Presbyterians to ordain gays & swinging singles

The Presbyterian Church (USA) opened the door to ordaining sexually-active gays–as well as other single people who want to be sexually-active outside of marriage–by removing the celibacy requirement for single clergy:

After decades of debate, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Tuesday struck down a barrier to ordaining gays, ratifying a proposal that removes the celibacy requirement for unmarried clergy, in the latest mainline Protestant move toward accepting gay relationships.

The change was endorsed last year by the Presbyterian national assembly, but required approval by a majority of the denomination’s 173 presbyteries, or regional church bodies. . . .

The measure approved Tuesday eliminates language in the church constitution requiring that clergy live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” The new provision instead requires ministers to “submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.” Each regional body will decide who it should ordain, and some districts are expected to continue to reject gay and lesbian candidates.

via Presbyterian vote removes barrier for ordaining gays and lesbians after decades of debate – The Washington Post.

Notice that this goes beyond simply allowing gay clergy, though that is what will get all of the attention.  It allows pastors to have extra-marital sex.

The way the church body went about this strikes me as worse than just allowing gays to be ordained.  Statistically, there are going to be more single heterosexuals than homosexuals, and this will permit all kinds of scandalous behavior in the parsonage.  This is worse than accepting gay marriage, since that misguided notion at least locates sex including gay sex within the office of marriage.   This ruling undermines marriage itself.

I’m curious how the Presbyterians construe submitting “joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” to allow for this.

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.

  • NavyMom

    Pathetic.

  • NavyMom

    Pathetic.

  • Jonathan

    Jesus is Lord, and this is what he had to say on the subject of sexual ethics:

    He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matt 19: 4-6 ESV.

    Anything beyond that is adultery and fornication. Full stop.

    How can this be up for a vote?

  • Jonathan

    Jesus is Lord, and this is what he had to say on the subject of sexual ethics:

    He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matt 19: 4-6 ESV.

    Anything beyond that is adultery and fornication. Full stop.

    How can this be up for a vote?

  • helen

    The measure approved Tuesday eliminates language in the church constitution requiring that clergy live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” The new provision instead requires ministers to “submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.”

    That submission should mean “no change” or even more fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness.

    Sounds like a parody of a rhyme once reported, ostensibly from a parochial school teenager…

  • helen

    The measure approved Tuesday eliminates language in the church constitution requiring that clergy live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” The new provision instead requires ministers to “submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.”

    That submission should mean “no change” or even more fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness.

    Sounds like a parody of a rhyme once reported, ostensibly from a parochial school teenager…

  • Booklover

    If sin is no longer defined as sin, there is no need for a Savior. If there is no need for a Savior, there is no need for a church.

    :’-(

  • Booklover

    If sin is no longer defined as sin, there is no need for a Savior. If there is no need for a Savior, there is no need for a church.

    :’-(

  • Bryan Lindemood

    The real travesty for the faithful is that people will still call these places “churches”. Or, rather in the end, it may help God’s church a great deal. You know, the whole theology of the cross, thing. “God’s will is done even without our prayer – but we pray … that it may be done among us also.” Lord have mercy on the poor enslaved within these places of false worship.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    The real travesty for the faithful is that people will still call these places “churches”. Or, rather in the end, it may help God’s church a great deal. You know, the whole theology of the cross, thing. “God’s will is done even without our prayer – but we pray … that it may be done among us also.” Lord have mercy on the poor enslaved within these places of false worship.

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

    My first question was “what is it with Minneapolis that these insane decisions occur there?” (perhaps this explains why the Viqueens want to move to Arden Hills–to avoid the brimstone that will soon come raining down? And I pity the Twins and their fans….)

    OK, seriously, it baffles me that someone can seriously read the Bible and come to this conclusion. Given the amount of text the Bible devotes to the principles of marriage and faithfulness, rejecting this basic principle for church leadership amounts to rejection of the authority of the Scriptures in toto. There is no place that the CPUSA (oops, PCUSA, I get ‘em confused) can go with this authority structure…..

    ….except of course for the place labeled “fidelity to Scripture.” Praying for their repentance…..

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

    My first question was “what is it with Minneapolis that these insane decisions occur there?” (perhaps this explains why the Viqueens want to move to Arden Hills–to avoid the brimstone that will soon come raining down? And I pity the Twins and their fans….)

    OK, seriously, it baffles me that someone can seriously read the Bible and come to this conclusion. Given the amount of text the Bible devotes to the principles of marriage and faithfulness, rejecting this basic principle for church leadership amounts to rejection of the authority of the Scriptures in toto. There is no place that the CPUSA (oops, PCUSA, I get ‘em confused) can go with this authority structure…..

    ….except of course for the place labeled “fidelity to Scripture.” Praying for their repentance…..

  • Kimberly

    How very, very sad! But I suppose if the members of these churches behave like the world it soon follows that the clergy should also be allowed that “freedom”. It’s even sadder that they can’t recognize that what they call freedom is eternal bondage to sin, death and the devil. And to so distort and ignore the plain Word of God…Kyrie eleison!

  • Kimberly

    How very, very sad! But I suppose if the members of these churches behave like the world it soon follows that the clergy should also be allowed that “freedom”. It’s even sadder that they can’t recognize that what they call freedom is eternal bondage to sin, death and the devil. And to so distort and ignore the plain Word of God…Kyrie eleison!

  • CRB
  • CRB
  • Jonathan

    Bike@6 “OK, seriously, it baffles me that someone can seriously read the Bible and come to this conclusion.”

    That’s just it, though; they can’t read it a different way. Instead, now they just parade around saying that the H.S. (Blessed is He) is “doing a new thing!”

    As if their praying and voting is a clear indication that the H.S. is now cofirming a divince revelation to their “church” body that has decided to smartly reverse course on millenias-worth of His teaching on the subject. Oh, really? Is He then?

    Absolute blasphemy!

  • Jonathan

    Bike@6 “OK, seriously, it baffles me that someone can seriously read the Bible and come to this conclusion.”

    That’s just it, though; they can’t read it a different way. Instead, now they just parade around saying that the H.S. (Blessed is He) is “doing a new thing!”

    As if their praying and voting is a clear indication that the H.S. is now cofirming a divince revelation to their “church” body that has decided to smartly reverse course on millenias-worth of His teaching on the subject. Oh, really? Is He then?

    Absolute blasphemy!

  • DonS

    Well, I Timothy 3 can now be ripped out of the Presbyterian USA Bible. Should make it lighter and easier to carry, I guess.

    Theoretically, Helen is right @ 3. The new language sounds fine, and in a perfect world would perhaps be even better than the old. But, knowing the context of the change, it’s just words. The Lordship of Christ does not appear to be the goal here.

    God bless the faithful Christians and churches that remain in this humanistic denomination.

  • DonS

    Well, I Timothy 3 can now be ripped out of the Presbyterian USA Bible. Should make it lighter and easier to carry, I guess.

    Theoretically, Helen is right @ 3. The new language sounds fine, and in a perfect world would perhaps be even better than the old. But, knowing the context of the change, it’s just words. The Lordship of Christ does not appear to be the goal here.

    God bless the faithful Christians and churches that remain in this humanistic denomination.

  • Robin

    In my opinion the heterosexual aspect of the Presbyterian USA ruling is the reason why homosexual marriage is going to be so difficult to argue against. Heterosexual don’t act like man and woman are made to be joined together in a faithful union. It is one big free for all. If that is how it is why shouldn’t homosexual marry or humans marry animals… the list goes on and on. It is very very shameful and sad.

  • Robin

    In my opinion the heterosexual aspect of the Presbyterian USA ruling is the reason why homosexual marriage is going to be so difficult to argue against. Heterosexual don’t act like man and woman are made to be joined together in a faithful union. It is one big free for all. If that is how it is why shouldn’t homosexual marry or humans marry animals… the list goes on and on. It is very very shameful and sad.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-27802-Televangelism--Pop-Christianity-Examiner Bob Hunter

    Will they ordain someone who wants to live a moral life, preach the Gospel and holds to the inerrancy of Scripture, or is that going WAY too far overboard??

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-27802-Televangelism--Pop-Christianity-Examiner Bob Hunter

    Will they ordain someone who wants to live a moral life, preach the Gospel and holds to the inerrancy of Scripture, or is that going WAY too far overboard??

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

    Don; certainly 1 Tim. 3, but also a bunch of other passages. It’s not exactly subtle in the Scriptures that sex is supposed to be reserved for a heterosexual marriage; some other passages include Genesis 19, Leviticus 18 & 22, various passages in the Prophets about “virgin Israel” and her suitor (including the entire book of Hosea), Matthew 5 & 6, 1 Corinthians 6 , 7, and 12, Romans 1, and a bunch of others.

    Of course, PCUSA members aren’t real big on carrying their Bibles to begin with, which may be a big part of the problem…..

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

    Don; certainly 1 Tim. 3, but also a bunch of other passages. It’s not exactly subtle in the Scriptures that sex is supposed to be reserved for a heterosexual marriage; some other passages include Genesis 19, Leviticus 18 & 22, various passages in the Prophets about “virgin Israel” and her suitor (including the entire book of Hosea), Matthew 5 & 6, 1 Corinthians 6 , 7, and 12, Romans 1, and a bunch of others.

    Of course, PCUSA members aren’t real big on carrying their Bibles to begin with, which may be a big part of the problem…..

  • DonS

    Yes, BB @ 13, I certainly didn’t mean to slight the other directly applicable Scripture addressing the notion of sexual purity. It just particularly struck me how this change was focused directly on the pastorate, and how it completely abrogates the Biblical requirement that a pastor be monogamous and chaste outside of a marriage to one wife, even putting aside the issue of homosexuality.

  • DonS

    Yes, BB @ 13, I certainly didn’t mean to slight the other directly applicable Scripture addressing the notion of sexual purity. It just particularly struck me how this change was focused directly on the pastorate, and how it completely abrogates the Biblical requirement that a pastor be monogamous and chaste outside of a marriage to one wife, even putting aside the issue of homosexuality.

  • Jon

    Should clergy qualifications be a long list of rules? This is how talmudic fundamentalists think (‘don’t smoke, drink or chew or go with girls who do”), but why shouldn’t a denominiation simply expect its clergy to submit to the lordship of Christ? In other words, does a denomination really have to tell single clergy not to fool around in order for fooling around to be grounds for removal? Do Lutherans do this?

  • Jon

    Should clergy qualifications be a long list of rules? This is how talmudic fundamentalists think (‘don’t smoke, drink or chew or go with girls who do”), but why shouldn’t a denominiation simply expect its clergy to submit to the lordship of Christ? In other words, does a denomination really have to tell single clergy not to fool around in order for fooling around to be grounds for removal? Do Lutherans do this?

  • DonS

    Jon @ 15: Your sentiment would be nice and appropriate, if you didn’t know the background facts relating to the change, the debate within the assembly regarding the change, and the language that was removed.

    But we do. So, yes, apparently that denomination DOES need to tell single clergy not to fool around. And it no longer wants to do that.

  • DonS

    Jon @ 15: Your sentiment would be nice and appropriate, if you didn’t know the background facts relating to the change, the debate within the assembly regarding the change, and the language that was removed.

    But we do. So, yes, apparently that denomination DOES need to tell single clergy not to fool around. And it no longer wants to do that.

  • DonS

    And, Jon, indeed, I Timothy 3 sets out a list of qualifications for clergy. Such qualifications, or guidelines, help sinful humans interpret the meaning of language such as “submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ …”

  • DonS

    And, Jon, indeed, I Timothy 3 sets out a list of qualifications for clergy. Such qualifications, or guidelines, help sinful humans interpret the meaning of language such as “submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ …”

  • Helen

    Jonathan #9,
    This is nothing less than apostasy. Luther said that whatever one
    attributes to the Holy Spirt apart from the Word of God is of the devil. Clearly with this pronouncement, the devil is in the details!

  • Helen

    Jonathan #9,
    This is nothing less than apostasy. Luther said that whatever one
    attributes to the Holy Spirt apart from the Word of God is of the devil. Clearly with this pronouncement, the devil is in the details!

  • Grace

    Sexual sin isn’t just homosexual, it’s fornication and adultery. It’s all sin, being accepted by some denominations.

    Presbyterian vote removes barrier for ordaining gays and lesbians after decades of debate
    Presbyterians clear way for gay clergy

    By RACHEL ZOLL | Associated Press | May 10, 2011

    ____an excerpt____
    “In 2003, The Episcopal Church caused an uproar in the global Anglican fellowship by consecrating the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran group in the country, liberalized its policy toward gay clergy two years ago. The United Church of Christ started ordaining openly gay clergy in 1972, and more recently endorsed same-sex marriage.

    The nation’s largest mainline group, the United Methodist Church, which has just under 8 million U.S. members, retains its celibacy mandate for unmarried clergy.”

    ____another excerpt____

    “The much smaller Presbyterian Church in America, a separate denomination, bars ordination for women and openly gay clergy candidates.”

    http://www.newser.com/article/d9n4tsa00/presbyterian-vote-removes-barrier-for-ordaining-gays-and-lesbians-after-decades-of-debate.html

  • Grace

    Sexual sin isn’t just homosexual, it’s fornication and adultery. It’s all sin, being accepted by some denominations.

    Presbyterian vote removes barrier for ordaining gays and lesbians after decades of debate
    Presbyterians clear way for gay clergy

    By RACHEL ZOLL | Associated Press | May 10, 2011

    ____an excerpt____
    “In 2003, The Episcopal Church caused an uproar in the global Anglican fellowship by consecrating the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran group in the country, liberalized its policy toward gay clergy two years ago. The United Church of Christ started ordaining openly gay clergy in 1972, and more recently endorsed same-sex marriage.

    The nation’s largest mainline group, the United Methodist Church, which has just under 8 million U.S. members, retains its celibacy mandate for unmarried clergy.”

    ____another excerpt____

    “The much smaller Presbyterian Church in America, a separate denomination, bars ordination for women and openly gay clergy candidates.”

    http://www.newser.com/article/d9n4tsa00/presbyterian-vote-removes-barrier-for-ordaining-gays-and-lesbians-after-decades-of-debate.html

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Is there anything that brings out the Condemnation Sticks better than a story about gays … in the church! Oh, the righteous indignation! … Which will, of course, suddenly disappear if we take this conversation and shift it to another doctrine that also has a clear foundation in Scripture.

    And, of course, this latest development is but one more symptom of the problem of using human reason to interpret Scripture. The thing is, that problem is extant in way more than just the bad ol’ mainline denominations.

    Veith asks, “I’m curious how the Presbyterians construe submitting ‘joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life’ to allow for this,” but surely this wasn’t the first doctrine or practice from the PC(USA) that causes him to wonder that!

    Heck, for that matter, I’m curious how Grace (@19) construes submitting “joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” to allow for her denial of Jesus’ words in John 20:23.

    I’m curious how the Baptists construe submitting “joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” (which sounds like a Baptist thing to say, even if it’s not a quote from them) to allow for their rejection of Scripture when it comes to the Sacraments.

    Oh, but if I bring up those topics, suddenly Scripture isn’t so clear, it seems! There’s room for disagreement! Reasonable Christians can disagree!

    I guess the only topic we really can be sure of from Scripture is homosexuality?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Is there anything that brings out the Condemnation Sticks better than a story about gays … in the church! Oh, the righteous indignation! … Which will, of course, suddenly disappear if we take this conversation and shift it to another doctrine that also has a clear foundation in Scripture.

    And, of course, this latest development is but one more symptom of the problem of using human reason to interpret Scripture. The thing is, that problem is extant in way more than just the bad ol’ mainline denominations.

    Veith asks, “I’m curious how the Presbyterians construe submitting ‘joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life’ to allow for this,” but surely this wasn’t the first doctrine or practice from the PC(USA) that causes him to wonder that!

    Heck, for that matter, I’m curious how Grace (@19) construes submitting “joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” to allow for her denial of Jesus’ words in John 20:23.

    I’m curious how the Baptists construe submitting “joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” (which sounds like a Baptist thing to say, even if it’s not a quote from them) to allow for their rejection of Scripture when it comes to the Sacraments.

    Oh, but if I bring up those topics, suddenly Scripture isn’t so clear, it seems! There’s room for disagreement! Reasonable Christians can disagree!

    I guess the only topic we really can be sure of from Scripture is homosexuality?

  • Grace

    tODD – 20

    YOU WRITE: “Heck, for that matter, I’m curious how Grace (@19) construes submitting “joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” to allow for her denial of Jesus’ words in John 20:23.”

    There you are……. poor tODD !

  • Grace

    tODD – 20

    YOU WRITE: “Heck, for that matter, I’m curious how Grace (@19) construes submitting “joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” to allow for her denial of Jesus’ words in John 20:23.”

    There you are……. poor tODD !

  • Craig

    tODD 20

    Your last line is very interesting to me. Why is it that the homo topic seems to bring all Christians together? And the Sacraments divide? I think it is real easy for those of us who are not tempted by same sex attraction to point fingers at people and churches that have real struggles. Then the name calling and finger pointing goes ballistic. I really think that Rev Fisk is spot on with this vid
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Revfiskj#p/u/6/wGhjr5sX_Cw
    I am not justifying homosexuality but I am concerned that this gets everyone so dammed self-righteous. Yes Christ died for the sins of the homosexual. No the unrepentant should not be given the Sacrament or the pulpit but people please see them as sinners who need Law and Gospel. I have as much of problem with Presbyterians and their Limited Atonement as I do their ordination practices. I guess I should stop here…

  • Craig

    tODD 20

    Your last line is very interesting to me. Why is it that the homo topic seems to bring all Christians together? And the Sacraments divide? I think it is real easy for those of us who are not tempted by same sex attraction to point fingers at people and churches that have real struggles. Then the name calling and finger pointing goes ballistic. I really think that Rev Fisk is spot on with this vid
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Revfiskj#p/u/6/wGhjr5sX_Cw
    I am not justifying homosexuality but I am concerned that this gets everyone so dammed self-righteous. Yes Christ died for the sins of the homosexual. No the unrepentant should not be given the Sacrament or the pulpit but people please see them as sinners who need Law and Gospel. I have as much of problem with Presbyterians and their Limited Atonement as I do their ordination practices. I guess I should stop here…

  • Grace

    Craig,

    “I am not justifying homosexuality but I am concerned that this gets everyone so dammed self-righteous.”

    It’s not a matter of being “self – righteous – blatant sin, either standing in the pulpit, preaching teaching or desiring membership, …. excused within any denomination, will receive condemnation from others.

    Sexual sin is the only sin which allows for a Biblical divorce, none other. For that reason, it is obvious that the LORD considers sexual sin one of the most offensive – When it is allowed within the church, either turning a ‘blind eye’ or making new rules to accept the immoral behavior, people will speak out against it – some will leave the church, and then there are those who will stay behind.

  • Grace

    Craig,

    “I am not justifying homosexuality but I am concerned that this gets everyone so dammed self-righteous.”

    It’s not a matter of being “self – righteous – blatant sin, either standing in the pulpit, preaching teaching or desiring membership, …. excused within any denomination, will receive condemnation from others.

    Sexual sin is the only sin which allows for a Biblical divorce, none other. For that reason, it is obvious that the LORD considers sexual sin one of the most offensive – When it is allowed within the church, either turning a ‘blind eye’ or making new rules to accept the immoral behavior, people will speak out against it – some will leave the church, and then there are those who will stay behind.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “For that reason, it is obvious that the LORD considers sexual sin one of the most offensive” (@23).

    Hello, unscriptural non sequitur!

    Anyhow, you are correct, Grace, that when people twist God’s Word to fit their own reason, they “will receive condemnation from others”, and “people will speak out against it”. But I don’t recall your particularly enjoying this when it happens to you.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “For that reason, it is obvious that the LORD considers sexual sin one of the most offensive” (@23).

    Hello, unscriptural non sequitur!

    Anyhow, you are correct, Grace, that when people twist God’s Word to fit their own reason, they “will receive condemnation from others”, and “people will speak out against it”. But I don’t recall your particularly enjoying this when it happens to you.

  • Craig

    How about the “Church’s” bind eye towards “THIS IS MY BODY…”? Well you see is doesn’t really mean is and aaaa it’s a symbol and aaaa baptism is an outward sign of an inward blah blah blah. Oh but the moral failure of the Church is the real problem.

    Question would you take communion from a repentant, but really struggling, homosexual pastor who confesses ML’s Shorter Catechism or from a straight sacramentarian pastor?

  • Craig

    How about the “Church’s” bind eye towards “THIS IS MY BODY…”? Well you see is doesn’t really mean is and aaaa it’s a symbol and aaaa baptism is an outward sign of an inward blah blah blah. Oh but the moral failure of the Church is the real problem.

    Question would you take communion from a repentant, but really struggling, homosexual pastor who confesses ML’s Shorter Catechism or from a straight sacramentarian pastor?

  • Grace

    From my post @23 below

    “Sexual sin is the only sin which allows for a Biblical divorce, none other. For that reason, it is obvious that the LORD considers sexual sin one of the most offensive –”

    There is only one way one may obtain a divorce and that is adultery. They then have a Biblical divorce, which entitles the one who has been the victim to marry again.

    And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
    Matthew 19:9

    Let’s look at this closer. Why can’t people obtain a divorce for gossip, lying? Why is it only sexual sin? Perhaps this sheds a new light on sin, and why sexual sin is a reason for Biblical divorce.

    From this point we have to ask ourselves, because sexual sin is such a horrible sin, it is held above all others for the reason of divorce, and another chance to remarry, then what? Is this just another sin like gossip? Of course not, there is nothing to suggest in the Word of God that one can divorce for gossip, lying, stealing or other sins, ONLY fornication/adultery –

    Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
    1 Corinthians 6:18

  • Grace

    From my post @23 below

    “Sexual sin is the only sin which allows for a Biblical divorce, none other. For that reason, it is obvious that the LORD considers sexual sin one of the most offensive –”

    There is only one way one may obtain a divorce and that is adultery. They then have a Biblical divorce, which entitles the one who has been the victim to marry again.

    And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
    Matthew 19:9

    Let’s look at this closer. Why can’t people obtain a divorce for gossip, lying? Why is it only sexual sin? Perhaps this sheds a new light on sin, and why sexual sin is a reason for Biblical divorce.

    From this point we have to ask ourselves, because sexual sin is such a horrible sin, it is held above all others for the reason of divorce, and another chance to remarry, then what? Is this just another sin like gossip? Of course not, there is nothing to suggest in the Word of God that one can divorce for gossip, lying, stealing or other sins, ONLY fornication/adultery –

    Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
    1 Corinthians 6:18

  • SKPeterson

    It is a well-established fact that Presbyterians are Calvinist heretics. If they then become arch-antinomians to boot, they can and should be driven from the shores of any truly civilized nation.

  • SKPeterson

    It is a well-established fact that Presbyterians are Calvinist heretics. If they then become arch-antinomians to boot, they can and should be driven from the shores of any truly civilized nation.

  • Craig

    SKPerterson 27

    Right on with the Calvinist heretics! But it’s Genevans who abuse the sword and drive out (burn) the heretics.

  • Craig

    SKPerterson 27

    Right on with the Calvinist heretics! But it’s Genevans who abuse the sword and drive out (burn) the heretics.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I can understand how someone might seek to justify policies on the left that are inconsistent with Christianity.

    What I find baffling is why someone would see heretical beliefs among a denomination and completely ignore it and attack those who defend Christian orthodoxy because they may be hypocritical.

    The Church’s precious doctrines are safer with hypocrites than heretics.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I can understand how someone might seek to justify policies on the left that are inconsistent with Christianity.

    What I find baffling is why someone would see heretical beliefs among a denomination and completely ignore it and attack those who defend Christian orthodoxy because they may be hypocritical.

    The Church’s precious doctrines are safer with hypocrites than heretics.

  • CRB

    As Pastor Matthew Harrison has said, “Jesus came for sinners”
    The whole matter under discussion is about the justification of living in sin without repentance. We, being sinners, are not immune from falling into unrepentance, are we? Love would have us do what is best for a person no matter what it costs us.
    If we are hated and avoided for calling a person to repentance and they refuse to repent, all we can do is pray for them, which I would think we would want the same.

  • CRB

    As Pastor Matthew Harrison has said, “Jesus came for sinners”
    The whole matter under discussion is about the justification of living in sin without repentance. We, being sinners, are not immune from falling into unrepentance, are we? Love would have us do what is best for a person no matter what it costs us.
    If we are hated and avoided for calling a person to repentance and they refuse to repent, all we can do is pray for them, which I would think we would want the same.

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

    Jon; OK, so tell me how a pastor can submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ while ignoring the Word of God in 1 Timothy 3. Does submitting to His Lordship mean we ignore how He told us to choose church leaders, then?

    Sorry, but the list of rules was written down by an apostle under the supervision of the Holy Spirit, and hence to suggest it’s only “talmudic fundamentalists” who heed them is to go into very dangerous territory–if it’s not blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, it’s close. (for your sake, I sure hope it’s not!)

    Never mind that the Talmuds, being commentary on the Torah, are anything BUT what a fundamentalist ought to be holding to! Nice contradiction in terms, though.

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

    Jon; OK, so tell me how a pastor can submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ while ignoring the Word of God in 1 Timothy 3. Does submitting to His Lordship mean we ignore how He told us to choose church leaders, then?

    Sorry, but the list of rules was written down by an apostle under the supervision of the Holy Spirit, and hence to suggest it’s only “talmudic fundamentalists” who heed them is to go into very dangerous territory–if it’s not blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, it’s close. (for your sake, I sure hope it’s not!)

    Never mind that the Talmuds, being commentary on the Torah, are anything BUT what a fundamentalist ought to be holding to! Nice contradiction in terms, though.

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

    tODD; actually, we Baptistic (oops, immersistic–can’t just rely on a transliteration here!) types were wondering the same thing about why sacramentalists misrepresent the ordinances! :^)

    Seriously, I know whose turf I’m on, but I think both sides of this debate can agree that there are plausible arguments both ways, though we know full well we don’t necessarily agree with the other side.

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

    tODD; actually, we Baptistic (oops, immersistic–can’t just rely on a transliteration here!) types were wondering the same thing about why sacramentalists misrepresent the ordinances! :^)

    Seriously, I know whose turf I’m on, but I think both sides of this debate can agree that there are plausible arguments both ways, though we know full well we don’t necessarily agree with the other side.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL said (@29),

    What I find baffling is why someone would see heretical beliefs among a denomination and completely ignore it and attack those who defend Christian orthodoxy because they may be hypocritical.

    Hmm, I’m having a hard time understanding what or whom that statement is referencing.

    Does “heretical beliefs among a denomination” refer to the denial of Scripture’s teachings on the Sacraments (or absolution) in various Evangelical or mainline denominations? Does mentioning those who “completely ignore it” refer to the defenders of Evangelical doctrine on this blog? Does mentioning “those who defend Christian orthodoxy” refer to the Lutherans on this blog?

    Or does “heretical beliefs among a denomination” refer to the denial of Scripture’s teachings on the qualifications for pastors in various mainline denominations? In which case mentioning those who “completely ignore it” refers to the (passive) defenders of said doctrine on this blog — but who is that? And, I suppose mentioning “those who defend Christian orthodoxy” would refer to those who hold to a literal reading of 1 Tim. 3?

    The latter reading can’t refer to me, given that I already made clear (@20) that this development in the PC(USA) is “but one more symptom of the problem of using human reason to interpret Scripture” — so I’m neither “completely ignoring” their problems, nor failing to defend Christian orthodoxy.

    But given that that’s likely the reading you intended, SAL, I do think your comment is a good example of what I was talking about. Can’t even call out heresy when we see it … among the good Christians, that is. Heresy among the bad Christians? Hey, everyone, pile on!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL said (@29),

    What I find baffling is why someone would see heretical beliefs among a denomination and completely ignore it and attack those who defend Christian orthodoxy because they may be hypocritical.

    Hmm, I’m having a hard time understanding what or whom that statement is referencing.

    Does “heretical beliefs among a denomination” refer to the denial of Scripture’s teachings on the Sacraments (or absolution) in various Evangelical or mainline denominations? Does mentioning those who “completely ignore it” refer to the defenders of Evangelical doctrine on this blog? Does mentioning “those who defend Christian orthodoxy” refer to the Lutherans on this blog?

    Or does “heretical beliefs among a denomination” refer to the denial of Scripture’s teachings on the qualifications for pastors in various mainline denominations? In which case mentioning those who “completely ignore it” refers to the (passive) defenders of said doctrine on this blog — but who is that? And, I suppose mentioning “those who defend Christian orthodoxy” would refer to those who hold to a literal reading of 1 Tim. 3?

    The latter reading can’t refer to me, given that I already made clear (@20) that this development in the PC(USA) is “but one more symptom of the problem of using human reason to interpret Scripture” — so I’m neither “completely ignoring” their problems, nor failing to defend Christian orthodoxy.

    But given that that’s likely the reading you intended, SAL, I do think your comment is a good example of what I was talking about. Can’t even call out heresy when we see it … among the good Christians, that is. Heresy among the bad Christians? Hey, everyone, pile on!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@32), I don’t mind you expressing beliefs that are different from mine, but don’t expect me to agree with you that your beliefs are “plausible”.

    Or, given the first definition for “plausible” listed by Merriam-Webster (“superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious”), then sure, your readings of Scripture are plausible … but then, so are the PC(USA)’s.

    But it’s the rare Christian nowadays — at least, within what I’ll call “conservative” Christianity for the sake of argument — who is brave enough to say that other “conservative” Christians are actually incorrect (that is, promoting heresy). No, within “conservative” Christianity, there is this notion that teachings which are clearly at odds with each other must be tolerated. Or at least validated as “plausible”.

    Meanwhile, no such courtesy for the equally heretical teachings of those outside of “conservative” Christianity. So is this really about heresy, or about some mythical line (apparently derived more from politics and culture than religion) between bad heresy and good (or at least tolerable) heresy?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@32), I don’t mind you expressing beliefs that are different from mine, but don’t expect me to agree with you that your beliefs are “plausible”.

    Or, given the first definition for “plausible” listed by Merriam-Webster (“superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious”), then sure, your readings of Scripture are plausible … but then, so are the PC(USA)’s.

    But it’s the rare Christian nowadays — at least, within what I’ll call “conservative” Christianity for the sake of argument — who is brave enough to say that other “conservative” Christians are actually incorrect (that is, promoting heresy). No, within “conservative” Christianity, there is this notion that teachings which are clearly at odds with each other must be tolerated. Or at least validated as “plausible”.

    Meanwhile, no such courtesy for the equally heretical teachings of those outside of “conservative” Christianity. So is this really about heresy, or about some mythical line (apparently derived more from politics and culture than religion) between bad heresy and good (or at least tolerable) heresy?

  • M Burke

    SKPeterson – Calvinist heretics? Are you smoking something? Ask Fr Rod Rosenblatt if his friends Horton, Riddlebarger and Jones are heretics. Remember, the PCUSA is the Presbyerian version of the Lutheran’s ECLA which endorses folks like herchurch.org, surely you don’t want folks judging you on the basis of THEIR views, do you? PCUSA has been going liberal since 1930, thus there is the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and the Presbyterian Church in America, both still very conservative and for the most part, orthodox Christian denominations.

    Remember, the LCMS is only a few votes away from such depravity, only God’s grace prevents it.

  • M Burke

    SKPeterson – Calvinist heretics? Are you smoking something? Ask Fr Rod Rosenblatt if his friends Horton, Riddlebarger and Jones are heretics. Remember, the PCUSA is the Presbyerian version of the Lutheran’s ECLA which endorses folks like herchurch.org, surely you don’t want folks judging you on the basis of THEIR views, do you? PCUSA has been going liberal since 1930, thus there is the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and the Presbyterian Church in America, both still very conservative and for the most part, orthodox Christian denominations.

    Remember, the LCMS is only a few votes away from such depravity, only God’s grace prevents it.

  • Craig

    tODD
    Dude you are brilliant. I wish I throw down like you. Thanks for having the balls to write 34. I agree that this psudo respect for other “conservative” Christianity weakens everyone. The Baptist and Reformed are always wanting Lutherans to validate their bad theology. Now that’s gay.

  • Craig

    tODD
    Dude you are brilliant. I wish I throw down like you. Thanks for having the balls to write 34. I agree that this psudo respect for other “conservative” Christianity weakens everyone. The Baptist and Reformed are always wanting Lutherans to validate their bad theology. Now that’s gay.

  • Craig

    Orothdox Presbyterian
    Jumbo shrimp
    Postal service
    Obama administration
    Reformed sacraments
    anxious patient
    Instant classic
    Almost ready
    Good lawyer
    Baptist preacher

  • Craig

    Orothdox Presbyterian
    Jumbo shrimp
    Postal service
    Obama administration
    Reformed sacraments
    anxious patient
    Instant classic
    Almost ready
    Good lawyer
    Baptist preacher

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    M Burke (@35), you appear to have written a fairly perfect example of what I was talking about (@34).

    See, there’s “good” (i.e. “conservative”) Christian denominations (e.g. “the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and the Presbyterian Church in America”, along with the LCMS), and “bad” Christian denominations (e.g. PCUSA and ELCA).

    The “good” churches disagree with the “bad” denominations on how to interpret Scripture, so presumably it’s okay to label the “bad” denominations as heretical, as to their disagreements.

    But to label a “good” church as heretical? Why, that’s crazy talk! Do the “good” churches also disagree with each other on how to interpret Scripture? Yes, and in fairly significant ways. But … they’re all “conservative”, so … those differences … shouldn’t be labeled as indicative of heresy?

    I mean, sure, denying the efficacy of baptism and God’s promise of salvation to infants is one thing, but then there’s, like, gays in the pulpit. And, you know, only one of those is heresy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    M Burke (@35), you appear to have written a fairly perfect example of what I was talking about (@34).

    See, there’s “good” (i.e. “conservative”) Christian denominations (e.g. “the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and the Presbyterian Church in America”, along with the LCMS), and “bad” Christian denominations (e.g. PCUSA and ELCA).

    The “good” churches disagree with the “bad” denominations on how to interpret Scripture, so presumably it’s okay to label the “bad” denominations as heretical, as to their disagreements.

    But to label a “good” church as heretical? Why, that’s crazy talk! Do the “good” churches also disagree with each other on how to interpret Scripture? Yes, and in fairly significant ways. But … they’re all “conservative”, so … those differences … shouldn’t be labeled as indicative of heresy?

    I mean, sure, denying the efficacy of baptism and God’s promise of salvation to infants is one thing, but then there’s, like, gays in the pulpit. And, you know, only one of those is heresy.

  • SKPeterson

    There really needs to be a “satire” or “hyperbole” setting – maybe one that colors the text red, or something.

    Suffice it to say that there is no hard and fast, black and white line between orthodoxy and heresy. It is more of a continuum that goes from orthodoxy to heterodoxy to heresy to completely outside the faith. In general, more conservative denominations are closer to orthodoxy. However, it also depends on what you mean by “conservative.” In religious terms, I would hold that conservatism is one that adheres more closely with traditional catholic theology, generally as expressed in the ancient creeds, and holding to the traditional liturgical practices of the church.

    Astute observers will note that there are already several areas for profound disagreement, even between groups that would be identified as “conservative.” Hence, the split between East and West (leaving aside the even older split between EAST and WEST over Nicaea). Lutherans, Presbyterians/Reformed, Romans, Anglicans and Orthodox, would hold that Baptists are not “conservative” per se. They are the direct descendants of the early enthusiasts, who thought they were being true, but actually just became “liberally innovative.”

    I’ll end here, as this could go on for pages on the nuances and theologies of the various denominations at play in modern America.

  • SKPeterson

    There really needs to be a “satire” or “hyperbole” setting – maybe one that colors the text red, or something.

    Suffice it to say that there is no hard and fast, black and white line between orthodoxy and heresy. It is more of a continuum that goes from orthodoxy to heterodoxy to heresy to completely outside the faith. In general, more conservative denominations are closer to orthodoxy. However, it also depends on what you mean by “conservative.” In religious terms, I would hold that conservatism is one that adheres more closely with traditional catholic theology, generally as expressed in the ancient creeds, and holding to the traditional liturgical practices of the church.

    Astute observers will note that there are already several areas for profound disagreement, even between groups that would be identified as “conservative.” Hence, the split between East and West (leaving aside the even older split between EAST and WEST over Nicaea). Lutherans, Presbyterians/Reformed, Romans, Anglicans and Orthodox, would hold that Baptists are not “conservative” per se. They are the direct descendants of the early enthusiasts, who thought they were being true, but actually just became “liberally innovative.”

    I’ll end here, as this could go on for pages on the nuances and theologies of the various denominations at play in modern America.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    To deny the sacraments, you have to reject Scripture. To deny that fornication is sinful, you have to reject both Scripture and reason. Why then should we be surprised or offended that the latter sparks more indignation among Christians? Why should there be a requirement to condemn every error whenever one error is condemned? If the daily news or a blog post bring one error to our attention, perhaps it is not so horrifying to speak about that particular error and merely take the opportunity to be glad that we at least share some agreement with our erring brothers and sisters.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    To deny the sacraments, you have to reject Scripture. To deny that fornication is sinful, you have to reject both Scripture and reason. Why then should we be surprised or offended that the latter sparks more indignation among Christians? Why should there be a requirement to condemn every error whenever one error is condemned? If the daily news or a blog post bring one error to our attention, perhaps it is not so horrifying to speak about that particular error and merely take the opportunity to be glad that we at least share some agreement with our erring brothers and sisters.

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

    “Bubba (@32), I don’t mind you expressing beliefs that are different from mine, but don’t expect me to agree with you that your beliefs are “plausible”.”

    Well, then I know not to take you seriously, as one of the key requirements for being a good rhetoritician is to be able to treat your opponents’ arguments with respect.

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

    “Bubba (@32), I don’t mind you expressing beliefs that are different from mine, but don’t expect me to agree with you that your beliefs are “plausible”.”

    Well, then I know not to take you seriously, as one of the key requirements for being a good rhetoritician is to be able to treat your opponents’ arguments with respect.

  • DonS

    Bubba @ 32, 40: You know better than to attempt to engage a Lutheran in an intelligent discussion on the issues of baptism and communion. We’ve both learned the hard way, haven’t we, as long time non-Lutherans on this site? There will be no substantive discussion and you will be labeled as a heretic, despite your efforts to point out how your interpretation is at least as literal as their’s.

  • DonS

    Bubba @ 32, 40: You know better than to attempt to engage a Lutheran in an intelligent discussion on the issues of baptism and communion. We’ve both learned the hard way, haven’t we, as long time non-Lutherans on this site? There will be no substantive discussion and you will be labeled as a heretic, despite your efforts to point out how your interpretation is at least as literal as their’s.

  • SAL

    #33 I think it’s troubling, when a specific heresy is mentioned, to immediately turn to those who defend from that specific heresy and attack them for being heterodox on other issues.

    It seems to me like you recognize only perfection in doctrine and otherwise care not to distinguish between an Evangelical who’s heterodox and a Mainliner who’s nearly embraced Paganism.

    I get this sense that to a WELS-ian there’s no essential difference between a Baptist, a Mormon and a Pagan on doctrine. They’re all simply heretics and we needn’t act as if we have doctrines we can fight for with other Christians.

  • SAL

    #33 I think it’s troubling, when a specific heresy is mentioned, to immediately turn to those who defend from that specific heresy and attack them for being heterodox on other issues.

    It seems to me like you recognize only perfection in doctrine and otherwise care not to distinguish between an Evangelical who’s heterodox and a Mainliner who’s nearly embraced Paganism.

    I get this sense that to a WELS-ian there’s no essential difference between a Baptist, a Mormon and a Pagan on doctrine. They’re all simply heretics and we needn’t act as if we have doctrines we can fight for with other Christians.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK said (@39), “there is no hard and fast, black and white line between orthodoxy and heresy”. Um, you trying to use the satire setting again, SK? ;)

    Of course there is such a line! I’m having a hard time understanding how you could believe that, given what else I’ve read from you here. “Orthodoxy and heresy” are just synonyms for truth and falsehood. Are you really embracing relativism as that sentence makes it seem?

    The problem appears to be that you seem to be trying to apply these labels only at the denominational level, which is, frankly, fairly useless. Because these terms actually apply to individual doctrines. And when we try to apply them to entire denominations, we end up playing that very human game of “let’s round up”. And so a church whose confession is, let’s say, 90% in keeping with Scripture is deemed “orthodox”, but a church with a lower percentage (70%? 50%? 30%) is right out. Except that, if we accept this framing, we’ve just declared that 10% heterodoxy — or, let’s be frank, heresy — is not so bad, since we filed it under “orthodox”. And that’s how error works its way in.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK said (@39), “there is no hard and fast, black and white line between orthodoxy and heresy”. Um, you trying to use the satire setting again, SK? ;)

    Of course there is such a line! I’m having a hard time understanding how you could believe that, given what else I’ve read from you here. “Orthodoxy and heresy” are just synonyms for truth and falsehood. Are you really embracing relativism as that sentence makes it seem?

    The problem appears to be that you seem to be trying to apply these labels only at the denominational level, which is, frankly, fairly useless. Because these terms actually apply to individual doctrines. And when we try to apply them to entire denominations, we end up playing that very human game of “let’s round up”. And so a church whose confession is, let’s say, 90% in keeping with Scripture is deemed “orthodox”, but a church with a lower percentage (70%? 50%? 30%) is right out. Except that, if we accept this framing, we’ve just declared that 10% heterodoxy — or, let’s be frank, heresy — is not so bad, since we filed it under “orthodox”. And that’s how error works its way in.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@41), it is remarkable to what degree your reply (“one of the key requirements for being a good rhetoritician is to be able to treat your opponents’ arguments with respect”) mirrors the rhetoric of politically correct liberalism. “Respect my ideas!” “Tolerate me!”

    I disagree with that statement, and, what’s more, having seen your comments around here, I’m pretty sure you do, too. Treat your opponents with respect, sure. (And hey, if you want to call me on this when I fail, have at it. It’s certainly something I struggle with.)

    But, quite simply, not every idea is worthy of respect, whatever that actually means to you. Do you respect socialized medicine? Single-payer health care? Gay marriage? Polygamy? Female ordination? Radical islam? Al-Qaeda and their tactics?

    Some things are worth ridiculing. Or should we all decry Elijah on Mt. Carmel for his crass, disrespectful tactics in handling the prophets of Baal? And Paul’s disrespectful handling of the Judaizing Galatians?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@41), it is remarkable to what degree your reply (“one of the key requirements for being a good rhetoritician is to be able to treat your opponents’ arguments with respect”) mirrors the rhetoric of politically correct liberalism. “Respect my ideas!” “Tolerate me!”

    I disagree with that statement, and, what’s more, having seen your comments around here, I’m pretty sure you do, too. Treat your opponents with respect, sure. (And hey, if you want to call me on this when I fail, have at it. It’s certainly something I struggle with.)

    But, quite simply, not every idea is worthy of respect, whatever that actually means to you. Do you respect socialized medicine? Single-payer health care? Gay marriage? Polygamy? Female ordination? Radical islam? Al-Qaeda and their tactics?

    Some things are worth ridiculing. Or should we all decry Elijah on Mt. Carmel for his crass, disrespectful tactics in handling the prophets of Baal? And Paul’s disrespectful handling of the Judaizing Galatians?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@42), come on. When did “conservative” Christians get so sensitive that they can no longer admit that other “conservative” Christians are, in a word, wrong?

    We disagree on fairly fundamental things, Don. That much is clear. And you’ve certainly proved capable of expressing your ideas and defending them. But, at the end of the day, there is disagreement.

    And where two people disagree on truth, then it is necessarily true that at least one of them is wrong. The only other option is to openly embrace relativism and fundamentally deny that truth exists or can be known. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you have not embraced that notion.

    As such, someone is wrong. Can we no longer bring ourselves to admit it? If so, then liberal namby-pambyism isn’t found only outside of our so-called “conservative” churches!

    And when someone is wrong with regard to doctrine, it’s called heresy. Is heresy a harsh word? No doubt. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist — even if we use other words, like simply saying “we disagree”.

    Look, Don, if you actually posssess the courage of your convictions like you seem to, then you believe that I and all like-minded Lutherans embrace heresy on certain points of doctrine. I expect you to admit that. I will not be surprised if you say that on this blog. If you cannot, then I simply must conclude you are uncertain yourself as to what you believe. That does not appear to be the case.

    If you can’t call sin sin and heresy heresy, don’t you think that’s a problem?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@42), come on. When did “conservative” Christians get so sensitive that they can no longer admit that other “conservative” Christians are, in a word, wrong?

    We disagree on fairly fundamental things, Don. That much is clear. And you’ve certainly proved capable of expressing your ideas and defending them. But, at the end of the day, there is disagreement.

    And where two people disagree on truth, then it is necessarily true that at least one of them is wrong. The only other option is to openly embrace relativism and fundamentally deny that truth exists or can be known. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you have not embraced that notion.

    As such, someone is wrong. Can we no longer bring ourselves to admit it? If so, then liberal namby-pambyism isn’t found only outside of our so-called “conservative” churches!

    And when someone is wrong with regard to doctrine, it’s called heresy. Is heresy a harsh word? No doubt. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist — even if we use other words, like simply saying “we disagree”.

    Look, Don, if you actually posssess the courage of your convictions like you seem to, then you believe that I and all like-minded Lutherans embrace heresy on certain points of doctrine. I expect you to admit that. I will not be surprised if you say that on this blog. If you cannot, then I simply must conclude you are uncertain yourself as to what you believe. That does not appear to be the case.

    If you can’t call sin sin and heresy heresy, don’t you think that’s a problem?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL (@43), I will largely repeat what I said (@44) to SK. You are only attempting to apply the labels of heresy/heterodox/orthodox at the denominational level. That is less than useful.

    If you must do this, then you must do it right. A church whose doctrines are 90% orthodox cannot be labeled “orthodox”, since by definition, it embraces heresy. 99% orthodoxy and 10% orthodoxy are only degrees of heresy. Do those degrees matter? Of course, but such distinctions are lost if we only use such labels at the denominational level. For some reason, that is a popular thing to do, but those who do it can’t seem to bring themselves to admit that 10% heresy is still heresy, and still a bad thing, contrary to God’s Word.

    And I don’t know how you can’t see the irony in decrying my would-be inability to “distinguish between an Evangelical who’s heterodox and a Mainliner who’s nearly embraced Paganism”. In that very statement, you show your own lack of nuance in equating ordaining gays with “paganism”! I guess nuance is still only for the “good” people.

    Still, what sort of bizarre definitions are you concocting such that there’s a line between “heterodoxy” and “paganism”? The answer appears to hinge on whether we’re talking heterodoxy that involves homosexuality or not.

    And allow me to turn your argument around for you: I get this sense that to you there’s no essential difference between a Baptist, a Presbyterian, and a Foursquare or Calvary Chapel member on doctrine. Oh, well, provided that you’re talking about the right kind of Baptists and Presbyterians, of course.

    Again, if we examine the doctrines of the groups you mentioned, we will find that there are obviously degrees to which their doctrine agrees with the Lutheran Confessions. But the notion that, once someone gets above some percentage of agreement, they’re no longer embracing heresy, they’re okay, they’re good … is ridiculous. And I seriously doubt you believe that, anyhow.

    After all, if you want to go point-by-point, I’m pretty sure that ELCA is far more in agreement with the Confessions than any Baptist denomination you want to pick. Oh, but ELCA has the gays. So, you know, they’re out.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SAL (@43), I will largely repeat what I said (@44) to SK. You are only attempting to apply the labels of heresy/heterodox/orthodox at the denominational level. That is less than useful.

    If you must do this, then you must do it right. A church whose doctrines are 90% orthodox cannot be labeled “orthodox”, since by definition, it embraces heresy. 99% orthodoxy and 10% orthodoxy are only degrees of heresy. Do those degrees matter? Of course, but such distinctions are lost if we only use such labels at the denominational level. For some reason, that is a popular thing to do, but those who do it can’t seem to bring themselves to admit that 10% heresy is still heresy, and still a bad thing, contrary to God’s Word.

    And I don’t know how you can’t see the irony in decrying my would-be inability to “distinguish between an Evangelical who’s heterodox and a Mainliner who’s nearly embraced Paganism”. In that very statement, you show your own lack of nuance in equating ordaining gays with “paganism”! I guess nuance is still only for the “good” people.

    Still, what sort of bizarre definitions are you concocting such that there’s a line between “heterodoxy” and “paganism”? The answer appears to hinge on whether we’re talking heterodoxy that involves homosexuality or not.

    And allow me to turn your argument around for you: I get this sense that to you there’s no essential difference between a Baptist, a Presbyterian, and a Foursquare or Calvary Chapel member on doctrine. Oh, well, provided that you’re talking about the right kind of Baptists and Presbyterians, of course.

    Again, if we examine the doctrines of the groups you mentioned, we will find that there are obviously degrees to which their doctrine agrees with the Lutheran Confessions. But the notion that, once someone gets above some percentage of agreement, they’re no longer embracing heresy, they’re okay, they’re good … is ridiculous. And I seriously doubt you believe that, anyhow.

    After all, if you want to go point-by-point, I’m pretty sure that ELCA is far more in agreement with the Confessions than any Baptist denomination you want to pick. Oh, but ELCA has the gays. So, you know, they’re out.

  • Grace

    Definition of HERESY

    1
    a : adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma b : denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church c : an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma

    2
    a : dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice b : an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards

    I do not agree with many of the Roman Catholic Church beliefs, nor do I agree with all the Lutheran beliefs, or all the Calvinist beliefs – Strange how “HERESY” is tossed about, in this definition from Merriam Webster, but no where does it mention the Bible. It’s all about what some of the founders of churches, popes, etc, believe.

    In this skewed definition it boils down to; opinion, church dogma, dominant theory and last but not least “general accepted beliefs or standards” – again to emphasis my point, no mention of the Bible, God’s HOLY Word inerrant, and infallible.

  • Grace

    Definition of HERESY

    1
    a : adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma b : denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church c : an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma

    2
    a : dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice b : an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards

    I do not agree with many of the Roman Catholic Church beliefs, nor do I agree with all the Lutheran beliefs, or all the Calvinist beliefs – Strange how “HERESY” is tossed about, in this definition from Merriam Webster, but no where does it mention the Bible. It’s all about what some of the founders of churches, popes, etc, believe.

    In this skewed definition it boils down to; opinion, church dogma, dominant theory and last but not least “general accepted beliefs or standards” – again to emphasis my point, no mention of the Bible, God’s HOLY Word inerrant, and infallible.

  • Porcell

    Todd: And where two people disagree on truth, then it is necessarily true that at least one of them is wrong. The only other option is to openly embrace relativism and fundamentally deny that truth exists or can be known.

    Christian theologians have differed at least with nuance on biblical exegesis and truth for millennia. The best theologians hardly view their truth as absolute and respectfully differ with other theologians, though they do state their views with firmness and sometimes, as with Luther and Calvin, put their lives on the line for them.

    Some fanatical Lutherans and other Christians regard their theology as truth and others that differ as heresy. Don is right that some, especially LCMS and WELS folk on this blog, are incapable of reasonable discussion on the subjects of communion and baptism; I should add, also, on the subjects of limited atonement, election, and assurance.

    While undoubtedly truth exists, no fallen human may claim it absolutely; those who do militantly and righteously are the bane of religion.

  • Porcell

    Todd: And where two people disagree on truth, then it is necessarily true that at least one of them is wrong. The only other option is to openly embrace relativism and fundamentally deny that truth exists or can be known.

    Christian theologians have differed at least with nuance on biblical exegesis and truth for millennia. The best theologians hardly view their truth as absolute and respectfully differ with other theologians, though they do state their views with firmness and sometimes, as with Luther and Calvin, put their lives on the line for them.

    Some fanatical Lutherans and other Christians regard their theology as truth and others that differ as heresy. Don is right that some, especially LCMS and WELS folk on this blog, are incapable of reasonable discussion on the subjects of communion and baptism; I should add, also, on the subjects of limited atonement, election, and assurance.

    While undoubtedly truth exists, no fallen human may claim it absolutely; those who do militantly and righteously are the bane of religion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@49), please. You’re as rigid, intolerant, and dogmatic as anyone else on this blog when it comes to your beliefs. As are Grace and Bike Bubba, among others.

    Your comment here is as much proof of this as anything. You have no tolerance for those who disagree with you, labeling them “fanatical” and “the bane of religion”. Just man up and admit that you disagree with people instead of demanding “tolerance” like some the sniveling liberals you otherwise love to decry.

    “While undoubtedly truth exists, no fallen human may claim it absolutely.” A statement chock full of certainty, with claim to absolute truth. Bravo, Porcell, bravo.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@49), please. You’re as rigid, intolerant, and dogmatic as anyone else on this blog when it comes to your beliefs. As are Grace and Bike Bubba, among others.

    Your comment here is as much proof of this as anything. You have no tolerance for those who disagree with you, labeling them “fanatical” and “the bane of religion”. Just man up and admit that you disagree with people instead of demanding “tolerance” like some the sniveling liberals you otherwise love to decry.

    “While undoubtedly truth exists, no fallen human may claim it absolutely.” A statement chock full of certainty, with claim to absolute truth. Bravo, Porcell, bravo.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – satire was off on #39. A continuum does exist, especially if you read church history, as even orthodoxy itself is a fluid notion at times (that sounds so horribly post-modern, doesn’t it? yikes). Perhaps a better analogy is a slope that goes gently downhill, but eventually reaches a cliff. That would be the line of “heresy.” I do believe heresy exists – I also hold that several of the ancient heretics, such as Apollinarius or Nestorius, are/were probably far closer to standard orthodoxy than what passes for normal in many “conservative” churches. I can just see Athanasius, “Rick Warren? Anathema! Rob Bell? Anathema! Bill Johnson? Anathema! Steven Furtick? Anathema!”

    The issue is what constitutes heterodoxy as opposed to heresy, and what enables fellowship and what breaks it. Some of the early breakdowns in fellowship were over dating the celebration of Easter. That’s it. Rome and Alexandria at loggerheads. Yet, you could not say that one or the other was heretical, but each would describe the other as heterodox, and neither would declare the other heretical like the Arians or Marcionites. Heresy could be denial of any tenet of the ecumenical creeds, yet that excludes the Armenians, Ethiopians and Copts, who hold to a miaphysite understanding of the nature of Christ as opposed to the catholic duophysite understanding as those churches did not sign off on Nicea or Chalcedon. So, technically the Eastern churches are heretics, yet the Eastern Orthodox are beginning to talk and the divisions may be overcome. Back they go onto the continuum. See what 1500 years of patient dialog can yield! At the same time, there is the controversy between the catholic church of the East and West over the filioque in the Nicene. It breaks fellowship, but is not deemed to be heretical or rise to that level even though I hear that Presbyterians hold to it as well, double yikes!

    Now, do the skewed and error-ridden stances ;) of those who don’t have a proper understanding of Baptism or the Eucharist make them benighted heretics? No. They are just in error, and thereby breaking fellowship.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – satire was off on #39. A continuum does exist, especially if you read church history, as even orthodoxy itself is a fluid notion at times (that sounds so horribly post-modern, doesn’t it? yikes). Perhaps a better analogy is a slope that goes gently downhill, but eventually reaches a cliff. That would be the line of “heresy.” I do believe heresy exists – I also hold that several of the ancient heretics, such as Apollinarius or Nestorius, are/were probably far closer to standard orthodoxy than what passes for normal in many “conservative” churches. I can just see Athanasius, “Rick Warren? Anathema! Rob Bell? Anathema! Bill Johnson? Anathema! Steven Furtick? Anathema!”

    The issue is what constitutes heterodoxy as opposed to heresy, and what enables fellowship and what breaks it. Some of the early breakdowns in fellowship were over dating the celebration of Easter. That’s it. Rome and Alexandria at loggerheads. Yet, you could not say that one or the other was heretical, but each would describe the other as heterodox, and neither would declare the other heretical like the Arians or Marcionites. Heresy could be denial of any tenet of the ecumenical creeds, yet that excludes the Armenians, Ethiopians and Copts, who hold to a miaphysite understanding of the nature of Christ as opposed to the catholic duophysite understanding as those churches did not sign off on Nicea or Chalcedon. So, technically the Eastern churches are heretics, yet the Eastern Orthodox are beginning to talk and the divisions may be overcome. Back they go onto the continuum. See what 1500 years of patient dialog can yield! At the same time, there is the controversy between the catholic church of the East and West over the filioque in the Nicene. It breaks fellowship, but is not deemed to be heretical or rise to that level even though I hear that Presbyterians hold to it as well, double yikes!

    Now, do the skewed and error-ridden stances ;) of those who don’t have a proper understanding of Baptism or the Eucharist make them benighted heretics? No. They are just in error, and thereby breaking fellowship.

  • SAL

    #47 The PCUSA has adopted alternative wording for the Holy Trinity:
    “Compassionate Mother, Beloved Child and Life-giving Womb”
    “Overflowing Font, Living Water, Flowing River”

    Maybe it’s a stretch to call that Pagan, but that seems to be the trajectory of many in the PCUSA.

    Besides that I didn’t speak of denominations but only of individual members of denominations. If I’m sitting next to a Baptist and a PCUSA-ian begins to promote sexual immorality among the clergy I’m not going to turn to focus most of my effort in changing the topic to how heretical the Baptist is next to me.

    To do so would make it seem I was in favor of the PCUSA’s policies but was unwilling to show it and instead preferred to silence those who stood up for orthodoxy on that particular issue.

    And I do think we can stand up for orthodoxy on one issue with people who may be awfully wrong on a different issue.

  • SAL

    #47 The PCUSA has adopted alternative wording for the Holy Trinity:
    “Compassionate Mother, Beloved Child and Life-giving Womb”
    “Overflowing Font, Living Water, Flowing River”

    Maybe it’s a stretch to call that Pagan, but that seems to be the trajectory of many in the PCUSA.

    Besides that I didn’t speak of denominations but only of individual members of denominations. If I’m sitting next to a Baptist and a PCUSA-ian begins to promote sexual immorality among the clergy I’m not going to turn to focus most of my effort in changing the topic to how heretical the Baptist is next to me.

    To do so would make it seem I was in favor of the PCUSA’s policies but was unwilling to show it and instead preferred to silence those who stood up for orthodoxy on that particular issue.

    And I do think we can stand up for orthodoxy on one issue with people who may be awfully wrong on a different issue.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at fifty, you’re ducking the point with more heat than light that some Lutherans on this blog do not respect the views of Baptists, Calvinists, and other Christians on the subjects of communion baptism, limited atonement, election, and assurance.

    On the point of human capability of speaking absolute truth, what is your view on the subject? I’m firm on my own view, though would be glad to entertain yours.

  • Porcell

    Todd, at fifty, you’re ducking the point with more heat than light that some Lutherans on this blog do not respect the views of Baptists, Calvinists, and other Christians on the subjects of communion baptism, limited atonement, election, and assurance.

    On the point of human capability of speaking absolute truth, what is your view on the subject? I’m firm on my own view, though would be glad to entertain yours.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    “Bubba (@41), it is remarkable to what degree your reply (“one of the key requirements for being a good rhetoritician is to be able to treat your opponents’ arguments with respect”) mirrors the rhetoric of politically correct liberalism. “Respect my ideas!” “Tolerate me!” ”

    Sorry, tODD, ain’t goin’ there. Rather, the point is really, really simple; if you can’t graciously elucidate your opponents’ arguments and elaborate under what conditions they could hold, then you’re most likely not a very good advocate for your own position.

    I will concede that it seems all too often true that Christians–even major theologians, sad to say–do not follow this basic rhetorical rule. That said, it’s still a basic rule of rhetoric.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    “Bubba (@41), it is remarkable to what degree your reply (“one of the key requirements for being a good rhetoritician is to be able to treat your opponents’ arguments with respect”) mirrors the rhetoric of politically correct liberalism. “Respect my ideas!” “Tolerate me!” ”

    Sorry, tODD, ain’t goin’ there. Rather, the point is really, really simple; if you can’t graciously elucidate your opponents’ arguments and elaborate under what conditions they could hold, then you’re most likely not a very good advocate for your own position.

    I will concede that it seems all too often true that Christians–even major theologians, sad to say–do not follow this basic rhetorical rule. That said, it’s still a basic rule of rhetoric.

  • Grace

    bike bubba – 54

    Excellent points -

  • Grace

    bike bubba – 54

    Excellent points -

  • DonS

    tODD @ 46: I agree with you that when two people are discussing truth, at least one of them is wrong. Most probably, when discussing Christianity, both are wrong, at least on some points, as Scripture is amenable to multiple plausible interpretations on many of the doctrinal issues that come up for discussion.

    One way in which we differ is in our definition of heresy. You, apparently, believe that if someone is wrong on any doctrinal point, they are a heretic. Or, at least, that is the view you present above in your comment. I, on the other hand, do not believe heresy comes into play until someone has changed the core doctrines of the faith, namely the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and His atonement, available to us as a free gift through His death and resurrection, by faith alone, as our sole means of salvation.

    When I am speaking generally of others, such as of those in the PCUSA Assembly who made the very foolish decision to contravene direct and unambiguous Biblical teachings concerning sexual impurity and the qualifications for pastoral ministry, I am often quite blunt. But, when I am speaking directly with others who hold sincere beliefs, even if I believe they are utterly wrong and, yes, heretical, I treat them with respect. I respect their beliefs as well. Respect is not equivalent to validation. It is an attitude which allows you to gain the trust of the other person, to have an opportunity to fully flesh out your beliefs and opinions, and to examine and discuss differences. This is true whether I am speaking with a fellow Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a JW, a Mormon, etc. The point is, if you really want to understand where they, and others of like views, are coming from you need to have this respectful discussion. To immediately label a Muslim or JW a heretic is to close them off instantly, and to never again have a real opportunity to influence them, and to potentially ultimately bring them to the truth.

    On this site, I have always tried to take the same approach with Lutherans. But, whenever I have waded into a discussion of theology, it inevitably degenerates into being labeled as a heretic, and one who doesn’t want to seriously regard God’s Word. A turn-off, to be sure. If orthodox Lutherans want to understand why their numbers are diminishing, and why many in their own denominations are moving toward modern evangelicalism, as I often see lamented on this site, look no farther than the unattractive defensiveness with which you confront theological issues.

    You can think yourself right, and still be pleasant toward those with which you disagree. You can think yourself right, and still be respectful. You can ultimately, after hearing the other person out, explain why (with substance) that you believe their ideas are heretical. But, don’t make it personal, and keep it respectful. People don’t like it when other people tear apart the things that have always been the fabric of their lives, for apparent reasons, and extreme sensitivity is warranted if you really care about that person and want to have an opportunity to make a difference in their lives.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 46: I agree with you that when two people are discussing truth, at least one of them is wrong. Most probably, when discussing Christianity, both are wrong, at least on some points, as Scripture is amenable to multiple plausible interpretations on many of the doctrinal issues that come up for discussion.

    One way in which we differ is in our definition of heresy. You, apparently, believe that if someone is wrong on any doctrinal point, they are a heretic. Or, at least, that is the view you present above in your comment. I, on the other hand, do not believe heresy comes into play until someone has changed the core doctrines of the faith, namely the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and His atonement, available to us as a free gift through His death and resurrection, by faith alone, as our sole means of salvation.

    When I am speaking generally of others, such as of those in the PCUSA Assembly who made the very foolish decision to contravene direct and unambiguous Biblical teachings concerning sexual impurity and the qualifications for pastoral ministry, I am often quite blunt. But, when I am speaking directly with others who hold sincere beliefs, even if I believe they are utterly wrong and, yes, heretical, I treat them with respect. I respect their beliefs as well. Respect is not equivalent to validation. It is an attitude which allows you to gain the trust of the other person, to have an opportunity to fully flesh out your beliefs and opinions, and to examine and discuss differences. This is true whether I am speaking with a fellow Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a JW, a Mormon, etc. The point is, if you really want to understand where they, and others of like views, are coming from you need to have this respectful discussion. To immediately label a Muslim or JW a heretic is to close them off instantly, and to never again have a real opportunity to influence them, and to potentially ultimately bring them to the truth.

    On this site, I have always tried to take the same approach with Lutherans. But, whenever I have waded into a discussion of theology, it inevitably degenerates into being labeled as a heretic, and one who doesn’t want to seriously regard God’s Word. A turn-off, to be sure. If orthodox Lutherans want to understand why their numbers are diminishing, and why many in their own denominations are moving toward modern evangelicalism, as I often see lamented on this site, look no farther than the unattractive defensiveness with which you confront theological issues.

    You can think yourself right, and still be pleasant toward those with which you disagree. You can think yourself right, and still be respectful. You can ultimately, after hearing the other person out, explain why (with substance) that you believe their ideas are heretical. But, don’t make it personal, and keep it respectful. People don’t like it when other people tear apart the things that have always been the fabric of their lives, for apparent reasons, and extreme sensitivity is warranted if you really care about that person and want to have an opportunity to make a difference in their lives.

  • Jon

    DonS, You may see yourself as you’ve described @56: calm, open-minded, wise, respectful of others’ opinons. But I can’t be alone in saying that your posts often show you to be a closed mind, faux moralizer, who can’t stand to have your pronouncements called out. But that’s why we love you.

  • Jon

    DonS, You may see yourself as you’ve described @56: calm, open-minded, wise, respectful of others’ opinons. But I can’t be alone in saying that your posts often show you to be a closed mind, faux moralizer, who can’t stand to have your pronouncements called out. But that’s why we love you.

  • DonS

    Jon @ 57: :-) I appreciate the love, believe me.

    It’s not about me. At least, that was not the point of my post. Yes, there is no doubt that I am “confident in my views”, which I prefer to “closed-minded” ;-) The point, however, is that when you are challenging the views of another, one-to-one, the discussion should be respectful and avoid labels. At least if you want to have any real impact on that person, other than to offend them.

  • DonS

    Jon @ 57: :-) I appreciate the love, believe me.

    It’s not about me. At least, that was not the point of my post. Yes, there is no doubt that I am “confident in my views”, which I prefer to “closed-minded” ;-) The point, however, is that when you are challenging the views of another, one-to-one, the discussion should be respectful and avoid labels. At least if you want to have any real impact on that person, other than to offend them.

  • DonS

    What does “faux moralizer” mean, anyway? How do I qualify as one? Actually, I don’t mind having my “pronouncements called out”, as you put it. But, I reserve the right to defend them, which I do. Is that wrong?

  • DonS

    What does “faux moralizer” mean, anyway? How do I qualify as one? Actually, I don’t mind having my “pronouncements called out”, as you put it. But, I reserve the right to defend them, which I do. Is that wrong?

  • Craig

    Porcell 53

    Why do prods insist that Lutherans must respect their views?

    Communion – you float to the right hand. Sorry wrong
    Baptism – saves no one, good for babies so they can be members of the community and therefore receive church discipline. Lame!
    Limited Atonement – Calvinistic lie, not in the Bible and destroys faith or puffs up.
    Election – gospel “good news” to the Christian. But the Reformed use it like a members only club and they beat people with it. Then they say God elected most to Hell. How nice:) Go and win more souls for Calvin!
    Assurance – The Calvinists look inward for their faith to assure themselves that they are chosen. That’s not a good idea.

  • Craig

    Porcell 53

    Why do prods insist that Lutherans must respect their views?

    Communion – you float to the right hand. Sorry wrong
    Baptism – saves no one, good for babies so they can be members of the community and therefore receive church discipline. Lame!
    Limited Atonement – Calvinistic lie, not in the Bible and destroys faith or puffs up.
    Election – gospel “good news” to the Christian. But the Reformed use it like a members only club and they beat people with it. Then they say God elected most to Hell. How nice:) Go and win more souls for Calvin!
    Assurance – The Calvinists look inward for their faith to assure themselves that they are chosen. That’s not a good idea.

  • Porcell

    Craig, thanks for the just about the perfect proof of my point.

  • Porcell

    Craig, thanks for the just about the perfect proof of my point.

  • Craig

    Porcell 61

    Your welcome!

  • Craig

    Porcell 61

    Your welcome!

  • Mike S.

    Whew, some one is baptist and angry about it! Pulled out all the “the Reformed are deluded, anti-bible, anti-evangelism, anti-perseverance strawmen in one sentence. Isn’t that some kind of record? :)

  • Mike S.

    Whew, some one is baptist and angry about it! Pulled out all the “the Reformed are deluded, anti-bible, anti-evangelism, anti-perseverance strawmen in one sentence. Isn’t that some kind of record? :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK (@51), I still am confused by your definitions of orthodoxy, heterodoxy, and heresy. In fact, I’ll go further, I think yours are wrong.

    I appeal to Merriam-Webster, who defines the terms thusly:
    heterodox: contrary to or different from an acknowledged standard, a traditional form, or an established religion; unorthodox
    orthodox: conforming to established doctrine especially in religion
    heresy: adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma

    You (and not just you) appear to want to make heresy some point at which heterodoxy becomes so bad that it finally merits the scandalous term “heretic”. But, again, I don’t think that’s warranted, even if we just go by these standard definitions.

    I’m still baffled by your (and not just your) tendency to apply these labels mainly at the denominational level. After all, you refer to ancient heresies, which clearly dealt with specific doctrines.

    Yes, if we are forced to round up all doctrines and determine some notion of what “percentage orthodox” various groups are, then we will arrive at your analogy of a sloping hill, but isn’t this just the human tendency to want to grade on a curve? Do we really expect the same God that tells us that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” will endorse our idea of a sliding scale when it comes to orthodoxy?

    And where, pray tell, does “heresy” arrive, in your scenario? Only when someone has rejected too much of Scripture? Actually, I agree, but I think you draw the line at “too much” way, way, way too late. And what is heresy to you, exactly, given that it is clearly something beyond “error” in your usage?

    Anyhow, I suspect that this is all a reaction to the connotations brought on by “heresy”. And, furthermore, I will posit that modern Christianity simply is scared to denounce something as heretical — not due to virtue, but due to influence from our liberal, relativist culture.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK (@51), I still am confused by your definitions of orthodoxy, heterodoxy, and heresy. In fact, I’ll go further, I think yours are wrong.

    I appeal to Merriam-Webster, who defines the terms thusly:
    heterodox: contrary to or different from an acknowledged standard, a traditional form, or an established religion; unorthodox
    orthodox: conforming to established doctrine especially in religion
    heresy: adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma

    You (and not just you) appear to want to make heresy some point at which heterodoxy becomes so bad that it finally merits the scandalous term “heretic”. But, again, I don’t think that’s warranted, even if we just go by these standard definitions.

    I’m still baffled by your (and not just your) tendency to apply these labels mainly at the denominational level. After all, you refer to ancient heresies, which clearly dealt with specific doctrines.

    Yes, if we are forced to round up all doctrines and determine some notion of what “percentage orthodox” various groups are, then we will arrive at your analogy of a sloping hill, but isn’t this just the human tendency to want to grade on a curve? Do we really expect the same God that tells us that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” will endorse our idea of a sliding scale when it comes to orthodoxy?

    And where, pray tell, does “heresy” arrive, in your scenario? Only when someone has rejected too much of Scripture? Actually, I agree, but I think you draw the line at “too much” way, way, way too late. And what is heresy to you, exactly, given that it is clearly something beyond “error” in your usage?

    Anyhow, I suspect that this is all a reaction to the connotations brought on by “heresy”. And, furthermore, I will posit that modern Christianity simply is scared to denounce something as heretical — not due to virtue, but due to influence from our liberal, relativist culture.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@53), I am not going to take lessons on “respect” from a man who just called me “fanatical” and “the bane of religion”. Do you just revel in your hypocrisy? You’ve been quite clear that you do not respect either my opinions, or the opinions of any other confessional Lutheran who disagrees with you, at whom you lob a full panoply of pejoratives with only the slightest provocation.

    If you’ve paid even the slightest attention to our previous conversations, you know full well my view on the “human capability of speaking absolute truth”, and there is little need for me to repeat it all here now. Besides, we all know what a pedant you can be about others going off-topic in these blog conversations. Don’t tell me you’re going to relax your own rules just so you can talk about what you want, as it pleases you.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@53), I am not going to take lessons on “respect” from a man who just called me “fanatical” and “the bane of religion”. Do you just revel in your hypocrisy? You’ve been quite clear that you do not respect either my opinions, or the opinions of any other confessional Lutheran who disagrees with you, at whom you lob a full panoply of pejoratives with only the slightest provocation.

    If you’ve paid even the slightest attention to our previous conversations, you know full well my view on the “human capability of speaking absolute truth”, and there is little need for me to repeat it all here now. Besides, we all know what a pedant you can be about others going off-topic in these blog conversations. Don’t tell me you’re going to relax your own rules just so you can talk about what you want, as it pleases you.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@54), I’d be curious to know where this “basic rhetorical rule” comes from, that you can hold us all to it. Surely it must be spelled out explicitly somewhere if it is so “basic” and fundamental that failing to hold to it precludes any further conversation.

    Anyhow, I will be sure to remind you of your own rule the next time you comment on this blog with some broad-brush straw man of liberal (or, heck, Lutheran) positions. That will likely be fun.

    In the meantime, perhaps you’d like to “graciously elucidate” the argument for homosexual marriage and “elaborate under what conditions” such an argument could hold? And then do the same for Islamic terrorism. Just want to learn how it’s done.

    Meanwhile, I don’t think you were very “respectful” when you said (@32) that “sacramentalists misrepresent the ordinances”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@54), I’d be curious to know where this “basic rhetorical rule” comes from, that you can hold us all to it. Surely it must be spelled out explicitly somewhere if it is so “basic” and fundamental that failing to hold to it precludes any further conversation.

    Anyhow, I will be sure to remind you of your own rule the next time you comment on this blog with some broad-brush straw man of liberal (or, heck, Lutheran) positions. That will likely be fun.

    In the meantime, perhaps you’d like to “graciously elucidate” the argument for homosexual marriage and “elaborate under what conditions” such an argument could hold? And then do the same for Islamic terrorism. Just want to learn how it’s done.

    Meanwhile, I don’t think you were very “respectful” when you said (@32) that “sacramentalists misrepresent the ordinances”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@56), I find it curious that the mere (potential) existence of “multiple plausible interpretations on many of the doctrinal issues that come up for discussion” (however one might define “plausible”, which is of course fairly key) suggests to you that it’s probable that no one interprets Scripture correctly.

    If this is so, how can we know anything from God’s Word for sure? Do you consider your own religious beliefs no more or less valid than mine, or than, say, a typical United Methodist?

    I, on the other hand, do not believe heresy comes into play until someone has changed the core doctrines of the faith.

    Okay, but then on what authority do you claim to know (or get to decide) which doctrines are “core” and which are not? Does the Bible spell these out? If not, then on what basis would you claim that your definition of “core” squares with God’s?

    Seems to me a good definition of “core doctrines” is: those God saw fit to tell us in his Word. You, clearly, choose a rather smaller subset of that. Now explain why.

    when I am speaking directly with others who hold sincere beliefs, even if I believe they are utterly wrong and, yes, heretical, I treat them with respect. I respect their beliefs as well.

    I have already agreed that we should treat our opponents — and, of course, everyone — with respect. But what does it mean to you to “respect the beliefs” of someone you disagree with, given that it clearly means something other than just respecting the person? Do you “respect” gay marriage? Socialism? Islamic terrorism? Slavery? Unfunded entitlement programs that threaten to bankrupt our nation? The way you use the word is meaningless to me, just as it is when doctrinaire politically correct liberals use it that way.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@56), I find it curious that the mere (potential) existence of “multiple plausible interpretations on many of the doctrinal issues that come up for discussion” (however one might define “plausible”, which is of course fairly key) suggests to you that it’s probable that no one interprets Scripture correctly.

    If this is so, how can we know anything from God’s Word for sure? Do you consider your own religious beliefs no more or less valid than mine, or than, say, a typical United Methodist?

    I, on the other hand, do not believe heresy comes into play until someone has changed the core doctrines of the faith.

    Okay, but then on what authority do you claim to know (or get to decide) which doctrines are “core” and which are not? Does the Bible spell these out? If not, then on what basis would you claim that your definition of “core” squares with God’s?

    Seems to me a good definition of “core doctrines” is: those God saw fit to tell us in his Word. You, clearly, choose a rather smaller subset of that. Now explain why.

    when I am speaking directly with others who hold sincere beliefs, even if I believe they are utterly wrong and, yes, heretical, I treat them with respect. I respect their beliefs as well.

    I have already agreed that we should treat our opponents — and, of course, everyone — with respect. But what does it mean to you to “respect the beliefs” of someone you disagree with, given that it clearly means something other than just respecting the person? Do you “respect” gay marriage? Socialism? Islamic terrorism? Slavery? Unfunded entitlement programs that threaten to bankrupt our nation? The way you use the word is meaningless to me, just as it is when doctrinaire politically correct liberals use it that way.

  • Craig

    tODD 67

    Your last paragraph on “respect the beliefs” is so good!

  • Craig

    tODD 67

    Your last paragraph on “respect the beliefs” is so good!

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #60 “prods”?

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    #60 “prods”?

  • Mike S.

    I believe Prods=Protestants.

  • Mike S.

    I believe Prods=Protestants.

  • Booklover

    No one singled out homosexuality until tODD did, at #20. The points were made by all others that a Christian is to remain chaste both within and outside the state of marriage. This chaste state would include a denial of all forms of sexual sin, not just the one. No one is asking for perfection, but an agreement that these various behaviours are in fact sin, would be a good start.

  • Booklover

    No one singled out homosexuality until tODD did, at #20. The points were made by all others that a Christian is to remain chaste both within and outside the state of marriage. This chaste state would include a denial of all forms of sexual sin, not just the one. No one is asking for perfection, but an agreement that these various behaviours are in fact sin, would be a good start.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – I don’t think we are very apart on our positions, it is just that defining when or where exactly heresy begins and orthodoxy leaves off is difficult. Now, that being said, I agree that declaring heresy or heteropraxy to be wrong, and seriously wrong, is something that has itself become anathema in modern Christianity. How this manifests and plays out can simply illustrated by the parallel courses of the ELCA and the PCUSA (we could also add the ECUSA). As a quick aside, I use denominations as a convenient shorthand in describing historical theological and episcopal positions taken. The fruits of what has come to pass in the ELCA, the ECUSA, the PCUSA, the UCC, and will likely roil the UMC next, regarding homosexuality and sexual behavior, is the outcome of decades of changes in how the Bible is viewed – it’s historical accuracy, it’s language, it’s meaning and it’s validity – in relation to modern culture. As a result, the role of the Bible as the norming norm has been eroded in those denominations. The first manifestation of this tendency can probably be traced to the advent and acceptance of women’s ordination. The slippery slope to homosexual ordination has been quite drastic since then. Now, does that make them heretical or merely heterodox? I lean toward heterodox and not heretical, in that they have not (yet) denied as DonS put it above, central tenets of the ecumenical creeds, although their practice is outside Biblical norms, and they have thus sundered fellowship.

    At the same time, this tendency to abandon the norming norm of Scripture and un-sin sin, has been coupled with a breezy ecumenicism between these same denominations. So, we see the full! communion agreements between the ELCA, the ECUSA, the UCC and the PCUSA, in which doctrinal differences have been set aside in the name of a faux unity. Yet, it may be that in setting aside Biblical tenets and abandoning adherence to specific confessions about what the Scriptures mean, they actually have drawn closer to some sort of common representation of belief. I would argue that this is sloppy and disrespectful to the different traditions involved. This sloppy ecumenicism is conjoined with sloppy Biblical eisegesis and we have the complete mess that is modern mainline Protestantism. Again, is this heretical? I say no, on the surface, but I have deep misgivings that heresy is swimming unchallenged beneath the surface (hence my slope to cliff analogy, which is a convenient trope for discussion of differences). It is more likely that those remnants of these denominations that hold to a traditional view of the Bible are the ones who will be marginalized and eventually anathematized, while the heretics that exist will finally come out and have their teachings accepted as “valid” interpretations of Scripture. At that point, the denials of basic tenets of the Christian faith as articulated in the Creeds will be either repudiated, or put up to some self-defined, bound conscience understanding that will allow the heresy to proceed unchecked and unhindered.

    Thus, I would submit, that the tendency is to move from heterodoxy to heresy once basic adherence to Scriptural authority and practice is abandoned. The issue – I don’t have a good and handy definition of what is “basic”, and what is “adherence.” In this, I will defer to the better-trained and equipped theologians to articulate the differences, to declare heresy when found, and to decry those heterodox practices that surely lead to the promulgation of heretical belief. To sum up, we are merely having a discussion about how, where and when to draw the line between orthodoxy and heresy, and not that a line cannot and should not be drawn because we can all just agree to disagree.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – I don’t think we are very apart on our positions, it is just that defining when or where exactly heresy begins and orthodoxy leaves off is difficult. Now, that being said, I agree that declaring heresy or heteropraxy to be wrong, and seriously wrong, is something that has itself become anathema in modern Christianity. How this manifests and plays out can simply illustrated by the parallel courses of the ELCA and the PCUSA (we could also add the ECUSA). As a quick aside, I use denominations as a convenient shorthand in describing historical theological and episcopal positions taken. The fruits of what has come to pass in the ELCA, the ECUSA, the PCUSA, the UCC, and will likely roil the UMC next, regarding homosexuality and sexual behavior, is the outcome of decades of changes in how the Bible is viewed – it’s historical accuracy, it’s language, it’s meaning and it’s validity – in relation to modern culture. As a result, the role of the Bible as the norming norm has been eroded in those denominations. The first manifestation of this tendency can probably be traced to the advent and acceptance of women’s ordination. The slippery slope to homosexual ordination has been quite drastic since then. Now, does that make them heretical or merely heterodox? I lean toward heterodox and not heretical, in that they have not (yet) denied as DonS put it above, central tenets of the ecumenical creeds, although their practice is outside Biblical norms, and they have thus sundered fellowship.

    At the same time, this tendency to abandon the norming norm of Scripture and un-sin sin, has been coupled with a breezy ecumenicism between these same denominations. So, we see the full! communion agreements between the ELCA, the ECUSA, the UCC and the PCUSA, in which doctrinal differences have been set aside in the name of a faux unity. Yet, it may be that in setting aside Biblical tenets and abandoning adherence to specific confessions about what the Scriptures mean, they actually have drawn closer to some sort of common representation of belief. I would argue that this is sloppy and disrespectful to the different traditions involved. This sloppy ecumenicism is conjoined with sloppy Biblical eisegesis and we have the complete mess that is modern mainline Protestantism. Again, is this heretical? I say no, on the surface, but I have deep misgivings that heresy is swimming unchallenged beneath the surface (hence my slope to cliff analogy, which is a convenient trope for discussion of differences). It is more likely that those remnants of these denominations that hold to a traditional view of the Bible are the ones who will be marginalized and eventually anathematized, while the heretics that exist will finally come out and have their teachings accepted as “valid” interpretations of Scripture. At that point, the denials of basic tenets of the Christian faith as articulated in the Creeds will be either repudiated, or put up to some self-defined, bound conscience understanding that will allow the heresy to proceed unchecked and unhindered.

    Thus, I would submit, that the tendency is to move from heterodoxy to heresy once basic adherence to Scriptural authority and practice is abandoned. The issue – I don’t have a good and handy definition of what is “basic”, and what is “adherence.” In this, I will defer to the better-trained and equipped theologians to articulate the differences, to declare heresy when found, and to decry those heterodox practices that surely lead to the promulgation of heretical belief. To sum up, we are merely having a discussion about how, where and when to draw the line between orthodoxy and heresy, and not that a line cannot and should not be drawn because we can all just agree to disagree.

  • SKPeterson

    Here’s a good articulation of the issue from Pr. Larry Peter’s:

    The faith that was bequeathed to us by Jesus Christ, working through the apostles, and passing on the sacred deposit to the saints in every generation is not finally our possession. It is only ours to use. We are not free to tailor it to the circumstances or reshape it for modern sensibilities. We must speak its truth to people today that but truth and belief is not different from the past. We are not merely conservators who preserve but distribute the news of this Gospel and extend the borders of the Church by its proclamation. This is also part of the essential conservation task which lies before us.

    The great temptation is to redefine the faith until it ends up being unrecognizable or familiar only in bits and pieces to that which was one and for all delivered to the saints. We have seen church after church body default upon its sacred task and take the faith and reshape it, re-order it, even redefine it until it bears a faint family resemblance to what was passed to them but has become, for all intents and purposes, a new faith. We have seen churches even glory in this disconnect, believing that God is doing a new thing and so crediting Him for their detour from the once for all path they inherited. We have seen some churches glory in their distinctness so as to disown their present identity from their past. This same thing can happen when, for example, Lutherans become so identified with their LUTHERan identity that they confuse this with orthodoxy and catholicity. Which era of history you raise up as THE time of glory does not matter — we are a people with a past as well as a present, and a future contingent upon faithfully living out and carrying forth what was the sacred deposit, once delivered to the saints. We have also seen churches who live in the past and who are oblivious to their call and purpose to proclaim the Good News with vigor and enthusiasm and to welcome new people into the community of the faithful. These congregations are inward focused to the point that they sit as fortresses against the world instead of a church for the life of the world.

    I think it is good for us to keep within the tension of proclaiming and reaching out cheerfully yet offering what was established in Christ, delivered to the saints, and passed on to us — nothing less than the unchanging Gospel for a changing world. We are not called to reinvent or even add on to the faith as if it were merely an outline. What Jesus disclosed from Scripture to the Emmaus Road disciples was their sacred deposit and this they rejoiced to proclaim even as they committed themselves to nothing less than the fullness of the apostles doctrine and fellowship, the breaking of the bread and prayer. The Church will not die by being faithful to this heritage and deposit once delivered to the saints but she will die as soon as she departs from this eternal truth and its faithful practice. Her structures may indeed remain but she will be an empty shell with nothing to offer a world in dying need for what was once delivered to her.

    The full post can be found here: http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2011/05/once-for-all-delivered-to-saints.html

  • SKPeterson

    Here’s a good articulation of the issue from Pr. Larry Peter’s:

    The faith that was bequeathed to us by Jesus Christ, working through the apostles, and passing on the sacred deposit to the saints in every generation is not finally our possession. It is only ours to use. We are not free to tailor it to the circumstances or reshape it for modern sensibilities. We must speak its truth to people today that but truth and belief is not different from the past. We are not merely conservators who preserve but distribute the news of this Gospel and extend the borders of the Church by its proclamation. This is also part of the essential conservation task which lies before us.

    The great temptation is to redefine the faith until it ends up being unrecognizable or familiar only in bits and pieces to that which was one and for all delivered to the saints. We have seen church after church body default upon its sacred task and take the faith and reshape it, re-order it, even redefine it until it bears a faint family resemblance to what was passed to them but has become, for all intents and purposes, a new faith. We have seen churches even glory in this disconnect, believing that God is doing a new thing and so crediting Him for their detour from the once for all path they inherited. We have seen some churches glory in their distinctness so as to disown their present identity from their past. This same thing can happen when, for example, Lutherans become so identified with their LUTHERan identity that they confuse this with orthodoxy and catholicity. Which era of history you raise up as THE time of glory does not matter — we are a people with a past as well as a present, and a future contingent upon faithfully living out and carrying forth what was the sacred deposit, once delivered to the saints. We have also seen churches who live in the past and who are oblivious to their call and purpose to proclaim the Good News with vigor and enthusiasm and to welcome new people into the community of the faithful. These congregations are inward focused to the point that they sit as fortresses against the world instead of a church for the life of the world.

    I think it is good for us to keep within the tension of proclaiming and reaching out cheerfully yet offering what was established in Christ, delivered to the saints, and passed on to us — nothing less than the unchanging Gospel for a changing world. We are not called to reinvent or even add on to the faith as if it were merely an outline. What Jesus disclosed from Scripture to the Emmaus Road disciples was their sacred deposit and this they rejoiced to proclaim even as they committed themselves to nothing less than the fullness of the apostles doctrine and fellowship, the breaking of the bread and prayer. The Church will not die by being faithful to this heritage and deposit once delivered to the saints but she will die as soon as she departs from this eternal truth and its faithful practice. Her structures may indeed remain but she will be an empty shell with nothing to offer a world in dying need for what was once delivered to her.

    The full post can be found here: http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2011/05/once-for-all-delivered-to-saints.html

  • Craig

    SAL and Mike S. 69 &70

    That’s what Bono calls Protestants.

  • Craig

    SAL and Mike S. 69 &70

    That’s what Bono calls Protestants.

  • Grace

    Craig – 74

    Bono of U2 calling Protestants “Prods” or “Prod” shouldn’t surprise anyone…… Emergent Church! Smarmy name calling is a given.

  • Grace

    Craig – 74

    Bono of U2 calling Protestants “Prods” or “Prod” shouldn’t surprise anyone…… Emergent Church! Smarmy name calling is a given.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 67:

    But what does it mean to you to “respect the beliefs” of someone you disagree with, given that it clearly means something other than just respecting the person? Do you “respect” gay marriage? Socialism? Islamic terrorism? Slavery? Unfunded entitlement programs that threaten to bankrupt our nation?

    Well, the main point of my post was simply to exhort you to be just a little more solicitous when you are having a direct discussion with another — to make your scorn for their views a little less obvious. That is, I believe, the point that Bubba had been trying to make. You will have better discussions, and have more of a chance of influence than if you cause them to close up by tossing labels early in the conversation. Also, if you do believe, after hearing them out, that the person you are conversing with holds heretical beliefs, recognize that those beliefs are probably deeply held and important to them. Be gentle in your instruction and correction. You tend to do this when you are conversing with those of other faiths, but not with fellow Christians from other denominations.

    It makes a difference whether you are simply confronting an idea or set of beliefs, or a person holding that idea or set of beliefs. The latter is personal, and requires more care and courtesy. That is, if you care to be effective. I offer the foregoing as advice. Reject it if you wish. I’m not saying that you accept beliefs you don’t agree with, but that you maintain a respect for the person and the fact that they hold them, probably dearly and deeply, and will be defensive of them if they perceive that you are attacking them. Less rhetoric, more substance, and a gentle spirit, is the key.

    If this is so, how can we know anything from God’s Word for sure? Do you consider your own religious beliefs no more or less valid than mine, or than, say, a typical United Methodist?

    Surely, you don’t believe that you understand everything in the Bible perfectly, do you? Or even that Martin Luther did? Or any human, for that matter? Paul himself said that while we are on this earth “we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Cor. 13:12.

    So your definition of “core doctrines”, if it includes everything in the Bible, as you claim, means that you, too, are a “heretic”, if you fail to understand any part of it correctly, and thus hold to false doctrine. Welcome to the heretic club, my friend.

    Actually, I believe the core doctrines of the faith are well defined in I Cor. 15. All men are sinners, doomed to hell, except by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died in our place, and was resurrected in body and spirit. His sacrifice in our place is freely available to us, as a free gift, for our salvation through faith alone, in Christ alone. Any man who believes this simple Gospel, and puts his trust in Christ alone for his salvation, is indeed saved, and if this simple truth is what he teaches to others, he is no heretic, even if he, in sincerity, has other matters of the faith confused.

    And to directly answer your question, certainly not. I believe my beliefs are the correct and proper interpretation of Scripture, or else I would not hold to them. I believe, for example, that Lutherans misinterpret certain Scriptures, particularly those related to communion and baptism. But, that doesn’t mean I think you are heretical. There is grace even in scriptural interpetation. The core doctrines are crystal clear, not open to dispute as to the Gospel of Christ, and the finer doctrines are the subject of years and years of seminary study by many, given the complexity of attempting to understand the message of an infinite God using a finite and fallible mind.

    SKP @ 72, 73: Excellent comments, indeed.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 67:

    But what does it mean to you to “respect the beliefs” of someone you disagree with, given that it clearly means something other than just respecting the person? Do you “respect” gay marriage? Socialism? Islamic terrorism? Slavery? Unfunded entitlement programs that threaten to bankrupt our nation?

    Well, the main point of my post was simply to exhort you to be just a little more solicitous when you are having a direct discussion with another — to make your scorn for their views a little less obvious. That is, I believe, the point that Bubba had been trying to make. You will have better discussions, and have more of a chance of influence than if you cause them to close up by tossing labels early in the conversation. Also, if you do believe, after hearing them out, that the person you are conversing with holds heretical beliefs, recognize that those beliefs are probably deeply held and important to them. Be gentle in your instruction and correction. You tend to do this when you are conversing with those of other faiths, but not with fellow Christians from other denominations.

    It makes a difference whether you are simply confronting an idea or set of beliefs, or a person holding that idea or set of beliefs. The latter is personal, and requires more care and courtesy. That is, if you care to be effective. I offer the foregoing as advice. Reject it if you wish. I’m not saying that you accept beliefs you don’t agree with, but that you maintain a respect for the person and the fact that they hold them, probably dearly and deeply, and will be defensive of them if they perceive that you are attacking them. Less rhetoric, more substance, and a gentle spirit, is the key.

    If this is so, how can we know anything from God’s Word for sure? Do you consider your own religious beliefs no more or less valid than mine, or than, say, a typical United Methodist?

    Surely, you don’t believe that you understand everything in the Bible perfectly, do you? Or even that Martin Luther did? Or any human, for that matter? Paul himself said that while we are on this earth “we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Cor. 13:12.

    So your definition of “core doctrines”, if it includes everything in the Bible, as you claim, means that you, too, are a “heretic”, if you fail to understand any part of it correctly, and thus hold to false doctrine. Welcome to the heretic club, my friend.

    Actually, I believe the core doctrines of the faith are well defined in I Cor. 15. All men are sinners, doomed to hell, except by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died in our place, and was resurrected in body and spirit. His sacrifice in our place is freely available to us, as a free gift, for our salvation through faith alone, in Christ alone. Any man who believes this simple Gospel, and puts his trust in Christ alone for his salvation, is indeed saved, and if this simple truth is what he teaches to others, he is no heretic, even if he, in sincerity, has other matters of the faith confused.

    And to directly answer your question, certainly not. I believe my beliefs are the correct and proper interpretation of Scripture, or else I would not hold to them. I believe, for example, that Lutherans misinterpret certain Scriptures, particularly those related to communion and baptism. But, that doesn’t mean I think you are heretical. There is grace even in scriptural interpetation. The core doctrines are crystal clear, not open to dispute as to the Gospel of Christ, and the finer doctrines are the subject of years and years of seminary study by many, given the complexity of attempting to understand the message of an infinite God using a finite and fallible mind.

    SKP @ 72, 73: Excellent comments, indeed.

  • Porcell

    DonS, at seventy-six, well said. I agree with your basic point that orthodox Christians share certain core beliefs including the Incarnation, Resurrection, Saving Grace, and the reality of Hell. While great Christian thinkers differ in the nuance and details of these core views, they are substantially agreed on the fundamentals. This is far from relativism.

    The truth is that Christianity has been blessed with some great thinkers including Paul, the Cappadocians, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, and many others. All the denominations and free churches have contributed to the mosaic of Christian thought, though there is great need in our time for more catholicity of thought.

    There is a way to be faithful to one’s own tradition and still understand that as Paul remarked on earth we all see through a glass darkly.

    I very much admire your ability to strongly defend your own views, while, also, trying to respect other person’s view.

  • Porcell

    DonS, at seventy-six, well said. I agree with your basic point that orthodox Christians share certain core beliefs including the Incarnation, Resurrection, Saving Grace, and the reality of Hell. While great Christian thinkers differ in the nuance and details of these core views, they are substantially agreed on the fundamentals. This is far from relativism.

    The truth is that Christianity has been blessed with some great thinkers including Paul, the Cappadocians, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, and many others. All the denominations and free churches have contributed to the mosaic of Christian thought, though there is great need in our time for more catholicity of thought.

    There is a way to be faithful to one’s own tradition and still understand that as Paul remarked on earth we all see through a glass darkly.

    I very much admire your ability to strongly defend your own views, while, also, trying to respect other person’s view.

  • Craig

    History shows that it is the Reformed, Calvin himself in fact, who are/were obsessed with breaking into Lutheran churches and spreading their nonsense rrrr their enlighten view of the sacraments and the atonement. Lutherans have no history of trying to worm their way into Reformed congregations. The Reformed feel the need say there are only small differences between us. Reformed guys like Horton and Sproul love to quote Martin Luther and they act like Luther was a Calvinist and that he would have approved the Institutes. That’s garbage! Luther thought Zwingli & Calvin were enthusiasts. I don’t know of any Lutherans who value Calvin’s “insights” enough to quote him in a sermon. The point is that there are significant differences here and it always seems that the Baptists and Reformed want us Lutherans to acknowledge their point of view. Well here you go….I understand your theology and it is not biblical and I am not interested in it. We do not need another Marburg Colloquy or re-live the Prussian Union mess. You have your confessions and we have ours. Ours happens to be in one book; because our theology just follows the Scriptures and each of our documents are in harmony. You have your confessions and they can’t be in one book because there are so many inconsistencies and contradictions. Look at how many catechisms and confessions and statements of faith the Calvinists have. And now you have the New Prospective on Paul and Federal Vision yahoo’s out there with their statements of belief.
    The Core Doctrine for the Lutheran is: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!
    Calvinists do not believe this. A limited gospel is no gospel.
    Lutherans do not interpret the scriptures on the sacraments rather we believe the words and proclaim them. The Reformed do back flips with the plain teachings of the sacramental verses. You have to be a theologian to understand them.
    It’s funny how the Reformed go myopic on an Arminian/freewill type. But they want Lutherans to acknowledge their interpretation as valid. Sorry Reformed people BofC Lutherans will never validate your errors. The Arminian is messed up with his view of his free will but at least he believes that Gods nature is loving and they concerned for the lost. You Reformed think that the lost are there to glorify God because God, in your view, is obsessed with glorifying himself. Gerhard Forde’s On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 is the second book I recommend to people who are leaving Calvinism after Dr Veith’s The Spirituality of the Cross. I suggest you read them both if you are a Calvinist. Calvinism is a theology of Glory not a theology of the Cross.
    So let’s stop this false respect for everyone’s point of view. There is no need for respecting bad theology. Get over it, Lutherans for the most part don’t respect Reformed theology and they don’t care if the Reformed respect Lutheran theology. At least that is an honest approach.

  • Craig

    History shows that it is the Reformed, Calvin himself in fact, who are/were obsessed with breaking into Lutheran churches and spreading their nonsense rrrr their enlighten view of the sacraments and the atonement. Lutherans have no history of trying to worm their way into Reformed congregations. The Reformed feel the need say there are only small differences between us. Reformed guys like Horton and Sproul love to quote Martin Luther and they act like Luther was a Calvinist and that he would have approved the Institutes. That’s garbage! Luther thought Zwingli & Calvin were enthusiasts. I don’t know of any Lutherans who value Calvin’s “insights” enough to quote him in a sermon. The point is that there are significant differences here and it always seems that the Baptists and Reformed want us Lutherans to acknowledge their point of view. Well here you go….I understand your theology and it is not biblical and I am not interested in it. We do not need another Marburg Colloquy or re-live the Prussian Union mess. You have your confessions and we have ours. Ours happens to be in one book; because our theology just follows the Scriptures and each of our documents are in harmony. You have your confessions and they can’t be in one book because there are so many inconsistencies and contradictions. Look at how many catechisms and confessions and statements of faith the Calvinists have. And now you have the New Prospective on Paul and Federal Vision yahoo’s out there with their statements of belief.
    The Core Doctrine for the Lutheran is: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!
    Calvinists do not believe this. A limited gospel is no gospel.
    Lutherans do not interpret the scriptures on the sacraments rather we believe the words and proclaim them. The Reformed do back flips with the plain teachings of the sacramental verses. You have to be a theologian to understand them.
    It’s funny how the Reformed go myopic on an Arminian/freewill type. But they want Lutherans to acknowledge their interpretation as valid. Sorry Reformed people BofC Lutherans will never validate your errors. The Arminian is messed up with his view of his free will but at least he believes that Gods nature is loving and they concerned for the lost. You Reformed think that the lost are there to glorify God because God, in your view, is obsessed with glorifying himself. Gerhard Forde’s On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 is the second book I recommend to people who are leaving Calvinism after Dr Veith’s The Spirituality of the Cross. I suggest you read them both if you are a Calvinist. Calvinism is a theology of Glory not a theology of the Cross.
    So let’s stop this false respect for everyone’s point of view. There is no need for respecting bad theology. Get over it, Lutherans for the most part don’t respect Reformed theology and they don’t care if the Reformed respect Lutheran theology. At least that is an honest approach.

  • Craig

    Airline Food
    Boarder Control
    Fuzzy Logic
    Lutheran Praiseband
    Horse Fly
    Gay Clergy
    White Lie
    Harmless Sin
    Income Tax
    Mild PMS
    Calvinistic Evangelism
    Church Government
    Stand Fast
    Lutheran Piety
    Country Music
    Worship Service
    Taped Live
    Contempory Christian

    Reformed Baptist

  • Craig

    Airline Food
    Boarder Control
    Fuzzy Logic
    Lutheran Praiseband
    Horse Fly
    Gay Clergy
    White Lie
    Harmless Sin
    Income Tax
    Mild PMS
    Calvinistic Evangelism
    Church Government
    Stand Fast
    Lutheran Piety
    Country Music
    Worship Service
    Taped Live
    Contempory Christian

    Reformed Baptist

  • Grace

    Craig,

    It’s the “truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: that’s what you’re having trouble with.

    You managed to mention Luther/Lutheranism 6 times – Calvinism/Calvin 4 times -…… but you didn’t mention the Bible even once.

    The Bible should be your guide, it isn’t the thickness of those pages, it is the richness, truth, inerrant Word of God, there is none other that can compare, be it Luther, Calvin or any other man who stacks his work, and then the church relies on it rather than going to the HOLY source.

    15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

    16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

    17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

    18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

    19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

    20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

    21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

    22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

    23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

    24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

    25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 4

  • Grace

    Craig,

    It’s the “truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: that’s what you’re having trouble with.

    You managed to mention Luther/Lutheranism 6 times – Calvinism/Calvin 4 times -…… but you didn’t mention the Bible even once.

    The Bible should be your guide, it isn’t the thickness of those pages, it is the richness, truth, inerrant Word of God, there is none other that can compare, be it Luther, Calvin or any other man who stacks his work, and then the church relies on it rather than going to the HOLY source.

    15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

    16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

    17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

    18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

    19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

    20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

    21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

    22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

    23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

    24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

    25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 4

  • Grace

    Craig – 79

    Sounds like you need a “Pepcid” and a good night’s rest, you’ll feel better in the morning,,….. I hope!

  • Grace

    Craig – 79

    Sounds like you need a “Pepcid” and a good night’s rest, you’ll feel better in the morning,,….. I hope!

  • Craig

    Grace 80
    “…with a pure heart fervently:“ that’s what you’re having trouble with.”
    Oh you have no idea how much trouble I have.
    It’s good to know that you have discernment. I just don’t trust my personal interpretation of the Bible. I guess that I really really lack discernment. So I foolishly rely on my pastor preaching to me. I also lean, just like a crutch, on Martin Luther’s Shorter Catechism for devotions and for help with my understanding of the Scriptures. Also I am not doing that well commandment you posted, you know: Be ye holy; for I am holy. How is that “Be Holy” commandment working for you? I hope better than my efforts! Maybe one day I’ll be confident enough to be a Biblicist and I might find the victorious Christian life. But until then I’ll have be way down here with all the sinners at the Lutheran Church.

  • Craig

    Grace 80
    “…with a pure heart fervently:“ that’s what you’re having trouble with.”
    Oh you have no idea how much trouble I have.
    It’s good to know that you have discernment. I just don’t trust my personal interpretation of the Bible. I guess that I really really lack discernment. So I foolishly rely on my pastor preaching to me. I also lean, just like a crutch, on Martin Luther’s Shorter Catechism for devotions and for help with my understanding of the Scriptures. Also I am not doing that well commandment you posted, you know: Be ye holy; for I am holy. How is that “Be Holy” commandment working for you? I hope better than my efforts! Maybe one day I’ll be confident enough to be a Biblicist and I might find the victorious Christian life. But until then I’ll have be way down here with all the sinners at the Lutheran Church.

  • Grace

    Craig,

    If you are a Believer, the HOLY Spirit dwells within you – the HOLY Spirit guides each Believer, you would be no different. Try studying the Bible, see what happens, pray before you start.

    God bless you

  • Grace

    Craig,

    If you are a Believer, the HOLY Spirit dwells within you – the HOLY Spirit guides each Believer, you would be no different. Try studying the Bible, see what happens, pray before you start.

    God bless you

  • Craig

    Why does each Spirit filled believer come up with their own interpretation when reading the Bible? Maybe they do not pray enough? What is more important or what sanctifies believers more; reading the Bible on your own or sitting and listening to preaching?

  • Craig

    Why does each Spirit filled believer come up with their own interpretation when reading the Bible? Maybe they do not pray enough? What is more important or what sanctifies believers more; reading the Bible on your own or sitting and listening to preaching?

  • Grace

    Craig – 84

    I have been in many Bible studies, the Word of God is the most important words you or I will ever read, no man can compare what God has given through the Old Testament, His Apostles and Paul through the HOLY Spirit. It is for us, to search the Scriptures.

    I knew from my teen years that the RCC did not recommend, nor did they encourage their members to read the Bible, they wanted to interpret it for them. In the earlier years it was forbidden except to priests, etc., but not to the Roman Catholic congregation at large. They depended on their catechism, prayer books, and what they were taught by their priests, and what was handed down from the Vatican by the Pope.

    I had a friend some time ago, a doctor, she was going through a tumultuous time in her marriage. She went to see her RC priest. He listened to her story, and then, not knowing what to tell her, handed my friend a paper back book, the Bible. She was surprised and so was I. Even the priest had finally come to understand, that nothing would give her the answers or hope outside God’s Word. I give you this illustration to encourage you to study the Bible … God didn’t give it to us, because He believed us to be ignorant, we are ignorant when we don’t read and study it for ourselves.

    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

  • Grace

    Craig – 84

    I have been in many Bible studies, the Word of God is the most important words you or I will ever read, no man can compare what God has given through the Old Testament, His Apostles and Paul through the HOLY Spirit. It is for us, to search the Scriptures.

    I knew from my teen years that the RCC did not recommend, nor did they encourage their members to read the Bible, they wanted to interpret it for them. In the earlier years it was forbidden except to priests, etc., but not to the Roman Catholic congregation at large. They depended on their catechism, prayer books, and what they were taught by their priests, and what was handed down from the Vatican by the Pope.

    I had a friend some time ago, a doctor, she was going through a tumultuous time in her marriage. She went to see her RC priest. He listened to her story, and then, not knowing what to tell her, handed my friend a paper back book, the Bible. She was surprised and so was I. Even the priest had finally come to understand, that nothing would give her the answers or hope outside God’s Word. I give you this illustration to encourage you to study the Bible … God didn’t give it to us, because He believed us to be ignorant, we are ignorant when we don’t read and study it for ourselves.

    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

  • Grace

    Craig – 84

    “Why does each Spirit filled believer come up with their own interpretation when reading the Bible?”

    Are you filled with the HOLY Spirit Craig?

  • Grace

    Craig – 84

    “Why does each Spirit filled believer come up with their own interpretation when reading the Bible?”

    Are you filled with the HOLY Spirit Craig?

  • Craig

    Give me a minute or two and I’ll check!

  • Craig

    Give me a minute or two and I’ll check!

  • Stephen

    Craig -

    You ought to do Lutheran Stand Up.

  • Stephen

    Craig -

    You ought to do Lutheran Stand Up.

  • Porcell

    Craig, at seventy-six, most Calvinists are not interested in breaking into Lutheranism to spread their views. While they know that there are some differences in each tradition, they mainly understand that Luther is the seminal founder of the Reformation whose ideas of sola fide and scriptura are at the heart of the Reformation and well worth careful study.

    Horton in his recent systematic theology cites Luther sixty times, often with multiple pages. His main intent is to credit Luther, though he does with care and respect point out some differences between the Lutheran and Reformed tradition. At no point does he polemically favor the Reformed over the Lutheran tradition. Like the best of the Lutheran theologians, he is interested in a catholic Christian evangelism, not a narrow Calvinistic one.

  • Porcell

    Craig, at seventy-six, most Calvinists are not interested in breaking into Lutheranism to spread their views. While they know that there are some differences in each tradition, they mainly understand that Luther is the seminal founder of the Reformation whose ideas of sola fide and scriptura are at the heart of the Reformation and well worth careful study.

    Horton in his recent systematic theology cites Luther sixty times, often with multiple pages. His main intent is to credit Luther, though he does with care and respect point out some differences between the Lutheran and Reformed tradition. At no point does he polemically favor the Reformed over the Lutheran tradition. Like the best of the Lutheran theologians, he is interested in a catholic Christian evangelism, not a narrow Calvinistic one.

  • kerner

    Craig:

    You forgot:

    Jumbo shrimp
    Military intelligence
    Legal ethics, and
    Safe sex

  • kerner

    Craig:

    You forgot:

    Jumbo shrimp
    Military intelligence
    Legal ethics, and
    Safe sex

  • Craig

    Silent Alarm
    Systematic Theology
    Swiss Army
    Slow Speed
    Sober Drunk
    Reformed Scholar

    Porcell
    I know Mike Horton and have had several conversations with him. I think that he is a very nice guy to be sure. However he is not a “pure” Reformed guy. In fact many Reformed people struggle with him because of his quasi Lutheran Law Gospel distinction. True Reformed theology rejects Luther’s Law Gospel distinction and they prefer a covenantal distinction. My issue is that Lutherans get drawn in by this language and they end up thinking that these Reformed guys are really close to us. This is just not the case. Horton and the like fully reject the Body and Blood of Jesus in, with and under the bread and wine. They also do not believe the plain words of 1 Pet. 3:21. And they do not believe John the Baptists proclamation about the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world. The Reformed are truly of a different spirit as Luther once said. Nothing has changed. It does not surprise me the Mike would quote Luther many times over. Reformed like him (not all to be sure) really want approval from Lutherans. And some weak minded Lutherans give in. This is a false unity on an unsteady pretense. The local church needs to proclaim (evangelize) not “like-minded” reformational folks banding together. This is just another form of revivalism. Anyway this is simply my take on these “alliances” and this silly need to “respect” each other’s views. I do not respect Limited Atonement, Not really present sacraments, the improper separation of the two natures, etc. from the Reformed. In fact I think that John Calvin was an ass and his theology has damaged many souls over the centuries. He should have not strayed from Luther’s teachings of Sola Scriptura. Calvin is one of many glory theologians. Was he brilliant? Yes! Was he very wrong on many important doctrines? YES! I expect the Reformed to have the same discontent for Lutherans. False alliances are nothing the Luther would have wanted if I may. Now please understand I have a lot of Reformed friends, in fact I was Reformed for years. Some are still close friends and others shun me. That is all ok by me. I do not wish to commune with these friends. Their beliefs are very different and there is no real koinonia. Let’s be honest and not break bread together. I am very content with Lutheran theology. It delivers Jesus and the forgiveness of sins to me and my family. I hope that my Reformed friends who have nightmares over Limited Atonement will come to the truth of the Gospel of Christ i.e. Lutheranism. And please don’t feed me that false line of garbage about how the Limited Atonement brings you comfort. I used to say that nonsense to people while my insides were churning with fear. God electing people to Hell gives you comfort? Really? That is truly not Christian, good right nor salutary. So Horton can go on all he wants to about Luther this and Luther that. But in the final analysis he rejects Luther on Word & Sacrament. This is the very core of Luther and his theology. Notice to Reformed theologians Luther is Lutheran and you are the enthusiasts in his eyes. Stop quoting him on the parts you like and acting like you are one of his heirs. You are not. And Lutherans certainly are no sons of Calvin.

    Reformed Comfort
    Stunted Growth
    Random Pattern
    Student Teacher

  • Craig

    Silent Alarm
    Systematic Theology
    Swiss Army
    Slow Speed
    Sober Drunk
    Reformed Scholar

    Porcell
    I know Mike Horton and have had several conversations with him. I think that he is a very nice guy to be sure. However he is not a “pure” Reformed guy. In fact many Reformed people struggle with him because of his quasi Lutheran Law Gospel distinction. True Reformed theology rejects Luther’s Law Gospel distinction and they prefer a covenantal distinction. My issue is that Lutherans get drawn in by this language and they end up thinking that these Reformed guys are really close to us. This is just not the case. Horton and the like fully reject the Body and Blood of Jesus in, with and under the bread and wine. They also do not believe the plain words of 1 Pet. 3:21. And they do not believe John the Baptists proclamation about the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world. The Reformed are truly of a different spirit as Luther once said. Nothing has changed. It does not surprise me the Mike would quote Luther many times over. Reformed like him (not all to be sure) really want approval from Lutherans. And some weak minded Lutherans give in. This is a false unity on an unsteady pretense. The local church needs to proclaim (evangelize) not “like-minded” reformational folks banding together. This is just another form of revivalism. Anyway this is simply my take on these “alliances” and this silly need to “respect” each other’s views. I do not respect Limited Atonement, Not really present sacraments, the improper separation of the two natures, etc. from the Reformed. In fact I think that John Calvin was an ass and his theology has damaged many souls over the centuries. He should have not strayed from Luther’s teachings of Sola Scriptura. Calvin is one of many glory theologians. Was he brilliant? Yes! Was he very wrong on many important doctrines? YES! I expect the Reformed to have the same discontent for Lutherans. False alliances are nothing the Luther would have wanted if I may. Now please understand I have a lot of Reformed friends, in fact I was Reformed for years. Some are still close friends and others shun me. That is all ok by me. I do not wish to commune with these friends. Their beliefs are very different and there is no real koinonia. Let’s be honest and not break bread together. I am very content with Lutheran theology. It delivers Jesus and the forgiveness of sins to me and my family. I hope that my Reformed friends who have nightmares over Limited Atonement will come to the truth of the Gospel of Christ i.e. Lutheranism. And please don’t feed me that false line of garbage about how the Limited Atonement brings you comfort. I used to say that nonsense to people while my insides were churning with fear. God electing people to Hell gives you comfort? Really? That is truly not Christian, good right nor salutary. So Horton can go on all he wants to about Luther this and Luther that. But in the final analysis he rejects Luther on Word & Sacrament. This is the very core of Luther and his theology. Notice to Reformed theologians Luther is Lutheran and you are the enthusiasts in his eyes. Stop quoting him on the parts you like and acting like you are one of his heirs. You are not. And Lutherans certainly are no sons of Calvin.

    Reformed Comfort
    Stunted Growth
    Random Pattern
    Student Teacher

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@89), your own actions, of course, belie your claim that “most Calvinists are not interested in breaking into Lutheranism to spread their views.”

    I mean, here you are, on a blog written by a Lutheran, commented on by an abundance of Lutherans, frequently discussing Lutheranism, and what do you do? You call us “boorish”, “fanatics”, “the bane of religion”, and any other number of insults you can think up. You then tell us with absolute certainty that Lutheran doctrines are wrong, Calvinist doctrines are the truth, and then have enough gall left over to claim that there isn’t much difference between Lutheranism and Calvinism.

    It’s not like you’re the only Calvinist to have done that here, you know.

    Horton credits Luther, but the Lutheran Confessions, as I recall, don’t give much credit to Calvin. Seems like one side understands all too well the differences between the two, and the other side is all too eager to paper over them and glom onto some name power.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@89), your own actions, of course, belie your claim that “most Calvinists are not interested in breaking into Lutheranism to spread their views.”

    I mean, here you are, on a blog written by a Lutheran, commented on by an abundance of Lutherans, frequently discussing Lutheranism, and what do you do? You call us “boorish”, “fanatics”, “the bane of religion”, and any other number of insults you can think up. You then tell us with absolute certainty that Lutheran doctrines are wrong, Calvinist doctrines are the truth, and then have enough gall left over to claim that there isn’t much difference between Lutheranism and Calvinism.

    It’s not like you’re the only Calvinist to have done that here, you know.

    Horton credits Luther, but the Lutheran Confessions, as I recall, don’t give much credit to Calvin. Seems like one side understands all too well the differences between the two, and the other side is all too eager to paper over them and glom onto some name power.

  • Porcell

    Craig, Since Calvin quite understood the law/gospel distinction as well as the covenant of redemption, “true” reformed people do as well. Anyone who has read Calvin well knows that he doesn’t differ from Luther on the law/gospel distinction.

    On the issue of communion Calvin viewed cup and bread as real from Christ through the Holy Spirit rather than directly, something rather different than Zwingli’s view.

    On limited atonement Calvin followed the biblical references in Paul and other biblical sources as did Augustine. Luther in The Bondage of the Will had the same view, though later Lutheran theologians adopted a more universal view. The issue has been struggled with by the greatest Christian minds. Calvin actually made very limited reference to it in his Institutes.

    Again, most Reformed folk including Horton have no interest in meddling with Lutheran theology. Their interest in Luther stems from knowing that he was the seminal founder of the Reformation.Why it is that some Lutherans are so defensive about Reformed views, I wouldn’t pretend to understand. I do know that most knowledgeable orthodox Reformed folk far from obsess about their differences with Lutheranism. They, also, know the biblical basis, having to with God’s fore-knowledge and ordination, for limited atonement as did Luther.

  • Porcell

    Craig, Since Calvin quite understood the law/gospel distinction as well as the covenant of redemption, “true” reformed people do as well. Anyone who has read Calvin well knows that he doesn’t differ from Luther on the law/gospel distinction.

    On the issue of communion Calvin viewed cup and bread as real from Christ through the Holy Spirit rather than directly, something rather different than Zwingli’s view.

    On limited atonement Calvin followed the biblical references in Paul and other biblical sources as did Augustine. Luther in The Bondage of the Will had the same view, though later Lutheran theologians adopted a more universal view. The issue has been struggled with by the greatest Christian minds. Calvin actually made very limited reference to it in his Institutes.

    Again, most Reformed folk including Horton have no interest in meddling with Lutheran theology. Their interest in Luther stems from knowing that he was the seminal founder of the Reformation.Why it is that some Lutherans are so defensive about Reformed views, I wouldn’t pretend to understand. I do know that most knowledgeable orthodox Reformed folk far from obsess about their differences with Lutheranism. They, also, know the biblical basis, having to with God’s fore-knowledge and ordination, for limited atonement as did Luther.

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  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk.

    I am sorta taken aback by your definition of orthodoxy and heresy. Todd has it right.

    Lutherans would go to romans 1 to define heresy. Original sin is not unbelief, it is pure idolatry. it is the belief in anything but Christ.

    we are all heretics in the most damning sense then: our old adam worships the creation rather than the creator. that is a capital sin sk. that is mortal sin. that is why you and I will die along with our Old Adam.

    Now the solution is not to relativize sin, some things are more heretical than others, some sins are more damning than others…..

    ALL sin , which is “merely ” they symptom of our religous old adam’s faith run amok , is the symptom of idolatry. what heresy is worse than idolatry? none.

    so what makes us different than the heretics? In a real sense, nothing, the doctrine is not ours. we are not saved by the purity of our doctrine because none of us personally has that. so what is the difference?

    pure doctrine is like a banner. it is what people who hear the voice of their Good Shepherd rally under in this battle that is life. There are many baptists and presbyterians, and yes many gay men and lesbians, who simply trust the words of Jesus and are lutheran even if not in name.

    A church that claims to be THE church, (ie catholic, orthodoc, the christian church) are heretical. But a church that cannot and does not claim that to it’s slice rightfully belongs the whole pie also loses it’s moral right to exist as a separately confessing body.

    Don S is really claiming that there is nothing so weighty that really justifies his body as remaining separate from other christians. They morally are obligated to desolve and return to Rome or wherever….

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk.

    I am sorta taken aback by your definition of orthodoxy and heresy. Todd has it right.

    Lutherans would go to romans 1 to define heresy. Original sin is not unbelief, it is pure idolatry. it is the belief in anything but Christ.

    we are all heretics in the most damning sense then: our old adam worships the creation rather than the creator. that is a capital sin sk. that is mortal sin. that is why you and I will die along with our Old Adam.

    Now the solution is not to relativize sin, some things are more heretical than others, some sins are more damning than others…..

    ALL sin , which is “merely ” they symptom of our religous old adam’s faith run amok , is the symptom of idolatry. what heresy is worse than idolatry? none.

    so what makes us different than the heretics? In a real sense, nothing, the doctrine is not ours. we are not saved by the purity of our doctrine because none of us personally has that. so what is the difference?

    pure doctrine is like a banner. it is what people who hear the voice of their Good Shepherd rally under in this battle that is life. There are many baptists and presbyterians, and yes many gay men and lesbians, who simply trust the words of Jesus and are lutheran even if not in name.

    A church that claims to be THE church, (ie catholic, orthodoc, the christian church) are heretical. But a church that cannot and does not claim that to it’s slice rightfully belongs the whole pie also loses it’s moral right to exist as a separately confessing body.

    Don S is really claiming that there is nothing so weighty that really justifies his body as remaining separate from other christians. They morally are obligated to desolve and return to Rome or wherever….

  • DonS

    FWS @ 94:

    Don S is really claiming that there is nothing so weighty that really justifies his body as remaining separate from other christians. They morally are obligated to desolve and return to Rome or wherever….

    I’m not sure what you mean by this, FWS. All I was trying to say in this thread was that you will be a better influencer of people if, when you are engaging them one-on-one, you avoid labels and pejoratives, and respectfully discuss the issues in a substantive way.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 94:

    Don S is really claiming that there is nothing so weighty that really justifies his body as remaining separate from other christians. They morally are obligated to desolve and return to Rome or wherever….

    I’m not sure what you mean by this, FWS. All I was trying to say in this thread was that you will be a better influencer of people if, when you are engaging them one-on-one, you avoid labels and pejoratives, and respectfully discuss the issues in a substantive way.

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  • jahira

    HEAD OF ALL INSTITUTIONS & EVERYBODY, January 06, 2012
    RESPECTED SIR,
    WHY CRIMINALS ARE THERE
    GOOD WAS THERE, WORD GOD WAS MADE FOR LITERATE CRIME
    MANY WORDS HAS BEEN CREATED
    >>>>>>>>ANIMALS’ CANNOT THINK / TELL TRUTH>>>>>>
    EVERYBODY WANTS BETTERMENT OF FEMALES,
    WHY SO MANY RELIGIONS HAS BEEN CREATED????????????
    IS MARRIAGE NECESSARY TO THINK FOR BETTERMENT OF ALL FEMALES????
    Now, HOW to identify females / people by religion & country wise?????
    AFTER A CHILD BORN, WHY STUDY & MAKE HIM SITTING
    INFRONT OF ANY GOD
    THINK & SEE, WHAT HAPPENS????????????? “THIS IS LITERATE CRIME”

    After finishing the EDUCATION doesn’t Marry & become A SAINTS’ to avoid all diseases & all corruptions. THINKING SHOULD BE BETTER / BEST. WHY TO MARRY & WHY A CHILD OR A MALE CHILD TO BE KILLED / SLAUGHTERED IN THIS ANIMALS’ WORLD????????? BY THIS THE CHILDREN, WHO WILL MARRY AND WHO WILL NOT MARRY BOTH / EVERYBODY WILL HAVE FULL OF KNOWLEDGE. PEOPLE / CHILDREN SHOULD BE CAREFUL FROM SCHOOLS / CHILDHOOD.

    Everybody can think on TRUTH. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN GOVERNMENTS / POLITICS WHOM WE CAN SAY THE AGENTS OF CRIMINALS OR CRIMINALS ARE THEIR GOD OTHERWISE HOW IT IS POSSIABLE LIKE THE DEATH OF FORMER PM OF INDIA LATE MRS. INDIRA GANDHI / MR. RAJEEV GANDHI OR OTHERS’ INCIDENTS. WHY YOU THINK CHILDREN ARE AS GOOD AS ANIMALS’ & CAN ADJUST.

    RESERVATION & BETTERMENT OF FEMALES SHOULD BE MORE THAN 100%, WHY 33% AND EVERYWHERE SHOULD BE FULL OF FEMALES OF ALL RELIGIONS.
    LIKE 50% females SHOULD BE FROM LOW INCOME GROUP OR FARMERS, WHO WORKS
    HARD FOR FOOD FOR EVERYBODY
    10% SCHOOL STUDENTS’ INTERESTED IN POLITICS TO THINK FOR THEIR YOUNGERS
    10% COLLEGE STUDENTS’ INTERESTED IN POLITICS TO THINK FOR YOUNGERS
    10% TEACHERS’ BEST IN MATHS / SCIENCE / MEDICAL
    10% DOCTORS’
    10% SCIENTISTS’
    IN ABOVE 30% LEARNED CATOGARIES MAY GUIDE OTHERS TO THINK BETTER / BEST.

    >>>>>EDUCATE A CHILD ALWAYS, ‘’HOW SHOULD NOT BE KILLED / SLAUGHTERED LIKE GOAT / ANIMALS’ BY A FEMALE OR THEIR WRONG EDUCATORS’ IN REMOTE AREAS’’???????????????
    WHETHER ANY CASTE????????????????????
    ——————-Cont;2————————–

    Learn from animals’ / dead bodies / WORLD to discuss as doctors’ learn to save humans and scientists’ learn for developments & safety. PLEASE DONOT LEAVE ANYTHING ON ANY GOD & THINK BETTER / BEST.
    Differences between animals & humans is
    ‘Humans can think & have mind which can think for the best’
    WHY IS GOOD EDUCATION OR
    ONLY FOR CHILDRENS’ TO MISGUIDE & SLAUGHTERED

    SELECT ATLEAST FEW TRUTH / GOOD POINTS FOR CHILDREN TO REACH AT THE BEST LIKE DR. ABDUL KALAM / SWAMI VIVEKANANDA / BILL GATES / RAHIM ETC. BUT DONOT SING A SONG ONLY OR DONOT LISTEN ANYTHING LIKE STORY OF ANYBODY AND THINKS TO DO BETTER / BEST FOR PEOPLE / CHILDREN OR THINKS IN PRACTICAL FOR CHILDREN. THE HUMANS IN THE WORLD IS MOVING BECAUSE OF FARMERS, WHO’S WORKS HARD FOR FOOD. THE MAIN CORRUPTION IS THE GAP BETWEEN STUDY / THEORY / THEORITICAL AND PRACTICAL.
    Page no.47 (10PthP Line) The pride of man is due to his thinking power and man are
    different due to his thinking power only.
    Above written in HINDI BOOK ———–VEDANTA IN PRACTICAL LIFE
    Page no.24 (18PthP Line) To-day the EDUCATION given to females is not good. We should
    give Progressive & Truth Education and it is not only from the books.
    Page no.68 (12PthP Line) If we think & ask them, they have nine lives in INDIA
    like Cats and Boys are dying like houseflies.
    0BAbove written in HINDI BOOK ———–Bhartiya Nari
    Written by Swami Vivekananda
    ATLEAST BY THINKING / WORKING LIKE DR. ABDUL KALAM / BILL GATES YOU MAY ALSO REACH TO BEST / EXECELLENT TO SAVE PEOPLE / CHILDREN FROM WRONG EDUCATORS’ / LITERATE CRIME. Think & you may RESEARCH, why Muslim males are giving their skin or a small portion of males’ organ in childhood. There is theoretical & scientific reason & behind this reason of ETHICS is also there, you can also think. Other differences may be also RESEARCH for children. TELL THEM TRUTH. Why humans cannot think above neck, if you think below neck, you are male & female. IF A CHILD HAVE MIND OR SENSIBILITY TO THINK BECOME A BEST DOCTOR / SCIENTISTS TO SAVE HUMANS’ OR THINK ON TRUTH for best world for children by automatic system OR simple law AND insist to become a scientists for the best world by healing or other technologies like sensor / laser / Nana technology / remote / reiki etc. A CHILD / YOU MAY UNDERSTAND BY A PICTURE WHAT THEY DO AND HOW THEY DO.
    FROM; KISHAN JALAN, INDIA 0651—2200166 / 3279 & 033—22597321 / 7429 AND 0 98318 22701

  • jahira

    HEAD OF ALL INSTITUTIONS & EVERYBODY, January 06, 2012
    RESPECTED SIR,
    WHY CRIMINALS ARE THERE
    GOOD WAS THERE, WORD GOD WAS MADE FOR LITERATE CRIME
    MANY WORDS HAS BEEN CREATED
    >>>>>>>>ANIMALS’ CANNOT THINK / TELL TRUTH>>>>>>
    EVERYBODY WANTS BETTERMENT OF FEMALES,
    WHY SO MANY RELIGIONS HAS BEEN CREATED????????????
    IS MARRIAGE NECESSARY TO THINK FOR BETTERMENT OF ALL FEMALES????
    Now, HOW to identify females / people by religion & country wise?????
    AFTER A CHILD BORN, WHY STUDY & MAKE HIM SITTING
    INFRONT OF ANY GOD
    THINK & SEE, WHAT HAPPENS????????????? “THIS IS LITERATE CRIME”

    After finishing the EDUCATION doesn’t Marry & become A SAINTS’ to avoid all diseases & all corruptions. THINKING SHOULD BE BETTER / BEST. WHY TO MARRY & WHY A CHILD OR A MALE CHILD TO BE KILLED / SLAUGHTERED IN THIS ANIMALS’ WORLD????????? BY THIS THE CHILDREN, WHO WILL MARRY AND WHO WILL NOT MARRY BOTH / EVERYBODY WILL HAVE FULL OF KNOWLEDGE. PEOPLE / CHILDREN SHOULD BE CAREFUL FROM SCHOOLS / CHILDHOOD.

    Everybody can think on TRUTH. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN GOVERNMENTS / POLITICS WHOM WE CAN SAY THE AGENTS OF CRIMINALS OR CRIMINALS ARE THEIR GOD OTHERWISE HOW IT IS POSSIABLE LIKE THE DEATH OF FORMER PM OF INDIA LATE MRS. INDIRA GANDHI / MR. RAJEEV GANDHI OR OTHERS’ INCIDENTS. WHY YOU THINK CHILDREN ARE AS GOOD AS ANIMALS’ & CAN ADJUST.

    RESERVATION & BETTERMENT OF FEMALES SHOULD BE MORE THAN 100%, WHY 33% AND EVERYWHERE SHOULD BE FULL OF FEMALES OF ALL RELIGIONS.
    LIKE 50% females SHOULD BE FROM LOW INCOME GROUP OR FARMERS, WHO WORKS
    HARD FOR FOOD FOR EVERYBODY
    10% SCHOOL STUDENTS’ INTERESTED IN POLITICS TO THINK FOR THEIR YOUNGERS
    10% COLLEGE STUDENTS’ INTERESTED IN POLITICS TO THINK FOR YOUNGERS
    10% TEACHERS’ BEST IN MATHS / SCIENCE / MEDICAL
    10% DOCTORS’
    10% SCIENTISTS’
    IN ABOVE 30% LEARNED CATOGARIES MAY GUIDE OTHERS TO THINK BETTER / BEST.

    >>>>>EDUCATE A CHILD ALWAYS, ‘’HOW SHOULD NOT BE KILLED / SLAUGHTERED LIKE GOAT / ANIMALS’ BY A FEMALE OR THEIR WRONG EDUCATORS’ IN REMOTE AREAS’’???????????????
    WHETHER ANY CASTE????????????????????
    ——————-Cont;2————————–

    Learn from animals’ / dead bodies / WORLD to discuss as doctors’ learn to save humans and scientists’ learn for developments & safety. PLEASE DONOT LEAVE ANYTHING ON ANY GOD & THINK BETTER / BEST.
    Differences between animals & humans is
    ‘Humans can think & have mind which can think for the best’
    WHY IS GOOD EDUCATION OR
    ONLY FOR CHILDRENS’ TO MISGUIDE & SLAUGHTERED

    SELECT ATLEAST FEW TRUTH / GOOD POINTS FOR CHILDREN TO REACH AT THE BEST LIKE DR. ABDUL KALAM / SWAMI VIVEKANANDA / BILL GATES / RAHIM ETC. BUT DONOT SING A SONG ONLY OR DONOT LISTEN ANYTHING LIKE STORY OF ANYBODY AND THINKS TO DO BETTER / BEST FOR PEOPLE / CHILDREN OR THINKS IN PRACTICAL FOR CHILDREN. THE HUMANS IN THE WORLD IS MOVING BECAUSE OF FARMERS, WHO’S WORKS HARD FOR FOOD. THE MAIN CORRUPTION IS THE GAP BETWEEN STUDY / THEORY / THEORITICAL AND PRACTICAL.
    Page no.47 (10PthP Line) The pride of man is due to his thinking power and man are
    different due to his thinking power only.
    Above written in HINDI BOOK ———–VEDANTA IN PRACTICAL LIFE
    Page no.24 (18PthP Line) To-day the EDUCATION given to females is not good. We should
    give Progressive & Truth Education and it is not only from the books.
    Page no.68 (12PthP Line) If we think & ask them, they have nine lives in INDIA
    like Cats and Boys are dying like houseflies.
    0BAbove written in HINDI BOOK ———–Bhartiya Nari
    Written by Swami Vivekananda
    ATLEAST BY THINKING / WORKING LIKE DR. ABDUL KALAM / BILL GATES YOU MAY ALSO REACH TO BEST / EXECELLENT TO SAVE PEOPLE / CHILDREN FROM WRONG EDUCATORS’ / LITERATE CRIME. Think & you may RESEARCH, why Muslim males are giving their skin or a small portion of males’ organ in childhood. There is theoretical & scientific reason & behind this reason of ETHICS is also there, you can also think. Other differences may be also RESEARCH for children. TELL THEM TRUTH. Why humans cannot think above neck, if you think below neck, you are male & female. IF A CHILD HAVE MIND OR SENSIBILITY TO THINK BECOME A BEST DOCTOR / SCIENTISTS TO SAVE HUMANS’ OR THINK ON TRUTH for best world for children by automatic system OR simple law AND insist to become a scientists for the best world by healing or other technologies like sensor / laser / Nana technology / remote / reiki etc. A CHILD / YOU MAY UNDERSTAND BY A PICTURE WHAT THEY DO AND HOW THEY DO.
    FROM; KISHAN JALAN, INDIA 0651—2200166 / 3279 & 033—22597321 / 7429 AND 0 98318 22701

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