s mother got married at 18 as did lots of other smart women. There was less of an infantilization of young people. Parents made a conscious effort to make sure their daughters learned what they needed to know to run a household. There was not much of a push for young people to go find themselves, or other such time wasting (and frustrating) endeavors.

  • sg

    gs,

    Part of the reason that people who marry young have more problems has to do with who they are. Smart people don’t marry as young because they are pressured (threatened) not to marry until they finish college or they will be cut off. Since they can achieve higher status in society (the view of their parents, church and employers) they do what is required to get that status. People who cannot obtain higher status because of their lower levels of conscientiousness, low time orientation, modest intellect, etc, are less likely to wait because there is nothing to be gained.

    Back when my mother married at 17 right out of high school, it was a mark of being desirable. Albert Einstein’s mother got married at 18 as did lots of other smart women. There was less of an infantilization of young people. Parents made a conscious effort to make sure their daughters learned what they needed to know to run a household. There was not much of a push for young people to go find themselves, or other such time wasting (and frustrating) endeavors.

  • Fran P.

    “Among the 65% who call themselves Christian, ‘many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only,’ Rainer says. ‘Most are just indifferent. The more precisely you try to measure their Christianity, the fewer you find committed to the faith.’”

    This is a huge deal for gay and lesbian rights.

  • Fran P.

    “Among the 65% who call themselves Christian, ‘many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only,’ Rainer says. ‘Most are just indifferent. The more precisely you try to measure their Christianity, the fewer you find committed to the faith.’”

    This is a huge deal for gay and lesbian rights.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    since we- Christians- have let the educational institutions that we founded-EX:-Harvard-Princeton-et.al. to be over-taken by the Dark Side (Lucifer’s kids) -EX: the likes of Ayers- Alinsky- Clinton-et.al—is it any wonder that our young people have lost the WAY- the TRUTH- and the LIGHT!?
    we and our leaders have a lot to answer for…we have relinquished the victorious battle field that Christ and the Founders of the US left to us -we have not Occupied (Lk.19 OKJV- as Christ commanded) …let’s get at it!!!
    C-CS
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    since we- Christians- have let the educational institutions that we founded-EX:-Harvard-Princeton-et.al. to be over-taken by the Dark Side (Lucifer’s kids) -EX: the likes of Ayers- Alinsky- Clinton-et.al—is it any wonder that our young people have lost the WAY- the TRUTH- and the LIGHT!?
    we and our leaders have a lot to answer for…we have relinquished the victorious battle field that Christ and the Founders of the US left to us -we have not Occupied (Lk.19 OKJV- as Christ commanded) …let’s get at it!!!
    C-CS
    C-CS

  • sg

    We need to work to raise the level of our truly Christian universities. My son wants to go to MIT because he wants to go to the best school he can and because he thinks he will learn more etc. We also need our Christian colleges to offer programs like Math Camp http://www.mathcamp.org/ and the Duke University talent program http://www.tip.duke.edu/ to keep our talented youth from having no choice but to go to nasty liberal colleges and no Christian options for advancing their careers except to hope that they don’t end up with creepy professors as their supervisors in graduate school.

  • sg

    We need to work to raise the level of our truly Christian universities. My son wants to go to MIT because he wants to go to the best school he can and because he thinks he will learn more etc. We also need our Christian colleges to offer programs like Math Camp http://www.mathcamp.org/ and the Duke University talent program http://www.tip.duke.edu/ to keep our talented youth from having no choice but to go to nasty liberal colleges and no Christian options for advancing their careers except to hope that they don’t end up with creepy professors as their supervisors in graduate school.

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    Saw this elsewhere:

    “There is no such thing as ‘spirituality.’ Doesn’t exist, has no meaning. It’s just a name for ‘doing what I want to do and feeling that the universe somehow smiles on me for doing it.’”

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    Saw this elsewhere:

    “There is no such thing as ‘spirituality.’ Doesn’t exist, has no meaning. It’s just a name for ‘doing what I want to do and feeling that the universe somehow smiles on me for doing it.’”

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Larry, your comments are making the implicit claim that those surveyed were Baptists–not true. The surveyors were hired by a Baptist group, the surveyees were of all faiths.

    Hence, you can’t just go off and assume that whatever was found was indicative of Baptist theology–everybody gets to share this one.

    Never mind that there is no one Baptist theology–keep in mind that the vanguard for liberal theology was in part the American Baptists, and the rearguard against it is the fundamental Baptists. To confuse the two is like confusing ELCA and the LCMS.

    Now there are certainly many churches, some of them Baptist, that I’d also shudder to join, but let’s not paint with an overly broad brush here.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Larry, your comments are making the implicit claim that those surveyed were Baptists–not true. The surveyors were hired by a Baptist group, the surveyees were of all faiths.

    Hence, you can’t just go off and assume that whatever was found was indicative of Baptist theology–everybody gets to share this one.

    Never mind that there is no one Baptist theology–keep in mind that the vanguard for liberal theology was in part the American Baptists, and the rearguard against it is the fundamental Baptists. To confuse the two is like confusing ELCA and the LCMS.

    Now there are certainly many churches, some of them Baptist, that I’d also shudder to join, but let’s not paint with an overly broad brush here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Catherine (@16), I don’t know what plans God has for you with respect to marriage — other than his promise to work all things for your good.

    But God can pull spouses out of the most unlikely places. I moved to Portland when I was 23, and there weren’t any obvious wife candidates in my small church (or even among all the WELS churches in the Portland metro area), much less among my friends, who were almost all non-believers. It didn’t seem like I was going to marry a Christian, much less a confessional Lutheran. And then I started emailing a lady I’d known in college, who moved to the West coast for grad school, and who was a Southern Baptist. Long story short, she’s a faithful Lutheran now, as is our son. Not that the intervening years were easy or without drama — oh, the nights spent discussing the sacraments! My point being that God worked it out. As, you know, is his wont.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Catherine (@16), I don’t know what plans God has for you with respect to marriage — other than his promise to work all things for your good.

    But God can pull spouses out of the most unlikely places. I moved to Portland when I was 23, and there weren’t any obvious wife candidates in my small church (or even among all the WELS churches in the Portland metro area), much less among my friends, who were almost all non-believers. It didn’t seem like I was going to marry a Christian, much less a confessional Lutheran. And then I started emailing a lady I’d known in college, who moved to the West coast for grad school, and who was a Southern Baptist. Long story short, she’s a faithful Lutheran now, as is our son. Not that the intervening years were easy or without drama — oh, the nights spent discussing the sacraments! My point being that God worked it out. As, you know, is his wont.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Fran (@18), welcome to the blog! You seem to be celebrating the decline of Christianity among certain populations. I take it you’re not terribly concerned about their — or possibly anyone’s — souls? Let me know if I’ve misunderstood.

    But you do seem concerned about a particular cultural battle: gay and lesbian rights. Not sure what specific ideas you think that entails, or why people being committed to faith has an impact on it, but hey.

    My question to you is: how, historically, have “gay and lesbian rights” fared in Christian-less societies? What makes you think that, if more people lose their faith, this will be a boon for gays and lesbians?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Fran (@18), welcome to the blog! You seem to be celebrating the decline of Christianity among certain populations. I take it you’re not terribly concerned about their — or possibly anyone’s — souls? Let me know if I’ve misunderstood.

    But you do seem concerned about a particular cultural battle: gay and lesbian rights. Not sure what specific ideas you think that entails, or why people being committed to faith has an impact on it, but hey.

    My question to you is: how, historically, have “gay and lesbian rights” fared in Christian-less societies? What makes you think that, if more people lose their faith, this will be a boon for gays and lesbians?

  • Fran P.

    @24, tODD,
    The real tragedy in your comments is that they will almost certainly be misinterpreted. By calling it a cultural battle, you have destroyed the motivation of those like me who’ve spent years trying to work on this issue.

  • Fran P.

    @24, tODD,
    The real tragedy in your comments is that they will almost certainly be misinterpreted. By calling it a cultural battle, you have destroyed the motivation of those like me who’ve spent years trying to work on this issue.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Fran (@25), I called it a “cultural battle” to distinguish from the battle, if you will, for people’s souls, the latter being more significant for several reasons.

    I’m not sure why you object to the phrase, honestly. Different cultures treat gays and lesbians differently. You want our culture to treat gays and lesbians differently than it currently does. “Cultural battle” seems fairly apropos — why does it offend you?

    And if my calling it that literally “has destroyed the motivation of those like [you] who’ve spent years trying to work on this issue,” then (1) this is no longer an issue, as the battle is apparently over, and (2) you were waaay too thin-skinned to be engaged in that work, even before I destroyed all your motivation. Which is my way of saying that you’re being a weeee bit dramatic with such words.

    Seriously, would you like to answer my questions (@25)? I don’t mind discussing it with you. But it’ll get old quick if everything I say is accused by you of “destroying” this and that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Fran (@25), I called it a “cultural battle” to distinguish from the battle, if you will, for people’s souls, the latter being more significant for several reasons.

    I’m not sure why you object to the phrase, honestly. Different cultures treat gays and lesbians differently. You want our culture to treat gays and lesbians differently than it currently does. “Cultural battle” seems fairly apropos — why does it offend you?

    And if my calling it that literally “has destroyed the motivation of those like [you] who’ve spent years trying to work on this issue,” then (1) this is no longer an issue, as the battle is apparently over, and (2) you were waaay too thin-skinned to be engaged in that work, even before I destroyed all your motivation. Which is my way of saying that you’re being a weeee bit dramatic with such words.

    Seriously, would you like to answer my questions (@25)? I don’t mind discussing it with you. But it’ll get old quick if everything I say is accused by you of “destroying” this and that.

  • Fran P.

    @26
    I don’t know the answer to your question about all the Christian-less societies that have existed, historically. Was that the one you wanted me to answer?
    I feel small now.

  • Fran P.

    @26
    I don’t know the answer to your question about all the Christian-less societies that have existed, historically. Was that the one you wanted me to answer?
    I feel small now.

  • Catherine

    tODD (23), I’ve heard many similar stories, and of course I believe He will work for my good, but sometimes it’s a little hard to wait around when I’m at that age when all my friends are getting married and having kids. :-) I suppose most of my concern is the fact that so many young people are so disinterested in the church, not just about my own path in life. Sleeping off hangovers and living together before marriage are more important to them, or something.

  • Catherine

    tODD (23), I’ve heard many similar stories, and of course I believe He will work for my good, but sometimes it’s a little hard to wait around when I’m at that age when all my friends are getting married and having kids. :-) I suppose most of my concern is the fact that so many young people are so disinterested in the church, not just about my own path in life. Sleeping off hangovers and living together before marriage are more important to them, or something.

  • E-Raj

    I don’t think we should underestimate the role of the public schools and how their agenda contributes to this downturn in “religiousness” in kids. Parents aren’t teaching the faith. Public schools aren’t teaching the faith. The kids aren’t attending church. So, where are they being fed? What is the source of their spiritual sustenance? I teach the Confirmation classes at my LCMS Church and I can tell you there is a huge difference between the public school kids and our church’s school kids. The difference in the religious knowledge and commitment between the two groups is profound.

  • E-Raj

    I don’t think we should underestimate the role of the public schools and how their agenda contributes to this downturn in “religiousness” in kids. Parents aren’t teaching the faith. Public schools aren’t teaching the faith. The kids aren’t attending church. So, where are they being fed? What is the source of their spiritual sustenance? I teach the Confirmation classes at my LCMS Church and I can tell you there is a huge difference between the public school kids and our church’s school kids. The difference in the religious knowledge and commitment between the two groups is profound.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    It seems to me, from where I am at, that there are some younger parents and young people who are beginning to see the need for a real Savior in the midst of this perverse and twisted culture. May the Lord open our eyes to such opportunity – I hope more and more young people see the tremendous joy in serving our neighbor with planting seeds of faith far and wide and especially among the youngest in our communities. It is a great time to be a planter of the Lord’s Word in young lives! I would like to encourage young Lutherans to find a small struggling, but faithful Lutheran congregation and join it, and support it and be eager to help teach the youngsters in thorough and doctrine rich Bible Classes. The youngsters at our “Community” Child Care graduate from Preschool with the ability to pray the Lord’s prayer and recite the Apostles’ Creed from memory, plus they have a thoroughly Christ-centered and Gospel-rich knowledge of the Bible. But boy can we always use more faithful volunteers and teachers! Let us keep planting seeds of faith, and may our children and our children’s children be witness to the mighty wonders of the Lord.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    It seems to me, from where I am at, that there are some younger parents and young people who are beginning to see the need for a real Savior in the midst of this perverse and twisted culture. May the Lord open our eyes to such opportunity – I hope more and more young people see the tremendous joy in serving our neighbor with planting seeds of faith far and wide and especially among the youngest in our communities. It is a great time to be a planter of the Lord’s Word in young lives! I would like to encourage young Lutherans to find a small struggling, but faithful Lutheran congregation and join it, and support it and be eager to help teach the youngsters in thorough and doctrine rich Bible Classes. The youngsters at our “Community” Child Care graduate from Preschool with the ability to pray the Lord’s prayer and recite the Apostles’ Creed from memory, plus they have a thoroughly Christ-centered and Gospel-rich knowledge of the Bible. But boy can we always use more faithful volunteers and teachers! Let us keep planting seeds of faith, and may our children and our children’s children be witness to the mighty wonders of the Lord.

  • Jonathan

    I concur with E-Raj this stems from the failure of parents to teach their kids the faith in their homes. Parents who have the option of sending their kids to a Christian day school don’t do it. Why not? Parents don’t make sure that their families are in church and Sunday school every week. The result is not surprising.

    Catherine, hang in there and keep your eyes peeled. As tODD said, God has a plan for you and can indeed bring you a faithful, faithfilled spouse where you least expect it. As I can attest, that may take a while longer than age 23.

  • Jonathan

    I concur with E-Raj this stems from the failure of parents to teach their kids the faith in their homes. Parents who have the option of sending their kids to a Christian day school don’t do it. Why not? Parents don’t make sure that their families are in church and Sunday school every week. The result is not surprising.

    Catherine, hang in there and keep your eyes peeled. As tODD said, God has a plan for you and can indeed bring you a faithful, faithfilled spouse where you least expect it. As I can attest, that may take a while longer than age 23.

  • John C

    SG
    While ever Christianity is associated with the Christian Right and the Republican Party, you can expect the numbers to decline. The Right’s response to social change over the last 40 years is just too extreme and divisive.
    It looks as though you would like to turn public schools and Universities into Christian madrassas, Christian Soldier.
    Personally, I would like to see schools and universities remain secular and not defined by Christian or Islamic docrine.

  • John C

    SG
    While ever Christianity is associated with the Christian Right and the Republican Party, you can expect the numbers to decline. The Right’s response to social change over the last 40 years is just too extreme and divisive.
    It looks as though you would like to turn public schools and Universities into Christian madrassas, Christian Soldier.
    Personally, I would like to see schools and universities remain secular and not defined by Christian or Islamic docrine.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@29), I think you hit on the problem when you noted that “Parents aren’t teaching the faith.” How you also managed, in addition to that, to somehow blame public schools for “this downturn in ‘religiousness’ in kids” is beyond me. “Public schools aren’t teaching the faith”? So? Why should they? I in no way want my child to learn faith from a public school teacher. That is the role of the parent and the church (preferably in that order). Period. I would suggest that parents are also likely behind the difference you see in “public school kids and our church’s school kids.” I’ve taught plenty of public school kids in Sunday school who knew their Bible exceedingly well and were wonderful Christians.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@29), I think you hit on the problem when you noted that “Parents aren’t teaching the faith.” How you also managed, in addition to that, to somehow blame public schools for “this downturn in ‘religiousness’ in kids” is beyond me. “Public schools aren’t teaching the faith”? So? Why should they? I in no way want my child to learn faith from a public school teacher. That is the role of the parent and the church (preferably in that order). Period. I would suggest that parents are also likely behind the difference you see in “public school kids and our church’s school kids.” I’ve taught plenty of public school kids in Sunday school who knew their Bible exceedingly well and were wonderful Christians.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Fran (@27), I’m not sure why you “feel small now”, or really what you mean by that. It does seem, though, that for someone bursting on to this blog (@18) by apparently celebrating the decline of Christianity as “a huge deal for gay and lesbian rights”, you have surprisingly thin skin.

    I’d still appreciate answers to my questions on why the phrase “cultural battle” offends you, to the point of “destroying [your] motivation.”

    And if you “don’t know the answer to your question about all the Christian-less societies that have existed, historically,” then in what way are you capable of assessing whether the decline of Christianity in our country is “a huge deal for gay and lesbian rights”?

    If you’ll look at the history of LGBT rights under communist governments (historically the closest thing to a Christianity-less society, typically), you’ll see that, at the very best, their attitudes towards gays and lesbians changes with the times, no better than the attitudes from societies influenced by Christians.

    Under Stalin, the Soviet Union prohibited male homosexuality with up to five years hard labor. Homosexuals were often perceived as part of a aristocratic/fascist conspiracy. Stalin also likely wanted to increase the Russian birthrate. Ah, the utilitarian, conspiratorial enlightenment of the non-Christians!

    Homosexuality was only decriminalized in China in 1997 (and taken off the mental illness list in 2002). China still does not allow same-sex marriage.

    In North Korea, LGBT rights are limited at best, and the topic of homosexuality is taboo.

    Admittedly, I only learned these things from Wikipedia, but that’s apparently more research than you’ve put into the topic. Now, from those examples, explain to me why you think a Christian-free society is best for gays and lesbians.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Fran (@27), I’m not sure why you “feel small now”, or really what you mean by that. It does seem, though, that for someone bursting on to this blog (@18) by apparently celebrating the decline of Christianity as “a huge deal for gay and lesbian rights”, you have surprisingly thin skin.

    I’d still appreciate answers to my questions on why the phrase “cultural battle” offends you, to the point of “destroying [your] motivation.”

    And if you “don’t know the answer to your question about all the Christian-less societies that have existed, historically,” then in what way are you capable of assessing whether the decline of Christianity in our country is “a huge deal for gay and lesbian rights”?

    If you’ll look at the history of LGBT rights under communist governments (historically the closest thing to a Christianity-less society, typically), you’ll see that, at the very best, their attitudes towards gays and lesbians changes with the times, no better than the attitudes from societies influenced by Christians.

    Under Stalin, the Soviet Union prohibited male homosexuality with up to five years hard labor. Homosexuals were often perceived as part of a aristocratic/fascist conspiracy. Stalin also likely wanted to increase the Russian birthrate. Ah, the utilitarian, conspiratorial enlightenment of the non-Christians!

    Homosexuality was only decriminalized in China in 1997 (and taken off the mental illness list in 2002). China still does not allow same-sex marriage.

    In North Korea, LGBT rights are limited at best, and the topic of homosexuality is taboo.

    Admittedly, I only learned these things from Wikipedia, but that’s apparently more research than you’ve put into the topic. Now, from those examples, explain to me why you think a Christian-free society is best for gays and lesbians.

  • Kelly

    I do fear that the problem has been intensified by anti-creedalism. “Religion” has become a dirty word even among conservative Christians of an evangelical or fundamentalist stripe. When all you talk about is “relationship,” that can be pretty subjective, and relationships often happen out in nature or in the home, not in a sanctuary. The Baptist church I attended before jumping ship took the “Baptist” off the church sign. I am not surprised that virtually none of their young adults remained in a Baptist church as adults; we were always urged to just be “Christian,” and who was going to dictate to us just what that meant? Churches of all denominations have gone this route in the hope of being more relevant or whatever, but it’s backfiring because making a specific confession of faith is thought to be needless and narrow at best, and inherently judgmental, sectarian, and hateful at worst. If I go on Facebook and look at the religious views of my Christian friends, many even hesitate to use the term “Christian,” much less their specific confession according to their church body. It is fashionable to invent personal, individualized labels instead. The more weird and vague you make church, the fuzzier people will be about where they stand on anything.

  • Kelly

    I do fear that the problem has been intensified by anti-creedalism. “Religion” has become a dirty word even among conservative Christians of an evangelical or fundamentalist stripe. When all you talk about is “relationship,” that can be pretty subjective, and relationships often happen out in nature or in the home, not in a sanctuary. The Baptist church I attended before jumping ship took the “Baptist” off the church sign. I am not surprised that virtually none of their young adults remained in a Baptist church as adults; we were always urged to just be “Christian,” and who was going to dictate to us just what that meant? Churches of all denominations have gone this route in the hope of being more relevant or whatever, but it’s backfiring because making a specific confession of faith is thought to be needless and narrow at best, and inherently judgmental, sectarian, and hateful at worst. If I go on Facebook and look at the religious views of my Christian friends, many even hesitate to use the term “Christian,” much less their specific confession according to their church body. It is fashionable to invent personal, individualized labels instead. The more weird and vague you make church, the fuzzier people will be about where they stand on anything.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    As a Baptist, I can say “doesn’t surprise me a bit.” Sure, the whole wheat and tares thing, but really, what what else can you expect when you don’t practice regenerate church membership? Low to no requirements for membership, even less requiremements for full inclusion in all fellowship, and zero church discipline. No wonder we’re raising a bunch of pagans.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    As a Baptist, I can say “doesn’t surprise me a bit.” Sure, the whole wheat and tares thing, but really, what what else can you expect when you don’t practice regenerate church membership? Low to no requirements for membership, even less requiremements for full inclusion in all fellowship, and zero church discipline. No wonder we’re raising a bunch of pagans.

  • Reg Schofield

    As a Baptist with a reformed leanings , I think this type of research cuts across all fields . Having listened to The White Horse Inn for years now and read the Modern Reformation magazine , they have clearly pointed out this is a problem in general , not just for Baptist. We need to get back to teaching at home , catechizing out young people and giving them honest answers to their questions. As they move out into a post modern , anti-Christian world view , we need to arm them with solid preaching , teaching and equip them . I think we have failed to intellectually satisfy so many with seeker sensitive preaching and a Mc Church type mentality , filling the sanctuary with fluff but no content .

  • Reg Schofield

    As a Baptist with a reformed leanings , I think this type of research cuts across all fields . Having listened to The White Horse Inn for years now and read the Modern Reformation magazine , they have clearly pointed out this is a problem in general , not just for Baptist. We need to get back to teaching at home , catechizing out young people and giving them honest answers to their questions. As they move out into a post modern , anti-Christian world view , we need to arm them with solid preaching , teaching and equip them . I think we have failed to intellectually satisfy so many with seeker sensitive preaching and a Mc Church type mentality , filling the sanctuary with fluff but no content .

  • sg

    The gay and lesbian issues are totally media driven. If the media ignored gays and lesbians so would everyone else. There are just so few of them that it is essentially a non issue. The abysmally low birthrates that threaten to collapse developed countries are a big issue and get practically no media coverage.

    Generally there are two strategies for families. Small family high investment in offspring, and larger family low investment in offspring. Occasionally in history we see a culture of large family high investment in offspring, ie Puritans. However recently we see much more small family low investment in offspring which likely will be followed by precipitous decline in human capital.

  • sg

    The gay and lesbian issues are totally media driven. If the media ignored gays and lesbians so would everyone else. There are just so few of them that it is essentially a non issue. The abysmally low birthrates that threaten to collapse developed countries are a big issue and get practically no media coverage.

    Generally there are two strategies for families. Small family high investment in offspring, and larger family low investment in offspring. Occasionally in history we see a culture of large family high investment in offspring, ie Puritans. However recently we see much more small family low investment in offspring which likely will be followed by precipitous decline in human capital.

  • helen

    tODD @ 33
    There was a time when public schools celebrated Christian holidays with Christmas and Easter concerts.
    The choirs sang Bach because it is among the best choral music even now. All of this supplemented the activities of home and church. Shool affairs were not permitted to conflict with religious services.
    My public school children held their own with the day school kids, but our church did not allow a sharp division like that. There was children’s choir after school, so both public and day school children benefitted.

    Now many public school programs are anti Christian. It does make a difference.
    It means that Christian parents need to work harder to teach their own children the basics of their faith. It means that SS should be a real learning experience instead of “baby songs” to bore anyone over seven, and include memory work because you can’t always take your catechism or Bible with you.
    I see the problems of the Baptists who are offered a form without Christ but I don’t know how many of our Lutheran youth are really knowledgeable.
    You can find Christianity at a state university! You may have to bring some of it with you and be willing to work a little, not be spoon fed. If the on campus group is too cotton candy, look for a congregation in the vicinity!

  • helen

    tODD @ 33
    There was a time when public schools celebrated Christian holidays with Christmas and Easter concerts.
    The choirs sang Bach because it is among the best choral music even now. All of this supplemented the activities of home and church. Shool affairs were not permitted to conflict with religious services.
    My public school children held their own with the day school kids, but our church did not allow a sharp division like that. There was children’s choir after school, so both public and day school children benefitted.

    Now many public school programs are anti Christian. It does make a difference.
    It means that Christian parents need to work harder to teach their own children the basics of their faith. It means that SS should be a real learning experience instead of “baby songs” to bore anyone over seven, and include memory work because you can’t always take your catechism or Bible with you.
    I see the problems of the Baptists who are offered a form without Christ but I don’t know how many of our Lutheran youth are really knowledgeable.
    You can find Christianity at a state university! You may have to bring some of it with you and be willing to work a little, not be spoon fed. If the on campus group is too cotton candy, look for a congregation in the vicinity!

  • helen

    Pardon my sloppy proof reading!

  • helen

    Pardon my sloppy proof reading!

  • fws

    Fran P at 18 and Todd

    Fran, I am not sure what you mean by this being a huge deal for gay rights actually. maybe todd misunderstood you ? I am 1) christian 2) gay. So to me being gay or not sorta has the importance of being left handed. Left handedness would be only a big deal if people made it into a moral issue or always talked like gays were not present when referring to “us christians”.

  • fws

    Fran P at 18 and Todd

    Fran, I am not sure what you mean by this being a huge deal for gay rights actually. maybe todd misunderstood you ? I am 1) christian 2) gay. So to me being gay or not sorta has the importance of being left handed. Left handedness would be only a big deal if people made it into a moral issue or always talked like gays were not present when referring to “us christians”.

  • fws

    reg schofield,

    “I think we have failed to intellectually satisfy so many with seeker sensitive preaching and a Mc Church type mentality , filling the sanctuary with fluff but no content .”

    Nope. This won´t work because true faith is not something we can do with reason and persuasion. This is where reformed and Lutheran truly part ways…. We can know only the God of Wrath apart from Christ. Therefore NOTHING can be known about God apart from what we can learn from meditating on the Blessed Incarnation.

    here is something from Luther where he says it better than I:

    On Him [Christ] fix your eyes. For you cannot grasp God in Himself, unless perchance you want a consuming fire. But in Christ you see nothing but all sweetness, humanity, gentleness, clemency—in short, the forgiveness of sins and every mercy, etc. When you have Him, then good for you; you are a tower of defense with God the Father. Cling to Christ, otherwise you will hear the Father Himself speaking against you when He says (Matt. 17:5): “Listen to Him.” The Jews could not listen to Him, etc. And Paul says that the deity dwells bodily in Christ (Col. 2:9). The incarnation of Christ powerfully calls us away from speculating about the divinity. I learned from Staupitz that I had been carried away to the devil by my speculations, for human weakness could not bear these if it did not gain access to God somewhere. This they know by the mercy of God, etc.: The flesh of Christ, like ours, does not strike him down who beholds it. And the man in temptation either will not know God, who created heaven and earth and did other wonderful works, or his knowledge will not give him hope and deliverance from temptation. But Christ (as this text shows in a marvelous way) is useful to us for all things and in all things, and through this very Man we are to come to God. To Him Paul and other disciples of Christ come down; they do not climb up to an observation of the majesty, or Paul was not learned because he was not a sophist. When man looks at Christ, Satan is put to flight, and the conscience of a man in temptation is made happy and free from care. God clearly demands honest and pure righteousness of us, and since no one produces it, He permits no one to approach Him by his own strength. Christ has fulfilled this for us, therefore through Christ alone we have access to the Father. To be sure, it is true that one who has never felt his sin can contemplate God, or better, weave his phantasies about God; he can for a while reach out for the godhead he has invented for himself. But one who feels his sin and becomes fainthearted from fear of God will soon withdraw his foot from his speculations and turn to Christ, and he will be better off. He will have coolness in the shade, protection in the pavilion, banishment of Satan and of evil thoughts, also strength against all the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18), etc. The names applied to Christ in this text should, however, be carefully studied, so that we may know what has been given to us in Christ and that in Him there is victory and light, etc.
    Martin Luther
    LW 16:55

  • fws

    reg schofield,

    “I think we have failed to intellectually satisfy so many with seeker sensitive preaching and a Mc Church type mentality , filling the sanctuary with fluff but no content .”

    Nope. This won´t work because true faith is not something we can do with reason and persuasion. This is where reformed and Lutheran truly part ways…. We can know only the God of Wrath apart from Christ. Therefore NOTHING can be known about God apart from what we can learn from meditating on the Blessed Incarnation.

    here is something from Luther where he says it better than I:

    On Him [Christ] fix your eyes. For you cannot grasp God in Himself, unless perchance you want a consuming fire. But in Christ you see nothing but all sweetness, humanity, gentleness, clemency—in short, the forgiveness of sins and every mercy, etc. When you have Him, then good for you; you are a tower of defense with God the Father. Cling to Christ, otherwise you will hear the Father Himself speaking against you when He says (Matt. 17:5): “Listen to Him.” The Jews could not listen to Him, etc. And Paul says that the deity dwells bodily in Christ (Col. 2:9). The incarnation of Christ powerfully calls us away from speculating about the divinity. I learned from Staupitz that I had been carried away to the devil by my speculations, for human weakness could not bear these if it did not gain access to God somewhere. This they know by the mercy of God, etc.: The flesh of Christ, like ours, does not strike him down who beholds it. And the man in temptation either will not know God, who created heaven and earth and did other wonderful works, or his knowledge will not give him hope and deliverance from temptation. But Christ (as this text shows in a marvelous way) is useful to us for all things and in all things, and through this very Man we are to come to God. To Him Paul and other disciples of Christ come down; they do not climb up to an observation of the majesty, or Paul was not learned because he was not a sophist. When man looks at Christ, Satan is put to flight, and the conscience of a man in temptation is made happy and free from care. God clearly demands honest and pure righteousness of us, and since no one produces it, He permits no one to approach Him by his own strength. Christ has fulfilled this for us, therefore through Christ alone we have access to the Father. To be sure, it is true that one who has never felt his sin can contemplate God, or better, weave his phantasies about God; he can for a while reach out for the godhead he has invented for himself. But one who feels his sin and becomes fainthearted from fear of God will soon withdraw his foot from his speculations and turn to Christ, and he will be better off. He will have coolness in the shade, protection in the pavilion, banishment of Satan and of evil thoughts, also strength against all the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18), etc. The names applied to Christ in this text should, however, be carefully studied, so that we may know what has been given to us in Christ and that in Him there is victory and light, etc.
    Martin Luther
    LW 16:55

  • fws

    reg schofield consider this:

    can you imagine a God who would justly condemn you for your sins and flaws? You should be able to do that.

    Can you imagine Jesus ever ever turning you away from him for any reason? no. Trust that second though and stay only there.

  • fws

    reg schofield consider this:

    can you imagine a God who would justly condemn you for your sins and flaws? You should be able to do that.

    Can you imagine Jesus ever ever turning you away from him for any reason? no. Trust that second though and stay only there.

  • Susan

    As a former Baptist myself I recall the ‘living faith’ argument too-and it ALWAYS has to do with what you’re ‘doing for the Lord’ at any given moment (as if anyone can rightly judge that-and in turn potentially have something to boast about).

    It took a long time for me to learn that we serve God and ‘show’ our faith simply by doing those things which He has prepared in advance for us to do. That might be as humble as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for your two-year old, or it may be seeing that a floral delivery is where it’s supposed to be, at the time it’s supposed to be there, or it may even involve missing church in order to tend to an elderly parent in a nursing home. Point is, whatever the task in front of you at any given time may be, is rightly the work that the Father has prepared for you to do.

    God alone is Judge of who has genuine faith. He alone is ALSO the Judge of those works we do that may rightly be said to have been done in His Name.

    Don’t our works FOLLOW us…?

  • Susan

    As a former Baptist myself I recall the ‘living faith’ argument too-and it ALWAYS has to do with what you’re ‘doing for the Lord’ at any given moment (as if anyone can rightly judge that-and in turn potentially have something to boast about).

    It took a long time for me to learn that we serve God and ‘show’ our faith simply by doing those things which He has prepared in advance for us to do. That might be as humble as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for your two-year old, or it may be seeing that a floral delivery is where it’s supposed to be, at the time it’s supposed to be there, or it may even involve missing church in order to tend to an elderly parent in a nursing home. Point is, whatever the task in front of you at any given time may be, is rightly the work that the Father has prepared for you to do.

    God alone is Judge of who has genuine faith. He alone is ALSO the Judge of those works we do that may rightly be said to have been done in His Name.

    Don’t our works FOLLOW us…?

  • http://spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    I get an opportunity to speak with a lot of Southern Baptists down in Alabama.

    I’d not be surprised if most Baptists ended up merging with liberal denominations in 20 years. Things are that doctrinally dicey with Baptists under 40.

    It won’t be long before the most basic doctrines of the creeds become minority positions with American Christianity.

  • http://spaceagelutheran.blogspot.com/ SAL

    I get an opportunity to speak with a lot of Southern Baptists down in Alabama.

    I’d not be surprised if most Baptists ended up merging with liberal denominations in 20 years. Things are that doctrinally dicey with Baptists under 40.

    It won’t be long before the most basic doctrines of the creeds become minority positions with American Christianity.

  • sg

    Can you imagine Jesus ever ever turning you away from him for any reason?

    Yes.

    Matthew 7:21-23 (New International Version)

    21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

  • sg

    Can you imagine Jesus ever ever turning you away from him for any reason?

    Yes.

    Matthew 7:21-23 (New International Version)

    21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

  • fws

    sg.

    Ok so you are telling me then that you feel that passage applies to you then. I asked “can you ever imagine Jesus turning YOU away….”

  • fws

    sg.

    Ok so you are telling me then that you feel that passage applies to you then. I asked “can you ever imagine Jesus turning YOU away….”

  • fws

    sg @46 Luther says it wayyy better than I ever could. try this. this is my point…. Please let me know what you think!

    “On Him [Christ] fix your eyes. For you cannot grasp God in Himself, unless perchance you want a consuming fire. But in Christ you see nothing but all sweetness, humanity, gentleness, clemency—in short, the forgiveness of sins and every mercy, etc. When you have Him, then good for you; you are a tower of defense with God the Father. Cling to Christ, otherwise you will hear the Father Himself speaking against you when He says (Matt. 17:5): “Listen to Him.” The Jews could not listen to Him, etc. And Paul says that the deity dwells bodily in Christ (Col. 2:9). The incarnation of Christ powerfully calls us away from speculating about the divinity. I learned from Staupitz that I had been carried away to the devil by my speculations, for human weakness could not bear these if it did not gain access to God somewhere. This they know by the mercy of God, etc.: The flesh of Christ, like ours, does not strike him down who beholds it. And the man in temptation either will not know God, who created heaven and earth and did other wonderful works, or his knowledge will not give him hope and deliverance from temptation. But Christ (as this text shows in a marvelous way) is useful to us for all things and in all things, and through this very Man we are to come to God. To Him Paul and other disciples of Christ come down; they do not climb up to an observation of the majesty, or Paul was not learned because he was not a sophist. When man looks at Christ, Satan is put to flight, and the conscience of a man in temptation is made happy and free from care. God clearly demands honest and pure righteousness of us, and since no one produces it, He permits no one to approach Him by his own strength. Christ has fulfilled this for us, therefore through Christ alone we have access to the Father. To be sure, it is true that one who has never felt his sin can contemplate God, or better, weave his phantasies about God; he can for a while reach out for the godhead he has invented for himself. But one who feels his sin and becomes fainthearted from fear of God will soon withdraw his foot from his speculations and turn to Christ, and he will be better off. He will have coolness in the shade, protection in the pavilion, banishment of Satan and of evil thoughts, also strength against all the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18), etc. The names applied to Christ in this text should, however, be carefully studied, so that we may know what has been given to us in Christ and that in Him there is victory and light, etc.”
    Martin Luther
    LW 16:55

    and what is “the will of the father”? what are we praying for in the Our father when we pray “Thy will be done?”

    God´s unitary will towards us is to save us in His Son Jesus. And he does this indeed without our prayer or asking! Those who would thwart this will by doing anything but preaching christ crucified… miracles etc…. your sweet Jesus will defend his little flock from such… the passage you quoted was not so much about judgement as about Jesus being serious about saving us.

  • fws

    sg @46 Luther says it wayyy better than I ever could. try this. this is my point…. Please let me know what you think!

    “On Him [Christ] fix your eyes. For you cannot grasp God in Himself, unless perchance you want a consuming fire. But in Christ you see nothing but all sweetness, humanity, gentleness, clemency—in short, the forgiveness of sins and every mercy, etc. When you have Him, then good for you; you are a tower of defense with God the Father. Cling to Christ, otherwise you will hear the Father Himself speaking against you when He says (Matt. 17:5): “Listen to Him.” The Jews could not listen to Him, etc. And Paul says that the deity dwells bodily in Christ (Col. 2:9). The incarnation of Christ powerfully calls us away from speculating about the divinity. I learned from Staupitz that I had been carried away to the devil by my speculations, for human weakness could not bear these if it did not gain access to God somewhere. This they know by the mercy of God, etc.: The flesh of Christ, like ours, does not strike him down who beholds it. And the man in temptation either will not know God, who created heaven and earth and did other wonderful works, or his knowledge will not give him hope and deliverance from temptation. But Christ (as this text shows in a marvelous way) is useful to us for all things and in all things, and through this very Man we are to come to God. To Him Paul and other disciples of Christ come down; they do not climb up to an observation of the majesty, or Paul was not learned because he was not a sophist. When man looks at Christ, Satan is put to flight, and the conscience of a man in temptation is made happy and free from care. God clearly demands honest and pure righteousness of us, and since no one produces it, He permits no one to approach Him by his own strength. Christ has fulfilled this for us, therefore through Christ alone we have access to the Father. To be sure, it is true that one who has never felt his sin can contemplate God, or better, weave his phantasies about God; he can for a while reach out for the godhead he has invented for himself. But one who feels his sin and becomes fainthearted from fear of God will soon withdraw his foot from his speculations and turn to Christ, and he will be better off. He will have coolness in the shade, protection in the pavilion, banishment of Satan and of evil thoughts, also strength against all the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18), etc. The names applied to Christ in this text should, however, be carefully studied, so that we may know what has been given to us in Christ and that in Him there is victory and light, etc.”
    Martin Luther
    LW 16:55

    and what is “the will of the father”? what are we praying for in the Our father when we pray “Thy will be done?”

    God´s unitary will towards us is to save us in His Son Jesus. And he does this indeed without our prayer or asking! Those who would thwart this will by doing anything but preaching christ crucified… miracles etc…. your sweet Jesus will defend his little flock from such… the passage you quoted was not so much about judgement as about Jesus being serious about saving us.

  • sg

    Luther was a man who put on his pants just like I do. I do not disparage him. I take Jesus at his word. He said that those who do not do the will of the Father will be rejected. So, I seek to discover that will and obey it. I think most Christians do. However Jesus clearly states that some who claim to be Christians don’t do the will of the Father, and He says He will reject them.

  • sg

    Luther was a man who put on his pants just like I do. I do not disparage him. I take Jesus at his word. He said that those who do not do the will of the Father will be rejected. So, I seek to discover that will and obey it. I think most Christians do. However Jesus clearly states that some who claim to be Christians don’t do the will of the Father, and He says He will reject them.

  • fws

    sg 49

    I think maybe, you are missing the point that I was attempting to make. It is sort of a subtle one. The hinge is “in my name” it is not “don´t do the will of my father”.

    The will of the father is to save us. Jesus only authorized the use of his name to proclaim that will. this is why Jesus says his will and the father´s will are one will.

    so this is about someone misusing Jesus´power of attorney if you will. it is not a blanket statement > If it were, no one would be saved. No one does God´s will . Only faith in christ is what saves us.

    I am not asking you to agree, but do you see what I am trying to say more clearly now?

  • fws

    sg 49

    I think maybe, you are missing the point that I was attempting to make. It is sort of a subtle one. The hinge is “in my name” it is not “don´t do the will of my father”.

    The will of the father is to save us. Jesus only authorized the use of his name to proclaim that will. this is why Jesus says his will and the father´s will are one will.

    so this is about someone misusing Jesus´power of attorney if you will. it is not a blanket statement > If it were, no one would be saved. No one does God´s will . Only faith in christ is what saves us.

    I am not asking you to agree, but do you see what I am trying to say more clearly now?

  • bunnycatch3r

    I think that the results of these surveys have to do with the rise of the internet. In the past it was relatively simple to indoctrinate children in confirmation classes and then insulate them within a sea of think-alike ideologues (the church). Now however, they have access to scores of different ideas and perspectives.

  • bunnycatch3r

    I think that the results of these surveys have to do with the rise of the internet. In the past it was relatively simple to indoctrinate children in confirmation classes and then insulate them within a sea of think-alike ideologues (the church). Now however, they have access to scores of different ideas and perspectives.

  • Tom Hering

    “… I seek to discover that will and obey it.”

    How will you discover it? How will you be able to know it when you hear it?

    How will you obey it? How will you be able to do all that God requires of you?

    “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” James 2:10.

  • Tom Hering

    “… I seek to discover that will and obey it.”

    How will you discover it? How will you be able to know it when you hear it?

    How will you obey it? How will you be able to do all that God requires of you?

    “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” James 2:10.

  • fws

    sg 49

    “So, I seek to discover that will and obey it. I think most Christians do.”

    It would be quite impossible for a christian not to do this! How can you say “most ” christians. that makes no sense does it?

    And i say this in the face of the fact that christians willfully still sin. Sometimes at the same time!

    All sin at the end is willful sinning. it is not an “oops the devil made me do it” or “it was an ax-xi-dent!”. No. we willed it planned it and meant it to happen. We place ourselves in the wrong place at the time of our chosing inviting something to “just happen”. And then we lie and self-justify! So how do I reconcile these two truths?

    This is where Lutherans understand that there are two completely separate and distinct “you” after your new birth:

    There is the old adam that continues, exactly as before, from before you became christian. He must die. there is no fixing him. Mortification is the word for that. Not just the behavior, but the person must die. You will die physically . that is my proof! and st pauls! The full curse of the law still remains on that part of the believer. so take what christ says in the passage to fully mean you dear brother. and me. and everyone that has an old adam.

    But now , as a believer, and what makes you a believer, is that you have a literal, actual. honest-to-God, completely new (not transformed or re-condition-ed ) man in you. Christ in you. This is not a metaphoric new thing. it is what jesus meant when he was telling Nicodemus that flesh gives birth to flesh. that stuff. it is real. not just a change of attitude or identity or metaphorical like what baptists make out of the words “this is my body shed for you”.

    This christ can ONLY do God´s will. it is spontaneously so. It looks exactly like your Jesus in the incarnation. did he grow in wisdom and stature? sure! did become more good? (excuse the grammar!). No.

    That old adam MUST die . and you , now that you exist , not merely identify with, that new man, have nothing to fear from that death , and you wish in fact to hasten it!

  • fws

    sg 49

    “So, I seek to discover that will and obey it. I think most Christians do.”

    It would be quite impossible for a christian not to do this! How can you say “most ” christians. that makes no sense does it?

    And i say this in the face of the fact that christians willfully still sin. Sometimes at the same time!

    All sin at the end is willful sinning. it is not an “oops the devil made me do it” or “it was an ax-xi-dent!”. No. we willed it planned it and meant it to happen. We place ourselves in the wrong place at the time of our chosing inviting something to “just happen”. And then we lie and self-justify! So how do I reconcile these two truths?

    This is where Lutherans understand that there are two completely separate and distinct “you” after your new birth:

    There is the old adam that continues, exactly as before, from before you became christian. He must die. there is no fixing him. Mortification is the word for that. Not just the behavior, but the person must die. You will die physically . that is my proof! and st pauls! The full curse of the law still remains on that part of the believer. so take what christ says in the passage to fully mean you dear brother. and me. and everyone that has an old adam.

    But now , as a believer, and what makes you a believer, is that you have a literal, actual. honest-to-God, completely new (not transformed or re-condition-ed ) man in you. Christ in you. This is not a metaphoric new thing. it is what jesus meant when he was telling Nicodemus that flesh gives birth to flesh. that stuff. it is real. not just a change of attitude or identity or metaphorical like what baptists make out of the words “this is my body shed for you”.

    This christ can ONLY do God´s will. it is spontaneously so. It looks exactly like your Jesus in the incarnation. did he grow in wisdom and stature? sure! did become more good? (excuse the grammar!). No.

    That old adam MUST die . and you , now that you exist , not merely identify with, that new man, have nothing to fear from that death , and you wish in fact to hasten it!

  • bunnycatch3r

    Here’s a link to a very popular video (181,500 views since March 2010) which gives a little more depth to the position that the internet may be to blame for the change in religious perceptions.

  • bunnycatch3r

    Here’s a link to a very popular video (181,500 views since March 2010) which gives a little more depth to the position that the internet may be to blame for the change in religious perceptions.

  • sg

    “I am not asking you to agree, but do you see what I am trying to say more clearly now?”

    not really

    “It would be quite impossible for a christian not to do this! How can you say “most ” christians. that makes no sense does it?”

    I think some wish that God’s word said some things that it clearly doesn’t say and they seek to create the perception that it does. They seek to enlist God’s support for their ideas rather than discern God’s will. If we are honest, we all likely have done this in small ways if not in large. It is up to each one to examine himself and repent. Some will and some won’t. It is not my call. However it is my call whom I believe. Some are false teachers and we have been warned to avoid them and go check if what they say agrees with the Bible. When it doesn’t agree, we need to go with what is in the Bible.

    As a poor and miserable sinner, I cannot assert with 100% metaphysical certainty what is meant or how something should be interpreted, so I will go with the obvious.

  • sg

    “I am not asking you to agree, but do you see what I am trying to say more clearly now?”

    not really

    “It would be quite impossible for a christian not to do this! How can you say “most ” christians. that makes no sense does it?”

    I think some wish that God’s word said some things that it clearly doesn’t say and they seek to create the perception that it does. They seek to enlist God’s support for their ideas rather than discern God’s will. If we are honest, we all likely have done this in small ways if not in large. It is up to each one to examine himself and repent. Some will and some won’t. It is not my call. However it is my call whom I believe. Some are false teachers and we have been warned to avoid them and go check if what they say agrees with the Bible. When it doesn’t agree, we need to go with what is in the Bible.

    As a poor and miserable sinner, I cannot assert with 100% metaphysical certainty what is meant or how something should be interpreted, so I will go with the obvious.

  • fws

    sg 55

    “As a poor and miserable sinner, I cannot assert with 100% metaphysical certainty what is meant or how something should be interpreted, so I will go with the obvious.”

    great . my kinda guy. so when Jesus our Lord said in the last supper about that bread “This IS my body” you simply accept that is means literally is without trying to interpret it.

    This would not be obvious to an unbeliever. they would allow their judgement to go with the “obvious ” wouldn´t they? and the cross is foolishness to unbelievers as well. so the meaning of that is also not so obvious. So I am not sure how what you are saying can be useful.

  • fws

    sg 55

    “As a poor and miserable sinner, I cannot assert with 100% metaphysical certainty what is meant or how something should be interpreted, so I will go with the obvious.”

    great . my kinda guy. so when Jesus our Lord said in the last supper about that bread “This IS my body” you simply accept that is means literally is without trying to interpret it.

    This would not be obvious to an unbeliever. they would allow their judgement to go with the “obvious ” wouldn´t they? and the cross is foolishness to unbelievers as well. so the meaning of that is also not so obvious. So I am not sure how what you are saying can be useful.

  • E-Raj

    tODD @ 33: My statement that public schools aren’t teaching the faith was merely a statement of fact, not an appeal that they should be teaching it. However, public schools do teach religion, and more than just social studies facts. They teach that the world’s religions are all morally equal. They teach that everyone is the same as long as they are sincere in their religious beliefs. Then the kids go to science class, and are taught they are stupid to believe in anything that can’t be scientifically proven, so religion is just the remnant of tribal superstitions. As a state-certified (IL) teacher, I can attest to all of this. Then, the kids come to me at Confirmation class, and I have to spend three weeks getting them to actually believe that faith in Christ is the only way to heaven. I don’t get these questions from our church’s day school kids. When a kid is being taught the faith in the home, and sent to a public school, they are breaking even. What they are being taught at home is being negated by their teachers in school. If they aren’t going to church, who is breaking the tie?

  • E-Raj

    tODD @ 33: My statement that public schools aren’t teaching the faith was merely a statement of fact, not an appeal that they should be teaching it. However, public schools do teach religion, and more than just social studies facts. They teach that the world’s religions are all morally equal. They teach that everyone is the same as long as they are sincere in their religious beliefs. Then the kids go to science class, and are taught they are stupid to believe in anything that can’t be scientifically proven, so religion is just the remnant of tribal superstitions. As a state-certified (IL) teacher, I can attest to all of this. Then, the kids come to me at Confirmation class, and I have to spend three weeks getting them to actually believe that faith in Christ is the only way to heaven. I don’t get these questions from our church’s day school kids. When a kid is being taught the faith in the home, and sent to a public school, they are breaking even. What they are being taught at home is being negated by their teachers in school. If they aren’t going to church, who is breaking the tie?

  • sg

    ” so when Jesus our Lord said in the last supper about that bread “This IS my body” you simply accept that is means literally is without trying to interpret it.

    This would not be obvious to an unbeliever. they would allow their judgement to go with the “obvious ” wouldn´t they? and the cross is foolishness to unbelievers as well. so the meaning of that is also not so obvious. So I am not sure how what you are saying can be useful.”

    When Jesus says “this is my body” there is the obvious metaphor that some denominations go with and the opposite that Catholics go with. However, this statement is not similar to Jesus saying that those who don’t do the will of the Father will be rejected. There is no metaphor there to be interpreted. He states directly without any metaphorical language to misunderstand or interpret.

    So, like I said, when it is obvious, I will go with it. If it is not obvious then, yes, sincere people can discuss and disagree.

  • sg

    ” so when Jesus our Lord said in the last supper about that bread “This IS my body” you simply accept that is means literally is without trying to interpret it.

    This would not be obvious to an unbeliever. they would allow their judgement to go with the “obvious ” wouldn´t they? and the cross is foolishness to unbelievers as well. so the meaning of that is also not so obvious. So I am not sure how what you are saying can be useful.”

    When Jesus says “this is my body” there is the obvious metaphor that some denominations go with and the opposite that Catholics go with. However, this statement is not similar to Jesus saying that those who don’t do the will of the Father will be rejected. There is no metaphor there to be interpreted. He states directly without any metaphorical language to misunderstand or interpret.

    So, like I said, when it is obvious, I will go with it. If it is not obvious then, yes, sincere people can discuss and disagree.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@57), in addition to being a “state-certified (IL) teacher”, do you actually teach in a public school? At the very least, I can tell you that nothing in your comments resembles my public-school education (I graduated high school in 1993). I suppose you might tell me that things have only changed since then, but I’d really like to know what your basis is for saying that “public schools do teach religion”, that “they teach that the world’s religions are all morally equal”, that “everyone is the same as long as they are sincere in their religious beliefs.” I have never known anyone in a public school who heard such things from the teachers.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@57), in addition to being a “state-certified (IL) teacher”, do you actually teach in a public school? At the very least, I can tell you that nothing in your comments resembles my public-school education (I graduated high school in 1993). I suppose you might tell me that things have only changed since then, but I’d really like to know what your basis is for saying that “public schools do teach religion”, that “they teach that the world’s religions are all morally equal”, that “everyone is the same as long as they are sincere in their religious beliefs.” I have never known anyone in a public school who heard such things from the teachers.

  • John C

    All is right with the world Raj.
    You would not want a Hindu child to be sent to a public school and told because he is not a Christian, he is morally inferior.
    Nor would you want to send your child to a science class and taught creationism. It is possible to believe both in God and evolution and still be a Christian. Imparting a belief in God is not the responsibility of the science teacher.

  • John C

    All is right with the world Raj.
    You would not want a Hindu child to be sent to a public school and told because he is not a Christian, he is morally inferior.
    Nor would you want to send your child to a science class and taught creationism. It is possible to believe both in God and evolution and still be a Christian. Imparting a belief in God is not the responsibility of the science teacher.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@57), I don’t know why I didn’t notice this before, but you said, “When a kid is being taught the faith in the home, and sent to a public school, they are breaking even. What they are being taught at home is being negated by their teachers in school.”

    What a depressing view of the influence of parents. You seem to think their influence is merely equal to that of school teachers. My wife is a school teacher, and trust me, she knows that almost nothing she does can change what the parents have instilled in her students. Pleasant students with good attitudes towards education nearly always have pleasant parents with good attitudes towards education. Bad students who disdain learning? Same thing. And yet, in your bizarre take on things, these two are equal. Let me tell you this: if a child’s upbringing is neutralized by their exposure to the world at large, then frankly, I have to question the quality of their upbringing. Not every child will turn out as their parents wish, of course. But criminy, these children are going to have to engage the world at some point! At what point will you trust the child’s upbringing to actually be a reliable tool in coping with the world?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@57), I don’t know why I didn’t notice this before, but you said, “When a kid is being taught the faith in the home, and sent to a public school, they are breaking even. What they are being taught at home is being negated by their teachers in school.”

    What a depressing view of the influence of parents. You seem to think their influence is merely equal to that of school teachers. My wife is a school teacher, and trust me, she knows that almost nothing she does can change what the parents have instilled in her students. Pleasant students with good attitudes towards education nearly always have pleasant parents with good attitudes towards education. Bad students who disdain learning? Same thing. And yet, in your bizarre take on things, these two are equal. Let me tell you this: if a child’s upbringing is neutralized by their exposure to the world at large, then frankly, I have to question the quality of their upbringing. Not every child will turn out as their parents wish, of course. But criminy, these children are going to have to engage the world at some point! At what point will you trust the child’s upbringing to actually be a reliable tool in coping with the world?

  • E-Raj

    tODD, of course this is a depressing view of parents. That’s one of the points of the article Dr. Veith used as the topic for this post! Parents aren’t doing their jobs, in most cases. The basis for my statements comes from my knowledge of the curriculum in my local schools, my interaction with my students on a daily basis, my assessment of their religious knowledge as demonstrated in the classroom, and the severe lack of religious training the kids have exhibit even while supposedly coming from strong “Christian” homes. I currently do not teach in a public school, but I did not very long ago. I currently teach in our church’s middle school. I have family members who currently teach in the local public schools as well as many friends and collegues that do. Their shared experiences back up what I see as reality, at least around here. There are kids in my Confirmation class that come from visibly supportive parents but still take ten minutes to find the book of Romans in their Bibles, while our church’s day school kids find Romans in about five seconds. Is this a fair judgment of a child’s knowledge? No. But it is a fair judgment of their familiarity with a Bible. I’m just telling you what I see. I’m in no mood to argue about what I see with my own eyes every day. Maybe things are better out where you live. Is it possible for parents to be positive influences and “beat” the system? Of course. It’s just a lot harder nowadays, and fewer parents are willing to go that extra mile.

  • E-Raj

    tODD, of course this is a depressing view of parents. That’s one of the points of the article Dr. Veith used as the topic for this post! Parents aren’t doing their jobs, in most cases. The basis for my statements comes from my knowledge of the curriculum in my local schools, my interaction with my students on a daily basis, my assessment of their religious knowledge as demonstrated in the classroom, and the severe lack of religious training the kids have exhibit even while supposedly coming from strong “Christian” homes. I currently do not teach in a public school, but I did not very long ago. I currently teach in our church’s middle school. I have family members who currently teach in the local public schools as well as many friends and collegues that do. Their shared experiences back up what I see as reality, at least around here. There are kids in my Confirmation class that come from visibly supportive parents but still take ten minutes to find the book of Romans in their Bibles, while our church’s day school kids find Romans in about five seconds. Is this a fair judgment of a child’s knowledge? No. But it is a fair judgment of their familiarity with a Bible. I’m just telling you what I see. I’m in no mood to argue about what I see with my own eyes every day. Maybe things are better out where you live. Is it possible for parents to be positive influences and “beat” the system? Of course. It’s just a lot harder nowadays, and fewer parents are willing to go that extra mile.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@62), when I said you had “a depressing view of the influence of parents”, I was not referring to their not doing their job. Read it again. You said (@57), “When a kid is being taught the faith in the home, and sent to a public school, they are breaking even” — that is, even when parents are doing their job, you have no faith that their doing so can stand up in the face of what teachers do. A child raised in a strong Christian home cannot, you seem to say, prevail against a secular environment, but only “break even”. To which I say, again, hogwash. No doubt some children are too spiritually immature to be fully exposed to the world, even up through high school. But many others are capable of it, precisely because of their Christian upbringing.

    “There are kids in my Confirmation class that come from visibly supportive parents but still take ten minutes to find the book of Romans in their Bibles.” Frankly, I have to wonder, then, what you could possibly mean by “visibly supportive”. If a child is that biblically illiterate, what does it say about their parents?

    And, again, I think your experience is too narrow. I taught high-school-age Sunday school at my church for years, and, yes, there were plenty of public school kids who were Biblically undereducated. There were also public school kids who likely knew as much as me. It had nothing to do with where they went to school, but quite possibly a lot to do with their upbringing (though I don’t know what went on in their homes), since the trends tended to be the same in siblings.

    In my opinion, you’re taking your beef with public schools and making it the crux of the matter here, in the process overlooking (and underestimating) the fundamental value of parenting.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@62), when I said you had “a depressing view of the influence of parents”, I was not referring to their not doing their job. Read it again. You said (@57), “When a kid is being taught the faith in the home, and sent to a public school, they are breaking even” — that is, even when parents are doing their job, you have no faith that their doing so can stand up in the face of what teachers do. A child raised in a strong Christian home cannot, you seem to say, prevail against a secular environment, but only “break even”. To which I say, again, hogwash. No doubt some children are too spiritually immature to be fully exposed to the world, even up through high school. But many others are capable of it, precisely because of their Christian upbringing.

    “There are kids in my Confirmation class that come from visibly supportive parents but still take ten minutes to find the book of Romans in their Bibles.” Frankly, I have to wonder, then, what you could possibly mean by “visibly supportive”. If a child is that biblically illiterate, what does it say about their parents?

    And, again, I think your experience is too narrow. I taught high-school-age Sunday school at my church for years, and, yes, there were plenty of public school kids who were Biblically undereducated. There were also public school kids who likely knew as much as me. It had nothing to do with where they went to school, but quite possibly a lot to do with their upbringing (though I don’t know what went on in their homes), since the trends tended to be the same in siblings.

    In my opinion, you’re taking your beef with public schools and making it the crux of the matter here, in the process overlooking (and underestimating) the fundamental value of parenting.

  • fws

    sg @ 58

    I am saying that the “is” in this is my body is “obvious” only to those who have faith that Jesus is God and so when he, as God the Creator, who created with a word, says “is” it actually does mean is and is not mere metaphor. If it were you or me saying “this is my body” then it would clearly be metaphor. agreed. But I am not the Lord of the Universe. Neither are you. But Jesus is. And so the “obvious” meaning is “is” means “is” in it´s fully natural and non metaphoric sense. Get what I am saying now? There is can be no opinion about this, only faith in Jesus that whatever he says “is” actually, and precisely because he spoke the word: is.

    Apart from faith this is not only not “obvious” but cannot be known or understood. as with the meaning of the cross with a dead Jew hanging on it. Persons cannot be reason-ed into knowing this or understanding this and accepting any of this as “obvious” because it is not. Only a miracle can make any of this something we can believe, fully against what seems “obvious” (aka reason-able).

    I assumed I could speak to you from faith, and not only from what is “obvious” ie “reason-able” or what can be comprehended only from fallen reason. As you say, we are all fallen sinners: therefore our reason is captive to it´s own adoration and sin. We must , in faith, make our reason instead captive to the Word of God.

    Our reason must be made captive to the Word of God. The entire and central point of the bible is un-reasonable. That “he for us man and for our salvation came down from heaven and was made man”…. not a single word of that is obvious or reasonable. That is what I am saying.

    So I am also saying you miss the mark by accepting only what is “obvious” and asserting from that, that what is not to you and your reasoning powers is not obvious, and so therefore those things are subject to opinion and cannot be known with certainty or asserted with certainty as Truth.

  • fws

    sg @ 58

    I am saying that the “is” in this is my body is “obvious” only to those who have faith that Jesus is God and so when he, as God the Creator, who created with a word, says “is” it actually does mean is and is not mere metaphor. If it were you or me saying “this is my body” then it would clearly be metaphor. agreed. But I am not the Lord of the Universe. Neither are you. But Jesus is. And so the “obvious” meaning is “is” means “is” in it´s fully natural and non metaphoric sense. Get what I am saying now? There is can be no opinion about this, only faith in Jesus that whatever he says “is” actually, and precisely because he spoke the word: is.

    Apart from faith this is not only not “obvious” but cannot be known or understood. as with the meaning of the cross with a dead Jew hanging on it. Persons cannot be reason-ed into knowing this or understanding this and accepting any of this as “obvious” because it is not. Only a miracle can make any of this something we can believe, fully against what seems “obvious” (aka reason-able).

    I assumed I could speak to you from faith, and not only from what is “obvious” ie “reason-able” or what can be comprehended only from fallen reason. As you say, we are all fallen sinners: therefore our reason is captive to it´s own adoration and sin. We must , in faith, make our reason instead captive to the Word of God.

    Our reason must be made captive to the Word of God. The entire and central point of the bible is un-reasonable. That “he for us man and for our salvation came down from heaven and was made man”…. not a single word of that is obvious or reasonable. That is what I am saying.

    So I am also saying you miss the mark by accepting only what is “obvious” and asserting from that, that what is not to you and your reasoning powers is not obvious, and so therefore those things are subject to opinion and cannot be known with certainty or asserted with certainty as Truth.

  • sg

    fsw, Jesus also called himself a vine and followers branches. Obvious metaphor worthy of discussion etc. However, not everything he said was a metaphor to be pondered. Plenty can be taken at face value.

  • sg

    fsw, Jesus also called himself a vine and followers branches. Obvious metaphor worthy of discussion etc. However, not everything he said was a metaphor to be pondered. Plenty can be taken at face value.

  • fws

    sg @65

    “I am the True Vine” Jesus says this. It is not metaphor.

    Jesus is… yes is… in every existential, intrinsic, concrete way you can imagine and not imagine: the One True Vine that makes grape vines only vine-like.

    Rinse and repeat with the words: Way, Truth and Life.

    Worthy of discussion? Yes! Very! And we are having that discussion now, and it is all about Jesus… Who he is, what he did and why he did it. Our opinions do not have a place in this.

    The correct answer to: “Who do you say that I am?” could not be changed by the opinion Peter had.

    Without Jesus, incarnate and God, Vine, Way, Truth and Life would simple cease to exist.

    We can only know the one true God through Jesus. Apart from him we can only know a God who must condemn you and I for not doing His will and a world where opinion is merely the opinion and propositional truth of Pontius Pilate who had Truth literally staring him in the face yet could muse “What IS truth?”

    Jesus is truth as gravity is truth. We reduce truth to a set of propositions. So we can then debate based on what seems reasonable or obvious. The truth: Truth IS a Person named Jesus. And apart from His incarnate, smell-y, sense-ible, carnal, fleshly mary-as-mother-of-God self, there is none. There is no other God.

  • fws

    sg @65

    “I am the True Vine” Jesus says this. It is not metaphor.

    Jesus is… yes is… in every existential, intrinsic, concrete way you can imagine and not imagine: the One True Vine that makes grape vines only vine-like.

    Rinse and repeat with the words: Way, Truth and Life.

    Worthy of discussion? Yes! Very! And we are having that discussion now, and it is all about Jesus… Who he is, what he did and why he did it. Our opinions do not have a place in this.

    The correct answer to: “Who do you say that I am?” could not be changed by the opinion Peter had.

    Without Jesus, incarnate and God, Vine, Way, Truth and Life would simple cease to exist.

    We can only know the one true God through Jesus. Apart from him we can only know a God who must condemn you and I for not doing His will and a world where opinion is merely the opinion and propositional truth of Pontius Pilate who had Truth literally staring him in the face yet could muse “What IS truth?”

    Jesus is truth as gravity is truth. We reduce truth to a set of propositions. So we can then debate based on what seems reasonable or obvious. The truth: Truth IS a Person named Jesus. And apart from His incarnate, smell-y, sense-ible, carnal, fleshly mary-as-mother-of-God self, there is none. There is no other God.

  • Larry

    B. Bubba,

    You could not be more mistaken about my comments and perhaps that’s my fault. That is not the implicit assumption I make in “who was surveyed”, in fact I assume carte blanche it is a broad spectrum as to “who was surveyed”. The “broad brush” to use your term is the theology of glory of which all Baptist theologies are or belong, as are many others both naming and not naming themselves “Christian” and “biblical”, etc…

    There’s a critical distinction you are missing. While you are right in this aspect, we all “own it” as fallen people that basically screw up the Gospel constantly. All of us sinners “own it” but not all confessions, the confessions, do own it. An orthodox confession while true and a heterodox confession while false, both has sinners in it that can hide the Gospel. The former is not due to the orthodox confession but sinners, the later is due to both, the false heterodoxy and the sinners within.

    Thus, baptist is merely an example of the larger category of the more encompassing heterodoxy under the category of all theologies of glory whatever (sub) flavor they come under. The Baptist examples I give are merely particular examples of that theology of glory or rather the WAY that theology operates as opposed to the Cross theology’s operation. It’s all those sacramental-less theologies out there if you will, whether explicitly so (e.g. Baptist) or implicitly so (e.g. pietistic Lutheran). Put another way, one could be in a “Lutheran church” by name and it points to the book of Concord saying, “Here is our true and orthodox confession of faith”, that is pretty much just a book gathering much dust. Or to look at it yet another way the poisonous heterodoxy that is the atmosphere of say Baptist theology (ordinance theology) can infiltrate orthodoxy theology and poison it, hence Christ’s warning of the “yeast of the Pharisees” and not necessarily a rank “other religion”, likewise Paul warns of the more deadly nature of “false Christs, false spirits, other gospels” and not so much Buddha (which is included but fairly obvious as opposed to wolves in sheep’s clothing and a lamb that speaks like a dragon). When this happens a Lutheran body can function much like a Baptist or Reformed body, and “on the books” be orthodox but in real life function be heterodox.

    For example when it is forgotten or made light of that God actually works every time in the sacraments, GIVES forgiveness of sin for real, and the sacraments become more Reformish rather than of the orthodox confession itself, then you have “yeast of the Pharisees, yeast of Rome, yeast of the Baptist, yeast of the Reformed”. When orthodoxy, in this case confessional Lutheranism, or better the churches of the Augsburg Confession fail to very actively and distinctly ward these off, the yeast comes into the church, sometimes isolated in a single Sunday school class that influences an individual, or larger but still locally (e.g. per church building) or then sometimes higher up the food chain (e.g. synod level). There are altogether false theologies/churches and their consequent confessions (denomination), and then there is those same false principles slipping into true confessions. The problem is that false theology every time whenever and wherever it shows up, within and due to heterodoxy confessions or when a heterodoxy principle seeps its way into orthodoxy at whatever level.

    Another way to look at it is this, all the same words can be used yet another god taught. When that happens that which parades itself around as Christian becomes for the youth, and adults pretty much moralism or some similar “ascending of the ladder to heaven”. When that happens eventually “the endless hamster wheel” of salvation eventually looses its adherents due to its obvious folly. There’s nothing Christian about it at all, its just Islam or Rome or paganism with a “Christian” label. That’s why Luther often lumped them all together be they entirely false religions or heterdoxy’s by saying, Such teachings are entirely Pelagian, Mohammedan [sic], pagan, Jewish, like those of the Anabaptists, fanatic, and anti-Christian. This is a reoccurring refrain of Luther’s because on one hand is a theology of glory under many cloaks both cloaks of rank non-christian and cloaks of Christian versus the other theology and that is the theology of the Cross.

    This can be very subtle. E.g. Calvin on absolution Calvin writes, “Absolution [Christ's key of forgiveness] is CONDITIONAL upon the sinner’s trust that God is merciful to him, provided he sincerely seek expiation in Christ’s sacrifice and be satisfied with the grace offered him” (Institutes on the Christian Religion, Book 111, ch.IV:22).

    It’s very easy to let this in principle slip into the true church and adhere itself to an orthodox confession, make it a kind of commentary on the orthodoxy, in fact that’s what it does to the very Word of God itself which all would agree, at least to the principle, is 100% orthodox.

    While Luther says contra this, “Even he who does not believe that he is free and his sins forgiven shall also learn, in due time, how assuredly his sins were forgiven, even though he did not believe it. St. Paul says in Rom. 3[:3]: ‘Their faithlessness [does not] nullify the faithfulness of God.’ We are not talking here either about people’s belief or disbelief regarding the efficacy of the keys. We realize that few believe. We are speaking of what the keys accomplish and give. He who does not accept what the keys give receives, of course. nothing. But this is not the key’s fault. Many do not believe the gospel, but this does not mean that the gospel is not true or effective. A king gives you a castle. If you do not accept it, then it is not the king’s fault, nor is he guilty of a lie. But you have deceived yourself and the fault is yours. The king certainly gave it” (Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 40, p. 366-367). And “The keys or the forgiveness of sins are not based upon our own repentance or worthiness, as they [the false teachers] wrongly teach. Such teachings are entirely Pelagian, Mohammedan [sic], pagan, Jewish, like those of the Anabaptists, fanatic, and anti-Christian. On the contrary our repentance and work, our disposition and all we are, should be built on the keys…. You should. indeed, repent. But to make repentance the basis of the forgiveness of your sins and of corroborating the work of the keys, is to abandon faith and deny Christ. By means of the key, He will forgive your sins, not for your own sake but for His own name’s sake, out of pure grace” (Luther’s Works, vol. 40, p. 364).

    Clearly two different religions when all is summed up, said, taught and preached, that’s how subtle it is and why the Baptist examples I gave. Because a youth is, again, deadly and innocently honest about a doctrine. They don’t try to apologize for it like adults defending their denomination. They see right through believer’s baptism, they see right through “am I elect”. You want to know what your doctrine teaches ask the youth they will honestly tell you, but few have the guts to face the music. It is like testing for toxins with indicator species. One chooses the weaker indicators because they are the first to detect the toxins as opposed to the more resilient species. Its true hidden toxic effects are seen sooner and more clearly by them than the later. This is the way it is with heterodoxy and their false doctrines, ask the youth and you will learn what your (official) doctrine teaches or your (implied) doctrine is teaching within otherwise (official) orthodoxy in a book on a shelf somewhere. In other words which are you communicating to them REALLY regarding the Gospel, something like Calvin above or Luther? Word’s true and false have consequences, eternal life and eternal death…plain and simple. And the more or less honest innocent view of the kids will tell you this.
    Another example from a PCA church that gets this right, in principle at least, the pastor here states concerning the issue of open versus close communion, “Close communion, in excluding from fellowship in the Church and in breaking of bread, does not deny a spiritual relationship to Christ; but open communion, in making regeneration the condition of fellowship, pronounces a very unwarrantable and uncharitable sentence on such as are excluded. GOD’S STROKES ARE SAFER THAN MAN’S KISSES.” See in principle he understands that these doctrines, particularly of the sacraments, are not “non-essential” but UTTERLY essential. In principle he knows how to guard the walls!
    Specifically what did he mean? He meant that Reformed communions that allow open communion with baptist thus destroy their witness of baptism to their children and at length to their adults and in so much that the Reformed witness on baptism has some hints of Gospel in it is thus ruined (yeast of the baptist in this case); and simultaneously allow even if only by implication by communion with baptist the false doctrine of ‘believers baptism’ and all its false doctrinal imports including that inward torment of finding out “did I really believe so I am thus baptized and thus can partake of the LS”. Hence Christ is cut off from them in the second sacrament via that doctrine of baptismal mixture in the first sacrament. In as much as Reformed doctrine has a “better” stab at the pure Gospel, if you will, at least in the sacraments, than the Baptist ordinance religion, thus by allowing communion with the Baptist doctrine on believers baptism they import, even if only by implication, its false doctrine and begin to close off its confessors (at length), the Reformed, from their own supper (e.g. In short the admixture of heterodoxy now goes like this: Because one cannot come to the supper if you are not baptized and under BB you can’t know if you really had faith or true saving faith or are truly regenerate to know that you really were baptized in the first place, thus the fear builds “can I commune at all because I don’t know if I have faith at all”). They can no longer even lean on the Reformed doctrine that baptism is at least an offer of the will of God to me, because their pastors and elders have allowed the false doctrine of believers baptism to come in by passive concord.

    ALLLLL of that to say what I basically said about a critical distinction in paragraph #2 and that the issue is all false doctrine that does not present the pure Gospel and administer the sacraments to Christ’s institution or is ruined by implication, and thus a return to “works religion”, EVEN IF that only goes unsaid in any given denomination, church building, Sunday school class or synod. And that principle whether it be officially stated under a denominational banner (i.e. a heterodox confession), under a completely different religious name or seeped INTO orthodoxy at the local or regional level is the deadly principle. Atheism and agnosticism is made, at the end of the day, by some works righteousness religion. I even find this in numerous ex-Roman Catholics I know who gave up and now are the above. Their story is ironically in sync with the Baptist youth. A Lutheran can do this too, when he makes baptism or the supper something less than what is confessed and he/she entertains the ideas of heterodoxy itself.

  • Larry

    B. Bubba,

    You could not be more mistaken about my comments and perhaps that’s my fault. That is not the implicit assumption I make in “who was surveyed”, in fact I assume carte blanche it is a broad spectrum as to “who was surveyed”. The “broad brush” to use your term is the theology of glory of which all Baptist theologies are or belong, as are many others both naming and not naming themselves “Christian” and “biblical”, etc…

    There’s a critical distinction you are missing. While you are right in this aspect, we all “own it” as fallen people that basically screw up the Gospel constantly. All of us sinners “own it” but not all confessions, the confessions, do own it. An orthodox confession while true and a heterodox confession while false, both has sinners in it that can hide the Gospel. The former is not due to the orthodox confession but sinners, the later is due to both, the false heterodoxy and the sinners within.

    Thus, baptist is merely an example of the larger category of the more encompassing heterodoxy under the category of all theologies of glory whatever (sub) flavor they come under. The Baptist examples I give are merely particular examples of that theology of glory or rather the WAY that theology operates as opposed to the Cross theology’s operation. It’s all those sacramental-less theologies out there if you will, whether explicitly so (e.g. Baptist) or implicitly so (e.g. pietistic Lutheran). Put another way, one could be in a “Lutheran church” by name and it points to the book of Concord saying, “Here is our true and orthodox confession of faith”, that is pretty much just a book gathering much dust. Or to look at it yet another way the poisonous heterodoxy that is the atmosphere of say Baptist theology (ordinance theology) can infiltrate orthodoxy theology and poison it, hence Christ’s warning of the “yeast of the Pharisees” and not necessarily a rank “other religion”, likewise Paul warns of the more deadly nature of “false Christs, false spirits, other gospels” and not so much Buddha (which is included but fairly obvious as opposed to wolves in sheep’s clothing and a lamb that speaks like a dragon). When this happens a Lutheran body can function much like a Baptist or Reformed body, and “on the books” be orthodox but in real life function be heterodox.

    For example when it is forgotten or made light of that God actually works every time in the sacraments, GIVES forgiveness of sin for real, and the sacraments become more Reformish rather than of the orthodox confession itself, then you have “yeast of the Pharisees, yeast of Rome, yeast of the Baptist, yeast of the Reformed”. When orthodoxy, in this case confessional Lutheranism, or better the churches of the Augsburg Confession fail to very actively and distinctly ward these off, the yeast comes into the church, sometimes isolated in a single Sunday school class that influences an individual, or larger but still locally (e.g. per church building) or then sometimes higher up the food chain (e.g. synod level). There are altogether false theologies/churches and their consequent confessions (denomination), and then there is those same false principles slipping into true confessions. The problem is that false theology every time whenever and wherever it shows up, within and due to heterodoxy confessions or when a heterodoxy principle seeps its way into orthodoxy at whatever level.

    Another way to look at it is this, all the same words can be used yet another god taught. When that happens that which parades itself around as Christian becomes for the youth, and adults pretty much moralism or some similar “ascending of the ladder to heaven”. When that happens eventually “the endless hamster wheel” of salvation eventually looses its adherents due to its obvious folly. There’s nothing Christian about it at all, its just Islam or Rome or paganism with a “Christian” label. That’s why Luther often lumped them all together be they entirely false religions or heterdoxy’s by saying, Such teachings are entirely Pelagian, Mohammedan [sic], pagan, Jewish, like those of the Anabaptists, fanatic, and anti-Christian. This is a reoccurring refrain of Luther’s because on one hand is a theology of glory under many cloaks both cloaks of rank non-christian and cloaks of Christian versus the other theology and that is the theology of the Cross.

    This can be very subtle. E.g. Calvin on absolution Calvin writes, “Absolution [Christ's key of forgiveness] is CONDITIONAL upon the sinner’s trust that God is merciful to him, provided he sincerely seek expiation in Christ’s sacrifice and be satisfied with the grace offered him” (Institutes on the Christian Religion, Book 111, ch.IV:22).

    It’s very easy to let this in principle slip into the true church and adhere itself to an orthodox confession, make it a kind of commentary on the orthodoxy, in fact that’s what it does to the very Word of God itself which all would agree, at least to the principle, is 100% orthodox.

    While Luther says contra this, “Even he who does not believe that he is free and his sins forgiven shall also learn, in due time, how assuredly his sins were forgiven, even though he did not believe it. St. Paul says in Rom. 3[:3]: ‘Their faithlessness [does not] nullify the faithfulness of God.’ We are not talking here either about people’s belief or disbelief regarding the efficacy of the keys. We realize that few believe. We are speaking of what the keys accomplish and give. He who does not accept what the keys give receives, of course. nothing. But this is not the key’s fault. Many do not believe the gospel, but this does not mean that the gospel is not true or effective. A king gives you a castle. If you do not accept it, then it is not the king’s fault, nor is he guilty of a lie. But you have deceived yourself and the fault is yours. The king certainly gave it” (Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 40, p. 366-367). And “The keys or the forgiveness of sins are not based upon our own repentance or worthiness, as they [the false teachers] wrongly teach. Such teachings are entirely Pelagian, Mohammedan [sic], pagan, Jewish, like those of the Anabaptists, fanatic, and anti-Christian. On the contrary our repentance and work, our disposition and all we are, should be built on the keys…. You should. indeed, repent. But to make repentance the basis of the forgiveness of your sins and of corroborating the work of the keys, is to abandon faith and deny Christ. By means of the key, He will forgive your sins, not for your own sake but for His own name’s sake, out of pure grace” (Luther’s Works, vol. 40, p. 364).

    Clearly two different religions when all is summed up, said, taught and preached, that’s how subtle it is and why the Baptist examples I gave. Because a youth is, again, deadly and innocently honest about a doctrine. They don’t try to apologize for it like adults defending their denomination. They see right through believer’s baptism, they see right through “am I elect”. You want to know what your doctrine teaches ask the youth they will honestly tell you, but few have the guts to face the music. It is like testing for toxins with indicator species. One chooses the weaker indicators because they are the first to detect the toxins as opposed to the more resilient species. Its true hidden toxic effects are seen sooner and more clearly by them than the later. This is the way it is with heterodoxy and their false doctrines, ask the youth and you will learn what your (official) doctrine teaches or your (implied) doctrine is teaching within otherwise (official) orthodoxy in a book on a shelf somewhere. In other words which are you communicating to them REALLY regarding the Gospel, something like Calvin above or Luther? Word’s true and false have consequences, eternal life and eternal death…plain and simple. And the more or less honest innocent view of the kids will tell you this.
    Another example from a PCA church that gets this right, in principle at least, the pastor here states concerning the issue of open versus close communion, “Close communion, in excluding from fellowship in the Church and in breaking of bread, does not deny a spiritual relationship to Christ; but open communion, in making regeneration the condition of fellowship, pronounces a very unwarrantable and uncharitable sentence on such as are excluded. GOD’S STROKES ARE SAFER THAN MAN’S KISSES.” See in principle he understands that these doctrines, particularly of the sacraments, are not “non-essential” but UTTERLY essential. In principle he knows how to guard the walls!
    Specifically what did he mean? He meant that Reformed communions that allow open communion with baptist thus destroy their witness of baptism to their children and at length to their adults and in so much that the Reformed witness on baptism has some hints of Gospel in it is thus ruined (yeast of the baptist in this case); and simultaneously allow even if only by implication by communion with baptist the false doctrine of ‘believers baptism’ and all its false doctrinal imports including that inward torment of finding out “did I really believe so I am thus baptized and thus can partake of the LS”. Hence Christ is cut off from them in the second sacrament via that doctrine of baptismal mixture in the first sacrament. In as much as Reformed doctrine has a “better” stab at the pure Gospel, if you will, at least in the sacraments, than the Baptist ordinance religion, thus by allowing communion with the Baptist doctrine on believers baptism they import, even if only by implication, its false doctrine and begin to close off its confessors (at length), the Reformed, from their own supper (e.g. In short the admixture of heterodoxy now goes like this: Because one cannot come to the supper if you are not baptized and under BB you can’t know if you really had faith or true saving faith or are truly regenerate to know that you really were baptized in the first place, thus the fear builds “can I commune at all because I don’t know if I have faith at all”). They can no longer even lean on the Reformed doctrine that baptism is at least an offer of the will of God to me, because their pastors and elders have allowed the false doctrine of believers baptism to come in by passive concord.

    ALLLLL of that to say what I basically said about a critical distinction in paragraph #2 and that the issue is all false doctrine that does not present the pure Gospel and administer the sacraments to Christ’s institution or is ruined by implication, and thus a return to “works religion”, EVEN IF that only goes unsaid in any given denomination, church building, Sunday school class or synod. And that principle whether it be officially stated under a denominational banner (i.e. a heterodox confession), under a completely different religious name or seeped INTO orthodoxy at the local or regional level is the deadly principle. Atheism and agnosticism is made, at the end of the day, by some works righteousness religion. I even find this in numerous ex-Roman Catholics I know who gave up and now are the above. Their story is ironically in sync with the Baptist youth. A Lutheran can do this too, when he makes baptism or the supper something less than what is confessed and he/she entertains the ideas of heterodoxy itself.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Larry (@67), I really enjoy your thoughts and point of view, but you have got to work on editing. :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Larry (@67), I really enjoy your thoughts and point of view, but you have got to work on editing. :)

  • Larry

    Todd,

    I know, I’m terrible at it. It’s usually because I’m so time pressed. But I do appreciate much that advice, I need to.

    Yours,

    Larry

  • Larry

    Todd,

    I know, I’m terrible at it. It’s usually because I’m so time pressed. But I do appreciate much that advice, I need to.

    Yours,

    Larry

  • sg

    “I am the True Vine” Jesus says this. It is not metaphor.

    Yes, it is a metaphor.

    It is worth a discussion of what it means.

    Just because Jesus is a special case doesn’t mean that it is not a metaphor linguistically speaking.

  • sg

    “I am the True Vine” Jesus says this. It is not metaphor.

    Yes, it is a metaphor.

    It is worth a discussion of what it means.

    Just because Jesus is a special case doesn’t mean that it is not a metaphor linguistically speaking.

  • E-Raj

    tODD, I guess maybe I’m not doing a good enough job explaining my point, but I’ll try one more time. I admit I do have a beef with public schools, but not the beef you (and some other folks here) think I have. If the schools quit teaching about religions in general, that would be fine with me. Instead, they present all religions as equal in value (on a societal level), so the kids are coming away with a universalist attitude about religion. Maybe your school experience wasn’t like this, but mine certainly was. I do have a tendency to come across as a bit reactionary, but I must say I’m noticing a trend in my church where parents think that bringing their kids to church for their religious training is enough. They think they are doing their job in training their kids in Christianity simply by bringing them to church. It begins and ends there, in the church building. Many of these parents are very visible at church, often attending, involved on committees, etc., but their kids exhibit very little knowledge of the faith by the time they get to me, and that has to be due to lack of follow-through at home. Therefore, the child’s exposure to secular education (both teachers and their peers) does have a tendency to trump their parents’ involvement. Are public schools to blame? Not solely. It’s clear to me there’s a problem with how they teach about religions in school when I have to take several classes to get the public school kids to accept that Christ is the only way to salvation, when the church’s day school kids have known this for years. Is our church failing? No. The proper balance of Law and Gospel is preached every Sunday for all to hear. I think we’re seeing a (sorry to use a cliche) paradigm shift in young people and how they communicate. They seem to compartmentalize church as that one place they go to once or twice a week and then the “secular” button is pushed and they’re back to acting like popular culture for the rest of their week. Ultimately, I’m just saying I can see the same trends among some of the young people I work with as are proposed in the article mentioned for this post. Maybe I’m negative…but it’s worrying about the negative aspects that will perhaps help us focus on changing them. I’m not a “look on the bright side” kind of person, unfortunately.

  • E-Raj

    tODD, I guess maybe I’m not doing a good enough job explaining my point, but I’ll try one more time. I admit I do have a beef with public schools, but not the beef you (and some other folks here) think I have. If the schools quit teaching about religions in general, that would be fine with me. Instead, they present all religions as equal in value (on a societal level), so the kids are coming away with a universalist attitude about religion. Maybe your school experience wasn’t like this, but mine certainly was. I do have a tendency to come across as a bit reactionary, but I must say I’m noticing a trend in my church where parents think that bringing their kids to church for their religious training is enough. They think they are doing their job in training their kids in Christianity simply by bringing them to church. It begins and ends there, in the church building. Many of these parents are very visible at church, often attending, involved on committees, etc., but their kids exhibit very little knowledge of the faith by the time they get to me, and that has to be due to lack of follow-through at home. Therefore, the child’s exposure to secular education (both teachers and their peers) does have a tendency to trump their parents’ involvement. Are public schools to blame? Not solely. It’s clear to me there’s a problem with how they teach about religions in school when I have to take several classes to get the public school kids to accept that Christ is the only way to salvation, when the church’s day school kids have known this for years. Is our church failing? No. The proper balance of Law and Gospel is preached every Sunday for all to hear. I think we’re seeing a (sorry to use a cliche) paradigm shift in young people and how they communicate. They seem to compartmentalize church as that one place they go to once or twice a week and then the “secular” button is pushed and they’re back to acting like popular culture for the rest of their week. Ultimately, I’m just saying I can see the same trends among some of the young people I work with as are proposed in the article mentioned for this post. Maybe I’m negative…but it’s worrying about the negative aspects that will perhaps help us focus on changing them. I’m not a “look on the bright side” kind of person, unfortunately.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@71), I’m beginning to wonder if you’re just complaining about the schools’ failing to favor Christianity. As far as our government is concerned, all religions are equal, and I agree, since I don’t want our government to favor one religion over another. And I see nothing wrong with their teaching facts about religions (main ideas, their roles in history, etc.). Can you give a concrete example of what schools do with respect to religion that you find so objectionable?

    As to parents’ influence on kids, I would think it would be obvious from the way you describe your students that the problem is with their parents, not public schools: “They think they are doing their job in training their kids in Christianity simply by bringing them to church. It begins and ends there.” I mean, how can you describe it like that and then turn around and blame the schools? For that matter, what makes you think a child with parents like that would do any better at a private Christian school? After all, if their parents’ example trumps their time at church, why would a Christian school make any difference?

    “I think we’re seeing a (sorry to use a cliche) paradigm shift in young people and how they communicate. They seem to compartmentalize church as that one place they go to once or twice a week.” Um, I don’t think that’s a shift. I think that’s sinful humanity, and it’s been that way for a long time. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day compartmentalized just as much.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@71), I’m beginning to wonder if you’re just complaining about the schools’ failing to favor Christianity. As far as our government is concerned, all religions are equal, and I agree, since I don’t want our government to favor one religion over another. And I see nothing wrong with their teaching facts about religions (main ideas, their roles in history, etc.). Can you give a concrete example of what schools do with respect to religion that you find so objectionable?

    As to parents’ influence on kids, I would think it would be obvious from the way you describe your students that the problem is with their parents, not public schools: “They think they are doing their job in training their kids in Christianity simply by bringing them to church. It begins and ends there.” I mean, how can you describe it like that and then turn around and blame the schools? For that matter, what makes you think a child with parents like that would do any better at a private Christian school? After all, if their parents’ example trumps their time at church, why would a Christian school make any difference?

    “I think we’re seeing a (sorry to use a cliche) paradigm shift in young people and how they communicate. They seem to compartmentalize church as that one place they go to once or twice a week.” Um, I don’t think that’s a shift. I think that’s sinful humanity, and it’s been that way for a long time. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day compartmentalized just as much.

  • E-Raj

    No, tODD, that’s exactly what I’m not complaining about. I don’t want public schools favoring Christianity or any other religion, but instead, the ones I’ve been in contact with tend to favor all religions. Case in point: a social studies teacher (seventh grade) that I worked with about seven years ago literally taught to her students that all religions are really about the same. They all worship the same god, she said, just in different ways. She actually taught that. She sincerely felt she was doing all religions justice by presenting them this way. I’m sure she can’t be the only one giving this Oprah-style theology to her students. Instead of simply teaching the historical aspects of each religion, which is fine with me, she put her own spin on it. Teachers are human, after all. They do put themselves into their teaching, whether they wish to or not. However, I’m not merely blaming the public schools. They are part of the problem, but not all of it. Asking people who have their own religious convictions to present all religions without hint of partiality is almost laughable. Sort of like how so many teachers are always injecting their political beliefs into their social studies classes. I remember my teachers always blasting Reagan back in the ’80s. Illinois is a hotbed of politics, so maybe it’s just different here.

    Christian schools make a huge difference with kids whose parents are not involved in their religious upbringing, simply because the kids are being placed in a Christian environment much more often. Instead of a couple hours of church per week, they are there day in and day out. Believe it or not, it does rub off on the kids. Students do have a habit of turning out like their teachers. In my years teaching at our school, I have seen many kids come to faith and remain in it, even though their parents are only marginally involved in the faith. I even had a kid choose to be Confirmed whose parents were atheists. They chose to send their daughter to our school because our standardized test scores are so much higher than the public schools in our area, along with our smaller class sizes. It always surprises me how many Christians do not seem to value Christian education for their children. It’s amazing what we are able to accomplish, considering our limited resources.

  • E-Raj

    No, tODD, that’s exactly what I’m not complaining about. I don’t want public schools favoring Christianity or any other religion, but instead, the ones I’ve been in contact with tend to favor all religions. Case in point: a social studies teacher (seventh grade) that I worked with about seven years ago literally taught to her students that all religions are really about the same. They all worship the same god, she said, just in different ways. She actually taught that. She sincerely felt she was doing all religions justice by presenting them this way. I’m sure she can’t be the only one giving this Oprah-style theology to her students. Instead of simply teaching the historical aspects of each religion, which is fine with me, she put her own spin on it. Teachers are human, after all. They do put themselves into their teaching, whether they wish to or not. However, I’m not merely blaming the public schools. They are part of the problem, but not all of it. Asking people who have their own religious convictions to present all religions without hint of partiality is almost laughable. Sort of like how so many teachers are always injecting their political beliefs into their social studies classes. I remember my teachers always blasting Reagan back in the ’80s. Illinois is a hotbed of politics, so maybe it’s just different here.

    Christian schools make a huge difference with kids whose parents are not involved in their religious upbringing, simply because the kids are being placed in a Christian environment much more often. Instead of a couple hours of church per week, they are there day in and day out. Believe it or not, it does rub off on the kids. Students do have a habit of turning out like their teachers. In my years teaching at our school, I have seen many kids come to faith and remain in it, even though their parents are only marginally involved in the faith. I even had a kid choose to be Confirmed whose parents were atheists. They chose to send their daughter to our school because our standardized test scores are so much higher than the public schools in our area, along with our smaller class sizes. It always surprises me how many Christians do not seem to value Christian education for their children. It’s amazing what we are able to accomplish, considering our limited resources.

  • fws

    sg @ 70

    “I am the. true. vine. ”

    compare to the metaphor “I am the vine and you are the branches”.

    What is the difference sg?

  • fws

    sg @ 70

    “I am the. true. vine. ”

    compare to the metaphor “I am the vine and you are the branches”.

    What is the difference sg?

  • Larry

    Let’s break it down because in all this we are beginning to see how such Gnosticism ultimately withholds Christ from one, by removing Him and His work for us:

    I am the true vine. First, Jesus is clearly not saying, “I am (like) the true vine” but that he is in fact the true vine. The same is like, “I am the way, truth and life”. Christ is not saying “I am (like) I am the way, truth and life” but that literally I am the way, truth and life”. Not an example but THE.

    Where is the figure of speech in “I am the true vine”?

    It is not “I”. It is not “am”, because he is not saying “I represent the true vine” (Gnosticism that makes him an example to follow) which would mean he is not the true Christ! But in “vine”. Christ is saying he is literally THE (true) vine, not just “a” vine or the representative of another that is THE vine.

    Now if we plug that back into the Lord’s Supper for sake of argument, “This is My blood” that means the figure of speech would not be “is” (as in “represents), nor “this” because Christ holds in his hands REAL bread and REAL wine, but it would be “My blood”. But Christ does not speak of a “representation” of his blood. The heart of Gnosticism ALWAYS attempts to reduce the incarnation to some kind of avatar; for a representation of His blood was NOT shed for you for your sins but the very real blood of God.

    But even when a memorial or sign/symbol meal person debates these points he/she is missing the issue of their fundamental problem. What a memorial or sign/symbol meal person must ask themselves BEFORE they begin to argue these points is “why can I not take Christ at His words as is?” Until one can answer that honestly all else is simply like an addicts denial.

  • Larry

    Let’s break it down because in all this we are beginning to see how such Gnosticism ultimately withholds Christ from one, by removing Him and His work for us:

    I am the true vine. First, Jesus is clearly not saying, “I am (like) the true vine” but that he is in fact the true vine. The same is like, “I am the way, truth and life”. Christ is not saying “I am (like) I am the way, truth and life” but that literally I am the way, truth and life”. Not an example but THE.

    Where is the figure of speech in “I am the true vine”?

    It is not “I”. It is not “am”, because he is not saying “I represent the true vine” (Gnosticism that makes him an example to follow) which would mean he is not the true Christ! But in “vine”. Christ is saying he is literally THE (true) vine, not just “a” vine or the representative of another that is THE vine.

    Now if we plug that back into the Lord’s Supper for sake of argument, “This is My blood” that means the figure of speech would not be “is” (as in “represents), nor “this” because Christ holds in his hands REAL bread and REAL wine, but it would be “My blood”. But Christ does not speak of a “representation” of his blood. The heart of Gnosticism ALWAYS attempts to reduce the incarnation to some kind of avatar; for a representation of His blood was NOT shed for you for your sins but the very real blood of God.

    But even when a memorial or sign/symbol meal person debates these points he/she is missing the issue of their fundamental problem. What a memorial or sign/symbol meal person must ask themselves BEFORE they begin to argue these points is “why can I not take Christ at His words as is?” Until one can answer that honestly all else is simply like an addicts denial.


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