The "nones" as hyper-Protestants?

More from that Pew study of Americans who are unaffiliated with any religion.  It turns out that the 20% of Americans who check “none” when asked their religion are not necessarily complete secularist materialists.  Only 6% of Americans are atheists. Most of the “nones” seem to be simply people who have religious beliefs that are highly privatized.

The beliefs of the unaffiliated aren’t easy to characterize, as the Pew poll shows. The nones are far less likely to attend worship services or to say religion is important in their lives. But 68 percent say they believe in God or a universal spirit, one-fifth say they pray every day and 5 percent report attending weekly services of some kind.

via One in five Americans reports no religious affiliation, study says – The Washington Post.

Many American Christians have little use for church authority and focus instead on “me and Jesus.”  Many American churches do little with collective doctrines or corporate identity, emphasizing their member’s individual religious experience.  Aren’t these “nones” just the next step, going from the individual’s right to interpret the Bible for himself to the individual’s right to believe anything he wants, leaving the Bible out of it?  Though the Pew study says that Protestantism has declined to a mere 48% of the American public, aren’t the “nones” really just hyper-Protestants?

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.

  • Michael B.

    “Aren’t these “nones” just the next step, going from the individual’s right to interpret the Bible for himself to the individual’s right to believe anything he wants, leaving the Bible out of it? Though the Pew study says that Protestantism has declined to a mere 48% of the American public, aren’t the “nones” really just hyper-Protestants?”

    Ha. I never thought of it this way. It’s something of a great slippery-slope argument for Catholicism: Look, if we’re going to let individual denominations and even pastors interpret their own Bibles for themselves, why can’t everyone? We’ll have a different Christianity for every believer.

  • Michael B.

    “Aren’t these “nones” just the next step, going from the individual’s right to interpret the Bible for himself to the individual’s right to believe anything he wants, leaving the Bible out of it? Though the Pew study says that Protestantism has declined to a mere 48% of the American public, aren’t the “nones” really just hyper-Protestants?”

    Ha. I never thought of it this way. It’s something of a great slippery-slope argument for Catholicism: Look, if we’re going to let individual denominations and even pastors interpret their own Bibles for themselves, why can’t everyone? We’ll have a different Christianity for every believer.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Though the Pew study says that Protestantism has declined to a mere 48% of the American public, aren’t the “nones” really just hyper-Protestants?

    Probably have a lot of trouble with that first table of the law.

    If God is God, and you are not, then He makes the rules, and you don’t. That is a tough one especially because no one can comprehend the mind of God.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Though the Pew study says that Protestantism has declined to a mere 48% of the American public, aren’t the “nones” really just hyper-Protestants?

    Probably have a lot of trouble with that first table of the law.

    If God is God, and you are not, then He makes the rules, and you don’t. That is a tough one especially because no one can comprehend the mind of God.

  • Tom Hering

    … aren’t the “nones” really just hyper-Protestants?

    Nah. A Protestant is someone who belongs to a denomination that has its roots in a past rejection of Roman Catholic authority. And it’s a Roman Catholic slander that Protestants replaced Rome’s authority with individual interpretation. (No denominational or non-denominational church says, “Come and believe whatever you like.”) The Nones, or rather those Nones who consider themselves spiritual, couldn’t care less about Reformation issues or biblical interpretation. So I don’t see how, when it comes to religion, they’re anything but hyper-Americans.

  • Tom Hering

    … aren’t the “nones” really just hyper-Protestants?

    Nah. A Protestant is someone who belongs to a denomination that has its roots in a past rejection of Roman Catholic authority. And it’s a Roman Catholic slander that Protestants replaced Rome’s authority with individual interpretation. (No denominational or non-denominational church says, “Come and believe whatever you like.”) The Nones, or rather those Nones who consider themselves spiritual, couldn’t care less about Reformation issues or biblical interpretation. So I don’t see how, when it comes to religion, they’re anything but hyper-Americans.

  • larry

    That could be “an” interpretation of the data, and perhaps partially accurate. But generally speaking those of the “nones” that are of the “me and my Jesus” crowd are generally still religious (in the bad sense), they’ve just taken their toys home to play with.

    I’ve run into quite a different phenomena that runs the gammit from very conservative type folks to very liberal type folks, from youth to people my dads age – in my family/friend/acquaintance net work that fall into the “none” category.

    If you talk with them for a while you come to find that they’ve left the church, whatever denomination it was, because they’ve not been hearing the Gospel at all nor receiving. Now, caution, they don’t immediately express it in those exact words but they know something has been wrong and they’ve long sworn off church/religion. I’ve run into this a ton of times and so has a friend of mine whose a minister. After you talk with them and get around to – even not using the word “gospel” because like “repentance” that word has taken on a whole other extra biblical meaning over time and there hearing (after all what church says it doesn’t preach the “gospel”, “oh yea we preach the gospel”…sure you do, riiight!) – when you express it in a stunning way that gets back to the real Gospel, every reaction I’ve seen has been nothing but shear stunning, moment stopping, “that’s it!” or similar. Suddenly they become interested in this they have not quite been able to put their finger on and not heard. By way of example one time it was like this, the guy had long left the church, and we were just talking in general about churches. He couldn’t quite put his finger on why he quite his church other than nothing was coming from it. The discussion got around to music, not having gone to his church I was flying blind because that can be a broad problem and topic. Finally I said, “Well something to consider is what is the music saying to you. Is it singing about “What your gonna do for God” or is it telling you “What Christ did FOR YOU”. Stunned he stopped and said, “That’s it, I think you’ve put your finger on it”. I offered him R. Rosenbladt’s two parter on “Those Broken By the Church” and the other 15 minute one on the Gospel CD. He took. When we met again, he told me he shared it with his family, including many brothers, all variously peeled away from their churches and the ubiquitous response was, “That’s it, where can I hear more of that”.

    I and my friend can repeat that story now and slight variations of it so much that we’ve both lost count of the events. Another point on this, and this may be just because as guys most of our friends and acquaintances are men, this is always with men. My experience is men flee church first when the Gospel leaves (but that may just be my circle of associations too).

    Put another way, in that remake movie of Luther a few years ago, there’s that scene near the beginning where he says (it’s a quote from Luther, best I can from memory) “so when the devil accuses you and flings your sins in your face and you deserve hell, say it is true, yes, but there is another in my place…Jesus Christ and where He is I will be also”. It’s like that. Many of these same people we’ve run into get around to seeing this movie and without exception they love that part of the movie and have said, “I’ve never once heard that message in church”.

    This is one of the reasons I find that many that have fled their churches, and may never get exposed to the Gospel in a solid Lutheran church or even have one within shouting distance – they’ve not fled Christ, like Sam Kinneson, Jesus is not the problem – they are in reality clinging to their baptism, unbeknown to themselves. I mean even ex-baptist that will never darken the door of a church again. When you ask them they don’t say, “I’m still a Christian because I try to do good, etc…”, they always say, “I’m not an unbeliever, I’ve been baptized” (I hear that from ex-baptist). And that shows the power of baptism even without a formal doctrinal explanation. When even the church fails, that baptism holds them!

  • larry

    That could be “an” interpretation of the data, and perhaps partially accurate. But generally speaking those of the “nones” that are of the “me and my Jesus” crowd are generally still religious (in the bad sense), they’ve just taken their toys home to play with.

    I’ve run into quite a different phenomena that runs the gammit from very conservative type folks to very liberal type folks, from youth to people my dads age – in my family/friend/acquaintance net work that fall into the “none” category.

    If you talk with them for a while you come to find that they’ve left the church, whatever denomination it was, because they’ve not been hearing the Gospel at all nor receiving. Now, caution, they don’t immediately express it in those exact words but they know something has been wrong and they’ve long sworn off church/religion. I’ve run into this a ton of times and so has a friend of mine whose a minister. After you talk with them and get around to – even not using the word “gospel” because like “repentance” that word has taken on a whole other extra biblical meaning over time and there hearing (after all what church says it doesn’t preach the “gospel”, “oh yea we preach the gospel”…sure you do, riiight!) – when you express it in a stunning way that gets back to the real Gospel, every reaction I’ve seen has been nothing but shear stunning, moment stopping, “that’s it!” or similar. Suddenly they become interested in this they have not quite been able to put their finger on and not heard. By way of example one time it was like this, the guy had long left the church, and we were just talking in general about churches. He couldn’t quite put his finger on why he quite his church other than nothing was coming from it. The discussion got around to music, not having gone to his church I was flying blind because that can be a broad problem and topic. Finally I said, “Well something to consider is what is the music saying to you. Is it singing about “What your gonna do for God” or is it telling you “What Christ did FOR YOU”. Stunned he stopped and said, “That’s it, I think you’ve put your finger on it”. I offered him R. Rosenbladt’s two parter on “Those Broken By the Church” and the other 15 minute one on the Gospel CD. He took. When we met again, he told me he shared it with his family, including many brothers, all variously peeled away from their churches and the ubiquitous response was, “That’s it, where can I hear more of that”.

    I and my friend can repeat that story now and slight variations of it so much that we’ve both lost count of the events. Another point on this, and this may be just because as guys most of our friends and acquaintances are men, this is always with men. My experience is men flee church first when the Gospel leaves (but that may just be my circle of associations too).

    Put another way, in that remake movie of Luther a few years ago, there’s that scene near the beginning where he says (it’s a quote from Luther, best I can from memory) “so when the devil accuses you and flings your sins in your face and you deserve hell, say it is true, yes, but there is another in my place…Jesus Christ and where He is I will be also”. It’s like that. Many of these same people we’ve run into get around to seeing this movie and without exception they love that part of the movie and have said, “I’ve never once heard that message in church”.

    This is one of the reasons I find that many that have fled their churches, and may never get exposed to the Gospel in a solid Lutheran church or even have one within shouting distance – they’ve not fled Christ, like Sam Kinneson, Jesus is not the problem – they are in reality clinging to their baptism, unbeknown to themselves. I mean even ex-baptist that will never darken the door of a church again. When you ask them they don’t say, “I’m still a Christian because I try to do good, etc…”, they always say, “I’m not an unbeliever, I’ve been baptized” (I hear that from ex-baptist). And that shows the power of baptism even without a formal doctrinal explanation. When even the church fails, that baptism holds them!

  • DonS

    You are either under the authority of Scripture, or you are not. Rejecting Scripture and the Gospel taught in it is not merely a “next step”. It is a move from belief to unbelief — from heaven to hell.

  • DonS

    You are either under the authority of Scripture, or you are not. Rejecting Scripture and the Gospel taught in it is not merely a “next step”. It is a move from belief to unbelief — from heaven to hell.

  • larry

    The problem, Don, is that many so called churches themselves are not really under the authority of Scripture – yes I’m speaking of the heterodox.

    Put another way, if for some strange reason the Lutheran churche were to en mass exodus within any reasonable mileage one might even attend once every three months at 500 mile drive, but yet I had the hundreds and thousands of heterodox denominations I do have around me now from the “best” to the worst of ANY of those denominations, I would no more be going to “church” than these folks would and I’d be being biblical and right to not attend these heterodoxies. In fact I’d be anti-scriptural to attend them and not under the authority of Scripture if I did, point blank.

    Thus, if a person, let us say a SB, evacuates that church because all he has heard is their huff and puff pretend gospel, their “admission is free, but pay at the door” or “read the fine print” gospel leaves and due to a lack of exposure or education in the faith and all they have to hang on to is their baptism – then they might just be being scriptural.

    I recall being quite green in the faith coming from my atheist background upon being baptized and simply reading the bible, straight bible, I didn’t even know commentary bibles existed that I would read the plain language and believe that baptism saves (it says so, plain and simple) and though I couldn’t say how that the LS was the true body and blood of Christ (it says so, plain and simple, I took it for what it said), I even have an experience about this very issue years later. But my family history was baptist and that seemed the only thing to do. I actually had to be taught OUT OF those things that the bible so plainly spoke of. Simultaneously to this, we all know why, I began to loose Christ pro me.

    Point: By remaining I was endangering myself and my experience in being taught out of what the scriptures teach and loosing Christ bear witness to this fact. I just happened to get an ear of Luther one day that brought me back to the Word, and that’s not hyperbole.

    Thus, it may be that many of these leaving simply have not had the hearing of the real faith. They heard the gospel truly initially, as I did, but over time they began to loose, yes due to the false preaching and teaching, it really exists and its not just “the mormons”. Yet, they did not have the opportunity for orthodoxy to come their way. Thus, intuitively sensing something wrong they leave, and cling to “I am baptized”.

    In such cases, they are being perfectly scriptural.

  • larry

    The problem, Don, is that many so called churches themselves are not really under the authority of Scripture – yes I’m speaking of the heterodox.

    Put another way, if for some strange reason the Lutheran churche were to en mass exodus within any reasonable mileage one might even attend once every three months at 500 mile drive, but yet I had the hundreds and thousands of heterodox denominations I do have around me now from the “best” to the worst of ANY of those denominations, I would no more be going to “church” than these folks would and I’d be being biblical and right to not attend these heterodoxies. In fact I’d be anti-scriptural to attend them and not under the authority of Scripture if I did, point blank.

    Thus, if a person, let us say a SB, evacuates that church because all he has heard is their huff and puff pretend gospel, their “admission is free, but pay at the door” or “read the fine print” gospel leaves and due to a lack of exposure or education in the faith and all they have to hang on to is their baptism – then they might just be being scriptural.

    I recall being quite green in the faith coming from my atheist background upon being baptized and simply reading the bible, straight bible, I didn’t even know commentary bibles existed that I would read the plain language and believe that baptism saves (it says so, plain and simple) and though I couldn’t say how that the LS was the true body and blood of Christ (it says so, plain and simple, I took it for what it said), I even have an experience about this very issue years later. But my family history was baptist and that seemed the only thing to do. I actually had to be taught OUT OF those things that the bible so plainly spoke of. Simultaneously to this, we all know why, I began to loose Christ pro me.

    Point: By remaining I was endangering myself and my experience in being taught out of what the scriptures teach and loosing Christ bear witness to this fact. I just happened to get an ear of Luther one day that brought me back to the Word, and that’s not hyperbole.

    Thus, it may be that many of these leaving simply have not had the hearing of the real faith. They heard the gospel truly initially, as I did, but over time they began to loose, yes due to the false preaching and teaching, it really exists and its not just “the mormons”. Yet, they did not have the opportunity for orthodoxy to come their way. Thus, intuitively sensing something wrong they leave, and cling to “I am baptized”.

    In such cases, they are being perfectly scriptural.

  • DonS

    My statement @ 5 stands.

  • DonS

    My statement @ 5 stands.

  • WebMonk

    Yup, that’s right Don. Everyone except for the Lutheran Church – Larry Splinter aren’t actually going to “church”, and everyone who does pretend to go to these “churches” is anti-scripture by doing so. It’s better that everyone leave all the churches, except for the LCLS.

    Hey! I know where I’ve heard something like that before. Harold Camping! Heeeyyyyy, do you think Camping is here using a nom de plume of “larry”? :-D

  • WebMonk

    Yup, that’s right Don. Everyone except for the Lutheran Church – Larry Splinter aren’t actually going to “church”, and everyone who does pretend to go to these “churches” is anti-scripture by doing so. It’s better that everyone leave all the churches, except for the LCLS.

    Hey! I know where I’ve heard something like that before. Harold Camping! Heeeyyyyy, do you think Camping is here using a nom de plume of “larry”? :-D

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 8: :-) +1

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 8: :-) +1

  • V. Williams

    Brings to mind a point worth mentioning, I think:
    What is the Church? Per the Book of Concord, Article VII, it is “… the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.” No Sacraments=no church.

  • V. Williams

    Brings to mind a point worth mentioning, I think:
    What is the Church? Per the Book of Concord, Article VII, it is “… the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.” No Sacraments=no church.

  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • WebMonk

    VW, the definition of what “rightly” means will change the effect of that statement.

    “Rightly” very narrowly defined rules out 99.999% of of the gatherings of the saints throughout the world, leaving the only “real” church as the “LCLS” one, since virtually all non-Lutherans aren’t “real” churches and even the majority of Lutheran churches (ELCA, etc) aren’t rightly teaching the Gospel or rightly administering the Sacraments.

    On the other hand, “rightly” can be defined a bit more broadly to include most all of Lutheranism and maybe a few other denominations. Or more broadly still to include some arbitrary percentage of the world’s population of Christians.

    The Lutherans here have a wide range on that definition, so the statement by itself doesn’t help much, even if one subscribes to that statement being accurate.

  • WebMonk

    VW, the definition of what “rightly” means will change the effect of that statement.

    “Rightly” very narrowly defined rules out 99.999% of of the gatherings of the saints throughout the world, leaving the only “real” church as the “LCLS” one, since virtually all non-Lutherans aren’t “real” churches and even the majority of Lutheran churches (ELCA, etc) aren’t rightly teaching the Gospel or rightly administering the Sacraments.

    On the other hand, “rightly” can be defined a bit more broadly to include most all of Lutheranism and maybe a few other denominations. Or more broadly still to include some arbitrary percentage of the world’s population of Christians.

    The Lutherans here have a wide range on that definition, so the statement by itself doesn’t help much, even if one subscribes to that statement being accurate.

  • SKPeterson

    WM @ 12 – “Rightly” is also conditioned on what is meant by “Gospel” as well, no? Lutherans could say that the sacraments are rightly administered in many Christian churches; I think the defining of “rightly” in this regard is the use of the Words of Institution, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when he was betrayed, took the bread, …”. So, those churches that just, in effect, “Here, have some juice and crackers as a memorial to Jesus,” might be a little on the outside of “rightly.” At best, most Lutherans would say the Sacraments are administered “poorly.”

  • SKPeterson

    WM @ 12 – “Rightly” is also conditioned on what is meant by “Gospel” as well, no? Lutherans could say that the sacraments are rightly administered in many Christian churches; I think the defining of “rightly” in this regard is the use of the Words of Institution, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when he was betrayed, took the bread, …”. So, those churches that just, in effect, “Here, have some juice and crackers as a memorial to Jesus,” might be a little on the outside of “rightly.” At best, most Lutherans would say the Sacraments are administered “poorly.”

  • DonS

    SKP @ 13: “So, those churches that just, in effect, “Here, have some juice and crackers as a memorial to Jesus,””

    Nice straw man. Agreed, by the way, that any such hypothetical churches are administering Communion poorly or “not rightly”.

  • DonS

    SKP @ 13: “So, those churches that just, in effect, “Here, have some juice and crackers as a memorial to Jesus,””

    Nice straw man. Agreed, by the way, that any such hypothetical churches are administering Communion poorly or “not rightly”.

  • Jon H.

    Mr S @ Are you under the authority of Scripture? How can one know that?

  • Jon H.

    Mr S @ Are you under the authority of Scripture? How can one know that?

  • Tom Hering

    Jon @ 15, you know you’re under the authority of Scripture if you’re a Berean, searching the Scriptures to see if the things men say are so. How do you become a Berean? You don’t. The Holy Spirit makes you one when He makes you an adopted child of God. (The Word is His Word. He never acts apart from it or in contradiction to it. Neither does anyone born of the Spirit reject His Word.)

  • Tom Hering

    Jon @ 15, you know you’re under the authority of Scripture if you’re a Berean, searching the Scriptures to see if the things men say are so. How do you become a Berean? You don’t. The Holy Spirit makes you one when He makes you an adopted child of God. (The Word is His Word. He never acts apart from it or in contradiction to it. Neither does anyone born of the Spirit reject His Word.)

  • WebMonk

    True, SKP. Lots of definitions needed in there, and no one seems to be able to agree on a coherent set of definitions, at least not in the “large” scale of more than a few Lutherans at a time.

    People like larry go off the deep end (IMO) to the point where 99.999% of Christians don’t actually go to church. There are people like him in every denomination.

  • WebMonk

    True, SKP. Lots of definitions needed in there, and no one seems to be able to agree on a coherent set of definitions, at least not in the “large” scale of more than a few Lutherans at a time.

    People like larry go off the deep end (IMO) to the point where 99.999% of Christians don’t actually go to church. There are people like him in every denomination.

  • larry

    The only reason one can see going to heterodoxy that way is to not take scripture itself seriously and to have already fallen into the trap of relativism, furthermore to see that many have not rejected Christ and the gospel, but works righteousness hidden and entrained in the heterdox religions.

    One will search in vain to find a single word from God’s Word saying to remain in and among mixed/heterodoxy/false teachings. The problem is many do look nor examine the form of doctrine but the exterior.

    And webmonk for all your huff and puff, you never debate on doctrine and logic, you just sling not so subtle names and ad homenems in order to paint a picture. Such is hardly worthy of a debate.

    The problem is “webmonk” is that these real stories I tell you and not made up tales, and its noted when they DO hear the Gospel for real for them, they love it – thus they love Christ. It is an obvious contradiction to say “Scripture says go to church” but then when a church is false due to their anti-Scriptural teaching say, “it is in accordance with Scripture to go to church”. The logic being that one just must “go to church” any old church will do just so you are there.

    So no I will not go to any old church nor heterodoxy and I’m happy and glad to confess that upon my death in front of the God/Christ.

    Pieper writes concerning this very matter: “In accordance with God’s Word, we firmly maintain a twofold doctrine: first, that God does not only have His children in the orthodox Church, that is, in the visible fellowship where God’s Word is preached in all its truth and purity; but that children of God are also to be found in heterodox fellowships where God’s Word is not preached in all its purity, but truth is mixed with error. Secondly, however, we also maintain the great difference between orthodox and heterodox churches. What a great difference, according to God’s Word, exists between orthodox and heterodox churches will be more exactly set forth in the following Theses. Even we forget this difference only too easily. Indeed, it also happens in our own midst that people who move to other areas and find no orthodox church there, join heterodox churches. Why is that? One cannot always say that these people have already fallen away from the true doctrine in their hearts. But they have forgotten the difference between orthodox and heterodox churches. By taking up membership in heterodox churches, they commit sin and place their souls in danger. Even Lutherans join sectarian churches, or would like to do so, because the sects, for example, have more beautiful churches, are more popular people, and the like. Why? These Lutherans do not rightly and faithfully take note of the existing difference between orthodox and heterodox churches; they do not see the wonderful glory of an orthodox church. Even we pastors and teachers of the Church at times lose courage for work within the Lutheran Church when we observe the greater number and the externally more attractive conditions within the heterodox churches. That happens also because we view these things on the basis of our reason instead of judging the orthodox and heterodox fellowships according to God’s Word.”

    So my statement stands at 6.

  • larry

    The only reason one can see going to heterodoxy that way is to not take scripture itself seriously and to have already fallen into the trap of relativism, furthermore to see that many have not rejected Christ and the gospel, but works righteousness hidden and entrained in the heterdox religions.

    One will search in vain to find a single word from God’s Word saying to remain in and among mixed/heterodoxy/false teachings. The problem is many do look nor examine the form of doctrine but the exterior.

    And webmonk for all your huff and puff, you never debate on doctrine and logic, you just sling not so subtle names and ad homenems in order to paint a picture. Such is hardly worthy of a debate.

    The problem is “webmonk” is that these real stories I tell you and not made up tales, and its noted when they DO hear the Gospel for real for them, they love it – thus they love Christ. It is an obvious contradiction to say “Scripture says go to church” but then when a church is false due to their anti-Scriptural teaching say, “it is in accordance with Scripture to go to church”. The logic being that one just must “go to church” any old church will do just so you are there.

    So no I will not go to any old church nor heterodoxy and I’m happy and glad to confess that upon my death in front of the God/Christ.

    Pieper writes concerning this very matter: “In accordance with God’s Word, we firmly maintain a twofold doctrine: first, that God does not only have His children in the orthodox Church, that is, in the visible fellowship where God’s Word is preached in all its truth and purity; but that children of God are also to be found in heterodox fellowships where God’s Word is not preached in all its purity, but truth is mixed with error. Secondly, however, we also maintain the great difference between orthodox and heterodox churches. What a great difference, according to God’s Word, exists between orthodox and heterodox churches will be more exactly set forth in the following Theses. Even we forget this difference only too easily. Indeed, it also happens in our own midst that people who move to other areas and find no orthodox church there, join heterodox churches. Why is that? One cannot always say that these people have already fallen away from the true doctrine in their hearts. But they have forgotten the difference between orthodox and heterodox churches. By taking up membership in heterodox churches, they commit sin and place their souls in danger. Even Lutherans join sectarian churches, or would like to do so, because the sects, for example, have more beautiful churches, are more popular people, and the like. Why? These Lutherans do not rightly and faithfully take note of the existing difference between orthodox and heterodox churches; they do not see the wonderful glory of an orthodox church. Even we pastors and teachers of the Church at times lose courage for work within the Lutheran Church when we observe the greater number and the externally more attractive conditions within the heterodox churches. That happens also because we view these things on the basis of our reason instead of judging the orthodox and heterodox fellowships according to God’s Word.”

    So my statement stands at 6.

  • WebMonk

    Uh oh, I think the secret is out. Take Harold Camping’s voice, and in your head have it read the “larry” posts. It all fits! That’s exactly Camping’s style!

    He’s telling everyone to only go to the churches he calls “orthodox” as a prelude to getting people to leave the attendance of church altogether!

    And when did “larry” show up here? Was it not about the time his end-of-the-world predictions failed? Aha! He’s sneaking on here trying to take another tact! Join the LCLS! Attend only true churches!

    (and yes, larry, I’m joking. if there had been something of worth put forward, I wouldn’t treat it so flippantly, but … oh well)

  • WebMonk

    Uh oh, I think the secret is out. Take Harold Camping’s voice, and in your head have it read the “larry” posts. It all fits! That’s exactly Camping’s style!

    He’s telling everyone to only go to the churches he calls “orthodox” as a prelude to getting people to leave the attendance of church altogether!

    And when did “larry” show up here? Was it not about the time his end-of-the-world predictions failed? Aha! He’s sneaking on here trying to take another tact! Join the LCLS! Attend only true churches!

    (and yes, larry, I’m joking. if there had been something of worth put forward, I wouldn’t treat it so flippantly, but … oh well)

  • larry

    WM,

    If you will recall I was saying why some left churches and when they heard real gospel it was shock to them and by comparison, I would not attend a heterodox church. But we can extend your obviously silly logic to Jesus saying he’s the only way, truth and life and jokingly say: Join the Christian faith! Attend only the true religion!

    Same exact logic.

    But that’s the irony here, you seem to say “join the church” (whatever it is without discernment) when I say “adhere to the true doctrine” (which is ubiquotously what scripture states) and that’s not far removed from Rome, et. al.

    That the devil sets up mockeries of God’s orthodoxy is not surprising at all, in fact that’s inherent Paul and Christ’s warning when they beward of other christs, other gospels, rather than Buddha and other relgions which are obvious oppositions. It’s like a father warning his children, be very aware of those who offer you candy and pretend to be your friend, the obvious enemy everyone sees.

    But your argument boils down to nothing more complicated than the axiom that dies on its own sword, a variation of it, ‘the truth is, there is many truths’.

    And if I were to take your axiom seriously and adhere to it, it actually argues for never to any church whatsover and I can set up my own little private church any time I wish and you axiom says I can.

  • larry

    WM,

    If you will recall I was saying why some left churches and when they heard real gospel it was shock to them and by comparison, I would not attend a heterodox church. But we can extend your obviously silly logic to Jesus saying he’s the only way, truth and life and jokingly say: Join the Christian faith! Attend only the true religion!

    Same exact logic.

    But that’s the irony here, you seem to say “join the church” (whatever it is without discernment) when I say “adhere to the true doctrine” (which is ubiquotously what scripture states) and that’s not far removed from Rome, et. al.

    That the devil sets up mockeries of God’s orthodoxy is not surprising at all, in fact that’s inherent Paul and Christ’s warning when they beward of other christs, other gospels, rather than Buddha and other relgions which are obvious oppositions. It’s like a father warning his children, be very aware of those who offer you candy and pretend to be your friend, the obvious enemy everyone sees.

    But your argument boils down to nothing more complicated than the axiom that dies on its own sword, a variation of it, ‘the truth is, there is many truths’.

    And if I were to take your axiom seriously and adhere to it, it actually argues for never to any church whatsover and I can set up my own little private church any time I wish and you axiom says I can.

  • WebMonk

    If I were actually making an argument against your nonsense, then you might have a point, but I’m not. I’m just using ridicule to point out the craziness of your position. The fact that you are finding “arguments” in my comments just demonstrates some of my point.

    Your particular style of fanaticism has never been more than a tiny splinter of Christianity and I don’t think it does serious harm to the Body of Christ, and I’ve never seen it to be communicable once it reaches your levels of severity.

    If your views were a realistic threat to uninfected Christians, pulling them off into twisted beliefs, then I might take them more seriously, but as it is, this aspect of your views doesn’t need more than a bit of ridicule to make it flare up, and the flare up itself is plenty warning for all to see.

  • WebMonk

    If I were actually making an argument against your nonsense, then you might have a point, but I’m not. I’m just using ridicule to point out the craziness of your position. The fact that you are finding “arguments” in my comments just demonstrates some of my point.

    Your particular style of fanaticism has never been more than a tiny splinter of Christianity and I don’t think it does serious harm to the Body of Christ, and I’ve never seen it to be communicable once it reaches your levels of severity.

    If your views were a realistic threat to uninfected Christians, pulling them off into twisted beliefs, then I might take them more seriously, but as it is, this aspect of your views doesn’t need more than a bit of ridicule to make it flare up, and the flare up itself is plenty warning for all to see.

  • Larry

    The problem is that “my view” is not just “my view” but that I’ve quoted Pieper on the subject.

    Truth be known web monk, I don’t take you seriously at all for you say nothing serious any way and all you do is set up these delusional straw men knock them down and say, “Hey look at my point”. In fact your last statement makes that very clear.

    To confound men like Pieper with reformed heretics like Camping, who already heralds from a false system of belief is itself showing the reality of your quasi argument. Secondly, you like to pretend like a slippery eel you don’t make an argument, all the while of course your are in fact point blank making an argument and it’s obvious. Your argument evade doctrine and truth but then assert a “relativistic truth”, part two sling out an ad homenim, part three construct the straw man, and finally knock him down. A child could figure this out.

    The fact that you counter my comments with your enthused flare that never once addressed you first in the first place, and thereby you “drew me in”, just demonstrates my point concretely.

    Enough on that for my part.

  • Larry

    The problem is that “my view” is not just “my view” but that I’ve quoted Pieper on the subject.

    Truth be known web monk, I don’t take you seriously at all for you say nothing serious any way and all you do is set up these delusional straw men knock them down and say, “Hey look at my point”. In fact your last statement makes that very clear.

    To confound men like Pieper with reformed heretics like Camping, who already heralds from a false system of belief is itself showing the reality of your quasi argument. Secondly, you like to pretend like a slippery eel you don’t make an argument, all the while of course your are in fact point blank making an argument and it’s obvious. Your argument evade doctrine and truth but then assert a “relativistic truth”, part two sling out an ad homenim, part three construct the straw man, and finally knock him down. A child could figure this out.

    The fact that you counter my comments with your enthused flare that never once addressed you first in the first place, and thereby you “drew me in”, just demonstrates my point concretely.

    Enough on that for my part.

  • Larry

    If you are a wondering Christian, either angry at the “church” or despairing, whoever you may be. There is absolutely NO obligation whatsoever for you to join the Lutheran church. If you are in despair and wonder “has God forgiven me…even if I don’t ‘get better’, even if I don’t know if I believe, even if I’m unsure” here’s what our confessed faith says and has to give you, you do have forgiveness of sins objectively in Christ, and in Baptism we will respeak what the scriptures speak and say, “Christ did die and atone for the sins of the entire world of which, take hold of your nose, you are part. And the gifts keep on coming when you find you are in doubt again for those sins you and I will commit again and again and again and, yes “your baptism saves you”, “in your baptism you HAVE forgiveness of sins already and in your baptism you already HAVE the Holy Spirit, in the Lord’s Supper we will per the command and words of Christ the Word/God/man give you His real body and blood given and shed for the forgiveness of sins and every Sunday the pastor speaking in the stead of God under the command of Christ to refresh the forgiveness of your sins in particular…all of the, past, present and future again – not because God did see that bunch of sin coming, He did – but so that you CAN believe it to be true, the news is that good and its FOR YOU (fill in the blank your name).

    Furthermore, that Christ’s work is all the righteousness you will ever need and there is quite literally and substantially NOTHING left for you to do for the rest of your life. Not only did God become man, not only did God atone for your sins in particular, not only did Christ, i.e. God, die for your sins, He become not just adjectively but substantially YOUR and my sin itself for us. He became the adulterer, the murderer, the thief, the sexually impure one, etc…and the Law attacked Him instead of us (all sin was transferred from time and space, yours, mine, yesterdays, 10 years ago, today, everyday into the future without exception – every single sin to Christ, to God, to eternity and the creature Law met the creator and its end in Christ).

    That’s what you are welcome to receive in our church and confessions and this we call the real Christian faith and hence church expressing it. If you want that, you are most welcome to come.

    You will know you are saved because God baptized you, because God is speaking through the pastor to say, “I forgive you (your name here)”, because you will receive the real and very body and blood of God given and shed for the forgiveness of your sins. Not symbols, not signs not offers awaiting your faith mustered up but FOR YOUR FAITH, to in essence convince you God has already reconciled you to Himself.

    On the one hand we might call this orthodoxy versus heterodoxy, meaning we hold the true faith and God and Christ versus an admixture of false deceptive teachings that run contrary to this. On the other hand the Lutheran confessions might call themselves THE heterodoxy in the world of orthodoxy. After all this message is the utter alien to the world’s message in all its forms. So, yes, Lutheranism could be called “heterodox” relative to the world’s plethora expressions of orthodoxy.

  • Larry

    If you are a wondering Christian, either angry at the “church” or despairing, whoever you may be. There is absolutely NO obligation whatsoever for you to join the Lutheran church. If you are in despair and wonder “has God forgiven me…even if I don’t ‘get better’, even if I don’t know if I believe, even if I’m unsure” here’s what our confessed faith says and has to give you, you do have forgiveness of sins objectively in Christ, and in Baptism we will respeak what the scriptures speak and say, “Christ did die and atone for the sins of the entire world of which, take hold of your nose, you are part. And the gifts keep on coming when you find you are in doubt again for those sins you and I will commit again and again and again and, yes “your baptism saves you”, “in your baptism you HAVE forgiveness of sins already and in your baptism you already HAVE the Holy Spirit, in the Lord’s Supper we will per the command and words of Christ the Word/God/man give you His real body and blood given and shed for the forgiveness of sins and every Sunday the pastor speaking in the stead of God under the command of Christ to refresh the forgiveness of your sins in particular…all of the, past, present and future again – not because God did see that bunch of sin coming, He did – but so that you CAN believe it to be true, the news is that good and its FOR YOU (fill in the blank your name).

    Furthermore, that Christ’s work is all the righteousness you will ever need and there is quite literally and substantially NOTHING left for you to do for the rest of your life. Not only did God become man, not only did God atone for your sins in particular, not only did Christ, i.e. God, die for your sins, He become not just adjectively but substantially YOUR and my sin itself for us. He became the adulterer, the murderer, the thief, the sexually impure one, etc…and the Law attacked Him instead of us (all sin was transferred from time and space, yours, mine, yesterdays, 10 years ago, today, everyday into the future without exception – every single sin to Christ, to God, to eternity and the creature Law met the creator and its end in Christ).

    That’s what you are welcome to receive in our church and confessions and this we call the real Christian faith and hence church expressing it. If you want that, you are most welcome to come.

    You will know you are saved because God baptized you, because God is speaking through the pastor to say, “I forgive you (your name here)”, because you will receive the real and very body and blood of God given and shed for the forgiveness of your sins. Not symbols, not signs not offers awaiting your faith mustered up but FOR YOUR FAITH, to in essence convince you God has already reconciled you to Himself.

    On the one hand we might call this orthodoxy versus heterodoxy, meaning we hold the true faith and God and Christ versus an admixture of false deceptive teachings that run contrary to this. On the other hand the Lutheran confessions might call themselves THE heterodoxy in the world of orthodoxy. After all this message is the utter alien to the world’s message in all its forms. So, yes, Lutheranism could be called “heterodox” relative to the world’s plethora expressions of orthodoxy.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X