Christless Christianity

On Sunday, Pastor Douthwaite at our church gave one of the best comments on the Harold Camping fiasco.  From his sermon on John 14:

Thomas and Philip didn’t quite understand all that Jesus was saying. They ask questions. Their knowledge isn’t quite right or complete. But don’t mock them or think less of them for this – for who among us understands all this? Especially the mystery of the Trinity which Jesus here is teaching. But give Thomas and Philip credit for this – though they didn’t fully understand, they looked to Jesus for the answers. They clung to Him tenaciously.

That’s not only a good example for us, it is what a certain Mr. Harold Camping missed this weekend. I’m certain that you’ve heard of him. The media has paid an unusual amount of attention to him and his prediction that the end of the world was going to begin yesterday. I don’t want to go into the details of all that he said. But you know what he missed? Christ. Not that he’s not a Christian. I’m not saying that. I don’t know what’s in his heart. But in all his study of the Bible, he looked for numbers and clues and codes and all sorts of things . . . but he missed Christ. And that’s what the Scriptures are all about. They’re not about hidden clues, secret teachings, mysterious numbers, and being able to calculate days and times. They’re all about Jesus. About his death and resurrection. That dying and rising with Jesus is the truth, and the way to eternal life.

via St. Athanasius Lutheran Church

Camping is not alone in spinning a Christless Christianity.  I have read “Christian” books going into all kinds of profound theology and teachings about Christian living that did not so much as mention Christ.  I have heard sermons, even evangelistic sermons, that left out Christ.   I have heard expositions of the Bible that said nothing about Christ.  I have heard personal testimonies and evangelistic witnesses that leave Jesus out of the picture.  I have looked at lots of Sunday school curriculum and “Christian” children’s books that are pure moralism, without a shred of Jesus and His gospel.  Since the root of “Christianity” is, you know, “Christ,” how is this possible?  Don’t you have a different religion if you leave Jesus out of your Christianity?

P.S.:  This is the reason to discuss Camping and not just to ignore him, as some of you were recommending:  To discern how his particular spirit may be manifesting itself in other contexts closer to home.   That’s the theme of this post and the one below.

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.

  • Jonathan

    And when they do happen mention “Christ,” it is only to make him out to be a new Moses, the lawgiver, the role model, the life coach.

  • Jonathan

    And when they do happen mention “Christ,” it is only to make him out to be a new Moses, the lawgiver, the role model, the life coach.

  • Dave

    Regarding “Not that he’s not a Christian. I’m not saying that. I don’t know what’s in his heart.” Why are we so frightened to deny he’s in Christ? Jesus said “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”.

    So what’s come out of Camping’s mouth? He denies the Biblical Trinity, denies the Biblical gospel, denies the Biblical atonement, demands belief in his date setting as a salvific requirement, has repeatedly declared that ALL in churches are under Satan’s control, etc. etc. etc.

    Just how far must a heretic go before we start to say, “You know, if we take that man at his words, he is not in Christ”? Why are we unwilling to obey Christ when he commands us to judge/discern, “Beware of false prophets…You will recognize them by their fruits” ?

    Can we not safely say “if that man believes his own teaching, he’s not a Christian”?

  • Dave

    Regarding “Not that he’s not a Christian. I’m not saying that. I don’t know what’s in his heart.” Why are we so frightened to deny he’s in Christ? Jesus said “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”.

    So what’s come out of Camping’s mouth? He denies the Biblical Trinity, denies the Biblical gospel, denies the Biblical atonement, demands belief in his date setting as a salvific requirement, has repeatedly declared that ALL in churches are under Satan’s control, etc. etc. etc.

    Just how far must a heretic go before we start to say, “You know, if we take that man at his words, he is not in Christ”? Why are we unwilling to obey Christ when he commands us to judge/discern, “Beware of false prophets…You will recognize them by their fruits” ?

    Can we not safely say “if that man believes his own teaching, he’s not a Christian”?

  • CRB

    Dave,
    Excellent observation and a question I have wondered about for some time. Perhaps it’s the fear of being thought a Pharisee that we do not speak out about false teachers as, “not being in Christ”?

  • CRB

    Dave,
    Excellent observation and a question I have wondered about for some time. Perhaps it’s the fear of being thought a Pharisee that we do not speak out about false teachers as, “not being in Christ”?

  • JonSLC

    I’ve heard it said by former Evangelical Protestants — and I don’t mean to spread rumors; I’m asking for verification — that in some Evangelical circles, Christ-centered preaching is aimed at non-believers, in order to convert them. After you become a believer, the thinking goes, you don’t need the gospel anymore, but the law, to show you how to live.

    This is different from the gospel-less preaching of Camping, but could the two be related? When the gospel is relegated to the periphery of the church’s message, it ends up disappearing altogether after a while?

  • JonSLC

    I’ve heard it said by former Evangelical Protestants — and I don’t mean to spread rumors; I’m asking for verification — that in some Evangelical circles, Christ-centered preaching is aimed at non-believers, in order to convert them. After you become a believer, the thinking goes, you don’t need the gospel anymore, but the law, to show you how to live.

    This is different from the gospel-less preaching of Camping, but could the two be related? When the gospel is relegated to the periphery of the church’s message, it ends up disappearing altogether after a while?

  • Dennis Peskey

    A distinction should be made between the theology of Mr. Camping and much of what permeates modern “Christianity” today. Two differing theological perspectives are in play; one seeks to bind God to His Law alone and the other endeavors to emphasis God’s Law as the primary element of Christianity.

    In the first instance, restricting God to His Law binds Him to the pronouncements of the Law. This gives rise to a biblical hermeneutic governed by reason; consequently, one can search the Scriptures for signs which posit an impending rapture – even to positing the exact date of this event. To engage in this systematical approach requires a denial of those Scriptures where grace predominates. This denies God the ability to act beyond the limits of His Law and thereby effect salvation for all His people. Implicit in this approach is a denial of Christ’s incarnation, suffering, death and resurrection for all, hence, the denial of Christ’s church and the preaching of His Word.

    A different hermeneutic is at work in far too many congregations today – the preaching of Jesus as the “moral teacher” whose purpose was to show us the way to salvation. If we search the Scriptures as a guide based upon Christ’s perfect fulfillment of the Law, we too can merit our salvation accordingly. This approach also has the fundamental flaw of denying the very purpose of the incarnation, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The gospel is subordinated to the Law and is rendered void.

    Both hermeneutics attempt to bind God to a “law box” where we can effectively deal with an almighty Creator. We are not comfortable with a God who can choose to rise above His holy Law and bring salvation to His creation on His terms; i.e., we enjoy eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. While our hearts know of the Tree of Life, we do not desire this path for it was forbidden us in the garden. The way, the truth and the life is found only in Christ and He commanded us to follow all that He proclaimed. Our God is neither partial nor segmented; either we accept and believe all that He has proclaimed or we separate ourselves from him. Lord, to whom shall we go for you have the words of eternal life.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    A distinction should be made between the theology of Mr. Camping and much of what permeates modern “Christianity” today. Two differing theological perspectives are in play; one seeks to bind God to His Law alone and the other endeavors to emphasis God’s Law as the primary element of Christianity.

    In the first instance, restricting God to His Law binds Him to the pronouncements of the Law. This gives rise to a biblical hermeneutic governed by reason; consequently, one can search the Scriptures for signs which posit an impending rapture – even to positing the exact date of this event. To engage in this systematical approach requires a denial of those Scriptures where grace predominates. This denies God the ability to act beyond the limits of His Law and thereby effect salvation for all His people. Implicit in this approach is a denial of Christ’s incarnation, suffering, death and resurrection for all, hence, the denial of Christ’s church and the preaching of His Word.

    A different hermeneutic is at work in far too many congregations today – the preaching of Jesus as the “moral teacher” whose purpose was to show us the way to salvation. If we search the Scriptures as a guide based upon Christ’s perfect fulfillment of the Law, we too can merit our salvation accordingly. This approach also has the fundamental flaw of denying the very purpose of the incarnation, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The gospel is subordinated to the Law and is rendered void.

    Both hermeneutics attempt to bind God to a “law box” where we can effectively deal with an almighty Creator. We are not comfortable with a God who can choose to rise above His holy Law and bring salvation to His creation on His terms; i.e., we enjoy eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. While our hearts know of the Tree of Life, we do not desire this path for it was forbidden us in the garden. The way, the truth and the life is found only in Christ and He commanded us to follow all that He proclaimed. Our God is neither partial nor segmented; either we accept and believe all that He has proclaimed or we separate ourselves from him. Lord, to whom shall we go for you have the words of eternal life.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Tom Hering

    “After you become a believer, the thinking goes, you don’t need the gospel anymore, but the law, to show you how to live. This is different from the gospel-less preaching of Camping …” – JonSLC @ 4.

    Technically, yes. But an absence of the Gospel, or putting the Gospel in second place, or making the Gospel a 30-second appendix to a “third use” sermon, all deprive Christians of what they need most. It’s our daily bread every bit as much as bread is.

  • Tom Hering

    “After you become a believer, the thinking goes, you don’t need the gospel anymore, but the law, to show you how to live. This is different from the gospel-less preaching of Camping …” – JonSLC @ 4.

    Technically, yes. But an absence of the Gospel, or putting the Gospel in second place, or making the Gospel a 30-second appendix to a “third use” sermon, all deprive Christians of what they need most. It’s our daily bread every bit as much as bread is.

  • Booklover

    Yes, JohnSLC @4, your first paragraph makes sense. It was once pointed out in a White Horse Inn installment that the first denominations to go “liberal” (Methodists, etc.) were the ones who turned strictly to the preaching of the law after a person’s conversion. They eventually tended to leave Jesus out of the equation. There is no need for a Saviour if one can pick himself up by his own bootstraps.

    If you look, instead, at the gospel as something to be received, instead of something to be earned, there will always be a gratefulness, always a God to be in awe of. Otherwise there will only be man. Ick.

  • Booklover

    Yes, JohnSLC @4, your first paragraph makes sense. It was once pointed out in a White Horse Inn installment that the first denominations to go “liberal” (Methodists, etc.) were the ones who turned strictly to the preaching of the law after a person’s conversion. They eventually tended to leave Jesus out of the equation. There is no need for a Saviour if one can pick himself up by his own bootstraps.

    If you look, instead, at the gospel as something to be received, instead of something to be earned, there will always be a gratefulness, always a God to be in awe of. Otherwise there will only be man. Ick.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dave asked (@2),

    Why are we so frightened to deny he’s in Christ? Jesus said “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”.

    And Jesus’ words are, indeed true. Of course, one must also remember God’s pronouncement after the Flood: “every inclination of [man's] heart is evil from childhood.” As such, our words condemn all of us, not just Harold Camping, because they reflect the depraved state of our hearts. But does that therefore mean that none of us are, by Dave’s argument, “in Christ”? Of course not! We are in Christ in spite of our hearts and our words — in fact, the latter are the very reason we need Christ.

    Just how far must a heretic go before we start to say, “You know, if we take that man at his words, he is not in Christ”? Why are we unwilling to obey Christ when he commands us to judge/discern, “Beware of false prophets…You will recognize them by their fruits”?

    I have brought up this point before, but it is usually quite unhelpful to think of particular people as “heretics” — all the more so if we divide humanity into “heretics” and “not heretics”. A heretic is simply one who holds to heresy — that which is false. But, again, we all hold to heresy. Maybe not as boldly and publicly as Camping, but certainly minute-to-minute, as we make our endless series of thoughts, words, and deeds that elevate ourselves over God.

    As such, as long as a man confesses his faith in Christ (or points us to his baptism through which he put on Christ, especially if he is too young to do any verbal confessing) — even though he also holds to any or all other heresies — it is not our place to tell him that he is not saved. Certainly any one heresy is enough to kill faith, but it is not for us to know whether it has done so. We can only compare men’s words to God’s Word. Indeed, this is the point of Jesus’ warning against false prophets — it is against heresy, not against heretics, per se.

    Dave’s argument actually hints at a form of heresy itself, which is that we are saved by the purity of our doctrine. This is, of course, to point to ourselves as the source of salvation — if you hold to this belief, if you get all these details right, if you, if you, if you … that way lies paganism.

    Camping certainly is off in extremely dangerous territory. He needs to hear the clarion call of God’s Word regarding his heresies, his sins. He needs to repent of these and fall at the foot of the cross. But in this regard, he is in the same boat as all of us, and we fool ourselves if we fancy that this is not true of us — that he is the “heretic”, but good ol’ us, we are not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dave asked (@2),

    Why are we so frightened to deny he’s in Christ? Jesus said “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”.

    And Jesus’ words are, indeed true. Of course, one must also remember God’s pronouncement after the Flood: “every inclination of [man's] heart is evil from childhood.” As such, our words condemn all of us, not just Harold Camping, because they reflect the depraved state of our hearts. But does that therefore mean that none of us are, by Dave’s argument, “in Christ”? Of course not! We are in Christ in spite of our hearts and our words — in fact, the latter are the very reason we need Christ.

    Just how far must a heretic go before we start to say, “You know, if we take that man at his words, he is not in Christ”? Why are we unwilling to obey Christ when he commands us to judge/discern, “Beware of false prophets…You will recognize them by their fruits”?

    I have brought up this point before, but it is usually quite unhelpful to think of particular people as “heretics” — all the more so if we divide humanity into “heretics” and “not heretics”. A heretic is simply one who holds to heresy — that which is false. But, again, we all hold to heresy. Maybe not as boldly and publicly as Camping, but certainly minute-to-minute, as we make our endless series of thoughts, words, and deeds that elevate ourselves over God.

    As such, as long as a man confesses his faith in Christ (or points us to his baptism through which he put on Christ, especially if he is too young to do any verbal confessing) — even though he also holds to any or all other heresies — it is not our place to tell him that he is not saved. Certainly any one heresy is enough to kill faith, but it is not for us to know whether it has done so. We can only compare men’s words to God’s Word. Indeed, this is the point of Jesus’ warning against false prophets — it is against heresy, not against heretics, per se.

    Dave’s argument actually hints at a form of heresy itself, which is that we are saved by the purity of our doctrine. This is, of course, to point to ourselves as the source of salvation — if you hold to this belief, if you get all these details right, if you, if you, if you … that way lies paganism.

    Camping certainly is off in extremely dangerous territory. He needs to hear the clarion call of God’s Word regarding his heresies, his sins. He needs to repent of these and fall at the foot of the cross. But in this regard, he is in the same boat as all of us, and we fool ourselves if we fancy that this is not true of us — that he is the “heretic”, but good ol’ us, we are not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    JonSLC (@4) said:

    I’ve heard it said by former Evangelical Protestants … that in some Evangelical circles, Christ-centered preaching is aimed at non-believers, in order to convert them. After you become a believer, the thinking goes, you don’t need the gospel anymore, but the law, to show you how to live.

    This rings true with my experiences, to some degree. The ones I’ve known or heard from never completely abandon the message of Christ, but it definitely gets put on the back burner, or as a short lead-in to a lengthy “third-use” sermon (this problem is not something Lutherans are immune to).

    And such Evangelicals often seem surprised at the fact that every Lutheran sermon (ideally) stresses the Law and the Gospel, our sin and Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. Heck, I myself, raised in the Texan Evangelical milieu, often found myself thinking “Again with this stuff?” when I was a kid.

    I often think that this might come from a misunderstanding of Hebrews 6:

    Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

    The misunderstanding coming when that preaching of Law, Law, Law — what you have to do — starts to contradict the “elementary teachings about Christ”, at which point you’re obviously dealing in heresy, not spiritual “maturity”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    JonSLC (@4) said:

    I’ve heard it said by former Evangelical Protestants … that in some Evangelical circles, Christ-centered preaching is aimed at non-believers, in order to convert them. After you become a believer, the thinking goes, you don’t need the gospel anymore, but the law, to show you how to live.

    This rings true with my experiences, to some degree. The ones I’ve known or heard from never completely abandon the message of Christ, but it definitely gets put on the back burner, or as a short lead-in to a lengthy “third-use” sermon (this problem is not something Lutherans are immune to).

    And such Evangelicals often seem surprised at the fact that every Lutheran sermon (ideally) stresses the Law and the Gospel, our sin and Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. Heck, I myself, raised in the Texan Evangelical milieu, often found myself thinking “Again with this stuff?” when I was a kid.

    I often think that this might come from a misunderstanding of Hebrews 6:

    Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

    The misunderstanding coming when that preaching of Law, Law, Law — what you have to do — starts to contradict the “elementary teachings about Christ”, at which point you’re obviously dealing in heresy, not spiritual “maturity”.

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

    tODD,

    But you would agree that there is a difference between having parts of our lives not in alignment with Christ (your “heresy”) and a person who outright rejects that which is clearly taught in Scripture in an impenitent fashion (a heretic).

    Be careful about making the word “heresy” too light a word in that manner.

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

    tODD,

    But you would agree that there is a difference between having parts of our lives not in alignment with Christ (your “heresy”) and a person who outright rejects that which is clearly taught in Scripture in an impenitent fashion (a heretic).

    Be careful about making the word “heresy” too light a word in that manner.

  • Dave

    tODD,

    Wow. I’m surprised you didn’t lay down the Pharisee card as well. From my questions you extrapolated that if it was true that an ongoing profession & belief of rank heresy demonstrated one was not truly in Christ, then it was also be true that none of us are in Christ, because we’ve all said wrong things. In other words, we’re all heretics, but so long as we’ve been baptized we’re all set. Silly me – I thought we were saved by faith in Christ alone (and if one named his coffee mug ‘Jesus’ and put his faith in that, he is not truly in Christ).

    The logical end from your comments: Have a different Jesus? No problem. A different gospel? Perhaps not advisable, but hey, none of us is perfect, right?

    Oh, and where exactly did I claim one must have sparkling-perfect doctrine to be in Christ? I made the claim that one who openly denies the gospel (for decades btw) provides compelling evidence he is not in Christ. And from that you say I’m the false teacher commanding people to point to ourselves as savior? Yikes. We are saved by faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. That saving faith itself is the gift of God. Christ commands us to “repent and believe the gospel”. False teachers, like Camping, redefine the gospel to something that cannot save.

    Paul really could have used your help when he wrote to those Galatians warning them of a different gospel. He shouldn’t have bothered writing to the Colossians warning them about those false teachers either, apparently. And Peter warning about “damnable heresies”…. that silly boy. Getting himself all worked up like that! We’re all heretics so just let it go!

    In the spirit of “Can’t we all just get along?” Rodney King, “Heresy Shmeresy. Just get baptized!”

    Oy.

  • Dave

    tODD,

    Wow. I’m surprised you didn’t lay down the Pharisee card as well. From my questions you extrapolated that if it was true that an ongoing profession & belief of rank heresy demonstrated one was not truly in Christ, then it was also be true that none of us are in Christ, because we’ve all said wrong things. In other words, we’re all heretics, but so long as we’ve been baptized we’re all set. Silly me – I thought we were saved by faith in Christ alone (and if one named his coffee mug ‘Jesus’ and put his faith in that, he is not truly in Christ).

    The logical end from your comments: Have a different Jesus? No problem. A different gospel? Perhaps not advisable, but hey, none of us is perfect, right?

    Oh, and where exactly did I claim one must have sparkling-perfect doctrine to be in Christ? I made the claim that one who openly denies the gospel (for decades btw) provides compelling evidence he is not in Christ. And from that you say I’m the false teacher commanding people to point to ourselves as savior? Yikes. We are saved by faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. That saving faith itself is the gift of God. Christ commands us to “repent and believe the gospel”. False teachers, like Camping, redefine the gospel to something that cannot save.

    Paul really could have used your help when he wrote to those Galatians warning them of a different gospel. He shouldn’t have bothered writing to the Colossians warning them about those false teachers either, apparently. And Peter warning about “damnable heresies”…. that silly boy. Getting himself all worked up like that! We’re all heretics so just let it go!

    In the spirit of “Can’t we all just get along?” Rodney King, “Heresy Shmeresy. Just get baptized!”

    Oy.

  • steve

    Dave, #2:

    In my experience, there’s a very big emphasis in the last few decades on a conversion experience. In some circles, the worse you were and the better you’ve become are seen somewhat as status symbols of your Christian life. This leads into the whole idea of “victorious Christian living”. I think the lives of many Set free and Calvary Chapel pastors, while commendable, are somewhat idolized. Unfortunately, and ironically, there’s a whole lot of law required for living the “victorious Christian life”.

  • steve

    Dave, #2:

    In my experience, there’s a very big emphasis in the last few decades on a conversion experience. In some circles, the worse you were and the better you’ve become are seen somewhat as status symbols of your Christian life. This leads into the whole idea of “victorious Christian living”. I think the lives of many Set free and Calvary Chapel pastors, while commendable, are somewhat idolized. Unfortunately, and ironically, there’s a whole lot of law required for living the “victorious Christian life”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dave (@11), I get the feeling we’re not communicating super well. Are you a Lutheran? Because your comments indicate you’re not, and I’d be willing to bet what’s coming out here is the differences in our theologies.

    In other words, we’re all heretics, but so long as we’ve been baptized we’re all set. Silly me – I thought we were saved by faith in Christ alone.

    Here, for example, you contrast “being baptized” with “faith in Christ alone”. But I took pains earlier to note that in baptism, we “put on Christ” — alone. Trusting in baptism is trusting in the one who commanded baptism, and trusting in the promises he attached to baptism. But yes, we’re all heretics. That certainly applies to those who deny God’s promises in baptism (even though they, too, are not necessarily excluded from salvation, despite this heresy).

    The logical end from your comments: Have a different Jesus? No problem. A different gospel? Perhaps not advisable, but hey, none of us is perfect, right?

    Again, that’s not what I said. I said “certainly any one heresy is enough to kill faith” — so how you got “no problem” from that is beyond me. Heresy is quite clearly a problem, wherever it’s found — whether in Camping’s public proclamations, or deep down in your heart, when you think no one’s looking.

    But Dave, the issue here is not “Is heresy bad?” — of course it is! — but rather, “Does a person’s holding to one or more heresies preclude them from salvation?” Again, the context being not just anyone, but people who confess their faith in Jesus as their savior (while still holding publicly to heresy).

    You ask, “where exactly did I claim one must have sparkling-perfect doctrine to be in Christ?” — which is something of a straw-man argument depicting a supposed straw-man argument that I leveled against you. But I would remind you that you burst onto the scene here decrying several of Camping’s less-than-perfect doctrines and concluding thereby that it was okay to state that Camping wasn’t “in Christ”.

    Even if you have a squishy metric for how much doctrine must be “perfect” to give one a pass or fail on your public-doctrine-salvation meter, you nonetheless appear to assert such a metric. Of course, if it’s as squishy as you now defensively claim, how can you wield it against Camping like you do? For that matter, on what basis do you (presumably) claim that your doctrine is good enough to give you a pass into salvation?

    Once again, my point here has never been to defend heresy, but to urge us to point it out wherever it happens — and that is not only among the obvious Bad People you happen to feel comfortable labeling “heretics”, but also in every one of us, including you. Nor should we find comfort in how pristine our doctrine is, but in Jesus — and we should pray to God to forgive us for our terrible doctrine (which is to say, our idolatry), and show us the error through his Word.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dave (@11), I get the feeling we’re not communicating super well. Are you a Lutheran? Because your comments indicate you’re not, and I’d be willing to bet what’s coming out here is the differences in our theologies.

    In other words, we’re all heretics, but so long as we’ve been baptized we’re all set. Silly me – I thought we were saved by faith in Christ alone.

    Here, for example, you contrast “being baptized” with “faith in Christ alone”. But I took pains earlier to note that in baptism, we “put on Christ” — alone. Trusting in baptism is trusting in the one who commanded baptism, and trusting in the promises he attached to baptism. But yes, we’re all heretics. That certainly applies to those who deny God’s promises in baptism (even though they, too, are not necessarily excluded from salvation, despite this heresy).

    The logical end from your comments: Have a different Jesus? No problem. A different gospel? Perhaps not advisable, but hey, none of us is perfect, right?

    Again, that’s not what I said. I said “certainly any one heresy is enough to kill faith” — so how you got “no problem” from that is beyond me. Heresy is quite clearly a problem, wherever it’s found — whether in Camping’s public proclamations, or deep down in your heart, when you think no one’s looking.

    But Dave, the issue here is not “Is heresy bad?” — of course it is! — but rather, “Does a person’s holding to one or more heresies preclude them from salvation?” Again, the context being not just anyone, but people who confess their faith in Jesus as their savior (while still holding publicly to heresy).

    You ask, “where exactly did I claim one must have sparkling-perfect doctrine to be in Christ?” — which is something of a straw-man argument depicting a supposed straw-man argument that I leveled against you. But I would remind you that you burst onto the scene here decrying several of Camping’s less-than-perfect doctrines and concluding thereby that it was okay to state that Camping wasn’t “in Christ”.

    Even if you have a squishy metric for how much doctrine must be “perfect” to give one a pass or fail on your public-doctrine-salvation meter, you nonetheless appear to assert such a metric. Of course, if it’s as squishy as you now defensively claim, how can you wield it against Camping like you do? For that matter, on what basis do you (presumably) claim that your doctrine is good enough to give you a pass into salvation?

    Once again, my point here has never been to defend heresy, but to urge us to point it out wherever it happens — and that is not only among the obvious Bad People you happen to feel comfortable labeling “heretics”, but also in every one of us, including you. Nor should we find comfort in how pristine our doctrine is, but in Jesus — and we should pray to God to forgive us for our terrible doctrine (which is to say, our idolatry), and show us the error through his Word.

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  • Dave

    tODD,

    I am grieved what you and the vast majority of the visible church label as “less-than-perfect doctrines” are actually damnable/destructive heresies as Peter put it, “bringing upon [the false teachers] swift destruction”. I am also grieved you make no distinction between abhorrent vs. heretical belief. We are all guilty of abhorrent doctrine no doubt. Certainly I am. Where you and I differ is that I don’t believe someone who persists in Christ-denying, gospel-denying heresy should be called a brother in Christ (sprinkled or not). Since it seems to matter to you I am a member of a Lutheran church.

    I am further grieved that in modern society the only mark of a “Christian” is whether one calls himself one. I was grieved when I witnessed to my best friend growing up and he called Adolf Hitler a Christian since he was baptized. Would you?

    But regarding “Bad People” I will own that one. I am the worst of sinners. I am more guilty than you of sin I am sure. And that’s why I am forever grateful to my Savior who chose me in spite of my wretchedness, called me, granted me repentance & faith in Him. That’s why I get angry when men like Camping make a mockery and laughing stock of the Name of my God and His Word.

    I do not believe anyone will be evaluated for how high they pegged on the doctrinal orhtodoxemeter before admission to Christ’s Kingdom. I believe it will be those whom He elected and granted faith to. For those that live long enough I believe that faith will consequentially produce evidence of the living heart given them, as it bears good fruit. A stubborn profession and teaching of damnable lies would be a counter indication and I think we do great damage to the Name of Christ by putting our arms around Camping and calling him a brother. I respectfully urge you to stop.

    Dave

  • Dave

    tODD,

    I am grieved what you and the vast majority of the visible church label as “less-than-perfect doctrines” are actually damnable/destructive heresies as Peter put it, “bringing upon [the false teachers] swift destruction”. I am also grieved you make no distinction between abhorrent vs. heretical belief. We are all guilty of abhorrent doctrine no doubt. Certainly I am. Where you and I differ is that I don’t believe someone who persists in Christ-denying, gospel-denying heresy should be called a brother in Christ (sprinkled or not). Since it seems to matter to you I am a member of a Lutheran church.

    I am further grieved that in modern society the only mark of a “Christian” is whether one calls himself one. I was grieved when I witnessed to my best friend growing up and he called Adolf Hitler a Christian since he was baptized. Would you?

    But regarding “Bad People” I will own that one. I am the worst of sinners. I am more guilty than you of sin I am sure. And that’s why I am forever grateful to my Savior who chose me in spite of my wretchedness, called me, granted me repentance & faith in Him. That’s why I get angry when men like Camping make a mockery and laughing stock of the Name of my God and His Word.

    I do not believe anyone will be evaluated for how high they pegged on the doctrinal orhtodoxemeter before admission to Christ’s Kingdom. I believe it will be those whom He elected and granted faith to. For those that live long enough I believe that faith will consequentially produce evidence of the living heart given them, as it bears good fruit. A stubborn profession and teaching of damnable lies would be a counter indication and I think we do great damage to the Name of Christ by putting our arms around Camping and calling him a brother. I respectfully urge you to stop.

    Dave

  • Stephen

    This one oughts be good. I am actually eating popcorn. :)

  • Stephen

    This one oughts be good. I am actually eating popcorn. :)

  • Stephen

    Man, my typos lately . . . Seems like they are even worse with the new editor.

  • Stephen

    Man, my typos lately . . . Seems like they are even worse with the new editor.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dave (@14), again, I don’t think we’re communicating well.

    What you and the vast majority of the visible church label as “less-than-perfect doctrines” are actually damnable/destructive heresies.

    Well, yes. I don’t think there’s any difference between those terms. Anything that makes us “less-than-perfect” is thereby damnable. Because our imperfections, our sins, would condemn us … were it not for Christ. And I have made it pretty darn clear that these “less-than-perfect doctrines” are “destructive”. What makes you think otherwise?

    I am also grieved you make no distinction between abhorrent vs. heretical belief. We are all guilty of abhorrent doctrine no doubt.

    Well, you’ll first have to explain to me what significant difference you see between “abhorrent belief”, on one hand, and “heretical belief”, on the other. I’m happy to appeal to the dictionary for my definition of “heresy” — where does your definition come from? Once you tell me that, you can explain why men like Camping are guilty of possessing “heretical belief”, while yours is merely (?) “abhorrent”.

    Since it seems to matter to you I am a member of a Lutheran church.

    Well, it only mattered to me inasmuch as I thought your being non-Lutheran might have been contributing to communication issues. But since you are Lutheran, does it matter to you? You seem to treat baptism more lightly than a Lutheran ought, frankly. Is baptism something other than faith in Christ?

    I am further grieved that in modern society the only mark of a “Christian” is whether one calls himself one.

    You seem to have trouble distinguishing between (1) a man’s state with respect to God and (2) what we fellow men are able to discern about that state. To wit, you seem to conflate the two. Were this so, you would seem to have divine powers. After all, what do you think the parable of the weeds tells us about judging who is in God’s Kingdom and who is out, before the Last Day? Yet you claim for yourself the power to distinguish weeds from wheat. I find that troubling. Heck, I find that heretical, as you gainsay God’s Word. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian.

    But let’s carry your conclusions out. Am I a Christian? How can you tell? Are you a Christian? What proof will you give? Let’s have you judge everyone here who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. Clearly, you know that Hitler wasn’t a Christian and is in hell. What proofs do you offer in defense of your conclusion? Is it important to your theology to know whether Hitler is in hell? Is there any information you might want to know for sure before assigning his status?

    I do not believe anyone will be evaluated for how high they pegged on the doctrinal orhtodoxemeter before admission to Christ’s Kingdom.

    That appears to contradict your initial assertion here (@2). Certainly, you appear to have evaluated Camping on that basis. Are you saying that God does not? And if God doesn’t, why are you?

    I think we do great damage to the Name of Christ by putting our arms around Camping and calling him a brother.

    You are, of course, using a fairly ridiculous straw-man there. I have called for very clearly decrying Camping’s — or anyone else’s — heresies. Where do you get “putting our arms around” him from that? He’s not in fellowship with me or the church with which I am in fellowship. In keeping with Paul’s exhortation in Romans 16, we “keep away from” Camping because his doctrines are “contrary to the teaching you have learned”.

    Still doesn’t mean I can judge his heart or his salvation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dave (@14), again, I don’t think we’re communicating well.

    What you and the vast majority of the visible church label as “less-than-perfect doctrines” are actually damnable/destructive heresies.

    Well, yes. I don’t think there’s any difference between those terms. Anything that makes us “less-than-perfect” is thereby damnable. Because our imperfections, our sins, would condemn us … were it not for Christ. And I have made it pretty darn clear that these “less-than-perfect doctrines” are “destructive”. What makes you think otherwise?

    I am also grieved you make no distinction between abhorrent vs. heretical belief. We are all guilty of abhorrent doctrine no doubt.

    Well, you’ll first have to explain to me what significant difference you see between “abhorrent belief”, on one hand, and “heretical belief”, on the other. I’m happy to appeal to the dictionary for my definition of “heresy” — where does your definition come from? Once you tell me that, you can explain why men like Camping are guilty of possessing “heretical belief”, while yours is merely (?) “abhorrent”.

    Since it seems to matter to you I am a member of a Lutheran church.

    Well, it only mattered to me inasmuch as I thought your being non-Lutheran might have been contributing to communication issues. But since you are Lutheran, does it matter to you? You seem to treat baptism more lightly than a Lutheran ought, frankly. Is baptism something other than faith in Christ?

    I am further grieved that in modern society the only mark of a “Christian” is whether one calls himself one.

    You seem to have trouble distinguishing between (1) a man’s state with respect to God and (2) what we fellow men are able to discern about that state. To wit, you seem to conflate the two. Were this so, you would seem to have divine powers. After all, what do you think the parable of the weeds tells us about judging who is in God’s Kingdom and who is out, before the Last Day? Yet you claim for yourself the power to distinguish weeds from wheat. I find that troubling. Heck, I find that heretical, as you gainsay God’s Word. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian.

    But let’s carry your conclusions out. Am I a Christian? How can you tell? Are you a Christian? What proof will you give? Let’s have you judge everyone here who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. Clearly, you know that Hitler wasn’t a Christian and is in hell. What proofs do you offer in defense of your conclusion? Is it important to your theology to know whether Hitler is in hell? Is there any information you might want to know for sure before assigning his status?

    I do not believe anyone will be evaluated for how high they pegged on the doctrinal orhtodoxemeter before admission to Christ’s Kingdom.

    That appears to contradict your initial assertion here (@2). Certainly, you appear to have evaluated Camping on that basis. Are you saying that God does not? And if God doesn’t, why are you?

    I think we do great damage to the Name of Christ by putting our arms around Camping and calling him a brother.

    You are, of course, using a fairly ridiculous straw-man there. I have called for very clearly decrying Camping’s — or anyone else’s — heresies. Where do you get “putting our arms around” him from that? He’s not in fellowship with me or the church with which I am in fellowship. In keeping with Paul’s exhortation in Romans 16, we “keep away from” Camping because his doctrines are “contrary to the teaching you have learned”.

    Still doesn’t mean I can judge his heart or his salvation.

  • Stephen

    Hey, how about that new Cranach painting/icon on the sidebar. Sweet! :)

  • Stephen

    Hey, how about that new Cranach painting/icon on the sidebar. Sweet! :)

  • Stephen

    Since Frank isn’t around I will try to do a bit of a stand in.

    This is really a 1st commandment thing, and issue of what the Confessions call “new heart movements.” It is about what is in our hearts, something we cannot produce by our “reason or strength” or all the machinations, calculations and “witchcraft” of a Harold Camping or an Annie Beasant or a number of bible cult leaders. Only the Holy Spirit working in the heart can produce faith alone which clings to Christ alone fulfilling the entire law completley by keeping that 1st commandment. It is kept in our baptism where we take on Christ and his merits, his death and resurrection.

    “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come.”

    Dave,

    I think tis statement is problematic for a Lutheran:

    “For those that live long enough I believe that faith will consequentially produce evidence of the living heart given them, as it bears good fruit.”

    I’m not sure what that means. Maybe so, maybe not. Is that something you put faith in when you say “I believe?” In other words, is it creedal? Must this be so? What if people never get better? What if Camping is a nutter and needs God’s grace and mercy like everyone else. Surely goodness and mercy can come from all of this. That is God’s business, not ours. Ours is to have faith.

    To me, this statement of yours sounds like Calvin’s assurance of election working as outward proof of progress in santification – a third use of the law which sees the gospel as essentially there to return us to the proper doing of the law, not to bring us to faith in Christ ALONE. This sounds like seeking to see visible proof of faith rather than to believe and trust in the Word alone.

    Perhaps you can consider this. His teaching is obviously heretical, and he may just be rotten to the core. But I don’t think he broke any laws, so we can’t do anything there. We can only hope to preach Christ and him crucified, believing and trusting in that word alone, and not in our ability to discrimminate regarding the status of others before God.

  • Stephen

    Since Frank isn’t around I will try to do a bit of a stand in.

    This is really a 1st commandment thing, and issue of what the Confessions call “new heart movements.” It is about what is in our hearts, something we cannot produce by our “reason or strength” or all the machinations, calculations and “witchcraft” of a Harold Camping or an Annie Beasant or a number of bible cult leaders. Only the Holy Spirit working in the heart can produce faith alone which clings to Christ alone fulfilling the entire law completley by keeping that 1st commandment. It is kept in our baptism where we take on Christ and his merits, his death and resurrection.

    “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come.”

    Dave,

    I think tis statement is problematic for a Lutheran:

    “For those that live long enough I believe that faith will consequentially produce evidence of the living heart given them, as it bears good fruit.”

    I’m not sure what that means. Maybe so, maybe not. Is that something you put faith in when you say “I believe?” In other words, is it creedal? Must this be so? What if people never get better? What if Camping is a nutter and needs God’s grace and mercy like everyone else. Surely goodness and mercy can come from all of this. That is God’s business, not ours. Ours is to have faith.

    To me, this statement of yours sounds like Calvin’s assurance of election working as outward proof of progress in santification – a third use of the law which sees the gospel as essentially there to return us to the proper doing of the law, not to bring us to faith in Christ ALONE. This sounds like seeking to see visible proof of faith rather than to believe and trust in the Word alone.

    Perhaps you can consider this. His teaching is obviously heretical, and he may just be rotten to the core. But I don’t think he broke any laws, so we can’t do anything there. We can only hope to preach Christ and him crucified, believing and trusting in that word alone, and not in our ability to discrimminate regarding the status of others before God.

  • Grace

    RE: Harold Camping and Pastor Douthwaite’s comments:

    it is what a certain Mr. Harold Camping missed this weekend. I’m certain that you’ve heard of him. The media has paid an unusual amount of attention to him and his prediction that the end of the world was going to begin yesterday. I don’t want to go into the details of all that he said. But you know what he missed? Christ. Not that he’s not a Christian. I’m not saying that. I don’t know what’s in his heart. But in all his study of the Bible, he looked for numbers and clues and codes and all sorts of things . . . but he missed Christ

    How many churches, denominations forget Christ when they introduce ‘thought which has not one drop of Biblical teaching? – do we, or denominations and churches take on the same ‘mirror when pointing the figure at someone else? How many have given false prophecy, the list includes many more than Camping, such as over 500 years ago. Instead of focusing on Camping who is a false prophet, why not focus on our own churches? How many excuses would be made, OR how many free passes would be given out, (including leaders of churches) and instead focus back on Camping who is obviously been discussed.

    “P.S.: This is the reason to discuss Camping and not just to ignore him, as some of you were recommending: To discern how his particular spirit may be manifesting itself in other contexts closer to home. That’s the theme of this post and the one below.”

    Why ignore other false prophets? – and those who leave Christ out of their ‘directives, some of which are treacherous, hateful and sinful, forgetting what the Scriptures say completely? It’s not all about ‘false prophecy, there are those who have led the way in some churches and denominations who have heretical pasts.

  • Grace

    RE: Harold Camping and Pastor Douthwaite’s comments:

    it is what a certain Mr. Harold Camping missed this weekend. I’m certain that you’ve heard of him. The media has paid an unusual amount of attention to him and his prediction that the end of the world was going to begin yesterday. I don’t want to go into the details of all that he said. But you know what he missed? Christ. Not that he’s not a Christian. I’m not saying that. I don’t know what’s in his heart. But in all his study of the Bible, he looked for numbers and clues and codes and all sorts of things . . . but he missed Christ

    How many churches, denominations forget Christ when they introduce ‘thought which has not one drop of Biblical teaching? – do we, or denominations and churches take on the same ‘mirror when pointing the figure at someone else? How many have given false prophecy, the list includes many more than Camping, such as over 500 years ago. Instead of focusing on Camping who is a false prophet, why not focus on our own churches? How many excuses would be made, OR how many free passes would be given out, (including leaders of churches) and instead focus back on Camping who is obviously been discussed.

    “P.S.: This is the reason to discuss Camping and not just to ignore him, as some of you were recommending: To discern how his particular spirit may be manifesting itself in other contexts closer to home. That’s the theme of this post and the one below.”

    Why ignore other false prophets? – and those who leave Christ out of their ‘directives, some of which are treacherous, hateful and sinful, forgetting what the Scriptures say completely? It’s not all about ‘false prophecy, there are those who have led the way in some churches and denominations who have heretical pasts.

  • Tom Hering

    Translation: Luther taught non-Biblical doctrines, prophesied falsely, and hated the Jews.

  • Tom Hering

    Translation: Luther taught non-Biblical doctrines, prophesied falsely, and hated the Jews.

  • Tom Hering

    Anytime we discuss non-Lutherans, especially non-denominational non-Lutherans (like Camping) Grace responds defensively by attacking Luther and Lutheranism. Even if she herself is critical of the non-Lutherans we’re discussing. This is knee-jerk bigotry. I’m convinced Grace’s sole reason for participating on this blog is to turn Lutherans away from Luther and Lutheranism. She’s on a mission from God. The kicker is, she wants us to reject our faith for the same ignorant reasons she does.

  • Tom Hering

    Anytime we discuss non-Lutherans, especially non-denominational non-Lutherans (like Camping) Grace responds defensively by attacking Luther and Lutheranism. Even if she herself is critical of the non-Lutherans we’re discussing. This is knee-jerk bigotry. I’m convinced Grace’s sole reason for participating on this blog is to turn Lutherans away from Luther and Lutheranism. She’s on a mission from God. The kicker is, she wants us to reject our faith for the same ignorant reasons she does.

  • Grace

    “Anytime we discuss non-Lutherans, especially non-denominational non-Lutherans (like Camping) Grace responds defensively by attacking Luther and Lutheranism. Even if she herself is critical of the non-Lutherans we’re discussing. This is knee-jerk bigotry. I’m convinced Grace’s sole reason for participating on this blog is to turn Lutherans away from Luther and Lutheranism. She’s on a mission from God. The kicker is, she wants us to reject our faith for the same ignorant reasons she does.

    I didn’t mention Luther –

    Guilty conscience?

  • Grace

    “Anytime we discuss non-Lutherans, especially non-denominational non-Lutherans (like Camping) Grace responds defensively by attacking Luther and Lutheranism. Even if she herself is critical of the non-Lutherans we’re discussing. This is knee-jerk bigotry. I’m convinced Grace’s sole reason for participating on this blog is to turn Lutherans away from Luther and Lutheranism. She’s on a mission from God. The kicker is, she wants us to reject our faith for the same ignorant reasons she does.

    I didn’t mention Luther –

    Guilty conscience?

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, you’re such a weiner.

    How many have given false prophecy, the list includes many more than Camping, such as over 500 years ago.

    … denominations who have heretical pasts.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, you’re such a weiner.

    How many have given false prophecy, the list includes many more than Camping, such as over 500 years ago.

    … denominations who have heretical pasts.

  • Grace

    “weiner” ? – :lol:

  • Grace

    “weiner” ? – :lol:

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@23) claimed “I didn’t mention Luther.” But Tom has already pointed out your less-than-subtle reference in this very thread. And it’s not exactly difficult to find you commenting on another recent thread with that one Luther “false prophecy” quote you keep cutting and pasting — twice, on that post alone — hoping that someone will believe you know what you’re talking about. Even though it’s clear that you’ve copied that quote from an anti-Luther site, which I pointed out to you the last several times you pasted it here.

    But I disagree with Tom (@24). You’re not a “bore”. You’re a pedantic bore with an axe to grind and little to nothing of substance to offer except prodigious use of the <b> tag.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@23) claimed “I didn’t mention Luther.” But Tom has already pointed out your less-than-subtle reference in this very thread. And it’s not exactly difficult to find you commenting on another recent thread with that one Luther “false prophecy” quote you keep cutting and pasting — twice, on that post alone — hoping that someone will believe you know what you’re talking about. Even though it’s clear that you’ve copied that quote from an anti-Luther site, which I pointed out to you the last several times you pasted it here.

    But I disagree with Tom (@24). You’re not a “bore”. You’re a pedantic bore with an axe to grind and little to nothing of substance to offer except prodigious use of the <b> tag.

  • SKPeterson

    I think Grace has confused prophecy with prediction. Luther made a prediction, not a prophecy. This also points out the common misunderstanding of prophecy – it is not just to foretell the future, but more importantly to deliver the promises of God to a fallen humanity.
    The upshot is that not every religious leader who makes a faulty prediction, or has unfulfilled expectations of what the future has to hold, automatically becomes a false prophet. It is when they hold that belief in their words and predictions must be adhered to and that they are speaking the words of God, exclusively, that they become false prophets.

    Bad forecaster does not equal false prophet. It equals human.

  • SKPeterson

    I think Grace has confused prophecy with prediction. Luther made a prediction, not a prophecy. This also points out the common misunderstanding of prophecy – it is not just to foretell the future, but more importantly to deliver the promises of God to a fallen humanity.
    The upshot is that not every religious leader who makes a faulty prediction, or has unfulfilled expectations of what the future has to hold, automatically becomes a false prophet. It is when they hold that belief in their words and predictions must be adhered to and that they are speaking the words of God, exclusively, that they become false prophets.

    Bad forecaster does not equal false prophet. It equals human.

  • Grace

    Benny Hinn, Martin Luther, Harold Camping and Chuck Smith have all made false prophecies. All these men have been named on this blog at one time or another.

    “The world runs and hastens so diligently to its end that it often occurs to me forcibly that the last day will break before we can completely turn the Holy Scriptures into German. For it is certain from the Holy Scriptures that we have no more temporal things to expect. All is done and fulfilled.”
    Hugh Thomson Kerr, Jr. (ed.), A Compend of
    Luther’s Theology (Philadelphia, 1943), p. 245 (citing Luther’s Correspondence, Vol. II, No. 869, pp. 516 f. “

    Martin Luther made a FALSE PROPHECY – The problem with some of you is this, …. you find fault with others who make FALSE prophecies, but deny it when when it’s clear Luther did it.

  • Grace

    Benny Hinn, Martin Luther, Harold Camping and Chuck Smith have all made false prophecies. All these men have been named on this blog at one time or another.

    “The world runs and hastens so diligently to its end that it often occurs to me forcibly that the last day will break before we can completely turn the Holy Scriptures into German. For it is certain from the Holy Scriptures that we have no more temporal things to expect. All is done and fulfilled.”
    Hugh Thomson Kerr, Jr. (ed.), A Compend of
    Luther’s Theology (Philadelphia, 1943), p. 245 (citing Luther’s Correspondence, Vol. II, No. 869, pp. 516 f. “

    Martin Luther made a FALSE PROPHECY – The problem with some of you is this, …. you find fault with others who make FALSE prophecies, but deny it when when it’s clear Luther did it.

  • Grace

    Sorry for the extra “when” – :lol:

  • Grace

    Sorry for the extra “when” – :lol:

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@28), I think the problem here is that you haven’t pasted that quote here enough. Don’t you think your argument* would be better, more logical, if you pasted that quote, I don’t know, three more times? Without ever engaging people’s responses to it?

    I’m pretty sure repetition is the height of rhetoric. It certainly is the height of yours.

    *Even in the midst of sarcasm, I struggle to call it that

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@28), I think the problem here is that you haven’t pasted that quote here enough. Don’t you think your argument* would be better, more logical, if you pasted that quote, I don’t know, three more times? Without ever engaging people’s responses to it?

    I’m pretty sure repetition is the height of rhetoric. It certainly is the height of yours.

    *Even in the midst of sarcasm, I struggle to call it that

  • SKPeterson

    Again, prediction is not prophecy. Just because someone is a pastor or religious leader does not make any prediction of the course of future events a prophecy. I do not see how you can construe what Luther says in the quote you provide as being a prophecy as opposed to a prediction or expectation upon his part. Unless you want to play the semantic “prediction isn’t prophecy, except when Martin Luther makes a prediction” b.s. game.

  • SKPeterson

    Again, prediction is not prophecy. Just because someone is a pastor or religious leader does not make any prediction of the course of future events a prophecy. I do not see how you can construe what Luther says in the quote you provide as being a prophecy as opposed to a prediction or expectation upon his part. Unless you want to play the semantic “prediction isn’t prophecy, except when Martin Luther makes a prediction” b.s. game.

  • Stephen

    Aha!

    So it is about ole Luther after all. Grace you sneaky snake. Now how do you think that looks to all the people you are trying to turn away from Luther and his lyin’? Or are you the one prevaricating here today with your thin denials?

    Wouldn’t it be better if you just came right out and said “I want to talk about Luther” instead of dropping hints and innuendo? If that really is your agenda, come up with a reasoned argument create website or something. But have you now come to this, to wedging it in by “pretending” it isn’t what you are talking about when it is? We have identified that as your issue, do you really think you are fooling anyone? You are like the hapless coyote trying to fool the roadrunner at this point.

    I want to be generous with you but it is enormously difficult. Would it help you if you knew that one of my best friends is a Jew?

  • Stephen

    Aha!

    So it is about ole Luther after all. Grace you sneaky snake. Now how do you think that looks to all the people you are trying to turn away from Luther and his lyin’? Or are you the one prevaricating here today with your thin denials?

    Wouldn’t it be better if you just came right out and said “I want to talk about Luther” instead of dropping hints and innuendo? If that really is your agenda, come up with a reasoned argument create website or something. But have you now come to this, to wedging it in by “pretending” it isn’t what you are talking about when it is? We have identified that as your issue, do you really think you are fooling anyone? You are like the hapless coyote trying to fool the roadrunner at this point.

    I want to be generous with you but it is enormously difficult. Would it help you if you knew that one of my best friends is a Jew?

  • SKPeterson

    And, here is a post from a Lutheran apologete on Luther and prophecy – at least the Romanists he refutes make an argument rather than repeatedly insisting on Luther as a “prophet”:

    http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2008/09/luther-prophet-context-context-context.html

  • SKPeterson

    And, here is a post from a Lutheran apologete on Luther and prophecy – at least the Romanists he refutes make an argument rather than repeatedly insisting on Luther as a “prophet”:

    http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2008/09/luther-prophet-context-context-context.html

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    What I wonder is why Grace bothers posting here. She doesn’t actually want to engage in the discussions. She just wants to derail them. She doesn’t share much in common that I can see with the community here — she despises their theology, that much is clear.

    I’m sure you think you’re on some sort of holy mission, Grace, but you’ve pretty much botched any chances of its success — however you may envision it — through your methods here. You’re little more than a repetitive termagant — easily ignored, or, if people are bored, played with for a time.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    What I wonder is why Grace bothers posting here. She doesn’t actually want to engage in the discussions. She just wants to derail them. She doesn’t share much in common that I can see with the community here — she despises their theology, that much is clear.

    I’m sure you think you’re on some sort of holy mission, Grace, but you’ve pretty much botched any chances of its success — however you may envision it — through your methods here. You’re little more than a repetitive termagant — easily ignored, or, if people are bored, played with for a time.

  • Grace

    tODD

    Maybe you should consider yourself a male “yenta” – yep that’s it!

  • Grace

    tODD

    Maybe you should consider yourself a male “yenta” – yep that’s it!

  • Grace

    tODD, I checked the dictionary, this is the definition of “yenta” just so you’ll get it straight:

    yenta – (Yiddish) a vulgar shrew; a shallow coarse termagant

  • Grace

    tODD, I checked the dictionary, this is the definition of “yenta” just so you’ll get it straight:

    yenta – (Yiddish) a vulgar shrew; a shallow coarse termagant

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    The difference between you and me, Grace (@36), is that I know I’m an arrogant, ignorant ass.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    The difference between you and me, Grace (@36), is that I know I’m an arrogant, ignorant ass.

  • Tom Hering

    So, Grace, do you really think you’ve caught us pointing a finger at Harold Camping that we ought to be pointing back at ourselves? Because we bear Luther’s name as a distinctive? Just tell us. Openly.

  • Tom Hering

    So, Grace, do you really think you’ve caught us pointing a finger at Harold Camping that we ought to be pointing back at ourselves? Because we bear Luther’s name as a distinctive? Just tell us. Openly.

  • Grace

    tODD – 37

    WOW, for once we agree!

  • Grace

    tODD – 37

    WOW, for once we agree!

  • Tom Hering

    Ahem.

    So, Grace, do you really think you’ve caught us pointing a finger at Harold Camping that we ought to be pointing back at ourselves? Because we bear Luther’s name as a distinctive? Just tell us. Openly.

  • Tom Hering

    Ahem.

    So, Grace, do you really think you’ve caught us pointing a finger at Harold Camping that we ought to be pointing back at ourselves? Because we bear Luther’s name as a distinctive? Just tell us. Openly.

  • Tom Hering

    Come on, Grace. You’re usually pretty quick with a non-answer. Why so slow today? It’s been ten whole minutes. (Prediction: you’ll say you have better things to do, or you’re not at our beck and call, or both.)

  • Tom Hering

    Come on, Grace. You’re usually pretty quick with a non-answer. Why so slow today? It’s been ten whole minutes. (Prediction: you’ll say you have better things to do, or you’re not at our beck and call, or both.)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    ‘Poor Tom! , ..

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    ‘Poor Tom! , ..

  • Louis

    Actually, lets all do a round: Steady now 1 – 2 – 3

    Woe is me!
    Woe is me!
    Woe is me!

    There there. Now Grace feels so much better.

  • Louis

    Actually, lets all do a round: Steady now 1 – 2 – 3

    Woe is me!
    Woe is me!
    Woe is me!

    There there. Now Grace feels so much better.

  • Tom Hering

    Sackcloth and asses?

  • Tom Hering

    Sackcloth and asses?

  • SKPeterson

    And here I thought I was the only arrogant, ignorant ass posting at Cranach.

  • SKPeterson

    And here I thought I was the only arrogant, ignorant ass posting at Cranach.

  • mark†

    “But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to to see or ears to hear (Deuteronomy 29:4)”.

    TLSB footnote, “The verse supports the teaching that the Holy Spirit “opens the mind and heart to understand the Scripture and to listen to the Word” (FC SD II 26).

    While Grace is wrong theologically, others may be lacking in charity toward her. Try and make your point without getting personal.

  • mark†

    “But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to to see or ears to hear (Deuteronomy 29:4)”.

    TLSB footnote, “The verse supports the teaching that the Holy Spirit “opens the mind and heart to understand the Scripture and to listen to the Word” (FC SD II 26).

    While Grace is wrong theologically, others may be lacking in charity toward her. Try and make your point without getting personal.

  • Tom Hering

    Mark @ 46, Grace doesn’t just express a different theology (an acceptable thing to do here), she condemns the Lutheran faith, and has done so from day one. At the same time, she refuses to actually discuss the Lutheran faith. So a personal level is the only level left to engage her on. And there’s no doubt she gets a kick out of it, as she always comes back for more – month after month after month. So why shouldn’t we, too, enjoy ourselves?

  • Tom Hering

    Mark @ 46, Grace doesn’t just express a different theology (an acceptable thing to do here), she condemns the Lutheran faith, and has done so from day one. At the same time, she refuses to actually discuss the Lutheran faith. So a personal level is the only level left to engage her on. And there’s no doubt she gets a kick out of it, as she always comes back for more – month after month after month. So why shouldn’t we, too, enjoy ourselves?

  • mark†

    Tom@47

    I think there is a difference between persuading people and winning an argument. I think too many are merely trying to win an argument: “Conan! What is best in life? Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. …” If this is all it represents itself to you, then enjoy.

    As to why you should not merely enjoy yourself, for the sake of the Gospel. You are not merely speaking to Grace, but to the many people who visit this “Lutheran” blog. You are nor merely responding to Grace. You are also representing the Gospel to them. You are not persuading Grace; if you think it convinces presents itself well to the visitors, the lurkers, then have at it.

  • mark†

    Tom@47

    I think there is a difference between persuading people and winning an argument. I think too many are merely trying to win an argument: “Conan! What is best in life? Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. …” If this is all it represents itself to you, then enjoy.

    As to why you should not merely enjoy yourself, for the sake of the Gospel. You are not merely speaking to Grace, but to the many people who visit this “Lutheran” blog. You are nor merely responding to Grace. You are also representing the Gospel to them. You are not persuading Grace; if you think it convinces presents itself well to the visitors, the lurkers, then have at it.

  • Tom Hering

    Mark, Grace has zero interest in being persuaded. And none of us are under the illusion we can win an argument with her, as she’s always refused to engage in reasoned argument. She’s just repeated the same falsehoods and condemnations, over and over again, month after month after month.

    Anyone who’s lurked here for more than a week knows all this.

  • Tom Hering

    Mark, Grace has zero interest in being persuaded. And none of us are under the illusion we can win an argument with her, as she’s always refused to engage in reasoned argument. She’s just repeated the same falsehoods and condemnations, over and over again, month after month after month.

    Anyone who’s lurked here for more than a week knows all this.

  • mark†

    Tom@49
    “But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to to see or ears to hear (Deuteronomy 29:4)”.

  • mark†

    Tom@49
    “But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to to see or ears to hear (Deuteronomy 29:4)”.

  • Tom Hering

    Mark, the Holy Spirit is our ears and our eyes and our heart. Are you saying someone here doesn’t have the Holy Spirit?

  • Tom Hering

    Mark, the Holy Spirit is our ears and our eyes and our heart. Are you saying someone here doesn’t have the Holy Spirit?

  • Tom Hering

    Mark, can’t you just come out and tell us who you think the one without ears, eyes, and heart is? Using Scripture in a cryptic way isn’t fair to me – or all those lurkers. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    Mark, can’t you just come out and tell us who you think the one without ears, eyes, and heart is? Using Scripture in a cryptic way isn’t fair to me – or all those lurkers. :-)

  • mark†

    Actually, I think the art of persuasion is to present people with an idea or a statement. Persuasion is asking a simple question or making a statement designed to put someone on the path of finding the truth for themselves. How do you persuade people? You don’t. Persuasion is the art of showing not telling. Ever wonder why Jesus told parables.

    I am not interested in accusing you or Grace. You are all more interested in tearing each other up than anything else. And the more you argue, the harder you push, the more you tell someone what to think, the more they dig in their heels and the less effective you will be. People resent being told what to think.

    “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” except when it is someone on this blog talking to Grace or Grace talking to someone on this blog.

    Not for me to tell someone to look in the mirror.

  • mark†

    Actually, I think the art of persuasion is to present people with an idea or a statement. Persuasion is asking a simple question or making a statement designed to put someone on the path of finding the truth for themselves. How do you persuade people? You don’t. Persuasion is the art of showing not telling. Ever wonder why Jesus told parables.

    I am not interested in accusing you or Grace. You are all more interested in tearing each other up than anything else. And the more you argue, the harder you push, the more you tell someone what to think, the more they dig in their heels and the less effective you will be. People resent being told what to think.

    “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” except when it is someone on this blog talking to Grace or Grace talking to someone on this blog.

    Not for me to tell someone to look in the mirror.

  • Roslyn Johnson

    Brother Harold Camping is a true fisher of men. He works far out in the deep oceans. People come first to God and then our Lord Jesus Christ when their journey is from far off. How does a simple person from a godless, pagan background admit to themself or their family and friends that Jesus is their Saviour. Brother Camping succeeds where the majority (paddling in a shallow pond fail), he reaches the lost.

  • Roslyn Johnson

    Brother Harold Camping is a true fisher of men. He works far out in the deep oceans. People come first to God and then our Lord Jesus Christ when their journey is from far off. How does a simple person from a godless, pagan background admit to themself or their family and friends that Jesus is their Saviour. Brother Camping succeeds where the majority (paddling in a shallow pond fail), he reaches the lost.

  • SKPeterson

    Roslyn,

    Camping may reach the lost, but then he leads them further into the wilderness with false promises. And, it truly is Christ who works the deep waters pulling us up from the depths of sin, bringing us to the safe shore and breathing the new life of the Holy Spirit into us. Godless paganism is all around us and Camping’s falsehoods have only allowed it to spread further and for the pagans to harden their hearts further. He has not expanded the Kingdom, he has in his pride and foolishness rather, acted to diminish it.

  • SKPeterson

    Roslyn,

    Camping may reach the lost, but then he leads them further into the wilderness with false promises. And, it truly is Christ who works the deep waters pulling us up from the depths of sin, bringing us to the safe shore and breathing the new life of the Holy Spirit into us. Godless paganism is all around us and Camping’s falsehoods have only allowed it to spread further and for the pagans to harden their hearts further. He has not expanded the Kingdom, he has in his pride and foolishness rather, acted to diminish it.

  • Tom Hering

    “Not for me to tell someone to look in the mirror.”

    But that’s exactly what you’re doing, Mark. And when I look, I’m fine with the way I deal with Grace, the anonymous anti-Lutheran.

  • Tom Hering

    “Not for me to tell someone to look in the mirror.”

    But that’s exactly what you’re doing, Mark. And when I look, I’m fine with the way I deal with Grace, the anonymous anti-Lutheran.

  • Tom Hering

    “People come first to God and then our Lord Jesus Christ …”

    Roslyn, I didn’t know there was a difference. Is there?

  • Tom Hering

    “People come first to God and then our Lord Jesus Christ …”

    Roslyn, I didn’t know there was a difference. Is there?

  • Stephen

    “People come first to God and then our Lord Jesus Christ when their journey is from far off.”

    Ahem . . . I seem to remember Jesus saying something about him being the Way, the Truth and the Life, right?

    “NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME” – Jesus Christ

    Yup, pretty sure he said that, or did I hear that wrong?

    Christless Christianity indeed!

  • Stephen

    “People come first to God and then our Lord Jesus Christ when their journey is from far off.”

    Ahem . . . I seem to remember Jesus saying something about him being the Way, the Truth and the Life, right?

    “NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME” – Jesus Christ

    Yup, pretty sure he said that, or did I hear that wrong?

    Christless Christianity indeed!

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen, if you’re a follower of “brother” Camping the modalist, then coming to Jesus through the Father isn’t a problem. They’re both the same Person.

    I suppose I’ll take a hit for putting “brother” in quotation marks. But when someone teaches there’s no eternal suffering in Hell, no Trinity, and God (as the Father) died for our sins before the foundation of the world (Camping’s “two deaths” teaching, in which God on the Cross only “represented” that first death, and only became “Son” after the Resurrection), then I have no problem saying Camping is no Christian or a brother of mine. Not by the longest stretch possible. Because he doesn’t submit to the Word – he twists it to fit his freaky ideas. And makes it all up as he goes along.

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen, if you’re a follower of “brother” Camping the modalist, then coming to Jesus through the Father isn’t a problem. They’re both the same Person.

    I suppose I’ll take a hit for putting “brother” in quotation marks. But when someone teaches there’s no eternal suffering in Hell, no Trinity, and God (as the Father) died for our sins before the foundation of the world (Camping’s “two deaths” teaching, in which God on the Cross only “represented” that first death, and only became “Son” after the Resurrection), then I have no problem saying Camping is no Christian or a brother of mine. Not by the longest stretch possible. Because he doesn’t submit to the Word – he twists it to fit his freaky ideas. And makes it all up as he goes along.

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    Sounds like you have been paying attention. Sad stuff. Sounds like a bible cult to me, like V. P. Wierwille and the Way International.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Paul_Wierwille

    They were making the rounds in my town at one time. I went to a few of their “bible studies” as a young man until I figured out something strange was going on. In his fantasy, four people were crucified on Calvary – two on either side of Christ. And there are two Holy Spirits.

    Whatever.

  • Stephen

    Tom -

    Sounds like you have been paying attention. Sad stuff. Sounds like a bible cult to me, like V. P. Wierwille and the Way International.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Paul_Wierwille

    They were making the rounds in my town at one time. I went to a few of their “bible studies” as a young man until I figured out something strange was going on. In his fantasy, four people were crucified on Calvary – two on either side of Christ. And there are two Holy Spirits.

    Whatever.

  • Tom Hering

    “Whatever” is indeed the only norm and rule of Campingism. Anything goes. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “Whatever” is indeed the only norm and rule of Campingism. Anything goes. :-D


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