The 2nd biggest denomination: Nondenominationalism

Russell D. Moore, dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, writes in the Wall Street Journal about nondenominationalism:

Are we witnessing the death of America’s Christian denominations? Studies conducted by secular and Christian organizations indicate that we are. Fewer and fewer American Christians, especially Protestants, strongly identify with a particular religious communion—Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, etc. According to the Baylor Survey on Religion, nondenominational churches now represent the second largest group of Protestant churches in America, and they are also the fastest growing.

More and more Christians choose a church not on the basis of its denomination, but on the basis of more practical matters. Is the nursery easy to find? Do I like the music? Are there support groups for those grappling with addiction?

This trend is a natural extension of the American evangelical experiment. After all, evangelicalism is about the fundamental message of Christianity—the evangel, the gospel, literally the “good news” of God’s kingdom arriving in Jesus Christ—not about denomination building.

The post-World War II generation of evangelicals was responding to congregations filled with what they considered spiritual deadness. People belonged to a church, but they seemed to have no emotional experience of Christianity inside the building. Revivalists watched as denominational bureaucracies grew larger, and churches shifted from sending missionaries to preach around the world to producing white papers on issues like energy policy.

The revivalists wanted to get back to basics, to recover the centrality of a personal relationship with Jesus. “Being a member of a church doesn’t make you a Christian,” the ubiquitous evangelical pulpit cliché went, “any more than living in a garage makes you a car.” Thus these evangelical ministries tended not to talk about those issues that might divide their congregants. They avoided questions like: Who should be baptized and when? What does the Lord’s Supper mean? Should women be ordained? And so on.

The movement exploded. Before 1955, there were virtually no megachurches (defined as 2,000 people per worship service) in the country. Now there are between 850 and 1,200 such churches and many are nondenominational, according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Evangelicalism wanted to open its doors to all believers and it often lacked roots in the traditions of particular congregations. So many evangelical churches have a generic identity. This has changed the feel of local church life.

Where hymnody once came from the spontaneity of slave spirituals or camp meetings, worship songs are increasingly now focus-grouped by executives in Nashville. The evangelical “Veggie Tales” cartoons—animated Bible stories featuring talking cucumbers and tomatoes—probably shape more children in their view of scripture than any denominational catechism does these days. A church that requires immersion baptism before taking communion, as most Baptist traditions do, will likely get indignant complaints from evangelical visitors who feel like they’ve been denied service at a restaurant.

But there are some signs of a growing church-focused evangelicalism. Many young evangelicals may be poised to reconsider denominational doctrine, if for no other reason than they are showing signs of fatigue with typical evangelical consumerism.

via Russell D. Moore: Where Have All the Presbyterians Gone? – WSJ.com.

I would add to these statistics the churches that actually do belong to a denomination but act as if they didn’t.

Is it not true that a good number of these nondenominational congregations do have an implicit theology and follow an implicit–usually Baptist–tradition? For example, do they baptize infants or not?  Does anyone know of a nondenominational church that does?  Or will if a parent requests it?

What I’m asking–because I don’t know, so please enlighten me somebody–is if a non-denominational congregation still has a distinct theology or are all theologies or most theologies acceptable?  Are there non-denominational Calvinist churches, non-denominational Pentecostal churches, etc.?  Or do non-denominational churches allow members to hold to any of these theologies?  Or is there a distinct set of “non-denominational” teachings that everyone adheres to?

Protestantism tends to sort itself out either by doctrines or, perhaps more so, by polity.  Is today’s nondenominationalism also a matter of a seminary or Bible School graduate just going out and starting his own church?  Unfettered by denominational approval,  processes, and supervision?  Is that it?

Some of us are more interested in actual, worked-out, rich, theology.  Also meaningful, non-generic worship.  I guess that sends people to denominations.  For me, when I found Lutheranism, I did not just just find a “denomination,” I found the Church.  Not that Lutherans are the only one true church, but I found a sense of Church as existing through time and eternity that does includes non-Lutheran Christians but this universal but non-generic Church is manifested in our local congregation.

“Denomination” just means, literally, “name.”  Of course churches within a particular tradition need to have more in common than a name.  Unless it is the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Is nondenominationalism the new ecumenism, so that in generic Christianity we are seeing the fulfilment of the dream of Christian unity?  Or not?

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.

  • SKPeterson

    Perhaps non-denominationalism is a sort of ecumenism, but this would put it square in the tradition of nowadays denominations like the Disciples of Christ. However, today we the fascinating combination of mass and niche media which can find a market for just about any theological aberration. There does seem to be a sort of denominational structure developing, though they are called “networks” that has, at least, a superficial type of oversight and structure. But, I cannot imagine that this oversight is particularly strict – the ties that bind are more likely contractual and monetary, than theological and ecclesial. I think the non-denominationals are coalescing into a couple different theological strands though – a neo-Baptist (Rick) Warrenite branch, some Pentecostal branches of varying stripe, the prosperity types, and some that hold to a form of the neo-Presbyterian Dominionism. There’s probably more I’m missing but that’s what I can think of on one cup of coffee.

  • SKPeterson

    Perhaps non-denominationalism is a sort of ecumenism, but this would put it square in the tradition of nowadays denominations like the Disciples of Christ. However, today we the fascinating combination of mass and niche media which can find a market for just about any theological aberration. There does seem to be a sort of denominational structure developing, though they are called “networks” that has, at least, a superficial type of oversight and structure. But, I cannot imagine that this oversight is particularly strict – the ties that bind are more likely contractual and monetary, than theological and ecclesial. I think the non-denominationals are coalescing into a couple different theological strands though – a neo-Baptist (Rick) Warrenite branch, some Pentecostal branches of varying stripe, the prosperity types, and some that hold to a form of the neo-Presbyterian Dominionism. There’s probably more I’m missing but that’s what I can think of on one cup of coffee.

  • Dan Kempin

    I am vaguely curious to know whether the connection between non-denominationalism and mega-church can be supported demonstrably. The author asserts that the revival (ND?) movement “exploded” into megachurch, but gives no reason why the one would lead to the other. Seems like a non sequitur to me.

    Meh.

  • Dan Kempin

    I am vaguely curious to know whether the connection between non-denominationalism and mega-church can be supported demonstrably. The author asserts that the revival (ND?) movement “exploded” into megachurch, but gives no reason why the one would lead to the other. Seems like a non sequitur to me.

    Meh.

  • Stephen

    I see a certain degree of consumerism at work among young people. Speaking from personal experience, they need help distinguishing church from a consumer experience, and yet churches set themselves up for this type of evaluation by trumpeting their services in just this way. So the model fits, and the next generation and the one after that will go where their needs are met. Those needs have morphed into other things apart and quite distinct from having sins forgiven. It becomes about the user experience, and the church is there to be had for the value it delivers. That model has been in place for a while and is only growing.

    We started going to a smaller congregation after years attending larger metropolitan churches in two major US cities. Larger churches cannot seem to help but be inundated with programs. They are not places of community in my experience. Even if the preaching is good, the fellowship is weak. They are places to go and be served and not to serve. Even the participation is modeled to suit one’ s tastes, so one is not compelled to mix with others unlike themselves, or at all if that be the case. And no one cares if you are there or not. Not really. This is the curse whenever churches focus on growing the membership and not on preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, giving the gift of forgiveness in the supper, doing works of mercy in the community, and baptizing and raising kids in the same.

    Luther identified seven marks of the church. I have brought these up with other Lutherans and they haven’t often heard of them. They are: Confession and Absolution, The Word or Preaching, Ministry, Worship, Suffering Together, Baptism and Lord’s Supper. Those can be summed up in “wherever the word is preached and the sacraments rightly administered” but they are what to look for in a church. Maybe in a world of big box religion that preaches all that YOU can do to make your life better once you’ve got Jesus in your pocket (which is what they boil down to), Lutheranism will be like one place you can go to get the real thing – like a craftsman who still makes things by hand that you can hand down to your children and grand children, instead of mass produced junk that is phony and always needing replacement.

    That is, unless we mess it up because we fear it is dying and we adopt the consumer model, turn the Luther seal into a logo, and get start rapping about how much WE love JC.

  • Stephen

    I see a certain degree of consumerism at work among young people. Speaking from personal experience, they need help distinguishing church from a consumer experience, and yet churches set themselves up for this type of evaluation by trumpeting their services in just this way. So the model fits, and the next generation and the one after that will go where their needs are met. Those needs have morphed into other things apart and quite distinct from having sins forgiven. It becomes about the user experience, and the church is there to be had for the value it delivers. That model has been in place for a while and is only growing.

    We started going to a smaller congregation after years attending larger metropolitan churches in two major US cities. Larger churches cannot seem to help but be inundated with programs. They are not places of community in my experience. Even if the preaching is good, the fellowship is weak. They are places to go and be served and not to serve. Even the participation is modeled to suit one’ s tastes, so one is not compelled to mix with others unlike themselves, or at all if that be the case. And no one cares if you are there or not. Not really. This is the curse whenever churches focus on growing the membership and not on preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, giving the gift of forgiveness in the supper, doing works of mercy in the community, and baptizing and raising kids in the same.

    Luther identified seven marks of the church. I have brought these up with other Lutherans and they haven’t often heard of them. They are: Confession and Absolution, The Word or Preaching, Ministry, Worship, Suffering Together, Baptism and Lord’s Supper. Those can be summed up in “wherever the word is preached and the sacraments rightly administered” but they are what to look for in a church. Maybe in a world of big box religion that preaches all that YOU can do to make your life better once you’ve got Jesus in your pocket (which is what they boil down to), Lutheranism will be like one place you can go to get the real thing – like a craftsman who still makes things by hand that you can hand down to your children and grand children, instead of mass produced junk that is phony and always needing replacement.

    That is, unless we mess it up because we fear it is dying and we adopt the consumer model, turn the Luther seal into a logo, and get start rapping about how much WE love JC.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Well, I think the author is wrong in (partly) attributing the growth of non-denominationalism to “fatigue with typical evangelical consumerism”. No, it is the ultimate triumph of consumerism, whereby I need to find the product (church) that satisfy all my needs (desires). No big brands anymore, but personal customizing…. Of course, as with commercial consumerism, the funny thing is how the personal customizing turns out to be even more generic than the previous branding. As such, I think a large part of non-denominationalism is the triumph of the culture of “ME ME”.

    Another, and completely different sort of denominationalism, is the denomination of One, one “true” church, one true congregation, and especially, one true PASTOR (or leadership team). The “interdenominational mission” which I grew up in was just such a sect/cult. Doctrine and practice was effectively determined by “what the Pastor wants/thinks”. Errors crept in. It became a pelagian sect (if any of you wondered why I am so damn sensitive about pelagianism, now you know).

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Well, I think the author is wrong in (partly) attributing the growth of non-denominationalism to “fatigue with typical evangelical consumerism”. No, it is the ultimate triumph of consumerism, whereby I need to find the product (church) that satisfy all my needs (desires). No big brands anymore, but personal customizing…. Of course, as with commercial consumerism, the funny thing is how the personal customizing turns out to be even more generic than the previous branding. As such, I think a large part of non-denominationalism is the triumph of the culture of “ME ME”.

    Another, and completely different sort of denominationalism, is the denomination of One, one “true” church, one true congregation, and especially, one true PASTOR (or leadership team). The “interdenominational mission” which I grew up in was just such a sect/cult. Doctrine and practice was effectively determined by “what the Pastor wants/thinks”. Errors crept in. It became a pelagian sect (if any of you wondered why I am so damn sensitive about pelagianism, now you know).

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Apologies, the second paragraph, first sentence should read

    “Another, and completely different sort of non-denominationalism…”

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Apologies, the second paragraph, first sentence should read

    “Another, and completely different sort of non-denominationalism…”

  • Tom Hering

    Perhaps there’s really no such thing as non-denominationalism. Most of these non-denoms are connected to missions and bible schools and sister churches that hold to a common set of teachings and practices. Perhaps they’re really just newer, smaller denominations that like to deny the fact that they exhibit all the marks of denominations. (Some of them aren’t even so small anymore!)

  • Tom Hering

    Perhaps there’s really no such thing as non-denominationalism. Most of these non-denoms are connected to missions and bible schools and sister churches that hold to a common set of teachings and practices. Perhaps they’re really just newer, smaller denominations that like to deny the fact that they exhibit all the marks of denominations. (Some of them aren’t even so small anymore!)

  • Stephen

    Tom @ 6

    In Texas, most of the megachurches are Baptist churches that just drop the designation to attract people, calling themselves things like “Riverbend” for instance. But if you listen to the preaching, it is Baptist theology disguised to seem like it is wide open to all-comers. It very much is not. In fact, it plays to a lifestyle AND to the personality of that pastor in the way Louis was mentioning. It becomes the cult of the personality pastor. The whole thing is driven on personality, as is our celebrity culture. So you have a religious model that fits right in.

    But then saying something is Baptist may not be saying much. Down here, a person can have a Baptist church of one – just have a building and open up for Sunday services and call yourself a Baptist minister. Not to be flippant, but as long as you dunk, you are a Baptist. So the theology itself seems suited to this kind of thing – a lack of serious doctrine, with everything centered in the spirit-filled pastor himself means one can “create” the church they want to meet the needs of their religious customer.

  • Stephen

    Tom @ 6

    In Texas, most of the megachurches are Baptist churches that just drop the designation to attract people, calling themselves things like “Riverbend” for instance. But if you listen to the preaching, it is Baptist theology disguised to seem like it is wide open to all-comers. It very much is not. In fact, it plays to a lifestyle AND to the personality of that pastor in the way Louis was mentioning. It becomes the cult of the personality pastor. The whole thing is driven on personality, as is our celebrity culture. So you have a religious model that fits right in.

    But then saying something is Baptist may not be saying much. Down here, a person can have a Baptist church of one – just have a building and open up for Sunday services and call yourself a Baptist minister. Not to be flippant, but as long as you dunk, you are a Baptist. So the theology itself seems suited to this kind of thing – a lack of serious doctrine, with everything centered in the spirit-filled pastor himself means one can “create” the church they want to meet the needs of their religious customer.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com forty-two

    The associate pastor of my childhood church (LCMS), where my parents and sister still go, left a few years back to start a non-denom church, Living Word Church of the Bay Area. When they first started, they included a sacramental understanding of Baptism/Communion among their core principles (worded in such as way as to be clear if you knew something about Lutheran theology, yet not turn off the typical non-denom audience). Now they don’t mention a word about Baptism/Communion, and haven’t for at least a year or two – I guess they decided it was unnecessarily divisive. Their website has from the start made it clear they were trying to go with a Mere Christianity as much as possible – really pare down their doctrinal position to the essentials, and focus on bringing (diverse) people together. But at the beginning it came across as “Mere Lutheranness” repackaged in standard non-denom language, and now it is more standard non-denom across the board. No idea if the preaching/teaching or the pastor’s fundamental beliefs have changed any, though there’s a (presumably current) sermon podcast on the website that would probably shed some light on that.

    Anyway, my take is that this church, at least, would baptize infants if the parents asked – I’d be shocked otherwise, given the background of the pastor (so far as I know, he’s never disavowed any of his Lutheran beliefs – he certainly maintained the core of them when he left to start the non-denom – though he no longer mentions his Lutheran history at all in the “Our Story” section anymore, which had been there even after the Baptism/Communion beliefs were taken out of the doctrinal statement, so who knows) and he’s always seemed rather serious about keeping to the very pared down essentials and accepting any and all differences that don’t violate that.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com forty-two

    The associate pastor of my childhood church (LCMS), where my parents and sister still go, left a few years back to start a non-denom church, Living Word Church of the Bay Area. When they first started, they included a sacramental understanding of Baptism/Communion among their core principles (worded in such as way as to be clear if you knew something about Lutheran theology, yet not turn off the typical non-denom audience). Now they don’t mention a word about Baptism/Communion, and haven’t for at least a year or two – I guess they decided it was unnecessarily divisive. Their website has from the start made it clear they were trying to go with a Mere Christianity as much as possible – really pare down their doctrinal position to the essentials, and focus on bringing (diverse) people together. But at the beginning it came across as “Mere Lutheranness” repackaged in standard non-denom language, and now it is more standard non-denom across the board. No idea if the preaching/teaching or the pastor’s fundamental beliefs have changed any, though there’s a (presumably current) sermon podcast on the website that would probably shed some light on that.

    Anyway, my take is that this church, at least, would baptize infants if the parents asked – I’d be shocked otherwise, given the background of the pastor (so far as I know, he’s never disavowed any of his Lutheran beliefs – he certainly maintained the core of them when he left to start the non-denom – though he no longer mentions his Lutheran history at all in the “Our Story” section anymore, which had been there even after the Baptism/Communion beliefs were taken out of the doctrinal statement, so who knows) and he’s always seemed rather serious about keeping to the very pared down essentials and accepting any and all differences that don’t violate that.

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen @ 7: Any way you look at it, the claim to be non-denominational is either delusional or a marketing strategy or both.

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen @ 7: Any way you look at it, the claim to be non-denominational is either delusional or a marketing strategy or both.

  • Larry

    Dr. Moore obviously has the stats, but I can tell you from experience here in SB central (KY home of the SB seminary) that is exactly what one sees.

    I’ve lived in a number of Kentucky areas, both the largest and tiny and that is precisely the situation. You don’t have take my word for it, just tour any Kentucky town or metro area. A good friend of mine, a baptist pastor, and I see it all the time. On my way to work every day, even today, one sees the signs, “Unchurch On Saturday Evenings”, “Not Your Traditional Church”, “New” this or that, “Not A Traditional Service”, etc… And if you go and visit these you will see the worse this has to offer, I know, I use to be in a ‘growth’ church. The Gospel completely evacuates the building, no joke. One would be shocked even if one attended the church the president of the seminary attends, I was, even as a S. Baptist I was.

    It’s simply a complete loss of the Word in exchange for all kinds of tricks to draw in the crowd. And it’s become socially institutionalized down here. When one asks why someone is looking or found the church they are in, it’s NEVER doctrine, but always “had a good youth program, had this or that for the kids, had a good so called outreach or “evangelism” program, etc… ”. Again, no one has to take my simple word for this, come on down and see and hear with your own eyes and ears…church after church after church, literally within a few miles of each other.

    As far as I can tell all of these are SB or baptistic derived, there are some sprinklings of Methodist doing it but far less in this area. Eventually, like our former SB church, want or do drop the name SB or Baptist for something like “Community Worship Center” (fits UNchurch well!), or some similar unidentifying mark.
    When we moved to PCA, the same thing, not quite as advanced as one finds it in the Baptist community, was beginning. A complete shift from doctrine to “how do we get’em in”. They even allowed as communing MEMBERS baptist who had not and no intention of baptizing their children. In spite of the WCF that says that not only is this a sin, but a GREAT sin.
    It’s more than just ecumenicalism, though that’s there, the name “denomination” fits well with what is the REAL under tow of all this, NO confession.

    Every year they have this gathering in Louisville called, “Together For The Gospel”, which includes worship. It involves both SB and reformed elements, especially PCA. Which is odd since their confessions supposedly are solid. If the leadership thinks so little of their confessions, then why would the laity not follow suite? Here you have rebaptizers (believers baptism) worshipping with Calvinist reformed (who CALVIN BY THE WAY would have condemned and did as heresy). The doctrines mean nothing at length, and what you begin to see among the youth in the PCA is that baptism is a thing of at best a smidge above adiaphora. Why would they not? After all, the leadership sees little in rejecting and condemning as false the doctrine of believers baptism.

    When we were at PCA, this is no joke, the “pastor” was doing an infant baptism, we had just joined. He literally spent 15+ minutes explaining what baptism is not (as he had to do so for the sake of baptist in the audience), ‘it does not save’, “it does not mean you are elect”, etc…ad nausem for 15 plus minutes. Now imagine that in a Lutheran church, you explain that long what it is not, basically affirming a doctrine, the baptist, you supposedly condemn as false, and then baptizing. Is it no wonder the sacraments are falling from those denominations…do they not see this! We did because we were on the laity floor where it was effecting folks.

    On the baptist side, its utter chaos with pseudo Calvinist (TULIP baptist) arising in the ranks of the SB church warring with the Arminian styled SB. And the Gospel gets pretty much expelled in the Calvinist form of the baptist/SB churches. My friend’s church, a baptist former SB, who preaches about as much Luther Gospel as you can get away with in that confession, a tiny church out of the way, has become a safe house for wandering Baptist, SB, and PCA folks looking for the Gospel in the maelstrom. No exaggeration. He told me just the other day that he was talking to a few of the new visitors and members that had come from this wilderness and they all said the same thing, this is ironic, they said (his words of their words, not mine), “…if you hope to at least hear some Gospel, you will have to avoid the Calvinist/reformed baptist style churches and at least find an old arminian style SB church to hear it). And this was from those professing themselves to NOT be arminian in any sense.

  • Larry

    Dr. Moore obviously has the stats, but I can tell you from experience here in SB central (KY home of the SB seminary) that is exactly what one sees.

    I’ve lived in a number of Kentucky areas, both the largest and tiny and that is precisely the situation. You don’t have take my word for it, just tour any Kentucky town or metro area. A good friend of mine, a baptist pastor, and I see it all the time. On my way to work every day, even today, one sees the signs, “Unchurch On Saturday Evenings”, “Not Your Traditional Church”, “New” this or that, “Not A Traditional Service”, etc… And if you go and visit these you will see the worse this has to offer, I know, I use to be in a ‘growth’ church. The Gospel completely evacuates the building, no joke. One would be shocked even if one attended the church the president of the seminary attends, I was, even as a S. Baptist I was.

    It’s simply a complete loss of the Word in exchange for all kinds of tricks to draw in the crowd. And it’s become socially institutionalized down here. When one asks why someone is looking or found the church they are in, it’s NEVER doctrine, but always “had a good youth program, had this or that for the kids, had a good so called outreach or “evangelism” program, etc… ”. Again, no one has to take my simple word for this, come on down and see and hear with your own eyes and ears…church after church after church, literally within a few miles of each other.

    As far as I can tell all of these are SB or baptistic derived, there are some sprinklings of Methodist doing it but far less in this area. Eventually, like our former SB church, want or do drop the name SB or Baptist for something like “Community Worship Center” (fits UNchurch well!), or some similar unidentifying mark.
    When we moved to PCA, the same thing, not quite as advanced as one finds it in the Baptist community, was beginning. A complete shift from doctrine to “how do we get’em in”. They even allowed as communing MEMBERS baptist who had not and no intention of baptizing their children. In spite of the WCF that says that not only is this a sin, but a GREAT sin.
    It’s more than just ecumenicalism, though that’s there, the name “denomination” fits well with what is the REAL under tow of all this, NO confession.

    Every year they have this gathering in Louisville called, “Together For The Gospel”, which includes worship. It involves both SB and reformed elements, especially PCA. Which is odd since their confessions supposedly are solid. If the leadership thinks so little of their confessions, then why would the laity not follow suite? Here you have rebaptizers (believers baptism) worshipping with Calvinist reformed (who CALVIN BY THE WAY would have condemned and did as heresy). The doctrines mean nothing at length, and what you begin to see among the youth in the PCA is that baptism is a thing of at best a smidge above adiaphora. Why would they not? After all, the leadership sees little in rejecting and condemning as false the doctrine of believers baptism.

    When we were at PCA, this is no joke, the “pastor” was doing an infant baptism, we had just joined. He literally spent 15+ minutes explaining what baptism is not (as he had to do so for the sake of baptist in the audience), ‘it does not save’, “it does not mean you are elect”, etc…ad nausem for 15 plus minutes. Now imagine that in a Lutheran church, you explain that long what it is not, basically affirming a doctrine, the baptist, you supposedly condemn as false, and then baptizing. Is it no wonder the sacraments are falling from those denominations…do they not see this! We did because we were on the laity floor where it was effecting folks.

    On the baptist side, its utter chaos with pseudo Calvinist (TULIP baptist) arising in the ranks of the SB church warring with the Arminian styled SB. And the Gospel gets pretty much expelled in the Calvinist form of the baptist/SB churches. My friend’s church, a baptist former SB, who preaches about as much Luther Gospel as you can get away with in that confession, a tiny church out of the way, has become a safe house for wandering Baptist, SB, and PCA folks looking for the Gospel in the maelstrom. No exaggeration. He told me just the other day that he was talking to a few of the new visitors and members that had come from this wilderness and they all said the same thing, this is ironic, they said (his words of their words, not mine), “…if you hope to at least hear some Gospel, you will have to avoid the Calvinist/reformed baptist style churches and at least find an old arminian style SB church to hear it). And this was from those professing themselves to NOT be arminian in any sense.

  • Booklover

    By the time a trend has been identified, that often marks the death of the trend. So Dr. Moore’s final sentence: “Perhaps the denominational era has just begun,” is correct.

    Non-denominational churches built themselves from members of denominational churches. When those available church members have been used up, the non-denoms will quit growing also. Non-denoms by and large do not get their members from Buddhist or atheist circles.

    I think the trend has been going back to denominationalism for years now. Those who have been raised in denom churches and have later gone to non-denom large worship centers, miss:

    1. Communion
    2. The congregation being called the congregation. (In non-denoms, it is an “audience.”)
    3. Believe it or not, they miss accountability.
    4. They miss a tradition that does not pick up the latest fads. There is an exquisite ugliness in a church with millenniums-old history clinging to the latest trend. (Most non-denoms adhere to the latest fads in eschatology; their libraries burst with *Left Behind* books but nothing from the church fathers.)
    5. They miss and crave a sense of history and tradition. There is an emptiness in a church which feels like a modern business or entertainment center rather than a community with history and tradition.
    6. They miss and crave a communal center, in which congregations recite a creed or the Lord’s Prayer or the confession of sin or a beautiful hymn TOGETHER. In a non-denom church, the focus is often up front on a “stage” with the “worship team’s” singing being magnified by mics while the un-miked congregation is unheard.
    7. They miss the “other-ness” of worship and the awe of God.

    Granted there has been ugliness in the split of denominations in the past. Pastors have experienced how “rightly dividing the word of truth” can also divide congregations. Is there a happy medium?

  • Booklover

    By the time a trend has been identified, that often marks the death of the trend. So Dr. Moore’s final sentence: “Perhaps the denominational era has just begun,” is correct.

    Non-denominational churches built themselves from members of denominational churches. When those available church members have been used up, the non-denoms will quit growing also. Non-denoms by and large do not get their members from Buddhist or atheist circles.

    I think the trend has been going back to denominationalism for years now. Those who have been raised in denom churches and have later gone to non-denom large worship centers, miss:

    1. Communion
    2. The congregation being called the congregation. (In non-denoms, it is an “audience.”)
    3. Believe it or not, they miss accountability.
    4. They miss a tradition that does not pick up the latest fads. There is an exquisite ugliness in a church with millenniums-old history clinging to the latest trend. (Most non-denoms adhere to the latest fads in eschatology; their libraries burst with *Left Behind* books but nothing from the church fathers.)
    5. They miss and crave a sense of history and tradition. There is an emptiness in a church which feels like a modern business or entertainment center rather than a community with history and tradition.
    6. They miss and crave a communal center, in which congregations recite a creed or the Lord’s Prayer or the confession of sin or a beautiful hymn TOGETHER. In a non-denom church, the focus is often up front on a “stage” with the “worship team’s” singing being magnified by mics while the un-miked congregation is unheard.
    7. They miss the “other-ness” of worship and the awe of God.

    Granted there has been ugliness in the split of denominations in the past. Pastors have experienced how “rightly dividing the word of truth” can also divide congregations. Is there a happy medium?

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com forty-two

    Correction to my comment @8: The pastor *does* still mention his Lutheran background, just in a different section, that I missed on my first go-through.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com forty-two

    Correction to my comment @8: The pastor *does* still mention his Lutheran background, just in a different section, that I missed on my first go-through.

  • WebMonk

    Just to give the Baptists a bit of a defense here, they are the 800 lb gorilla in US denominations, and so when a new church starts up, it is going to glom from that which is most frequently around.

    Second, most church starts don’t come from nowhere, some random person starting a church from scratch – there will typically be some sort of association with existing churches, and that will most likely be connections with Baptist churches. A new church will have some aspect of their connections, but may not accurately represent the source of those aspects.

    Third, the largest Baptist denominations are very loose, by design, and there are a host of smaller denominations which have the same name in them. Any grouping of entities, even those using the same sort of name, is going to have considerable variations among the entities.

    Put all those things together, and you will find huge variation among non-denom churches, while still finding frequent Baptist-like things. But, realize that if you want to analyze Baptist denominations through what is seen in non-denoms, you will be seeing a distorted picture of Baptists. Critique on what Baptists really are, not on what non-denoms may show.

    Sort of like what forty-two @8 pointed out – the resulting non-denom church isn’t going to look much like the originating source.

  • WebMonk

    Just to give the Baptists a bit of a defense here, they are the 800 lb gorilla in US denominations, and so when a new church starts up, it is going to glom from that which is most frequently around.

    Second, most church starts don’t come from nowhere, some random person starting a church from scratch – there will typically be some sort of association with existing churches, and that will most likely be connections with Baptist churches. A new church will have some aspect of their connections, but may not accurately represent the source of those aspects.

    Third, the largest Baptist denominations are very loose, by design, and there are a host of smaller denominations which have the same name in them. Any grouping of entities, even those using the same sort of name, is going to have considerable variations among the entities.

    Put all those things together, and you will find huge variation among non-denom churches, while still finding frequent Baptist-like things. But, realize that if you want to analyze Baptist denominations through what is seen in non-denoms, you will be seeing a distorted picture of Baptists. Critique on what Baptists really are, not on what non-denoms may show.

    Sort of like what forty-two @8 pointed out – the resulting non-denom church isn’t going to look much like the originating source.

  • J.C. Wimberly

    I have family members at a small, non-denominational church in suburban Houston that practices (but does not require) paedopabtism. It is moderately Reformed with some Emergent leanings.

  • J.C. Wimberly

    I have family members at a small, non-denominational church in suburban Houston that practices (but does not require) paedopabtism. It is moderately Reformed with some Emergent leanings.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I’m thinking Calavary Chapel has to be the biggest denomination within the non-denominationalist camp.

    Go to any Calvary Chapel website (great big long list of ‘em here), and check out their Statement of Faith, or “What We Believe” page. They’re mostly identical:

    Calvary Chapel has been formed as a fellowship of believers in the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Our supreme desire is to know Christ and to be conformed into His image by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    * We are not a denominational church, nor are we opposed to denominations as such, only their over-emphasis of the doctrinal differences that have led to the division of the Body of Christ.
    * We believe that the only true basis of Christian fellowship is His (Agape) love, which is greater than any differences we possess and without which we have no right to claim ourselves Christians.
    * We believe worship of God should be spiritual. Therefore, we remain flexible and yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit to direct our worship.
    * We believe worship of God should be inspirational. Therefore, we give a great place to music in our worship.
    * We believe worship of God should be intelligent. Therefore, our services are designed with great emphasis upon teaching the Word of God that He might instruct us how He should be worshiped.
    * We believe worship of God is fruitful. Therefore, we look for His love in our lives as the supreme manifestation that we have truly been worshiping Him.

    The assertion, “We are not a denominational church…” is laughable.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I’m thinking Calavary Chapel has to be the biggest denomination within the non-denominationalist camp.

    Go to any Calvary Chapel website (great big long list of ‘em here), and check out their Statement of Faith, or “What We Believe” page. They’re mostly identical:

    Calvary Chapel has been formed as a fellowship of believers in the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Our supreme desire is to know Christ and to be conformed into His image by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    * We are not a denominational church, nor are we opposed to denominations as such, only their over-emphasis of the doctrinal differences that have led to the division of the Body of Christ.
    * We believe that the only true basis of Christian fellowship is His (Agape) love, which is greater than any differences we possess and without which we have no right to claim ourselves Christians.
    * We believe worship of God should be spiritual. Therefore, we remain flexible and yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit to direct our worship.
    * We believe worship of God should be inspirational. Therefore, we give a great place to music in our worship.
    * We believe worship of God should be intelligent. Therefore, our services are designed with great emphasis upon teaching the Word of God that He might instruct us how He should be worshiped.
    * We believe worship of God is fruitful. Therefore, we look for His love in our lives as the supreme manifestation that we have truly been worshiping Him.

    The assertion, “We are not a denominational church…” is laughable.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Mike – it is the same as people who claim to be against tradition – “we have always been against tradition – it is our historical position”.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Mike – it is the same as people who claim to be against tradition – “we have always been against tradition – it is our historical position”.

  • Larry

    “…a small, non-denominational church in suburban Houston that practices (but does not require) paedopabtism. It is moderately Reformed with some Emergent leanings.”

    And I’m not picking on JC, this is tragic. Baptism at length is little more than adiaphra at best or up to personal interpretation at worse.

    Either way no firmness, no Rock, no “pro me”, nothing.

    In reality such really hurts both infant baptism and believers baptism, it says both are really not that big a deal. At length what’s the point of baptism at all one must wonder.

    Luther laments in the confessions over the fact that Christians no longer, during his time, even understand the Lord’s prayer, a true statement for our time too. And now so is gone baptism.

    And here is the irony of it all, it becomes little more than Rome’s “christening” language. Just something you do per tradition, like passing down my grandpa’s pocket knife or something.

    Medieval Rome has become Medieval American Evangeliobaptistireformanism.

    Again, what JC states is 100% accurate, we ourselves have numerous family members in this quasi-doctrinal melange.

    Next stop: All religions save. The logical progression.

  • Larry

    “…a small, non-denominational church in suburban Houston that practices (but does not require) paedopabtism. It is moderately Reformed with some Emergent leanings.”

    And I’m not picking on JC, this is tragic. Baptism at length is little more than adiaphra at best or up to personal interpretation at worse.

    Either way no firmness, no Rock, no “pro me”, nothing.

    In reality such really hurts both infant baptism and believers baptism, it says both are really not that big a deal. At length what’s the point of baptism at all one must wonder.

    Luther laments in the confessions over the fact that Christians no longer, during his time, even understand the Lord’s prayer, a true statement for our time too. And now so is gone baptism.

    And here is the irony of it all, it becomes little more than Rome’s “christening” language. Just something you do per tradition, like passing down my grandpa’s pocket knife or something.

    Medieval Rome has become Medieval American Evangeliobaptistireformanism.

    Again, what JC states is 100% accurate, we ourselves have numerous family members in this quasi-doctrinal melange.

    Next stop: All religions save. The logical progression.

  • DonS

    This is a difficult subject to discuss without generalizing and mischaracterizing. Unfortunately, both the original article and many of the comments on this thread have engaged in a lot of both.

    I believe the nondenominational movement arose because Protestant denominations failed in their mission, as a whole (not all of them). The mainline denominations became hierarchical bureaucracies, soaking up substantial percentages of the offerings received by local churches, and engaging in a lot of cultural “engagement” which was off-putting to many people of faith. To see 20% of your offerings siphoned off to denominational headquarters to support liberal “assemblies” and missions, and anti-Biblical initiatives is very disconcerting. I know I could not in good conscience give my offerings to a church where I knew a portion of those offerings would go to support things that I strongly disagreed with, as well as a lot of bureaucratic waste. Denominations forgot that their mission was to support the local church and its surrounding community, as well as missions to unsaved people. Not to engage in national politics and to scorn biblical teaching.

    So, to blame “nondenominational” churches for the present state of American evangelicalism is to get it completely backward. They arose because of denominational failures.

    Most nondenominational churches identify with a particular doctrinal creed. They want to have control of their affairs at the local level (as a reaction to control being exercised by denominational bureaucrats 100′s or 1000′s of miles away), but that does not mean they dismiss theology or doctrine. What it does mean is they want to decide, at the congregational level, how to use the funds God provides, and they want to call their own pastor, not have one imposed on them. They don’t want to be fighting the political tendencies of a denominational hierarchy. Who can blame them, given the history of denominationalism in the U.S.?

    As for the charge, as Tom @ 6 and Mike @ 15 suggest, that non-denominational churches really aren’t, that is a matter of definition. Specifically concerning Calvary Chapel, it does not hide the fact that it has a common core doctrine, or that the various local churches carrying the name are affiliated in some way. When it claims to be non-denominational, it is speaking of organization. There is no central bureaucracy — each local church fully governs itself and retains its own offerings. There is an accountability among the pastors, but the price to be paid for moral or doctrinal failure is for the local congregation to undertake biblical discipline. Failing that, the church will be stripped of the name.

    There is no question that our media culture has, to a great extent, standardized evangelical Christian doctrine in the U.S. Some of this was good — there is no excuse for the divisions which often rip the Body of Christ. Some of it, though, was the result of a pendulum swinging too far, and I see in our young people a swing back toward more of an interest in doctrinal detail that I think is good. In the young Christian intelligentsia, such as at PHC, much of that movement is toward reformed theology. But, doctrinal study is good, and that will dampen out and normalize over time I believe.

  • DonS

    This is a difficult subject to discuss without generalizing and mischaracterizing. Unfortunately, both the original article and many of the comments on this thread have engaged in a lot of both.

    I believe the nondenominational movement arose because Protestant denominations failed in their mission, as a whole (not all of them). The mainline denominations became hierarchical bureaucracies, soaking up substantial percentages of the offerings received by local churches, and engaging in a lot of cultural “engagement” which was off-putting to many people of faith. To see 20% of your offerings siphoned off to denominational headquarters to support liberal “assemblies” and missions, and anti-Biblical initiatives is very disconcerting. I know I could not in good conscience give my offerings to a church where I knew a portion of those offerings would go to support things that I strongly disagreed with, as well as a lot of bureaucratic waste. Denominations forgot that their mission was to support the local church and its surrounding community, as well as missions to unsaved people. Not to engage in national politics and to scorn biblical teaching.

    So, to blame “nondenominational” churches for the present state of American evangelicalism is to get it completely backward. They arose because of denominational failures.

    Most nondenominational churches identify with a particular doctrinal creed. They want to have control of their affairs at the local level (as a reaction to control being exercised by denominational bureaucrats 100′s or 1000′s of miles away), but that does not mean they dismiss theology or doctrine. What it does mean is they want to decide, at the congregational level, how to use the funds God provides, and they want to call their own pastor, not have one imposed on them. They don’t want to be fighting the political tendencies of a denominational hierarchy. Who can blame them, given the history of denominationalism in the U.S.?

    As for the charge, as Tom @ 6 and Mike @ 15 suggest, that non-denominational churches really aren’t, that is a matter of definition. Specifically concerning Calvary Chapel, it does not hide the fact that it has a common core doctrine, or that the various local churches carrying the name are affiliated in some way. When it claims to be non-denominational, it is speaking of organization. There is no central bureaucracy — each local church fully governs itself and retains its own offerings. There is an accountability among the pastors, but the price to be paid for moral or doctrinal failure is for the local congregation to undertake biblical discipline. Failing that, the church will be stripped of the name.

    There is no question that our media culture has, to a great extent, standardized evangelical Christian doctrine in the U.S. Some of this was good — there is no excuse for the divisions which often rip the Body of Christ. Some of it, though, was the result of a pendulum swinging too far, and I see in our young people a swing back toward more of an interest in doctrinal detail that I think is good. In the young Christian intelligentsia, such as at PHC, much of that movement is toward reformed theology. But, doctrinal study is good, and that will dampen out and normalize over time I believe.

  • Stephen

    Tom @ 9

    That’s it and really my point. But then thinking it through, the “name” is fairly meaningless. It stands for just about nothing, certainly not any doctrine. So in this sense, non-deNOMination may actually be accurate. Calling ourselves Lutheran actually means we have a confession, at least for some Lutherans anyway. It is founded upon sound doctrine that we witness together as a believing church, not, as many think, a person. The name actually signifies something in its confession – the Church of Jesus Christ, as Dr. Veith indicates.

    Non-denominational seems to indicate that one has no name, and as such, no identity. In our religious culture of pluralism, I’d say this adds up to exactly nothing. So yes, it also equates to a delusion, and many are deluded, and become discouraged and eventually adamantly opposed to ANYTHING remotely related to Christianity. Jesus is the enemy to their personal peace precisely because there is no doctrine, no NAME being preached in what is being offered, only a regurgitated version of the self. No sins are forgiven, and the conscience remains distraught and troubled. They see the church as only a place that has increased this misery BECAUSE IT HAS and it has not power to remove it because without any gospel it can’t and hasn’t.

    All the more reason to remain confessional Lutherans in the fog and let others know what that name means. It actually stands for something real – truth.

  • Stephen

    Tom @ 9

    That’s it and really my point. But then thinking it through, the “name” is fairly meaningless. It stands for just about nothing, certainly not any doctrine. So in this sense, non-deNOMination may actually be accurate. Calling ourselves Lutheran actually means we have a confession, at least for some Lutherans anyway. It is founded upon sound doctrine that we witness together as a believing church, not, as many think, a person. The name actually signifies something in its confession – the Church of Jesus Christ, as Dr. Veith indicates.

    Non-denominational seems to indicate that one has no name, and as such, no identity. In our religious culture of pluralism, I’d say this adds up to exactly nothing. So yes, it also equates to a delusion, and many are deluded, and become discouraged and eventually adamantly opposed to ANYTHING remotely related to Christianity. Jesus is the enemy to their personal peace precisely because there is no doctrine, no NAME being preached in what is being offered, only a regurgitated version of the self. No sins are forgiven, and the conscience remains distraught and troubled. They see the church as only a place that has increased this misery BECAUSE IT HAS and it has not power to remove it because without any gospel it can’t and hasn’t.

    All the more reason to remain confessional Lutherans in the fog and let others know what that name means. It actually stands for something real – truth.

  • Stephen

    What Larry describes is also true for Texas with a heavy blending of Methodism in practice, a kind of emphasis on revivalism and piety. A second look at the last few lines of Dr. Veith’s comments above, it occurs to me that something I noticed the last time I was in a large Baptist church (still keeping the name) was the lack of Trinitarian language. “Lack” is perhaps not the right way to say it, but there are prayers to “father god” and “in your name we pray” sorts of things and lots of talk about “God” and what he likes or wants or wills, and Jesus saying and doing things and how he loves you so you ought to do similar things as Jesus, but it is a stew of this sort of thing. One seems left to put a lot of pieces together, and it is unclear in all of it who or what or where God actually is. There certainly is no invocation or sense that now we are in the presence of the Triune God and it is this One that we worship here. I’ve never gotten that or seen it or heard it in many adventures into these kinds of baptistic/methodistic churches – ever.

    So, to wonder if this is somehow the amalgamation of the church in to one unified whole, well, I see exactly the opposite. It is the dilution of the church into something else – a masquerade for the worship of the self, for lack of a better metaphor. Without the name of the one, true God it is in vain. It is idolatry. Wherever we seek to be justified by our works and this infiltrates into faith, that’s what we end up with. Satan hath the power to assume a pleasing shape, even when that shape is called “Christianity.”

  • Stephen

    What Larry describes is also true for Texas with a heavy blending of Methodism in practice, a kind of emphasis on revivalism and piety. A second look at the last few lines of Dr. Veith’s comments above, it occurs to me that something I noticed the last time I was in a large Baptist church (still keeping the name) was the lack of Trinitarian language. “Lack” is perhaps not the right way to say it, but there are prayers to “father god” and “in your name we pray” sorts of things and lots of talk about “God” and what he likes or wants or wills, and Jesus saying and doing things and how he loves you so you ought to do similar things as Jesus, but it is a stew of this sort of thing. One seems left to put a lot of pieces together, and it is unclear in all of it who or what or where God actually is. There certainly is no invocation or sense that now we are in the presence of the Triune God and it is this One that we worship here. I’ve never gotten that or seen it or heard it in many adventures into these kinds of baptistic/methodistic churches – ever.

    So, to wonder if this is somehow the amalgamation of the church in to one unified whole, well, I see exactly the opposite. It is the dilution of the church into something else – a masquerade for the worship of the self, for lack of a better metaphor. Without the name of the one, true God it is in vain. It is idolatry. Wherever we seek to be justified by our works and this infiltrates into faith, that’s what we end up with. Satan hath the power to assume a pleasing shape, even when that shape is called “Christianity.”

  • Andy

    This is a bit random, but on the note of denominations: Is the new book “Power, Politics, and the Missouri Synod” on anyone’s radar? It just came out last week, courtesy Fortress Press. It takes a look at the LCMS, the Seminex controversy, and the impact this has had on the synod and its association with what most would call the ‘religious right.’

    Dr. Veith, I would be curious to hear your take on the book.

  • Andy

    This is a bit random, but on the note of denominations: Is the new book “Power, Politics, and the Missouri Synod” on anyone’s radar? It just came out last week, courtesy Fortress Press. It takes a look at the LCMS, the Seminex controversy, and the impact this has had on the synod and its association with what most would call the ‘religious right.’

    Dr. Veith, I would be curious to hear your take on the book.

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

    Non-denominationalisn is fundamentally dishonest.

    They claim “no particular point of view”? They are just going by what the Bible says.

    Right.

    Everybody (Christians) uses the Bible!!!

    They just desire to play upon many people’s dislike of traditional church, and in an effort to fill the auditorium chairs, they are letting people who don’t care about the Church, redefine the church.

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

    Non-denominationalisn is fundamentally dishonest.

    They claim “no particular point of view”? They are just going by what the Bible says.

    Right.

    Everybody (Christians) uses the Bible!!!

    They just desire to play upon many people’s dislike of traditional church, and in an effort to fill the auditorium chairs, they are letting people who don’t care about the Church, redefine the church.

  • Bob E.

    Re: Consumerism in church
    Was talking to a younger member of our congregation the other day and they remarked how our congregation seemed less friendly because there aren’t “fun” things for them to do there, like pizza parties, movie nights, etc. And he never gets invited to any other member’s homes, etc. I remarked, “So how many other members have you invited to your home?” He looked blankly back. This seems common among the youngers, “Ask what my church can do for me, not what I can do for my church.” JFK pardon me. Any other comments like this?

  • Bob E.

    Re: Consumerism in church
    Was talking to a younger member of our congregation the other day and they remarked how our congregation seemed less friendly because there aren’t “fun” things for them to do there, like pizza parties, movie nights, etc. And he never gets invited to any other member’s homes, etc. I remarked, “So how many other members have you invited to your home?” He looked blankly back. This seems common among the youngers, “Ask what my church can do for me, not what I can do for my church.” JFK pardon me. Any other comments like this?

  • Larry

    Stephen picks up on a “rubber of doctrine meet road of practice” when he said, “…the lack of Trinitarian language”

    My wife and I slowly noticed that. It took a while being in the Lutheran church to pick up on it because when you’ve been raised more or less Baptist all you life you suppose, “this must be the way it is” and never ponder its implications (i.e. a fish not knowing he’s all wet). It was about 6 months into our confessional Lutheran church we both commented to each other, “Do you notice how the confession for the Trinity is always there, in the liturgy, in the hymns…etc…there’s no doubt Who you’ve come to worship (i.e. a Mormon, JW or Muslim would not get confused in a Lutheran church).”

    In fact it is so obvious one could test it. Outside of the baptismal formula during an actual baptism you will not likely hear of the Trinity. In fact should a “pastor” in a Baptist church evoke, “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, even a time or two other than in baptism they’d get labeled as non-baptist very fast. Unless it was explicitly a one time preaching deal on the Trinity. I’m not saying they deny the Trinity, not at all, but what’s the best way to describe this, it’s a religion of deprivation. If they hear, as some friends of ours visiting when we were PCA, the Apostle’s Creed confessed they react, “That’s Roman Catholic”. You can completely forget about the Nicene Creed. It’s that knee jerk in 99% of SB quarters. The hymns, and I mean the good one’s not the ‘girl friend’ music, are notably lacking of Trinitarian nature.

    Doctrine, the lack there of or the false there of, has single handedly led to this. This just scratches the surface, there is NO deep teaching of the things of Christ, the Lord’s Prayer is not used much if at all and if so, nothing of it understood (i.e. a religion of deprivation). The sacraments, its way worse. And it is not just the worst case churches, it’s the best offered. The non-denominationals merely have no captured creed, maybe a mission statement. But even if you go to the “better” take the Word conservatively serious church that might have an official creed, of such they are all over the maps (just visit the Founders web page, one of the better ones. Then visit the churches). One church confesses the SB F & M, another the LBCF (which year), Chicago, others state “the full council of God or the Bible” (yea but right!), some homemade ones now days are popping up. Some rebaptize from door to door, my wife had four such baptisms, two door to door and one “when she “really” got saved”. The children are taught circuitously in the baptist confusion that they are not really Christians, not baptized, but yet they are involved in missions (a REAL head scratcher)? One hits chaos way before one gets to official “non-denominational”. Most open their communion doors others practice a minimal closed communion.

    Non-denominational, shouldn’t be blamed, they are in fact the logical progression of this very movement that begun way back in Luther’s day, the ball is just more unraveled now days than say 200 years ago when there was a bit of a tighter winding, though unwinding confessionally speaking. A pastor, surprise surprise, has no authority whatsoever and is almost never taken seriously, absolution is utterly non-existent in such, but they will “pray with you for salvation” (the blind leading the blind). The laity are in such disrepair they are all over the maps, that’s why the hop around (can’t blame them too much, its been drilled into their heads that doctrine doesn’t matter much by the leadership), from church to church not even asking doctrinal question like “What is your confession for the hope that you have”.

    My buddies church, about as decent a Gospel you can get and still half-way remain baptist (think like Ken Jones), has dealt with many that finally come to his church terrorized over their salvation (that’s what it takes) running from this Baptist church or that PCA church (and LOT of them are coming from ex-MacArthur/Piper heavy churches and not necessarily Warren like churches, one might ask, ‘why are they loosing the Gospel and terrorized in such a fine doctrinally sound conservative baptist church?’).
    Here in Kentucky and it sounds like Texas too, one can literally within a very small town, I mean a one stop light town, find numerous “baptist churches”. Why don’t they commune together, it’s never about size or such? If it’s not over essential doctrines then that’s true sectarianism.

    Our own family is split down the two heresy trail with arminian baptist on one side and “Calvinistic” baptist on the other, ironically the later has lost the Gospel altogether other than the shake of the head if directly asked, “do you preach and teach the Gospel”, more than the former who retain some vestige of it up front at least.

    Perhaps the silver lining, if there is one, in non-denominational is that they end up wiping the doctrinal slate clean a bit and begin to investigate these strange confessions they never heard of before.

  • Larry

    Stephen picks up on a “rubber of doctrine meet road of practice” when he said, “…the lack of Trinitarian language”

    My wife and I slowly noticed that. It took a while being in the Lutheran church to pick up on it because when you’ve been raised more or less Baptist all you life you suppose, “this must be the way it is” and never ponder its implications (i.e. a fish not knowing he’s all wet). It was about 6 months into our confessional Lutheran church we both commented to each other, “Do you notice how the confession for the Trinity is always there, in the liturgy, in the hymns…etc…there’s no doubt Who you’ve come to worship (i.e. a Mormon, JW or Muslim would not get confused in a Lutheran church).”

    In fact it is so obvious one could test it. Outside of the baptismal formula during an actual baptism you will not likely hear of the Trinity. In fact should a “pastor” in a Baptist church evoke, “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, even a time or two other than in baptism they’d get labeled as non-baptist very fast. Unless it was explicitly a one time preaching deal on the Trinity. I’m not saying they deny the Trinity, not at all, but what’s the best way to describe this, it’s a religion of deprivation. If they hear, as some friends of ours visiting when we were PCA, the Apostle’s Creed confessed they react, “That’s Roman Catholic”. You can completely forget about the Nicene Creed. It’s that knee jerk in 99% of SB quarters. The hymns, and I mean the good one’s not the ‘girl friend’ music, are notably lacking of Trinitarian nature.

    Doctrine, the lack there of or the false there of, has single handedly led to this. This just scratches the surface, there is NO deep teaching of the things of Christ, the Lord’s Prayer is not used much if at all and if so, nothing of it understood (i.e. a religion of deprivation). The sacraments, its way worse. And it is not just the worst case churches, it’s the best offered. The non-denominationals merely have no captured creed, maybe a mission statement. But even if you go to the “better” take the Word conservatively serious church that might have an official creed, of such they are all over the maps (just visit the Founders web page, one of the better ones. Then visit the churches). One church confesses the SB F & M, another the LBCF (which year), Chicago, others state “the full council of God or the Bible” (yea but right!), some homemade ones now days are popping up. Some rebaptize from door to door, my wife had four such baptisms, two door to door and one “when she “really” got saved”. The children are taught circuitously in the baptist confusion that they are not really Christians, not baptized, but yet they are involved in missions (a REAL head scratcher)? One hits chaos way before one gets to official “non-denominational”. Most open their communion doors others practice a minimal closed communion.

    Non-denominational, shouldn’t be blamed, they are in fact the logical progression of this very movement that begun way back in Luther’s day, the ball is just more unraveled now days than say 200 years ago when there was a bit of a tighter winding, though unwinding confessionally speaking. A pastor, surprise surprise, has no authority whatsoever and is almost never taken seriously, absolution is utterly non-existent in such, but they will “pray with you for salvation” (the blind leading the blind). The laity are in such disrepair they are all over the maps, that’s why the hop around (can’t blame them too much, its been drilled into their heads that doctrine doesn’t matter much by the leadership), from church to church not even asking doctrinal question like “What is your confession for the hope that you have”.

    My buddies church, about as decent a Gospel you can get and still half-way remain baptist (think like Ken Jones), has dealt with many that finally come to his church terrorized over their salvation (that’s what it takes) running from this Baptist church or that PCA church (and LOT of them are coming from ex-MacArthur/Piper heavy churches and not necessarily Warren like churches, one might ask, ‘why are they loosing the Gospel and terrorized in such a fine doctrinally sound conservative baptist church?’).
    Here in Kentucky and it sounds like Texas too, one can literally within a very small town, I mean a one stop light town, find numerous “baptist churches”. Why don’t they commune together, it’s never about size or such? If it’s not over essential doctrines then that’s true sectarianism.

    Our own family is split down the two heresy trail with arminian baptist on one side and “Calvinistic” baptist on the other, ironically the later has lost the Gospel altogether other than the shake of the head if directly asked, “do you preach and teach the Gospel”, more than the former who retain some vestige of it up front at least.

    Perhaps the silver lining, if there is one, in non-denominational is that they end up wiping the doctrinal slate clean a bit and begin to investigate these strange confessions they never heard of before.

  • SKPeterson

    DonS @18 – I agree that denominations have had many failings over the years (they are populated with people), but Lutheranism has had these movements currently and in the not-so-distant past: LCMC, TAALC, AFLC. What is the difference between these bodies and the nondenominationals? I would argue that they all adhere to a core set of beliefs (the Confessions) that the nondenoms especially appear to be afraid of. Calvary Chapel may be the exception and not the rule, here.

  • SKPeterson

    DonS @18 – I agree that denominations have had many failings over the years (they are populated with people), but Lutheranism has had these movements currently and in the not-so-distant past: LCMC, TAALC, AFLC. What is the difference between these bodies and the nondenominationals? I would argue that they all adhere to a core set of beliefs (the Confessions) that the nondenoms especially appear to be afraid of. Calvary Chapel may be the exception and not the rule, here.

  • Dust

    Andy at 19…..check out “Anatomy of an Explosion” by Kurt Marquardt (sp?) for an analysis of the roots and causes of Seminex, going back several generations before the you-know-what hit the Missouri fan.

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    Andy at 19…..check out “Anatomy of an Explosion” by Kurt Marquardt (sp?) for an analysis of the roots and causes of Seminex, going back several generations before the you-know-what hit the Missouri fan.

    Cheers!

  • Tom Hering

    Lutheranism focuses on feeding the sheep. Non-denoms focus on evangelism, which turns out to be mostly sheep-stealing. Of course, a lot of sheep willingly run off to the non-denoms, because new converts are the focus of attention there. Until they’re not so new anymore. Then …

  • Tom Hering

    Lutheranism focuses on feeding the sheep. Non-denoms focus on evangelism, which turns out to be mostly sheep-stealing. Of course, a lot of sheep willingly run off to the non-denoms, because new converts are the focus of attention there. Until they’re not so new anymore. Then …

  • DonS

    SKP @ 25: Are we talking about Lutherans vs. non-Lutherans, or are we talking about denominations vs. churches which claim to be nondenominational? I was talking about the latter.

    I think you will find that almost every “nondenominational” church has a creed, or doctrinal statement. In that respect, it is no different than a denominational creed, except that it is developed and established at the level of the local church, rather than at the level of a hierarchical denominational organization.

    My point, above, is that nondenominational churches exploded in growth because denominations: 1) became top-heavy and bureaucratic, and 2) discarded their creeds in the effort to be culturally relevant. Parishioners and leaders at the local church level no longer wished to support these denominational albatrosses. They also didn’t appreciate losing their pastor and having another one imposed on them at the whim 0f denominational bureaucrats, as I know happens in certain denominations. They wanted local control.

    What you appear to be focused on, instead, is the separate issue of confessional churches vs. those which have a less orthodox doctrine and style of worship. Those are separate issues not really related to the issue of denom. vs. non-denom.

  • DonS

    SKP @ 25: Are we talking about Lutherans vs. non-Lutherans, or are we talking about denominations vs. churches which claim to be nondenominational? I was talking about the latter.

    I think you will find that almost every “nondenominational” church has a creed, or doctrinal statement. In that respect, it is no different than a denominational creed, except that it is developed and established at the level of the local church, rather than at the level of a hierarchical denominational organization.

    My point, above, is that nondenominational churches exploded in growth because denominations: 1) became top-heavy and bureaucratic, and 2) discarded their creeds in the effort to be culturally relevant. Parishioners and leaders at the local church level no longer wished to support these denominational albatrosses. They also didn’t appreciate losing their pastor and having another one imposed on them at the whim 0f denominational bureaucrats, as I know happens in certain denominations. They wanted local control.

    What you appear to be focused on, instead, is the separate issue of confessional churches vs. those which have a less orthodox doctrine and style of worship. Those are separate issues not really related to the issue of denom. vs. non-denom.

  • DonS

    SKP — as I ready again your post @ 25 and my post @ 28, I realize that we may be talking past each other a bit because I am not familiar with the alphabet :-) movements you referenced. So let me clarify — non-denominational doesn’t necessarily mean non-confessional, does it? Do you need a hierarchical bureaucratic denominational structure to be confessional? Denominations are viewed as failures by many Christians because they failed to adhere to or support their own confessions in many, and perhaps most, instances. On the other hand, being a denomination doesn’t mean you are confessional (e.g. SBC). So, they are separate issues — the article is referencing the abandonment of denominational hierarchy, not the abandonment of confessional worship. Hopefully, this clarifies things.

  • DonS

    SKP — as I ready again your post @ 25 and my post @ 28, I realize that we may be talking past each other a bit because I am not familiar with the alphabet :-) movements you referenced. So let me clarify — non-denominational doesn’t necessarily mean non-confessional, does it? Do you need a hierarchical bureaucratic denominational structure to be confessional? Denominations are viewed as failures by many Christians because they failed to adhere to or support their own confessions in many, and perhaps most, instances. On the other hand, being a denomination doesn’t mean you are confessional (e.g. SBC). So, they are separate issues — the article is referencing the abandonment of denominational hierarchy, not the abandonment of confessional worship. Hopefully, this clarifies things.

  • Stephen

    We also have a mobile society. My dad was an LCMS pastor, but when he took a call as a chaplain and we moved halfway across the country when I was a kid, there was no “church shopping”at all – we went immediately to the nearest LCMS church. That was it. And we stayed, that is, until the pastor started preaching liberal theology and talking more about God, God, God and less about Jesus. It’s the same reason I left the ELCA as a matter of fact.

    The paradigm used to be that way, now the member/believer experience is at the center. They go through a process of shopping for the best possible option – this one is closer, but they do not have a pastor I like very much, that one is further, but they have a school for my kids, that one has great music but bad preaching, etc. Only one thing ought to drive one away from a church or draw one to it – the presence of the Holy Gospel in word and sacrament. Everything else is about going there to serve rather than to be served. But it is all backwards in the these United States it seems. “What is in it for me?” is the main question. That may be a good one, as long as it has to do with the forgiveness of sin.

  • Stephen

    We also have a mobile society. My dad was an LCMS pastor, but when he took a call as a chaplain and we moved halfway across the country when I was a kid, there was no “church shopping”at all – we went immediately to the nearest LCMS church. That was it. And we stayed, that is, until the pastor started preaching liberal theology and talking more about God, God, God and less about Jesus. It’s the same reason I left the ELCA as a matter of fact.

    The paradigm used to be that way, now the member/believer experience is at the center. They go through a process of shopping for the best possible option – this one is closer, but they do not have a pastor I like very much, that one is further, but they have a school for my kids, that one has great music but bad preaching, etc. Only one thing ought to drive one away from a church or draw one to it – the presence of the Holy Gospel in word and sacrament. Everything else is about going there to serve rather than to be served. But it is all backwards in the these United States it seems. “What is in it for me?” is the main question. That may be a good one, as long as it has to do with the forgiveness of sin.

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

    It is a sad situation.

    I drive past many ELCA churches where they have thrown God’s law and gospel out the window in favor of a radical inclusivity (with the best of intentions) and altruism.

    I also drive past many LCMS churches who believe in the 3rd use and inerrant text in Scripture and shackle people (with the best of intentions) with that stuff.

    So I drive 40 minutes past dozens of churches, all to hear the Word preached (law and gospel) and receive the Sacraments, with NO Add On’s…no strings.

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

    It is a sad situation.

    I drive past many ELCA churches where they have thrown God’s law and gospel out the window in favor of a radical inclusivity (with the best of intentions) and altruism.

    I also drive past many LCMS churches who believe in the 3rd use and inerrant text in Scripture and shackle people (with the best of intentions) with that stuff.

    So I drive 40 minutes past dozens of churches, all to hear the Word preached (law and gospel) and receive the Sacraments, with NO Add On’s…no strings.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Generally speaking, non-denominational churches are “pentecostal-lite,” or sometimes outright pentecostal. At best, they hold to the barest, most stripped-down set of Biblical doctrines, and put much emphasis on a euphoric emotionalism during the music part of a worship service. There is also a strong emphasis on an experiential relationship with God, with the Scriptures at times being used to support the experience, rather than extracting doctrine from Scripture and holding fast to that rather than experience. In short, a lot of what’s in these churches (not all, mind you, but more than are willing to admit it) is very man-centered.

    The sad thing is that a lot of denominational churches are trying to incorporate methods from non-denominational churches for the sake of being “relevant” (and I’m getting sick of that idea as well). The Nazarene church I attend is starting to slip into this, and I’ve noticed it in the music as well as the pastor’s preaching. It’s very dismaying to see.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Generally speaking, non-denominational churches are “pentecostal-lite,” or sometimes outright pentecostal. At best, they hold to the barest, most stripped-down set of Biblical doctrines, and put much emphasis on a euphoric emotionalism during the music part of a worship service. There is also a strong emphasis on an experiential relationship with God, with the Scriptures at times being used to support the experience, rather than extracting doctrine from Scripture and holding fast to that rather than experience. In short, a lot of what’s in these churches (not all, mind you, but more than are willing to admit it) is very man-centered.

    The sad thing is that a lot of denominational churches are trying to incorporate methods from non-denominational churches for the sake of being “relevant” (and I’m getting sick of that idea as well). The Nazarene church I attend is starting to slip into this, and I’ve noticed it in the music as well as the pastor’s preaching. It’s very dismaying to see.

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

    J. Dean,

    Maybe it’s none of my business, but I think you ought let that preacher know it when he veers of the gospel and onto ‘what we should, ought, must be doing’ ( a hallmark of man-centered preaching) track.

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

    J. Dean,

    Maybe it’s none of my business, but I think you ought let that preacher know it when he veers of the gospel and onto ‘what we should, ought, must be doing’ ( a hallmark of man-centered preaching) track.

  • Stephen

    I think I agree with DonS assessment to the extent that the church hierarchies become insensitive to the needs of congregations and are seen as wasteful or unfaithful in this or that way, eventually driving denominations apart. This is happening in the ELCA. It has already spawned the NALC, what I would call a protest movement that itself claims to be confessional and more congregational. What these protests are, however, are generally just that – protest movements in the negative only on a few doctrinal issues and so by definition are sectarian. To be fair, in the case of the NALC, there does seem to be some attempt to “reform” things in some fashion, but it seems largely busy doing a critique of its parent. They talk a lot about polity and how it will be different, not much about the Confessions that I’ve noticed. Then again, how pure is pure? In the 60s, the LCMS lost people because of Boy Scout troops meeting in church basements. They now have women reading lessons at the lectern and serving on church councils. Getting pretty liberal!

    “Critique” is how some have assessed the Lutheran Confessions against Catholicism, but this assessment barely covers what they actually are. They do perform an autopsy, top to bottom, showing why something called scholastic theology needed to die so the pure light of the gospel could be preached. That’s just one thing they do quite well, but they also clear the way so that in everything Christ is made known. I guess that’s another discussion perhaps.

    This phenomenon of negative critique seems true for most of these “churches” which say “we’re Christian, but we’re not like all the rest” (Larry describes this a little too) yet they do not have any thoroughgoing doctrine. What they survive on largely is usually the charisma of their leadership and the bits and pieces of what they’ve salvaged from those they have rejected. If you read the Book of Concord, what you find instead is deep mining for what the church has always possessed in every point of doctrine, but things which Catholicism had buried beneath 1500 years of the papacy. When Luther nailed the 95 thesis to the door, he was not just saying that the selling of indulgences were a bad thing. He was saying something far more. He was asking why would the church ever need to do such a thing when it had the holy gospel to forgive sins and set people free. He was bringing forward the free grace that was and had always been there and not just protesting against what was bad. I think a lot of these non-denominational churches cut off the nose to spite the face, removing not only hierarchies, but doctrine and practice that brings the gospel to people, replacing it with what people like based on a consumer model that puts the customer and their pleasure at the center, which has nothing to do with Jesus being all in all.

    So, bring on the upbeat praise music with the chorus after chorus about everything I’m gonna do for God and how I’m gonna lavish all this attention and praise on Him, instead of hymnody that once proclaimed the gospel to us in words that told of the works of the Triune God. Preachers are now telling us how we can improve our lives and be champions ’cause we got Jesus, instead of how we look at life and find that it honestly is not really improving all that much and we are headed for the grave but Christ has claimed us, we are forgiven. Which is true?

    I think what is being lost is the name of God, and that matters more than anything. His name has become vain. Art I. Doctrine of God. Without that, there is no church.

  • Stephen

    I think I agree with DonS assessment to the extent that the church hierarchies become insensitive to the needs of congregations and are seen as wasteful or unfaithful in this or that way, eventually driving denominations apart. This is happening in the ELCA. It has already spawned the NALC, what I would call a protest movement that itself claims to be confessional and more congregational. What these protests are, however, are generally just that – protest movements in the negative only on a few doctrinal issues and so by definition are sectarian. To be fair, in the case of the NALC, there does seem to be some attempt to “reform” things in some fashion, but it seems largely busy doing a critique of its parent. They talk a lot about polity and how it will be different, not much about the Confessions that I’ve noticed. Then again, how pure is pure? In the 60s, the LCMS lost people because of Boy Scout troops meeting in church basements. They now have women reading lessons at the lectern and serving on church councils. Getting pretty liberal!

    “Critique” is how some have assessed the Lutheran Confessions against Catholicism, but this assessment barely covers what they actually are. They do perform an autopsy, top to bottom, showing why something called scholastic theology needed to die so the pure light of the gospel could be preached. That’s just one thing they do quite well, but they also clear the way so that in everything Christ is made known. I guess that’s another discussion perhaps.

    This phenomenon of negative critique seems true for most of these “churches” which say “we’re Christian, but we’re not like all the rest” (Larry describes this a little too) yet they do not have any thoroughgoing doctrine. What they survive on largely is usually the charisma of their leadership and the bits and pieces of what they’ve salvaged from those they have rejected. If you read the Book of Concord, what you find instead is deep mining for what the church has always possessed in every point of doctrine, but things which Catholicism had buried beneath 1500 years of the papacy. When Luther nailed the 95 thesis to the door, he was not just saying that the selling of indulgences were a bad thing. He was saying something far more. He was asking why would the church ever need to do such a thing when it had the holy gospel to forgive sins and set people free. He was bringing forward the free grace that was and had always been there and not just protesting against what was bad. I think a lot of these non-denominational churches cut off the nose to spite the face, removing not only hierarchies, but doctrine and practice that brings the gospel to people, replacing it with what people like based on a consumer model that puts the customer and their pleasure at the center, which has nothing to do with Jesus being all in all.

    So, bring on the upbeat praise music with the chorus after chorus about everything I’m gonna do for God and how I’m gonna lavish all this attention and praise on Him, instead of hymnody that once proclaimed the gospel to us in words that told of the works of the Triune God. Preachers are now telling us how we can improve our lives and be champions ’cause we got Jesus, instead of how we look at life and find that it honestly is not really improving all that much and we are headed for the grave but Christ has claimed us, we are forgiven. Which is true?

    I think what is being lost is the name of God, and that matters more than anything. His name has become vain. Art I. Doctrine of God. Without that, there is no church.

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    I have experienced a number of these non-denominationl Churches in one facet or another. I have not been a member of any but one, years ago. It was Pentacostal/Charismatic. But I have come to learn that most of the so-called or seemingly non-denominational Churches in the area actually belong to a denomination (but they keep it hidden, ssshhh, it’s a secret). One is a Presbyterian Church – and I heard that many people start going, they become regular attenders, then they baptize a baby. And all those attenders with a Baptist background say “what is going on?” and then they leave and never return. Two are Methodist Churches, both of which may well qualify as mega-Churches (Kirby John Caldwell -ever heard of him? recently dropped the Methodist and now is just whatever). I believe most in the area are generally Baptist (if not officially, then doctrinally) and Charismatic/Word-Faith. Of course we the Joel Osteem Self-Esteem Center and Basketball Stadium (where I once saw the B-52s in concert).
    Lutherans need to be faithful to their roots, eventually this massive tide of meaninglessness is going to dissipate and people are going to be looking for the authentic. I’ve heard that the Orthodox Church is growing (and I suspect because people are looking for something historic/real). Lutherans have the awesome truth of Christ crucified for our sins, salvation by grace through faith (and it’s not just a doctrinal statement, but many actually preach it), so there is no reason why the Orthodox Church should be getting those who are looking for authenticity. The Lutheran Church has an amazing treasure – they just need to get the message out better (don’t change the message, stick to it, but get it out there)!

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    I have experienced a number of these non-denominationl Churches in one facet or another. I have not been a member of any but one, years ago. It was Pentacostal/Charismatic. But I have come to learn that most of the so-called or seemingly non-denominational Churches in the area actually belong to a denomination (but they keep it hidden, ssshhh, it’s a secret). One is a Presbyterian Church – and I heard that many people start going, they become regular attenders, then they baptize a baby. And all those attenders with a Baptist background say “what is going on?” and then they leave and never return. Two are Methodist Churches, both of which may well qualify as mega-Churches (Kirby John Caldwell -ever heard of him? recently dropped the Methodist and now is just whatever). I believe most in the area are generally Baptist (if not officially, then doctrinally) and Charismatic/Word-Faith. Of course we the Joel Osteem Self-Esteem Center and Basketball Stadium (where I once saw the B-52s in concert).
    Lutherans need to be faithful to their roots, eventually this massive tide of meaninglessness is going to dissipate and people are going to be looking for the authentic. I’ve heard that the Orthodox Church is growing (and I suspect because people are looking for something historic/real). Lutherans have the awesome truth of Christ crucified for our sins, salvation by grace through faith (and it’s not just a doctrinal statement, but many actually preach it), so there is no reason why the Orthodox Church should be getting those who are looking for authenticity. The Lutheran Church has an amazing treasure – they just need to get the message out better (don’t change the message, stick to it, but get it out there)!

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

    “The Lutheran Church has an amazing treasure – they just need to get the message out better (don’t change the message, stick to it, but get it out there)!”

    Well said, moallen !

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

    “The Lutheran Church has an amazing treasure – they just need to get the message out better (don’t change the message, stick to it, but get it out there)!”

    Well said, moallen !

  • Larry

    DonS,

    I think we do to some degree have to pull apart the difference from primarily whence a non-denominational group came. Here’s what I mean, you speak of them tiring of the large top-heavy and bureaucratic system; Parishioners and leaders at the local church level no longer wished to support these denominational albatrosses; they also didn’t appreciate losing their pastor and having another one imposed on them at the whim of denominational bureaucrats, as I know happens in certain denominations”

    That’s probably more true in a say Methodist derivative or some such non-denom. Here’s what I mean. When I was a baptist and visited my friends Methodist church it was a learning experience that the upper system (e.g. synod, whatever) basically decided one’s pastor. That was utterly foreign to me as a baptist, and all baptist can testify to this fact. The pastor in any local given baptist church is purely chosen by the local church, the system in this sense is already extremely autonomous. Most denominations don’t experience or have that level of autonomy. E.g. the Baptist SB Convention is not akin to a synod or some such governing body, it is more akin to a true union. The only requirement for membership is to basically pay the dues, that’s it.

    Thus, the move for most baptistic churches, SB in particular, is not usually autonomy. That they already have by their very definition of and application of “what is a local church”. One might say they are utterly autonomous in that sense. Pastor’s come and go pretty much at their own timing along with, of course, the oversight acceptance of the local church. The SBC has no authority whatsoever, nor the more regional state conventions, over the local congregation or the pastor they invite to apply for the job. There is no TOP authority or requirement at all, all is local. That’s why you can have a “southern baptist church” that confesses locally as its official confession the SB F & M, LBCF, Chicago, some other, or just a blanket statement “the bible”. Arminianism and Calvinism, along with mixtures and shades in between – co-exist within the convention, heavy charisma versus heavy rationalism and shades in between, charismatic Calvinist versus non-charismatic Calvinist often within a single congregation. The criteria upon which one congregation/pastor may re-baptize would not pass the muster in another congregation or would not happen in yet another SB church. Who and at what age a cognizant child (in their definition), teenager is baptized, the criteria of “reading who is actually elected (Calvinist lingo), saved (more arminian style lingo), truly regenerate (both use this one, it in fact is more standard baptist lingo) varies from door to door, pastor to pastor, and if they exist elder to elder (elders are more rare today). And one could go on an on to show the utter local autonomy.

    Thus, the motivation from the baptist perspective to a move to non-denominational is rarely if at all for more “autonomy”. Rather the temptation is usually growth in some form or another. The more arminian styled baptist theologies want to “get more people in and saved” and they race toward the growth movement’s techniques of which being more or less “non-denom.” as to label is more of a technique than a “big move”. They don’t like the baggage the term Baptist often carries with it, often for various reasons. The more conservative arminians (E.g. Paige Patterson) and Calvinist or rather TULIP leaning baptist (e.g. Al Mohler) hate this, its getting away from a core baptist belief, “the truly regenerate church”. They wish to move more in the direction (hypothetically) of doctrine. But this kills their numbers. So they usually at length succumb to growth movement techniques in a more subdued way (e.g. they may not change the denom. Title, but they surely don’t hold to strongly to any one confession).
    The root motivation for ALL moves to non-denom. is a wish to not suffer the cross bearing of getting smaller, becoming less relevant (as the world sees it), becoming outdated, out moded, small in number and influence, etc… That temptation is at the root of all denominations that entertain this idea of church growth that can include a move to non-denominational. Non-denominational can be explicit and official, i.e. a church says so and does so; or implicit and unofficial, i.e. a church remains X officially and doesn’t deny its left the denomination. But it has forsaken its confession non-the-less even if they still retain a dusty old copy in the new coffee shop. The later want the plausible deniability to say, ‘We aint left the denomination and we confess that dusty old book(let) over there’, yet, ‘we’ll deny it at a drop of the hat if it bothers you and by doing so will get you in the door’. In this sense the Calvinistic, baptistic, even Lutheran churches that just leave and officially say, “now we are non-denom.” are at least more open and honest about it – at least its an enemy one can see. Like Patton once said, “I’d rather have the German army in front of me than the French army behind me”. Same thing here.

    The root drive to all this church growth of which non-denom. is but a part is the refusal to suffer the cross of becoming less in some way (usually numbers and influence some how), and I’ve seen this very much involved at the baptist level when there at multiple churches, still do since all our family are baptist and in the ministry directly; I saw it, to my genuine shock, in the PCA when we made the move there; and I’ve heard whispers of it in the LCMS, again to my shock. When this happens doctrine will surely begin to erode and go, along with it confessions, then bible becomes pliable and malleable all along with saying “Bible only” and so called “sola scriptura”.

    This issue is intrinsic to the title of the article, an almost jealous title, “The Second Biggest Denomination…”. Numbers and influence is at the head of the title of this article, as is the entire basis of the article. = not suffering the cross, “If you are the Son of God, get us down off of these crosses”, said the unbelieving theif.

    Thus, Sprouls point of “when the pulpit goes…the doctrine is soon to follow”.

  • Larry

    DonS,

    I think we do to some degree have to pull apart the difference from primarily whence a non-denominational group came. Here’s what I mean, you speak of them tiring of the large top-heavy and bureaucratic system; Parishioners and leaders at the local church level no longer wished to support these denominational albatrosses; they also didn’t appreciate losing their pastor and having another one imposed on them at the whim of denominational bureaucrats, as I know happens in certain denominations”

    That’s probably more true in a say Methodist derivative or some such non-denom. Here’s what I mean. When I was a baptist and visited my friends Methodist church it was a learning experience that the upper system (e.g. synod, whatever) basically decided one’s pastor. That was utterly foreign to me as a baptist, and all baptist can testify to this fact. The pastor in any local given baptist church is purely chosen by the local church, the system in this sense is already extremely autonomous. Most denominations don’t experience or have that level of autonomy. E.g. the Baptist SB Convention is not akin to a synod or some such governing body, it is more akin to a true union. The only requirement for membership is to basically pay the dues, that’s it.

    Thus, the move for most baptistic churches, SB in particular, is not usually autonomy. That they already have by their very definition of and application of “what is a local church”. One might say they are utterly autonomous in that sense. Pastor’s come and go pretty much at their own timing along with, of course, the oversight acceptance of the local church. The SBC has no authority whatsoever, nor the more regional state conventions, over the local congregation or the pastor they invite to apply for the job. There is no TOP authority or requirement at all, all is local. That’s why you can have a “southern baptist church” that confesses locally as its official confession the SB F & M, LBCF, Chicago, some other, or just a blanket statement “the bible”. Arminianism and Calvinism, along with mixtures and shades in between – co-exist within the convention, heavy charisma versus heavy rationalism and shades in between, charismatic Calvinist versus non-charismatic Calvinist often within a single congregation. The criteria upon which one congregation/pastor may re-baptize would not pass the muster in another congregation or would not happen in yet another SB church. Who and at what age a cognizant child (in their definition), teenager is baptized, the criteria of “reading who is actually elected (Calvinist lingo), saved (more arminian style lingo), truly regenerate (both use this one, it in fact is more standard baptist lingo) varies from door to door, pastor to pastor, and if they exist elder to elder (elders are more rare today). And one could go on an on to show the utter local autonomy.

    Thus, the motivation from the baptist perspective to a move to non-denominational is rarely if at all for more “autonomy”. Rather the temptation is usually growth in some form or another. The more arminian styled baptist theologies want to “get more people in and saved” and they race toward the growth movement’s techniques of which being more or less “non-denom.” as to label is more of a technique than a “big move”. They don’t like the baggage the term Baptist often carries with it, often for various reasons. The more conservative arminians (E.g. Paige Patterson) and Calvinist or rather TULIP leaning baptist (e.g. Al Mohler) hate this, its getting away from a core baptist belief, “the truly regenerate church”. They wish to move more in the direction (hypothetically) of doctrine. But this kills their numbers. So they usually at length succumb to growth movement techniques in a more subdued way (e.g. they may not change the denom. Title, but they surely don’t hold to strongly to any one confession).
    The root motivation for ALL moves to non-denom. is a wish to not suffer the cross bearing of getting smaller, becoming less relevant (as the world sees it), becoming outdated, out moded, small in number and influence, etc… That temptation is at the root of all denominations that entertain this idea of church growth that can include a move to non-denominational. Non-denominational can be explicit and official, i.e. a church says so and does so; or implicit and unofficial, i.e. a church remains X officially and doesn’t deny its left the denomination. But it has forsaken its confession non-the-less even if they still retain a dusty old copy in the new coffee shop. The later want the plausible deniability to say, ‘We aint left the denomination and we confess that dusty old book(let) over there’, yet, ‘we’ll deny it at a drop of the hat if it bothers you and by doing so will get you in the door’. In this sense the Calvinistic, baptistic, even Lutheran churches that just leave and officially say, “now we are non-denom.” are at least more open and honest about it – at least its an enemy one can see. Like Patton once said, “I’d rather have the German army in front of me than the French army behind me”. Same thing here.

    The root drive to all this church growth of which non-denom. is but a part is the refusal to suffer the cross of becoming less in some way (usually numbers and influence some how), and I’ve seen this very much involved at the baptist level when there at multiple churches, still do since all our family are baptist and in the ministry directly; I saw it, to my genuine shock, in the PCA when we made the move there; and I’ve heard whispers of it in the LCMS, again to my shock. When this happens doctrine will surely begin to erode and go, along with it confessions, then bible becomes pliable and malleable all along with saying “Bible only” and so called “sola scriptura”.

    This issue is intrinsic to the title of the article, an almost jealous title, “The Second Biggest Denomination…”. Numbers and influence is at the head of the title of this article, as is the entire basis of the article. = not suffering the cross, “If you are the Son of God, get us down off of these crosses”, said the unbelieving theif.

    Thus, Sprouls point of “when the pulpit goes…the doctrine is soon to follow”.

  • Stephen

    I second what Steve Martin said about moallen’s post (and everything Larry said too!). I’m surprised more people have not commented about this thread. Is it just me, or does this not seem to be the heart of the matter when it comes to the church? Oh well . . .

    Frank, Frank ? Any thoughts on law and gospel?

  • Stephen

    I second what Steve Martin said about moallen’s post (and everything Larry said too!). I’m surprised more people have not commented about this thread. Is it just me, or does this not seem to be the heart of the matter when it comes to the church? Oh well . . .

    Frank, Frank ? Any thoughts on law and gospel?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Steve @ 33,

    If I thought it would make a difference, I would say something. When I was a member of the orchestra/praise band, I brought up more than once the concern I had that our music was becoming more slanted toward entertainment and emotionalism than real worship, and I was brushed off with “Well, the Bible doesn’t say anything about different styles of music” and “it’s what the people want.” I finally quit and found another place in the church in the form of teaching Church History in Sunday School (Incidentally, we’re starting up with Luther and the Reformation).

    It’s to the point where I actually dread going to the music service at times. The songs are not heretical, but they’re a far cry at times from the rich theology of old hyms. Usually, we’ll do one hymn, and the rest of the songs are “jazzed up” choruses. What I wouldn’t do to see God lay it on the heart of the music pastor to do nothing but acapella hymns for the next six months!!!!

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Steve @ 33,

    If I thought it would make a difference, I would say something. When I was a member of the orchestra/praise band, I brought up more than once the concern I had that our music was becoming more slanted toward entertainment and emotionalism than real worship, and I was brushed off with “Well, the Bible doesn’t say anything about different styles of music” and “it’s what the people want.” I finally quit and found another place in the church in the form of teaching Church History in Sunday School (Incidentally, we’re starting up with Luther and the Reformation).

    It’s to the point where I actually dread going to the music service at times. The songs are not heretical, but they’re a far cry at times from the rich theology of old hyms. Usually, we’ll do one hymn, and the rest of the songs are “jazzed up” choruses. What I wouldn’t do to see God lay it on the heart of the music pastor to do nothing but acapella hymns for the next six months!!!!

  • Larry

    I would highly recommend to anyone H. Sasse’s collection of writings and letters in “The Lonely Way” a treasure one will not be disappointed in reading.

    A writer critiquing the book pens something that I find apropos to this issue and temptation that the Lutheran church finds itself amidst today:

    “The theology of the cross made it possible for Sasse to work with patience and hope in the midst of disappointments over church politicians who had use for theology only as a tool for their programs and plans. So he writes “The sect cannot wait, for it must have everything at once, for it has no future. The church can wait, for it does have a future. We Lutherans should think of that” (328). Sasse’s legacy gives us much to ponder as we look to that future.”

    Another very recent article related and encouraging to pastor’s and laity alike in this “The Lonely Way”, the temptation to run after numbers, power, influence, etc…guised as “evangelism” can be found below:

    http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2011/01/why-i-am-not-in-favor-of-evangelism.html

  • Larry

    I would highly recommend to anyone H. Sasse’s collection of writings and letters in “The Lonely Way” a treasure one will not be disappointed in reading.

    A writer critiquing the book pens something that I find apropos to this issue and temptation that the Lutheran church finds itself amidst today:

    “The theology of the cross made it possible for Sasse to work with patience and hope in the midst of disappointments over church politicians who had use for theology only as a tool for their programs and plans. So he writes “The sect cannot wait, for it must have everything at once, for it has no future. The church can wait, for it does have a future. We Lutherans should think of that” (328). Sasse’s legacy gives us much to ponder as we look to that future.”

    Another very recent article related and encouraging to pastor’s and laity alike in this “The Lonely Way”, the temptation to run after numbers, power, influence, etc…guised as “evangelism” can be found below:

    http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2011/01/why-i-am-not-in-favor-of-evangelism.html

  • Stephen

    J. Dean –

    I wish it were merely about style, but it really is the content. Unfortunately, in the case of praise music, the medium is the message. I think we could do contemporary or new hymnody/liturgy/praise or whatever you want to call it if we were to compose more of it with words/lyrics that were driven by scripture or taken right from the Psalms and such as our hymns are. But that is not the case.

    Rev. Fisk at http://www.worldvieweverlasting.com has some videos where he shows clips of African Lutherans singing from the hymn book in their “style” with drums and such, but they are the same hymns. The point is really not as much style as content. It’s true that perhaps hip-hop is not conducive to preparation for communion, but the point is to be made that we need artists/composers who are theologians, like Bach was. His music did not spring right our of nowhere but was drawn from the styles of his day. I think it can be so done if there is an understanding of whom it serves.

    Don’t give up! It sounds like you are a theologian already. Bring sound confessional theology to bear on it. The style of so much of this evangelical music is quite florid and emotionally showy, but then so is baroque music. Bach was fairly pietistic himself. We are nervous about emotion in Lutheranism because we think it pulls us away from the doctrine which we think is all in our heads. Some use the word “balance” but I like “incarnation” which is what the best art does. It is good to feel. Jesus wept. But the art we make for worship should proclaim Jesus and really bring him into flesh him for us through that word. That’s the aim. It does this by proclaiming the Word that is scripture, not by talking about us and what we do or will do for God, which I hear a lot of in praise music – I’m going to give God all kinds of praise and glory and won’t he be nine kinds of pleased with me (translation: I’m pleased with me).

    Don’t give up your art!!!!!!!!!! Ever!!!!!!! That is exactly what Satan wants to do is destroy the creation. God looked at everything he created (art and music included) and said it is very good. Just because we do dumb things with it does not mean we give up on it. Don’t do that! It blesses people. Oh, and I’m talking to myself also. I’m an artist!

  • Stephen

    J. Dean –

    I wish it were merely about style, but it really is the content. Unfortunately, in the case of praise music, the medium is the message. I think we could do contemporary or new hymnody/liturgy/praise or whatever you want to call it if we were to compose more of it with words/lyrics that were driven by scripture or taken right from the Psalms and such as our hymns are. But that is not the case.

    Rev. Fisk at http://www.worldvieweverlasting.com has some videos where he shows clips of African Lutherans singing from the hymn book in their “style” with drums and such, but they are the same hymns. The point is really not as much style as content. It’s true that perhaps hip-hop is not conducive to preparation for communion, but the point is to be made that we need artists/composers who are theologians, like Bach was. His music did not spring right our of nowhere but was drawn from the styles of his day. I think it can be so done if there is an understanding of whom it serves.

    Don’t give up! It sounds like you are a theologian already. Bring sound confessional theology to bear on it. The style of so much of this evangelical music is quite florid and emotionally showy, but then so is baroque music. Bach was fairly pietistic himself. We are nervous about emotion in Lutheranism because we think it pulls us away from the doctrine which we think is all in our heads. Some use the word “balance” but I like “incarnation” which is what the best art does. It is good to feel. Jesus wept. But the art we make for worship should proclaim Jesus and really bring him into flesh him for us through that word. That’s the aim. It does this by proclaiming the Word that is scripture, not by talking about us and what we do or will do for God, which I hear a lot of in praise music – I’m going to give God all kinds of praise and glory and won’t he be nine kinds of pleased with me (translation: I’m pleased with me).

    Don’t give up your art!!!!!!!!!! Ever!!!!!!! That is exactly what Satan wants to do is destroy the creation. God looked at everything he created (art and music included) and said it is very good. Just because we do dumb things with it does not mean we give up on it. Don’t do that! It blesses people. Oh, and I’m talking to myself also. I’m an artist!

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Stephen @ 41:
    You make me want to go home and pick up my guitar and play!!

    You’re right, in and of itself nothing is sinful. Reminds me of what C.S. Lewis said with regard to pleasure in The Screwtape Letters: “I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same it is His (God’s) invention, not ours.”

    It’s just frustrating to see more emphasis on wanting to see people raise their hands, get teary-eyed, or walk the aisle in an altar call than to exalt and worship God through lyrics pregnant with sound, biblical theology.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Stephen @ 41:
    You make me want to go home and pick up my guitar and play!!

    You’re right, in and of itself nothing is sinful. Reminds me of what C.S. Lewis said with regard to pleasure in The Screwtape Letters: “I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same it is His (God’s) invention, not ours.”

    It’s just frustrating to see more emphasis on wanting to see people raise their hands, get teary-eyed, or walk the aisle in an altar call than to exalt and worship God through lyrics pregnant with sound, biblical theology.

  • Kristine

    “Is today’s non-denominationalism also a matter of a seminary or Bible School graduate just going out and starting his own church?  Unfettered by denominational approval,  processes, and supervision?  Is that it?”
    Ha! I attended a non-denominational high school in Arizona, where most of the students were from non-denominational churches. I visited many of them over the years. I can tell you, your assumptions are exactly backwards. The majority of the “pastors” of these churches (each church has a small army of what I would call associate pastors and youth pastors) never went to seminary. Bible school, maybe. More likely they were high school kids who already belonged to the church and seemed promising. They were interested in ministry, so the church put them through a 3-week or 6-week course, and then declared them a pastor. Several of the kids I graduated with became “pastors” this way, one at a Calvary chapel, one at a sort of Presbyterian church plant, and one at a huge mega church as a youth pastor. That last one, the youth pastor, is for all intents and purposes the only pastor the youth will ever know, since they don’t typically go to Sunday services. The youth are diverted to his classroom as soon as worship is over at the big church. I remember him telling me that he thought he needed more training than his 3-week course, but the church elders assured him he didn’t. That’s what the theology of these churches boils down to: 3 weeks worth of classes on relevance and loving your neighbor.
    These huge churches do this all the time. What happens is they start with a bunch of young men, and the ones the young people respond to stay on with bigger and bigger salaries. The young men wind up preaching out of the most interesting Christian self-help books they bought at the local Gospel Supply store (this is not a snarky point – they actually do), because that’s what people want. If any of them is charismatic enough, he becomes head pastor years later.
    Then there are the churches-within-the-churches (i.e., small groups), which are also usually led by the most promising young man there. Usually he’s the one with the growing business and cute young kids. He is called on to give life-advice to all the others in the group, whether or not he’s ever read the Bible. As long as he uses enough buzz words, like “the Spirit really convicted me,” he’s golden.
    The layers of condescension and manipulation within the hierarchy of these churches really blows the mind. They’ll do research on exactly what decibel level the music has to be to trigger the biggest emotional response in the congregation/audience (truly – that actually happened) and then pretend while on stage that everything happening is totally spontaneous and “Spirit-led.”
    I agree with some who’ve said that people are going to eventually tire of this and come looking for something authentic. The challenge for Lutherans will be to be there when that happens without shooting ourselves in the feet by either A) copying the mega-churches just as all the young people are starting to leave them, or B) clinging to the same faith-frustrating things that made people leave in the first place (organ music that drowns out the hymns, pastors just going through the motions, etc.).

  • Kristine

    “Is today’s non-denominationalism also a matter of a seminary or Bible School graduate just going out and starting his own church?  Unfettered by denominational approval,  processes, and supervision?  Is that it?”
    Ha! I attended a non-denominational high school in Arizona, where most of the students were from non-denominational churches. I visited many of them over the years. I can tell you, your assumptions are exactly backwards. The majority of the “pastors” of these churches (each church has a small army of what I would call associate pastors and youth pastors) never went to seminary. Bible school, maybe. More likely they were high school kids who already belonged to the church and seemed promising. They were interested in ministry, so the church put them through a 3-week or 6-week course, and then declared them a pastor. Several of the kids I graduated with became “pastors” this way, one at a Calvary chapel, one at a sort of Presbyterian church plant, and one at a huge mega church as a youth pastor. That last one, the youth pastor, is for all intents and purposes the only pastor the youth will ever know, since they don’t typically go to Sunday services. The youth are diverted to his classroom as soon as worship is over at the big church. I remember him telling me that he thought he needed more training than his 3-week course, but the church elders assured him he didn’t. That’s what the theology of these churches boils down to: 3 weeks worth of classes on relevance and loving your neighbor.
    These huge churches do this all the time. What happens is they start with a bunch of young men, and the ones the young people respond to stay on with bigger and bigger salaries. The young men wind up preaching out of the most interesting Christian self-help books they bought at the local Gospel Supply store (this is not a snarky point – they actually do), because that’s what people want. If any of them is charismatic enough, he becomes head pastor years later.
    Then there are the churches-within-the-churches (i.e., small groups), which are also usually led by the most promising young man there. Usually he’s the one with the growing business and cute young kids. He is called on to give life-advice to all the others in the group, whether or not he’s ever read the Bible. As long as he uses enough buzz words, like “the Spirit really convicted me,” he’s golden.
    The layers of condescension and manipulation within the hierarchy of these churches really blows the mind. They’ll do research on exactly what decibel level the music has to be to trigger the biggest emotional response in the congregation/audience (truly – that actually happened) and then pretend while on stage that everything happening is totally spontaneous and “Spirit-led.”
    I agree with some who’ve said that people are going to eventually tire of this and come looking for something authentic. The challenge for Lutherans will be to be there when that happens without shooting ourselves in the feet by either A) copying the mega-churches just as all the young people are starting to leave them, or B) clinging to the same faith-frustrating things that made people leave in the first place (organ music that drowns out the hymns, pastors just going through the motions, etc.).

  • Kristine

    P.S. I’ve often, often thought how many non-denominational college students you could draw to the local Lutheran church if did a late night worship service using just really, really early liturgy and really played it up (candles, etc.) and had a little history teaching afterwards. Then advertise all over campus, “Ever wondered what early Christian worship was like? Come participate in an authentic 3rd Century Christian worship service Sunday Night at 10PM at Our Savior Lutheran Church.” Evangelical kids are crying out for this kind of thing. It’s what the entire Emergent church movement is tapping into.

  • Kristine

    P.S. I’ve often, often thought how many non-denominational college students you could draw to the local Lutheran church if did a late night worship service using just really, really early liturgy and really played it up (candles, etc.) and had a little history teaching afterwards. Then advertise all over campus, “Ever wondered what early Christian worship was like? Come participate in an authentic 3rd Century Christian worship service Sunday Night at 10PM at Our Savior Lutheran Church.” Evangelical kids are crying out for this kind of thing. It’s what the entire Emergent church movement is tapping into.

  • Stephen

    Given Kristine great idea @ 44, I think worship can go in a lot of different directions as long as there is attention to doctrine and training, both as artists and theologians. Garage band mentality doesn’t cut it for me when it comes to theologians any more than it does for musicians for facilitating worship. That is a certain kind of musicianship.

    I play the guitar, and my church has traditional and “blended” worship styles. We are new there, and so far not fond of the blended service because the “band” is not very good and they slip in those praise songs I’m just plain tired of hearing, so we go tot he early service out of the hymnal which I love, love , love. I’m also a singer. I can get lost in singing liturgy. I could be wrong, but I get the sense the only reason there are more people at the late service is NOT because of the music, but because it is easier to get up an get there. I’m pleased people come because I know they are hearing good gospel-centered, Christ and him crucified preaching, so at this point I don’t concern, myself too much.

    But at some point, I’d like to try and do liturgy with alternative instruments or with the organ in some way that we work out that facilitates singing. Maybe we need guitar chords in the hymnal and we are just being stuffy by not having them there. I’m not sure, but perhaps it would facilitate some kind of use of the liturgy and hymns in a way we have not yet imagined. Music is meant to be for people, which I think is the gist of praise music styles. There is a folk element to it that is not to be dismissed out of hand. By the same token, there is no reason to give up completely on traditions that have sustained faith for so long. Artists need to be encouraged and pushed to develop and create within the tradition work that is theologically sound most of all. That ought to be the one criteria. Part of that criteria is a formal element that allows for participation.

    So, if we are foisting unfamiliar hymns on people relentlessly with an unskilled or insensitive organist that does not help them sing the music well, I wonder what good they do. And on the other hand, if we have praise song after praise song that do not lift up the cross, then no one is being fed even though they go away with lots of good feelings. Both situations are detrimental. In either case, it takes artists that are not only skilled in their art, but theologians who are also pastoral in their execution of what they do. Because t is not so much about the music but about how it serves.

  • Stephen

    Given Kristine great idea @ 44, I think worship can go in a lot of different directions as long as there is attention to doctrine and training, both as artists and theologians. Garage band mentality doesn’t cut it for me when it comes to theologians any more than it does for musicians for facilitating worship. That is a certain kind of musicianship.

    I play the guitar, and my church has traditional and “blended” worship styles. We are new there, and so far not fond of the blended service because the “band” is not very good and they slip in those praise songs I’m just plain tired of hearing, so we go tot he early service out of the hymnal which I love, love , love. I’m also a singer. I can get lost in singing liturgy. I could be wrong, but I get the sense the only reason there are more people at the late service is NOT because of the music, but because it is easier to get up an get there. I’m pleased people come because I know they are hearing good gospel-centered, Christ and him crucified preaching, so at this point I don’t concern, myself too much.

    But at some point, I’d like to try and do liturgy with alternative instruments or with the organ in some way that we work out that facilitates singing. Maybe we need guitar chords in the hymnal and we are just being stuffy by not having them there. I’m not sure, but perhaps it would facilitate some kind of use of the liturgy and hymns in a way we have not yet imagined. Music is meant to be for people, which I think is the gist of praise music styles. There is a folk element to it that is not to be dismissed out of hand. By the same token, there is no reason to give up completely on traditions that have sustained faith for so long. Artists need to be encouraged and pushed to develop and create within the tradition work that is theologically sound most of all. That ought to be the one criteria. Part of that criteria is a formal element that allows for participation.

    So, if we are foisting unfamiliar hymns on people relentlessly with an unskilled or insensitive organist that does not help them sing the music well, I wonder what good they do. And on the other hand, if we have praise song after praise song that do not lift up the cross, then no one is being fed even though they go away with lots of good feelings. Both situations are detrimental. In either case, it takes artists that are not only skilled in their art, but theologians who are also pastoral in their execution of what they do. Because t is not so much about the music but about how it serves.

  • Stephen

    J Dean @ 42

    One artist to another – go and read the explanations to the first article of the Creed and the fourth petition to the Lord’s Prayer right now in your Small Catechism and hear “art and music” in them. They are there for you. God created everything and provides it to us even without our asking. Sin distorts our use of it, but Satan has not created a single thing. We need to remember that as artists. It feels risky because it is. Sin boldly and believe in Christ more boldly.

    Psalm 96:1

  • Stephen

    J Dean @ 42

    One artist to another – go and read the explanations to the first article of the Creed and the fourth petition to the Lord’s Prayer right now in your Small Catechism and hear “art and music” in them. They are there for you. God created everything and provides it to us even without our asking. Sin distorts our use of it, but Satan has not created a single thing. We need to remember that as artists. It feels risky because it is. Sin boldly and believe in Christ more boldly.

    Psalm 96:1

  • Grace

    44 @ Kristine – - “Evangelical kids are crying out for this kind of thing. It’s what the entire Emergent church movement is tapping into.”

    No Kristine, you’re parroting the Emergent Church movement, which I’m well acquainted with in my area, ….. there are thousands who KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. Candles, lybrinths, etc., have no substance, the university student knows it.

    You can name it Lutheran with Martin as your leader…. hoping to attract the university crowd, but you won’t. They will look into the history of Luther as fast as their PC’s will allow them to tap out the questions, and when they read the answers, they will won’t be impressed.

    It’s not candles they yearn for, it’s something much deeper…. it isn’t a reformer from the past, who you hold up – …….. it’s God ALMIGHTY, they want the truth,…. and that truth is the LORD Jesus Christ and the Word of God . . . none other will do!

  • Grace

    44 @ Kristine – - “Evangelical kids are crying out for this kind of thing. It’s what the entire Emergent church movement is tapping into.”

    No Kristine, you’re parroting the Emergent Church movement, which I’m well acquainted with in my area, ….. there are thousands who KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. Candles, lybrinths, etc., have no substance, the university student knows it.

    You can name it Lutheran with Martin as your leader…. hoping to attract the university crowd, but you won’t. They will look into the history of Luther as fast as their PC’s will allow them to tap out the questions, and when they read the answers, they will won’t be impressed.

    It’s not candles they yearn for, it’s something much deeper…. it isn’t a reformer from the past, who you hold up – …….. it’s God ALMIGHTY, they want the truth,…. and that truth is the LORD Jesus Christ and the Word of God . . . none other will do!

  • Larry

    Yea, that dusty old Luther with his Word, water, bread and wine – Who in the world told that old fashion reformer to keep doing that shallow stuff!

    “Some people who had the best intentions, spent their whole life searching for visions and revelations. Some of them even recorded all of their dreams. They expected to receive personal messages from God without using the Word of God. What else is this but trying to climb into heaven without using the ladder God has provided? They were being fooled by the devil’s tricks.

    If you want to contemplate, then contemplate the right way. Think about your baptism. Read the Bible. Listen to sermons on God’s word. Honour your father and mother. Help a needy neighbour. Don’t hide in a corner like people who think their personal devotions will give them a place on God’ lap. They believe that they can be close to God without Christ, without God’s word, and without the sacraments. These people consider living life and doing everyday work beneath them. I also thought that way until God freed me of my error. The idea of spending a quiet life in contemplation is very appealing. Human reason enjoys davvling in miraculous sigms and supernatural matters that it cannot understand.

    Don’t let Satan trick you. Approach spiritual matters in a different way. The true contemplative life is to listen to God’s Word and believe it. Like Paul, decide to deal with only one subject: ‘Jesus Christ and him cruicifed’ (1 Corinthians 2.2). Jesus, along with his Word, is the only worthwhile object of contemplation. Don’t neglect him.”

    –Martin Luther

  • Larry

    Yea, that dusty old Luther with his Word, water, bread and wine – Who in the world told that old fashion reformer to keep doing that shallow stuff!

    “Some people who had the best intentions, spent their whole life searching for visions and revelations. Some of them even recorded all of their dreams. They expected to receive personal messages from God without using the Word of God. What else is this but trying to climb into heaven without using the ladder God has provided? They were being fooled by the devil’s tricks.

    If you want to contemplate, then contemplate the right way. Think about your baptism. Read the Bible. Listen to sermons on God’s word. Honour your father and mother. Help a needy neighbour. Don’t hide in a corner like people who think their personal devotions will give them a place on God’ lap. They believe that they can be close to God without Christ, without God’s word, and without the sacraments. These people consider living life and doing everyday work beneath them. I also thought that way until God freed me of my error. The idea of spending a quiet life in contemplation is very appealing. Human reason enjoys davvling in miraculous sigms and supernatural matters that it cannot understand.

    Don’t let Satan trick you. Approach spiritual matters in a different way. The true contemplative life is to listen to God’s Word and believe it. Like Paul, decide to deal with only one subject: ‘Jesus Christ and him cruicifed’ (1 Corinthians 2.2). Jesus, along with his Word, is the only worthwhile object of contemplation. Don’t neglect him.”

    –Martin Luther

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace – I’ll take “smells and bells” with real content any day above self-help evan”jelly”calism.

    And the Emergent Church is a movement of people with a postmodern hunger for “authenticity”, but a modernist disdain for authority and tradition.

    What Kristine is saying is that whereas the hunger for “authenticity” is not a bad thing, one could use that to show them that it exists in the traditional church, and has been there all the time. When “Smells and Bells” are applied as a gimmick, it will fail. However, applied within the true Liturgical Worship of the Church as it has existed for 2 millenia, it does good.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace – I’ll take “smells and bells” with real content any day above self-help evan”jelly”calism.

    And the Emergent Church is a movement of people with a postmodern hunger for “authenticity”, but a modernist disdain for authority and tradition.

    What Kristine is saying is that whereas the hunger for “authenticity” is not a bad thing, one could use that to show them that it exists in the traditional church, and has been there all the time. When “Smells and Bells” are applied as a gimmick, it will fail. However, applied within the true Liturgical Worship of the Church as it has existed for 2 millenia, it does good.

  • Tom Hering

    We’re not Gnostics. We’re flesh. Smells and bells heighten our senses, and focus the whole person on the Creator who made our ears and noses, and Himself became flesh.

  • Tom Hering

    We’re not Gnostics. We’re flesh. Smells and bells heighten our senses, and focus the whole person on the Creator who made our ears and noses, and Himself became flesh.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom @ 50: Yes! God deals with us as humans, not as disembodied “intelligences”. It occurs to me that the modern, anti-”smells & bells” crowd has something in common with the crowd at NICE, in Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength”, who wants to create/evovle into the new “Spiritual” man. The post-moderns, like those emergent guys, see the problem, yet offer a solution without substance.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom @ 50: Yes! God deals with us as humans, not as disembodied “intelligences”. It occurs to me that the modern, anti-”smells & bells” crowd has something in common with the crowd at NICE, in Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength”, who wants to create/evovle into the new “Spiritual” man. The post-moderns, like those emergent guys, see the problem, yet offer a solution without substance.

  • Tom Hering

    Louis, yes, the whole idea of a Church service as a time of transcendence, or rising up to heavenly places, is Gnostic to the core. We’re instead pointed back down to an actual moment in earthly history, to a flesh-and-blood Man, and to His very real suffering and death. Our own sensual eating and drinking of His flesh and blood, in-with-and-under the bread and wine, drives the point home.

  • Tom Hering

    Louis, yes, the whole idea of a Church service as a time of transcendence, or rising up to heavenly places, is Gnostic to the core. We’re instead pointed back down to an actual moment in earthly history, to a flesh-and-blood Man, and to His very real suffering and death. Our own sensual eating and drinking of His flesh and blood, in-with-and-under the bread and wine, drives the point home.

  • Tom Hering

    We are creatures, destined for a creaturely existence, even in eternity. In our own flesh, made incorruptible – not as spirits. On a renewed Earth, cleansed of sin – not some spiritual realm.

  • Tom Hering

    We are creatures, destined for a creaturely existence, even in eternity. In our own flesh, made incorruptible – not as spirits. On a renewed Earth, cleansed of sin – not some spiritual realm.

  • Grace

    49 – Louis – - “Grace – I’ll take “smells and bells” with real content any day above self-help evan”jelly”calism.”

    “self-help evan”jelly”calism” ? – If that is your definition of Bible Believing evangelical churches, you’re off. The Rick Warren variety isn’t in the equation, no matter how much you turn a phrase. Using click-o remarks such as “self-help evan”jelly”calism” cheapens your stance.

    - – “And the Emergent Church is a movement of people with a postmodern hunger for “authenticity”, but a modernist disdain for authority and tradition.” – -

    No Louis, again you’re looking at the Warren variety, plus his buddies.

    - – “What Kristine is saying is that whereas the hunger for “authenticity” is not a bad thing, one could use that to show them that it exists in the traditional church, and has been there all the time. When “Smells and Bells” are applied as a gimmick, it will fail. However, applied within the true Liturgical Worship of the Church as it has existed for 2 millenia, it does good.” – -

    The original church, that of which is written about in Acts, was a much different church than the one you’re referring to. They met in homes, or anywhere to be safe from those who opposed Christ. Read Acts a time or two and you’ll CATCH ON. The Gospel was preached, people came to know, believe and have faith in the risen Savior.

  • Grace

    49 – Louis – - “Grace – I’ll take “smells and bells” with real content any day above self-help evan”jelly”calism.”

    “self-help evan”jelly”calism” ? – If that is your definition of Bible Believing evangelical churches, you’re off. The Rick Warren variety isn’t in the equation, no matter how much you turn a phrase. Using click-o remarks such as “self-help evan”jelly”calism” cheapens your stance.

    - – “And the Emergent Church is a movement of people with a postmodern hunger for “authenticity”, but a modernist disdain for authority and tradition.” – -

    No Louis, again you’re looking at the Warren variety, plus his buddies.

    - – “What Kristine is saying is that whereas the hunger for “authenticity” is not a bad thing, one could use that to show them that it exists in the traditional church, and has been there all the time. When “Smells and Bells” are applied as a gimmick, it will fail. However, applied within the true Liturgical Worship of the Church as it has existed for 2 millenia, it does good.” – -

    The original church, that of which is written about in Acts, was a much different church than the one you’re referring to. They met in homes, or anywhere to be safe from those who opposed Christ. Read Acts a time or two and you’ll CATCH ON. The Gospel was preached, people came to know, believe and have faith in the risen Savior.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace – yes, Warren, absolutely, but many others as well. Obviously not everybody.

    The early Church did meet in homes, but also in catacombs and other places. We know that a liturgical worship was the norm from very, very early on, with a lot of evidence that the Early church took the service of the Jewish synagogue as their point of reference. We know that ST Paul exorted the Churches about having orderly worship etc.

    Once the Christians could worship openly, the liturgy could be more formalised, as dedicated church buildings became the norm. The liturgy which received widespread acceptance, and near-universal use, from very early on, is that of St Chrysostom, which, incidentaly, is the liturgy our Lutheran liturgy is based on.

    Incidentally, the terminology “liturgical church” is a bit of a misnomer – like the words “traditional”, as per my comment @16. It is, in essence which liturgy, and which tradition.

    However, there is a deeper, theological/philosophical issue here as well, and Tom refers to it. The modern, minimalist style of liturgy has at its root a gnostic principle, of spiritual good, physical bad, which itself is a derivative of Platonism (I’m not all against Platonism, it can be useful, but not in this manner). This in itself can also be connected to an intellectual aversion to the Incarnation, as the idea of God becoming flesh, with ALL what that entails, is quite offensive from the gnostiv pov. Of course, I’m not accusing you of being anti-incarnational, but I’m examining the roots of these ideas. It is interesting that the minimalising of liturgy is essentialy a modern phenomenon, and comes with the rise of the Enlightenment, where once again, “pure thought” becames a driving force philosophically – “I think, therefore I am”. Dirty matter obscures pure thought in this worldview, as per Lewis and his creations in “That Hideous Strength”. Ironically, Lewis owes much to Neoplatonism, yet without the anti-material baggage.

    Thus the mystic gnostics have much in common with the “pure-intellect” Platonists. And these phliosophies, to a grwater or lesser extent, seem to underlie the drive to de-physicalise the liturgy, to disembody worship.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace – yes, Warren, absolutely, but many others as well. Obviously not everybody.

    The early Church did meet in homes, but also in catacombs and other places. We know that a liturgical worship was the norm from very, very early on, with a lot of evidence that the Early church took the service of the Jewish synagogue as their point of reference. We know that ST Paul exorted the Churches about having orderly worship etc.

    Once the Christians could worship openly, the liturgy could be more formalised, as dedicated church buildings became the norm. The liturgy which received widespread acceptance, and near-universal use, from very early on, is that of St Chrysostom, which, incidentaly, is the liturgy our Lutheran liturgy is based on.

    Incidentally, the terminology “liturgical church” is a bit of a misnomer – like the words “traditional”, as per my comment @16. It is, in essence which liturgy, and which tradition.

    However, there is a deeper, theological/philosophical issue here as well, and Tom refers to it. The modern, minimalist style of liturgy has at its root a gnostic principle, of spiritual good, physical bad, which itself is a derivative of Platonism (I’m not all against Platonism, it can be useful, but not in this manner). This in itself can also be connected to an intellectual aversion to the Incarnation, as the idea of God becoming flesh, with ALL what that entails, is quite offensive from the gnostiv pov. Of course, I’m not accusing you of being anti-incarnational, but I’m examining the roots of these ideas. It is interesting that the minimalising of liturgy is essentialy a modern phenomenon, and comes with the rise of the Enlightenment, where once again, “pure thought” becames a driving force philosophically – “I think, therefore I am”. Dirty matter obscures pure thought in this worldview, as per Lewis and his creations in “That Hideous Strength”. Ironically, Lewis owes much to Neoplatonism, yet without the anti-material baggage.

    Thus the mystic gnostics have much in common with the “pure-intellect” Platonists. And these phliosophies, to a grwater or lesser extent, seem to underlie the drive to de-physicalise the liturgy, to disembody worship.

  • Grace

    Louis – 55

    You can rattle on about “liturgical worship” - “gnostiv pov” – “Neoplatonism” – “de-physicalise the liturgy, to disembody worship” – it’s all gooble-de-gook, cooked up in a pseudo intellectual religious pot.

    The passage below is the result of Peter’s second sermon. FIVE THOUSAND people were saved. The apostles were arrested and put into prison. This was at the instigation of the Sadducees, …. the reason for it was the preaching of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. PREACHING/TEACHING was what Peter was doing, that is the EARLY CHURCH, that is what Christ did before His death on the cross and resurrection. They worshiped the LORD, they preached, and Baptized those who believed…… just as Philip did when he taught the eunuch and then when the eunuch declared that he believed Philip Baptized him.

    1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,

    2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

    3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.

    4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
    Acts 4

    many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

    That Louis, is teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it’s called evangelism – most of the world is lost in sin, by giving out the Gospel they can accept it or reject the gift of Salvation, repent, or sit in their sins.

    But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
    Matthew 9:13

    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 6:10

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

  • Grace

    Louis – 55

    You can rattle on about “liturgical worship” - “gnostiv pov” – “Neoplatonism” – “de-physicalise the liturgy, to disembody worship” – it’s all gooble-de-gook, cooked up in a pseudo intellectual religious pot.

    The passage below is the result of Peter’s second sermon. FIVE THOUSAND people were saved. The apostles were arrested and put into prison. This was at the instigation of the Sadducees, …. the reason for it was the preaching of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. PREACHING/TEACHING was what Peter was doing, that is the EARLY CHURCH, that is what Christ did before His death on the cross and resurrection. They worshiped the LORD, they preached, and Baptized those who believed…… just as Philip did when he taught the eunuch and then when the eunuch declared that he believed Philip Baptized him.

    1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,

    2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

    3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.

    4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
    Acts 4

    many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

    That Louis, is teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it’s called evangelism – most of the world is lost in sin, by giving out the Gospel they can accept it or reject the gift of Salvation, repent, or sit in their sins.

    But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
    Matthew 9:13

    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 6:10

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

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace – I do not dispute anything but your first paragraph. But you say “they worshipped”. How did they worship? What did they do first? That is the stuff of liturgy. In the OT the liturgy was prescribed to the minutest detail, for instance.

    So to dismiss “liturgical worship” is a non-sequitur, stop embarrasing yourself. The fact that you did not understand (I’m not saying agree, I’m sayin understand) my point about dismbodying worship etc., and the philosophy that led to it, doesn’t make it invalid. I would encourage you to just stop and think about it, and then maybe write down why you disagree.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace – I do not dispute anything but your first paragraph. But you say “they worshipped”. How did they worship? What did they do first? That is the stuff of liturgy. In the OT the liturgy was prescribed to the minutest detail, for instance.

    So to dismiss “liturgical worship” is a non-sequitur, stop embarrasing yourself. The fact that you did not understand (I’m not saying agree, I’m sayin understand) my point about dismbodying worship etc., and the philosophy that led to it, doesn’t make it invalid. I would encourage you to just stop and think about it, and then maybe write down why you disagree.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, did you really accuse Louis of being “pseudo-intellectual”? You?

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, did you really accuse Louis of being “pseudo-intellectual”? You?

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace, maybe let me put it this way: I use the word “liturgy” like I would use the word “English”. Liturgy, occording to the Free Online Dictionary, means “A prescribed form or set of forms for public religious worship.” Thus all Churches, even the Quakers and their silent meetings, have a liturgy – it could be simple – come to church, sing three hyms, listen to a sermon, go home, or it could be more complicated.

    What I’m reading, when you dismiss my whole argument, is not “Not English, but German!”, but rather “Not English, not any language, but…..(silence)”

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace, maybe let me put it this way: I use the word “liturgy” like I would use the word “English”. Liturgy, occording to the Free Online Dictionary, means “A prescribed form or set of forms for public religious worship.” Thus all Churches, even the Quakers and their silent meetings, have a liturgy – it could be simple – come to church, sing three hyms, listen to a sermon, go home, or it could be more complicated.

    What I’m reading, when you dismiss my whole argument, is not “Not English, but German!”, but rather “Not English, not any language, but…..(silence)”

  • Grace

    Louis

    You need to stop embarrassing yourself! I know what “Worship” is. Do you believe that Peter forgot to pray, or any other Apostle when they preached or taught? – or do you think for one moment that those who attend a Bible Believing church avoid prayer, or praising the LORD, giving Him glory for all He has done?

    You’ve taken it upon yourself to attack churches because they aren’t the Luther brand. Instead, they take upon themselves the name of “Christian Believers” – “Born Again Christians” –

    Worship is; prayer to God, worshiping the LORD in song, adoration, love, reverence, respect, devotion, adulation, praising Him for all He has done, and promises to us as Believers.

  • Grace

    Louis

    You need to stop embarrassing yourself! I know what “Worship” is. Do you believe that Peter forgot to pray, or any other Apostle when they preached or taught? – or do you think for one moment that those who attend a Bible Believing church avoid prayer, or praising the LORD, giving Him glory for all He has done?

    You’ve taken it upon yourself to attack churches because they aren’t the Luther brand. Instead, they take upon themselves the name of “Christian Believers” – “Born Again Christians” –

    Worship is; prayer to God, worshiping the LORD in song, adoration, love, reverence, respect, devotion, adulation, praising Him for all He has done, and promises to us as Believers.

  • Grace

    Louis @ 59 – “What I’m reading, when you dismiss my whole argument, is not “Not English, but German!”, but rather “Not English, not any language, but…..(silence)”

    “Silence” ? – you make no sense.

  • Grace

    Louis @ 59 – “What I’m reading, when you dismiss my whole argument, is not “Not English, but German!”, but rather “Not English, not any language, but…..(silence)”

    “Silence” ? – you make no sense.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace:

    1. Nowhere did I advance Lutheranism per se.
    2. You keep on circumventing the question: Not what, but how? Praxis, content.
    3. You dismiss liturgy. In my argument, I liken that to dismissing language. If language is how we communicate, Liturgy is how we worship. So far you have not argued for one or the other form of liturgy, you have argued against liturgy. Which is nonsensical, as I attempted to show through my analogy with language. It is as if, instead of preferring (arguing for) the merits of German above English, you literally argue for non-language. Hopefully that is more clear?

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace:

    1. Nowhere did I advance Lutheranism per se.
    2. You keep on circumventing the question: Not what, but how? Praxis, content.
    3. You dismiss liturgy. In my argument, I liken that to dismissing language. If language is how we communicate, Liturgy is how we worship. So far you have not argued for one or the other form of liturgy, you have argued against liturgy. Which is nonsensical, as I attempted to show through my analogy with language. It is as if, instead of preferring (arguing for) the merits of German above English, you literally argue for non-language. Hopefully that is more clear?

  • Grace

    Louis – 62 – “1. Nowhere did I advance Lutheranism per se.”

    Au contraire – “per se” ……. you can’t help yourself!
    - “You keep on circumventing the question: Not what, but how? Praxis, content.” –

    “Praxis” ? — Practical application or exercise of a branch of learning, habitual or established practice; custom. That’s your argument, when you are unable to understand what I post without mixing it up? – apply “praxis” to your application and see what you come up with.

    - – “You dismiss liturgy. In my argument, I liken that to dismissing language. If language is how we communicate, Liturgy is how we worship. So far you have not argued for one or the other form of liturgy, you have argued against liturgy. Which is nonsensical, as I attempted to show through my analogy with language. It is as if, instead of preferring (arguing for) the merits of German above English, you literally argue for non-language. Hopefully that is more clear?” – -

    No Louis, you have avoided everything I’ve written. Instead, you stand on “liturgy” as though Bible Believing, Evangelical churches are void of “liturgy” – meaning prayer, worship of the LORD (in song and prayer) reading and teaching of Scripture. Worship is: engaging in prayer and devotion – the difficulty you encounter is, you inject the word “liturgy” when those of other churches call theirs a “Worship Service” -

  • Grace

    Louis – 62 – “1. Nowhere did I advance Lutheranism per se.”

    Au contraire – “per se” ……. you can’t help yourself!
    - “You keep on circumventing the question: Not what, but how? Praxis, content.” –

    “Praxis” ? — Practical application or exercise of a branch of learning, habitual or established practice; custom. That’s your argument, when you are unable to understand what I post without mixing it up? – apply “praxis” to your application and see what you come up with.

    - – “You dismiss liturgy. In my argument, I liken that to dismissing language. If language is how we communicate, Liturgy is how we worship. So far you have not argued for one or the other form of liturgy, you have argued against liturgy. Which is nonsensical, as I attempted to show through my analogy with language. It is as if, instead of preferring (arguing for) the merits of German above English, you literally argue for non-language. Hopefully that is more clear?” – -

    No Louis, you have avoided everything I’ve written. Instead, you stand on “liturgy” as though Bible Believing, Evangelical churches are void of “liturgy” – meaning prayer, worship of the LORD (in song and prayer) reading and teaching of Scripture. Worship is: engaging in prayer and devotion – the difficulty you encounter is, you inject the word “liturgy” when those of other churches call theirs a “Worship Service” -

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Ah well. Since I’m such a pseudo-intellectual, I went searching for some Latin tags to sum up the above. I was going to go with

    contra principia negantem non est disputandum,

    but in the end, the following might be better:

    si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Ah well. Since I’m such a pseudo-intellectual, I went searching for some Latin tags to sum up the above. I was going to go with

    contra principia negantem non est disputandum,

    but in the end, the following might be better:

    si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    And, lest I forget,

    Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    And, lest I forget,

    Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    You know the problem I have with so called “Bible-believing churches.” … They don’t actually believe the Bible.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    You know the problem I have with so called “Bible-believing churches.” … They don’t actually believe the Bible.

  • Tom Hering

    “Worship is; prayer to God, worshiping the LORD in song, adoration, love, reverence, respect, devotion, adulation, praising Him for all He has done, and promises to us as Believers.” Grace @ 60.

    Prayer, song, praise. Grace’s idea of worship is highly selective. More to the point, it’s bare bones. While others practice a form of worship that’s full, rich, and entirely Biblical.

  • Tom Hering

    “Worship is; prayer to God, worshiping the LORD in song, adoration, love, reverence, respect, devotion, adulation, praising Him for all He has done, and promises to us as Believers.” Grace @ 60.

    Prayer, song, praise. Grace’s idea of worship is highly selective. More to the point, it’s bare bones. While others practice a form of worship that’s full, rich, and entirely Biblical.

  • Grace

    “If you had remained silent, you would have remained a philosopher.”

    That’s an old one Louis – you dug the ditch, you should have considered silence before you rattled on.

  • Grace

    “If you had remained silent, you would have remained a philosopher.”

    That’s an old one Louis – you dug the ditch, you should have considered silence before you rattled on.

  • Tom Hering

    Keep rattling on, Louis. The content of your comments has been excellent.

  • Tom Hering

    Keep rattling on, Louis. The content of your comments has been excellent.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Well, I did consider this one, but didn’t want to offend:

    ne supra crepidam sutor iudicaret. :)

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Well, I did consider this one, but didn’t want to offend:

    ne supra crepidam sutor iudicaret. :)

  • Grace

    “Let Not Shoemaker Judge Beyond The Sandal”

    Number 66 could use this one, one should not judge things he has no knowledge about, nor should you!

  • Grace

    “Let Not Shoemaker Judge Beyond The Sandal”

    Number 66 could use this one, one should not judge things he has no knowledge about, nor should you!

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace – in all seriousness, you show a typical evangelical response, whereby you go into Defense Mode A as soon as you hear trigger word X. Thereafter the content of the argument pass you by, completely, and you just keep repeating the formulaic response, whether relevant or not. Of course, this gives occasion to another Latin tag -

    damnant quod non intellegunt.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace – in all seriousness, you show a typical evangelical response, whereby you go into Defense Mode A as soon as you hear trigger word X. Thereafter the content of the argument pass you by, completely, and you just keep repeating the formulaic response, whether relevant or not. Of course, this gives occasion to another Latin tag -

    damnant quod non intellegunt.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Actually, I do know what I am talking about Grace, I just didn’t happen to elaborate.

    To almost a church so called bible believing churches reject the words of Christ concerning communion.
    To almost a church they deny baptism now saves.
    To almost a church they deny that in baptism we are buried with Christ, and raised again in new life.
    To almost a church they deny the ability to forgive and to bind.

    So yeah, until they stop denying the words of Christ. I will say they don’t believe the bible.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Actually, I do know what I am talking about Grace, I just didn’t happen to elaborate.

    To almost a church so called bible believing churches reject the words of Christ concerning communion.
    To almost a church they deny baptism now saves.
    To almost a church they deny that in baptism we are buried with Christ, and raised again in new life.
    To almost a church they deny the ability to forgive and to bind.

    So yeah, until they stop denying the words of Christ. I will say they don’t believe the bible.

  • Kristine

    Grace,

    I think what Louis is trying to say is that every church, even a “non-liturgical” church, really has a liturgy, because the word “liturgy” just means a form of worship or what you do at church most sundays.

    So one liturgy might look like this:

    1. Three Praise Songs
    2. One Contemplative Song
    3. Announcements from the Pastor
    4. Reading the Sermon Text
    5. Sermon
    6. Offering
    7. Three Praise Songs
    8. Alter Call
    9. Prayer

    Another liturgy might look like this:

    1. Invocation “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
    2. Confession of Sins
    3. Singing of a Psalm
    4. Kyrie “Lord, have mercy…” (Luke 18:9-14)
    5. Prayer
    6. Old Testament Reading
    7. Epistle (one of the letters of the New Testament) reading
    8. Gospel Reading
    9. Nicene Creed (325 AD)
    10. Hymn
    11. Sermon
    12. Offering and Offertory “Create in me a clean heart, oh God” (Psalm 51)
    13. Hymn
    14. Prayers
    15. Communion
    16. Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13)
    17. Agnus Dei “O Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world…” (John 1:29)
    18. Canticle “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace” (Luke 2:29)
    19. Benediction “The Lord bless you and keep you…” (Numbers 6:23-25)

    The second liturgy is pretty much the Lutheran liturgy. If you really look at it you’ll see that pretty much every word is right straight out of the Bible. Sometimes people reflexively say they dislike liturgy, but why? What is wrong with a whole congregation saying or singing parts of the Bible out loud together?

    It can’t be that it is repetitive. After all, can you ever read or speak through the Bible too many times? Furthermore, the fact that it is often the same means that the least among us (the elderly with poor eyesight and hearing, and little children who cannot yet read, and people with special needs) can memorize Scripture/the liturgy and participate right along with everyone else. It can’t be that it includes a creed from the early church. Even the apostles had creeds. Paul quotes a Christian creed in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. It can’t be that it doesn’t allow the Spirit to work on us. After all, the whole Bible, which is the content of the liturgy, was inspired by the Spirit!

    So what is it?

  • Kristine

    Grace,

    I think what Louis is trying to say is that every church, even a “non-liturgical” church, really has a liturgy, because the word “liturgy” just means a form of worship or what you do at church most sundays.

    So one liturgy might look like this:

    1. Three Praise Songs
    2. One Contemplative Song
    3. Announcements from the Pastor
    4. Reading the Sermon Text
    5. Sermon
    6. Offering
    7. Three Praise Songs
    8. Alter Call
    9. Prayer

    Another liturgy might look like this:

    1. Invocation “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
    2. Confession of Sins
    3. Singing of a Psalm
    4. Kyrie “Lord, have mercy…” (Luke 18:9-14)
    5. Prayer
    6. Old Testament Reading
    7. Epistle (one of the letters of the New Testament) reading
    8. Gospel Reading
    9. Nicene Creed (325 AD)
    10. Hymn
    11. Sermon
    12. Offering and Offertory “Create in me a clean heart, oh God” (Psalm 51)
    13. Hymn
    14. Prayers
    15. Communion
    16. Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13)
    17. Agnus Dei “O Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world…” (John 1:29)
    18. Canticle “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace” (Luke 2:29)
    19. Benediction “The Lord bless you and keep you…” (Numbers 6:23-25)

    The second liturgy is pretty much the Lutheran liturgy. If you really look at it you’ll see that pretty much every word is right straight out of the Bible. Sometimes people reflexively say they dislike liturgy, but why? What is wrong with a whole congregation saying or singing parts of the Bible out loud together?

    It can’t be that it is repetitive. After all, can you ever read or speak through the Bible too many times? Furthermore, the fact that it is often the same means that the least among us (the elderly with poor eyesight and hearing, and little children who cannot yet read, and people with special needs) can memorize Scripture/the liturgy and participate right along with everyone else. It can’t be that it includes a creed from the early church. Even the apostles had creeds. Paul quotes a Christian creed in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. It can’t be that it doesn’t allow the Spirit to work on us. After all, the whole Bible, which is the content of the liturgy, was inspired by the Spirit!

    So what is it?

  • Grace

    72 – Louis – “typical evangelical response”

    There is no typical evangelical response, what there is; – an honest attempt to familiarize you with Bible Believing Churches. That of course doesn’t set well with you as you go through your A through X tantrum as a rebuttal.

    The Latin phrases, which you think clever,…. the latest “damnant quod non intellegunt’ – - – “They condemn what they do not understand” are childish. This reminds me of a very few high school seniors, and freshman college students, running around with Latin phrase books….. LOL

  • Grace

    72 – Louis – “typical evangelical response”

    There is no typical evangelical response, what there is; – an honest attempt to familiarize you with Bible Believing Churches. That of course doesn’t set well with you as you go through your A through X tantrum as a rebuttal.

    The Latin phrases, which you think clever,…. the latest “damnant quod non intellegunt’ – - – “They condemn what they do not understand” are childish. This reminds me of a very few high school seniors, and freshman college students, running around with Latin phrase books….. LOL

  • Grace

    Kristine – before you start down that road, I would suggest you get your facts straight.

    Maybe you’ve been watching too much Joel Olsteen on television, or a few others.

  • Grace

    Kristine – before you start down that road, I would suggest you get your facts straight.

    Maybe you’ve been watching too much Joel Olsteen on television, or a few others.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace – the Latin tags were an attempt at humour.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Grace – the Latin tags were an attempt at humour.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Of course, this leads to that age old problem – to answer or not to answer? Because the other party has removed all doubt…

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Of course, this leads to that age old problem – to answer or not to answer? Because the other party has removed all doubt…

  • Tom Hering

    So … did anyone expect Grace to actually address the points that have been raised? No? Okay. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    So … did anyone expect Grace to actually address the points that have been raised? No? Okay. ;-)

  • Kristine

    What facts don’t I have straight? Did I misrepresent the type of liturgy that your church does? If so, how? I’d really like to know.

  • Kristine

    What facts don’t I have straight? Did I misrepresent the type of liturgy that your church does? If so, how? I’d really like to know.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, I’m the eternal optimist (hmm, sometimes at least). But I’m stuck in a quandry, as per my post @ 78. :)

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom, I’m the eternal optimist (hmm, sometimes at least). But I’m stuck in a quandry, as per my post @ 78. :)

  • Kristine

    The first liturgy I mentioned actually *is* the liturgy at Casas Adobes Baptist Church in Tucson, AZ, a Baptist mega church with a weekly attendance in the thousands. I have been many times, since my in-laws and some friends attend. I did not get the order of service from television.

  • Kristine

    The first liturgy I mentioned actually *is* the liturgy at Casas Adobes Baptist Church in Tucson, AZ, a Baptist mega church with a weekly attendance in the thousands. I have been many times, since my in-laws and some friends attend. I did not get the order of service from television.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    kristine, maybe her liturgy goes like this
    opening song – lights and big drums
    welcome by young hip guy with arms wide open
    song everybody knows
    song nobody knows
    offering
    explanation from a dude claiming to have all the answers
    song with strings that’ll make you cry

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    kristine, maybe her liturgy goes like this
    opening song – lights and big drums
    welcome by young hip guy with arms wide open
    song everybody knows
    song nobody knows
    offering
    explanation from a dude claiming to have all the answers
    song with strings that’ll make you cry

  • Grace

    Louis, your game backfired – yep it’s humor – I’m laughing at the juvenility of your excuse.

  • Grace

    Louis, your game backfired – yep it’s humor – I’m laughing at the juvenility of your excuse.

  • Kristine

    Yeah, I’ve been to those churches, too. Usually the “dude claiming to have all the answers” is holding a cup of coffee and preaching out of a book like Wild at Heart.

  • Kristine

    Yeah, I’ve been to those churches, too. Usually the “dude claiming to have all the answers” is holding a cup of coffee and preaching out of a book like Wild at Heart.

  • Kristine

    I really do kind of want to know, though, what you don’t like about Lutheran liturgy Grace. I’m not trying to be mean. I am actually really curious.

  • Kristine

    I really do kind of want to know, though, what you don’t like about Lutheran liturgy Grace. I’m not trying to be mean. I am actually really curious.

  • Grace

    Kristine – 82 – - “The first liturgy I mentioned actually *is* the liturgy at Casas Adobes Baptist Church in Tucson, AZ, a Baptist mega church with a weekly attendance in the thousands.”

    I don’t attend a Baptist Church. You are taking one mega church in AZ, including “Emergent Churches” attempting to throw all other Bible Believing churches in the same group? That’s wrong Kristine, you are judging that which you don’t know or understand.

  • Grace

    Kristine – 82 – - “The first liturgy I mentioned actually *is* the liturgy at Casas Adobes Baptist Church in Tucson, AZ, a Baptist mega church with a weekly attendance in the thousands.”

    I don’t attend a Baptist Church. You are taking one mega church in AZ, including “Emergent Churches” attempting to throw all other Bible Believing churches in the same group? That’s wrong Kristine, you are judging that which you don’t know or understand.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Well, Grace, rather than make us guess what the order is why don’t you actually give an outline of the typical service. Seriously, is that so hard to do?

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Well, Grace, rather than make us guess what the order is why don’t you actually give an outline of the typical service. Seriously, is that so hard to do?

  • Tom Hering

    So here we are, talking about non-denominational churches in general, and Grace is defending her congregation in particular, when no one has said zip about her particular congregation.

  • Tom Hering

    So here we are, talking about non-denominational churches in general, and Grace is defending her congregation in particular, when no one has said zip about her particular congregation.

  • Forty-two

    Also, what is so very wrong about the AZ Baptist church’s order of service? Not my first choice or anything, but I don’t get what is so horrible about it, that you are all upset about being tarred with the same brush?

    And I second the call for you to explain what exactly is an appropriate order of service.

  • Forty-two

    Also, what is so very wrong about the AZ Baptist church’s order of service? Not my first choice or anything, but I don’t get what is so horrible about it, that you are all upset about being tarred with the same brush?

    And I second the call for you to explain what exactly is an appropriate order of service.

  • Grace

    Kristine – 86 – - ” really do kind of want to know, though, what you don’t like about Lutheran liturgy Grace. I’m not trying to be mean. I am actually really curious.”

    I prefer the church we are affiliated with, and others we have attended. I’m a pastor’s daughter, I love the LORD with all my heart, have studied the Bible since I was a child. I do Biblical research – and the study of different denominations and cults.

    We have gone over this subject (regarding the Lutheran Church) on Veith’s blog many times.

    I am not a fan of Martin Luther, his actions and words against the Jews is more than enough reason….

    “On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543″
    by Martin Luther (1483-1546)

    http://www.humanitas-international.org/showcase/chronography/documents/luther-jews.htm

    Doing an exhustive study of Martin Luther, reading much of his works, I don’t find him to be someone to follow as the Lutheran denomination does. When someone, anyone can hate the Jews as Luther did, I wouldn’t attend a church that follows his beliefs, many of which I don’t agree….. this too has been discussed on the blog many times. I see no reason to do it again at this time.

  • Grace

    Kristine – 86 – - ” really do kind of want to know, though, what you don’t like about Lutheran liturgy Grace. I’m not trying to be mean. I am actually really curious.”

    I prefer the church we are affiliated with, and others we have attended. I’m a pastor’s daughter, I love the LORD with all my heart, have studied the Bible since I was a child. I do Biblical research – and the study of different denominations and cults.

    We have gone over this subject (regarding the Lutheran Church) on Veith’s blog many times.

    I am not a fan of Martin Luther, his actions and words against the Jews is more than enough reason….

    “On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543″
    by Martin Luther (1483-1546)

    http://www.humanitas-international.org/showcase/chronography/documents/luther-jews.htm

    Doing an exhustive study of Martin Luther, reading much of his works, I don’t find him to be someone to follow as the Lutheran denomination does. When someone, anyone can hate the Jews as Luther did, I wouldn’t attend a church that follows his beliefs, many of which I don’t agree….. this too has been discussed on the blog many times. I see no reason to do it again at this time.

  • Grace

    88 – Dr. Luther in the 21st Century – Well, Grace, rather than make us guess what the order is why don’t you actually give an outline of the typical service. Seriously, is that so hard to do?” –

    After what you wrote in post number 66, I find NO reason to answer your question. Your post was dishonest, therefore engaging an exhange with you is nothing but BAIT, which I leave you to chew on.

    66 – Dr. Luther in the 21st Century
    February 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm
    “You know the problem I have with so called “Bible-believing churches.” … They don’t actually believe the Bible.”

  • Grace

    88 – Dr. Luther in the 21st Century – Well, Grace, rather than make us guess what the order is why don’t you actually give an outline of the typical service. Seriously, is that so hard to do?” –

    After what you wrote in post number 66, I find NO reason to answer your question. Your post was dishonest, therefore engaging an exhange with you is nothing but BAIT, which I leave you to chew on.

    66 – Dr. Luther in the 21st Century
    February 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm
    “You know the problem I have with so called “Bible-believing churches.” … They don’t actually believe the Bible.”

  • Tom Hering

    Rather than addressing any of the points raised, Grace plays the Luther-and-the-Jews card yet again. Not even pretending it has something to do with liturgy. Just out of intellectual desperation.

  • Tom Hering

    Rather than addressing any of the points raised, Grace plays the Luther-and-the-Jews card yet again. Not even pretending it has something to do with liturgy. Just out of intellectual desperation.

  • Tom Hering

    Rather than addressing any of the points raised, Grace goes all paranoid on us yet again, and refuses to answer questions – which are, in her mind, meant as traps.

  • Tom Hering

    Rather than addressing any of the points raised, Grace goes all paranoid on us yet again, and refuses to answer questions – which are, in her mind, meant as traps.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com forty-two

    Grace @91:

    I don’t suppose it would help to point out that the Lutheran liturgy is actually based very heavily on earlier liturgies – it wasn’t actually made up by Luther himself.

    Also, I get preferring your own church and how they do things (which is what, exactly, btw?) to some other church’s way – I prefer the historic liturgy, myself ;) – but that’s not the same as maintaining that the non-preferred way is *wrong*, which is what is seems like you are claiming.

    And wrt DLi21′s comment @66, yes it was rather inflammatory to be put out there with no elaboration, but he remedied that by explaining what he meant @73.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com forty-two

    Grace @91:

    I don’t suppose it would help to point out that the Lutheran liturgy is actually based very heavily on earlier liturgies – it wasn’t actually made up by Luther himself.

    Also, I get preferring your own church and how they do things (which is what, exactly, btw?) to some other church’s way – I prefer the historic liturgy, myself ;) – but that’s not the same as maintaining that the non-preferred way is *wrong*, which is what is seems like you are claiming.

    And wrt DLi21′s comment @66, yes it was rather inflammatory to be put out there with no elaboration, but he remedied that by explaining what he meant @73.

  • Kristine

    Grace,

    1. I’m new to the blog, so I didn’t realize this had been covered before.

    2. It sounds like instead of saying what you dislike about the Lutheran liturgy or even Lutheranism, you are telling us what you don’t like about Martin Luther. I wonder if you have a misconception about what it means to be a member of a confessional denomination. My allegiance is to the Lutheran Confessions, some of which were written by Luther, many of which were written by others – not to Luther himself. Luther said a lot of things with which I disagree. But I do agree that the Book of Concord is a good confession of what Scripture teaches.

    3. If I can’t critique a generic church because it’s not specific, and I can’t critique a specific church because it’s not *your* specific church, and I can’t critique your church because you won’t say anything about it, I guess that’s it for the conversation then. I wish it wasn’t. I’m still interested in your point of view.

  • Kristine

    Grace,

    1. I’m new to the blog, so I didn’t realize this had been covered before.

    2. It sounds like instead of saying what you dislike about the Lutheran liturgy or even Lutheranism, you are telling us what you don’t like about Martin Luther. I wonder if you have a misconception about what it means to be a member of a confessional denomination. My allegiance is to the Lutheran Confessions, some of which were written by Luther, many of which were written by others – not to Luther himself. Luther said a lot of things with which I disagree. But I do agree that the Book of Concord is a good confession of what Scripture teaches.

    3. If I can’t critique a generic church because it’s not specific, and I can’t critique a specific church because it’s not *your* specific church, and I can’t critique your church because you won’t say anything about it, I guess that’s it for the conversation then. I wish it wasn’t. I’m still interested in your point of view.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Sigh, I speak the truth and nobody wants to talk to me. Guess I will just go on being right and leaving my opponents gibbering in blind rambling.
    I raised points that illustrate exactly how the “Bible believing” churches really don’t believe the bible. If you can’t prove how they actually believe the bible maybe you ought to stop posting and admit defeat.

    If you are unwilling to actually post the typical order of service at your congregation you are just going to have to put up with our making assumptions. So either put up or shut up.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Sigh, I speak the truth and nobody wants to talk to me. Guess I will just go on being right and leaving my opponents gibbering in blind rambling.
    I raised points that illustrate exactly how the “Bible believing” churches really don’t believe the bible. If you can’t prove how they actually believe the bible maybe you ought to stop posting and admit defeat.

    If you are unwilling to actually post the typical order of service at your congregation you are just going to have to put up with our making assumptions. So either put up or shut up.

  • Stephen

    If I could figure out how to type that circus music . . . .

    How did I know that after leaving this thread and coming back to see it had quadrupled in number of comments that we’d be talking about Luther and the Jews again!?!

    C’mon Grace, show us how a real church does it instead of the cult of Luther. What’s so great about your order of worship? How is it so much like the church in Acts, huh? How is it more biblical?

    My apologies to DonS.

  • Stephen

    If I could figure out how to type that circus music . . . .

    How did I know that after leaving this thread and coming back to see it had quadrupled in number of comments that we’d be talking about Luther and the Jews again!?!

    C’mon Grace, show us how a real church does it instead of the cult of Luther. What’s so great about your order of worship? How is it so much like the church in Acts, huh? How is it more biblical?

    My apologies to DonS.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    The Lutheran liturgy is based on the liturgy of St john Crysostom.

    Grace continues to deepen my dilemma @ 78.

  • http:theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    The Lutheran liturgy is based on the liturgy of St john Crysostom.

    Grace continues to deepen my dilemma @ 78.

  • Stephen

    And by the way, I have been to numerous “bible believing” churches in the south throughout my youth and young adulthood, and into middle age in the Midwest, both non-denominational and some Baptist of various affiliations – many, as there are Baptists in my immediate family. The order of service is just what or quite similar to what Kristine describes in all of them. And as Dr. Luther comments along these lines, and Larry earlier, there is very little if any direct naming of the Triune God. It is more of an assumption, if that. The name of God is vague, and in this sense also vain. That is the worst doctrinal fiasco of it all and why one ought to stay far away. If one has a single confessional bone in their bodies, especially if they have kids, do not even think about trying this stuff out. My tolerance is waning day by day to even consider it Christian. Just sayin’ (again).

    Gauntlet is on the floor yet again. I doubt it will be picked up.

  • Stephen

    And by the way, I have been to numerous “bible believing” churches in the south throughout my youth and young adulthood, and into middle age in the Midwest, both non-denominational and some Baptist of various affiliations – many, as there are Baptists in my immediate family. The order of service is just what or quite similar to what Kristine describes in all of them. And as Dr. Luther comments along these lines, and Larry earlier, there is very little if any direct naming of the Triune God. It is more of an assumption, if that. The name of God is vague, and in this sense also vain. That is the worst doctrinal fiasco of it all and why one ought to stay far away. If one has a single confessional bone in their bodies, especially if they have kids, do not even think about trying this stuff out. My tolerance is waning day by day to even consider it Christian. Just sayin’ (again).

    Gauntlet is on the floor yet again. I doubt it will be picked up.

  • DonS

    Why are you apologizing to me, Stephen @ 98? You have not wronged me, brother. To the contrary.

    I duck out whenever the sectarian sniping starts, not believing the “I can read and believe the Bible better than you” or “The form of worship I engage in at my church is the best and most biblical” stuff is very God-glorifying. It just shows the Body of Christ to be a bunch of ninnies, frankly.

    God bless you all. And may God somehow be glorified by the discussion on this thread.

  • DonS

    Why are you apologizing to me, Stephen @ 98? You have not wronged me, brother. To the contrary.

    I duck out whenever the sectarian sniping starts, not believing the “I can read and believe the Bible better than you” or “The form of worship I engage in at my church is the best and most biblical” stuff is very God-glorifying. It just shows the Body of Christ to be a bunch of ninnies, frankly.

    God bless you all. And may God somehow be glorified by the discussion on this thread.

  • Stephen

    DonS @ 101

    Somewhere along the line I read that you belonged to Calvary Chapel. I never heard of it until coming here and discovering the rantings of Grace and then doing some web searching. That’s all. She goes on and and on about the virtues of Calvary Chapel as opposed to Lutheranism, and I meant that by my sarcasm it was not meant to be directed at you or your church specifically.

    But since you mention it, calling Lutheranism sectarian (that is, confessional Lutheranism, those who believe, teach and confess the witness of the Book of Concord) does get my dander up a little. How do you figure? Better watch out who you call sectarian around here.

    But then again, that’s probably a good discussion to have because “sect” is a pejorative term that gets thrown around. I used it in this thread to label fellow “protest” Lutherans who keep peeling off into ever smaller “sects” without actually bringing our Lutheran Confessions front and center. To me, the confessions themselves are what make us not a sect – that we do have a common confession as our witness which agrees with scripture and the church as it has been through history. If you want to argue it, argue with the Confessions. Confessional Lutherans will and have put their confessions up against all other claims to doctrine and found them lacking.

    So again, what makes for a sect or not? What is your understanding of that term as you use it?

  • Stephen

    DonS @ 101

    Somewhere along the line I read that you belonged to Calvary Chapel. I never heard of it until coming here and discovering the rantings of Grace and then doing some web searching. That’s all. She goes on and and on about the virtues of Calvary Chapel as opposed to Lutheranism, and I meant that by my sarcasm it was not meant to be directed at you or your church specifically.

    But since you mention it, calling Lutheranism sectarian (that is, confessional Lutheranism, those who believe, teach and confess the witness of the Book of Concord) does get my dander up a little. How do you figure? Better watch out who you call sectarian around here.

    But then again, that’s probably a good discussion to have because “sect” is a pejorative term that gets thrown around. I used it in this thread to label fellow “protest” Lutherans who keep peeling off into ever smaller “sects” without actually bringing our Lutheran Confessions front and center. To me, the confessions themselves are what make us not a sect – that we do have a common confession as our witness which agrees with scripture and the church as it has been through history. If you want to argue it, argue with the Confessions. Confessional Lutherans will and have put their confessions up against all other claims to doctrine and found them lacking.

    So again, what makes for a sect or not? What is your understanding of that term as you use it?

  • Stephen

    Dr. Veith said this about finding the Lutheran Church:

    “For me, when I found Lutheranism, I did not just just find a “denomination,” I found the Church. Not that Lutherans are the only one true church, but I found a sense of Church as existing through time and eternity that does includes non-Lutheran Christians but this universal but non-generic Church is manifested in our local congregation.”

    Given what I said about sects, what should be added is that what we believe, teach and confess we believe to be true for all Christians throughout history. Our confessions go to great lengths to show how this is the case. They don’t just cite a couple verses in Acts, though they do that too, citing a great deal of scripture as the context for our entire witness to Jesus Christ. A baptism in the name of the Triune God is a baptism. We don’t rebaptize. That is absurd. The name of God is the name of God. Our confessions begin there and always bring us there, to the revealed truth of Jesus Christ and him crucified – where the church begins and ends. That is what our worship and preaching proclaims and our theology and biblical exegesis is aimed at bringing forward.

  • Stephen

    Dr. Veith said this about finding the Lutheran Church:

    “For me, when I found Lutheranism, I did not just just find a “denomination,” I found the Church. Not that Lutherans are the only one true church, but I found a sense of Church as existing through time and eternity that does includes non-Lutheran Christians but this universal but non-generic Church is manifested in our local congregation.”

    Given what I said about sects, what should be added is that what we believe, teach and confess we believe to be true for all Christians throughout history. Our confessions go to great lengths to show how this is the case. They don’t just cite a couple verses in Acts, though they do that too, citing a great deal of scripture as the context for our entire witness to Jesus Christ. A baptism in the name of the Triune God is a baptism. We don’t rebaptize. That is absurd. The name of God is the name of God. Our confessions begin there and always bring us there, to the revealed truth of Jesus Christ and him crucified – where the church begins and ends. That is what our worship and preaching proclaims and our theology and biblical exegesis is aimed at bringing forward.

  • boaz

    Grace is a follower of Chuck Smith, a false prophet who wrongly proclaimed the end of the world in 1981, based on his bizarre interpretations of Scripture. Chuck Smith was trained by Paul Cain, a homosexual drunkard. Surely, there’s no truth in that church.

  • boaz

    Grace is a follower of Chuck Smith, a false prophet who wrongly proclaimed the end of the world in 1981, based on his bizarre interpretations of Scripture. Chuck Smith was trained by Paul Cain, a homosexual drunkard. Surely, there’s no truth in that church.

  • boaz

    But since “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it,” I guess judging each other’s churches by the sins of their leaders rather than faithfulness to Scripture is a pointless exercise.

    Maybe since Chuck Smith teaches that 1967 + 40 – 7 = 2000 and 2000 + 17 – 500 = 1517 and 1517 + 95 billion is a really big number, therefore my interpretation of James is error and Martin Luther is the antichrist.

  • boaz

    But since “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it,” I guess judging each other’s churches by the sins of their leaders rather than faithfulness to Scripture is a pointless exercise.

    Maybe since Chuck Smith teaches that 1967 + 40 – 7 = 2000 and 2000 + 17 – 500 = 1517 and 1517 + 95 billion is a really big number, therefore my interpretation of James is error and Martin Luther is the antichrist.

  • Grace

    Boaz – 104 – “Grace is a follower of Chuck Smith, Chuck Smith, a false prophet who wrongly proclaimed the end of the world in 1981, based on his bizarre interpretations of Scripture.”

    FALSE – Boaz, I follow no one but Christ Jesus.

    And what of Martin Luthers prophecy when he said:

    “Christ has given a sign by which one can know when the Judgment Day is near. When the Turk will have an end, we can certainly predict that the Judgment must be at the door”
    Martin Luther

    - “Chuck Smith was trained by Paul Cain, a homosexual drunkard. Surely, there’s no truth in that church.” –

    Chuck Smith was not trained by Cain. That has nothing to do with Chuck Smith. There are people in all denominations, sects, families, etc., who live secret lives, that does not have anything to do with another man’s walk with the LORD Jesus Christ.

  • Grace

    Boaz – 104 – “Grace is a follower of Chuck Smith, Chuck Smith, a false prophet who wrongly proclaimed the end of the world in 1981, based on his bizarre interpretations of Scripture.”

    FALSE – Boaz, I follow no one but Christ Jesus.

    And what of Martin Luthers prophecy when he said:

    “Christ has given a sign by which one can know when the Judgment Day is near. When the Turk will have an end, we can certainly predict that the Judgment must be at the door”
    Martin Luther

    - “Chuck Smith was trained by Paul Cain, a homosexual drunkard. Surely, there’s no truth in that church.” –

    Chuck Smith was not trained by Cain. That has nothing to do with Chuck Smith. There are people in all denominations, sects, families, etc., who live secret lives, that does not have anything to do with another man’s walk with the LORD Jesus Christ.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 102, 103:

    This is from the Bing Dictionary, and is what I meant by the term “sectarian”. They all apply. I’m not picking on Lutherans, I meant it generally to apply to the conversation, from whatever point of view:

    sec·tar·i·an[ sek térree ən ]ADJECTIVE
    1. of religious group: relating to or involving relations between religious groups or denominations
    2. of single religious group: relating to, involved with, or devoted to a single religious group or denomination
    3. dogmatic and intolerant: rigidly adhering to a set of doctrines and intolerant of other views

    Yes, Stephen, I happen to attend a church that is affiliated with Calvary Chapel. I don’t “belong” to Calvary Chapel. Rather, I belong to the Body of Christ, as do you.

    And, by the way, I have little in common, belief-wise, with what I see Grace expressing on this blog. In particular, I very much appreciate the role Martin Luther played in the Reformation, and in fathering the Protestant movement of which I am a part. Our local church is directly across the street from an LCMS church, and the two churches have an excellent and cooperative relationship. As it should be between two churches both in service to our Lord.

    By the way, I note that the conversation on this thread has not improved since your last post @ 103.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 102, 103:

    This is from the Bing Dictionary, and is what I meant by the term “sectarian”. They all apply. I’m not picking on Lutherans, I meant it generally to apply to the conversation, from whatever point of view:

    sec·tar·i·an[ sek térree ən ]ADJECTIVE
    1. of religious group: relating to or involving relations between religious groups or denominations
    2. of single religious group: relating to, involved with, or devoted to a single religious group or denomination
    3. dogmatic and intolerant: rigidly adhering to a set of doctrines and intolerant of other views

    Yes, Stephen, I happen to attend a church that is affiliated with Calvary Chapel. I don’t “belong” to Calvary Chapel. Rather, I belong to the Body of Christ, as do you.

    And, by the way, I have little in common, belief-wise, with what I see Grace expressing on this blog. In particular, I very much appreciate the role Martin Luther played in the Reformation, and in fathering the Protestant movement of which I am a part. Our local church is directly across the street from an LCMS church, and the two churches have an excellent and cooperative relationship. As it should be between two churches both in service to our Lord.

    By the way, I note that the conversation on this thread has not improved since your last post @ 103.

  • Dust

    boaz at 104, or anyone….so what’s wrong with a homosexual drunkard? too lost to be saved by our Lord? am sure there are folks on this blob…er, blog, who might have enough courage, shall we say, to object to your derogatory characterization? after all, you may be referring some one not much different than the apostle Paul, at least there are some who have thunk it..and perhaps will be brave enough to say it here?

  • Dust

    boaz at 104, or anyone….so what’s wrong with a homosexual drunkard? too lost to be saved by our Lord? am sure there are folks on this blob…er, blog, who might have enough courage, shall we say, to object to your derogatory characterization? after all, you may be referring some one not much different than the apostle Paul, at least there are some who have thunk it..and perhaps will be brave enough to say it here?

  • Grace

    Dons – 107

    “And, by the way, I have little in common, belief-wise, with what I see Grace expressing on this blog.”

    Surprised that you would make such a statement? – not at all. There are all types of Believers who go to any number of churches, be they under the umbrella of Calvary Chapel, or elsewhere – or those who oppose their supposed congregants if it serves their purpose, …. if in fact, they are Calvary Chapel attendees.

    “In particular, I very much appreciate the role Martin Luther played in the Reformation, and in fathering the Protestant movement of which I am a part. Our local church is directly across the street from an LCMS church, and the two churches have an excellent and cooperative relationship. As it should be between two churches both in service to our Lord.”

    “Cooperative relationship” is far afield from agreement in doctrine, that could mean anything, that had no relationship to the Gospel of Christ, morals, or anything else. Such vague statements say nothing, but such is an attorney’s stance when nothing else avails them to make another, or make their point of more value, if there was one.

  • Grace

    Dons – 107

    “And, by the way, I have little in common, belief-wise, with what I see Grace expressing on this blog.”

    Surprised that you would make such a statement? – not at all. There are all types of Believers who go to any number of churches, be they under the umbrella of Calvary Chapel, or elsewhere – or those who oppose their supposed congregants if it serves their purpose, …. if in fact, they are Calvary Chapel attendees.

    “In particular, I very much appreciate the role Martin Luther played in the Reformation, and in fathering the Protestant movement of which I am a part. Our local church is directly across the street from an LCMS church, and the two churches have an excellent and cooperative relationship. As it should be between two churches both in service to our Lord.”

    “Cooperative relationship” is far afield from agreement in doctrine, that could mean anything, that had no relationship to the Gospel of Christ, morals, or anything else. Such vague statements say nothing, but such is an attorney’s stance when nothing else avails them to make another, or make their point of more value, if there was one.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    That’s clarifies things I guess, sorta.

    I still can’t tell if it was being used pejoratively or not and that is what I was getting at. Not sure why you keyed on the term “belong” as I didn’t really think about it that much in my use of it. I “belong” to the LCMS and I have no problem saying so, perhaps because I believe that it is truly Christian in doctrine and practice. That is not to say it is perfect or the only true expression of Christian faith, or the only “church” with Christians in it. But I belong there for those reasons, and probably a couple others, including family heritage and what has been passed on to me, as well as a love of great history, theology, music, art, um, languages, let’s see . . .

    I also regret that the conversation devolved the way it did. Glad to hear there is some mutual caring between your congregation and the one across the street. That is as it should be.

    But seriously Don, when someone starts attacking Lutheran liturgical practices on a Lutheran blog thread discussing non-denominational homogenization of American Christianity you might expect things are going to get ugly, right? Why are you surprised? It doesn’t seem like standing to one side and chuckling without adding more than a snark at everyone willing to jump in is very helpful though. You are usually better than that, and I have heard you jump on others for doing exactly the same thing. A dictionary definition of a term hardly tells me what you actually think when you use a word that is loaded with historic and cultural baggage like “sect.” I guess we are all just sects, and if we all are, then no one is, and if so, the term really is pretty meaningless. Or, if it actually does mean something, let’s say #2 or the dreaded 3 perhaps, and we really are separate little entities unto ourselves as denominations, then your statement about “belonging” to the Body of Christ is that much more meaningless I’m sorry to say. I’m confused.

    Say more. Or just come be Lutheran. I’ll buy you a Book Of Concord. You’ll like it.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    That’s clarifies things I guess, sorta.

    I still can’t tell if it was being used pejoratively or not and that is what I was getting at. Not sure why you keyed on the term “belong” as I didn’t really think about it that much in my use of it. I “belong” to the LCMS and I have no problem saying so, perhaps because I believe that it is truly Christian in doctrine and practice. That is not to say it is perfect or the only true expression of Christian faith, or the only “church” with Christians in it. But I belong there for those reasons, and probably a couple others, including family heritage and what has been passed on to me, as well as a love of great history, theology, music, art, um, languages, let’s see . . .

    I also regret that the conversation devolved the way it did. Glad to hear there is some mutual caring between your congregation and the one across the street. That is as it should be.

    But seriously Don, when someone starts attacking Lutheran liturgical practices on a Lutheran blog thread discussing non-denominational homogenization of American Christianity you might expect things are going to get ugly, right? Why are you surprised? It doesn’t seem like standing to one side and chuckling without adding more than a snark at everyone willing to jump in is very helpful though. You are usually better than that, and I have heard you jump on others for doing exactly the same thing. A dictionary definition of a term hardly tells me what you actually think when you use a word that is loaded with historic and cultural baggage like “sect.” I guess we are all just sects, and if we all are, then no one is, and if so, the term really is pretty meaningless. Or, if it actually does mean something, let’s say #2 or the dreaded 3 perhaps, and we really are separate little entities unto ourselves as denominations, then your statement about “belonging” to the Body of Christ is that much more meaningless I’m sorry to say. I’m confused.

    Say more. Or just come be Lutheran. I’ll buy you a Book Of Concord. You’ll like it.

  • Grace

    DonS – 107

    YOU WRITE:…… “Yes, Stephen, I happen to attend a church that is affiliated with Calvary Chapel. I don’t “belong” to Calvary Chapel. Rather, I belong to the Body of Christ, as do you.”

    That’s slippery.

    You attend a church this is “affiliated with Calvary Chapel

    BUT……………

    “I don’t “belong” to Calvary Chapel. ”

    Either you attend a Calvary Chapel or you don’t…

    I understand the “I belong to the Body of Christ, as do you.”

    Do you belong or are affilated with or attend a Calvary Chapel? – you are dodging DonS.

  • Grace

    DonS – 107

    YOU WRITE:…… “Yes, Stephen, I happen to attend a church that is affiliated with Calvary Chapel. I don’t “belong” to Calvary Chapel. Rather, I belong to the Body of Christ, as do you.”

    That’s slippery.

    You attend a church this is “affiliated with Calvary Chapel

    BUT……………

    “I don’t “belong” to Calvary Chapel. ”

    Either you attend a Calvary Chapel or you don’t…

    I understand the “I belong to the Body of Christ, as do you.”

    Do you belong or are affilated with or attend a Calvary Chapel? – you are dodging DonS.

  • Larry

    But the Biblical definition of a sect is not:

    sec•tar•i•an[ sek térree ən ]ADJECTIVE
    1. of religious group: relating to or involving relations between religious groups or denominations
    2. of single religious group: relating to, involved with, or devoted to a single religious group or denomination
    3. dogmatic and intolerant: rigidly adhering to a set of doctrines and intolerant of other views

    In fact it is quite the opposite:

    “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), to which Christ expressly adds, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:20.)
    In Jer. 23:28, the Lord tells the preachers, “He that hath My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.” The praise of a true preacher according to Scripture is therefore this, that he preaches God’s Word purely, that is, without admixture of his own thoughts.
    In 2 Cor. 2:17, Paul states clearly: “For we are not as many which corrupt the Word of God.”
    Of those preachers who mix the truth with error and thus in whole depart from God’s Word, We read in Jer. 23:31-32: “Behold I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.”

    Christ says, “I am the way, the truth and the life” and “My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27.)

    According to the Scriptures the Christian is to obey (trust only) the voice of Christ. Thus insofar as even a Christian turn from the Word of Christ, they do in fact follow another and deny Christ.

    The definition of a sect above states, “dogmatic and intolerant: rigidly adhering to a set of doctrines and intolerant of other views” but Luke states, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine.” (Acts 2:42.)

    Above all Christians are warned, indeed it is our duty to guard ourselves carefully against false prophets, “Beware of false prophets”, Christ warns in Matt. 7”15.

    John the apostle of love says in 2 John 10, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine—namely, the doctrine of Christ—, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed,” and that means explicitly as a brother in the faith.

    Peter writes, in 1 Pet. 4:11, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.”

    John, the apostle of love, writes again in John 8:31-32, “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

    Isaiah warns in 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them!”
    The actual true church, i.e. orthodox church is to ONLY proclaim the singular pure true doctrine of Scripture. It is the sect(s) that mingle truth with error (i.e. heterodoxy). Thus, to EVEN consider as a principle of thought, right and acceptable to mingle say, all views on the LS, or baptism or other articles of faith is already to have a sectarian spirit and mindset.
    The Lord’s prayer, given us by Christ, expresses this explicitly by praying in the VERY FIRST PETITION, “HALLOWED BE THY NAME”, which in fact means ‘God’s name is kept holy among us when the Word of God is taught in truth and purity and we as dear children of God live holy lives due to it, but if anyone teaches or lives contrary to the Word of God, God’s name is profaned among us.’ Thus, God’s name is profaned in false doctrine taught and that very much includes false views on the sacraments and/or mingling them with the truth.

    Paul warns that we should flee, run away with all due speed, take immediate flight from, and avoid all those who want to lead us away from God’s Word whoever they are. For the Christian is God’s temple and whoever defiles God’s temple, which we are, him shall God in turn destroy, I Cor. 3:17.
    Peter warns expressly in 1 Peter 4:11, “Watch yourself, if you desire to preach, then you should preach nothing but God’s Word, otherwise you will defile God’s Church.”

    This is nothing new, the true Christian church has always been besieged by false heterodox doctrines, as Paul indicates in writing to the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20:29-30: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” In fact to anyone who has read much of Luther’s last days concerning the doctrine, and in particular over the Lord’s Supper, this is eerily echoed by Luther in many of his last statements before his death, in particular of the Lord’s Supper (a doctrine) in which he warns that many would come after him and try to change what he said. And indeed as the Reformed and Anabaptist movements prove was true.

    In 1 John 4:1 John, the apostle of love writes, “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits; whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Jesus Christ exhorts that all Christians are to, “Beware of false prophets.” (Matt. 7:15). So one cannot very well say that “I follow just Jesus” and not be doing what He said TO DO and very well actually be “just following Jesus”.

    Christ warns in Matt. 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing.”

    Deut. 13:1-3 warns, “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

    Christ again warns in Matt.24:24, “There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” That term “false Christs” is very powerful in that we see they will speak of “Jesus’”, “Jesus only”, and etc…the doctrine not just the words must be examined.

    Therefore it is the sects, not the orthodox church, that split up Christendom as they fight against and lure into their ranks the orthodox Church.

  • Larry

    But the Biblical definition of a sect is not:

    sec•tar•i•an[ sek térree ən ]ADJECTIVE
    1. of religious group: relating to or involving relations between religious groups or denominations
    2. of single religious group: relating to, involved with, or devoted to a single religious group or denomination
    3. dogmatic and intolerant: rigidly adhering to a set of doctrines and intolerant of other views

    In fact it is quite the opposite:

    “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), to which Christ expressly adds, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:20.)
    In Jer. 23:28, the Lord tells the preachers, “He that hath My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.” The praise of a true preacher according to Scripture is therefore this, that he preaches God’s Word purely, that is, without admixture of his own thoughts.
    In 2 Cor. 2:17, Paul states clearly: “For we are not as many which corrupt the Word of God.”
    Of those preachers who mix the truth with error and thus in whole depart from God’s Word, We read in Jer. 23:31-32: “Behold I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.”

    Christ says, “I am the way, the truth and the life” and “My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27.)

    According to the Scriptures the Christian is to obey (trust only) the voice of Christ. Thus insofar as even a Christian turn from the Word of Christ, they do in fact follow another and deny Christ.

    The definition of a sect above states, “dogmatic and intolerant: rigidly adhering to a set of doctrines and intolerant of other views” but Luke states, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine.” (Acts 2:42.)

    Above all Christians are warned, indeed it is our duty to guard ourselves carefully against false prophets, “Beware of false prophets”, Christ warns in Matt. 7”15.

    John the apostle of love says in 2 John 10, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine—namely, the doctrine of Christ—, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed,” and that means explicitly as a brother in the faith.

    Peter writes, in 1 Pet. 4:11, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.”

    John, the apostle of love, writes again in John 8:31-32, “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

    Isaiah warns in 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them!”
    The actual true church, i.e. orthodox church is to ONLY proclaim the singular pure true doctrine of Scripture. It is the sect(s) that mingle truth with error (i.e. heterodoxy). Thus, to EVEN consider as a principle of thought, right and acceptable to mingle say, all views on the LS, or baptism or other articles of faith is already to have a sectarian spirit and mindset.
    The Lord’s prayer, given us by Christ, expresses this explicitly by praying in the VERY FIRST PETITION, “HALLOWED BE THY NAME”, which in fact means ‘God’s name is kept holy among us when the Word of God is taught in truth and purity and we as dear children of God live holy lives due to it, but if anyone teaches or lives contrary to the Word of God, God’s name is profaned among us.’ Thus, God’s name is profaned in false doctrine taught and that very much includes false views on the sacraments and/or mingling them with the truth.

    Paul warns that we should flee, run away with all due speed, take immediate flight from, and avoid all those who want to lead us away from God’s Word whoever they are. For the Christian is God’s temple and whoever defiles God’s temple, which we are, him shall God in turn destroy, I Cor. 3:17.
    Peter warns expressly in 1 Peter 4:11, “Watch yourself, if you desire to preach, then you should preach nothing but God’s Word, otherwise you will defile God’s Church.”

    This is nothing new, the true Christian church has always been besieged by false heterodox doctrines, as Paul indicates in writing to the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20:29-30: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” In fact to anyone who has read much of Luther’s last days concerning the doctrine, and in particular over the Lord’s Supper, this is eerily echoed by Luther in many of his last statements before his death, in particular of the Lord’s Supper (a doctrine) in which he warns that many would come after him and try to change what he said. And indeed as the Reformed and Anabaptist movements prove was true.

    In 1 John 4:1 John, the apostle of love writes, “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits; whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Jesus Christ exhorts that all Christians are to, “Beware of false prophets.” (Matt. 7:15). So one cannot very well say that “I follow just Jesus” and not be doing what He said TO DO and very well actually be “just following Jesus”.

    Christ warns in Matt. 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing.”

    Deut. 13:1-3 warns, “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

    Christ again warns in Matt.24:24, “There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” That term “false Christs” is very powerful in that we see they will speak of “Jesus’”, “Jesus only”, and etc…the doctrine not just the words must be examined.

    Therefore it is the sects, not the orthodox church, that split up Christendom as they fight against and lure into their ranks the orthodox Church.

  • T. Jones

    Dr. Veith,
    Have you considered emailing all the non-denoms in your city with the simple question: do you baptize babies? If not, how old does a child need to be to be baptized in your church?

    I feel like that might clarify things a little.
    Jonesy

  • T. Jones

    Dr. Veith,
    Have you considered emailing all the non-denoms in your city with the simple question: do you baptize babies? If not, how old does a child need to be to be baptized in your church?

    I feel like that might clarify things a little.
    Jonesy

  • Stephen

    For purposes of a definition:

    A sect, in my mind, is defined primarily in the negative, as a movement that separates it self for reasons of purification of some sort away from others, not in order to keep its doctrine as some thing distinct, but so that it does not have to keep point of doctrine it does not like, and may otherwise impose new doctrine it feels is necessary. The Amish are the most extreme example. But in contemporary society, this sort of thing usually happens under the influence of a charismatic leader(s) who offers little in the way of sound theology or doctrine in defense of their position. Even if they have some theology, it usually only int he negative. In fact, the sect will usually “keep” but not practice doctrine it does not understand, but merely tolerates. The leaders, if they bring anything, often have new ideas they wrap scripture around and/or disguise, such as Rick Warren’s management style to replace biblical church order, that also define them as sectarian.

    I see this phenomenon of holding doctrine that is not practiced in the naming of God, as I’ve said, which to me seems nearly despised in how it is left out, how the Lord’s Prayer is seen as something to be avoided with disdain along with any prayer that , heaven forbid, is written for others to read (like scripture). And this goes on Sunday after Sunday in many non-denominational and other kinds of heterodox churches already called out. The Triune God is neither invoked or called upon clearly in worship, making it unclear what or which God is actually being worshiped. The bulletin says they are Trinitarian, but that is a guess as far as the language of worship goes. Scripture, meanwhile, is used to wrap around the pastor’s own ideas of what it means, rather than as the center from which the congregation is taught. Not to mention how often Acts repeatedly and how it is used to prove the validity of the sect and its particular brand of “purity.”

    I was with my young adult nephew at a Baptist church last summer. He grew up LCMS. He smiled politely and went along. He’s a good young man. This was a new experience for him. After we left he said to me “I felt like I was in a cult.” I couldn’t disagree with him. Lots of sincerity and emotion, but not once was the name of God called upon in its purity and clarity. Not once was the gospel actually preached that I could tell. All law all the time. This was the oldest 1st Baptist Church in a small American city.

  • Stephen

    For purposes of a definition:

    A sect, in my mind, is defined primarily in the negative, as a movement that separates it self for reasons of purification of some sort away from others, not in order to keep its doctrine as some thing distinct, but so that it does not have to keep point of doctrine it does not like, and may otherwise impose new doctrine it feels is necessary. The Amish are the most extreme example. But in contemporary society, this sort of thing usually happens under the influence of a charismatic leader(s) who offers little in the way of sound theology or doctrine in defense of their position. Even if they have some theology, it usually only int he negative. In fact, the sect will usually “keep” but not practice doctrine it does not understand, but merely tolerates. The leaders, if they bring anything, often have new ideas they wrap scripture around and/or disguise, such as Rick Warren’s management style to replace biblical church order, that also define them as sectarian.

    I see this phenomenon of holding doctrine that is not practiced in the naming of God, as I’ve said, which to me seems nearly despised in how it is left out, how the Lord’s Prayer is seen as something to be avoided with disdain along with any prayer that , heaven forbid, is written for others to read (like scripture). And this goes on Sunday after Sunday in many non-denominational and other kinds of heterodox churches already called out. The Triune God is neither invoked or called upon clearly in worship, making it unclear what or which God is actually being worshiped. The bulletin says they are Trinitarian, but that is a guess as far as the language of worship goes. Scripture, meanwhile, is used to wrap around the pastor’s own ideas of what it means, rather than as the center from which the congregation is taught. Not to mention how often Acts repeatedly and how it is used to prove the validity of the sect and its particular brand of “purity.”

    I was with my young adult nephew at a Baptist church last summer. He grew up LCMS. He smiled politely and went along. He’s a good young man. This was a new experience for him. After we left he said to me “I felt like I was in a cult.” I couldn’t disagree with him. Lots of sincerity and emotion, but not once was the name of God called upon in its purity and clarity. Not once was the gospel actually preached that I could tell. All law all the time. This was the oldest 1st Baptist Church in a small American city.

  • DonS

    Stephen: I didn’t say anything about a sect. All I said was that the discussion on this thread had become “sectarian”. Big difference. The point I’m making is that a good discussion involves respect for all parties, and a focus on explaining what you believe and why you believe it. It is a positive approach. Nothing is gained by denigrating the seriously held beliefs of others, unless you consider “gain” to mean making the person whose beliefs are being denigrated defensive and closed.

    Also, I didn’t jump in to be snarky. I jumped in because I wanted to know why you apologized to me. And I emphasized the “belong” language because I am not oriented to denominationalism or church membership. I don’t need to attend a church of any particular stripe, just one that has a doctrinal view that I fundamentally agree with, and where, if I disagree with any particular point, I can live with the difference. Most important to me is to respect the leadership of the church my family is sitting under. My ultimate allegiance is to the Body of Christ, not a particular denomination.

    Larry, Stephen asked me what definition of “sectarian” I was using, not what the “biblical” definition is. I don’t really know what the point of your long post is, but my complaint was against a negative style of argumentation, tearing down the other person, rather than positively presenting the commenter’s own doctrinal views. When you present your views always by tearing down the views of others, that signals to me that you are actually trying to justify your beliefs to yourself and others already of like mind, rather than to convince those of other viewpoints.

    Grace, are you saying I don’t attend a Calvary Chapel church? Even though I stated definitively that I do? I don’t understand your bolded point @ 111. My beef with you is your constant attack on Martin Luther, especially on a Lutheran blog! What could be more argumentative and pointless than that? Here’s a bombshell — all men are fallible and fallen. Martin Luther lived in the 16th Century and you are applying present day sensibilities to his views. It’s not reasonable to do that. Moreover, the only possible result of that kind of thing is to goad a negative response, which in this case involved goading Boaz into defaming Chuck Smith, to get back at you. Where is the edification of the Body in this?

    Christ taught that we are not to follow man, but only Him. However, you cannot just read Scripture and expect to fully understand it, without the enlightenment supplied by understanding its historical context, the nuances of original language (translation to English causes certain points to be distorted or lost), and the insight gained by cross-referencing various Scriptural passages, only available through intensive study. This is why commentaries, preferably from a number of different scholars, and preferably having differing interpretations, to avoid the pitfalls inherent from relying on a single fallible man, are important to good Bible study as well.

    God bless you all.

  • DonS

    Stephen: I didn’t say anything about a sect. All I said was that the discussion on this thread had become “sectarian”. Big difference. The point I’m making is that a good discussion involves respect for all parties, and a focus on explaining what you believe and why you believe it. It is a positive approach. Nothing is gained by denigrating the seriously held beliefs of others, unless you consider “gain” to mean making the person whose beliefs are being denigrated defensive and closed.

    Also, I didn’t jump in to be snarky. I jumped in because I wanted to know why you apologized to me. And I emphasized the “belong” language because I am not oriented to denominationalism or church membership. I don’t need to attend a church of any particular stripe, just one that has a doctrinal view that I fundamentally agree with, and where, if I disagree with any particular point, I can live with the difference. Most important to me is to respect the leadership of the church my family is sitting under. My ultimate allegiance is to the Body of Christ, not a particular denomination.

    Larry, Stephen asked me what definition of “sectarian” I was using, not what the “biblical” definition is. I don’t really know what the point of your long post is, but my complaint was against a negative style of argumentation, tearing down the other person, rather than positively presenting the commenter’s own doctrinal views. When you present your views always by tearing down the views of others, that signals to me that you are actually trying to justify your beliefs to yourself and others already of like mind, rather than to convince those of other viewpoints.

    Grace, are you saying I don’t attend a Calvary Chapel church? Even though I stated definitively that I do? I don’t understand your bolded point @ 111. My beef with you is your constant attack on Martin Luther, especially on a Lutheran blog! What could be more argumentative and pointless than that? Here’s a bombshell — all men are fallible and fallen. Martin Luther lived in the 16th Century and you are applying present day sensibilities to his views. It’s not reasonable to do that. Moreover, the only possible result of that kind of thing is to goad a negative response, which in this case involved goading Boaz into defaming Chuck Smith, to get back at you. Where is the edification of the Body in this?

    Christ taught that we are not to follow man, but only Him. However, you cannot just read Scripture and expect to fully understand it, without the enlightenment supplied by understanding its historical context, the nuances of original language (translation to English causes certain points to be distorted or lost), and the insight gained by cross-referencing various Scriptural passages, only available through intensive study. This is why commentaries, preferably from a number of different scholars, and preferably having differing interpretations, to avoid the pitfalls inherent from relying on a single fallible man, are important to good Bible study as well.

    God bless you all.

  • Tom Hering

    It seems to me that Grace is defending (A.) non-denominationalism in general, (B.) her belief that Calvary Chapel is not a denomination – not even minimally, and (C.) the way they worship at her particular congregation. Only “A” is the topic of discussion here. But for some reason, Grace felt it was necessary to turn the discussion to “B” and “C.” And to then attack others for their Lutheranism, their liturgy, and their founder’s anger at the Jews of his time and place.

    I remember having the thought that this was inevitable when I first saw Dr. Veith’s post on Monday. It was a “hoo-boy!” moment. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    It seems to me that Grace is defending (A.) non-denominationalism in general, (B.) her belief that Calvary Chapel is not a denomination – not even minimally, and (C.) the way they worship at her particular congregation. Only “A” is the topic of discussion here. But for some reason, Grace felt it was necessary to turn the discussion to “B” and “C.” And to then attack others for their Lutheranism, their liturgy, and their founder’s anger at the Jews of his time and place.

    I remember having the thought that this was inevitable when I first saw Dr. Veith’s post on Monday. It was a “hoo-boy!” moment. :-)

  • Louis

    DonS – well answered.

    Tom: What I find particularly striking is that Grace seems unaware of the massive disconnect, no the clear contradiction between her insistence that CC is not a denomination, and her hounding of Don as to the exact nature of his relationship with CC.

    Furthermore her attack on liturgy illustrates my original point about trigger words – that after it was explained to her that the only thing that was meant was “how somebody worships”, or “does church”. The fact that she could not bring herself to answer, but resorted to the old thing about Luther, is quite striking as well, especially considerint the irenic nature of Kristine’s approach.

    This whole conversation turned out, as you indicated, to be quite Pavlovian in nature. And more’s the pity.

    DonS – maybe you could answer Kristine’s question? What does a Sunday Morning at your CC congregation look like?

  • Louis

    DonS – well answered.

    Tom: What I find particularly striking is that Grace seems unaware of the massive disconnect, no the clear contradiction between her insistence that CC is not a denomination, and her hounding of Don as to the exact nature of his relationship with CC.

    Furthermore her attack on liturgy illustrates my original point about trigger words – that after it was explained to her that the only thing that was meant was “how somebody worships”, or “does church”. The fact that she could not bring herself to answer, but resorted to the old thing about Luther, is quite striking as well, especially considerint the irenic nature of Kristine’s approach.

    This whole conversation turned out, as you indicated, to be quite Pavlovian in nature. And more’s the pity.

    DonS – maybe you could answer Kristine’s question? What does a Sunday Morning at your CC congregation look like?

  • Stephen

    DonS

    “I don’t need to attend a church of any particular stripe, just one that has a doctrinal view that I fundamentally agree with, and where, if I disagree with any particular point, I can live with the difference. Most important to me is to respect the leadership of the church my family is sitting under. My ultimate allegiance is to the Body of Christ, not a particular denomination.”

    The subjectivity of this statement sounds quite modern and not very orthodox to me. I am loathe to say it, but even the statement about personal allegiance could sound like sentiment without doctrine. Church, faith, etc. is largely up to the discretion of the believer. It is centered in one’s reason and choice.

    While others see Lutheranism as denominationalism in a cultural sense, Lutherans understand it as orthodoxy pure and simple in a confessional sense. This is the meaning of holding up the Book of Concord as our witness to what we believe teach and confess about the scripture and the revealed truth of Jesus Christ found there and throughout history in the church. We say that this confession is not just for us, but for everyone who claims Jesus as Lord, and by this statement invite all to believe in Him. Art I of the Augsburg Confession expresses our full agreement with the historic church confession in every way. Following that, our orthodoxy is developed thoroughly in the Book of Concord stemming from the purity of every point of doctrine set down there, based solely on the Word of God. As such, we are not a sect.

    I do need to attend a church of a particular stripe, and avoid false ones, one that actually has a confession of faith that is shared and true and not something I choose singularly to suit my tastes because, ironic as it may seem, “I” find this to be false religion. I’ve lived it, and I still must repent of it. God chooses me. He calls all believers to faith in Him among other believers. All that stuff Larry was unfolding has to do with why doctrine matters. It has a claim on us. We do not claim it when it makes sense to us or appeals to us. We submit to it and serve the truths of scripture it proclaims.

    To be fair, I have no idea what your particular doctrinal beliefs are, and I am not passing judgment on anything you may or may not believe in particular. I’m still talking about what the difference is between a sect and orthodox faith. I think we are surrounded by sectarians, and confessional Lutheranism is NOT a sect for the reasons I have described. It is orthodox faith in the revealed truth of Jesus Christ alone who brings salvation through faith alone by grace alone as revealed in the Word alone.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    “I don’t need to attend a church of any particular stripe, just one that has a doctrinal view that I fundamentally agree with, and where, if I disagree with any particular point, I can live with the difference. Most important to me is to respect the leadership of the church my family is sitting under. My ultimate allegiance is to the Body of Christ, not a particular denomination.”

    The subjectivity of this statement sounds quite modern and not very orthodox to me. I am loathe to say it, but even the statement about personal allegiance could sound like sentiment without doctrine. Church, faith, etc. is largely up to the discretion of the believer. It is centered in one’s reason and choice.

    While others see Lutheranism as denominationalism in a cultural sense, Lutherans understand it as orthodoxy pure and simple in a confessional sense. This is the meaning of holding up the Book of Concord as our witness to what we believe teach and confess about the scripture and the revealed truth of Jesus Christ found there and throughout history in the church. We say that this confession is not just for us, but for everyone who claims Jesus as Lord, and by this statement invite all to believe in Him. Art I of the Augsburg Confession expresses our full agreement with the historic church confession in every way. Following that, our orthodoxy is developed thoroughly in the Book of Concord stemming from the purity of every point of doctrine set down there, based solely on the Word of God. As such, we are not a sect.

    I do need to attend a church of a particular stripe, and avoid false ones, one that actually has a confession of faith that is shared and true and not something I choose singularly to suit my tastes because, ironic as it may seem, “I” find this to be false religion. I’ve lived it, and I still must repent of it. God chooses me. He calls all believers to faith in Him among other believers. All that stuff Larry was unfolding has to do with why doctrine matters. It has a claim on us. We do not claim it when it makes sense to us or appeals to us. We submit to it and serve the truths of scripture it proclaims.

    To be fair, I have no idea what your particular doctrinal beliefs are, and I am not passing judgment on anything you may or may not believe in particular. I’m still talking about what the difference is between a sect and orthodox faith. I think we are surrounded by sectarians, and confessional Lutheranism is NOT a sect for the reasons I have described. It is orthodox faith in the revealed truth of Jesus Christ alone who brings salvation through faith alone by grace alone as revealed in the Word alone.

  • BW

    What happened down here?

    Looks like things got out of control again.

    I suspected that might happen to this thread…

  • BW

    What happened down here?

    Looks like things got out of control again.

    I suspected that might happen to this thread…

  • Grace

    Non denominationalism vs. Denomination will always bring about a flash and spark when posted on a blog that is Denominational!

    DonS – 115

    “Here’s a bombshell — all men are fallible and fallen. Martin Luther lived in the 16th Century and you are applying present day sensibilities to his views. It’s not reasonable to do that.”

    Don – 16th Century has nothing to do with sensibilities in the case of Luther, or his intense hatred of the Jews. The Word of God states differently – Jesus Christ never gave Believers a pass on hatred in any era, especially one who purported to understand the Bible, making books and endless commentary, this after Christ died and rose from the grave 1500 years earlier. Anyone – ANYONE who has studied the Gospels understands that Christ did not at anytime direct any Christian Believer to harm those who did not agree with His (Jesus Christ’s) words. They were told to love others, they were also told:

    14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
    15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
    16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10

    A child could/can understand both these passages of Scripture, they are plainly stated by the LORD Jesus Christ.

    43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.
    44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;
    45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
    46 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same?
    47 And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so?
    48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5

    It’s about loving and not harming –

    “Moreover, the only possible result of that kind of thing is to goad a negative response, which in this case involved goading Boaz into defaming Chuck Smith, to get back at you. Where is the edification of the Body in this?”

    No one “goaded” Boaz to post his comments in 104 and 105 he hadn’t even posted on this thread until the aforementioned posts - The thread is about “Non denominationalism” –

    I addressed comments against those who do not participate in a denomination, for that, Boaz chose to smart off, just as others. And then they question why I bring up Luther. Every discussion which has centered around “”Non denominationalism” always brings out the cheers and snarko remarks from those who are affiliated with a denomination, this thread is no different. My post #47 in response to Kristine #44 was directed towards her remark “Emergent Church” – In responding to Kristine, as she stated “advertise all over campus” – I will say it again, young university students are much more savvy, they are searching, but don’t forget, they are going to use their computers to search out the truth. Underestimating the youth is foolish.

    My remarks in post #47 ~~ “You can name it Lutheran with Martin as your leader…. hoping to attract the university crowd, but you won’t. They will look into the history of Luther as fast as their PC’s will allow them to tap out the questions, and when they read the answers, they will won’t be impressed.
    It’s not candles they yearn for, it’s something much deeper…. it isn’t a reformer from the past, who you hold up – …….. it’s God ALMIGHTY, they want the truth,…. and that truth is the LORD Jesus Christ and the Word of God . . . none other will do!” ~~

    Young people started leaving mainline denominations for a reason. The Emergent Church brought forth what some of them are interested, it’s a shame …. but yet, others are looking much further, wanting to know what the Bible actually teaches, studying. That’s what Calvary Chapel Churches are all about, that’s why hundreds and thousands of young people in their twenties and thirties, Bible’s OPEN on Sunday morning anxious to read aloud the Scriptures, and then listening to the message from their pastor.

  • Grace

    Non denominationalism vs. Denomination will always bring about a flash and spark when posted on a blog that is Denominational!

    DonS – 115

    “Here’s a bombshell — all men are fallible and fallen. Martin Luther lived in the 16th Century and you are applying present day sensibilities to his views. It’s not reasonable to do that.”

    Don – 16th Century has nothing to do with sensibilities in the case of Luther, or his intense hatred of the Jews. The Word of God states differently – Jesus Christ never gave Believers a pass on hatred in any era, especially one who purported to understand the Bible, making books and endless commentary, this after Christ died and rose from the grave 1500 years earlier. Anyone – ANYONE who has studied the Gospels understands that Christ did not at anytime direct any Christian Believer to harm those who did not agree with His (Jesus Christ’s) words. They were told to love others, they were also told:

    14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
    15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
    16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10

    A child could/can understand both these passages of Scripture, they are plainly stated by the LORD Jesus Christ.

    43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.
    44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;
    45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
    46 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same?
    47 And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so?
    48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5

    It’s about loving and not harming –

    “Moreover, the only possible result of that kind of thing is to goad a negative response, which in this case involved goading Boaz into defaming Chuck Smith, to get back at you. Where is the edification of the Body in this?”

    No one “goaded” Boaz to post his comments in 104 and 105 he hadn’t even posted on this thread until the aforementioned posts - The thread is about “Non denominationalism” –

    I addressed comments against those who do not participate in a denomination, for that, Boaz chose to smart off, just as others. And then they question why I bring up Luther. Every discussion which has centered around “”Non denominationalism” always brings out the cheers and snarko remarks from those who are affiliated with a denomination, this thread is no different. My post #47 in response to Kristine #44 was directed towards her remark “Emergent Church” – In responding to Kristine, as she stated “advertise all over campus” – I will say it again, young university students are much more savvy, they are searching, but don’t forget, they are going to use their computers to search out the truth. Underestimating the youth is foolish.

    My remarks in post #47 ~~ “You can name it Lutheran with Martin as your leader…. hoping to attract the university crowd, but you won’t. They will look into the history of Luther as fast as their PC’s will allow them to tap out the questions, and when they read the answers, they will won’t be impressed.
    It’s not candles they yearn for, it’s something much deeper…. it isn’t a reformer from the past, who you hold up – …….. it’s God ALMIGHTY, they want the truth,…. and that truth is the LORD Jesus Christ and the Word of God . . . none other will do!” ~~

    Young people started leaving mainline denominations for a reason. The Emergent Church brought forth what some of them are interested, it’s a shame …. but yet, others are looking much further, wanting to know what the Bible actually teaches, studying. That’s what Calvary Chapel Churches are all about, that’s why hundreds and thousands of young people in their twenties and thirties, Bible’s OPEN on Sunday morning anxious to read aloud the Scriptures, and then listening to the message from their pastor.

  • Grace

    Post 120 should have read:

    “I addressed comments against those who do participate in a denomination, and denegrate those of us who choose to be affliated with a non-denomiational church for that, Boaz chose to smart off, just as others.”

  • Grace

    Post 120 should have read:

    “I addressed comments against those who do participate in a denomination, and denegrate those of us who choose to be affliated with a non-denomiational church for that, Boaz chose to smart off, just as others.”

  • DonS

    Louis @ 117: With all due respect, I decline your gracious invitation to wade into the earlier discussion on this thread at this time. :-) Time to put this one to be, I believe. Maybe another time.

    Stephen @ 118: Though I am theologically conservative, meaning that I take a literal view of the Bible, I am not orthodox, if by orthodox you mean confessional. Regarding, specifically, the Lutheran Confessions, I agree with many of them, but fundamentally agree with significant portions as well, as you probably know.

    I don’t know what you mean by “subjectivity”, or “sentiment without doctrine”. I know that my doctrine is not grounded in my feelings or ideas about things, but in Scripture. It involves no discretion on my part — I don’t “choose” to believe things the way I want them to be, but rather how they are presented in Scripture.

    On the other hand, I don’t really understand this Lutheran fear of human reason. God gave us reasoning abilities as a gift — that is how we are different and higher than the animals. I believe this is an important part of what is meant when Scripture says we are created in the image of God — we have the ability to reason. While man’s wisdom, when we divorce it from God’s Truth, is utter foolishness, when enlightened by Scripture and the illumination provided by the Holy Spirit, it enables understanding of important spiritual Truth. The Confessions were written by man, using human reasoning, after all. All that I meant by my comment is that I will not attend a church because of a label on the door. I want to review its doctrinal statement, and compare it to spiritual truth as I understand it. It’s not subjective, because the standard is God’s Truth, not my desires. Of course, if the church is confessional, you know the confessions it claims, and it lives by those confessions, then I guess the job is a little easier.

    But, there are many not so conservative Lutheran churches, as you know. So you need to exercise discretion as well.

  • DonS

    Louis @ 117: With all due respect, I decline your gracious invitation to wade into the earlier discussion on this thread at this time. :-) Time to put this one to be, I believe. Maybe another time.

    Stephen @ 118: Though I am theologically conservative, meaning that I take a literal view of the Bible, I am not orthodox, if by orthodox you mean confessional. Regarding, specifically, the Lutheran Confessions, I agree with many of them, but fundamentally agree with significant portions as well, as you probably know.

    I don’t know what you mean by “subjectivity”, or “sentiment without doctrine”. I know that my doctrine is not grounded in my feelings or ideas about things, but in Scripture. It involves no discretion on my part — I don’t “choose” to believe things the way I want them to be, but rather how they are presented in Scripture.

    On the other hand, I don’t really understand this Lutheran fear of human reason. God gave us reasoning abilities as a gift — that is how we are different and higher than the animals. I believe this is an important part of what is meant when Scripture says we are created in the image of God — we have the ability to reason. While man’s wisdom, when we divorce it from God’s Truth, is utter foolishness, when enlightened by Scripture and the illumination provided by the Holy Spirit, it enables understanding of important spiritual Truth. The Confessions were written by man, using human reasoning, after all. All that I meant by my comment is that I will not attend a church because of a label on the door. I want to review its doctrinal statement, and compare it to spiritual truth as I understand it. It’s not subjective, because the standard is God’s Truth, not my desires. Of course, if the church is confessional, you know the confessions it claims, and it lives by those confessions, then I guess the job is a little easier.

    But, there are many not so conservative Lutheran churches, as you know. So you need to exercise discretion as well.

  • DonS

    Louis, in my first paragraph above, “be” should, of course, be “bed”.

  • DonS

    Louis, in my first paragraph above, “be” should, of course, be “bed”.

  • boaz

    Grace, you want to argue about the sins of a Lutheran church leader from 5oo years ago. Fine, nobody is defending them. Luther wouldn’t either, he criticized many of his works, and suggested they all be burned. He also didn’t want the church to be called Lutheran.

    But if that’s the standard you want to apply, you need to apply it to your own denomination and its leaders. Shockingly, they are also sinners who made a lot of mistakes.

    You will continue to be ignored unless you want to argue substance. The confessions are our statement of faith, just like the many statements you find on calvary chapel websites. Criticize that and you will get serious responses.

    Otherwise I’m just going to apply your standard and mock the hippie goofball who started your denomination for his many sins.

  • boaz

    Grace, you want to argue about the sins of a Lutheran church leader from 5oo years ago. Fine, nobody is defending them. Luther wouldn’t either, he criticized many of his works, and suggested they all be burned. He also didn’t want the church to be called Lutheran.

    But if that’s the standard you want to apply, you need to apply it to your own denomination and its leaders. Shockingly, they are also sinners who made a lot of mistakes.

    You will continue to be ignored unless you want to argue substance. The confessions are our statement of faith, just like the many statements you find on calvary chapel websites. Criticize that and you will get serious responses.

    Otherwise I’m just going to apply your standard and mock the hippie goofball who started your denomination for his many sins.

  • boaz

    By the way, chuck smith favors indiscriminately killing Muslims in the west bank, as he has commented Israel should be shooting many more missiles at them.

  • boaz

    By the way, chuck smith favors indiscriminately killing Muslims in the west bank, as he has commented Israel should be shooting many more missiles at them.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I, for one, would like to hear more about this Luther fellow and his writings against the Jews. Is there anyone here who could tell me more about this?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I, for one, would like to hear more about this Luther fellow and his writings against the Jews. Is there anyone here who could tell me more about this?

  • BW

    tODD @ 126

    Do you mean the German Reformer, or the Superman arch nemesis?

  • BW

    tODD @ 126

    Do you mean the German Reformer, or the Superman arch nemesis?

  • Stephen

    DonS

    It’s not a fear of reason, it is to see reason in light of Original Sin and its consequence, that it utterly destroys our confidence in our ability to choose the good or give our assent to God’s good purposes. This is what I hear in what you say, even in how you recast a statement like: “I don’t “choose” to believe things the way I want them to be, but rather how they are presented in Scripture.” You, the subjective “I” is the one still driving the boat as far as I can tell – you and your unfallen reason with the bible in your lap. You will decide what the church is and even what doctrine is using your reason. Reason is a good gift from God. Lutherans do not deny that, Neither so they fear it, they just do not trust it to give them access to their salvation. Only Christ gives that. They do not put faith in reason as the arbiter of meaning to tell them what the bible says. I’m speaking in an ideal sense because we are all sinners and hence, why we not need grace, and also why sound doctrine is so vital to remaining orthodox. Orthodoxy simply describes “right praise” and true worship and all that follow from that, which really is everything – the 1st commandment. So it is not the reason of an individual to decide for Christ or the pope’s reason to tell them what the truth of the faith is or isn’t. The scriptures speak and we listen because they are the Word. The Book of Concord is an exercise in listening to them, in undoing centuries of religious noise to we hear them and give our “right praise.”

    It can be a tough turn to make from the power of our “enlightened” reason to submission to the voice of the spirit when Jesus says “take and eat, this is my body” because we are used to living by our reason. We want to say, like Calvin did, “how can this be?” and then go about working about an elaborate system of how it could be so that agrees not with scripture, but with reason. We do this because old Adam demands it instead of believing and trusting the words “given and shed for you for the remission of sins.” Like Larry said, the sheep know his voice. They come. they do not use their reason. They come. He feeds them.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    It’s not a fear of reason, it is to see reason in light of Original Sin and its consequence, that it utterly destroys our confidence in our ability to choose the good or give our assent to God’s good purposes. This is what I hear in what you say, even in how you recast a statement like: “I don’t “choose” to believe things the way I want them to be, but rather how they are presented in Scripture.” You, the subjective “I” is the one still driving the boat as far as I can tell – you and your unfallen reason with the bible in your lap. You will decide what the church is and even what doctrine is using your reason. Reason is a good gift from God. Lutherans do not deny that, Neither so they fear it, they just do not trust it to give them access to their salvation. Only Christ gives that. They do not put faith in reason as the arbiter of meaning to tell them what the bible says. I’m speaking in an ideal sense because we are all sinners and hence, why we not need grace, and also why sound doctrine is so vital to remaining orthodox. Orthodoxy simply describes “right praise” and true worship and all that follow from that, which really is everything – the 1st commandment. So it is not the reason of an individual to decide for Christ or the pope’s reason to tell them what the truth of the faith is or isn’t. The scriptures speak and we listen because they are the Word. The Book of Concord is an exercise in listening to them, in undoing centuries of religious noise to we hear them and give our “right praise.”

    It can be a tough turn to make from the power of our “enlightened” reason to submission to the voice of the spirit when Jesus says “take and eat, this is my body” because we are used to living by our reason. We want to say, like Calvin did, “how can this be?” and then go about working about an elaborate system of how it could be so that agrees not with scripture, but with reason. We do this because old Adam demands it instead of believing and trusting the words “given and shed for you for the remission of sins.” Like Larry said, the sheep know his voice. They come. they do not use their reason. They come. He feeds them.

  • Stephen

    I meant to write “why we not only need grace . . . ”

    Whew!

  • Stephen

    I meant to write “why we not only need grace . . . ”

    Whew!

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I, on the other hand, would much rather talk about the hypocrisy of a church body saying it is not a denomination when it has all the hallmarks of a denomination. I look at their website and I for the life of me can’t find a difference between the SBC, Anglican, and even LCMS (noting of course the LCMS site actually has sound doctrine unlike the heterodox doctrine of Calvary Chapel.) All the hallmarks of a denomination are there, an advisory body, a system of higher learning, they even have an oversight committee to provide chaplains – maybe it’s time they admit they have become a denomination.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I, on the other hand, would much rather talk about the hypocrisy of a church body saying it is not a denomination when it has all the hallmarks of a denomination. I look at their website and I for the life of me can’t find a difference between the SBC, Anglican, and even LCMS (noting of course the LCMS site actually has sound doctrine unlike the heterodox doctrine of Calvary Chapel.) All the hallmarks of a denomination are there, an advisory body, a system of higher learning, they even have an oversight committee to provide chaplains – maybe it’s time they admit they have become a denomination.

  • Stephen

    What is your synodical affiliation Dr. Luther?

  • Stephen

    What is your synodical affiliation Dr. Luther?

  • Stephen

    You know, it’s funny. Lutherans get accused of being fearful of reason, which would then make us, I guess, irrational. functionally we would be crying and carrying on like hillbillies at every worship service handling snakes. Since we don’t, or at least for the most part, (there was that one time) would that make us somewhat reasonable folk?

    And then we get smacked for being all caught up in doctrine and the Book of Concord and all those books and theology and being smart and stuff and sending our pastors off for four years to actually learn how to exegete the scriptures and learn history and preach well and do ministry. Hmmm? That sounds way too rational. We should stop that. It will ruin our reputation as being Reason-haters.

    As far as denominations go, this is an American phenomenon. It is also a designation created largely by sociology and historians of religion to describe the phenomenon in this country that came with so much new religious freedom. But Confessional Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have not changed in essentials since they were instituted, all under vastly different political situations, and are now tagged as denominations under this rubric. In this sense, they are unlike the denominations generated by the “invention” of religious freedom in the New World.

  • Stephen

    You know, it’s funny. Lutherans get accused of being fearful of reason, which would then make us, I guess, irrational. functionally we would be crying and carrying on like hillbillies at every worship service handling snakes. Since we don’t, or at least for the most part, (there was that one time) would that make us somewhat reasonable folk?

    And then we get smacked for being all caught up in doctrine and the Book of Concord and all those books and theology and being smart and stuff and sending our pastors off for four years to actually learn how to exegete the scriptures and learn history and preach well and do ministry. Hmmm? That sounds way too rational. We should stop that. It will ruin our reputation as being Reason-haters.

    As far as denominations go, this is an American phenomenon. It is also a designation created largely by sociology and historians of religion to describe the phenomenon in this country that came with so much new religious freedom. But Confessional Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have not changed in essentials since they were instituted, all under vastly different political situations, and are now tagged as denominations under this rubric. In this sense, they are unlike the denominations generated by the “invention” of religious freedom in the New World.

  • DonS

    Stephen: I’m not accusing you of anything. I am just observing that you consider my study of Scripture and doctrinal orientation to be an exercise of unreliable human reason, while your reliance on human-written Confessions and the human-written Book of Concord, somehow avoid those pitfalls. These documents that you rely on for sustenance in right doctrine were, indeed, written by humans at some point in time, who used their *gasp* fallible human reason.

    Is the difference just because these documents and books are old? Human reason was better during Luther’s time than now, perhaps? That’s a serious question, not snark. Wasn’t their reason fallen, just as mine is now? Wasn’t it necessary for them to be in submission to God and the Holy Spirit for understanding, just as we need be now?

  • DonS

    Stephen: I’m not accusing you of anything. I am just observing that you consider my study of Scripture and doctrinal orientation to be an exercise of unreliable human reason, while your reliance on human-written Confessions and the human-written Book of Concord, somehow avoid those pitfalls. These documents that you rely on for sustenance in right doctrine were, indeed, written by humans at some point in time, who used their *gasp* fallible human reason.

    Is the difference just because these documents and books are old? Human reason was better during Luther’s time than now, perhaps? That’s a serious question, not snark. Wasn’t their reason fallen, just as mine is now? Wasn’t it necessary for them to be in submission to God and the Holy Spirit for understanding, just as we need be now?

  • DonS

    Dr. Luther: We are indeed going in circles. You should review the early posts on this thread, including my own, regarding your query. Specifically, regarding Calvary Chapel, the reason they do not consider themselves to be a denomination is because there is no denominational hierarchy or bureaucracy to which the local churches owe funding. Local congregations keep 100% of their offerings and manage them as they decide locally. They call their own pastors. Though there are resources such as the School of Ministry, they are not required for affiliation.

  • DonS

    Dr. Luther: We are indeed going in circles. You should review the early posts on this thread, including my own, regarding your query. Specifically, regarding Calvary Chapel, the reason they do not consider themselves to be a denomination is because there is no denominational hierarchy or bureaucracy to which the local churches owe funding. Local congregations keep 100% of their offerings and manage them as they decide locally. They call their own pastors. Though there are resources such as the School of Ministry, they are not required for affiliation.

  • Grace

    I did not author this, but certainly wish I had!

    They Walk By a Man-made Creed

    Like most Lutheran children, I was schooled from the catechism. My mother was zealous to see all her children confirmed. To meet the question asked by the minister before the congregation on the day of the confirmation, you must know the articles in the catechism. We were taught that the catechism would explain the Bible and make it possible for us to understand the Bible. Mr. W.E. Schramm says so: “It is intended as a help to study and understand the Bible. It is a systematic arrangement of Bible teachings. Because these doctrines are presented in groups, they are easy to lay hold of, and thus the word of study simplified.” (“What Lutherans Believe,” The Lutheran Book Concern, Columbus, Ohio, p. 14). In the same book Mr. Schramm says, “To aid in the study of God’s Word, many Christians make use of a smaller handbook called a Catechism” (W. L. B. p. 13).

    In investigating the Bible I found inspired men saying the Bible was all-sufficient and complete. “Every scripture of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work” (II Timothy 3:16,17).

    To take the position Lutherans take, as expressed by Mr. Schramm, that we need Dr. Martin Luther’s catechism to understand the Bible, challenges the intelligence of God. Think of it! God is the author of the Bible. Still it is necessary for a man by the name of Luther to explain what God wanted to explain. Too, God says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God” (II Timothy 2:15). If God intended for the command “to study” to have an aid, He would have legislated thus. But, be it remembered, God’s commands need no crutch or cane to aid them. It they were needed He would have told us so. I could not subscribe to the Bible and to the catechism, hence another reason why I left the Lutheran church. – -
    Claude A. Guild

  • Grace

    I did not author this, but certainly wish I had!

    They Walk By a Man-made Creed

    Like most Lutheran children, I was schooled from the catechism. My mother was zealous to see all her children confirmed. To meet the question asked by the minister before the congregation on the day of the confirmation, you must know the articles in the catechism. We were taught that the catechism would explain the Bible and make it possible for us to understand the Bible. Mr. W.E. Schramm says so: “It is intended as a help to study and understand the Bible. It is a systematic arrangement of Bible teachings. Because these doctrines are presented in groups, they are easy to lay hold of, and thus the word of study simplified.” (“What Lutherans Believe,” The Lutheran Book Concern, Columbus, Ohio, p. 14). In the same book Mr. Schramm says, “To aid in the study of God’s Word, many Christians make use of a smaller handbook called a Catechism” (W. L. B. p. 13).

    In investigating the Bible I found inspired men saying the Bible was all-sufficient and complete. “Every scripture of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work” (II Timothy 3:16,17).

    To take the position Lutherans take, as expressed by Mr. Schramm, that we need Dr. Martin Luther’s catechism to understand the Bible, challenges the intelligence of God. Think of it! God is the author of the Bible. Still it is necessary for a man by the name of Luther to explain what God wanted to explain. Too, God says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God” (II Timothy 2:15). If God intended for the command “to study” to have an aid, He would have legislated thus. But, be it remembered, God’s commands need no crutch or cane to aid them. It they were needed He would have told us so. I could not subscribe to the Bible and to the catechism, hence another reason why I left the Lutheran church. – -
    Claude A. Guild

  • BW

    Grace,

    Do you think Luther’s Small Catechism errs in doctrine at some point? If so, could say where you think it does?

  • BW

    Grace,

    Do you think Luther’s Small Catechism errs in doctrine at some point? If so, could say where you think it does?

  • Grace

    Another excerpt –

    Why We Left Lutheranism

    Martin Luther said: “I pray you leave my name alone and not to call yourselves Lutherans, but Christians. Who is Luther? My doctrine is not mine: I have not been crucified for any one…How does it then benefit me, a miserable bag of dust and ashes, to give my name to the children of Christ? Cease, my dear friends, to cling to these party names and distinctions; away with all of them; and let us call ourselves only Christians, after Him from whom our doctrine comes.” (Life of Luther, by Michelet, p. 262). “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Rom. 10:1,2).

    I know their sincerity and honesty. Still I learned that I was honestly mistaken. Most of my friends in the Lutheran church are honest and making an effort to gain heaven but do lack a knowledge of their doctrine and the teachings of the Bible. Most Lutherans read for the minister, learn by memory the articles of the catechism before the day of confirmation, but have never laid the Bible side by side with the catechism and made a careful comparison.
    – - Claude A. Guild

  • Grace

    Another excerpt –

    Why We Left Lutheranism

    Martin Luther said: “I pray you leave my name alone and not to call yourselves Lutherans, but Christians. Who is Luther? My doctrine is not mine: I have not been crucified for any one…How does it then benefit me, a miserable bag of dust and ashes, to give my name to the children of Christ? Cease, my dear friends, to cling to these party names and distinctions; away with all of them; and let us call ourselves only Christians, after Him from whom our doctrine comes.” (Life of Luther, by Michelet, p. 262). “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Rom. 10:1,2).

    I know their sincerity and honesty. Still I learned that I was honestly mistaken. Most of my friends in the Lutheran church are honest and making an effort to gain heaven but do lack a knowledge of their doctrine and the teachings of the Bible. Most Lutherans read for the minister, learn by memory the articles of the catechism before the day of confirmation, but have never laid the Bible side by side with the catechism and made a careful comparison.
    – - Claude A. Guild

  • boaz

    That’s bullhonky. The catechism Lutheran confirmands use is over a hundred pages of Bible verses laid out to show where the doctrine comes from.

    If Calvary Chapel’s position is that they don’t need any help to understand the Bible, then I guess there’s no preaching in your church, and there are no bible studies or resources created. And you surely wouldn’t need statements of faith or explanations of beliefs. The ethiopian eunuch was just profoundly dense. ..

    Oh? You have all those things? So tell me again how your church is different than any other denomination?

  • boaz

    That’s bullhonky. The catechism Lutheran confirmands use is over a hundred pages of Bible verses laid out to show where the doctrine comes from.

    If Calvary Chapel’s position is that they don’t need any help to understand the Bible, then I guess there’s no preaching in your church, and there are no bible studies or resources created. And you surely wouldn’t need statements of faith or explanations of beliefs. The ethiopian eunuch was just profoundly dense. ..

    Oh? You have all those things? So tell me again how your church is different than any other denomination?

  • Stephen

    Well, that last statement about “most Lutherans” and what they have or have not done with their catechisms is laughable. The Catechism itself is laid beside the scriptures every point. The scriputre references are in it. Two of the first three chief parts concern teaching on the Lord’s Prayer and the 10 Commandments, which are, I’m pretty sure, scripture. Then there’s baptism. Pretty sure that’s in there too. And the Lord’s supper. Yeah, I think that’s pretty essential to know something about too since our Lord told us to do it to remember him. Hey I know, maybe we could teach kids to . . . memorize it! There’s some other stuff about confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, you know, little stuff like that. It is exposition and preaching of the scriptures, teaching for children and people of a simple education.

    Claude A. Guild is an idiot, but it’s not the first time you’ve said or quoted something idiotic Grace.

    And DonS, you need to consider the Book of Concord and what it is and what it isn’t. Yes, there is an awful lot of reasoning going on in it. You might like it since you are lawyer because it is essentially a kind of dispute. But on every point of doctrine, and those points were already there, the Lutheran Reformers point to scripture as the “Source and norm for all teaching and doctrine” not to reason. That means that if scripture seems to our reason to disagree with itself as it did for the scholastics and it did later for Calvin and Arminius and much earlier for a whole bunch of people who were dismissed as heretics along the way, we do not go about building elaborate systems so that scripture agrees with our reason, or our experience, or anything else. This is why we state the Creed over and over, because Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith, the Christ revealed on the cross through the Holy Scriptures. Every thing we say about God must begin and end there, not in rationalism or systems that make sense and agree with our sense of how thing sought to fit together. There is no cross in that.

    A simple example would be all the words we like to ascribe to God about majesty and glory and power and might. Well, our reason would likely attach itself to what the the natural telos of such things are – the president of the US, the football star, pick your image of earthly power and might. this is how our reason works and even how our language works. But Christ on his cross upsets this image. He opposes our idea of God and our reason religious imagination stumbles and our reason finds this foolishness. But as the scriptures say:

    “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

    This turns reason on its head, and has us repenting of our foolishness be fore a crucified God whom we preach.

  • Stephen

    Well, that last statement about “most Lutherans” and what they have or have not done with their catechisms is laughable. The Catechism itself is laid beside the scriptures every point. The scriputre references are in it. Two of the first three chief parts concern teaching on the Lord’s Prayer and the 10 Commandments, which are, I’m pretty sure, scripture. Then there’s baptism. Pretty sure that’s in there too. And the Lord’s supper. Yeah, I think that’s pretty essential to know something about too since our Lord told us to do it to remember him. Hey I know, maybe we could teach kids to . . . memorize it! There’s some other stuff about confessing sins and receiving forgiveness, you know, little stuff like that. It is exposition and preaching of the scriptures, teaching for children and people of a simple education.

    Claude A. Guild is an idiot, but it’s not the first time you’ve said or quoted something idiotic Grace.

    And DonS, you need to consider the Book of Concord and what it is and what it isn’t. Yes, there is an awful lot of reasoning going on in it. You might like it since you are lawyer because it is essentially a kind of dispute. But on every point of doctrine, and those points were already there, the Lutheran Reformers point to scripture as the “Source and norm for all teaching and doctrine” not to reason. That means that if scripture seems to our reason to disagree with itself as it did for the scholastics and it did later for Calvin and Arminius and much earlier for a whole bunch of people who were dismissed as heretics along the way, we do not go about building elaborate systems so that scripture agrees with our reason, or our experience, or anything else. This is why we state the Creed over and over, because Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith, the Christ revealed on the cross through the Holy Scriptures. Every thing we say about God must begin and end there, not in rationalism or systems that make sense and agree with our sense of how thing sought to fit together. There is no cross in that.

    A simple example would be all the words we like to ascribe to God about majesty and glory and power and might. Well, our reason would likely attach itself to what the the natural telos of such things are – the president of the US, the football star, pick your image of earthly power and might. this is how our reason works and even how our language works. But Christ on his cross upsets this image. He opposes our idea of God and our reason religious imagination stumbles and our reason finds this foolishness. But as the scriptures say:

    “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

    This turns reason on its head, and has us repenting of our foolishness be fore a crucified God whom we preach.

  • Grace

    Mr. Schramm states the Lutheran position well: “The baptismal command includes children. The command reads: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, R. V.). Since children are part of every nation, they are evidently among the ones to be discipled and baptized.” (W. L. B. p. 139) It would have been informing if Mr. Schramm had stated what it would have taken to make a disciple. It adds light on the subject if we read the King James Version: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,” (Matthew 28:19). Mark gives the great commission thus: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). From Matthew and Mark we learn that two prerequisites of discipleship are “being taught” and “believing.” In Acts 2:38 another prerequisite is given – “Repent and be baptized.” Hence, to be scripturally baptized one must be old enough to be taught, and he must believe and repent of his sins. Surely babies at the age of eight days are not old enough to be taught, to accept Christ or repent. Again, we cannot be Lutherans and believe in infant baptism.

    Lutherans teach baptism takes the place of circumcision in the Old Testament. “In the Old Testament, circumcision was the sacrament of initiation. It was administered to the boy babies when they were eight days of age. If God could make a covenant with a baby in the Old Testament, certainly He can and does do the same thing in this new dispensation. Accordingly, we conclude that since baptism has taken the place of circumcision, babies should be baptized” (W. L. B. p. 141). This like a lot of other vital issues isn’t a question of what God could and should do, but what He has willed to do! If God didn’t legislate baptism in the place of circumcision we act without divine authority when we baptize babies. This question has never been answered by Lutheran ministers: If baptism takes the place of circumcision, and they say it does, only boy babies were circumcised; why do the Lutherans baptize the girl babies?
    – - Claude A. Guild

  • Grace

    Mr. Schramm states the Lutheran position well: “The baptismal command includes children. The command reads: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, R. V.). Since children are part of every nation, they are evidently among the ones to be discipled and baptized.” (W. L. B. p. 139) It would have been informing if Mr. Schramm had stated what it would have taken to make a disciple. It adds light on the subject if we read the King James Version: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,” (Matthew 28:19). Mark gives the great commission thus: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). From Matthew and Mark we learn that two prerequisites of discipleship are “being taught” and “believing.” In Acts 2:38 another prerequisite is given – “Repent and be baptized.” Hence, to be scripturally baptized one must be old enough to be taught, and he must believe and repent of his sins. Surely babies at the age of eight days are not old enough to be taught, to accept Christ or repent. Again, we cannot be Lutherans and believe in infant baptism.

    Lutherans teach baptism takes the place of circumcision in the Old Testament. “In the Old Testament, circumcision was the sacrament of initiation. It was administered to the boy babies when they were eight days of age. If God could make a covenant with a baby in the Old Testament, certainly He can and does do the same thing in this new dispensation. Accordingly, we conclude that since baptism has taken the place of circumcision, babies should be baptized” (W. L. B. p. 141). This like a lot of other vital issues isn’t a question of what God could and should do, but what He has willed to do! If God didn’t legislate baptism in the place of circumcision we act without divine authority when we baptize babies. This question has never been answered by Lutheran ministers: If baptism takes the place of circumcision, and they say it does, only boy babies were circumcised; why do the Lutherans baptize the girl babies?
    – - Claude A. Guild

  • BW

    Grace,

    Who says babies can’t believe and repent? Who says they can reject Christ’s promises to them and all mankind?

    Christ rose from the dead, cast out demons, and resurrected Lazarus. Certainly He can create faith in a baby. Just a baby trusts its mother, so too can a baby trust its Savior.

    Christ does the work.

  • BW

    Grace,

    Who says babies can’t believe and repent? Who says they can reject Christ’s promises to them and all mankind?

    Christ rose from the dead, cast out demons, and resurrected Lazarus. Certainly He can create faith in a baby. Just a baby trusts its mother, so too can a baby trust its Savior.

    Christ does the work.

  • Grace

    BW

    Do you know of one baby who has ever repented of their sins? I don’t know one – Of course you can fantasize that somehow they can, but they can’t talk, walk, change their diapers.

    Repent and be baptized. Acts 2:38

  • Grace

    BW

    Do you know of one baby who has ever repented of their sins? I don’t know one – Of course you can fantasize that somehow they can, but they can’t talk, walk, change their diapers.

    Repent and be baptized. Acts 2:38

  • Grace

    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
    2 Corinthians 7:10

    Do you think an infant understands repentance? Does the LORD say an infant is capable of repenting?

  • Grace

    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
    2 Corinthians 7:10

    Do you think an infant understands repentance? Does the LORD say an infant is capable of repenting?

  • BW

    I know that through the Lord all things are possible. He created faith in you and I, He can create faith and work repentance in an infant as well.

  • Grace

    Boaz – 138 – ” The ethiopian eunuch was just profoundly dense. ..”

    Philip didn’t think so. The passage of the “eunuch” is important, but I understand your dismay, in that it contradicts your belief in Baptism.

    Philip wanted to know IF the eunuch 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.

  • BW

    I know that through the Lord all things are possible. He created faith in you and I, He can create faith and work repentance in an infant as well.

  • Grace

    Boaz – 138 – ” The ethiopian eunuch was just profoundly dense. ..”

    Philip didn’t think so. The passage of the “eunuch” is important, but I understand your dismay, in that it contradicts your belief in Baptism.

    Philip wanted to know IF the eunuch 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.

  • Stephen

    Grace -

    By your own admission you blaspheme the holy name of God. It is spoken in baptism as our Lord commanded. Either the name of God has the power it promises or it does not. You make of it a vain thing (2nd commandment).

    1 Peter 3:21 “and this water corresponds with baptism that now saves you also—not the washing of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”

    There are no “prerequisites” to salvation. That is works. You will burn for that. Christ alone is salvation, and it is a gift (Eph 2:8,9) Repent and believe indeed.

    St. Peter also said this about baptism:

    “38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

    Hey, not only can children somehow repent, but they are also called. Maybe it is like this:

    Isaiah 49:1 Listen to me, you islands;
    hear this, you distant nations:
    Before I was born the LORD called me;
    from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

    So let’s hear what Jesus says about infants and their place in his presence:

    Luke 18:15 “People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

    But then you do not believe the name of God has any power to do what God says it can do and actually save sinners born into this world of sin and death, so why am I talking to you?

  • Stephen

    Grace -

    By your own admission you blaspheme the holy name of God. It is spoken in baptism as our Lord commanded. Either the name of God has the power it promises or it does not. You make of it a vain thing (2nd commandment).

    1 Peter 3:21 “and this water corresponds with baptism that now saves you also—not the washing of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”

    There are no “prerequisites” to salvation. That is works. You will burn for that. Christ alone is salvation, and it is a gift (Eph 2:8,9) Repent and believe indeed.

    St. Peter also said this about baptism:

    “38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

    Hey, not only can children somehow repent, but they are also called. Maybe it is like this:

    Isaiah 49:1 Listen to me, you islands;
    hear this, you distant nations:
    Before I was born the LORD called me;
    from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

    So let’s hear what Jesus says about infants and their place in his presence:

    Luke 18:15 “People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

    But then you do not believe the name of God has any power to do what God says it can do and actually save sinners born into this world of sin and death, so why am I talking to you?

  • Grace

    Stephen writes: “There are no “prerequisites” to salvation. That is works. You will burn for that. Christ alone is salvation, and it is a gift (Eph 2:8,9) Repent and believe indeed.”

    Did Jesus make a mistake when He said “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

    But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
    Matthew 9:13

    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 6:10

    (“repentance to salvation” very clear indeed!)

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

    (confession is made unto salvation.” )

  • Grace

    Stephen writes: “There are no “prerequisites” to salvation. That is works. You will burn for that. Christ alone is salvation, and it is a gift (Eph 2:8,9) Repent and believe indeed.”

    Did Jesus make a mistake when He said “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

    But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
    Matthew 9:13

    For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 6:10

    (“repentance to salvation” very clear indeed!)

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

    (confession is made unto salvation.” )

  • Grace

    Stephen – 146″So let’s hear what Jesus says about infants and their place in his presence: ”

    People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. Luke 18:15

    Stephen, nowhere does it say Jesus Baptised the children, He placed His hands on them, that isn’t Baptism. You confuse yourself.

  • Grace

    Stephen – 146″So let’s hear what Jesus says about infants and their place in his presence: ”

    People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. Luke 18:15

    Stephen, nowhere does it say Jesus Baptised the children, He placed His hands on them, that isn’t Baptism. You confuse yourself.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Here you have a perfect example in Grace of someone who expects the scriptures to bend to Reason.

    “Do you think an infant understands repentance? Does the LORD say an infant is capable of repenting?”

    Extrapolate that in light of what I was talking about and perhaps it makes sense. What do such questions have to do with what the scriptures actually say? Not a single thing at all. They are the pleadings of old Adam and they are silly, pointless and lead nowhere. But I’ll tel you for sure, in their finer forms, they lead to elaborate systematic and natural theology, the kind old Adam loves.

    And while your at it, as to your question about the difference being because the Book of Concord is old? I can ask you the same question. Is there something special about our accomplishments in reason these days? Shall I give up the old stuff because we’ve come so far? Is there some current philosopher, for that matter, who has staked things out in terms of the essence of the political sphere any better than Plato or Aristotle. You say you are conservative, but you sound like a progressive who thinks we are really heading toward some better future with all our knowledge and smarts.

    “Wasn’t it necessary for them to be in submission to God and the Holy Spirit for understanding, just as we need be now?”

    Now that is a statement that we might be able to talk about if you would tell me what you mean. It’s worded kinda funny – not very Trinitarian, but I will chalk it up to blog posting and I do that too with a God in three persons. But what does that submission look like? Is it some kind of private affair, or does it happen as community of believers who confess together something in particular like a creed. That is where our Confessions begin – Article I. Who is God? With the church of Rome there is no argument at all. Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed. We confess these three Creeds with them and are baptized into the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    So, yes, the whole project begins in submission to God, to the revealed Word of scripture, and to each other as believers in that word. Read it!!! It’s only $20 from cph.org. Or check it out online. The rest is a working through of each aspect of doctrine to bring us back into submission to this revealed truth, the truth of Scripture, the truth revealed in Jesus Christ on the cross – that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier, and that this is what the entire narrative of Holy Scripture reveals, so that Christ is all in all, with us, and for us, to save us, though faith alone, by grace alone.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Here you have a perfect example in Grace of someone who expects the scriptures to bend to Reason.

    “Do you think an infant understands repentance? Does the LORD say an infant is capable of repenting?”

    Extrapolate that in light of what I was talking about and perhaps it makes sense. What do such questions have to do with what the scriptures actually say? Not a single thing at all. They are the pleadings of old Adam and they are silly, pointless and lead nowhere. But I’ll tel you for sure, in their finer forms, they lead to elaborate systematic and natural theology, the kind old Adam loves.

    And while your at it, as to your question about the difference being because the Book of Concord is old? I can ask you the same question. Is there something special about our accomplishments in reason these days? Shall I give up the old stuff because we’ve come so far? Is there some current philosopher, for that matter, who has staked things out in terms of the essence of the political sphere any better than Plato or Aristotle. You say you are conservative, but you sound like a progressive who thinks we are really heading toward some better future with all our knowledge and smarts.

    “Wasn’t it necessary for them to be in submission to God and the Holy Spirit for understanding, just as we need be now?”

    Now that is a statement that we might be able to talk about if you would tell me what you mean. It’s worded kinda funny – not very Trinitarian, but I will chalk it up to blog posting and I do that too with a God in three persons. But what does that submission look like? Is it some kind of private affair, or does it happen as community of believers who confess together something in particular like a creed. That is where our Confessions begin – Article I. Who is God? With the church of Rome there is no argument at all. Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed. We confess these three Creeds with them and are baptized into the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    So, yes, the whole project begins in submission to God, to the revealed Word of scripture, and to each other as believers in that word. Read it!!! It’s only $20 from cph.org. Or check it out online. The rest is a working through of each aspect of doctrine to bring us back into submission to this revealed truth, the truth of Scripture, the truth revealed in Jesus Christ on the cross – that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier, and that this is what the entire narrative of Holy Scripture reveals, so that Christ is all in all, with us, and for us, to save us, though faith alone, by grace alone.

  • Stephen

    Grace –

    What is true religion?

  • Stephen

    Grace –

    What is true religion?

  • Grace

    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.

    30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

    31 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

    We must believe in Christ as Savior to have life – it isn’t a work.

  • Grace

    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.

    30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

    31 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

    We must believe in Christ as Savior to have life – it isn’t a work.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Don – Possession or lack there of a paid bureaucracy does not make a denomination. Distinct agreed upon confession makes a denomination. Calvary Chapel has that even if it is rather broad. In addition, Calvary Chapel does have an oversight bureaucracy because it needs one in order to supply chaplains to the Armed Forces that is what CCOF technically is. You can deny as much as you want but the reality is Calvary Chapel has become a denomination whether or not it wanted to do so.

    Grace – how is Luther’s Small Catechism any different than expository preaching? Both utilize a man to explain what God meant in a systematic way. I also get the feeling that Guild has never read the letter to the Colossians. Also “It would have been informing if Mr. Schramm had stated what it would have taken to make a disciple.” Where Schramm is silent I will speak. The greek is explicit by which means disciples are made by means of Baptism and by means of Teaching. The technical form of the underlying greek is what is called a Dative of Means, aka how the imperative (in this case “make disciples”) is to be carried out. Since you believe order in wording matters note that Baptism comes first. However, order of words doesn’t necessarily denote a formulaic order but things that go together. Baptism and repentance go together, Baptism and teaching go together, but the order they happen in is not mandated. In fact, repentance is a fruit of baptism.
    The story of the Eunuch is descriptive, it describes an event. It does not proscribe a specific order.

    Tell us Grace how deciding to accept Jesus Christ is in the least scriptural in that in plain words Scripture denies that we become the children of God through an act of the will. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born,not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man , but of God.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Don – Possession or lack there of a paid bureaucracy does not make a denomination. Distinct agreed upon confession makes a denomination. Calvary Chapel has that even if it is rather broad. In addition, Calvary Chapel does have an oversight bureaucracy because it needs one in order to supply chaplains to the Armed Forces that is what CCOF technically is. You can deny as much as you want but the reality is Calvary Chapel has become a denomination whether or not it wanted to do so.

    Grace – how is Luther’s Small Catechism any different than expository preaching? Both utilize a man to explain what God meant in a systematic way. I also get the feeling that Guild has never read the letter to the Colossians. Also “It would have been informing if Mr. Schramm had stated what it would have taken to make a disciple.” Where Schramm is silent I will speak. The greek is explicit by which means disciples are made by means of Baptism and by means of Teaching. The technical form of the underlying greek is what is called a Dative of Means, aka how the imperative (in this case “make disciples”) is to be carried out. Since you believe order in wording matters note that Baptism comes first. However, order of words doesn’t necessarily denote a formulaic order but things that go together. Baptism and repentance go together, Baptism and teaching go together, but the order they happen in is not mandated. In fact, repentance is a fruit of baptism.
    The story of the Eunuch is descriptive, it describes an event. It does not proscribe a specific order.

    Tell us Grace how deciding to accept Jesus Christ is in the least scriptural in that in plain words Scripture denies that we become the children of God through an act of the will. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born,not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man , but of God.

  • DonS

    Dr. Luther @ 152: Hmm. That’s convenient. American Heritage doesn’t quite agree with your definition, however:

    denomination

    American Heritage Dictionary:
    de·nom·i·na·tion
    (dĭ-nŏm’ə-nā’shən)
    n.
    1.A large group of religious congregations united under a common faith and name and organized under a single administrative and legal hierarchy.
    2.One of a series of kinds, values, or sizes, as in a system of currency or weights: Cash registers have compartments for bills of different denominations. The stamps come in 25¢ and 45¢ denominations.
    3.A name or designation, especially for a class or group.

    Namely, Calvary Chapel lacks the “single administrative and legal hierarchy”. Each local church is autonomous and self-governing. In fact, their “confessions” are also determined at the local level, so they tend to differ somewhat from local body to local body.

  • DonS

    Dr. Luther @ 152: Hmm. That’s convenient. American Heritage doesn’t quite agree with your definition, however:

    denomination

    American Heritage Dictionary:
    de·nom·i·na·tion
    (dĭ-nŏm’ə-nā’shən)
    n.
    1.A large group of religious congregations united under a common faith and name and organized under a single administrative and legal hierarchy.
    2.One of a series of kinds, values, or sizes, as in a system of currency or weights: Cash registers have compartments for bills of different denominations. The stamps come in 25¢ and 45¢ denominations.
    3.A name or designation, especially for a class or group.

    Namely, Calvary Chapel lacks the “single administrative and legal hierarchy”. Each local church is autonomous and self-governing. In fact, their “confessions” are also determined at the local level, so they tend to differ somewhat from local body to local body.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, is faith a human ability, or is it a gift from God? I’m sure you’ll agree with the Bible that it’s a gift from God. So, does repentance precede the gift of faith, or does the gift of faith precede repentance? Here, I’ll help you out:

    “You made me trust in You even at my mother’s breast” – Psalm 22:9.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, is faith a human ability, or is it a gift from God? I’m sure you’ll agree with the Bible that it’s a gift from God. So, does repentance precede the gift of faith, or does the gift of faith precede repentance? Here, I’ll help you out:

    “You made me trust in You even at my mother’s breast” – Psalm 22:9.

  • Grace

    During the time of inspired men there were no institutions such as the Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic and Presbyterian churches. In fact, there were none of the denominations of today. The church you read about in the Bible is the Lord’s church.

    The word “church” is used in two senses in the Bible; the universal and the local sense (Matthew 16:16 and I Corinthians 1:2). In speaking of the “called out” in every nation the word church was used meaning the church universally. If a writer referred to the church in a given community it meant the local congregation. Never can we read of different denominations, having different founders, doctrines and creeds.

    To believe in denominationalism would be to make “sport” of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20,21: “Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be ONE; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou didst send me.” Jesus prayed for oneness. Paul said, “There is one body” (Ephesians 4:4). He declared the body was the church (Ephesians 1:22).

    Attention must be drawn to inspiration again when Paul declared, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned; and turn away from them” (Romans 16:17). The attitude that we can have different doctrines is contrary to Truth. Christ said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18) not churches. He said “there is one fold,” not folds (John 10:16). Paul said, “there is one faith,” not “the faith of your choice.” (Ephesians 4:5). – - Claude A. Guild

  • Grace

    During the time of inspired men there were no institutions such as the Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic and Presbyterian churches. In fact, there were none of the denominations of today. The church you read about in the Bible is the Lord’s church.

    The word “church” is used in two senses in the Bible; the universal and the local sense (Matthew 16:16 and I Corinthians 1:2). In speaking of the “called out” in every nation the word church was used meaning the church universally. If a writer referred to the church in a given community it meant the local congregation. Never can we read of different denominations, having different founders, doctrines and creeds.

    To believe in denominationalism would be to make “sport” of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20,21: “Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be ONE; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou didst send me.” Jesus prayed for oneness. Paul said, “There is one body” (Ephesians 4:4). He declared the body was the church (Ephesians 1:22).

    Attention must be drawn to inspiration again when Paul declared, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned; and turn away from them” (Romans 16:17). The attitude that we can have different doctrines is contrary to Truth. Christ said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18) not churches. He said “there is one fold,” not folds (John 10:16). Paul said, “there is one faith,” not “the faith of your choice.” (Ephesians 4:5). – - Claude A. Guild

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Don – every Calvary Chapel I have seen has had the same basic confession. The Calvary Chapel main site even has a basic statement of faith of what it means to be a Calvary Chapel. Again your hierarchy exists even though you don’t seem willing to acknowledge it. For that matter, the LC-MS is congregational in polity. Yet, we are denomination not because of bureaucracy but because we have banded together in common confession and out of our common confession have pooled resources so we can do more than we could have than as remote individuals. Our denomination exists not because of a governing agency but because of a confession. And if we are going to throw around dictionary definitions here
    “a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices” -merriam-webster.com

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Don – every Calvary Chapel I have seen has had the same basic confession. The Calvary Chapel main site even has a basic statement of faith of what it means to be a Calvary Chapel. Again your hierarchy exists even though you don’t seem willing to acknowledge it. For that matter, the LC-MS is congregational in polity. Yet, we are denomination not because of bureaucracy but because we have banded together in common confession and out of our common confession have pooled resources so we can do more than we could have than as remote individuals. Our denomination exists not because of a governing agency but because of a confession. And if we are going to throw around dictionary definitions here
    “a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices” -merriam-webster.com

  • Grace

    Believeth/Believe

    15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

    16 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.

    17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

    18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3

    One must believe to have everlasting life with Christ.

  • Grace

    Believeth/Believe

    15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

    16 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.

    17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

    18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3

    One must believe to have everlasting life with Christ.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, are you done copying and pasting things that no one here finds compelling? No? Okay. We’ll allow you to admit you’ve exhausted your own arguments.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, are you done copying and pasting things that no one here finds compelling? No? Okay. We’ll allow you to admit you’ve exhausted your own arguments.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Seriously, you don’t have to quote the whole book, besides you might get in trouble for violating copyright if you quote anymore with out express written permission.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Seriously, you don’t have to quote the whole book, besides you might get in trouble for violating copyright if you quote anymore with out express written permission.

  • DonS

    Stephen, I am a little frustrated here. My doctrine is based on Scripture, and I ascertain that a church’s doctrine aligns with what I believe is true Scripture before I will attend that church. That’s all I said, originally. You challenged me by saying that you thought that was a subjective standard. I’m not sure how scripture is subjective, but whatever. The point I made in response was that everyone, whether Luther, Wesley, the pope, Jonathan Edwards, Billy Graham, your pastor, or my pastor, uses human reasoning to discern our doctrine. We judge right from wrong and discern truth for the purpose of writing a sermon, when we’re reading Scripture, when we pray, when we share and discuss our faith with others. The confessions which you adhere to were written by men. God gave us the gift of human reasoning. He also provided the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to help us in our discernment and in our ministry. Our reasoning becomes a liability when we are in rebellion against God, or if we are trying to do things in our own strength. This is all scriptural.

    We may disagree on various doctrinal points. In fact, I know we do. But, I respect you and your deep faith, and look forward to fellowshipping with you in heaven. I believe we have each had our say, and in the meantime this thread has continued to deteriorate around us. So, I am going to sign off. I enjoy my conversations with you, and appreciate your respectful and constructive attitude. God bless you, brother.

  • DonS

    Stephen, I am a little frustrated here. My doctrine is based on Scripture, and I ascertain that a church’s doctrine aligns with what I believe is true Scripture before I will attend that church. That’s all I said, originally. You challenged me by saying that you thought that was a subjective standard. I’m not sure how scripture is subjective, but whatever. The point I made in response was that everyone, whether Luther, Wesley, the pope, Jonathan Edwards, Billy Graham, your pastor, or my pastor, uses human reasoning to discern our doctrine. We judge right from wrong and discern truth for the purpose of writing a sermon, when we’re reading Scripture, when we pray, when we share and discuss our faith with others. The confessions which you adhere to were written by men. God gave us the gift of human reasoning. He also provided the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to help us in our discernment and in our ministry. Our reasoning becomes a liability when we are in rebellion against God, or if we are trying to do things in our own strength. This is all scriptural.

    We may disagree on various doctrinal points. In fact, I know we do. But, I respect you and your deep faith, and look forward to fellowshipping with you in heaven. I believe we have each had our say, and in the meantime this thread has continued to deteriorate around us. So, I am going to sign off. I enjoy my conversations with you, and appreciate your respectful and constructive attitude. God bless you, brother.

  • DonS

    Dr. Luther @ 156: I have already signed off of this thread, as it is not edifying, but I will answer your post, out of courtesy. The way I will answer it is to say “so what”? Calvary Chapel does not hide what it is. Everything is out there on the website. It claims not to be a denomination, for legitimate reasons and in accord with a legitimate definition. You claim it is, because it has some attributes of a denomination, by an alternate definition. So what? Why are you even concerned about it? What is your beef?

  • DonS

    Dr. Luther @ 156: I have already signed off of this thread, as it is not edifying, but I will answer your post, out of courtesy. The way I will answer it is to say “so what”? Calvary Chapel does not hide what it is. Everything is out there on the website. It claims not to be a denomination, for legitimate reasons and in accord with a legitimate definition. You claim it is, because it has some attributes of a denomination, by an alternate definition. So what? Why are you even concerned about it? What is your beef?

  • Grace

    “Why We Left Lutheranism”

    Claude A. Guild

    ——————————————————————————–

    Why We Left Lutheranism

    Martin Luther said: “I pray you leave my name alone and not to call yourselves Lutherans, but Christians. Who is Luther? My doctrine is not mine: I have not been crucified for any one…How does it then benefit me, a miserable bag of dust and ashes, to give my name to the children of Christ? Cease, my dear friends, to cling to these party names and distinctions; away with all of them; and let us call ourselves only Christians, after Him from whom our doctrine comes.” (Life of Luther, by Michelet, p. 262). “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Rom. 10:1,2).

    It is with deepest love and tenderness toward those who still remain in Lutheranism that I publish this book. I know their sincerity and honesty. Still I learned that I was honestly mistaken. Most of my friends in the Lutheran church are honest and making an effort to gain heaven but do lack a knowledge of their doctrine and the teachings of the Bible. Most Lutherans read for the minister, learn by memory the articles of the catechism before the day of confirmation, but have never laid the Bible side by side with the catechism and made a careful comparison.

    I am not a Lutheran today; a host of friends and all of my immediate family are with me, away from the catechism. We make a comparison in this book between the teaching of the Bible and the Lutheran church. Listed here are reasons why I gave up Lutheranism and why I cannot be a Lutheran today. – -

    Claude A. Guild

    1.

    Foundation Human not Divine

    First, may I say, I gave up Lutheranism because I learned it had a human foundation. The student of the Bible and history never read or heard of a Lutheran church before the days of a man by the name of Martin Luther. In fact, the Lutheran church dates back to the eve of “All Saints Day, Oct. 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the cathedral door of the Wittenberg church and fled for his life. The blow he struck the Catholic church that day led to the beginning of the reformation movement and the origin of another church, the Lutheran church.

    This institution, contrary to the wishes of Martin Luther, wears his name. It is a known fact he is the founder of the church. Since he founded it and it wears his name, he being a human being makes the foundation of the Lutheran church human.

    I looked at the Bible! There I read Ephesians 1:22,23, “…And he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” I learned that Christ is the head of the New Testament church. Jesus declared He was the founder of it. “Upon this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18). Paul, the Apostle, says Christ is the foundation of the church. “For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:11).

    If, 1500 years before Lutheranism, Jesus said He would build His church, and Paul said He was head and foundation of the church, what right does Luther or his followers have to build a church and stake its claim on Divinity? The truth about it is, Christ is still head and foundation of the church and not Luther. – - Claude A. Guild

    2. Unscriptural Name

    When God’s word was preached in New Testament times it made sinners Christians. “And that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). And Agrippa said to Paul, “With but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would to God, that whether with little or with much, not thou only, but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except these bonds” (Acts 26:28-29). “But if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name” (I Peter 4:16). The word of God believed and obeyed did not make people Lutherans. It is imperative then, that it takes something in addition to the word of God to make Lutherans.

    The followers of Luther have accepted his name for the church, the Lutheran Church, because they have subscribed to his doctrine, his catechism. The catechism was written by him in the year 1529. It has continuously been accepted by the church. But let me say, if you were to destroy all the catechisms, you would forever lose sight of the name “Lutheran.” Since it was not a Bible name, and because Paul said, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17), I cannot be a Lutheran.

    3.

    They Walk By a Man-made Creed

    Like most Lutheran children, I was schooled from the catechism. My mother was zealous to see all her children confirmed. To meet the question asked by the minister before the congregation on the day of the confirmation, you must know the articles in the catechism. We were taught that the catechism would explain the Bible and make it possible for us to understand the Bible. Mr. W.E. Schramm says so: “It is intended as a help to study and understand the Bible. It is a systematic arrangement of Bible teachings. Because these doctrines are presented in groups, they are easy to lay hold of, and thus the word of study simplified.” (“What Lutherans Believe,” The Lutheran Book Concern, Columbus, Ohio, p. 14). In the same book Mr. Schramm says, “To aid in the study of God’s Word, many Christians make use of a smaller handbook called a Catechism” (W. L. B. p. 13).

    In investigating the Bible I found inspired men saying the Bible was all-sufficient and complete. “Every scripture of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work” (II Timothy 3:16,17).

    To take the position Lutherans take, as expressed by Mr. Schramm, that we need Dr. Martin Luther’s catechism to understand the Bible, challenges the intelligence of God. Think of it! God is the author of the Bible. Still it is necessary for a man by the name of Luther to explain what God wanted to explain. Too, God says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God” (II Timothy 2:15). If God intended for the command “to study” to have an aid, He would have legislated thus. But, be it remembered, God’s commands need no crutch or cane to aid them. It they were needed He would have told us so. I could not subscribe to the Bible and to the catechism, hence another reason why I left the Lutheran church. – -

    Claude A. Guild

    4. Upholds Denominationalism

    The Lutherans teach there is “one church” but that it is made up of various communions – Methodist, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, etc. “The word ‘church’ is commonly used to designate the various divisions in the communion of saints. We speak of the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, and a host of others. In a book entitled, ‘The Religious Forces of the United States’, an official of our government has listed forty-two general Christian denominations besides a number of smaller independent bodies. Yet, strictly speaking, there is not that number of Christian churches. THESE FIGURES INDICATE RATHER THE DENOMINATIONAL GROUPS INTO WHICH THE ONE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IS DIVIDED…These different denominations exist because of differences in their doctrines” (W. L. B. by Schramm, p. 114).

    Lutherans would have the church of the Lord divided into various denominations but when I consult Paul, the Apostle, see what he says: “Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them that are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?” (I Corinthians 1:10-13).

    During the time of inspired men there were no institutions such as the Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic and Presbyterian churches. In fact, there were none of the denominations of today. The church you read about in the Bible is the Lord’s church.

    The word “church” is used in two senses in the Bible; the universal and the local sense (Matthew 16:16 and I Corinthians 1:2). In speaking of the “called out” in every nation the word church was used meaning the church universally. If a writer referred to the church in a given community it meant the local congregation. Never can we read of different denominations, having different founders, doctrines and creeds.

    To believe in denominationalism would be to make “sport” of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20,21: “Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be ONE; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou didst send me.” Jesus prayed for oneness. Paul said, “There is one body” (Ephesians 4:4). He declared the body was the church (Ephesians 1:22).

    Attention must be drawn to inspiration again when Paul declared, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned; and turn away from them” (Romans 16:17). The attitude that we can have different doctrines is contrary to Truth. Christ said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18) not churches. He said “there is one fold,” not folds (John 10:16). Paul said, “there is one faith,” not “the faith of your choice.” (Ephesians 4:5).

    5. Misapply and Violate the 10 Commandments

    The Lutheran church teaches we are to keep the ten commandments today. It doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or Gentile, the ten commandments are binding on you in this age. “What is the moral law?” Answer: “The moral law is that law which sets forth our duties to God and man, as briefly comprehended in the ten commandments” (Questions & Answers No. 21, Luther’s Small Catechism) “The moral law alone is binding on all men.” (Answer No. 21, L.S.C.)

    The ten commandments were “written and engraven in stones,” they are done away. “But if the ministration of death, written, and engraven on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly upon the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which glory was passing away: how shall not rather the ministration of the spirit be with glory? For if the ministration of condemnation hath glory, much rather doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For verily that which hath been made glorious hath not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasseth. For if that which passeth away was with glory, much more that which remaineth is in glory. (II Corinthians 3:7-11).

    The ten commandments are called a covenant and the covenant is abolished. “And he declared unto you his covenant which he commanded you to perform, even the ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.” (Deuteronomy 4:13). “But now hath he obtained a ministry the more excellent, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then would no place have been sought for a second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, That I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt…In that he saith, A new covenant he hath made the first old. But that which is becoming old and waxeth aged is nigh unto vanishing away” (Hebrews 8:6-13). “…Having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross; having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s” (Colossians 2:14-17).

    Question: If the ten commandments are binding today, why don’t Lutherans keep the Sabbath, the 7th day, as the day of rest? Without divine authority they have called Sunday the Sabbath and worship on Sunday. There is no passage in all the Bible that would warrant the change – Sunday for the Sabbath.

    When I make a comparison between the catechism and the Bible I find they teach we must keep the commandments but like the Catholics they leave completely out of their catechism the second commandment: “Thou shalt not make unto me a graven image” (Exodus 20:4). To make up for the one they leave out, they divide number ten into two parts and call it nine and ten. (See L. S. C. pp. 43-44).

    This is the most serious part of all of it. They leave out one commandment and never keep the Sabbath commandment. They conclude the commandments thus: “God threatens to punish all those who transgress these commandments. We should, therefore, dread his displeasure, and not act contrarily to these commandments. ‘I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children upon the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments?’” (L. S. C. pp. 44-45) When I learned they violated the ten commandments, left one out and even bound on us a law that was abolished, I could not longer be a Lutheran.

    6.

    The Mode of Baptism is Non-essential

    “We recognize any mode of Baptism in which water is applied in the name of the Triune God, whether it be by immersion or pouring or sprinkling.” (Mr. Schramm, W. L. B. p. 136).

    The mode of baptism and especially sprinkling was the one paramount doctrine that continuously disturbed us. If sprinkling was to be “applied in the name of Triune God,” there must be some passage of scripture for it. We searched the Bible from lid to lid and never found “modes of baptism” mentioned nor did we read about baptism by sprinkling and pouring. However, we did find that Christ was baptized “in” Jordan and “came up out of the water” (Mark 1:9-10). Christ called baptism “a birth” (John 3:5). Those baptized “went down into the water” and “came up out of the water” (Acts 8:36-39).

    We never became wholly dissatisfied with sprinkling until we read Romans 6:4-5. “We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father we might also walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him (King James Version says “planted”) in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” Too, we could no longer believe there might be a choice of three modes of baptism when Paul said, “there is one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).

    After many days of anxiety and searching, having found nothing in the Bible that would teach sprinkling, we decided that it wasn’t baptism at all. We found a gospel preacher and were baptized-”buried”-for the remission of our sins. This I would plead with every Lutheran to do. – - Claude A. Guild

    7. Infant Baptism

    I didn’t write this, but I certainly wish I had.

    INFANT BAPTISM

    Mr. Schramm states the Lutheran position well: “The baptismal command includes children. The command reads: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, R. V.). Since children are part of every nation, they are evidently among the ones to be discipled and baptized.” (W. L. B. p. 139) It would have been informing if Mr. Schramm had stated what it would have taken to make a disciple. It adds light on the subject if we read the King James Version: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,” (Matthew 28:19). Mark gives the great commission thus: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). From Matthew and Mark we learn that two prerequisites of discipleship are “being taught” and “believing.” In Acts 2:38 another prerequisite is given – “Repent and be baptized.” Hence, to be scripturally baptized one must be old enough to be taught, and he must believe and repent of his sins. Surely babies at the age of eight days are not old enough to be taught, to accept Christ or repent. Again, we cannot be Lutherans and believe in infant baptism.

    Lutherans teach baptism takes the place of circumcision in the Old Testament. “In the Old Testament, circumcision was the sacrament of initiation. It was administered to the boy babies when they were eight days of age. If God could make a covenant with a baby in the Old Testament, certainly He can and does do the same thing in this new dispensation. Accordingly, we conclude that since baptism has taken the place of circumcision, babies should be baptized” (W. L. B. p. 141). This like a lot of other vital issues isn’t a question of what God could and should do, but what He has willed to do! If God didn’t legislate baptism in the place of circumcision we act without divine authority when we baptize babies. This question has never been answered by Lutheran ministers: If baptism takes the place of circumcision, and they say it does, only boy babies were circumcised; why do the Lutherans baptize the girl babies? – - Claude A. Guild

    8. Inherited Damnation

    The Lutherans teach that every baby born into this world inherits the guilt of Adam’s sin and is wholly depraved when conceived. “Original sin is the depravity which is born in us; it is the inclination to evil which we and all men have inherited from our parents. Ever since the fall of Adam, all men who are naturally begotten are conceived and born in sin” (W. L. B. p. 65). We suffer today from Adam’s sin, but there is not passage in the Bible that would teach that we inherit the guilt of Adam’s transgression. Jesus said, “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come unto me; for to such belongeth the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).

    Can the Lutherans tell us if the guilt of Adam’s sin comes from the fleshly or spiritual make-up of our foreparents? If they should say, “the flesh”, it would necessarily make Jesus a sinner because “he became flesh” and was born of flesh (John 1:14; II Corinthians 5:16; Colossians 1:22). If our original sin is from foreparent’s spirit, it would make God a sinner because “He is the Father of our spirits” (Hebrews 12:9).

    Men who teach inherited sin can never successfully do so when folks have read the inspired statement from Ezekiel the prophet. “The soul that sinneth it shall die; THE SON SHALL NOT BEAR THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHER, NEITHER SHALL THE FATHER BEAR THE INIQUITY OF THE SON; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20). Sin is transgression of the law (I John 3:4). Until babies are old enough to know the law and transgress the same, there is not transgression and they are children of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14).

    9. Misinformed Us On the Lord’s Supper

    The Lutherans teach the doctrine of consubstantiation; that with and under the bread is the body and with and under the cup is the blood. Let us read again from Mr. Schramm: The Roman Catholic View: “The Church of Rome teaches that in this sacrament the communicate receives only the body and blood of the savior. They believe that when the priest consecrates the earthly elements in the Lord’s supper, they cease to be bread and wine and by a sort of miracle are changed into the body and blood of Christ.”

    The Lutheran View: “We Lutherans insist that both the bread and wine and the body and blood of Jesus are received by every communicant at the Lord’s Supper.” (W. L. B. p. 149) “With and under the bread, with and under the cup, is the real body and blood of the Lord” (L. S. C. pp. 137-140).

    The reason Catholics and Lutherans teach that the real body and blood of the Lord appears in the supper is because Jesus said, “this is my body,” “this is my blood.” (Matthew 26:26-28) If Jesus meant that it literally became His body and blood, what did Jesus mean in John 10:9, “I am the door?” Did He mean He was made out of two-by fours and one-by-twelves? Most assuredly not! What did Jesus mean when He said, “I am the true vine,” that He was literally planted and leafed out in the spring? It would have to mean this if the other is literal in regard to the Lord’s supper.

    The truth about it is, though the Catholics teach “transubstantiation” and say it actually becomes His body and blood, though the Lutherans teach “consubstantiation” and make a sandwich out of it and say, “with and under” both have failed to see the figure of speech, personification. Jesus simply personified His body and blood in the bread and cup, as He did Himself in John 10 and John 15. The Lutheran church is divided on this very issue and we were never able to see their teaching on it, in the light of these other passages.

    10.

    Confession to the Pastor

    Absolution of sins, or forgiveness of sins comes to the disciple of Luther when he confesses his sins before the pastor and receives forgiveness for the same, as though God Himself had forgiven him: “What is Confession? Answer. Confession consists of two parts: the one is, that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution or forgiveness through the pastor as of God himself, in no wise doubting, but firmly believing that our sins are thus forgiven before God in heaven” (L. S. C. p. 79).

    There is no substitute with God. There is no satisfaction in confession sins before anyone, to pardon you, but God. There is one who will pardon us. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto Jehovah, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). “There is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5). John said, “My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, (not the pastor) Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1). – - Claude A. Guild

    “Friend of mine, Jesus purchased the “church of the Lord” with His blood, (Acts 20:28). I just can’t be persuaded to believe, no matter how hard I try, that He meant the “Lutheran church” when He said “church of the Lord.” Jesus has only one body which is His church (Ephesians 1:22). If you will read your Bible you will learn that you must believe in Jesus Christ (John 8:24), repent of your sins (Luke 13:3), and be baptized (buried) into Christ, for the remission of sins (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:4; Acts 2:38). You will be added to the church of Jesus Christ, not a human institution (Acts 2:47). Just be a Christian (I Peter 4:16). To do less than this, or to join some human denomination is acting without divine authority (II John 9). – - Claude A. Guild

  • Grace

    “Why We Left Lutheranism”

    Claude A. Guild

    ——————————————————————————–

    Why We Left Lutheranism

    Martin Luther said: “I pray you leave my name alone and not to call yourselves Lutherans, but Christians. Who is Luther? My doctrine is not mine: I have not been crucified for any one…How does it then benefit me, a miserable bag of dust and ashes, to give my name to the children of Christ? Cease, my dear friends, to cling to these party names and distinctions; away with all of them; and let us call ourselves only Christians, after Him from whom our doctrine comes.” (Life of Luther, by Michelet, p. 262). “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Rom. 10:1,2).

    It is with deepest love and tenderness toward those who still remain in Lutheranism that I publish this book. I know their sincerity and honesty. Still I learned that I was honestly mistaken. Most of my friends in the Lutheran church are honest and making an effort to gain heaven but do lack a knowledge of their doctrine and the teachings of the Bible. Most Lutherans read for the minister, learn by memory the articles of the catechism before the day of confirmation, but have never laid the Bible side by side with the catechism and made a careful comparison.

    I am not a Lutheran today; a host of friends and all of my immediate family are with me, away from the catechism. We make a comparison in this book between the teaching of the Bible and the Lutheran church. Listed here are reasons why I gave up Lutheranism and why I cannot be a Lutheran today. – -

    Claude A. Guild

    1.

    Foundation Human not Divine

    First, may I say, I gave up Lutheranism because I learned it had a human foundation. The student of the Bible and history never read or heard of a Lutheran church before the days of a man by the name of Martin Luther. In fact, the Lutheran church dates back to the eve of “All Saints Day, Oct. 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the cathedral door of the Wittenberg church and fled for his life. The blow he struck the Catholic church that day led to the beginning of the reformation movement and the origin of another church, the Lutheran church.

    This institution, contrary to the wishes of Martin Luther, wears his name. It is a known fact he is the founder of the church. Since he founded it and it wears his name, he being a human being makes the foundation of the Lutheran church human.

    I looked at the Bible! There I read Ephesians 1:22,23, “…And he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” I learned that Christ is the head of the New Testament church. Jesus declared He was the founder of it. “Upon this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18). Paul, the Apostle, says Christ is the foundation of the church. “For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:11).

    If, 1500 years before Lutheranism, Jesus said He would build His church, and Paul said He was head and foundation of the church, what right does Luther or his followers have to build a church and stake its claim on Divinity? The truth about it is, Christ is still head and foundation of the church and not Luther. – - Claude A. Guild

    2. Unscriptural Name

    When God’s word was preached in New Testament times it made sinners Christians. “And that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). And Agrippa said to Paul, “With but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would to God, that whether with little or with much, not thou only, but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except these bonds” (Acts 26:28-29). “But if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name” (I Peter 4:16). The word of God believed and obeyed did not make people Lutherans. It is imperative then, that it takes something in addition to the word of God to make Lutherans.

    The followers of Luther have accepted his name for the church, the Lutheran Church, because they have subscribed to his doctrine, his catechism. The catechism was written by him in the year 1529. It has continuously been accepted by the church. But let me say, if you were to destroy all the catechisms, you would forever lose sight of the name “Lutheran.” Since it was not a Bible name, and because Paul said, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17), I cannot be a Lutheran.

    3.

    They Walk By a Man-made Creed

    Like most Lutheran children, I was schooled from the catechism. My mother was zealous to see all her children confirmed. To meet the question asked by the minister before the congregation on the day of the confirmation, you must know the articles in the catechism. We were taught that the catechism would explain the Bible and make it possible for us to understand the Bible. Mr. W.E. Schramm says so: “It is intended as a help to study and understand the Bible. It is a systematic arrangement of Bible teachings. Because these doctrines are presented in groups, they are easy to lay hold of, and thus the word of study simplified.” (“What Lutherans Believe,” The Lutheran Book Concern, Columbus, Ohio, p. 14). In the same book Mr. Schramm says, “To aid in the study of God’s Word, many Christians make use of a smaller handbook called a Catechism” (W. L. B. p. 13).

    In investigating the Bible I found inspired men saying the Bible was all-sufficient and complete. “Every scripture of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work” (II Timothy 3:16,17).

    To take the position Lutherans take, as expressed by Mr. Schramm, that we need Dr. Martin Luther’s catechism to understand the Bible, challenges the intelligence of God. Think of it! God is the author of the Bible. Still it is necessary for a man by the name of Luther to explain what God wanted to explain. Too, God says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God” (II Timothy 2:15). If God intended for the command “to study” to have an aid, He would have legislated thus. But, be it remembered, God’s commands need no crutch or cane to aid them. It they were needed He would have told us so. I could not subscribe to the Bible and to the catechism, hence another reason why I left the Lutheran church. – -

    Claude A. Guild

    4. Upholds Denominationalism

    The Lutherans teach there is “one church” but that it is made up of various communions – Methodist, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, etc. “The word ‘church’ is commonly used to designate the various divisions in the communion of saints. We speak of the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, and a host of others. In a book entitled, ‘The Religious Forces of the United States’, an official of our government has listed forty-two general Christian denominations besides a number of smaller independent bodies. Yet, strictly speaking, there is not that number of Christian churches. THESE FIGURES INDICATE RATHER THE DENOMINATIONAL GROUPS INTO WHICH THE ONE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IS DIVIDED…These different denominations exist because of differences in their doctrines” (W. L. B. by Schramm, p. 114).

    Lutherans would have the church of the Lord divided into various denominations but when I consult Paul, the Apostle, see what he says: “Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them that are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?” (I Corinthians 1:10-13).

    During the time of inspired men there were no institutions such as the Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic and Presbyterian churches. In fact, there were none of the denominations of today. The church you read about in the Bible is the Lord’s church.

    The word “church” is used in two senses in the Bible; the universal and the local sense (Matthew 16:16 and I Corinthians 1:2). In speaking of the “called out” in every nation the word church was used meaning the church universally. If a writer referred to the church in a given community it meant the local congregation. Never can we read of different denominations, having different founders, doctrines and creeds.

    To believe in denominationalism would be to make “sport” of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20,21: “Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be ONE; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou didst send me.” Jesus prayed for oneness. Paul said, “There is one body” (Ephesians 4:4). He declared the body was the church (Ephesians 1:22).

    Attention must be drawn to inspiration again when Paul declared, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned; and turn away from them” (Romans 16:17). The attitude that we can have different doctrines is contrary to Truth. Christ said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18) not churches. He said “there is one fold,” not folds (John 10:16). Paul said, “there is one faith,” not “the faith of your choice.” (Ephesians 4:5).

    5. Misapply and Violate the 10 Commandments

    The Lutheran church teaches we are to keep the ten commandments today. It doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or Gentile, the ten commandments are binding on you in this age. “What is the moral law?” Answer: “The moral law is that law which sets forth our duties to God and man, as briefly comprehended in the ten commandments” (Questions & Answers No. 21, Luther’s Small Catechism) “The moral law alone is binding on all men.” (Answer No. 21, L.S.C.)

    The ten commandments were “written and engraven in stones,” they are done away. “But if the ministration of death, written, and engraven on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly upon the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which glory was passing away: how shall not rather the ministration of the spirit be with glory? For if the ministration of condemnation hath glory, much rather doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For verily that which hath been made glorious hath not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasseth. For if that which passeth away was with glory, much more that which remaineth is in glory. (II Corinthians 3:7-11).

    The ten commandments are called a covenant and the covenant is abolished. “And he declared unto you his covenant which he commanded you to perform, even the ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.” (Deuteronomy 4:13). “But now hath he obtained a ministry the more excellent, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then would no place have been sought for a second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, That I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt…In that he saith, A new covenant he hath made the first old. But that which is becoming old and waxeth aged is nigh unto vanishing away” (Hebrews 8:6-13). “…Having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross; having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s” (Colossians 2:14-17).

    Question: If the ten commandments are binding today, why don’t Lutherans keep the Sabbath, the 7th day, as the day of rest? Without divine authority they have called Sunday the Sabbath and worship on Sunday. There is no passage in all the Bible that would warrant the change – Sunday for the Sabbath.

    When I make a comparison between the catechism and the Bible I find they teach we must keep the commandments but like the Catholics they leave completely out of their catechism the second commandment: “Thou shalt not make unto me a graven image” (Exodus 20:4). To make up for the one they leave out, they divide number ten into two parts and call it nine and ten. (See L. S. C. pp. 43-44).

    This is the most serious part of all of it. They leave out one commandment and never keep the Sabbath commandment. They conclude the commandments thus: “God threatens to punish all those who transgress these commandments. We should, therefore, dread his displeasure, and not act contrarily to these commandments. ‘I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children upon the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments?’” (L. S. C. pp. 44-45) When I learned they violated the ten commandments, left one out and even bound on us a law that was abolished, I could not longer be a Lutheran.

    6.

    The Mode of Baptism is Non-essential

    “We recognize any mode of Baptism in which water is applied in the name of the Triune God, whether it be by immersion or pouring or sprinkling.” (Mr. Schramm, W. L. B. p. 136).

    The mode of baptism and especially sprinkling was the one paramount doctrine that continuously disturbed us. If sprinkling was to be “applied in the name of Triune God,” there must be some passage of scripture for it. We searched the Bible from lid to lid and never found “modes of baptism” mentioned nor did we read about baptism by sprinkling and pouring. However, we did find that Christ was baptized “in” Jordan and “came up out of the water” (Mark 1:9-10). Christ called baptism “a birth” (John 3:5). Those baptized “went down into the water” and “came up out of the water” (Acts 8:36-39).

    We never became wholly dissatisfied with sprinkling until we read Romans 6:4-5. “We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father we might also walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him (King James Version says “planted”) in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” Too, we could no longer believe there might be a choice of three modes of baptism when Paul said, “there is one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).

    After many days of anxiety and searching, having found nothing in the Bible that would teach sprinkling, we decided that it wasn’t baptism at all. We found a gospel preacher and were baptized-”buried”-for the remission of our sins. This I would plead with every Lutheran to do. – - Claude A. Guild

    7. Infant Baptism

    I didn’t write this, but I certainly wish I had.

    INFANT BAPTISM

    Mr. Schramm states the Lutheran position well: “The baptismal command includes children. The command reads: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, R. V.). Since children are part of every nation, they are evidently among the ones to be discipled and baptized.” (W. L. B. p. 139) It would have been informing if Mr. Schramm had stated what it would have taken to make a disciple. It adds light on the subject if we read the King James Version: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,” (Matthew 28:19). Mark gives the great commission thus: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). From Matthew and Mark we learn that two prerequisites of discipleship are “being taught” and “believing.” In Acts 2:38 another prerequisite is given – “Repent and be baptized.” Hence, to be scripturally baptized one must be old enough to be taught, and he must believe and repent of his sins. Surely babies at the age of eight days are not old enough to be taught, to accept Christ or repent. Again, we cannot be Lutherans and believe in infant baptism.

    Lutherans teach baptism takes the place of circumcision in the Old Testament. “In the Old Testament, circumcision was the sacrament of initiation. It was administered to the boy babies when they were eight days of age. If God could make a covenant with a baby in the Old Testament, certainly He can and does do the same thing in this new dispensation. Accordingly, we conclude that since baptism has taken the place of circumcision, babies should be baptized” (W. L. B. p. 141). This like a lot of other vital issues isn’t a question of what God could and should do, but what He has willed to do! If God didn’t legislate baptism in the place of circumcision we act without divine authority when we baptize babies. This question has never been answered by Lutheran ministers: If baptism takes the place of circumcision, and they say it does, only boy babies were circumcised; why do the Lutherans baptize the girl babies? – - Claude A. Guild

    8. Inherited Damnation

    The Lutherans teach that every baby born into this world inherits the guilt of Adam’s sin and is wholly depraved when conceived. “Original sin is the depravity which is born in us; it is the inclination to evil which we and all men have inherited from our parents. Ever since the fall of Adam, all men who are naturally begotten are conceived and born in sin” (W. L. B. p. 65). We suffer today from Adam’s sin, but there is not passage in the Bible that would teach that we inherit the guilt of Adam’s transgression. Jesus said, “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come unto me; for to such belongeth the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).

    Can the Lutherans tell us if the guilt of Adam’s sin comes from the fleshly or spiritual make-up of our foreparents? If they should say, “the flesh”, it would necessarily make Jesus a sinner because “he became flesh” and was born of flesh (John 1:14; II Corinthians 5:16; Colossians 1:22). If our original sin is from foreparent’s spirit, it would make God a sinner because “He is the Father of our spirits” (Hebrews 12:9).

    Men who teach inherited sin can never successfully do so when folks have read the inspired statement from Ezekiel the prophet. “The soul that sinneth it shall die; THE SON SHALL NOT BEAR THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHER, NEITHER SHALL THE FATHER BEAR THE INIQUITY OF THE SON; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20). Sin is transgression of the law (I John 3:4). Until babies are old enough to know the law and transgress the same, there is not transgression and they are children of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14).

    9. Misinformed Us On the Lord’s Supper

    The Lutherans teach the doctrine of consubstantiation; that with and under the bread is the body and with and under the cup is the blood. Let us read again from Mr. Schramm: The Roman Catholic View: “The Church of Rome teaches that in this sacrament the communicate receives only the body and blood of the savior. They believe that when the priest consecrates the earthly elements in the Lord’s supper, they cease to be bread and wine and by a sort of miracle are changed into the body and blood of Christ.”

    The Lutheran View: “We Lutherans insist that both the bread and wine and the body and blood of Jesus are received by every communicant at the Lord’s Supper.” (W. L. B. p. 149) “With and under the bread, with and under the cup, is the real body and blood of the Lord” (L. S. C. pp. 137-140).

    The reason Catholics and Lutherans teach that the real body and blood of the Lord appears in the supper is because Jesus said, “this is my body,” “this is my blood.” (Matthew 26:26-28) If Jesus meant that it literally became His body and blood, what did Jesus mean in John 10:9, “I am the door?” Did He mean He was made out of two-by fours and one-by-twelves? Most assuredly not! What did Jesus mean when He said, “I am the true vine,” that He was literally planted and leafed out in the spring? It would have to mean this if the other is literal in regard to the Lord’s supper.

    The truth about it is, though the Catholics teach “transubstantiation” and say it actually becomes His body and blood, though the Lutherans teach “consubstantiation” and make a sandwich out of it and say, “with and under” both have failed to see the figure of speech, personification. Jesus simply personified His body and blood in the bread and cup, as He did Himself in John 10 and John 15. The Lutheran church is divided on this very issue and we were never able to see their teaching on it, in the light of these other passages.

    10.

    Confession to the Pastor

    Absolution of sins, or forgiveness of sins comes to the disciple of Luther when he confesses his sins before the pastor and receives forgiveness for the same, as though God Himself had forgiven him: “What is Confession? Answer. Confession consists of two parts: the one is, that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution or forgiveness through the pastor as of God himself, in no wise doubting, but firmly believing that our sins are thus forgiven before God in heaven” (L. S. C. p. 79).

    There is no substitute with God. There is no satisfaction in confession sins before anyone, to pardon you, but God. There is one who will pardon us. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto Jehovah, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). “There is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5). John said, “My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, (not the pastor) Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1). – - Claude A. Guild

    “Friend of mine, Jesus purchased the “church of the Lord” with His blood, (Acts 20:28). I just can’t be persuaded to believe, no matter how hard I try, that He meant the “Lutheran church” when He said “church of the Lord.” Jesus has only one body which is His church (Ephesians 1:22). If you will read your Bible you will learn that you must believe in Jesus Christ (John 8:24), repent of your sins (Luke 13:3), and be baptized (buried) into Christ, for the remission of sins (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:4; Acts 2:38). You will be added to the church of Jesus Christ, not a human institution (Acts 2:47). Just be a Christian (I Peter 4:16). To do less than this, or to join some human denomination is acting without divine authority (II John 9). – - Claude A. Guild

  • Grace

    Sorry about 162 – It should have been ONLY: Confession to the Pastor

    It obviously printed more.

    This material isn’t copyrighted

  • Grace

    Sorry about 162 – It should have been ONLY: Confession to the Pastor

    It obviously printed more.

    This material isn’t copyrighted

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I think you broke your ctrl, c, and v keys.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I think you broke your ctrl, c, and v keys.

  • Grace

    You might be right Dr. Luther. It certainly wasn’t intentional, I apologize for the incident.

  • Grace

    You might be right Dr. Luther. It certainly wasn’t intentional, I apologize for the incident.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Seriously, it would be nice if ppl would actually not misquote things. The explanation for Confession is continued beyond what is quoted earlier. The rest of the quote actually shows the scriptural justification for confession.
    What is the Office of the Keys?*
    The Office of the Keys is that special authority which Christ has given to His church on earth to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent.

    Where is this written?*
    This is what St. John the Evangelist writes in chapter twenty: The Lord Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:22–23)

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Seriously, it would be nice if ppl would actually not misquote things. The explanation for Confession is continued beyond what is quoted earlier. The rest of the quote actually shows the scriptural justification for confession.
    What is the Office of the Keys?*
    The Office of the Keys is that special authority which Christ has given to His church on earth to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent.

    Where is this written?*
    This is what St. John the Evangelist writes in chapter twenty: The Lord Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:22–23)

  • Grace

    Dr. Luther

    I’ve answered the “Keys” in the past. The Roman Church believes that they can give absolution of sins as well, but the Bible doesn’t say that. Mixing the Scripture, as the RCC has done, the Lutherans as well as others, doesn’t make it correct or honest.

    As was stated earlier, Post 137, last paragraph by Claude A. Guild. That is one of the problems the Lutheran church has, and continues to defend.

  • Grace

    Dr. Luther

    I’ve answered the “Keys” in the past. The Roman Church believes that they can give absolution of sins as well, but the Bible doesn’t say that. Mixing the Scripture, as the RCC has done, the Lutherans as well as others, doesn’t make it correct or honest.

    As was stated earlier, Post 137, last paragraph by Claude A. Guild. That is one of the problems the Lutheran church has, and continues to defend.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    In absolution we only give what we have been given to give as it is plainly stated in John 20:20-23. It really doesn’t get any simpler than that, to deny the forgiveness of sins in absolution is to reject the promise of Christ, I don’t think you really want to go there. I speak on the basis of Christ’s promise, nothing more, nothing less. Or now are you going to tell me, well Jesus didn’t really mean that we can forgive sins.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    In absolution we only give what we have been given to give as it is plainly stated in John 20:20-23. It really doesn’t get any simpler than that, to deny the forgiveness of sins in absolution is to reject the promise of Christ, I don’t think you really want to go there. I speak on the basis of Christ’s promise, nothing more, nothing less. Or now are you going to tell me, well Jesus didn’t really mean that we can forgive sins.

  • Grace

    Notice in verse 19 it is the Disciples who were assembled together, it is to them Christ Jesus spoke; the statement in verses 21 and 22 were to them, not to every Lutheran pastor, Pope of Rome, or priest, but to His Disciples

    19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
    20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.
    21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
    22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
    23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
    John 20

    The Apostles had power that was not given to those today. Rome, and the Pope believe they have the same importance today, and so do other groups like the Lutheran Church.

    The Aposles were chosen of the LORD, they are different than you and me. When they were given the task of spreading His Word, their gifts were multiplied. They were able to heal, speak in other’s tongue/languages, and many other things. They spent 40 days with Christ after His Resurrection, they had in that time, more seminary, more Biblical knowledge than you or I – they also had power that was a special gift, that we don’t have.

    Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. Luke 9:1

    Do you know anyone today who has that kind of power? I don’t.

    This is my point, the authority was give the Disciples of Christ, His Apostles, not to you or anyone else, it wasn’t HANDED DOWN, like the Roman Catholic Church believes.

  • Grace

    Notice in verse 19 it is the Disciples who were assembled together, it is to them Christ Jesus spoke; the statement in verses 21 and 22 were to them, not to every Lutheran pastor, Pope of Rome, or priest, but to His Disciples

    19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
    20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.
    21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
    22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
    23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
    John 20

    The Apostles had power that was not given to those today. Rome, and the Pope believe they have the same importance today, and so do other groups like the Lutheran Church.

    The Aposles were chosen of the LORD, they are different than you and me. When they were given the task of spreading His Word, their gifts were multiplied. They were able to heal, speak in other’s tongue/languages, and many other things. They spent 40 days with Christ after His Resurrection, they had in that time, more seminary, more Biblical knowledge than you or I – they also had power that was a special gift, that we don’t have.

    Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. Luke 9:1

    Do you know anyone today who has that kind of power? I don’t.

    This is my point, the authority was give the Disciples of Christ, His Apostles, not to you or anyone else, it wasn’t HANDED DOWN, like the Roman Catholic Church believes.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I have been called by the Lord, into the office I now have as a minister. I have been set apart by him to shepherd his people in the congregation I serve.

    If you want to insist that only disciples could forgive because they were the only ones present than you better not have anybody baptizing or teaching cause guess what he gave the great commission to the 11. So, if you want to persist in only the Apostles being given this promise you need to stop teaching and you need to stop baptizing.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I have been called by the Lord, into the office I now have as a minister. I have been set apart by him to shepherd his people in the congregation I serve.

    If you want to insist that only disciples could forgive because they were the only ones present than you better not have anybody baptizing or teaching cause guess what he gave the great commission to the 11. So, if you want to persist in only the Apostles being given this promise you need to stop teaching and you need to stop baptizing.

  • boaz

    According to Grace and Chuck Smith, babies are all damned because they can’t have faith.

  • boaz

    According to Grace and Chuck Smith, babies are all damned because they can’t have faith.

  • boaz

    As I read through these extremely interesting stories about Calvary Chapel, I see pretty clearly how they operate. Its personality driven, no real beliefs, critics are ostracized, and opposing faiths slandered. Pretty much how Grace operates. There’s no seminary so these pastors mostly don’t have a clue what they are talking about and have no fluency in the Biblical languages.

    Does any Calvary Chapel disagree with anything Chuck Smith teaches? Answer: No. Can Chuck Smith revoke membership and sue a church that calls itself Calvary Chapel without his permission? Answer: Yes.

    Chuck Smith is the Calvary Chapel Pope. Calvary Chapel shows the mark of “nondenominationalism” : no written doctrine, because its decided by the whims of a autocratic leader, and loose discipline leading to many financial and sexual scandals.

    Grace, remember who threw the first stone here. If you want to pit Martin Luther against Chuck Smith, great. When Chuck Smith is dead, Calvary Chapel will implode into nothingness. 500 years from now, Christians will still be memorizing the small catechism and Bible verses it comes from.

  • boaz

    As I read through these extremely interesting stories about Calvary Chapel, I see pretty clearly how they operate. Its personality driven, no real beliefs, critics are ostracized, and opposing faiths slandered. Pretty much how Grace operates. There’s no seminary so these pastors mostly don’t have a clue what they are talking about and have no fluency in the Biblical languages.

    Does any Calvary Chapel disagree with anything Chuck Smith teaches? Answer: No. Can Chuck Smith revoke membership and sue a church that calls itself Calvary Chapel without his permission? Answer: Yes.

    Chuck Smith is the Calvary Chapel Pope. Calvary Chapel shows the mark of “nondenominationalism” : no written doctrine, because its decided by the whims of a autocratic leader, and loose discipline leading to many financial and sexual scandals.

    Grace, remember who threw the first stone here. If you want to pit Martin Luther against Chuck Smith, great. When Chuck Smith is dead, Calvary Chapel will implode into nothingness. 500 years from now, Christians will still be memorizing the small catechism and Bible verses it comes from.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Boaz, as one who is irritated when people try to discredit the teaching of Luther by stooping to demonizing behavior, I would appreciate it if you didn’t do the same to Chuck Smith. I think he is wrong headed to the extreme in his understanding of the bible, but it is no call to try and discredit him because of moral failings, even if there are others here who have attempted to discredit via similar means.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Boaz, as one who is irritated when people try to discredit the teaching of Luther by stooping to demonizing behavior, I would appreciate it if you didn’t do the same to Chuck Smith. I think he is wrong headed to the extreme in his understanding of the bible, but it is no call to try and discredit him because of moral failings, even if there are others here who have attempted to discredit via similar means.

  • boaz

    I think it’s fascinating that Grace focuses on the individual of Luther, rather than the objective, written confsesions to which Lutheran churches claim as their teaching, and is totally blind that her own church has no objective teaching whatsoever that is independent from the person of Chuck Smith.

  • boaz

    I think it’s fascinating that Grace focuses on the individual of Luther, rather than the objective, written confsesions to which Lutheran churches claim as their teaching, and is totally blind that her own church has no objective teaching whatsoever that is independent from the person of Chuck Smith.

  • Grace

    Dr Luther

    Are pastors allowed to Baptize? – do they have the same gifts that the Apostles were given? – do you have the same gifts as the Apostles? – if so, then you should be able to do the same things they did, but you can’t, can you?

    The Apostles are given honor within the city made clear in Revelation:

    12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

    13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

    14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
    Revelation 21

    The passage in Revelation 21 goes on to give the measurments of the city. I state this passage because the Apostles are different in many, many ways from any other, if it were not so, the LORD would not have given it to John. Revelation is a rich book about the LORD Jesus, heaven and the times that are to come upon the earth.

  • Grace

    Dr Luther

    Are pastors allowed to Baptize? – do they have the same gifts that the Apostles were given? – do you have the same gifts as the Apostles? – if so, then you should be able to do the same things they did, but you can’t, can you?

    The Apostles are given honor within the city made clear in Revelation:

    12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

    13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

    14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
    Revelation 21

    The passage in Revelation 21 goes on to give the measurments of the city. I state this passage because the Apostles are different in many, many ways from any other, if it were not so, the LORD would not have given it to John. Revelation is a rich book about the LORD Jesus, heaven and the times that are to come upon the earth.

  • boaz

    Dr. Luther, guys like Chuck Smith are the essence of nondenominationalism. If Grace can’t see her church is at the whims of one dude, with no objective teaching with which outsiders can judge against Scripture, there’s no point to arguing. It’s worse than arguing with Catholics about the magisterium. At least Catholics have a history they have to deal with. People like Grace have nothing mooring them, except whatever she heard from a Chuck Smith radio show this week.

    I agree wholeheartedly this is stupid and pointless argument, but if you want to keep responding to Claude A. Guild quotes, feel free.

  • boaz

    Dr. Luther, guys like Chuck Smith are the essence of nondenominationalism. If Grace can’t see her church is at the whims of one dude, with no objective teaching with which outsiders can judge against Scripture, there’s no point to arguing. It’s worse than arguing with Catholics about the magisterium. At least Catholics have a history they have to deal with. People like Grace have nothing mooring them, except whatever she heard from a Chuck Smith radio show this week.

    I agree wholeheartedly this is stupid and pointless argument, but if you want to keep responding to Claude A. Guild quotes, feel free.

  • boaz

    Grace, maybe you have a link somewhere so I can see what you actually believe on things like the Trinity, resurrection of the body, original sin, justification, faith, the natures of Christ, etc. It seems to me it has little connection to what the Church has believed for 2000 years.

  • boaz

    Grace, maybe you have a link somewhere so I can see what you actually believe on things like the Trinity, resurrection of the body, original sin, justification, faith, the natures of Christ, etc. It seems to me it has little connection to what the Church has believed for 2000 years.

  • boaz

    Besides, I do think Chuck Smith deserves a lot of blame for creating a system in which untrained, unvetted pastors are sent out to positions to abuse the trust of innocent Christians. I found a remarkable number of sad stories from these congregations with very little googling. I can post links if anybody wants me to.

  • boaz

    Besides, I do think Chuck Smith deserves a lot of blame for creating a system in which untrained, unvetted pastors are sent out to positions to abuse the trust of innocent Christians. I found a remarkable number of sad stories from these congregations with very little googling. I can post links if anybody wants me to.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Come, come Grace you need to be consistent. If one can’t forgive sins because we weren’t one of the 11 then that means one cannot baptize or even teach the bible if the were not one of the 11. I suspect, however, you are not being consistent in employing your own interpretive rule, as it seems you are using it only when it suits you. Does your congregation baptize? Do they have bible studies or preach? If they do by what authority. I sincerely doubt any of the ministers there are old enough for it to be possible for them to be one of the 11.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Come, come Grace you need to be consistent. If one can’t forgive sins because we weren’t one of the 11 then that means one cannot baptize or even teach the bible if the were not one of the 11. I suspect, however, you are not being consistent in employing your own interpretive rule, as it seems you are using it only when it suits you. Does your congregation baptize? Do they have bible studies or preach? If they do by what authority. I sincerely doubt any of the ministers there are old enough for it to be possible for them to be one of the 11.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Boaz, feel free to attack theology and bad practice, in fact feel free to use both barrels, just please abstain from attacks based on sinful behavior.

    Trust me, I have seen one of these untrained Calvary Chapel pastors tell faithful young Christians they were just play acting at being christian, because they hadn’t done the sinner’s prayer and really make Jesus Lord of their life.

    I am also deeply concerned about the stories I hear of Calvary Chapels enforcing kids being separated from their parents, by not allowing them into the sanctuary. And this is just one concern.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Boaz, feel free to attack theology and bad practice, in fact feel free to use both barrels, just please abstain from attacks based on sinful behavior.

    Trust me, I have seen one of these untrained Calvary Chapel pastors tell faithful young Christians they were just play acting at being christian, because they hadn’t done the sinner’s prayer and really make Jesus Lord of their life.

    I am also deeply concerned about the stories I hear of Calvary Chapels enforcing kids being separated from their parents, by not allowing them into the sanctuary. And this is just one concern.

  • Grace

    Boaz

    I don’t agree with everything Calvary Chapel does, nor do I agree with every single teaching. Having said that, I will say this Pastor Chuck Smith has been called a hippie, which isn’t true. What he felt led to do was, minister to those in the 60′s who fell under that umbrella – they were long haired hippies, and surfers/beach people. Many of those people came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Many through the HOLY Spirit were able to give up drugs, and their past lifestyle.

    There has been much mentioned regarding Lonnie Frisbee on these threads, ….. Frisbee didn’t start Calvary Chapel,… he was however involved. Frisbee was removed from leadership positions when his lifestyle was known Pastor Chuck Smith spoke at his funeral. I wasn’t present during this time, nor did I ever meet Frisbee before he died, (he died in 1993 from AIDS)

    We have some of the very same problems today with drugs, homosexuality, and rampant sex throughout our country and world. No, they don’t look like hippies, the women dress like tramps, and the guy dress like bums – they do drugs, and anything else they can think of to entertain themselves. There are pastors and lay people out there doing everything they can to help these young, and no so young people – the job isn’t easy.

    Chuck Smith has a great big heart when it comes to the youth, the losses. He has been an inspiration to many a person, both young and old, poor, or rich. Chuck Smith as made a difference, he’s not perfect but then I’m not either.

  • Grace

    Boaz

    I don’t agree with everything Calvary Chapel does, nor do I agree with every single teaching. Having said that, I will say this Pastor Chuck Smith has been called a hippie, which isn’t true. What he felt led to do was, minister to those in the 60′s who fell under that umbrella – they were long haired hippies, and surfers/beach people. Many of those people came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Many through the HOLY Spirit were able to give up drugs, and their past lifestyle.

    There has been much mentioned regarding Lonnie Frisbee on these threads, ….. Frisbee didn’t start Calvary Chapel,… he was however involved. Frisbee was removed from leadership positions when his lifestyle was known Pastor Chuck Smith spoke at his funeral. I wasn’t present during this time, nor did I ever meet Frisbee before he died, (he died in 1993 from AIDS)

    We have some of the very same problems today with drugs, homosexuality, and rampant sex throughout our country and world. No, they don’t look like hippies, the women dress like tramps, and the guy dress like bums – they do drugs, and anything else they can think of to entertain themselves. There are pastors and lay people out there doing everything they can to help these young, and no so young people – the job isn’t easy.

    Chuck Smith has a great big heart when it comes to the youth, the losses. He has been an inspiration to many a person, both young and old, poor, or rich. Chuck Smith as made a difference, he’s not perfect but then I’m not either.

  • Grace

    Sorry for all the mistakes above….. too many to mention.

    Goodnight everyone!

  • Grace

    Sorry for all the mistakes above….. too many to mention.

    Goodnight everyone!

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    don @ 154

    let me respond to you dear beloved brother. we both go back a ways here on this site:

    The LCMS has a congregational structure Don. What does that mean? It means that each LCMS congretation owns its own building and property. It means that each congregation could call whoever it wants to be its pastor whether they went to an LCMS seminary or not. It means that no LCMS congregation is obligated to send money to the LCMS. These are all the points you are making about why calvary chapel is not a “denomination”.

    So why is it that the LCMS is fine with being called a denomination and Calvary Chapels ™ is not?

    it is this: Calvary Chapel asserts the fiction that they are some organic spontaneous manifestation of the Holy Spirit working, directly from the bible to create them. They do not have a history of coming out of other “denominations” as such. they just happened. UNLIKE those other “denomonations”. The implication is that those other “denominations” like the LCMS etc are really trapped in their thinking by the doctrinal structure and history that they are formed out of. So therefore, their theology is not the result of a free interaction with the Bible through the holy spirits free workings like calvary chapel is!

    This is why NOT being a denomination is such a big big deal to calvary chapel. tell me I am wrong. And it is total fiction! we are all the result of where we came from. and God can work in with and under that to free us with his word. and he does do that. and sometimes we resist and go our own way. the lcms denomination does this. so does that denomination called calvary chapel.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    don @ 154

    let me respond to you dear beloved brother. we both go back a ways here on this site:

    The LCMS has a congregational structure Don. What does that mean? It means that each LCMS congretation owns its own building and property. It means that each congregation could call whoever it wants to be its pastor whether they went to an LCMS seminary or not. It means that no LCMS congregation is obligated to send money to the LCMS. These are all the points you are making about why calvary chapel is not a “denomination”.

    So why is it that the LCMS is fine with being called a denomination and Calvary Chapels ™ is not?

    it is this: Calvary Chapel asserts the fiction that they are some organic spontaneous manifestation of the Holy Spirit working, directly from the bible to create them. They do not have a history of coming out of other “denominations” as such. they just happened. UNLIKE those other “denomonations”. The implication is that those other “denominations” like the LCMS etc are really trapped in their thinking by the doctrinal structure and history that they are formed out of. So therefore, their theology is not the result of a free interaction with the Bible through the holy spirits free workings like calvary chapel is!

    This is why NOT being a denomination is such a big big deal to calvary chapel. tell me I am wrong. And it is total fiction! we are all the result of where we came from. and God can work in with and under that to free us with his word. and he does do that. and sometimes we resist and go our own way. the lcms denomination does this. so does that denomination called calvary chapel.

  • Tom Hering

    Did anyone else notice that Claude A. Guild (Church of Christ) denies Original Sin (@ 162)?

    The Lutherans teach that every baby born into this world inherits the guilt of Adam’s sin and is wholly depraved when conceived … We suffer today from Adam’s sin, but there is not passage [sic] in the Bible that would teach that we inherit the guilt of Adam’s transgression … Sin is transgression of the law … Until babies are old enough to know the law and transgress the same, there is not transgression and they are children of the kingdom of heaven …

    Romans 5:18-19, “… through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men … through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners …”

  • Tom Hering

    Did anyone else notice that Claude A. Guild (Church of Christ) denies Original Sin (@ 162)?

    The Lutherans teach that every baby born into this world inherits the guilt of Adam’s sin and is wholly depraved when conceived … We suffer today from Adam’s sin, but there is not passage [sic] in the Bible that would teach that we inherit the guilt of Adam’s transgression … Sin is transgression of the law … Until babies are old enough to know the law and transgress the same, there is not transgression and they are children of the kingdom of heaven …

    Romans 5:18-19, “… through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men … through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners …”

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Bye Don. Sorry you are frustrated. Is that because of your doctrine or mine? If you are called by the Holy Spirit, then wouldn’t it make sense that “you” to do not actually ascertain anything? The sheep know his voice. They use their feet to come, not their reason. Think about that. What is the Holy Gospel? Walk across the street and watch some old folks in that LCMS church take communion some time. Watch how they stick their tongues out to receive the gift of the Body of Christ. I’m completely serious and I say this in all love to you who I do not know. “This is my body given for you.” That is not about our reason. There is nothing to ascertain. Take it. You are forgiven. Believe it. That is faith. That is Scripture. That is Christ. Go get him. He is there for you. You are baptized into him. He has come all the way down into the flesh and is here, dwelling among us.

    Below is from the Small Catechism. This is what we teach our children about the Holy Spirit. I mean this again, not as any kind of insult to you maturity or intelligence, but as a brother who needs Jesus like anyone else. It is for you. I’ll frame it by restating the words of Christ in Luke:

    “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

    The Third Article to the Apostle’s Creed.

    Of Sanctification.

    I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

    What does this mean?–Answer.

    I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

    Peace be with you Don,

    Steve

  • Stephen

    DonS

    Bye Don. Sorry you are frustrated. Is that because of your doctrine or mine? If you are called by the Holy Spirit, then wouldn’t it make sense that “you” to do not actually ascertain anything? The sheep know his voice. They use their feet to come, not their reason. Think about that. What is the Holy Gospel? Walk across the street and watch some old folks in that LCMS church take communion some time. Watch how they stick their tongues out to receive the gift of the Body of Christ. I’m completely serious and I say this in all love to you who I do not know. “This is my body given for you.” That is not about our reason. There is nothing to ascertain. Take it. You are forgiven. Believe it. That is faith. That is Scripture. That is Christ. Go get him. He is there for you. You are baptized into him. He has come all the way down into the flesh and is here, dwelling among us.

    Below is from the Small Catechism. This is what we teach our children about the Holy Spirit. I mean this again, not as any kind of insult to you maturity or intelligence, but as a brother who needs Jesus like anyone else. It is for you. I’ll frame it by restating the words of Christ in Luke:

    “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

    The Third Article to the Apostle’s Creed.

    Of Sanctification.

    I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

    What does this mean?–Answer.

    I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

    Peace be with you Don,

    Steve

  • Larry

    “Larry, Stephen asked me what definition of “sectarian” I was using, not what the “biblical” definition is. I don’t really know what the point of your long post is, but my complaint was against a negative style of argumentation, tearing down the other person, rather than positively presenting the commenter’s own doctrinal views. When you present your views always by tearing down the views of others, that signals to me that you are actually trying to justify your beliefs to yourself and others already of like mind, rather than to convince those of other viewpoints.”

    DonS,

    Not true at all, you couldn’t be more wrong. It may give you comfort that you think or rather dream that “one is justifying one’s” beliefs that way but the reality is that confession includes both confessing what is and condemning what is not true. Not to “tear down” which is always the false cry, “don’t pick me”, but to clarify. All the confessions of the church, Scripture too which I heretofore presented, do this when addressing false heresies. The confessions say, “we believe…” then “we condemn as false…”. Which was the point of quoting the scriptures directly on the issue.

    I understood what Stephen was asking you that that was your definition of “sectarian”, the reason for clarification was is that that is not the definition of sectarian. Again, for truths sake and to show that it was the exact opposite of the true use of it in Scripture which is why orthodox confessions separate. The problem is that mingled doctrines, true and false conflated, ALWAYS wish to cry against the truth, “You are ‘tearing the church/Christendom apart’, Christians are not suppose to, you are mean, you don’t love…etc…”. When in fact it is the heterodoxy that has done all this, not the orthodoxy and Scripture tells the orthodoxy to flee such for the sake of the Word, faith and yes love.

    False teaching always slips in first as “just be tolerant of us”. Then it moves to “equal time and weight with the truth”. Once fully established with strength and momentum on its side, it then no longer tolerates the truth/orthodoxy and begins to vanquish it.

  • Larry

    “Larry, Stephen asked me what definition of “sectarian” I was using, not what the “biblical” definition is. I don’t really know what the point of your long post is, but my complaint was against a negative style of argumentation, tearing down the other person, rather than positively presenting the commenter’s own doctrinal views. When you present your views always by tearing down the views of others, that signals to me that you are actually trying to justify your beliefs to yourself and others already of like mind, rather than to convince those of other viewpoints.”

    DonS,

    Not true at all, you couldn’t be more wrong. It may give you comfort that you think or rather dream that “one is justifying one’s” beliefs that way but the reality is that confession includes both confessing what is and condemning what is not true. Not to “tear down” which is always the false cry, “don’t pick me”, but to clarify. All the confessions of the church, Scripture too which I heretofore presented, do this when addressing false heresies. The confessions say, “we believe…” then “we condemn as false…”. Which was the point of quoting the scriptures directly on the issue.

    I understood what Stephen was asking you that that was your definition of “sectarian”, the reason for clarification was is that that is not the definition of sectarian. Again, for truths sake and to show that it was the exact opposite of the true use of it in Scripture which is why orthodox confessions separate. The problem is that mingled doctrines, true and false conflated, ALWAYS wish to cry against the truth, “You are ‘tearing the church/Christendom apart’, Christians are not suppose to, you are mean, you don’t love…etc…”. When in fact it is the heterodoxy that has done all this, not the orthodoxy and Scripture tells the orthodoxy to flee such for the sake of the Word, faith and yes love.

    False teaching always slips in first as “just be tolerant of us”. Then it moves to “equal time and weight with the truth”. Once fully established with strength and momentum on its side, it then no longer tolerates the truth/orthodoxy and begins to vanquish it.

  • Stephen

    Grace -

    You can try to be a gatekeeper for Heaven against little children just like the disciples when the kids came running, but Peter already has that job, and apparently he lets them in ever since the resurrection. We have his words in Acts and by his own hand regarding children about baptism, repentance, etc. for his say so in the matter. So I’ll quote them again because you neglected to listen. LISTEN. Selective hearing is not faithful. For those who have ears, let them hear! Put your ears on Grace, lest you fall under a curse.

    “38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

    1 Peter 3:21 “and this water corresponds with baptism that now saves you also—not the washing of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”

  • Stephen

    Grace -

    You can try to be a gatekeeper for Heaven against little children just like the disciples when the kids came running, but Peter already has that job, and apparently he lets them in ever since the resurrection. We have his words in Acts and by his own hand regarding children about baptism, repentance, etc. for his say so in the matter. So I’ll quote them again because you neglected to listen. LISTEN. Selective hearing is not faithful. For those who have ears, let them hear! Put your ears on Grace, lest you fall under a curse.

    “38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

    1 Peter 3:21 “and this water corresponds with baptism that now saves you also—not the washing of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”

  • Larry

    Do you know of one baby who has ever repented of their sins? I don’t know one – Of course you can fantasize that somehow they can, but they can’t talk, walk, change their diapers.

    Do you think an infant understands repentance? Does the LORD say an infant is capable of repenting?

    Grace’s words and she foists forward, obviously, adults as the exemplars of the Kingdom of God. Let us compare that with Christ’s crystal clear unambiguous words:
    Just after the Pharisee prayed and expressed himself as Grace does, “I thank you God…” and the actual sinner says, “have mercy on me a sinner” we read Jesus Christ showing us the exemplars of the kingdom of God:
    Luke 18: 15 – 17, “And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

    See much like the Lord’s Supper, “this is My body/blood” and the baptismal passages such as “this baptism saves you” Scripture really does defend itself point blank and the arguing against it here underscores what unbelief really is.

    Christ’s words in the LS are clear, He never says, “this is NOT My body/blood” nor does He says at all, “this represents My body/blood” or some such. Peter does not say, “this baptism does NOT save you”, “repent and be baptized for the promise is to you and NOT your children, but only spiritual children and all who are far off whom the Lord our God shall call and Jesus does not say, “PREVENT the children to come to Me, and HINDER them, for the kingdom of God belongs to adults and cognizant teens. “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like an adult and cognizant teen will not enter it at all.” No not one word of it, these are clearly the words and doctrines of men.

    Thus, and I’m guilty of this too, we approach folks in their unbelief using their foolish reason, and by doing so feeding and empowering it, almost by excusing it like they don’t understand it and we say, “here you are missing the point”. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Reason in unbelief is NOT rejecting what Scripture clearly says because it doesn’t understand it, that condemns the Scriptures. Rather, Reason working under unbelief does not reject Scripture because it is confused about what it says – rather it rejects Scripture PRECISELY because it understands EXACTLY what it is saying. And it knows it does, that’s why its fighting, arguing and rejecting against it.

  • Larry

    Do you know of one baby who has ever repented of their sins? I don’t know one – Of course you can fantasize that somehow they can, but they can’t talk, walk, change their diapers.

    Do you think an infant understands repentance? Does the LORD say an infant is capable of repenting?

    Grace’s words and she foists forward, obviously, adults as the exemplars of the Kingdom of God. Let us compare that with Christ’s crystal clear unambiguous words:
    Just after the Pharisee prayed and expressed himself as Grace does, “I thank you God…” and the actual sinner says, “have mercy on me a sinner” we read Jesus Christ showing us the exemplars of the kingdom of God:
    Luke 18: 15 – 17, “And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

    See much like the Lord’s Supper, “this is My body/blood” and the baptismal passages such as “this baptism saves you” Scripture really does defend itself point blank and the arguing against it here underscores what unbelief really is.

    Christ’s words in the LS are clear, He never says, “this is NOT My body/blood” nor does He says at all, “this represents My body/blood” or some such. Peter does not say, “this baptism does NOT save you”, “repent and be baptized for the promise is to you and NOT your children, but only spiritual children and all who are far off whom the Lord our God shall call and Jesus does not say, “PREVENT the children to come to Me, and HINDER them, for the kingdom of God belongs to adults and cognizant teens. “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like an adult and cognizant teen will not enter it at all.” No not one word of it, these are clearly the words and doctrines of men.

    Thus, and I’m guilty of this too, we approach folks in their unbelief using their foolish reason, and by doing so feeding and empowering it, almost by excusing it like they don’t understand it and we say, “here you are missing the point”. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Reason in unbelief is NOT rejecting what Scripture clearly says because it doesn’t understand it, that condemns the Scriptures. Rather, Reason working under unbelief does not reject Scripture because it is confused about what it says – rather it rejects Scripture PRECISELY because it understands EXACTLY what it is saying. And it knows it does, that’s why its fighting, arguing and rejecting against it.

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen @ 187, I think Grace is going to ask you (concerning Acts 2:38-39) how infants can first repent and then be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, that they may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Repentance – what it is, how it’s done, how it works – is the issue for Grace.

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen @ 187, I think Grace is going to ask you (concerning Acts 2:38-39) how infants can first repent and then be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, that they may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Repentance – what it is, how it’s done, how it works – is the issue for Grace.

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    What Larry said. She doesn’t listen. It wouldn’t do any good to explain anything. Actually, we don’t listen, none of us. THAT is the point. We’re sinners. We need repentance. Or better, we need Christ.

    I was thinking about Larry’s post about false doctrine. We have that image on the Sunday School wall of Jesus as the shepherd holding fluffy lambs. But if we think of an actual biblical image of a shepherd there is none better than that teenager David. What did he do when do when someone spoke blasphemy? He gathered up some stones and went out to meet a giant (megachurch?), bopped it on the head, then took a sword and ended the deal. Shepherd have to kill enemies like bears and lions. That’s how David convinced Saul to let him go out there with a sling (Small Catechism).

    Just a thought.

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    What Larry said. She doesn’t listen. It wouldn’t do any good to explain anything. Actually, we don’t listen, none of us. THAT is the point. We’re sinners. We need repentance. Or better, we need Christ.

    I was thinking about Larry’s post about false doctrine. We have that image on the Sunday School wall of Jesus as the shepherd holding fluffy lambs. But if we think of an actual biblical image of a shepherd there is none better than that teenager David. What did he do when do when someone spoke blasphemy? He gathered up some stones and went out to meet a giant (megachurch?), bopped it on the head, then took a sword and ended the deal. Shepherd have to kill enemies like bears and lions. That’s how David convinced Saul to let him go out there with a sling (Small Catechism).

    Just a thought.

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen, I think Grace reads Scripture and wrongly sees a formula for salvation: repentance followed by faith followed by works (which are necessary to keep salvation). I know it didn’t work that way in my case. Yes, I can remember a night of repentance, and of very conscious trust in what Christ did for me at Calvary. But I also know that night was preceded by faith, though my faith was never more than a smoldering wick. It was lit at my infant baptism, through which God created faith in me – through which God gifted me with faith. This kindness on His part, as the Bible says, is what eventually led me to repentance.

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen, I think Grace reads Scripture and wrongly sees a formula for salvation: repentance followed by faith followed by works (which are necessary to keep salvation). I know it didn’t work that way in my case. Yes, I can remember a night of repentance, and of very conscious trust in what Christ did for me at Calvary. But I also know that night was preceded by faith, though my faith was never more than a smoldering wick. It was lit at my infant baptism, through which God created faith in me – through which God gifted me with faith. This kindness on His part, as the Bible says, is what eventually led me to repentance.

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    Oh, believe me, I get that. I have lived it and am still living it. My in-laws are retired born again missionaries who think Lutherans are pagans. They have no clear gospel, it is obscured by law. They live it. The only way out of that is to repeatedly say “look here, Christ, given for you” and insist that it is so and all else is law. It is not all that technical, but others think Lutherans are very technical because they have so many books and so much doctrine. Why is that? Because we see that Christ is continually being taken down off his cross and other things, human reason for instance, are being put there in his place. Luther didn’t ask for his task or seek it, it was his calling. Everything he did was a response to a call to address a problem of doctrine. He opened a can of worms and he often regretted having to write certain things, like the Smalcald Articles for instance, but did so because other were pleading that he do so.

    By the way Tom, I know you understand all this, so I am not trying to tell you stuff you don’t already understand. I’m just repeating it for the sake of this conversation on doctrine.

    Maybe the Small Catechism is like David’s five smooth stones and one sword (six chief parts) with that sword being the Creed which is, as Luther said, pure gospel, the symbola of faith – the word of the Spirit, the NAME OF GOD, which is his presence. Wherever two or more are gathered. Kinda cool, eh?

    Faith is a gift of God, not an assent of reason. We are in full agreement, and Grace is blind though she says she sees.

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    Oh, believe me, I get that. I have lived it and am still living it. My in-laws are retired born again missionaries who think Lutherans are pagans. They have no clear gospel, it is obscured by law. They live it. The only way out of that is to repeatedly say “look here, Christ, given for you” and insist that it is so and all else is law. It is not all that technical, but others think Lutherans are very technical because they have so many books and so much doctrine. Why is that? Because we see that Christ is continually being taken down off his cross and other things, human reason for instance, are being put there in his place. Luther didn’t ask for his task or seek it, it was his calling. Everything he did was a response to a call to address a problem of doctrine. He opened a can of worms and he often regretted having to write certain things, like the Smalcald Articles for instance, but did so because other were pleading that he do so.

    By the way Tom, I know you understand all this, so I am not trying to tell you stuff you don’t already understand. I’m just repeating it for the sake of this conversation on doctrine.

    Maybe the Small Catechism is like David’s five smooth stones and one sword (six chief parts) with that sword being the Creed which is, as Luther said, pure gospel, the symbola of faith – the word of the Spirit, the NAME OF GOD, which is his presence. Wherever two or more are gathered. Kinda cool, eh?

    Faith is a gift of God, not an assent of reason. We are in full agreement, and Grace is blind though she says she sees.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    I realize you have checked out, but in case you check back, I’ll break it down as I see it.

    I offered an apology to you because I don’t really know what you believe on points of doctrine even though I know that you belong to Calvary Chapel and my comments were directed at Grace. Apparently, it seems your congregation is in isolation from others of the same name. I did not know that, so I should not have bothered I guess. I assume Grace is some aberration. maybe so , maybe not. Who can even tell.

    You came back by accusing this discussion of being sectarian. I think that is weak, and so I asked you to define what that means. Twice now you rely on a dictionary definition for terms instead of actually delving into what you think or believe about what something is. That is not only intellectually weak, it’s insulting. So I pressed you on it. You still came up with zilch.

    So we got off on the topic of the right use of reason in regards to faith, another thing you do not seem to want to talk about or even have much grasp of. Instead, you resort to *gasping* over it and saying stuff about how I like things because they are old. Silly. You’re a lawyer?

    You’re conservative and you read the bible literally. What does any of that actually mean? There are all kinds of assumptions behind that. What doctrine do you actually have that you bring to the discussion? Really. What? Where does it come from? Your own individual, subjective calculations based on what makes sense to you?

    Come to think of it, you are not much different than Grace even though you speak and write much better. When it gets heated and there is some stakes over something that actually matters eternally you complain, get frustrated that I’m not being nice and stop answering questions or engaging, and in in your case, take off. At least Grace sticks around until the bitter end ranting like a . . . can’t think of a good metaphor.

    But I’m not interested in some war of attrition. I’m interested in theology and doctrine. I want to know what you believe. You haven’t said anything much about that whereas I think I have. You should be disappointed in a church that leaves you so unprepared. I would be. Go across the street. Hear the gospel. Repent and believe. It is for you.

  • Stephen

    DonS

    I realize you have checked out, but in case you check back, I’ll break it down as I see it.

    I offered an apology to you because I don’t really know what you believe on points of doctrine even though I know that you belong to Calvary Chapel and my comments were directed at Grace. Apparently, it seems your congregation is in isolation from others of the same name. I did not know that, so I should not have bothered I guess. I assume Grace is some aberration. maybe so , maybe not. Who can even tell.

    You came back by accusing this discussion of being sectarian. I think that is weak, and so I asked you to define what that means. Twice now you rely on a dictionary definition for terms instead of actually delving into what you think or believe about what something is. That is not only intellectually weak, it’s insulting. So I pressed you on it. You still came up with zilch.

    So we got off on the topic of the right use of reason in regards to faith, another thing you do not seem to want to talk about or even have much grasp of. Instead, you resort to *gasping* over it and saying stuff about how I like things because they are old. Silly. You’re a lawyer?

    You’re conservative and you read the bible literally. What does any of that actually mean? There are all kinds of assumptions behind that. What doctrine do you actually have that you bring to the discussion? Really. What? Where does it come from? Your own individual, subjective calculations based on what makes sense to you?

    Come to think of it, you are not much different than Grace even though you speak and write much better. When it gets heated and there is some stakes over something that actually matters eternally you complain, get frustrated that I’m not being nice and stop answering questions or engaging, and in in your case, take off. At least Grace sticks around until the bitter end ranting like a . . . can’t think of a good metaphor.

    But I’m not interested in some war of attrition. I’m interested in theology and doctrine. I want to know what you believe. You haven’t said anything much about that whereas I think I have. You should be disappointed in a church that leaves you so unprepared. I would be. Go across the street. Hear the gospel. Repent and believe. It is for you.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 193:

    All right, I’ll bite. Just to set the record straight before I again depart this cursed thread.

    1. Calvary Chapel — I have not seen much of what Grace writes to represent the doctrine, beliefs and practices of any church affiliated with Calvary Chapel that I am aware of. Yes, the distinctive of Calvary Chapel is expository biblical preaching (as opposed to a common tendency of evangelical churches to topical study — which I abhor). I attend a local Calvary Chapel and two of my sons have played baseball for “big Calvary” — Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. In that context, I am very familiar with Chuck Smith and his teachings/pastoral style. There is absolutely no antagonism toward other Christian faith groups/denominations whatsoever.

    2. I accused the discussion of being sectarian because it had devolved into personal attack. Grace attacking the character of Martin Luther, Boaz attacking the character of Chuck Smith, and general sniping by commenters in personal ways toward other commenters. It was not a constructive conversation. I don’t mind doctrinal discussion, in context, but it needs to be constructive. Learning, questioning, explaining, but not attacking. Of course, in the context of explaining it is perfectly fine to discuss what you believe is wrong about the other person’s doctrinal beliefs. But such discussion should be done gently and in love. I did not see that on this thread. I saw harshness and insult. Not for me.

    3. My doctrine is baptistic. I grew up Baptist, and I still hold largely to Baptist doctrine, with some changes in the area, particularly, of dispensationalism. If you go back through the annals of this blog (I go back three or four years), you will see some pretty intense discussion between me and Bror, in particular, on doctrinal matters. I wanted to do that, because I wanted to understand what Lutherans believe. My curiosity, however, has been sated over time. I don’t seek those discussions frequently anymore, because they always end up the same way. I wasn’t frustrated because you weren’t being “nice”. In fact, I believe I told you that you are invariably nice. I was frustrated over the human reason issue. Whenever I try to explain something, inevitably I am subjectively using human reasoning. Well, duh. So is the person making the charge. Human reasoning is required for discussion, for deciding which local church to attend, for “rightly dividing the Word of Truth”. Now, if you want to insist that you never use human reasoning, fine. Then, that is where our doctrines differ, and our discussion can conclude on that note. But using the reasoning abilities God has given you is not tantamount to making your “own individual, subjective calculations based on what makes sense to you”. Because it is based on the Word of Truth. Revealed and illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Just as it is the Holy Spirit who draws us unto the Throne of Grace and creates belief in us.

    4. Sticking around until the bitter end, ranting, is not necessarily a good thing ;-)

    5. You now know what I believe. And, at this point, we shall have to agree to disagree as to our doctrinal differences.

  • DonS

    Stephen @ 193:

    All right, I’ll bite. Just to set the record straight before I again depart this cursed thread.

    1. Calvary Chapel — I have not seen much of what Grace writes to represent the doctrine, beliefs and practices of any church affiliated with Calvary Chapel that I am aware of. Yes, the distinctive of Calvary Chapel is expository biblical preaching (as opposed to a common tendency of evangelical churches to topical study — which I abhor). I attend a local Calvary Chapel and two of my sons have played baseball for “big Calvary” — Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. In that context, I am very familiar with Chuck Smith and his teachings/pastoral style. There is absolutely no antagonism toward other Christian faith groups/denominations whatsoever.

    2. I accused the discussion of being sectarian because it had devolved into personal attack. Grace attacking the character of Martin Luther, Boaz attacking the character of Chuck Smith, and general sniping by commenters in personal ways toward other commenters. It was not a constructive conversation. I don’t mind doctrinal discussion, in context, but it needs to be constructive. Learning, questioning, explaining, but not attacking. Of course, in the context of explaining it is perfectly fine to discuss what you believe is wrong about the other person’s doctrinal beliefs. But such discussion should be done gently and in love. I did not see that on this thread. I saw harshness and insult. Not for me.

    3. My doctrine is baptistic. I grew up Baptist, and I still hold largely to Baptist doctrine, with some changes in the area, particularly, of dispensationalism. If you go back through the annals of this blog (I go back three or four years), you will see some pretty intense discussion between me and Bror, in particular, on doctrinal matters. I wanted to do that, because I wanted to understand what Lutherans believe. My curiosity, however, has been sated over time. I don’t seek those discussions frequently anymore, because they always end up the same way. I wasn’t frustrated because you weren’t being “nice”. In fact, I believe I told you that you are invariably nice. I was frustrated over the human reason issue. Whenever I try to explain something, inevitably I am subjectively using human reasoning. Well, duh. So is the person making the charge. Human reasoning is required for discussion, for deciding which local church to attend, for “rightly dividing the Word of Truth”. Now, if you want to insist that you never use human reasoning, fine. Then, that is where our doctrines differ, and our discussion can conclude on that note. But using the reasoning abilities God has given you is not tantamount to making your “own individual, subjective calculations based on what makes sense to you”. Because it is based on the Word of Truth. Revealed and illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Just as it is the Holy Spirit who draws us unto the Throne of Grace and creates belief in us.

    4. Sticking around until the bitter end, ranting, is not necessarily a good thing ;-)

    5. You now know what I believe. And, at this point, we shall have to agree to disagree as to our doctrinal differences.

  • Stephen

    Okay.

    You have your baptism and I have mine. They are both Christian baptisms. In my book (you know which one) that is not because of anything I have done, but because of what was done for me in Christ on the cross, because of that Word spoken to me. My baptism preaches to me that same word of promise every single day even though I cannot actually, subjectively, by my reason, remember it. But I remember it anyways when I say the Creed – the name of God spoken to me in my baptism, objectively, for me. What is it that you remember? Emotion perhaps? Is it something you did, something you decided to do, to assent to with your reason, maybe with the aid of the Holy Spirit convincing you perhaps because it sounded right to you?

    All of that is fine as far as it goes. I’m not questioning the validity of your coming to faith even though it may sound like it. I’m not even questioning the validity of your baptism, though in your tradition, mine is questioned all the time and even on this thread. I’m saying that your baptism is valid because the holy name of God was spoken, not because you decided to use that moment to witness to something you did and/or was done for you that you agreed to by your reason with the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit. I’m saying you are missing the point of baptism, of the place of your fallen reason before God, and that God’s grace is much larger than you and your reason want to allow.

    If you really want to understand this thing about reason, pick up a copy of Luther’s Three Treatises at a used bookstore (paperback, red cover, cheap). Read On The Bondage of the Will for his debate with Erasmus. it’s one of the most important arguments in western culture. You’re a lawyer. Get in there and read it! It is at the very heart of the shift to the kind of Enlightenment thinking that gave birth to baptistic and other modern theology that reads scripture through the lens of reason, asking (demanding!) it agree in a magisterial way with logic and rationalism. It is an embedded epistemology that has influenced the way we see the world. You will also get a flavor for how Luther also moved away from medieval scholasticism which was a fusion of theology with Aristotelian logic. Luther, you will discover, is evangelical to the core, and orthodox, and conservative, and . . . speaking what is true from scripture! Then read the Liberty of the Christian to see what you are missing with all that legalism in Baptist theology.

    And if not, then when you get tired and are hungry for Jesus without all the effort, without him being given with one hand and taken back with the other because some work is required, some “but you must . . .” then walk across the street. Close your eyes if you have to if it looks too Catholic Church, because it so is not. Listen. Faith comes by hearing. Listen for the Holy Gospel, for the unmerited grace of God given in Jesus Christ. It is for you Don. For you.

  • Stephen

    Okay.

    You have your baptism and I have mine. They are both Christian baptisms. In my book (you know which one) that is not because of anything I have done, but because of what was done for me in Christ on the cross, because of that Word spoken to me. My baptism preaches to me that same word of promise every single day even though I cannot actually, subjectively, by my reason, remember it. But I remember it anyways when I say the Creed – the name of God spoken to me in my baptism, objectively, for me. What is it that you remember? Emotion perhaps? Is it something you did, something you decided to do, to assent to with your reason, maybe with the aid of the Holy Spirit convincing you perhaps because it sounded right to you?

    All of that is fine as far as it goes. I’m not questioning the validity of your coming to faith even though it may sound like it. I’m not even questioning the validity of your baptism, though in your tradition, mine is questioned all the time and even on this thread. I’m saying that your baptism is valid because the holy name of God was spoken, not because you decided to use that moment to witness to something you did and/or was done for you that you agreed to by your reason with the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit. I’m saying you are missing the point of baptism, of the place of your fallen reason before God, and that God’s grace is much larger than you and your reason want to allow.

    If you really want to understand this thing about reason, pick up a copy of Luther’s Three Treatises at a used bookstore (paperback, red cover, cheap). Read On The Bondage of the Will for his debate with Erasmus. it’s one of the most important arguments in western culture. You’re a lawyer. Get in there and read it! It is at the very heart of the shift to the kind of Enlightenment thinking that gave birth to baptistic and other modern theology that reads scripture through the lens of reason, asking (demanding!) it agree in a magisterial way with logic and rationalism. It is an embedded epistemology that has influenced the way we see the world. You will also get a flavor for how Luther also moved away from medieval scholasticism which was a fusion of theology with Aristotelian logic. Luther, you will discover, is evangelical to the core, and orthodox, and conservative, and . . . speaking what is true from scripture! Then read the Liberty of the Christian to see what you are missing with all that legalism in Baptist theology.

    And if not, then when you get tired and are hungry for Jesus without all the effort, without him being given with one hand and taken back with the other because some work is required, some “but you must . . .” then walk across the street. Close your eyes if you have to if it looks too Catholic Church, because it so is not. Listen. Faith comes by hearing. Listen for the Holy Gospel, for the unmerited grace of God given in Jesus Christ. It is for you Don. For you.

  • Stephen

    Warning: Rant on the way, but since everyone seems to think this thing is int he toilet anyway (I disagree) . . .

    Truth be told, here’s what Baptists and the like are to me – spiritual bullies. And they teach their children to be that too. Grace is a perfect example of someone who behaves this way as she tries to bully people into believing what she believes. They teach their children to tell other kids that their faith in Christ is invalid, that their baptisms IN THE NAME OF THE ONE TRUE GOD are meaningless, that unless they are re-baptized and accept Jesus into their hearts (that is, perform a righteous work) they are going to hell. Bullies. Meanwhile, they put little or no faith in the actual preached word, but in their ability to adhere to a legal interpretation of it and foist this upon others, even upon children.

    Jesus had strong words for people like that. He rained down curses on them. Curses. Not just any kinds of words, but curses. And he drove these kind of people out of the temple with a whip for attempting to buy God’s favor and sell the idea to others of making sacrifices of righteous works. Snakes and vipers who prepare people for hell – THAT is what he called them. He had nothing but pure rage and wrath against them. Nothing else. I grew up around these heresies and threats. I heard it almost daily at school. Bullies. Sectarian bullies if anyone really wants to know or is listening any longer.

    Okay, I’m done.

  • Stephen

    Warning: Rant on the way, but since everyone seems to think this thing is int he toilet anyway (I disagree) . . .

    Truth be told, here’s what Baptists and the like are to me – spiritual bullies. And they teach their children to be that too. Grace is a perfect example of someone who behaves this way as she tries to bully people into believing what she believes. They teach their children to tell other kids that their faith in Christ is invalid, that their baptisms IN THE NAME OF THE ONE TRUE GOD are meaningless, that unless they are re-baptized and accept Jesus into their hearts (that is, perform a righteous work) they are going to hell. Bullies. Meanwhile, they put little or no faith in the actual preached word, but in their ability to adhere to a legal interpretation of it and foist this upon others, even upon children.

    Jesus had strong words for people like that. He rained down curses on them. Curses. Not just any kinds of words, but curses. And he drove these kind of people out of the temple with a whip for attempting to buy God’s favor and sell the idea to others of making sacrifices of righteous works. Snakes and vipers who prepare people for hell – THAT is what he called them. He had nothing but pure rage and wrath against them. Nothing else. I grew up around these heresies and threats. I heard it almost daily at school. Bullies. Sectarian bullies if anyone really wants to know or is listening any longer.

    Okay, I’m done.

  • Tom Hering

    Quit sugar-coating it, Stephen. How do you really feel when an Evangelical Christian says your baptism in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is invalid?

  • Tom Hering

    Quit sugar-coating it, Stephen. How do you really feel when an Evangelical Christian says your baptism in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is invalid?

  • Tom Hering

    Myself, I feel sorry for them, because I know what they’re saying, and all that it implies – for them.

  • Tom Hering

    Myself, I feel sorry for them, because I know what they’re saying, and all that it implies – for them.

  • Stephen

    Tom @ 198

    Me too. They miss out every day. What a burden to bear. Perhaps I need to repent of letting my feelings get the better of me, but then there’s that whole Jesus with the whip thing that inspired me.

    And since I’m hearing admonishments about being all nice and loving and respecting what each other believes and all that, then I wonder how my baptism holds up in light of baptistic doctrine? I’m feeling kind of Rodney Dangerfield, fussing with my tie “I can’t get no respect, ya know what I mean?” Shoe, I would like you to meet the other foot.

  • Stephen

    Tom @ 198

    Me too. They miss out every day. What a burden to bear. Perhaps I need to repent of letting my feelings get the better of me, but then there’s that whole Jesus with the whip thing that inspired me.

    And since I’m hearing admonishments about being all nice and loving and respecting what each other believes and all that, then I wonder how my baptism holds up in light of baptistic doctrine? I’m feeling kind of Rodney Dangerfield, fussing with my tie “I can’t get no respect, ya know what I mean?” Shoe, I would like you to meet the other foot.

  • Tom Hering

    An interesting article on non-denominationalism by a Roman Catholic writer:

    Non-Denominational Denominations and Other Contradictions

    The author’s main points are:

    “… [denomination] simply means ‘designation’ or ‘categorization’ … it is very hard to avoid designation, because even the title ‘non-denominational’ is itself a clear designation, designed to distinguish a church body from other groups … whenever a non-denominational church is started, rather than eliminating the spirit of category, a new category has simply been started.”

    “… abhorrence of tradition has become a tradition itself. In many churches and universities, a general hatred of tradition is taught and ‘handed down’ on a regular basis … ‘Don’t trust tradition’ is itself a tradition, and now, a long-held one at that.”

    “… [an institution is] ‘a custom important to a group of people for a period of time’ … If a group of people gathers ‘informally’ for long enough, then they become an institution.”

    “… spontaneity is often lauded as the most pious form of worship … if these individuals gather at the same time each week, sing the same types of songs, have the same type of program, i.e. sermon and prayers, then they are no longer spontaneous.”

    “… any time a group of people (or an individual) believes something, they technically have a creed. Even the phrase ‘we don’t believe in creeds’ is itself a kind of creed.”

  • Tom Hering

    An interesting article on non-denominationalism by a Roman Catholic writer:

    Non-Denominational Denominations and Other Contradictions

    The author’s main points are:

    “… [denomination] simply means ‘designation’ or ‘categorization’ … it is very hard to avoid designation, because even the title ‘non-denominational’ is itself a clear designation, designed to distinguish a church body from other groups … whenever a non-denominational church is started, rather than eliminating the spirit of category, a new category has simply been started.”

    “… abhorrence of tradition has become a tradition itself. In many churches and universities, a general hatred of tradition is taught and ‘handed down’ on a regular basis … ‘Don’t trust tradition’ is itself a tradition, and now, a long-held one at that.”

    “… [an institution is] ‘a custom important to a group of people for a period of time’ … If a group of people gathers ‘informally’ for long enough, then they become an institution.”

    “… spontaneity is often lauded as the most pious form of worship … if these individuals gather at the same time each week, sing the same types of songs, have the same type of program, i.e. sermon and prayers, then they are no longer spontaneous.”

    “… any time a group of people (or an individual) believes something, they technically have a creed. Even the phrase ‘we don’t believe in creeds’ is itself a kind of creed.”

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    200.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    200.

  • Stephen

    I believe Frank used the word “fiction” which I think was quite apt. Perhaps one could add “fantasy” to that as well.

    I sort of hear this when someone says “We ‘just’ believe what the bible says” as if ideas “just” spring still-born out of the head of Minerva. And the use of that word “just” in every evangelical prayer is a dead give away for false humility. “I “just” want to . . . ” Sometimes I wish people would “just” say what they mean instead of “just” hiding behind their piety.

    What was it Jesus said, something about letting your “yes” be a yes and you “no” be a no. I think that was about more than those two words. Or perhaps I have that “literally” wrong.

    Yeah, there’s that whole use of the word “literally” too, as if it connotes sound doctrine all by itself.

  • Stephen

    I believe Frank used the word “fiction” which I think was quite apt. Perhaps one could add “fantasy” to that as well.

    I sort of hear this when someone says “We ‘just’ believe what the bible says” as if ideas “just” spring still-born out of the head of Minerva. And the use of that word “just” in every evangelical prayer is a dead give away for false humility. “I “just” want to . . . ” Sometimes I wish people would “just” say what they mean instead of “just” hiding behind their piety.

    What was it Jesus said, something about letting your “yes” be a yes and you “no” be a no. I think that was about more than those two words. Or perhaps I have that “literally” wrong.

    Yeah, there’s that whole use of the word “literally” too, as if it connotes sound doctrine all by itself.

  • Stephen

    Dr. Luther -

    My question about your affiliation was not any kind of insinuation, though I was a little thrown off, but I am genuinely curious. I have been to Lutherama, like your links and had some questions, especially about homeschooling. Would you email me here?

    levisrgone@hotmail.com

  • Stephen

    Dr. Luther -

    My question about your affiliation was not any kind of insinuation, though I was a little thrown off, but I am genuinely curious. I have been to Lutherama, like your links and had some questions, especially about homeschooling. Would you email me here?

    levisrgone@hotmail.com

  • Tom Hering

    Nobody, absolutely nobody, reads the Bible in a vacuum. Every Christian reads the Bible through a set of interpretations picked up from others – somehow, somewhere, at some time. The honest Christian, guided by the Spirit of Truth, admits this in humility (“I’m not privileged with a direct pipeline to God”).

    Having come to this understanding, the honest Christian then seeks the best set of interpretations. A set that engages every verse in the Bible, and does so by comparing any one thing the Bible says with everything else the Bible says. A set that isn’t selective. A set that sometimes confesses, “This is a mystery.”

    To be avoided is a set of interpretations that deals with Scriptural mysteries by reasoning them away.

  • Tom Hering

    Nobody, absolutely nobody, reads the Bible in a vacuum. Every Christian reads the Bible through a set of interpretations picked up from others – somehow, somewhere, at some time. The honest Christian, guided by the Spirit of Truth, admits this in humility (“I’m not privileged with a direct pipeline to God”).

    Having come to this understanding, the honest Christian then seeks the best set of interpretations. A set that engages every verse in the Bible, and does so by comparing any one thing the Bible says with everything else the Bible says. A set that isn’t selective. A set that sometimes confesses, “This is a mystery.”

    To be avoided is a set of interpretations that deals with Scriptural mysteries by reasoning them away.

  • Stephen

    Tom –

    That’s excellent! Especially that last sentence, which is where rationalism is prone to go endlessly. this is the appeal of Apologetics. Not to bash him, but C. S. Lewis’s much loved books are filled with this kind of rationalism. Even his biographers will say this about him. Frankly, I could never understand how explaining away suffering made it anymore easy to put up with. I find it rather cruel and trivializing actually. There is certainly no cross in it. It takes the cross away and tries to reach up above the clouds and make sense of the universe. This is like Job’s friends harassing him while he’s suffering. They got punished for that.

    I think that mystery is usually a term we would invoke when talking about what God is doing “mechanically” which is exactly the sort of thing reason wants to pin down. I think this is why baptistic theology is purely a half-baked historical, descriptive argument. “Did you get wet? How much of your body got wet? Up to your knees? Well . . . that won’t do.” And they make arguments about word order using bad Greek grammar out of context. Same problem. This comes after that like stringing pearls, as if this is how we actually use language or think, like arithmetic or data processing. Why do they do this? To own it, not serve it. What does that sound like? Sounds to me like someone wants to slip in what they do. But reason is not faith. I understand the urge. We want God to like us and we cannot possibly imagine that he already does. He speaks this to us in Jesus.

    Anyway, I do try to avoid the “appeal to mystery” at all costs if possible. It’s like the utmost last resort. I think we can still say things. There is a balm in Gilead. Heaven and earth will pass away by my word remains. I say that because always have the cross, we have Jesus, he has come to us and is with us in his Word and Sacrament. I want to be able to always say something.

    But then we are fallen, and that too can be the urge of my own ego. Appealing to mystery can be an act of repentance as it was for Job. It may be to proclaim faith in the face of every evidence to the contrary. We still have our own presence as the body of believers. We can be there for others and serve them. And we truly have his presence in the sacrament. When the mind flounders on language, open your mouth and receive the elements. I understand the sacrament just that way. A pastor once told me a story about giving communion to catatonic Lutherans in an old folks home. He would visit and do a worship service. The whole time he thought they were not paying attention at all. But when it was time to receive the bread, the tongue came out. As Luther said and Larry quoted above “It’s for you. Take it.”

    So, now what are we going to do about those bears eating children for taunting the prophet because he was bald? Don’t ask a non-denominationalist. They’ll bob and weave and try to get you to go swimming. Instead, call Sherlock Holmes!!! Chess anyone?

  • Stephen

    Tom –

    That’s excellent! Especially that last sentence, which is where rationalism is prone to go endlessly. this is the appeal of Apologetics. Not to bash him, but C. S. Lewis’s much loved books are filled with this kind of rationalism. Even his biographers will say this about him. Frankly, I could never understand how explaining away suffering made it anymore easy to put up with. I find it rather cruel and trivializing actually. There is certainly no cross in it. It takes the cross away and tries to reach up above the clouds and make sense of the universe. This is like Job’s friends harassing him while he’s suffering. They got punished for that.

    I think that mystery is usually a term we would invoke when talking about what God is doing “mechanically” which is exactly the sort of thing reason wants to pin down. I think this is why baptistic theology is purely a half-baked historical, descriptive argument. “Did you get wet? How much of your body got wet? Up to your knees? Well . . . that won’t do.” And they make arguments about word order using bad Greek grammar out of context. Same problem. This comes after that like stringing pearls, as if this is how we actually use language or think, like arithmetic or data processing. Why do they do this? To own it, not serve it. What does that sound like? Sounds to me like someone wants to slip in what they do. But reason is not faith. I understand the urge. We want God to like us and we cannot possibly imagine that he already does. He speaks this to us in Jesus.

    Anyway, I do try to avoid the “appeal to mystery” at all costs if possible. It’s like the utmost last resort. I think we can still say things. There is a balm in Gilead. Heaven and earth will pass away by my word remains. I say that because always have the cross, we have Jesus, he has come to us and is with us in his Word and Sacrament. I want to be able to always say something.

    But then we are fallen, and that too can be the urge of my own ego. Appealing to mystery can be an act of repentance as it was for Job. It may be to proclaim faith in the face of every evidence to the contrary. We still have our own presence as the body of believers. We can be there for others and serve them. And we truly have his presence in the sacrament. When the mind flounders on language, open your mouth and receive the elements. I understand the sacrament just that way. A pastor once told me a story about giving communion to catatonic Lutherans in an old folks home. He would visit and do a worship service. The whole time he thought they were not paying attention at all. But when it was time to receive the bread, the tongue came out. As Luther said and Larry quoted above “It’s for you. Take it.”

    So, now what are we going to do about those bears eating children for taunting the prophet because he was bald? Don’t ask a non-denominationalist. They’ll bob and weave and try to get you to go swimming. Instead, call Sherlock Holmes!!! Chess anyone?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    A Scriptural “Mystery” is something hidden in plain sight.

    Luther talked about the “hidden God”. That is a God who seems to have abandoned us in our sorrow and grief, or who does not seem to snap to when we want him to and solve our problems on our timetable.

    Consider: Jesus, Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was made man…incarnate of the mother of God, the blessed Saint Mary is The Hidden God. He is , latin now… “Deus Absconditus”. His own did not know him. “Isn´t that Jesus , the carpenter´s son?!” they asked. He needed to be pointed out in a crowd and singled out in betrayal with a kiss.

    God does not reveal mysteries to whose “knowing ones” or Gnostics who have a special knowledge.

    God removes the veil from the eyes of his Elect to see what is already in the plain sight of all. In former times he did this through the prophets, now in these last days, he has revealed ALL things through his Son. . In Him , alone, the fullness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form.

    So where do we find this mysterious, hidden God? We find him in water. We find him in not-very-good bread. We find him in not-very-good wine.

    Where do you find this Holy Hidden Mysterious God Who Is Christ?

    Open your mouth and He will show you:

    “Take eat, this IS MY BODY given and shed for you, for the remission of YOUR sins!”

    Go wash yourself with the most ordinary water to be used as commanded and connected to the Promise in God´s Word and be cleansed of the filth of your soul. Do what a syrian general named Naaman did at the urder of Elisha (II Kings 5:1-14) . But you will not see the Mystery Hidden In Plain Sight until you close your eyes. “The kingdom comes in a way that cannot be seen ” (Jesus in the Gospel of St Luke). You will only see this Mystery by closing your eyes and listening. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

    So close your eyes. Hear the sound of Word-splashed water, and God creating out of nothingness of sin and death and the power of the devil: “I baptize YOU into the Name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. AMEN!” Amen. Let it be so! Let it be! It is!”

    Lutheran Church Liturgy: “Too roman catholic!” says my baptist friends who visit. I say “close your eyes to see Jesus here. That is how we are to see the Kingdom of God. Close your eyes and listen for it. It is here!”

    This is how we see Mysteries. Those heavenly kingdom things of God hidden in plain sight. We close our eyes and listen.

    “My sheep hear my voice ” Jesus tells us. We seek our dear Lord Jesus where he asks us to find Him. He bids us to see Him, in,with and under all that can be seen here on Earth, that will all end with our earthly existence, including Baptism and Churchly things, how?

    We close our eyes and look for the Holy Name of the Holy and Blessed Trinity to be Spoken. There we see both the Earthly and Heavenly Kingdom of God. There we see that “should devils all the world should fill all eager to devour us, we tremble not we fear no ill!” (Luther[´s Hymn “A Mighty Fortress is our God”).

    We see the kingdom of God by closing our eyes, opening our mouths, and listening for that Holy Name. Where Christ is, there , is life and salvation. Hidden in plain sight before the entire world whom He came to save in “Goodness and Mercy”. (Psalm 23).

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    A Scriptural “Mystery” is something hidden in plain sight.

    Luther talked about the “hidden God”. That is a God who seems to have abandoned us in our sorrow and grief, or who does not seem to snap to when we want him to and solve our problems on our timetable.

    Consider: Jesus, Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was made man…incarnate of the mother of God, the blessed Saint Mary is The Hidden God. He is , latin now… “Deus Absconditus”. His own did not know him. “Isn´t that Jesus , the carpenter´s son?!” they asked. He needed to be pointed out in a crowd and singled out in betrayal with a kiss.

    God does not reveal mysteries to whose “knowing ones” or Gnostics who have a special knowledge.

    God removes the veil from the eyes of his Elect to see what is already in the plain sight of all. In former times he did this through the prophets, now in these last days, he has revealed ALL things through his Son. . In Him , alone, the fullness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form.

    So where do we find this mysterious, hidden God? We find him in water. We find him in not-very-good bread. We find him in not-very-good wine.

    Where do you find this Holy Hidden Mysterious God Who Is Christ?

    Open your mouth and He will show you:

    “Take eat, this IS MY BODY given and shed for you, for the remission of YOUR sins!”

    Go wash yourself with the most ordinary water to be used as commanded and connected to the Promise in God´s Word and be cleansed of the filth of your soul. Do what a syrian general named Naaman did at the urder of Elisha (II Kings 5:1-14) . But you will not see the Mystery Hidden In Plain Sight until you close your eyes. “The kingdom comes in a way that cannot be seen ” (Jesus in the Gospel of St Luke). You will only see this Mystery by closing your eyes and listening. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

    So close your eyes. Hear the sound of Word-splashed water, and God creating out of nothingness of sin and death and the power of the devil: “I baptize YOU into the Name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. AMEN!” Amen. Let it be so! Let it be! It is!”

    Lutheran Church Liturgy: “Too roman catholic!” says my baptist friends who visit. I say “close your eyes to see Jesus here. That is how we are to see the Kingdom of God. Close your eyes and listen for it. It is here!”

    This is how we see Mysteries. Those heavenly kingdom things of God hidden in plain sight. We close our eyes and listen.

    “My sheep hear my voice ” Jesus tells us. We seek our dear Lord Jesus where he asks us to find Him. He bids us to see Him, in,with and under all that can be seen here on Earth, that will all end with our earthly existence, including Baptism and Churchly things, how?

    We close our eyes and look for the Holy Name of the Holy and Blessed Trinity to be Spoken. There we see both the Earthly and Heavenly Kingdom of God. There we see that “should devils all the world should fill all eager to devour us, we tremble not we fear no ill!” (Luther[´s Hymn “A Mighty Fortress is our God”).

    We see the kingdom of God by closing our eyes, opening our mouths, and listening for that Holy Name. Where Christ is, there , is life and salvation. Hidden in plain sight before the entire world whom He came to save in “Goodness and Mercy”. (Psalm 23).

  • Stephen

    Ah, Frank . . . I was going to add something to what I was trying to say but there it is right there. God give his “proof” to the elect. Means. It is what I was “meaning” (pun intended).

  • Stephen

    Ah, Frank . . . I was going to add something to what I was trying to say but there it is right there. God give his “proof” to the elect. Means. It is what I was “meaning” (pun intended).

  • Tom Hering

    Serendipity! Stephen, I was thinking about C.S. Lewis this morning before I read your comment @ 205, because I’ve just added a 1940s-vintage set of the Space Trilogy to my little library of favorite literature. In particular, I was reconsidering what Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed. He believed that angels, demons, Heaven, and Hell were substantive realities. But he couldn’t bring himself to believe that in eternity, we would be reunited with our redeemed loved ones; he couldn’t believe that the good things of the first Creation would continue into the Re-Creation. It was an intellectual problem for him, rooted (I think) in his view that some parts of the Bible are mythical. Yet this Anglican, this denominational Christian – who forced so many skeptics to confront a God who wasn’t dead – left beautiful gifts to the Church and the world. What have the non-traditionalists given us so far? The latest date of the Rapture? The latest identity of the Anti-Christ? A warning about the Communist conspiracy behind The Smurfs? Good grief. Garbage in, garbage out.

    As for the Scriptural mysteries, no, they should never be reduced to fall-back positions in arguments. Because they are front and center in our faith. Infant baptism. Real Presence. The supernatural power of the Gospel.

    Yes, Frank @ 206: kneel, look, read, sing, smell, speak, taste, and touch. Above all, listen. For it’s through physical means that Christ gives the gift of faith to us – gives Himself to creatures who never have been, are not, and never will be spirits. Our appointed realm is the Creation, as both the necessity of the Incarnation, and the promise of the resurrection of the body, should make perfectly clear.

  • Tom Hering

    Serendipity! Stephen, I was thinking about C.S. Lewis this morning before I read your comment @ 205, because I’ve just added a 1940s-vintage set of the Space Trilogy to my little library of favorite literature. In particular, I was reconsidering what Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed. He believed that angels, demons, Heaven, and Hell were substantive realities. But he couldn’t bring himself to believe that in eternity, we would be reunited with our redeemed loved ones; he couldn’t believe that the good things of the first Creation would continue into the Re-Creation. It was an intellectual problem for him, rooted (I think) in his view that some parts of the Bible are mythical. Yet this Anglican, this denominational Christian – who forced so many skeptics to confront a God who wasn’t dead – left beautiful gifts to the Church and the world. What have the non-traditionalists given us so far? The latest date of the Rapture? The latest identity of the Anti-Christ? A warning about the Communist conspiracy behind The Smurfs? Good grief. Garbage in, garbage out.

    As for the Scriptural mysteries, no, they should never be reduced to fall-back positions in arguments. Because they are front and center in our faith. Infant baptism. Real Presence. The supernatural power of the Gospel.

    Yes, Frank @ 206: kneel, look, read, sing, smell, speak, taste, and touch. Above all, listen. For it’s through physical means that Christ gives the gift of faith to us – gives Himself to creatures who never have been, are not, and never will be spirits. Our appointed realm is the Creation, as both the necessity of the Incarnation, and the promise of the resurrection of the body, should make perfectly clear.

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    And isn’t it interesting that Lewis really does his best stuff when he sets that rationalism aside and becomes and artist. It is the incarnation itself where his own work speaks most profoundly – in telling the story, in narrative, in allegorical detail and symbol, which is another way of doing doxology and praise. It is the poetic, but not we don’t stop with a post-enlightenment view and say that it is stuck in the categories present to our mind. We claim transcendence through faith. But we are not just doing this by incanting things from thin air, much like what I see when I go to “spirit-filled” churches where hands are raised as they sing “Lord I lift your name on high” – a song that actually never mentions the name of God at all (non-denominational indeed!!!). Sacrament is physical in the way Frank describes. Perhaps to put it in some kind of philosophical language it is “pre- rational” or “a priori” of all such distinctions of the postulating mind. It simply is there and invites. As our Lord says “Come.” It is not in any way separate from the person or work (narrative/history) of Christ himself.

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    And isn’t it interesting that Lewis really does his best stuff when he sets that rationalism aside and becomes and artist. It is the incarnation itself where his own work speaks most profoundly – in telling the story, in narrative, in allegorical detail and symbol, which is another way of doing doxology and praise. It is the poetic, but not we don’t stop with a post-enlightenment view and say that it is stuck in the categories present to our mind. We claim transcendence through faith. But we are not just doing this by incanting things from thin air, much like what I see when I go to “spirit-filled” churches where hands are raised as they sing “Lord I lift your name on high” – a song that actually never mentions the name of God at all (non-denominational indeed!!!). Sacrament is physical in the way Frank describes. Perhaps to put it in some kind of philosophical language it is “pre- rational” or “a priori” of all such distinctions of the postulating mind. It simply is there and invites. As our Lord says “Come.” It is not in any way separate from the person or work (narrative/history) of Christ himself.

  • Stephen

    for some reason I often type “and” when I mean to type “an”

  • Stephen

    for some reason I often type “and” when I mean to type “an”

  • Stephen

    Sacrament is also that which “comes” to us as much as we go when called to “come” by the shepherd. We are met in our Lord through these means and truly fed here where we are, in our bodies. No rationalism about it, and in a sense, no transcendence, as in what we normally think of in ascending beyond the bounds of flesh. Faith receives it here, now, by believing in that word “for you.”

  • Stephen

    Sacrament is also that which “comes” to us as much as we go when called to “come” by the shepherd. We are met in our Lord through these means and truly fed here where we are, in our bodies. No rationalism about it, and in a sense, no transcendence, as in what we normally think of in ascending beyond the bounds of flesh. Faith receives it here, now, by believing in that word “for you.”

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen, I’d just say that I’m so much a creature, I can’t realistically say I’m “in” my body. I am my body. There’s no resurrecting “me” without resurrecting it. Non-Biblical dualism be damned.

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen, I’d just say that I’m so much a creature, I can’t realistically say I’m “in” my body. I am my body. There’s no resurrecting “me” without resurrecting it. Non-Biblical dualism be damned.

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    Yes! And what do we get in the words of institution but exactly that!?! This IS my body. Nothing less. Almost instantly there is an urge to drive a wedge between the word and the elemental reality. We forget who made all things. He can say whatever he wants about them and we should believe it! Why would we not want to?

    Well, I have some idea why. Sin. Larry hinted earlier at what reason does in this instance. It knows EXACTLY what is at stake, so it heads for the hills, the high hills of the mind instead of the flesh and blood reality in which we live and move and have our being. Theoretical calculations are something we can measure and control, or so we imagine, and that is somehow comforting. I think it comforts in one sense because we still have that pagan urge to satisfy the deity by paying him back somehow. We can manufacture that payback. A gift of such magnitude with no strings attached is too much and we are compelled to offer something of ours back up. Just your holy name and some water and that is all? It just cannot be! Mere thanks is not enough for our troubled conscience. It nags at us in just this way and our old Adam’s sinful conscience says “but I do not deserve it, so let me do something, anything, even a small thing. I know. I’ll lift your name on high and assure you most sincerely that I love to sing your praises. I will sing this sort of thing repeatedly to honor you. You will feel how much I appreciate it. You will get something out of what I am doing. I can do at least that much. I will make all efforts to be humble in the doing of it certainly. I, I , I” and then it goes spiraling out of control because we think we are on to something. An entire idol to our own works righteousness that involves Christian bookstores with shelves filled with all kinds of ideas on how to do this sort of neo-paganism. Or, liberal politics invading the church that gives up ground to every person in line with a complaint against “the man” for the sake of fulfilling the law of love, including hiding the name of God behind a generic use of God, God, God in the same way non-denominational conservatives never invoke the Trinity plainly, but just talk about Jesus and the father-god and the Holy Spirit in a sort of modalist fashion.

    All of it is a kind of blindness to what makes for incarnate theology and preaching of the Word made flesh, that is, Christ and him crucified. A whole lot of stumbling over the flesh of it. Rationalism keeps all of it at arms length, even the Roman idea does this with its transubstantiation and the acolyte with his net to catch the crumbs. Jesus is like some snotty-nosed kid one is afraid will give them cooties. When the curtain was torn in two in the temple it meant not only could we get to God, but that God was exposed, that now God was on the loose. He was coming for us. Rationalism wants to control that process and get God to back off even though it can seem so emotionally charged. The Holy Spirit is a living Word that will not allow that to happen for any of us. he desires us and has come all the way down in the flesh for us.

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    Yes! And what do we get in the words of institution but exactly that!?! This IS my body. Nothing less. Almost instantly there is an urge to drive a wedge between the word and the elemental reality. We forget who made all things. He can say whatever he wants about them and we should believe it! Why would we not want to?

    Well, I have some idea why. Sin. Larry hinted earlier at what reason does in this instance. It knows EXACTLY what is at stake, so it heads for the hills, the high hills of the mind instead of the flesh and blood reality in which we live and move and have our being. Theoretical calculations are something we can measure and control, or so we imagine, and that is somehow comforting. I think it comforts in one sense because we still have that pagan urge to satisfy the deity by paying him back somehow. We can manufacture that payback. A gift of such magnitude with no strings attached is too much and we are compelled to offer something of ours back up. Just your holy name and some water and that is all? It just cannot be! Mere thanks is not enough for our troubled conscience. It nags at us in just this way and our old Adam’s sinful conscience says “but I do not deserve it, so let me do something, anything, even a small thing. I know. I’ll lift your name on high and assure you most sincerely that I love to sing your praises. I will sing this sort of thing repeatedly to honor you. You will feel how much I appreciate it. You will get something out of what I am doing. I can do at least that much. I will make all efforts to be humble in the doing of it certainly. I, I , I” and then it goes spiraling out of control because we think we are on to something. An entire idol to our own works righteousness that involves Christian bookstores with shelves filled with all kinds of ideas on how to do this sort of neo-paganism. Or, liberal politics invading the church that gives up ground to every person in line with a complaint against “the man” for the sake of fulfilling the law of love, including hiding the name of God behind a generic use of God, God, God in the same way non-denominational conservatives never invoke the Trinity plainly, but just talk about Jesus and the father-god and the Holy Spirit in a sort of modalist fashion.

    All of it is a kind of blindness to what makes for incarnate theology and preaching of the Word made flesh, that is, Christ and him crucified. A whole lot of stumbling over the flesh of it. Rationalism keeps all of it at arms length, even the Roman idea does this with its transubstantiation and the acolyte with his net to catch the crumbs. Jesus is like some snotty-nosed kid one is afraid will give them cooties. When the curtain was torn in two in the temple it meant not only could we get to God, but that God was exposed, that now God was on the loose. He was coming for us. Rationalism wants to control that process and get God to back off even though it can seem so emotionally charged. The Holy Spirit is a living Word that will not allow that to happen for any of us. he desires us and has come all the way down in the flesh for us.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom@ 212

    Exactly, and not exactly dear Tom. Your body, though dead Old Adam, is joined , right now to the resurrected body of Christ. (1 cor 6).

    But ALL , everything, that you can see and do in your body, is not you at work, it is that Old Adam that was you and is not a parasitic thing that appears to fully be the bodily Tom Hering we love here who sends us coffee ;)

    So while it is true, and we know by faith and our baptism that our bodies will rise again, all we can see in our bodies now, is what must die.

    FC Art I Original Sin.

    8] 3. But, on the other hand, we believe, teach, and confess that original sin is not a slight, but….

    ….. so deep a corruption of human nature that nothing healthy or uncorrupt has remained in man’s body or soul, in his inner or outward powers, but, as the Church sings:

    Through Adam’s fall is all corrupt,
    Nature and essence human.

    9] This damage is unspeakable, and cannot be discerned by reason, but only from God’s Word. 10]

    And [we affirm] that no one but God alone can separate from one another the nature and this corruption of the nature,

    which will fully come to pass through death,

    in the [blessed] resurrection, where our nature which we now bear will rise and live eternally without original sin and separated and sundered from it, as it is written Job 19:26: I shall be compassed again with this my skin, and in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold.

    http://bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#I. Original Sin.

    St Paul : ” I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells NO good thing. “

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    tom@ 212

    Exactly, and not exactly dear Tom. Your body, though dead Old Adam, is joined , right now to the resurrected body of Christ. (1 cor 6).

    But ALL , everything, that you can see and do in your body, is not you at work, it is that Old Adam that was you and is not a parasitic thing that appears to fully be the bodily Tom Hering we love here who sends us coffee ;)

    So while it is true, and we know by faith and our baptism that our bodies will rise again, all we can see in our bodies now, is what must die.

    FC Art I Original Sin.

    8] 3. But, on the other hand, we believe, teach, and confess that original sin is not a slight, but….

    ….. so deep a corruption of human nature that nothing healthy or uncorrupt has remained in man’s body or soul, in his inner or outward powers, but, as the Church sings:

    Through Adam’s fall is all corrupt,
    Nature and essence human.

    9] This damage is unspeakable, and cannot be discerned by reason, but only from God’s Word. 10]

    And [we affirm] that no one but God alone can separate from one another the nature and this corruption of the nature,

    which will fully come to pass through death,

    in the [blessed] resurrection, where our nature which we now bear will rise and live eternally without original sin and separated and sundered from it, as it is written Job 19:26: I shall be compassed again with this my skin, and in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold.

    http://bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#I. Original Sin.

    St Paul : ” I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells NO good thing. “

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    errata:

    “…and is NOW a parasitic thing…”

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    errata:

    “…and is NOW a parasitic thing…”

  • Stephen

    Not transformation, but Transfiguration. New creations which really are brand, spanking new just as Christ is all in all when his glorious resurrection is completed in us, his spiritual body, in the eschaton.

    I think the distinction here is one between the gnostic tendencies we see at work in the baptistic and nondenomiantionalism as we have been discussing it and the sacramental. And given my first paragraph, you can imagine how one’s rationalism would immediately begin doing the math on all that. One has to clear away a lot of definitions that come with those words, and shake out at least some of the rationalist baggage of post-enlightenment thinking if we want to hear them biblically. It is not easy to do. It is also why a lot of theologians shun too much philosophy and yet secretly love it. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone. Right Frank?

  • Stephen

    Not transformation, but Transfiguration. New creations which really are brand, spanking new just as Christ is all in all when his glorious resurrection is completed in us, his spiritual body, in the eschaton.

    I think the distinction here is one between the gnostic tendencies we see at work in the baptistic and nondenomiantionalism as we have been discussing it and the sacramental. And given my first paragraph, you can imagine how one’s rationalism would immediately begin doing the math on all that. One has to clear away a lot of definitions that come with those words, and shake out at least some of the rationalist baggage of post-enlightenment thinking if we want to hear them biblically. It is not easy to do. It is also why a lot of theologians shun too much philosophy and yet secretly love it. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone. Right Frank?

  • Tom Hering

    “Exactly, and not exactly …” – Frank @ 214.

    Ain’t it always so?

  • Tom Hering

    “Exactly, and not exactly …” – Frank @ 214.

    Ain’t it always so?

  • Tom Hering

    I mean, take any Scriptural truth, and there’s always something more to say about it. We’d go nuts trying to re-state it in any final way. Thank God for faith which just accepts. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    I mean, take any Scriptural truth, and there’s always something more to say about it. We’d go nuts trying to re-state it in any final way. Thank God for faith which just accepts. :-)

  • Stephen

    Tom-

    We need something like the Lutheran version of Talmud. Oh wait, that’s the threads on Cranach that go past 200 posts. It’s when they’ve been marked as snarky and mean and off-topic that they sort to really crack open, eh?

    But then I tire of them too. Perhaps we are done. I’m taking this pirate booty elsewhere to keep the kids off drugs!

  • Stephen

    Tom-

    We need something like the Lutheran version of Talmud. Oh wait, that’s the threads on Cranach that go past 200 posts. It’s when they’ve been marked as snarky and mean and off-topic that they sort to really crack open, eh?

    But then I tire of them too. Perhaps we are done. I’m taking this pirate booty elsewhere to keep the kids off drugs!

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  • Dwight

    i didn’t have time to read all the post but i think all that maters is if you believe the whole bible and flee from sin just as Galatians 5:16 -25 and Ephesians 4:17-5:21 states.

    I may be young but don’t mistake my youth.
    Dwight

  • Dwight

    i didn’t have time to read all the post but i think all that maters is if you believe the whole bible and flee from sin just as Galatians 5:16 -25 and Ephesians 4:17-5:21 states.

    I may be young but don’t mistake my youth.
    Dwight

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