Bringing the Reformation to Protestantism

The original Reformation, whose anniversary we mark on October 31, began in 1517 as an attempt to bring medieval Catholicism back to the Gospel, the Bible, and Vocation. It has occurred to me that today the various Protestant churches need that same Reformation.

THE GOSPEL. Luther nailed his theses on the church door to challenge the practice of selling indulgences. In effect, people were told to give their money to the church, whereupon they would get to go straight to eternal happiness in Heaven. Today, in many Protestant churches, people are being told to give their money to the church, whereupon they are told that they will get health, wealth, and temporal happiness in this world. But the Prosperity Gospel is not the Gospel!

Neither is the Social Gospel of the liberal mainline Protestants, which construe the Kingdom of Heaven as an earthly utopia. Neither is the Social Gospel of many conservative churches, which construe the Kingdom of Heaven as an American civil religion.

In sophisticated theological circles, both of mainline Protestants and among a surprising number of evangelicals, the Gospel has to do with inclusion, of being accepted into the church community. The “New Perspective on Paul” says that the Apostle did not teach justification by grace through faith apart from the Law, as Protestants used to all agree. Rather, by “Law,” he just meant the setting aside of the Judaic ceremonial law. He was concerned with inclusiveness, of allowing Gentiles to become full members of the church alongside of Jews. Not salvation from the guilt and sin that comes from violating the moral law. Similarly, the business of the church today should be including everybody, not proclaiming a supernatural salvation grounded in redemption from sin.

The actual Gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ has, through His life, death, and resurrection, atoned for the sins of the world. The Protestantism that has drifted away from this Gospel is in need of Reformation.

THE BIBLE. Medieval Catholicism did believe in the Bible. They just didn’t use it much. Today’s mainline Protestants don’t believe in it at all. Many conservative Protestants believe in it–acknowledging its authority, inerrancy and all–but they have stopped reading it in their services and their sermons sometimes have not a shred of Scripture in them. Instead, the preaching is about self-help, pop psychology, politics, or generic inspiration. Sometimes the message is “believe in yourself” or even “have faith in yourself.”

The Reformers taught that the Word of God is not only authoritative, but a means of Grace. They preached the Law, to bring their listeners to repentance, and then they proclaimed the Gospel of free forgiveness in Christ. In the words of Walther, they preached faith into their listeners’ hearts.

The Protestantism that has drifted away from the Word of God is in need of Reformation.

VOCATION. Medieval Catholicism believed that the highest holiness required rejecting marriage, economic labor, and participation in the state. Instead, they required their clergy to take vows of celibacy, poverty, and obedience to church authorities (to whose laws they were subject instead of the laws of the land). The Reformation taught that God calls all Christians to love and serve their neighbors in the vocations of the family, the workplace, the state, and the church. God Himself is present in vocations. Vocation was the Reformation doctrine of the Christian life.

Today, many Protestants are torn between a hyperspirituality that denies the significance of earthly life and a hypermaterialism. They do not know how to express their faith in their vocation as citizens. In their work, they either try to formulate a distinctly Christian way of exercising their professions, or they consider their work to be nothing more than a way to keep themselves alive and prosperous until they can go to church and engage in “church work” through the week. Meanwhile, the Christian family is at risk, as the divorce rate is as bad or even somewhat worse than that for unbelievers, a clear sign that Protestants have forgotten the vocation of the family.

The doctrine of Vocation solves the Christian’s problems of cultural engagement, political involvement, and being “in, but not of” the world. It does so by affirming the spiritual significance of the “secular” order while preventing the Church from being secularized.

The Protestantism that has drifted away from Vocation is in need of Reformation.

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.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Thank you, Dr. Veith. Superb post!

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Thank you, Dr. Veith. Superb post!

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Yes, excellent post, Dr. Veith.

    Now, if only those who need reformation will recognize their need for reformation!

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    Yes, excellent post, Dr. Veith.

    Now, if only those who need reformation will recognize their need for reformation!

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Phil Spomer

    I’ve done my newsletter article on Reformation Sunday. Feel free to pass it on the those you know who are in need of reformation.

    “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”
    Romans 3:22
    There are holidays that people celebrate without knowing what their celebrating. Christmas, is a good example. Christmas is about God coming to His people as our Savior Christ the Lord. This is great news, as the angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy for all people!” Even so, many rob themselves of this great joy, for a lesser feeling of vague warm fuzzies, warm fuzzies that dissolve at their first contact with the real world.

    Easter is another example. Easter is about God’s triumph over death, a triumph that is for you and I, and for everyone who puts their hope in Jesus Christ. Yet, for some, it’s all about the chocolate. Hey, chocolate great, but it’s chump change compared to Forever.

    There are other holidays however, which retain their meaning. These special days have a small but happy following. Their meanings have kept the power and spark. They call their celebrants up to greater joys, deep, long lasting joys that can’t be stolen.

    Good Friday’s one. It’s hard to go to a Good Friday service for the wrong reason. Can’t imagine what the Good Friday equivalent of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny would be. People who understand Good Friday understand that their struggles in life are neither alone or in vain. When they suffer, God suffers with them, and redeems their suffering into glory, and strength. They know: when trouble is close, God is closer.

    Then there’s Reformation Sunday. No one has ever told me how many shopping days there were until Reformation Sunday. No fuzzy animal nails notes to the door.

    However, those who know, are happy.

    On Christmas, at Good Friday, at Easter we remember Jesus. On Reformation Sunday we remember that He’s ours, for free, for ever. Ours is the Peace, ours is the Mercy, ours is the Presence, ours is the Help in Every Trouble, ours is the Joy, ours is the Righteousness than comes from God.

    It is human nature to spoil things by adding the word “but”. “Yes, that’s a good thing, but it’s not for me.” “That would be wonderful, but I’ll never see it.” “If only this would happen, but I don’t deserve it.”

    Reformation Sunday takes this spoiler away. Our hearts desire, not only exists, not only is it real, it is ours. Ours through faith in Jesus Christ, given free, undeserved, from God Himself. No, your sins don’t stop it. No, it’s not a secret. No one can take it from you. Nail it to the door of your heart. “God is my Savior. He loves me for free. He forgives all my sins. He’s with me every day. Come in, come in, I love to tell the story.”

    Happy Reformation Day,

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Phil Spomer

    I’ve done my newsletter article on Reformation Sunday. Feel free to pass it on the those you know who are in need of reformation.

    “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”
    Romans 3:22
    There are holidays that people celebrate without knowing what their celebrating. Christmas, is a good example. Christmas is about God coming to His people as our Savior Christ the Lord. This is great news, as the angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy for all people!” Even so, many rob themselves of this great joy, for a lesser feeling of vague warm fuzzies, warm fuzzies that dissolve at their first contact with the real world.

    Easter is another example. Easter is about God’s triumph over death, a triumph that is for you and I, and for everyone who puts their hope in Jesus Christ. Yet, for some, it’s all about the chocolate. Hey, chocolate great, but it’s chump change compared to Forever.

    There are other holidays however, which retain their meaning. These special days have a small but happy following. Their meanings have kept the power and spark. They call their celebrants up to greater joys, deep, long lasting joys that can’t be stolen.

    Good Friday’s one. It’s hard to go to a Good Friday service for the wrong reason. Can’t imagine what the Good Friday equivalent of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny would be. People who understand Good Friday understand that their struggles in life are neither alone or in vain. When they suffer, God suffers with them, and redeems their suffering into glory, and strength. They know: when trouble is close, God is closer.

    Then there’s Reformation Sunday. No one has ever told me how many shopping days there were until Reformation Sunday. No fuzzy animal nails notes to the door.

    However, those who know, are happy.

    On Christmas, at Good Friday, at Easter we remember Jesus. On Reformation Sunday we remember that He’s ours, for free, for ever. Ours is the Peace, ours is the Mercy, ours is the Presence, ours is the Help in Every Trouble, ours is the Joy, ours is the Righteousness than comes from God.

    It is human nature to spoil things by adding the word “but”. “Yes, that’s a good thing, but it’s not for me.” “That would be wonderful, but I’ll never see it.” “If only this would happen, but I don’t deserve it.”

    Reformation Sunday takes this spoiler away. Our hearts desire, not only exists, not only is it real, it is ours. Ours through faith in Jesus Christ, given free, undeserved, from God Himself. No, your sins don’t stop it. No, it’s not a secret. No one can take it from you. Nail it to the door of your heart. “God is my Savior. He loves me for free. He forgives all my sins. He’s with me every day. Come in, come in, I love to tell the story.”

    Happy Reformation Day,

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

    Well said. My family has just left a church where various nonBiblical issues had become confused with the Gospel. Yes, I am going to try to graciously call them to repentance.

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

    Well said. My family has just left a church where various nonBiblical issues had become confused with the Gospel. Yes, I am going to try to graciously call them to repentance.

  • Richard

    Thank you, Dr. Veith, for emphasizing the doctrine of vocation once again. Our church enjoyed going through your book, “God at Work” in our men’s study. I plan on teaching from your book this Sunday at our adult Sunday School. The church of our day needs to recover the Reformers’ view of vocation.

  • Richard

    Thank you, Dr. Veith, for emphasizing the doctrine of vocation once again. Our church enjoyed going through your book, “God at Work” in our men’s study. I plan on teaching from your book this Sunday at our adult Sunday School. The church of our day needs to recover the Reformers’ view of vocation.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Dr Veith, on the other side of the spectrum we have another problem, in that people claim to follow the gospel, but fail to realise that their understanding, their epistemology, is highly influenced by enlightenment thinking. These are the people who disregard the context of what Luther did, and try and see what happened then through individualist spectacles. The end result of this is the legalist, fundamentalist if you will, sometimes pietist, mindset. There is still plenty of that around, and the danger is that they paint themselves as the only alternative to either the pop-psychologists, or the unbelieving churches. You briefly touched on these ways of thinking when you mentioned the “church work” thing above.

    Few people here other than Frank often talk about it, but having come from that background, the creeping pelagianism on the left is balanced by a creeping pelagianism on the right as well.

    We have our modern day Leo’s, but we certainly also have our modern day Karlstadt’s and Munster Prophets. In my mind, the latter are more dangerous than the former.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Dr Veith, on the other side of the spectrum we have another problem, in that people claim to follow the gospel, but fail to realise that their understanding, their epistemology, is highly influenced by enlightenment thinking. These are the people who disregard the context of what Luther did, and try and see what happened then through individualist spectacles. The end result of this is the legalist, fundamentalist if you will, sometimes pietist, mindset. There is still plenty of that around, and the danger is that they paint themselves as the only alternative to either the pop-psychologists, or the unbelieving churches. You briefly touched on these ways of thinking when you mentioned the “church work” thing above.

    Few people here other than Frank often talk about it, but having come from that background, the creeping pelagianism on the left is balanced by a creeping pelagianism on the right as well.

    We have our modern day Leo’s, but we certainly also have our modern day Karlstadt’s and Munster Prophets. In my mind, the latter are more dangerous than the former.

  • Jerry

    I’m not sure that Protestantism has drifted away from Vocation as much as Protestantism needs to view Vocation through the lenses of theologians of the cross. However, we all have a long ways to grow on that point.

    Thanks Pastor Phil Spomer for sharing your Reformation note!

  • Jerry

    I’m not sure that Protestantism has drifted away from Vocation as much as Protestantism needs to view Vocation through the lenses of theologians of the cross. However, we all have a long ways to grow on that point.

    Thanks Pastor Phil Spomer for sharing your Reformation note!

  • DonS

    An excellent and timely exhortation.

  • DonS

    An excellent and timely exhortation.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yes, this post has been very encouraging to me today. Thanks, Veith! Let us pray that God in His time and way will bring many Christians and Christian churches all around us to see their need for Reformation and the true Light of the Gospel. Lord, have mercy.

    And, good point, Louis @ 6. I agree that this “church work” mentality is certainly a difficulty many of our brothers and sisters (both within and outside the LCMS) have yet to face.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yes, this post has been very encouraging to me today. Thanks, Veith! Let us pray that God in His time and way will bring many Christians and Christian churches all around us to see their need for Reformation and the true Light of the Gospel. Lord, have mercy.

    And, good point, Louis @ 6. I agree that this “church work” mentality is certainly a difficulty many of our brothers and sisters (both within and outside the LCMS) have yet to face.

  • Porcell

    The Reformation began as a vital corrective to the legalistic Pelagianism of the Catholic Church and, as Veith brilliantly writes, has degenerated into either some sort of antinomian spirituality or utopian social gospel. Aside from a few pockets of orthodoxy, the Reformation has become lackluster, panting for approval from the secular mavens and incapable of confidently asserting its core beliefs.

    Having recently returned from an extensive trip to Europe, I should say that most likely Christendom is a lost cause. Neither the Catholics nor the Protestants indicate any serious vitality; we in America aren’t really that far behind.

  • Porcell

    The Reformation began as a vital corrective to the legalistic Pelagianism of the Catholic Church and, as Veith brilliantly writes, has degenerated into either some sort of antinomian spirituality or utopian social gospel. Aside from a few pockets of orthodoxy, the Reformation has become lackluster, panting for approval from the secular mavens and incapable of confidently asserting its core beliefs.

    Having recently returned from an extensive trip to Europe, I should say that most likely Christendom is a lost cause. Neither the Catholics nor the Protestants indicate any serious vitality; we in America aren’t really that far behind.

  • Tom Hering

    CURE, Christians United for Reformation, has been working to revive Reformation teachings among Evangelicals since 1990. Most here are probably familiar with their radio program, White Horse Inn, and their magazine, Modern Reformation.

  • Tom Hering

    CURE, Christians United for Reformation, has been working to revive Reformation teachings among Evangelicals since 1990. Most here are probably familiar with their radio program, White Horse Inn, and their magazine, Modern Reformation.

  • Grace

    “Today, in many Protestant churches, people are being told to give their money to the church, whereupon they are told that they will get health, wealth, and temporal happiness in this world. But the Prosperity Gospel is not the Gospel!”

    The churches you are referencing are well known to most of us, they are more or less grouped together on one television channel, across the U.S. – which does not include “many Protestant Churches” –

    “Neither is the Social Gospel of the liberal mainline Protestants, which construe the Kingdom of Heaven as an earthly utopia. Neither is the Social Gospel of many conservative churches, which construe the Kingdom of Heaven as an American civil religion.”

    “The Kingdom of Heaven as an American civil religion” ? – No Dr. Veith, this is untrue, …… maybe you are confusing some of the television preachers with “conservative churches” – I don’t know even one individual who, within a conservative church, that would utter such a thought, because they DO NOT BELIEVE IT!

    THE BIBLE. Medieval Catholicism did believe in the Bible. They just didn’t use it much. Today’s mainline Protestants don’t believe in it at all. Many conservative Protestants believe in it-acknowledging its authority, inerrancy and all-but they have stopped reading it in their services and their sermons sometimes have not a shred of Scripture in them. Instead, the preaching is about self-help, pop psychology, politics, or generic inspiration. Sometimes the message is “believe in yourself” or even “have faith in yourself.”

    “Conservative Protestants” ? – The Bible is read, the congregants read it, they bring their OWN Bibles to church, they study – Dr. Veith, if you attended, visited churches that are not the “Prosperity” or “Emergent” variety, you would see a great many Bibles that are all but falling apart, the owners unable to part with their old Bible and buy a new one, it isn’t a matter of money, it’s a matter of the love they have for God’s Word. I finally purchased another Bible, my old one sits by my side of the bed, its in a mess, but I love it.

    “The Protestantism that has drifted away from the Word of God is in need of Reformation.”

    I once invited my next door neighbor to a women’s Christian luncheon. There was a special speaker I thought she might enjoy…. much to my surprise and joy, she brought another woman with her. The two women were very taken with the speaker, who gave the message of Salvation through Jesus Christ. I saw both of them writing on paper and then leaving it. There were others doing the same thing….. I was on the board of this particular group, it was our practice to read what had been written if anyone left a note. When I found out that BOTH of these women had come to Salvation through Christ after the hearing the speaker, I was shocked,….. the reason, the other woman was the wife of a Lutheran pastor, and my neighbor was her friend, and attended her friends church, the wife of the pastor. I had no idea they were not believers, they obviously had no understanding of Salvation, or the joy of knowing their sins were forgiven, if they BELIEVED, in Christ.

  • Grace

    “Today, in many Protestant churches, people are being told to give their money to the church, whereupon they are told that they will get health, wealth, and temporal happiness in this world. But the Prosperity Gospel is not the Gospel!”

    The churches you are referencing are well known to most of us, they are more or less grouped together on one television channel, across the U.S. – which does not include “many Protestant Churches” –

    “Neither is the Social Gospel of the liberal mainline Protestants, which construe the Kingdom of Heaven as an earthly utopia. Neither is the Social Gospel of many conservative churches, which construe the Kingdom of Heaven as an American civil religion.”

    “The Kingdom of Heaven as an American civil religion” ? – No Dr. Veith, this is untrue, …… maybe you are confusing some of the television preachers with “conservative churches” – I don’t know even one individual who, within a conservative church, that would utter such a thought, because they DO NOT BELIEVE IT!

    THE BIBLE. Medieval Catholicism did believe in the Bible. They just didn’t use it much. Today’s mainline Protestants don’t believe in it at all. Many conservative Protestants believe in it-acknowledging its authority, inerrancy and all-but they have stopped reading it in their services and their sermons sometimes have not a shred of Scripture in them. Instead, the preaching is about self-help, pop psychology, politics, or generic inspiration. Sometimes the message is “believe in yourself” or even “have faith in yourself.”

    “Conservative Protestants” ? – The Bible is read, the congregants read it, they bring their OWN Bibles to church, they study – Dr. Veith, if you attended, visited churches that are not the “Prosperity” or “Emergent” variety, you would see a great many Bibles that are all but falling apart, the owners unable to part with their old Bible and buy a new one, it isn’t a matter of money, it’s a matter of the love they have for God’s Word. I finally purchased another Bible, my old one sits by my side of the bed, its in a mess, but I love it.

    “The Protestantism that has drifted away from the Word of God is in need of Reformation.”

    I once invited my next door neighbor to a women’s Christian luncheon. There was a special speaker I thought she might enjoy…. much to my surprise and joy, she brought another woman with her. The two women were very taken with the speaker, who gave the message of Salvation through Jesus Christ. I saw both of them writing on paper and then leaving it. There were others doing the same thing….. I was on the board of this particular group, it was our practice to read what had been written if anyone left a note. When I found out that BOTH of these women had come to Salvation through Christ after the hearing the speaker, I was shocked,….. the reason, the other woman was the wife of a Lutheran pastor, and my neighbor was her friend, and attended her friends church, the wife of the pastor. I had no idea they were not believers, they obviously had no understanding of Salvation, or the joy of knowing their sins were forgiven, if they BELIEVED, in Christ.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 12: Why are you personalizing Dr. Veith’s comments? I think you are being way too defensive. They are fair comments that apply to many churches today, including emergent, many seeker churches, and many charismatic churches. I’m not Lutheran, in fact, I attend a Calvary Chapel church, just as I believe you do. I didn’t assume he was talking about my church, because we study the Word, in context, and don’t resemble the problems he is addressing.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 12: Why are you personalizing Dr. Veith’s comments? I think you are being way too defensive. They are fair comments that apply to many churches today, including emergent, many seeker churches, and many charismatic churches. I’m not Lutheran, in fact, I attend a Calvary Chapel church, just as I believe you do. I didn’t assume he was talking about my church, because we study the Word, in context, and don’t resemble the problems he is addressing.

  • Grace

    DonS

    I can only speak from personal experience, which is extensive, as I have attended church since three weeks old, (albeit in my mothers arms ;) attending many different churches, depending upon where I have lived, and then after marriage. I have been involved in Biblical studies and research for many years, and YES we are affiliated with a Calvary Chapel church. There are far too many people who’s conception, as to Calvary Chapels preaching of the Word of God is nil.

    Yes, much of what Dr. Veith stated I would agree with, IF it involves Emergent, seeker churches and many charismatic churches, including “Prosperity” and those who have chosen to allow female and homosexual pastors.

    If my post appeared to be defensive, it was to a point – only because Dr. Veith didn’t mention any of the churches other than his own, that ‘had it right’ -

  • Grace

    DonS

    I can only speak from personal experience, which is extensive, as I have attended church since three weeks old, (albeit in my mothers arms ;) attending many different churches, depending upon where I have lived, and then after marriage. I have been involved in Biblical studies and research for many years, and YES we are affiliated with a Calvary Chapel church. There are far too many people who’s conception, as to Calvary Chapels preaching of the Word of God is nil.

    Yes, much of what Dr. Veith stated I would agree with, IF it involves Emergent, seeker churches and many charismatic churches, including “Prosperity” and those who have chosen to allow female and homosexual pastors.

    If my post appeared to be defensive, it was to a point – only because Dr. Veith didn’t mention any of the churches other than his own, that ‘had it right’ -

  • Tom Hering

    This morning, I almost posted a prediction that Grace would react the way she has, but then thought twice about it – fearing it might only serve to encourage her. Well, seeing as how yet another little time of tribulation has come upon us anyways, I may as well predict what’s next: a flow Scripture passages meant to correct or condemn the views of other commenters. And this won’t be what Dr. Veith was referring to when he said, above, that “The Reformers taught that the Word of God is not only authoritative, but a means of Grace.” Far from it.

  • Tom Hering

    This morning, I almost posted a prediction that Grace would react the way she has, but then thought twice about it – fearing it might only serve to encourage her. Well, seeing as how yet another little time of tribulation has come upon us anyways, I may as well predict what’s next: a flow Scripture passages meant to correct or condemn the views of other commenters. And this won’t be what Dr. Veith was referring to when he said, above, that “The Reformers taught that the Word of God is not only authoritative, but a means of Grace.” Far from it.

  • fws

    Grace @ 14

    Trust me on this Grace. NONE of the Lutherans here would at all argue with you if you pointed out that there are lutheran churches that suffer from every one of the problems Veith identified. We are far from claiming that our church is as pure as you seem to feel yours is.

    I am happy for you if your particular Calvary Chapel has it all exactly right. There is not one ounce of sarcasm in what I just said. It is what I pray for daily for every church, including my own Lutheran congregation.

  • fws

    Grace @ 14

    Trust me on this Grace. NONE of the Lutherans here would at all argue with you if you pointed out that there are lutheran churches that suffer from every one of the problems Veith identified. We are far from claiming that our church is as pure as you seem to feel yours is.

    I am happy for you if your particular Calvary Chapel has it all exactly right. There is not one ounce of sarcasm in what I just said. It is what I pray for daily for every church, including my own Lutheran congregation.

  • fws

    new reformation press:

    http://www.newreformationpress.com/

    lots of freebees. always excellence.

    Full disclosure: Pat Kyle, an infrequent commentator here is my brother and friend and coincidentally happens to be one if it´s founders…

  • fws

    new reformation press:

    http://www.newreformationpress.com/

    lots of freebees. always excellence.

    Full disclosure: Pat Kyle, an infrequent commentator here is my brother and friend and coincidentally happens to be one if it´s founders…

  • Tom Hering

    Frank, you might like this press too.

  • Tom Hering

    Frank, you might like this press too.

  • Grace

    fws – 16

    “I am happy for you if your particular Calvary Chapel has it all exactly right.”

    They do not “it all exactly right” – I have never stated that they do.

  • Grace

    fws – 16

    “I am happy for you if your particular Calvary Chapel has it all exactly right.”

    They do not “it all exactly right” – I have never stated that they do.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 14: Dr. Veith never mentioned the Lutheran Church, nor did he say that ANYBODY had it right, or call out any particular church or denomination as having it wrong. He merely called out the present Protestant church, in all of its current manifestations, to return to the principles which drove the Reformation. We who are Protestant all owe our foundation to the Reformation and Dr. Veith’s call is a worthy one.

    Lutherans sometimes are a bit insufferable ;-), but this wasn’t one of those times.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 14: Dr. Veith never mentioned the Lutheran Church, nor did he say that ANYBODY had it right, or call out any particular church or denomination as having it wrong. He merely called out the present Protestant church, in all of its current manifestations, to return to the principles which drove the Reformation. We who are Protestant all owe our foundation to the Reformation and Dr. Veith’s call is a worthy one.

    Lutherans sometimes are a bit insufferable ;-), but this wasn’t one of those times.

  • trotk

    Grace, as regards to your statement:

    “The Kingdom of Heaven as an American civil religion” ? – No Dr. Veith, this is untrue, …… maybe you are confusing some of the television preachers with “conservative churches” – I don’t know even one individual who, within a conservative church, that would utter such a thought, because they DO NOT BELIEVE IT!”

    I agree with you, that the people and churches that Veith is referring to would never utter this thought. But they do believe it at times, and I know that we all fall prey to it.

    We see it when we are more concerned with making the laws of America fit our Christian morality than we are with preaching the true gospel. We see it when we worry more about a candidate’s status as a Christian than their ability to uphold the secular constitution. We see this when we spend too much time talking about the ways that God has blessed America, as if His primary purpose is to ensure the success of our secular political system. When we overly praise our founders as Christian (many of whom weren’t), when we overly quote them as to imply that they intended America to be a Christian nation, these are the times when you can see all of us slipping into the mindset of America as the Kingdom of Heaven.

    It starts small, and it seems innocuous, but it grows deadly when we begin to believe that America is what God is interested in instead of the souls of individuals.

    I would rather America collapse into ruins if the people turned to God than a prosperous and moral America.

    The doctrine of the two kingdoms is one of the big things that I, as an Anglican, have learned from the Lutherans like Veith.

  • trotk

    Grace, as regards to your statement:

    “The Kingdom of Heaven as an American civil religion” ? – No Dr. Veith, this is untrue, …… maybe you are confusing some of the television preachers with “conservative churches” – I don’t know even one individual who, within a conservative church, that would utter such a thought, because they DO NOT BELIEVE IT!”

    I agree with you, that the people and churches that Veith is referring to would never utter this thought. But they do believe it at times, and I know that we all fall prey to it.

    We see it when we are more concerned with making the laws of America fit our Christian morality than we are with preaching the true gospel. We see it when we worry more about a candidate’s status as a Christian than their ability to uphold the secular constitution. We see this when we spend too much time talking about the ways that God has blessed America, as if His primary purpose is to ensure the success of our secular political system. When we overly praise our founders as Christian (many of whom weren’t), when we overly quote them as to imply that they intended America to be a Christian nation, these are the times when you can see all of us slipping into the mindset of America as the Kingdom of Heaven.

    It starts small, and it seems innocuous, but it grows deadly when we begin to believe that America is what God is interested in instead of the souls of individuals.

    I would rather America collapse into ruins if the people turned to God than a prosperous and moral America.

    The doctrine of the two kingdoms is one of the big things that I, as an Anglican, have learned from the Lutherans like Veith.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Indeed, many of the concerns I register for Protestantism I have seen in Lutheran churches! The Reformation was a movement, not just a new church. I have certainly seen churches that are preaching American nationalism rather than the Gospel. Grace, do you disagree with any of these Reformation emphases (the Gospel, the Bible, vocation)? If not, good! You agree with Luther in that, and you should be grateful–despite your dislike of him–for Reforming the church in directions that made your own church possible! One has to ask, was Luther right in challenging the Roman Catholic Church on October 31, 1517 over the sale of indulgences, or was he wrong? Was God working through Luther or not?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Indeed, many of the concerns I register for Protestantism I have seen in Lutheran churches! The Reformation was a movement, not just a new church. I have certainly seen churches that are preaching American nationalism rather than the Gospel. Grace, do you disagree with any of these Reformation emphases (the Gospel, the Bible, vocation)? If not, good! You agree with Luther in that, and you should be grateful–despite your dislike of him–for Reforming the church in directions that made your own church possible! One has to ask, was Luther right in challenging the Roman Catholic Church on October 31, 1517 over the sale of indulgences, or was he wrong? Was God working through Luther or not?

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

    I went to a Calvary Chapel church a few times with a friend.

    They had a Baptist, free-will theology, that started with their decision for Christ. And from there, it (the message) stayed centered on…YOU.

    There was no corporate confession of sin, and there was no announcement of absolution.

    The gospel was there, but the preacher always took it back (from the hearer) somewhere in the ‘talk’, or bible study (it wasn’t a real sermon, as Lutherans know sermons to be). Everything seemed to always somehow get back to you and what you should, ought, or must be doing to be living as a ‘real Christian’.

    And, they did not believe that Christ was present and actually doing anything in Baptism and Holy Communion.

    The piety was so thick and oozey you could cut it with a knife.

    I thought it was quite creepy, actually. It seemed like church for people who didn’t want to go to church.

    I’m not saying that God wasn’t (isn’t) at work in that church…just that it was not apparent to me.

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

    I went to a Calvary Chapel church a few times with a friend.

    They had a Baptist, free-will theology, that started with their decision for Christ. And from there, it (the message) stayed centered on…YOU.

    There was no corporate confession of sin, and there was no announcement of absolution.

    The gospel was there, but the preacher always took it back (from the hearer) somewhere in the ‘talk’, or bible study (it wasn’t a real sermon, as Lutherans know sermons to be). Everything seemed to always somehow get back to you and what you should, ought, or must be doing to be living as a ‘real Christian’.

    And, they did not believe that Christ was present and actually doing anything in Baptism and Holy Communion.

    The piety was so thick and oozey you could cut it with a knife.

    I thought it was quite creepy, actually. It seemed like church for people who didn’t want to go to church.

    I’m not saying that God wasn’t (isn’t) at work in that church…just that it was not apparent to me.

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith – 22

    “If not, good! You agree with Luther in that, and you should be grateful–despite your dislike of him–for Reforming the church in directions that made your own church possible!”

    Dr. Veith, I don’t believe that Luther made my church possible – - – Christ made the sacrifice that made Salvation possible, He was the one who preached, was nailed to the Cross, died and rose again, for my sins, yours, or anyone’s who believes in the living LORD Jesus Christ.

    I believe Luther’s brave moment, when nailing the 95 thesis was an act, through which the LORD used to spread the Gospel, however, it was not Luther who made it possible, it was the LORD.

    “One has to ask, was Luther right in challenging the Roman Catholic Church on October 31, 1517 over the sale of indulgences, or was he wrong? Was God working through Luther or not?”

    Luther was right in his challenge, and it took courage. I believe Luther was driven to do what he did, he knew that the Roman Church was wrong, and he wanted desperately to make it right. Yes I believe that God was working through Luther. It takes a brave man to stand up, especially in that day to the Pope of Rome, and the church he represented.

    God bless you, we might not agree on some issues, but I know you love the LORD.

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith – 22

    “If not, good! You agree with Luther in that, and you should be grateful–despite your dislike of him–for Reforming the church in directions that made your own church possible!”

    Dr. Veith, I don’t believe that Luther made my church possible – - – Christ made the sacrifice that made Salvation possible, He was the one who preached, was nailed to the Cross, died and rose again, for my sins, yours, or anyone’s who believes in the living LORD Jesus Christ.

    I believe Luther’s brave moment, when nailing the 95 thesis was an act, through which the LORD used to spread the Gospel, however, it was not Luther who made it possible, it was the LORD.

    “One has to ask, was Luther right in challenging the Roman Catholic Church on October 31, 1517 over the sale of indulgences, or was he wrong? Was God working through Luther or not?”

    Luther was right in his challenge, and it took courage. I believe Luther was driven to do what he did, he knew that the Roman Church was wrong, and he wanted desperately to make it right. Yes I believe that God was working through Luther. It takes a brave man to stand up, especially in that day to the Pope of Rome, and the church he represented.

    God bless you, we might not agree on some issues, but I know you love the LORD.

  • Grace

    Steve – 23

    “And, they did not believe that Christ was present and actually doing anything in Baptism and Holy Communion.”

    The passage of Scripture which proves you to be wrong, or anyone else, is this:

    He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. John 6:56

    Strongs – haima – hah’-ee-mah

    of uncertain derivation; blood, literally (of men or animals), figuratively (the juice of grapes) or specially (the atoning blood of Christ); by implication, bloodshed, also kindred:–blood.

    “The piety was so thick and oozey you could cut it with a knife.”

    A great many people are confused regarding “piety” – below is the definition:

    piety – definition

    1. The state or quality of being pious, especially:
    a. Religious devotion and reverence to God.
    b. Devotion and reverence to parents and family: filial piety.

    As you can see, “piety” devotion and reverence to God is right, if it was as you call it “The piety was so thick and oozey you could cut it with a knife.” – I fail to see anything but good. Are we not to show reverence and devotion to God?

    “I thought it was quite creepy, actually. It seemed like church for people who didn’t want to go to church. I’m not saying that God wasn’t (isn’t) at work in that church…just that it was not apparent to me.”

    I disagree with you, the churches are usually packed, people are eager to hear the Gospel, they bring their Bibles, taking notes and paying attention. People don’t pack out a church, to hear the Gospel, Sunday after Sunday “for people who didn’t want to go to church.” Calvary Chapel Churches want to reach as many people as possible to know Christ, repent and be saved – they are on a mission, and they love what they do. Bible study is a big part of Calvary Church, there are studies all week long, to meet the need of everyone, no matter their schedule.

  • Grace

    Steve – 23

    “And, they did not believe that Christ was present and actually doing anything in Baptism and Holy Communion.”

    The passage of Scripture which proves you to be wrong, or anyone else, is this:

    He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. John 6:56

    Strongs – haima – hah’-ee-mah

    of uncertain derivation; blood, literally (of men or animals), figuratively (the juice of grapes) or specially (the atoning blood of Christ); by implication, bloodshed, also kindred:–blood.

    “The piety was so thick and oozey you could cut it with a knife.”

    A great many people are confused regarding “piety” – below is the definition:

    piety – definition

    1. The state or quality of being pious, especially:
    a. Religious devotion and reverence to God.
    b. Devotion and reverence to parents and family: filial piety.

    As you can see, “piety” devotion and reverence to God is right, if it was as you call it “The piety was so thick and oozey you could cut it with a knife.” – I fail to see anything but good. Are we not to show reverence and devotion to God?

    “I thought it was quite creepy, actually. It seemed like church for people who didn’t want to go to church. I’m not saying that God wasn’t (isn’t) at work in that church…just that it was not apparent to me.”

    I disagree with you, the churches are usually packed, people are eager to hear the Gospel, they bring their Bibles, taking notes and paying attention. People don’t pack out a church, to hear the Gospel, Sunday after Sunday “for people who didn’t want to go to church.” Calvary Chapel Churches want to reach as many people as possible to know Christ, repent and be saved – they are on a mission, and they love what they do. Bible study is a big part of Calvary Church, there are studies all week long, to meet the need of everyone, no matter their schedule.

  • DonS

    Now, Steve @ 23, THAT was insufferable, my friend. Obviously, that particular church was not your cup of tea, so it was good that you didn’t stay.

    I think that’s why there are different sects, denominations, and styles of worship.

  • DonS

    Now, Steve @ 23, THAT was insufferable, my friend. Obviously, that particular church was not your cup of tea, so it was good that you didn’t stay.

    I think that’s why there are different sects, denominations, and styles of worship.

  • Tom Hering

    So, Grace, that’s how we’ll get you to answer questions, address the actual points that have been made, and say something nice about Luther. We’ll just pretend to be Dr. Veith!

  • Tom Hering

    So, Grace, that’s how we’ll get you to answer questions, address the actual points that have been made, and say something nice about Luther. We’ll just pretend to be Dr. Veith!

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith, like Porcell and a few others, are adept at discussing a subject. They have the presence of mind to get straight to the point without constricting or squeezing an answer, even if they might disagree – which they both do on occasion. In the case of Luther, I am certain Dr. Veith has used restraint, when reading some of my posts, of which I have come to respect him, as this is his blog, and I am a guest.

    Dr. Veith made it clear that I, Grace do not agree with everything Luther wrote, but I do admire his unwayvering stand when nailing the 95 thesis.

    No Tom, you will not “get me to answer questions” which I have either answered before, or I choose not to.

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith, like Porcell and a few others, are adept at discussing a subject. They have the presence of mind to get straight to the point without constricting or squeezing an answer, even if they might disagree – which they both do on occasion. In the case of Luther, I am certain Dr. Veith has used restraint, when reading some of my posts, of which I have come to respect him, as this is his blog, and I am a guest.

    Dr. Veith made it clear that I, Grace do not agree with everything Luther wrote, but I do admire his unwayvering stand when nailing the 95 thesis.

    No Tom, you will not “get me to answer questions” which I have either answered before, or I choose not to.

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  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Of course the Lord did it, Grace, working “through” a human being. That, by the way, is a good summary of the doctrine of vocation, that God works through us (through parents to create life, farmers and bakers to provide daily bread, governments to protect us, pastors to proclaim His Word and distribute his Sacraments).

    I don’t know, Grace. You’re sounding pretty Lutheran to me! ;-)

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Of course the Lord did it, Grace, working “through” a human being. That, by the way, is a good summary of the doctrine of vocation, that God works through us (through parents to create life, farmers and bakers to provide daily bread, governments to protect us, pastors to proclaim His Word and distribute his Sacraments).

    I don’t know, Grace. You’re sounding pretty Lutheran to me! ;-)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I guess the one point I would add to this post is that, like medieval Roman Catholicism which believed in the Bible but did not use it, many “conservative” churches that talk about inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible still refuse to believe it, especially when it comes to things like Justification by Grace through Faith, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. This is evident when they say children can’t believe even after Jesus says that the infants believe in him, or that baptism can’t save you, even though 1 Peter 3 says it does, or we could use the other words for salvation like Justification and Sanctification both of which 1 Cor. 6 link to baptism.
    The Bible gets a lot of lip service these days…

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I guess the one point I would add to this post is that, like medieval Roman Catholicism which believed in the Bible but did not use it, many “conservative” churches that talk about inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible still refuse to believe it, especially when it comes to things like Justification by Grace through Faith, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. This is evident when they say children can’t believe even after Jesus says that the infants believe in him, or that baptism can’t save you, even though 1 Peter 3 says it does, or we could use the other words for salvation like Justification and Sanctification both of which 1 Cor. 6 link to baptism.
    The Bible gets a lot of lip service these days…

  • BW

    I definitely think the Church is in dire need of the Reformation. Christians need to get back to the Word of God, and read their Catechisms and Confessions. Learning about Law and Gospel, and the Lutheran Confessions completely rewired my thinking about the Christian faith. Confessions and Catechisms aren’t Scripture per se, but they do help mark out the playing field and what’s in bounds and out of bounds so to speak. Studying what theologians of days gone by have written abou the Bible helps prevents some slick talking snake oil salesman from trying to pull a fast one using a cleverly worded argument and appealing to the Old Adam inside of me to tithe more so God heaps more blessings upon me. Not so, the confessions teach.

    I mean, I gained an entirely new appreciation for working and my job from the doctrine of vocation, and I understood that even the janitorial staff in my office, in light of what Christ has done, are doing work as God pleasing as any relief agency, President, or CEO. So I should not look down at or think those guys, as they push around massive garbage cans loaded with bags of trash, that they are doing anything less important or less valuable than me. The Lord, in light of what Christ has done, rates their work as holy as mine.

    And the most comforting thing of all was the fact that it’s not about how much I love Christ or if I really feel like I believe. It’s about how much Christ loved me and the fact that I have been marked by him in Holy Baptism. So when I think about the Scriptures, I don’t need to search myself for feelings, but I know Christ has done it all and I am both sinner and saint!

    The Reformation lives on!

  • BW

    I definitely think the Church is in dire need of the Reformation. Christians need to get back to the Word of God, and read their Catechisms and Confessions. Learning about Law and Gospel, and the Lutheran Confessions completely rewired my thinking about the Christian faith. Confessions and Catechisms aren’t Scripture per se, but they do help mark out the playing field and what’s in bounds and out of bounds so to speak. Studying what theologians of days gone by have written abou the Bible helps prevents some slick talking snake oil salesman from trying to pull a fast one using a cleverly worded argument and appealing to the Old Adam inside of me to tithe more so God heaps more blessings upon me. Not so, the confessions teach.

    I mean, I gained an entirely new appreciation for working and my job from the doctrine of vocation, and I understood that even the janitorial staff in my office, in light of what Christ has done, are doing work as God pleasing as any relief agency, President, or CEO. So I should not look down at or think those guys, as they push around massive garbage cans loaded with bags of trash, that they are doing anything less important or less valuable than me. The Lord, in light of what Christ has done, rates their work as holy as mine.

    And the most comforting thing of all was the fact that it’s not about how much I love Christ or if I really feel like I believe. It’s about how much Christ loved me and the fact that I have been marked by him in Holy Baptism. So when I think about the Scriptures, I don’t need to search myself for feelings, but I know Christ has done it all and I am both sinner and saint!

    The Reformation lives on!

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith

    “I don’t know, Grace. You’re sounding pretty Lutheran to me!”

    How can that be? – I don’t believe in infant baptism, nor do I believe in the practice of ‘absolution’ – two very important points for Lutherans.

    Just a side note: my father, when I was about 10, had an entire time set apart on Wednesday nights, to teach about Martin Luther, his bravery in nailing the 95 thesis. I remember it well, … even as a young girl, I loved the study of God’s Word, going to church and Sunday school, and all the other services, meetings and conventions was a great joy in my life. I don’t believe any child could be more fortunate than to have a father for a pastor.

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith

    “I don’t know, Grace. You’re sounding pretty Lutheran to me!”

    How can that be? – I don’t believe in infant baptism, nor do I believe in the practice of ‘absolution’ – two very important points for Lutherans.

    Just a side note: my father, when I was about 10, had an entire time set apart on Wednesday nights, to teach about Martin Luther, his bravery in nailing the 95 thesis. I remember it well, … even as a young girl, I loved the study of God’s Word, going to church and Sunday school, and all the other services, meetings and conventions was a great joy in my life. I don’t believe any child could be more fortunate than to have a father for a pastor.

  • Another Kerner

    Grace @ #12 and #14.

    I know you like to read and study, Grace.

    Here are some suggested titles to add to your preferred reading list, that is, if you have not already perused them.

    Lutheranism 101
    The Spirituality of the Cross (Veith)
    God At Work (Veith)
    The Book of Concord

    The reason these books have some importance is simply that they offer an overview and an insight into the doctrinal framework of confessional Lutherans.
    The authors are concise and they provide information about what Lutherans believe and why.

    Lutherans have been known to read Spurgeon, Calvin’s Institutes, Rushdooney, Sproul, Strong’s, Vine’s, Matthew Henry, et al and have visited and/or attended Baptistic and Calvinist congregations in the past, reading the pertinent catechisms and doctrinal statements.

    Being familiar with the beliefs of Confessions other than our/your own is imperative when discussing and commenting on the remarks found here.

    It should be fairly obvious that being reasonably conversant in these matters will go a long way towards eliminating misunderstandings about the remarks of others.

  • Another Kerner

    Grace @ #12 and #14.

    I know you like to read and study, Grace.

    Here are some suggested titles to add to your preferred reading list, that is, if you have not already perused them.

    Lutheranism 101
    The Spirituality of the Cross (Veith)
    God At Work (Veith)
    The Book of Concord

    The reason these books have some importance is simply that they offer an overview and an insight into the doctrinal framework of confessional Lutherans.
    The authors are concise and they provide information about what Lutherans believe and why.

    Lutherans have been known to read Spurgeon, Calvin’s Institutes, Rushdooney, Sproul, Strong’s, Vine’s, Matthew Henry, et al and have visited and/or attended Baptistic and Calvinist congregations in the past, reading the pertinent catechisms and doctrinal statements.

    Being familiar with the beliefs of Confessions other than our/your own is imperative when discussing and commenting on the remarks found here.

    It should be fairly obvious that being reasonably conversant in these matters will go a long way towards eliminating misunderstandings about the remarks of others.

  • Another Kerner

    This is a short Thank you note.

    Thank you, Dr. Veith….
    For the above thoughts on the Reformation and for giving so many an opportunity to give voice here….and for the opportunity to discuss and opine with one another those things which are so important to us all.

  • Another Kerner

    This is a short Thank you note.

    Thank you, Dr. Veith….
    For the above thoughts on the Reformation and for giving so many an opportunity to give voice here….and for the opportunity to discuss and opine with one another those things which are so important to us all.

  • Grace

    Another Kerner – 33

    “Being familiar with the beliefs of Confessions other than our/your own is imperative when discussing and commenting on the remarks found here.”

    That is correct, and that is the very reason I have studied, and understand what Lutherans believe, including many, many other denominations, cults, etc.

    “It should be fairly obvious that being reasonably conversant in these matters will go a long way towards eliminating misunderstandings about the remarks of others.”

    Understanding the Word of God, trumps all else. Your comment, is condescending. I don’t think you have clue, as to how much I have studied, it is obvious by your comments. Give it a rest Kerner!

  • Grace

    Another Kerner – 33

    “Being familiar with the beliefs of Confessions other than our/your own is imperative when discussing and commenting on the remarks found here.”

    That is correct, and that is the very reason I have studied, and understand what Lutherans believe, including many, many other denominations, cults, etc.

    “It should be fairly obvious that being reasonably conversant in these matters will go a long way towards eliminating misunderstandings about the remarks of others.”

    Understanding the Word of God, trumps all else. Your comment, is condescending. I don’t think you have clue, as to how much I have studied, it is obvious by your comments. Give it a rest Kerner!

  • Grace

    BW – 31

    “Confessions and Catechisms aren’t Scripture per se, but they do help mark out the playing field and what’s in bounds and out of bounds so to speak. Studying what theologians of days gone by have written abou the Bible helps prevents some slick talking snake oil salesman from trying to pull a fast one using a cleverly worded argument and appealing to the Old Adam inside of me to tithe more so God heaps more blessings upon me.”

    BW – what about the Word of God? – do you spend as much or more time in the study of His Word? “Confessions and Catechisms” trump the Bible?

    “And the most comforting thing of all was the fact that it’s not about how much I love Christ or if I really feel like I believe. It’s about how much Christ loved me and the fact that I have been marked by him in Holy Baptism.”

    - “all thy heart” – “soul” – “mind” – </b.

    36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

    38 This is the first and great commandment. Matthew 22

    “or if I really feel like I believe.”

    9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    Romans 10

    You either believe or you don’t – it is not “if I really feel like I believe.” – Do you believe that Christ is your Savior?

  • Grace

    BW – 31

    “Confessions and Catechisms aren’t Scripture per se, but they do help mark out the playing field and what’s in bounds and out of bounds so to speak. Studying what theologians of days gone by have written abou the Bible helps prevents some slick talking snake oil salesman from trying to pull a fast one using a cleverly worded argument and appealing to the Old Adam inside of me to tithe more so God heaps more blessings upon me.”

    BW – what about the Word of God? – do you spend as much or more time in the study of His Word? “Confessions and Catechisms” trump the Bible?

    “And the most comforting thing of all was the fact that it’s not about how much I love Christ or if I really feel like I believe. It’s about how much Christ loved me and the fact that I have been marked by him in Holy Baptism.”

    - “all thy heart” – “soul” – “mind” – </b.

    36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

    38 This is the first and great commandment. Matthew 22

    “or if I really feel like I believe.”

    9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    Romans 10

    You either believe or you don’t – it is not “if I really feel like I believe.” – Do you believe that Christ is your Savior?

  • Grace

    Sorry for all the bold -

  • Grace

    Sorry for all the bold -

  • BW

    Grace,

    I think we’re talking past each other here.

    I don’t believe the Lutheran Confessions add anything to the Bible at all. These are the doctrines, this is the faith taught in the Word of God. Nothing is added or removed to Scripture. This is what Lutherans believe, teach, and confess.

    The fact is, my belief, my love for Christ, is pretty weak. In spite of that, Christ has still saved me, He still calls me one of His Children and forgives me. I am a wretched sinner. I do not spend as much time in God’s Word as I should, not even in the Catechism and Confessions.

    Some days I have massive doubts, as everyone does I think. I used to panic and think that doubt meant I really didn’t believe, after all, why, else would I doubt if I didn’t really believe in Christ? Then I understood that Christ died even for my doubt and I didn’t need to panic. I would be alright.

    Christ has loved me enough to save even me.

  • BW

    Grace,

    I think we’re talking past each other here.

    I don’t believe the Lutheran Confessions add anything to the Bible at all. These are the doctrines, this is the faith taught in the Word of God. Nothing is added or removed to Scripture. This is what Lutherans believe, teach, and confess.

    The fact is, my belief, my love for Christ, is pretty weak. In spite of that, Christ has still saved me, He still calls me one of His Children and forgives me. I am a wretched sinner. I do not spend as much time in God’s Word as I should, not even in the Catechism and Confessions.

    Some days I have massive doubts, as everyone does I think. I used to panic and think that doubt meant I really didn’t believe, after all, why, else would I doubt if I didn’t really believe in Christ? Then I understood that Christ died even for my doubt and I didn’t need to panic. I would be alright.

    Christ has loved me enough to save even me.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “You either believe or you don’t” (@36). How very true, Grace! But you wouldn’t believe how many people out there try to add so many obstacles to that simple expression. For those people, it’s not merely enough to believe that Jesus died for all of your sins — and not only yours, but the whole world’s. No, for those people, you have to do something to prove or be sure you’re a Christian.

    “You either believe or you don’t.” It really is all about faith and not our own actions, isn’t it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “You either believe or you don’t” (@36). How very true, Grace! But you wouldn’t believe how many people out there try to add so many obstacles to that simple expression. For those people, it’s not merely enough to believe that Jesus died for all of your sins — and not only yours, but the whole world’s. No, for those people, you have to do something to prove or be sure you’re a Christian.

    “You either believe or you don’t.” It really is all about faith and not our own actions, isn’t it?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    I think Grace misunderstands you BW, not only in the ways you mentioned, but she misreads “it’s not about how much I love Christ or if I really feel like I believe” as saying “it is not necessary for me to believe…”.

    This is not what bw is saying. He is underscoring the fact that OUR faith cannot be perfect, as we are sinful human beings. That OUR love always lacks, that we cannot claim to be fulfilling the command 100% . But the love that saves is God’s love, not ours. That we are save by the OBBJECT of our faith, not by our faith per se. We do not always spell it out like that, to be sure.

    Lutherans are very strong on acknowledging our weakness in the context of God’s faithfulness. I think that if this is understood, a lot of what we say will make more sense to somebody like Grace. As the children’s hymn goes – “We are weak, but He is strong”. Thus our faith is weak, our love is weak etc etc.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    I think Grace misunderstands you BW, not only in the ways you mentioned, but she misreads “it’s not about how much I love Christ or if I really feel like I believe” as saying “it is not necessary for me to believe…”.

    This is not what bw is saying. He is underscoring the fact that OUR faith cannot be perfect, as we are sinful human beings. That OUR love always lacks, that we cannot claim to be fulfilling the command 100% . But the love that saves is God’s love, not ours. That we are save by the OBBJECT of our faith, not by our faith per se. We do not always spell it out like that, to be sure.

    Lutherans are very strong on acknowledging our weakness in the context of God’s faithfulness. I think that if this is understood, a lot of what we say will make more sense to somebody like Grace. As the children’s hymn goes – “We are weak, but He is strong”. Thus our faith is weak, our love is weak etc etc.

  • BW

    Grace,

    I did hear or read from several pastors and teachers, operating under the realm of Protestantism, that if I just believed enough, had enough faith, prayed enough, that x or y or z would happen. Basically, I would lead a more blessed, less stressed life. And I would stop doing certain sins that I love to do. Now it sounds silly, but it gave the Old Adam inside of me something to do and get excited about (as opposed to the bland nothing I heard in liberal ELCA churches that I attended), one might even say that Protestants don’t believe this.

    So we can ask this question: What do Protestants, and Lutherans in my case, believe? If it isn’t the prosperity gospel and it isn’t a self help Christianity, what is it then that they believe? For the answer, we have to go to their catechisms and confessions, which in turn takes us to the Word of God.

  • BW

    Grace,

    I did hear or read from several pastors and teachers, operating under the realm of Protestantism, that if I just believed enough, had enough faith, prayed enough, that x or y or z would happen. Basically, I would lead a more blessed, less stressed life. And I would stop doing certain sins that I love to do. Now it sounds silly, but it gave the Old Adam inside of me something to do and get excited about (as opposed to the bland nothing I heard in liberal ELCA churches that I attended), one might even say that Protestants don’t believe this.

    So we can ask this question: What do Protestants, and Lutherans in my case, believe? If it isn’t the prosperity gospel and it isn’t a self help Christianity, what is it then that they believe? For the answer, we have to go to their catechisms and confessions, which in turn takes us to the Word of God.

  • Grace

    BW – 38

    “The fact is, my belief, my love for Christ, is pretty weak. In spite of that, Christ has still saved me, He still calls me one of His Children and forgives me. I am a wretched sinner. I do not spend as much time in God’s Word as I should, not even in the Catechism and Confessions.”

    My heart goes out to you. My computer had to be re-started, when I came on line, your post, sent to me by the blog, was the first I read. I started praying for you, and will continue. God hears our prayers, He knows our hearts. It is not a coincidence that I logged on again, and there you were.

    BW, below is from the Old Testament, Isaiah. In this portion of Scripture is the prophecy of Christ, His death on the cross. This took place long before Christ was born, … it was fulfilled when Christ was born, preached and taught, died and resurrected from the Cross. I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls in San Francisco, it was the most amazing, thrilling experience to know that what had been foretold so long ago, had come to fruition, when Christ gave Himself for me, and anyone else who believed.

    Read this portion, knowing that this prophecy was fulfilled. Salvation is real, you don’t need to doubt or feel weak anymore! :)

    blockquote>1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

    2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

    3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

    4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

    5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

    8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

    9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

    10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

    11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

    12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53

  • Grace

    BW – 38

    “The fact is, my belief, my love for Christ, is pretty weak. In spite of that, Christ has still saved me, He still calls me one of His Children and forgives me. I am a wretched sinner. I do not spend as much time in God’s Word as I should, not even in the Catechism and Confessions.”

    My heart goes out to you. My computer had to be re-started, when I came on line, your post, sent to me by the blog, was the first I read. I started praying for you, and will continue. God hears our prayers, He knows our hearts. It is not a coincidence that I logged on again, and there you were.

    BW, below is from the Old Testament, Isaiah. In this portion of Scripture is the prophecy of Christ, His death on the cross. This took place long before Christ was born, … it was fulfilled when Christ was born, preached and taught, died and resurrected from the Cross. I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls in San Francisco, it was the most amazing, thrilling experience to know that what had been foretold so long ago, had come to fruition, when Christ gave Himself for me, and anyone else who believed.

    Read this portion, knowing that this prophecy was fulfilled. Salvation is real, you don’t need to doubt or feel weak anymore! :)

    blockquote>1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

    2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

    3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

    4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

    5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

    8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

    9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

    10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

    11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

    12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53

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  • BW

    Grace @ 42,

    Thank you for the prayers, I need them, as does everybody.

    I know and understand the prophecy from Isaiah. I am a Christian, Christ has died for my sins and baptized me into His family. I’m just trying to say, when afflicted by doubt, as I think all Christians are at sometime(s), the situation would be exacerbated by worrying about how strong my faith was, rather than looking to what Christ has done for me.

    The value of the Reformation, the value of the solid Lutheranism, of the Lutheran Confessions, was that it taught me I didn’t have to panic anymore. This is the value of one’s confessions, to help teach a person these things and stop from getting them to turn in on themselves.

  • BW

    Grace @ 42,

    Thank you for the prayers, I need them, as does everybody.

    I know and understand the prophecy from Isaiah. I am a Christian, Christ has died for my sins and baptized me into His family. I’m just trying to say, when afflicted by doubt, as I think all Christians are at sometime(s), the situation would be exacerbated by worrying about how strong my faith was, rather than looking to what Christ has done for me.

    The value of the Reformation, the value of the solid Lutheranism, of the Lutheran Confessions, was that it taught me I didn’t have to panic anymore. This is the value of one’s confessions, to help teach a person these things and stop from getting them to turn in on themselves.

  • BW

    Grace @ 42,

    I know I don’t “have to doubt” anymore. But trying to get someone to stop doubting, by telling them not to doubt, only makes the situation worse. Pointing someone to Christ’s work, which I was not getting in liberal ELCA churches, or the “evangelical” teachers I supplemented the church services with, was not doing that. Instead, I had to understand it wasn’t my faith, but about the object of my faith, Jesus. The Reformation taught me this.

  • BW

    Grace @ 42,

    I know I don’t “have to doubt” anymore. But trying to get someone to stop doubting, by telling them not to doubt, only makes the situation worse. Pointing someone to Christ’s work, which I was not getting in liberal ELCA churches, or the “evangelical” teachers I supplemented the church services with, was not doing that. Instead, I had to understand it wasn’t my faith, but about the object of my faith, Jesus. The Reformation taught me this.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    BW (@44), glad to hear that you have found true peace and rest.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    BW (@44), glad to hear that you have found true peace and rest.

  • Grace

    BW – 41

    “So we can ask this question: What do Protestants, and Lutherans in my case, believe? If it isn’t the prosperity gospel and it isn’t a self help Christianity, what is it then that they believe? For the answer, we have to go to their catechisms and confessions, which in turn takes us to the Word of God.”

    The prophecies in the Old Testament, (about 350) have come to pass so far. Prophecy fulfilled proves that God is real, He is in charge, He sent His Son to die for us, and those of us who believe in Him will inherit eternal life with our LORD and Savior.

    At one time when I was young, I wanted proof, I wanted to know that what I believed (and I did believe) could be proven, that it really was true. It was through study, ….. study of the prophecies, that I found PROOF. It was a time in my life that I rejoiced, …. I could share with others what I had learned and studied.

    Solid PROOF cannot be questioned, it ends doubt.

    When Thomas said:

    25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

    26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
    27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

    28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.

    29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
    John 20

    As it was for Thomas, so it is with us, we do have PROOF that eliminates doubt!

  • Grace

    BW – 41

    “So we can ask this question: What do Protestants, and Lutherans in my case, believe? If it isn’t the prosperity gospel and it isn’t a self help Christianity, what is it then that they believe? For the answer, we have to go to their catechisms and confessions, which in turn takes us to the Word of God.”

    The prophecies in the Old Testament, (about 350) have come to pass so far. Prophecy fulfilled proves that God is real, He is in charge, He sent His Son to die for us, and those of us who believe in Him will inherit eternal life with our LORD and Savior.

    At one time when I was young, I wanted proof, I wanted to know that what I believed (and I did believe) could be proven, that it really was true. It was through study, ….. study of the prophecies, that I found PROOF. It was a time in my life that I rejoiced, …. I could share with others what I had learned and studied.

    Solid PROOF cannot be questioned, it ends doubt.

    When Thomas said:

    25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

    26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
    27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

    28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.

    29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
    John 20

    As it was for Thomas, so it is with us, we do have PROOF that eliminates doubt!

  • Grace

    BW – 44

    “I know I don’t “have to doubt” anymore.”

    You certainly don’t – :)

  • Grace

    BW – 44

    “I know I don’t “have to doubt” anymore.”

    You certainly don’t – :)

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace, BW is a kind soul, but if you haven’t figured it out, his questions are rhetorical.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace, BW is a kind soul, but if you haven’t figured it out, his questions are rhetorical.

  • Grace

    Louis, I agree BW is a kind soul, but I wouldn’t characterize the questions as “rhetorical” -

  • Grace

    Louis, I agree BW is a kind soul, but I wouldn’t characterize the questions as “rhetorical” -

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Wow, just wow. Amazing wow.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Wow, just wow. Amazing wow.

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  • trotk

    Grace,

    I think you are missing the point. I say this in gentleness, because this is a genuine conversation in which you are responding to BW gently. We have all been guilty lately of arguing, and I have no problem with that. But this is a better conversation, because the desire to see each other be comforted is present.

    BW is highlighting the difference between a Lutheran and most other Protestants. Most Protestants put a great deal of emphasis on belief, almost as if they think that our belief saves us. In reality, we all know that the only thing that saves us is Christ’s work on the cross. For one who doubts, or who struggles with whether they believe enough, to be urged to believe in Christ is effectively telling them to secure their own salvation by the power of their belief. The Lutheran confessions instead place all of the saving power on Christ’s shoulders, and none on the strength of belief. Christ saves, not our belief.

    Faith is how we access Christ’s work, and this is not denied, but as Hebrews says, Christ is the author and perfecter of faith. Thus, any saving faith I have is the work of Christ.

    Thus the emphasis on infant baptism. Infant baptism is a clear indication of the fact that our salvation is Christ’s work, and Christ’s work alone. We have not done anything to earn God’s favor, not even believe properly, and thus cannot claim anything of merit before Him.

    I find it striking that at the end of John, when Christ restores Peter, and challenges him with whether Peter loves Him, this lack of assurance in one’s own love for God is evident:

    Christ says, “Do you love (agape) me more than these (the fish, the other disciples, etc)?”
    Peter responds, “I like (phile) you.”
    Christ says, “Do you love (agape) me?” (notice the lowering of the question – no more comparison to his livelihood or other disciples)
    Peter says, “I like (phile) you.”
    Christ says, “Do you like (phile – further lowering of challenge) me?”
    Peter says, “I like (phile) you.”

    Christ doesn’t reject Peter’s lack of love, or send him away until he believes, and thus loves more. Instead, in each instance, He accepts what Peter is and offers him a role in the kingdom.

    We cannot believe or love enough. Belief or love are not what save us. Thinking so places it on our shoulders. Faith, the means of accessing the work of Christ, is a gift of God. We can look at our baptism and know that Christ acted to save us. We cannot look at our faith and know that we have enough to save ourselves.

    I say this all as an Anglican. If one of the Lutherans wants to correct me, I welcome it. After all, as frank and others have said, we Anglicans are guilty of caring more about the outside of the cup than what is inside. As for me, it isn’t that I don’t care about the theology (I do immensely), it is simply that I cannot trust my own understanding and think that my theology saves me. What I can do is follow the liturgy (which, Grace, is nothing other than Scripture) and receive the sacraments (which Christ instituted as means of grace and explained simply (this is my body, this is my blood, be baptized for the forgiveness of sins).

  • trotk

    Grace,

    I think you are missing the point. I say this in gentleness, because this is a genuine conversation in which you are responding to BW gently. We have all been guilty lately of arguing, and I have no problem with that. But this is a better conversation, because the desire to see each other be comforted is present.

    BW is highlighting the difference between a Lutheran and most other Protestants. Most Protestants put a great deal of emphasis on belief, almost as if they think that our belief saves us. In reality, we all know that the only thing that saves us is Christ’s work on the cross. For one who doubts, or who struggles with whether they believe enough, to be urged to believe in Christ is effectively telling them to secure their own salvation by the power of their belief. The Lutheran confessions instead place all of the saving power on Christ’s shoulders, and none on the strength of belief. Christ saves, not our belief.

    Faith is how we access Christ’s work, and this is not denied, but as Hebrews says, Christ is the author and perfecter of faith. Thus, any saving faith I have is the work of Christ.

    Thus the emphasis on infant baptism. Infant baptism is a clear indication of the fact that our salvation is Christ’s work, and Christ’s work alone. We have not done anything to earn God’s favor, not even believe properly, and thus cannot claim anything of merit before Him.

    I find it striking that at the end of John, when Christ restores Peter, and challenges him with whether Peter loves Him, this lack of assurance in one’s own love for God is evident:

    Christ says, “Do you love (agape) me more than these (the fish, the other disciples, etc)?”
    Peter responds, “I like (phile) you.”
    Christ says, “Do you love (agape) me?” (notice the lowering of the question – no more comparison to his livelihood or other disciples)
    Peter says, “I like (phile) you.”
    Christ says, “Do you like (phile – further lowering of challenge) me?”
    Peter says, “I like (phile) you.”

    Christ doesn’t reject Peter’s lack of love, or send him away until he believes, and thus loves more. Instead, in each instance, He accepts what Peter is and offers him a role in the kingdom.

    We cannot believe or love enough. Belief or love are not what save us. Thinking so places it on our shoulders. Faith, the means of accessing the work of Christ, is a gift of God. We can look at our baptism and know that Christ acted to save us. We cannot look at our faith and know that we have enough to save ourselves.

    I say this all as an Anglican. If one of the Lutherans wants to correct me, I welcome it. After all, as frank and others have said, we Anglicans are guilty of caring more about the outside of the cup than what is inside. As for me, it isn’t that I don’t care about the theology (I do immensely), it is simply that I cannot trust my own understanding and think that my theology saves me. What I can do is follow the liturgy (which, Grace, is nothing other than Scripture) and receive the sacraments (which Christ instituted as means of grace and explained simply (this is my body, this is my blood, be baptized for the forgiveness of sins).

  • Grace

    Trokt – 51

    “BW is highlighting the difference between a Lutheran and most other Protestants. Most Protestants put a great deal of emphasis on belief, almost as if they think that our belief saves us. In reality, we all know that the only thing that saves us is Christ’s work on the cross. For one who doubts, or who struggles with whether they believe enough, to be urged to believe in Christ is effectively telling them to secure their own salvation by the power of their belief. The Lutheran confessions instead place all of the saving power on Christ’s shoulders, and none on the strength of belief. Christ saves, not our belief.”

    “The Lutheran confessions” can place belief wherever they like, but that is not what the Bible says. It is the “instead” part that is their difficulty. The Lutheran confessions are not the Word of God.

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    John 3:16

    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9

    But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31

  • Grace

    Trokt – 51

    “BW is highlighting the difference between a Lutheran and most other Protestants. Most Protestants put a great deal of emphasis on belief, almost as if they think that our belief saves us. In reality, we all know that the only thing that saves us is Christ’s work on the cross. For one who doubts, or who struggles with whether they believe enough, to be urged to believe in Christ is effectively telling them to secure their own salvation by the power of their belief. The Lutheran confessions instead place all of the saving power on Christ’s shoulders, and none on the strength of belief. Christ saves, not our belief.”

    “The Lutheran confessions” can place belief wherever they like, but that is not what the Bible says. It is the “instead” part that is their difficulty. The Lutheran confessions are not the Word of God.

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    John 3:16

    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9

    But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31

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

    Right!

    Faith in…faith? (no thanks)

    or…faith in…God. (that’s it!)

    BTW, around these parts, Calvary Chapel preachers are on the radio all the time. Everything I said about their preaching is true. (check it out!) They haven’t the foggiest idea of the uses of the law. They make the law into the gospel, and the gospel into the law ( “all you have to DO is to accept Jesus”)

    It might be just one little work…but it is one work too many. And it gets even worde from there. The onus stays on YOU…all with the best of intentions.

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

    Right!

    Faith in…faith? (no thanks)

    or…faith in…God. (that’s it!)

    BTW, around these parts, Calvary Chapel preachers are on the radio all the time. Everything I said about their preaching is true. (check it out!) They haven’t the foggiest idea of the uses of the law. They make the law into the gospel, and the gospel into the law ( “all you have to DO is to accept Jesus”)

    It might be just one little work…but it is one work too many. And it gets even worde from there. The onus stays on YOU…all with the best of intentions.

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

    that should be ‘worse’.

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

    that should be ‘worse’.

  • Andy

    Remarkable post Dr. Veith. You’ve crystallized and enhanced issues I have been thinking about recently related to the movement of LCMS congregation opting to practice so called relevant and seeker-friendly contemporary “worship”. Joni Mitchell gave us the chorus; “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Paved paradise, put up a parking lot” (paradise being God’s Word preached and taught in truth and purity).
    One possible hitch, regarding your post, is that it appears to assume that people know what their church bodies believe and teach (ref. Blissful Ignorance; Sept. 28 post; cyberbrethren.com). We may know the meaning behind their confessions and practices but I am not sure that they (all those other denominations and our own) always know what it means to be aligned with their church body.

  • Andy

    Remarkable post Dr. Veith. You’ve crystallized and enhanced issues I have been thinking about recently related to the movement of LCMS congregation opting to practice so called relevant and seeker-friendly contemporary “worship”. Joni Mitchell gave us the chorus; “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Paved paradise, put up a parking lot” (paradise being God’s Word preached and taught in truth and purity).
    One possible hitch, regarding your post, is that it appears to assume that people know what their church bodies believe and teach (ref. Blissful Ignorance; Sept. 28 post; cyberbrethren.com). We may know the meaning behind their confessions and practices but I am not sure that they (all those other denominations and our own) always know what it means to be aligned with their church body.

  • Grace

    Trokt – 51

    “I find it striking that at the end of John, when Christ restores Peter, and challenges him with whether Peter loves Him, this lack of assurance in one’s own love for God is evident:
    Christ says, “Do you love (agape) me more than these (the fish, the other disciples, etc)?”
    Peter responds, “I like (phile) you.”
    Christ says, “Do you love (agape) me?” (notice the lowering of the question – no more comparison to his livelihood or other disciples)
    Peter says, “I like (phile) you.”
    Christ says, “Do you like (phile – further lowering of challenge) me?”
    Peter says, “I like (phile) you.

    Trokt, I don’t know which translation you have found the above, however, Simon Peter doesn’t answer “I like you.” he answered “I love you” – Just as Jesus said “do you truly love me

    Strongs: LOVE – or LOVEST – have the same definition. phileo – fil-eh’-o

    to be a friend to (fond of (an individual or an object)), i.e. have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; while is wider, embracing especially the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety: the two thus stand related very much – the former being chiefly of the heart and the latter of the head); specially, to kiss (as a mark of tenderness):–kiss, love.

    Trokt, REMEMBER it is Jesus who asks Simon Peter “do you truly love me” – when Jesus uses the word “love” it is the same as when Peter answers using the word “love.

    John 21:15 Eleven translations

    New International Version
    When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

    New Living Translation
    After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

    English Standard Version
    When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

    New American Standard Bible
    So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”

    International Standard Version
    When they had finished breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.”

    GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
    After they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than the other disciples do?” Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.”

    King James Bible
    So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

    American King James Version
    So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs.

    American Standard Version
    So when they had broken their fast, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon,’son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

    Bible in Basic English
    Then when they had taken food, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, is your love for me greater than the love of these others? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you are certain of my love for you. He said to him, Then give my lambs food.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

  • Grace

    Trokt – 51

    “I find it striking that at the end of John, when Christ restores Peter, and challenges him with whether Peter loves Him, this lack of assurance in one’s own love for God is evident:
    Christ says, “Do you love (agape) me more than these (the fish, the other disciples, etc)?”
    Peter responds, “I like (phile) you.”
    Christ says, “Do you love (agape) me?” (notice the lowering of the question – no more comparison to his livelihood or other disciples)
    Peter says, “I like (phile) you.”
    Christ says, “Do you like (phile – further lowering of challenge) me?”
    Peter says, “I like (phile) you.

    Trokt, I don’t know which translation you have found the above, however, Simon Peter doesn’t answer “I like you.” he answered “I love you” – Just as Jesus said “do you truly love me

    Strongs: LOVE – or LOVEST – have the same definition. phileo – fil-eh’-o

    to be a friend to (fond of (an individual or an object)), i.e. have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; while is wider, embracing especially the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety: the two thus stand related very much – the former being chiefly of the heart and the latter of the head); specially, to kiss (as a mark of tenderness):–kiss, love.

    Trokt, REMEMBER it is Jesus who asks Simon Peter “do you truly love me” – when Jesus uses the word “love” it is the same as when Peter answers using the word “love.

    John 21:15 Eleven translations

    New International Version
    When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

    New Living Translation
    After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

    English Standard Version
    When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

    New American Standard Bible
    So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”

    International Standard Version
    When they had finished breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.”

    GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
    After they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than the other disciples do?” Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.”

    King James Bible
    So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

    American King James Version
    So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs.

    American Standard Version
    So when they had broken their fast, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon,’son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

    Bible in Basic English
    Then when they had taken food, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, is your love for me greater than the love of these others? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you are certain of my love for you. He said to him, Then give my lambs food.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

  • Grace

    It’s just this simple, to believe on the LORD Jesus Christ — “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” —

    9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

    10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

    11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

    12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

    13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5

  • Grace

    It’s just this simple, to believe on the LORD Jesus Christ — “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” —

    9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

    10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

    11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

    12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

    13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5

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

    Ok…and how does this belief happen?

    Who starts it, and how? And how is it sustained?

    Does, or does not God work in Baptism, as the Bible tells us many places? (Acts 2, for one)

    Many Protestant denominations and the Calvary Chapel denomination (actually they are Baptists by theology) believe it starts by making a decision for Jesus. They constantly talk about who has accepted Christ and when they made their decision for Christ.

    Do Calvary Chapel congregations encourage converts to their denomination to ignore their 1st Baptism (as a baby) and be re-baptized?

    If so…why?

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

    Ok…and how does this belief happen?

    Who starts it, and how? And how is it sustained?

    Does, or does not God work in Baptism, as the Bible tells us many places? (Acts 2, for one)

    Many Protestant denominations and the Calvary Chapel denomination (actually they are Baptists by theology) believe it starts by making a decision for Jesus. They constantly talk about who has accepted Christ and when they made their decision for Christ.

    Do Calvary Chapel congregations encourage converts to their denomination to ignore their 1st Baptism (as a baby) and be re-baptized?

    If so…why?

  • trotk

    Grace -

    Do you save yourself by means of your belief? Or does Christ save you? I know that you would answer no to the first question, and yes to the second.

    Our faith is the means by which we access God’s salvation, and it is an acceptance of His work. It is a necessary means and acceptance. But it is not what saves us. It cannot save us. As soon as we put our trust in our faith, we are creating an idol and believing in a works based salvation.
    You know and fully acknowledge that it is the blood of Christ that saves, and nothing we do can add or detract from that.

    Our faith is merely taking God at His word, and we fail at that on a regular basis. How do I know whether I have believed sufficiently? Is what I am doing “saving faith”? But faith’s object, Christ Himself, never wavers, and so I put my confidence in what He has done (baptized me, fed me with His body and blood), rather than my ability to believe in Him. But that putting of my confidence in Christ is faith, and it is necessary, but I cannot place any confidence in it. My confidence must be only in what Christ has done.

    Why do you not quote, “repent… and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?” Does that not fit into your paradigm?
    Why do you not quote (you actually did earlier and then explained it away by a claim that haima doesn’t actually mean blood, which no Greek scholar in the world accepts except those who want to disbelieve the words Christ claimed when He instituted the sacrament) “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life”?
    Why do you not quote, “no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him”?

    Grace, you are boiling it all down to “if you have faith”
    The Lutherans boil it all down to “Christ died and was risen”

    As long as the imperative is on me, rather than Christ, I will fail. He alone is trustworthy. And that is why faith matters, because I take Him at His word. My faith is an acknowledgment that He alone is the Bread of Life.

  • trotk

    Grace -

    Do you save yourself by means of your belief? Or does Christ save you? I know that you would answer no to the first question, and yes to the second.

    Our faith is the means by which we access God’s salvation, and it is an acceptance of His work. It is a necessary means and acceptance. But it is not what saves us. It cannot save us. As soon as we put our trust in our faith, we are creating an idol and believing in a works based salvation.
    You know and fully acknowledge that it is the blood of Christ that saves, and nothing we do can add or detract from that.

    Our faith is merely taking God at His word, and we fail at that on a regular basis. How do I know whether I have believed sufficiently? Is what I am doing “saving faith”? But faith’s object, Christ Himself, never wavers, and so I put my confidence in what He has done (baptized me, fed me with His body and blood), rather than my ability to believe in Him. But that putting of my confidence in Christ is faith, and it is necessary, but I cannot place any confidence in it. My confidence must be only in what Christ has done.

    Why do you not quote, “repent… and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?” Does that not fit into your paradigm?
    Why do you not quote (you actually did earlier and then explained it away by a claim that haima doesn’t actually mean blood, which no Greek scholar in the world accepts except those who want to disbelieve the words Christ claimed when He instituted the sacrament) “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life”?
    Why do you not quote, “no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him”?

    Grace, you are boiling it all down to “if you have faith”
    The Lutherans boil it all down to “Christ died and was risen”

    As long as the imperative is on me, rather than Christ, I will fail. He alone is trustworthy. And that is why faith matters, because I take Him at His word. My faith is an acknowledgment that He alone is the Bread of Life.

  • Grace

    Philip wanted to know IF the eunuch actually believed.

    34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

    35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

    36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

    37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

    39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8

    In the passage above, the eunuch requests to be baptized, but Philip asks the eunuch – “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Only then did Philip baptism the eunuch.

    BELIEVE!

  • Grace

    Philip wanted to know IF the eunuch actually believed.

    34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

    35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

    36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

    37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

    39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8

    In the passage above, the eunuch requests to be baptized, but Philip asks the eunuch – “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Only then did Philip baptism the eunuch.

    BELIEVE!

  • trotk

    Grace -

    I should have been more clear about love. Sorry.

    The translation is mine. My field is Greek and Latin literature. If you need sources to make certain that I am not making stuff up, I will give you as much as you want.

    Jesus and Peter don’t use the same word initially. I have translated Peter’s “like” because it is the closest approximation in English. Here is how the exchange goes, and then I will explain the words:

    Christ: Do you agapeis me more than these?
    Peter: I philo you.
    Christ: Do you agapeis me?
    Peter: I philo you.
    Christ: Do you philo me?
    Peter: You know that I philo you.

    Agape is not about emotion, really. It is the willingness to endure with someone through all things. It is pretty much universally regarded to be the strongest of the four Greek verbs casually translated “love”.
    Phile is all about emotion. It is brotherly affection, which can be strong, and can be weak. It makes no claim to endurance or action, but is simply the statement of “I feel affection for you”.

    With that in mind, the conversation runs thus:

    Christ: Will you endure with me to the end, commit yourself more to me than your livelihood, be more faithful than the other disciples?
    Peter: I feel affection for you.
    Christ: Will you bear with me in all things?
    Peter: I feel affection for you.
    Christ: Do you feel affection for me?
    Peter: You know I feel affection for you.

    Do you see how Christ doesn’t condemn Peter’s lack of love or lack of faith in the goodness and provision of God? The burden of Peter’s commission (which is woven through these verses) lies on Christ, not on Peter’s commitment or faithfulness.

  • trotk

    Grace -

    I should have been more clear about love. Sorry.

    The translation is mine. My field is Greek and Latin literature. If you need sources to make certain that I am not making stuff up, I will give you as much as you want.

    Jesus and Peter don’t use the same word initially. I have translated Peter’s “like” because it is the closest approximation in English. Here is how the exchange goes, and then I will explain the words:

    Christ: Do you agapeis me more than these?
    Peter: I philo you.
    Christ: Do you agapeis me?
    Peter: I philo you.
    Christ: Do you philo me?
    Peter: You know that I philo you.

    Agape is not about emotion, really. It is the willingness to endure with someone through all things. It is pretty much universally regarded to be the strongest of the four Greek verbs casually translated “love”.
    Phile is all about emotion. It is brotherly affection, which can be strong, and can be weak. It makes no claim to endurance or action, but is simply the statement of “I feel affection for you”.

    With that in mind, the conversation runs thus:

    Christ: Will you endure with me to the end, commit yourself more to me than your livelihood, be more faithful than the other disciples?
    Peter: I feel affection for you.
    Christ: Will you bear with me in all things?
    Peter: I feel affection for you.
    Christ: Do you feel affection for me?
    Peter: You know I feel affection for you.

    Do you see how Christ doesn’t condemn Peter’s lack of love or lack of faith in the goodness and provision of God? The burden of Peter’s commission (which is woven through these verses) lies on Christ, not on Peter’s commitment or faithfulness.

  • Tom Hering

    A topic called “Nail Your These To This Blog” suddenly shows up tonight, placed between “Political Dysfunction” and this topic. Then it just as suddenly disappears. And the writing didn’t sound like Dr. Veith. Somebody’s messin’ with us.

  • Tom Hering

    A topic called “Nail Your These To This Blog” suddenly shows up tonight, placed between “Political Dysfunction” and this topic. Then it just as suddenly disappears. And the writing didn’t sound like Dr. Veith. Somebody’s messin’ with us.

  • Grace

    You can trust the words of Jesus in John 3, and other passages as to whether you need to BELIEVE in HIM to be saved…….. OR……. you can depend upon ‘Confessions’ instead of Jesus Christ.

  • Grace

    You can trust the words of Jesus in John 3, and other passages as to whether you need to BELIEVE in HIM to be saved…….. OR……. you can depend upon ‘Confessions’ instead of Jesus Christ.

  • trotk

    Grace,

    I am not saying that belief is of no consequence. I am not saying it is optional. I am not saying God saves apart from faith.

    It is the point of emphasis that I am addressing. When I talk about my salvation, the point of emphasis is not how much faith I have, but instead what Christ did, because that is the only thing that saves me.

    That’s it, I suppose.

  • trotk

    Grace,

    I am not saying that belief is of no consequence. I am not saying it is optional. I am not saying God saves apart from faith.

    It is the point of emphasis that I am addressing. When I talk about my salvation, the point of emphasis is not how much faith I have, but instead what Christ did, because that is the only thing that saves me.

    That’s it, I suppose.

  • Tom Hering

    I think I’ll just depend on Him.

  • Tom Hering

    I think I’ll just depend on Him.

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

    Sometimes, after a long time in the oven…the clay is baked.

    Ciao, all!

    Thanks!

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

    Sometimes, after a long time in the oven…the clay is baked.

    Ciao, all!

    Thanks!

  • Grace

    61 trotk

    I won’t discuss this passage, as you are ad libbing and playing with Scripture. I’ve seen this done before, and it’s nonsense.

  • Grace

    61 trotk

    I won’t discuss this passage, as you are ad libbing and playing with Scripture. I’ve seen this done before, and it’s nonsense.

  • trotk

    So Grace, how do you deal with Peter’s sermon in Acts 2? When he was asked what the people should do to be saved he said repent and be baptized.
    How do you deal with Christ’s command to eat His flesh, or else we have no life?
    How do you deal with the claim in Hebrews that Jesus is author (beginner, creator) and perfect-or (accomplish-er) of our faith? That is, that it isn’t something we can do.

  • trotk

    So Grace, how do you deal with Peter’s sermon in Acts 2? When he was asked what the people should do to be saved he said repent and be baptized.
    How do you deal with Christ’s command to eat His flesh, or else we have no life?
    How do you deal with the claim in Hebrews that Jesus is author (beginner, creator) and perfect-or (accomplish-er) of our faith? That is, that it isn’t something we can do.

  • trotk

    Ad-libbing?

    I am reading from the original Greek texts using the translations of the words that every Bible and classical dictionary uses! The only reason why both verbs are translated “love” is because we’ve only got one word for love in English!

  • trotk

    Ad-libbing?

    I am reading from the original Greek texts using the translations of the words that every Bible and classical dictionary uses! The only reason why both verbs are translated “love” is because we’ve only got one word for love in English!

  • Grace

    69 – trotk

    “I am reading from the original Greek texts using the translations of the words that every Bible and classical dictionary uses! The only reason why both verbs are translated “love” is because we’ve only got one word for love in English!”

    NO EXCUSE, you have missed the entire intent of what was written, trying to play the GREEK GAME!

    Love is defined in English as:

    love

    1. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
    2. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.
    3.
    a. Sexual passion.
    b. Sexual intercourse.
    c. A love affair.
    4. An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
    5. A person who is the object of deep or intense affection or attraction; beloved. Often used as a term of endearment.
    6. An expression of one’s affection: Send him my love.
    7.
    a. A strong predilection or enthusiasm: a love of language.
    b. The object of such an enthusiasm: The outdoors is her greatest love.
    8. Love Mythology Eros or Cupid.
    9. often Love Christianity Charity.
    10. Sports A zero score in tennis.
    v. loved, lov·ing, loves
    v.tr.
    1. To have a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward (a person): We love our parents. I love my friends.
    2. To have a feeling of intense desire and attraction toward (a person).
    3. To have an intense emotional attachment to: loves his house.
    4.
    a. To embrace or caress.
    b. To have sexual intercourse with.
    5. To like or desire enthusiastically: loves swimming.
    6. Theology To have charity for.
    7. To thrive on; need: The cactus loves hot, dry air.
    v.intr.
    To experience deep affection or intense desire for another.

    I would HIGHLY SUGGEST you study Greek as in:

    LOVE

    Agápe – αγάπη agápē

    Éros - έρως érōs

    Philia – φιλία philía

  • Grace

    69 – trotk

    “I am reading from the original Greek texts using the translations of the words that every Bible and classical dictionary uses! The only reason why both verbs are translated “love” is because we’ve only got one word for love in English!”

    NO EXCUSE, you have missed the entire intent of what was written, trying to play the GREEK GAME!

    Love is defined in English as:

    love

    1. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
    2. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.
    3.
    a. Sexual passion.
    b. Sexual intercourse.
    c. A love affair.
    4. An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
    5. A person who is the object of deep or intense affection or attraction; beloved. Often used as a term of endearment.
    6. An expression of one’s affection: Send him my love.
    7.
    a. A strong predilection or enthusiasm: a love of language.
    b. The object of such an enthusiasm: The outdoors is her greatest love.
    8. Love Mythology Eros or Cupid.
    9. often Love Christianity Charity.
    10. Sports A zero score in tennis.
    v. loved, lov·ing, loves
    v.tr.
    1. To have a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward (a person): We love our parents. I love my friends.
    2. To have a feeling of intense desire and attraction toward (a person).
    3. To have an intense emotional attachment to: loves his house.
    4.
    a. To embrace or caress.
    b. To have sexual intercourse with.
    5. To like or desire enthusiastically: loves swimming.
    6. Theology To have charity for.
    7. To thrive on; need: The cactus loves hot, dry air.
    v.intr.
    To experience deep affection or intense desire for another.

    I would HIGHLY SUGGEST you study Greek as in:

    LOVE

    Agápe – αγάπη agápē

    Éros - έρως érōs

    Philia – φιλία philía

  • Grace

    Did everyone SKIP number 60 regarding the eunuch? Yep, I think they did!

  • Grace

    Did everyone SKIP number 60 regarding the eunuch? Yep, I think they did!

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace, the thing that is actually quite tragic, and quite obvious to everybody else, is that you completely miss the points that people are making in these debates. In other words, you fail to comprehend their meanig. Then, you show yourself to be so arrogant as to suggesting that you know more Greek than a professional scholar of the languag, just as you made yourself out to know more about the Germans and their attitudes than someone who lived there.

    In fact Grace, you are the poster child for why we need confessions, creeds etc – I shudder to think what theology you come up with, given your the lack of comprehension you display here for all the world to see.

    Trotk and other have been extremely kind and patient, but I’m calling you on the haughty attitude you display here again and again. Folk like Frank eventually resorted to humour. Others (myself included) tried to boycot you.

    I’m sorry to say this, but your attitude is the problem. Not your quoting of Scripture. You display the demeanour of one that has become wise in their own eyes.

    Please reconsider your modus operandi here. We all love debate and discussion. We do not hate you.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace, the thing that is actually quite tragic, and quite obvious to everybody else, is that you completely miss the points that people are making in these debates. In other words, you fail to comprehend their meanig. Then, you show yourself to be so arrogant as to suggesting that you know more Greek than a professional scholar of the languag, just as you made yourself out to know more about the Germans and their attitudes than someone who lived there.

    In fact Grace, you are the poster child for why we need confessions, creeds etc – I shudder to think what theology you come up with, given your the lack of comprehension you display here for all the world to see.

    Trotk and other have been extremely kind and patient, but I’m calling you on the haughty attitude you display here again and again. Folk like Frank eventually resorted to humour. Others (myself included) tried to boycot you.

    I’m sorry to say this, but your attitude is the problem. Not your quoting of Scripture. You display the demeanour of one that has become wise in their own eyes.

    Please reconsider your modus operandi here. We all love debate and discussion. We do not hate you.

  • Tom Hering

    Louis, I don’t think Grace is the least bit concerned about whether anyone here hates her or not. She’s on a mission. Purpose driven. And we’re ground zero.

  • Tom Hering

    Louis, I don’t think Grace is the least bit concerned about whether anyone here hates her or not. She’s on a mission. Purpose driven. And we’re ground zero.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So who wants to be the one to explain to Grace that her argument from Acts 8 hinges on a verse (that would be v. 37: “Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ The eunuch answered, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’”) that many translations do not even include?

    The NIV only includes v. 37 in a footnote, noting that “some late manuscripts” include that verse, while the ESV says that “some manuscripts add all or most of verse 37.” Meanwhile, the NKJV notes that “NU-Text and M-Text omit this verse. It is found in Western texts, including the Latin tradition.”

    I kinda have a guess how that discussion would go, based on the, um, discussion about Greek above.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So who wants to be the one to explain to Grace that her argument from Acts 8 hinges on a verse (that would be v. 37: “Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ The eunuch answered, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’”) that many translations do not even include?

    The NIV only includes v. 37 in a footnote, noting that “some late manuscripts” include that verse, while the ESV says that “some manuscripts add all or most of verse 37.” Meanwhile, the NKJV notes that “NU-Text and M-Text omit this verse. It is found in Western texts, including the Latin tradition.”

    I kinda have a guess how that discussion would go, based on the, um, discussion about Greek above.

  • Grace

    It is all about believing in the LORD Jesus Christ, – - – that is why Philip asked the Eunuch if he believed, and because the eunuch believed….. Philip baptized him.

    Acts 8:37 – - – Seven versions –

    New American Standard Bible
    And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

    King James Bible
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    American King James Version
    And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    American Standard Version
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    And Philip said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Young’s Literal Translation
    And Philip said, ‘If thou dost believe out of all the heart, it is lawful;’ and he answering said, ‘I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God;’

    It is difficult, if not impossible for some people to BELIEVE on the LORD JESUS CHRIST for Salvation.

  • Grace

    It is all about believing in the LORD Jesus Christ, – - – that is why Philip asked the Eunuch if he believed, and because the eunuch believed….. Philip baptized him.

    Acts 8:37 – - – Seven versions –

    New American Standard Bible
    And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

    King James Bible
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    American King James Version
    And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    American Standard Version
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    And Philip said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Young’s Literal Translation
    And Philip said, ‘If thou dost believe out of all the heart, it is lawful;’ and he answering said, ‘I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God;’

    It is difficult, if not impossible for some people to BELIEVE on the LORD JESUS CHRIST for Salvation.

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  • trotk

    tODD -

    You are right about verse 37 not appearing in all the oldest and best manuscripts. I think that the knowledge that there are verses in our translations that aren’t in the best manuscripts might cause Grace to claim that we are altering the Bible. I brought it up with John 8 a couple weeks ago, and she didn’t respond.

    Grace -

    I almost fell out of my chair when I read (in #70)

    “NO EXCUSE, you have missed the entire intent of what was written, trying to play the GREEK GAME!”

    and then went on to highlight the point exactly, which is that English has one word for love that conveys a host of meanings, and thus our translations can be highly confusing or inaccurate if we don’t make certain that the reader knows what type of love is in the original Greek.

    In case you are wondering, the Greek isn’t as unclear as the English, because Greek had four words for love, and they weren’t synonymous. You have listed three (agape, phile, and eros), but you missed one: storge. For your reference, eros is sexual love and storge is love for inanimate objects, like spaghetti. Agape and phile are obviously explained above, in #61.

    Grace, it isn’t “playing the Greek game”.

    The Bible wasn’t written in English. Reading it in Greek isn’t necessary, but it is lots of fun and certainly sheds light on some passages.

  • trotk

    tODD -

    You are right about verse 37 not appearing in all the oldest and best manuscripts. I think that the knowledge that there are verses in our translations that aren’t in the best manuscripts might cause Grace to claim that we are altering the Bible. I brought it up with John 8 a couple weeks ago, and she didn’t respond.

    Grace -

    I almost fell out of my chair when I read (in #70)

    “NO EXCUSE, you have missed the entire intent of what was written, trying to play the GREEK GAME!”

    and then went on to highlight the point exactly, which is that English has one word for love that conveys a host of meanings, and thus our translations can be highly confusing or inaccurate if we don’t make certain that the reader knows what type of love is in the original Greek.

    In case you are wondering, the Greek isn’t as unclear as the English, because Greek had four words for love, and they weren’t synonymous. You have listed three (agape, phile, and eros), but you missed one: storge. For your reference, eros is sexual love and storge is love for inanimate objects, like spaghetti. Agape and phile are obviously explained above, in #61.

    Grace, it isn’t “playing the Greek game”.

    The Bible wasn’t written in English. Reading it in Greek isn’t necessary, but it is lots of fun and certainly sheds light on some passages.

  • trotk

    Another favorite mis-translation (or mis-understand of the English, perhaps).

    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

    Pure = katharoi.

    Katharoi does not mean pure as in holy. It means pure as in “having been cleansed”. The primary usage of the word in Greek literature is for a murderer who was ritually cleansed and forgiven for his crime.

    Thus, the better translation would be:

    Blessed is the one who has committed great evil and yet been cleansed, for he shall see God.

  • trotk

    Another favorite mis-translation (or mis-understand of the English, perhaps).

    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

    Pure = katharoi.

    Katharoi does not mean pure as in holy. It means pure as in “having been cleansed”. The primary usage of the word in Greek literature is for a murderer who was ritually cleansed and forgiven for his crime.

    Thus, the better translation would be:

    Blessed is the one who has committed great evil and yet been cleansed, for he shall see God.

  • fws

    Trotk @ 76

    Even when we know the greek it can still be tricky, as I see that you know.

    Eros in greek was not just “sexual love”. Probably better would be “romantic love”. Which generally, yes , does get around to sex. But they Romeo and Juliette had “eros” in a way that their eros defines our thinking on erotic love.

    But there is the problem right there. I said “erotic love” and we english speakers cannot erase from our thinking the context of “erotic ” in english , which is TOTALLY devoid of anything moral or good or pure or virtuous. Just try in english to use that word “erotic” in english in any combination with the word “virtue” or “righeousness “. It simply cannot be done.

    The Greeks would have had no problem at all in doing this.

    Ignore this post Grace. I am enjoying you engage the others. This post is not for your consumption.

  • fws

    Trotk @ 76

    Even when we know the greek it can still be tricky, as I see that you know.

    Eros in greek was not just “sexual love”. Probably better would be “romantic love”. Which generally, yes , does get around to sex. But they Romeo and Juliette had “eros” in a way that their eros defines our thinking on erotic love.

    But there is the problem right there. I said “erotic love” and we english speakers cannot erase from our thinking the context of “erotic ” in english , which is TOTALLY devoid of anything moral or good or pure or virtuous. Just try in english to use that word “erotic” in english in any combination with the word “virtue” or “righeousness “. It simply cannot be done.

    The Greeks would have had no problem at all in doing this.

    Ignore this post Grace. I am enjoying you engage the others. This post is not for your consumption.

  • trotk

    Frank,

    You are exactly correct. Sexual love is a gross over-simplification of eros. I used it too casually. Erotic love certainly doesn’t get it in English, and romantic love is the safest, but it lacks the power that oftentimes exist in the Greek passages that use eros. Some of those passages use metaphors of a drug in the veins or a seemingly uncontrollable urge.

    The more I read, the more I believe that the Greek concept of love was (at most times), amoral. Perhaps this is why love was not included in the list of virtues. All of the loves (with the exception of agape) seem to be outside of the control of the one who loves – they happen to the person, and thus cannot be judged as good or bad. Good or bad depended on what you did.

    That fits with a religious system that wasn’t at all about the heart. It was all about ritual.

    This is one of the reasons why Aristotle is so powerful, because he demanded that your emotions get in line with virtue. Emotionless virtue wasn’t virtue to him.

    I appreciate your feedback. Would you be willing to give it to me on what I wrote in #51 and #61?

  • trotk

    Frank,

    You are exactly correct. Sexual love is a gross over-simplification of eros. I used it too casually. Erotic love certainly doesn’t get it in English, and romantic love is the safest, but it lacks the power that oftentimes exist in the Greek passages that use eros. Some of those passages use metaphors of a drug in the veins or a seemingly uncontrollable urge.

    The more I read, the more I believe that the Greek concept of love was (at most times), amoral. Perhaps this is why love was not included in the list of virtues. All of the loves (with the exception of agape) seem to be outside of the control of the one who loves – they happen to the person, and thus cannot be judged as good or bad. Good or bad depended on what you did.

    That fits with a religious system that wasn’t at all about the heart. It was all about ritual.

    This is one of the reasons why Aristotle is so powerful, because he demanded that your emotions get in line with virtue. Emotionless virtue wasn’t virtue to him.

    I appreciate your feedback. Would you be willing to give it to me on what I wrote in #51 and #61?

  • fws

    trotk @ 79

    I read them and learned something that is so very good I will be plagarizing it. I hop to remember to give you credit so I dont come accross as smart and cleaver on my own. But they I know you dear trotk are plagarizing (er… handing down what you received) as well. ha!

    I should have jumped in but did not want to distract Grace from what you were saying or have her feel like we were all piling on.

    How long do you suppose Grace is going to resist the full onslaught of love she is getting bombarded with here?

    What you wrote about Jesus exchange with Peter melted me. It reminded me of my favorite passage “Jesus looked at him and loved him”. Whoa.

    Jesus goes to where we are at, and just , well, he does Jesus. It is not even about some set of propositions we need to get right.

    How low will Jesus lower is standards to reach down to us? Trotk : whatever you are thinking right now. It is not low enough. Think beyond the gates of hell. Can´t get lower than that.

  • fws

    trotk @ 79

    I read them and learned something that is so very good I will be plagarizing it. I hop to remember to give you credit so I dont come accross as smart and cleaver on my own. But they I know you dear trotk are plagarizing (er… handing down what you received) as well. ha!

    I should have jumped in but did not want to distract Grace from what you were saying or have her feel like we were all piling on.

    How long do you suppose Grace is going to resist the full onslaught of love she is getting bombarded with here?

    What you wrote about Jesus exchange with Peter melted me. It reminded me of my favorite passage “Jesus looked at him and loved him”. Whoa.

    Jesus goes to where we are at, and just , well, he does Jesus. It is not even about some set of propositions we need to get right.

    How low will Jesus lower is standards to reach down to us? Trotk : whatever you are thinking right now. It is not low enough. Think beyond the gates of hell. Can´t get lower than that.

  • trotk

    frank, it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

    “All the wickedness that the world may do or think is no more to the mercy of God than a live coal dropped in the sea.”

    And the gospel of John! You have this young man, John, who is an arrogant disciple, asking to sit at the hand of Christ in the new Kingdom, asking to burn up an entire city because it reject Christ, so foolish in his pride. But late in his life, when he wrote the gospel, the only way that he refers to himself is “the one whom Jesus loved.” His identity became what Christ was doing to him! That is the perspective on myself that I want.

  • trotk

    frank, it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

    “All the wickedness that the world may do or think is no more to the mercy of God than a live coal dropped in the sea.”

    And the gospel of John! You have this young man, John, who is an arrogant disciple, asking to sit at the hand of Christ in the new Kingdom, asking to burn up an entire city because it reject Christ, so foolish in his pride. But late in his life, when he wrote the gospel, the only way that he refers to himself is “the one whom Jesus loved.” His identity became what Christ was doing to him! That is the perspective on myself that I want.

  • fws

    trotk @ 81.

    I hope everyone is reading this thread still.

    wow.

    Grace? Dust/ptl?

    bow down and learn something here.

  • fws

    trotk @ 81.

    I hope everyone is reading this thread still.

    wow.

    Grace? Dust/ptl?

    bow down and learn something here.

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

    You guys/gals have got to hear this program by Pastor Tom Baker.

    http://www.kfuoam.org/LG.htm

    Go to the show for Oct. 27

    It’s about ‘belief’.

    Excellent!

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

    You guys/gals have got to hear this program by Pastor Tom Baker.

    http://www.kfuoam.org/LG.htm

    Go to the show for Oct. 27

    It’s about ‘belief’.

    Excellent!

  • fws

    Steve @ 83

    i am going to have to email the dear pastor.

  • fws

    Steve @ 83

    i am going to have to email the dear pastor.

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

    fws,

    Did you like it?

    Or do you have a bone to pick with him?

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

    fws,

    Did you like it?

    Or do you have a bone to pick with him?

  • fws

    steve @ 85

    It would not be appropriate to discuss it here I don´t think. fwsonnek@gmail.com if you want to hear what I have to think. I emailed Pastor Baker about the sermon on his blog dated october 11th.

  • fws

    steve @ 85

    It would not be appropriate to discuss it here I don´t think. fwsonnek@gmail.com if you want to hear what I have to think. I emailed Pastor Baker about the sermon on his blog dated october 11th.

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

    fws,

    Thanks.

    I’ll shoot you an e-mail.

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

    fws,

    Thanks.

    I’ll shoot you an e-mail.

  • Stephen

    How low will Jesus go for our sakes?

    Philippians 2:5-11

    Also known as the “Christ Hymn” and thought to be the oldest piece of oral tradition preserved in the NT – a hymn sung by the first Christians that St. Paul builds the entire letter around. Did he teach it to them? The song is of the love and mercy of Christ that is kenotic (self-emptying) for us, which is, as revealed in Him, what gives it such miraculous power.

  • Stephen

    How low will Jesus go for our sakes?

    Philippians 2:5-11

    Also known as the “Christ Hymn” and thought to be the oldest piece of oral tradition preserved in the NT – a hymn sung by the first Christians that St. Paul builds the entire letter around. Did he teach it to them? The song is of the love and mercy of Christ that is kenotic (self-emptying) for us, which is, as revealed in Him, what gives it such miraculous power.

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  • http://n/a Gloria Joyce

    I feel like the Prophet Jeremiah (the weeping Prophet), I’m totally heart broken because 2/3rd of the worlds population is going to hell. Most true Christians can see Satans increased influence in the world . The Christian Community who are pre-tribulation believers know it is coming soon. The infiltration into the Churches , starts from the top down and is staggering. Let me share a couple of Scriptures the Lord has enlightened/enspired me to share , Isaiah entire chapter One and also Rev 1:1 (for personal Peace)
    I can only inwardly weep knowing ,most have rejected Jesus and are veiled to his Biblical truth . many have no interest in the Holy Bible. And the majority are just happy to go with the flow of secular politics, and liberal thinkers leading Gods beloved creation down the wide path to hell.
    Sorry I’m so serious , but somebody has to be willing to take a stand. Love in Christ Gloria.

  • http://n/a Gloria Joyce

    I feel like the Prophet Jeremiah (the weeping Prophet), I’m totally heart broken because 2/3rd of the worlds population is going to hell. Most true Christians can see Satans increased influence in the world . The Christian Community who are pre-tribulation believers know it is coming soon. The infiltration into the Churches , starts from the top down and is staggering. Let me share a couple of Scriptures the Lord has enlightened/enspired me to share , Isaiah entire chapter One and also Rev 1:1 (for personal Peace)
    I can only inwardly weep knowing ,most have rejected Jesus and are veiled to his Biblical truth . many have no interest in the Holy Bible. And the majority are just happy to go with the flow of secular politics, and liberal thinkers leading Gods beloved creation down the wide path to hell.
    Sorry I’m so serious , but somebody has to be willing to take a stand. Love in Christ Gloria.

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  • Undevoutbyyour standards

    Although i have never been a (devout) christian, i have always been drawn and called by something that told me i “could be so much more if i just listened to him”, whilst every benevolent spirit stayed dormant… I fear not god, but i fear myself, since apparently i am more adept to hear evil. Although i quite understand that most of you would probably not agree with someone like me inprinting myself with something like this, but there is an old saying that says more or less “i recognize you, but (you cannot have me/you will not get me)” (either cirrilic, arameic,latin or greek, i am not sure of it). (as in: i will no longer listen to what you call the devil) If there’s only one of you that could give me the correct translation, and look beyond the fact that i might not share your exact religion, but do share your burden, and have chosen a better path for myself and those i meet along the way, i hope you will do the same.

  • Undevoutbyyour standards

    Although i have never been a (devout) christian, i have always been drawn and called by something that told me i “could be so much more if i just listened to him”, whilst every benevolent spirit stayed dormant… I fear not god, but i fear myself, since apparently i am more adept to hear evil. Although i quite understand that most of you would probably not agree with someone like me inprinting myself with something like this, but there is an old saying that says more or less “i recognize you, but (you cannot have me/you will not get me)” (either cirrilic, arameic,latin or greek, i am not sure of it). (as in: i will no longer listen to what you call the devil) If there’s only one of you that could give me the correct translation, and look beyond the fact that i might not share your exact religion, but do share your burden, and have chosen a better path for myself and those i meet along the way, i hope you will do the same.


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