Saturday Ramblings — September 20, 2014


Happy Saturday, fellow iMonks! We’ve had simply gorgeous early fall weather here in central Indiana this past week. It’s enough to make a person want to start rambling. So here we go . . .

• • •

urlnLsoybeanset’s start with Paul Penley, who’s certainly got guts. Who makes a statement like this on an evangelical blog? — Personal Bible Reading Destroys the Church. Here’s his point:

Jesus had a dream. He envisioned a community of followers who embraced his way and each other. He prayed, “may they be one” (John 17:21). 34,000 church denominations later, his prayer goes unanswered.

Why? What fueled one man after another to split up the church? What made each group think they had the corner on truth and all others had erred? The answer is simple: The Bible.

The history of church division runs parallel to the proliferation of Bible translation. When leaders can individually interpret what the Bible really says, unity doesn’t stand a chance.

. . . A Bible in every language can lead just as much to the chaos of “create your own religion” as it does to the truth. Interpreting the Bible on your own does not only demonstrate trust in the Bible’s authority; it betrays radical trust in one’s self. We must interpret and act on the Bible’s message with care.

There’s a discussion starter if ever I read one.

soybeansNFL_LogoA lot of people have been talking about the NFL this week, and it wasn’t about the game played on the field. The league suffered seven days that may very well have been the worst period in its history. Many have been calling for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign. The abuse scandals have proven a PR nightmare. Yet despite all the bad news, here is the judgment of some experts in the business of sports, as reported by Bloomberg Businessweek:

The NFL . . . “is economically bulletproof from political scandal and misconduct, from players to owners. NFL owners remain untouched and almost untouchable.” As long as fans keep attending the games every Sunday, watching the sport religiously on TV, and snapping up merchandise, the owners have little to worry about—and, presumably, little reason to consider switching commissioners.

soybeanstiber-creek-community-church-2-700x437Best silly satire I read this week, from

ROME, Italy — Pope Francis has changed the name of St. Peter’s Basilica to “Tiber Creek Community Church,” Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi announced this morning.

“The greatest church of Christendom, built on the holy grave of the martyr-prince of the Apostles, has been known as ‘St. Peter’s Basilica’ for 1700 years,” Fr. Lombardi explained. “It was long overdue for a rebranding.”

. . . Fr. Lombardi also announced that projectors and screens would be installed throughout the basilica in the coming week, that a “totally rocking” worship band was being formed, and that Pope Francis planned on making his sermons “relevant to every day life.”

“The Trinity, the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, these are all interesting — to dead theologians,” Fr. Lombardi said dismissively. “But how does that apply to my everyday life? How will that help me advance in my career? That’s what Pope Francis is going to be focusing on.”

gilligans-island-tv-showsoybeansThis is a legit opportunity that made me laugh and cringe. From Ligonier Ministries:

I want to make sure that you know about an upcoming study opportunity that you won’t want to miss. This winter, Ligonier Ministries is sponsoring a Caribbean study cruise of the Eastern Caribbean. Our theme will be Christ’s call to endure persecution and suffering faithfully, and I am excited that Steve Nichols and R.C. Sproul Jr. will be joining me as we look at what God’s Word and church history have to tell us about this subject. Our itinerary includes St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and the Bahamas, and we will have many opportunities for fellowship and learning together as we travel.

Let me get this straight: a study cruise about suffering? Maybe they are going to re-enact Gilligan’s Island to give people an opportunity to practice “suffering faithfully”?

Which begs the question, fiercely debated by the Ante-Nicene Fathers and discussed extensively in the works of St. Augustine — “Ginger or Mary Ann?”

soybeansHere’s news about some of the big votes last week:

Paisleysoybeans Ian Paisley died this past week.

Paisley’s incendiary 40-year political career in Ireland ended up being a study in dramatic contrasts. He went from being the Democratic Union Party leader, a fiercely anti-Catholic Protestant extremist whose most reported words were “no”, “never” and “not an inch” and who identified the Pope and Catholic Church with “the whore of Babylon,” to one who made peace with Irish Republicans and became first minister of N. Ireland. He got along so famously with his Catholic deputy minister that they became known as “the Chuckle Brothers.”

What I didn’t know is that this turnaround caused Paisley to be thrust into the wilderness by the church and denomination he founded in 1951.

Martha, any thoughts?

soybeansPeyton_Papa-JohnsPeyton Manning not only likes playing for the Denver Broncos, he is also diggin’ living in the land of legal marijuana. “There’s some different laws out here in Colorado,” Manning told Sports Illustrated. “Pizza business is pretty good out here, believe it or not, due to some recent law changes.” The Denver Broncos’ quarterback serendipitously bought a whole bunch of Papa John’s franchises just before Colorado residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana.

Another score for Peyton.

soybeansHere’s proof that making the front page is not always a good thing (from the Seattle Times, Sept. 14, 2014).


soybeansThe 2014 regular Major League Baseball season is almost over, and it’s time to say goodbye to an all-time great, a personal favorite, and one of the classiest players ever: Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees.

No matter what anyone does to bid him congratulations and farewell, they will be hard-pressed to top this remarkable commercial tribute by Gatorade. Thanks for all the great memories, Captain.

100 thoughts on “Saturday Ramblings — September 20, 2014

  1. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I
    am having troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I am unable
    to join it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS issues?
    Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond?


  2. Same here. Just read it. Enjoyed it tremendously. The Ligonier’s cruise conference on the topic of suffering…oh, that’s priceless!


  3. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily
    basis. It will always be useful to read through articles from other writers and use something from
    other sites.


  4. I hear they were getting a LOT of flak for that theme. Spiritual Sounding Board was covering it, contrasting it with ISIL’s latest reign-of-terror fatwa against Christians in their Caliphate. (ISIL = Islam’s Khmer Rouge?)


  5. I think Bonhoeffer would say that if RC et al want to learn how to suffer for Jesus, then they need to go help Iraqi believers or African Ebola doctors. This is not Sproul’s “fault” – we have this weird situation in America where people actually think self-improvement can come through reading a book or having a “conversation”. Which to be frank is a concept I have never understood.

    I honestly couldn’t take Penley’s article seriously. In the first place, I don’t think he even tried to convince me that disunity is congruent with multiple denominations. Second, correlation is not causality, and he provided no evidence that the presence of multiple translations is statistically relevant to denominational proliferation. Third, he provided no evidence that individuals reading their Bible todayleads to the formation of denominations or new doctrinal statements, etc. Nor is this even relevant, since the entire English speaking world could use the KJV and folks would still find things to separate over (historical fact) – which in turn implies that the whole “translations” thing hasn’t got to do with the thesis. Fourth, he implies that the proliferation of multiple Christian doctrines is rooted in Luther’s activism, while completely ignoring several important historical markers (like the grave injustices of the Catholic church in that time – inquisition anyone? – or the fact that Luther never left the church nor advocated for such, but only sought reform). It may be a blog post (or two), but that doesn’t excuse a lack of historical rigor or contextualization. Fifth, he fails entirely to account for those who are brought up in toxic Christianity. For some, the path of freedom to Jesus came by reading the Bible. That is partly my story. I was brought up in a Christian church that was fundamentalist and soul-crushing. It was only when I actually started reading the Bible (the gospels, especially) that I was freed from that Pharisaical bondage. If I took Penley’s advice I would still be twice a child of hell today. I could write more problems, but long story short, I find Penley’s thoughts to be poorly developed, his arguments to be lacking intellectual rigor, and his presuppositions questionable. He has not persuaded me to even think more deeply on the subject.


  6. +1

    The reason that I hover about Internet monk so often is that it has become a forum for substantial conversation that it often doesn’t have a space locally. Also, because the blog writers and many commentators are willing to speak as people, and in their own voice. Both elements of the conversation here have benefitted me tremendously. I consider it a small tragedy that IM only exists online, and that no portal technology exists that allows us to convene in the same coffee shop.

    Robert, you’ve been a major contributor to the conversation here, and I’m glad for it. From time to time, I need someone to tell me at 11:30 that all is grace.


  7. I’m a bit late to the discussion. However, I want to add quickly that I spend a lot of time musing over what it means that there is such plurality, as a historian and as a person. I think this observations are apt, and I think they go a long way toward raising the question of what the silver living to all the “chaos” is.

    There are substantial benefits to the fact that power and authority (usually, authority that has power) can create something like unity – institutional uniformity and, to an extent, shared ideology. There are, likewise, significant liabilities to every single person acting like law unto themselves. When there are too many people acting as though they are totally autonomous, what they wind up doing is attaching themselves to a variety of localized authorities that may be more dangerous and extreme than an authority that governs are large ’empire.’ (However, not always!) The individual turns out not to be sage and learned and moderate by default. He may be anything at all, including raving mad. A raving mad tyrant with very good control over a very small group is a truly terrifying spectacle.

    Pluralism has, in fact, created more disunity and more of a ferment of ideas than we’d otherwise see, with varying consequences. But a lot of what it has done is break the power of the illusion of unity, making certain fractures far more obvious and allowing more voices to be heard. Something truly interesting has happened in its wake: we’ve had to ask ourselves what the implications of this fact are. Recently, at least in the West, we have begun to discuss what the nature and implications of power relationships of all kinds are. It’s a fascinating, occasionally devastating, and very good question. Some have, with merit, decried meanings that inquiry has destroyed. But this looks less devastating to those who have been liberated.

    I think there are a variety of directions one can go with these observations. In a pluralistic environment, how can it be otherwise? But I think it asks interesting questions of the “Catholic” and “catholic” ideals. These have sometimes been rubrics under which authority wielding power has operated, and they have at times privileged a very small ruling group. However, it is also an ideal that has, or can, require centers of power to amalgamate and interpret input from a large and diverse community. It is interesting how Roman Catholicism, at least since the Reformation, and certainly in the very recent past, has had to reflect a bit on what the magisterium is. At least, it clearly is there among Catholic theologians. I don’t understand that conversation very, well; I have been told, by a theologian friend with whom I was chatting during my move out of the “wilderness” back into official attachment to a tradition, that it exists.

    [At the time, I was trying to figure out how, or even if, I could navigate the imperatives for conformity vs. principled dissent if I were to enter either of the Catholic universes; it was ultimately a question I never answered, but I was given the impression that the nuns know the secrets! Hidden diversity in the unity?]


  8. What about Betty Brant? She was such a nice girl.

    Gwen slept with Norman Osbourne for money. MJ had little in common with Peter, and anyway agreed (with him) to sell their marriage to Mephisto. The Black Cat has…issues.

    Kitty Pryde dated Peter in the Ultimate Comics universe. She was a good choice.


  9. addendum: if they can afford the cruise, they are good candidates for contributing to the Republican Party

    Not entirely true. I know lots of rich liberal D’s.


  10. No offence taken I have learned a lot from your posts and I love real, honest, dialogue There are some beliefs that I’ll defend to the death, but most things are up for debate and a second look. That’s where real spiritual growth occurs. After all, my favorite saying about me is “even a blind squirrel finds an acorn occasionally”.


  11. I didn’t mean to be pushy, OldProphet. My apologies if it sounded that way. We are all entitled to our often hard-earned viewpoints.


  12. Yeah, Adam was formed from the dust of the earth. Scripture says nothing about monkeys,errrr apes in mans lineage to today I don’t believe in Theistic. Evolution


  13. Hanni – My dad was a John R. Rice man! Go Sword of the Lord – forever. He went to the Sword of the Lord Conference every year until his death. And no matter how hard I try, the John R. Rice KJV ends up being my Bible. (Usually I get a new one that I like that isn’t soooo fundi and then I give it away and I’m left with my old stand by.)

    Oh and I went to the Academy (read high school). I left for college – although my husband went through Jr. High, Academy, and University. And my mother-in-law accosted the freshman Bible teacher and told him the Jesus never drank wine. My husband wanted to crawl under the table.


  14. Oh, it’s even worse than that. Chances are they were all kind of swarthy, not to mention Jewish.,

    PS. Apes, not monkeys. And humans are a species of ape.


  15. Ouch! I think that smarts….oh, well, as long as you love me anyway, I guess it’s okay.

    Did I just answer another tidbit? Sorry, mod’s eyeballs.


  16. . . . when you have people who think being criticized and not getting their own way politically is a kind of religious persecution, then I don’t know if they REALIZE what real persecution is . . .

    With some of the bozos playing the Persecution Card, “being persecuted” means THEY’re not being allowed to persecute everybody else.


  17. Spiritual Sounding Board has picked up on it. After a lot of hoopla, the cruise organizers changed the title and theme to a more innocuous one.


  18. But you don’t question a theory that says that Jesus’ great great great etc.grandpa was made from muddy clay, OldProphet? Think about it.


  19. addendum: if they can afford the cruise, they are good candidates for contributing to the Republican Party

    (Heck, come to think of it, this makes even MORE sense)


  20. I have a question about a scientific theory that says that Jesus’ grandpa was a monkey. Oh well, “different.strokes for different folks”.


  21. got to thinking about ‘persecution’ and the cruise ship . . .

    it actually makes sense . . . when you have people who think being criticized and not getting their own way politically is a kind of religious persecution, then I don’t know if they REALIZE what real persecution is . . . so maybe the cruise is to help everybody get hyped up and prepare to work for the next Republican victory over the left-wing (A.K.A. ‘moderates’) which for the participants might actually seem like a way of surviving their IDEA of Christian persecution . . .

    could I be right ???


  22. @Robert F!! Don’t worry about your comments in moderation, you talk all day long here, maybe mods eyeballs are falling out. I know this is snarky but I love you anyway, just realize you don’t have to answer every little tidbit.


  23. @EV!!! Bob Jones University! Our Bible Conference consisted of John R. Rice, and other fundamentalists, nothing really political. I wouldn’t have gotten political. Actually I never got the hellfire of Rice’s sermons. Our sermons mostly were about how bad we were.


  24. Missed yesterday’s discussion. Does Theistic Evolution believe that human beings are descended from apes or apelike creatures? If itt does, then wouldn’t it follow that Jesus, thru Mary, can be actually also descended from apes? The human side only, of course. If this question is stupid, feel free to strike it This is what happens when you allow random musings from a eccentric old prophet guy with too much time on his hands.


  25. there can be downsides to everyone having a bible to read and draw theological and doctrinal conclusions from. if this can be more of a private understanding that humbly accepts such perspectives are incomplete, limited, biased, culturally skewed, etc., then I don’t think the proliferation of bibles in the vernacular of the vast majority of languages today is by itself a bad thing…

    with the above scenario though, there can be those of a more zealous bent that become armchair apologists that make it their sole reason for existence to correct all those other myopic Christians that are deceived, double-minded, backslidden, heretical, and just plain wrong…

    I think the principle found in James 3:1 is applicable: Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

    I do believe that the vast majority of self-appointed sheriffs-of-sound-doctrine should not consider themselves to be apologists because they simply are thinking more highly of themselves than they ought (Galatians 6:3)…


  26. Agreed.

    It is pure speculation on my part but I suspect this ‘fracturing’ of the Church is God’s own doing. There is every kind of church, from ancient liturgical, to Cowboy Church and the Hot Rod Church for Sinners. There are a multitude of doctrinal emphases. There is literally a church to appeal to almost everyone, and in the west, almost every sub culture. To those who refuse all of them, and refuse to be converted, on that day Jesus will truly be able to say to them, ‘We played the flute and you did not dance, we sang a dirge and you did not weep.’ The nations will be without excuse for rejecting Him. To me, the multiplicity of denominations is evidence of God’s grace, going to the uttermost, accepting division, and even humiliation (Cowboy church ? Really?) to reach His lost creation. To be sure, not all denominations and churches are equal with respect to sound doctrine and fidelity to the Scriptures, some are far better (or worse) than others. And as Paul says, some members of the body are ‘deserving of more honor.’ (think hidden behind a zipper) All of this is far more believable to me than Jesus’ prayer for His people not being answered because we can’t get our act together and finally accomplish what we started at the Tower of Babel with respect to the Church


  27. “Does Personal Bible Reading Destroy the Church.”

    Protestantism is a sort of democratization of the church. The problem with democracy is that it usually ends in tyranny of a plutacrisy. Protestantism began with the freedom to question religious authority and to take personal responsibility for ones spiritual destiny. It has ended in the post-evangelical tyranny of monsters like Driscoll, who, in his own words, throws dissenters under the bus wheels. Perhaps we would have been better off remaining in the fold of the magisterium. I personally believe Protestantism is not a lost dream; Protestants just need to understand that religious freedom, like any freedom, must be fought for and defended. Bind the tyrants to the green wood.


  28. They say you can tell when a preacher is in trouble when he stops preaching what he’s for and only preaches on what he’s against.


  29. “We are the Little Folk–we!
    Too little to love or to hate.
    Leave us alone and you’ll see
    How we can drag down the State!
    We are the worm in the wood!
    We are the rot at the root!
    We are the taint in the blood!
    We are the thorn in the foot!

    “Mistletoe killing an oak–
    Rats gnawing cables in two–
    Moths making holes in a cloak–
    How they must love what they do!
    Yes–and we Little Folk too,
    We are busy as they–
    Working our works out of view–
    Watch, and you’ll see it some day!”
    — Rudyard Kipling, “A Pict Song”


  30. That is indeed very Good News, akin to St. Thomas Aquinas’ silence, or Malcolm X’s renunciation of racism under the influence of orthodox Islam.


  31. And both Fundagelicalism and The Really Truly REFORMED(TM) are today’s worst offenders in that respect. Whereas Rome has mellowed considerably.


  32. As a Red Sox and Dodgers fan, I have nothing but animosity for the Yankees. But Derek Jeter is pure class; with the biggest spotlight on him in the biggest market in US sports, he hasn’t once stumbled with a personal scandal or faux pas. He’s had a HUGE career, even though he’s spent the last little bit of it being overrated. But of course, that’s what often happens with normal (non-PED) careers starting in their mid-30s. (And his defense has ALWAYS been overrated, as he’s one of the worst defenders in the game and a liability at SS.)

    But in my mind, all of that takes a back seat to two things: his hitting and his personal integrity. Much like his recently-retired contemporary, Mariano Rivera, he has done great things for a long time, he’s done it all in the fishbowl, and he’s done it all while keeping his nose clean. No spouting off. No PED whispers. No domestic abuse. (Topical!)

    DiMaggio thanked the Good Lord for making him a Yankee; New York and all of baseball should thank the Good Lord for making Derek Jeter a baseball player. First ballot HOF.


  33. Good thoughts, Joseph. As I get older, I become much more loose with my beliefs and much more inclined to live and let live. You believe A and I believe B and in the end, we’re more likely than not to discover that the right answer was Q. It’s so sad to see church bodies hunkering down and becoming the church of what we are against rather than what we are for.


  34. You have different kinds of unity as well. On the ground, in places like Syria (what’s left of it, anyway) and Lebanon, you have de facto if not de jure unity between the non-Chalcedonians and the Byzantines, and no one seems to be in too much of a lather about it except some monks on Mount Athos and a few Copts (usually converts) who persist in calling St Leo the Great “that Nestorian”.

    Rome is a different bird. There’s a lot of solid Orthodoxy in the old girl and she can still turn around. Vatican I will be the major hurdle, but I think this’ll come about from the ground up, like it did with the non-Chalcedonians.

    I have been in parishes in Deep Anglicanism which might as well hang out a shingle as Western Orthodox. One such vicar even attends our monthly meetings of Orthodox clergy.

    Those who have soft spots for female ordination and “marriage equality” may want to hold off snuggling up to us. If you turn out to be right, we will submit to the Holy Ghost. It will take a while, maybe a long while, before we start heading in that direction. Those matters aren’t high on the Orthodox to-do list. We’ll have to hear from the departed saints first, but we wish you Godspeed.


  35. I’ve been to New York several times in the last few years. Sadly, had Derek Jeter walked past me on the street, I would not have know who he is. I did see Yoko Ono once, though!


  36. “Perhaps some believe that it would be a good thing if the Church were able to go back to a time when most people lacked the ability to read the Bible, and the ecclesiastic authorities jealously guarded their right and prerogative to be the sole interpreters of Scriptural text ..” This isn’t really a perhaps. A friend of mine taught at a Lutheran elementary school, and one of the pastors (LCMS) did tell a Bible class that they really should not read the Bible themselves because they wouldn’t be able to understand it properly. I don’t believe his statements went over very well with the church members, but the notion that all scripture should be filtered through the clergy is certainly alive and well.


  37. Well, I’m torn here, because I like R.C.

    But I notice they’re avoiding Jamaica.

    “If you are the big tree
    We are the small ax,
    Ready to cut you down,
    Sharpened to cut you down.”


  38. Perspective is always a good thing. The Seattle Times’ front page above features a photo of Pastor Driscoll beneath a predictably Gibbons-esque headline. Next to it one reads: “British Aid Worker is Latest Victim of Beheading.”

    At least when we say that “heads rolled” at Mars Hill, we all know we’re speaking figuratively.


  39. He was the highlight of my Bible Conferences at Bob Jones (we didn’t have spring break – we had 1 prayer service at 8:30 and then 4 sermons a day – good times). Well at least he was for the first three years. Then he just disappeared. Oh my – those travel bans from the State Department. I loved how he pronounced eight and Psalms. I though he was such a persecuted Christian for the response he got when he called the Pope the Anti-christ. (That was always mentioned in his introduction.) He was at least entertaining when so much of the rest of it was mind numbing.


  40. Jesus had a dream. He envisioned a community of followers who embraced his way and each other. He prayed, “may they be one” (John 17:21). 34,000 church denominations later, his prayer goes unanswered.

    really??? what about this passage in Mark 9:

    38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

    39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

    i do believe Jesus was much more generous in His orthodoxy and inclusion than what some find troublesome with the myriad of denominations and faith traditions/worship expressions which seems like disunity, dissension, division, etc. however, when one camp does become dogmatic about the nth degree of its rightness in regards to faith and practice, then i must question such reasoning no matter how patronizing they are towards those ‘others’ that are “not like one of us!”

    Lord…have mercy… 😦


  41. And Chicago Archdiocese has a new Bishop named. Cupich from Washington state. Served as Bishop of Rapid City, S.D. for a long time. Rapid City is a tough diocese with a lot of poverty and a lot of lovely ground to cross between parishes. He even has a Lakota name. He actually does sound like a nice guy and importantly, I haven’t heard a lot of grumbling from many of his former dioceses laity or clergy.

    The current Bishop (Cardinal George) is ill, and actually not a bad man. He has a tendency to say really unhelpful things, but, from what I understand, has largely left the parishes alone to do what they do however they do it.


  42. It has been muted by those of us here in wee norn iron who didn’t hold to his fire brand style of evangelism that Big Ian had got ‘Saved’.
    Others have commented that he had a near death experience which convinced him of the need to turn around and walk another journey…. who knows?

    Its been said ‘It’s hard to get the toothpaste back in the tube’.
    But what a great God we have…


  43. Derek Jeter.

    That’s all. I just needed to say that.

    Having said that, as an ex-Southern Californian, I’m hoping for a Freeway World Series. Go Dodgers and Angels!

    (My baseball loyalties are hopelessly tangled.)


  44. It’s not that NDAs are evil, it’s just that they’re weird in a church setting.

    I’ve signed NDAs that agree I won’t give away my former or current company’s technical secrets. Perfectly logical. But what secrets could a church have? I could see it if Mars Hill had missionary teams in Saudi Arabia and they didn’t want those folks existence revealed, but I don’t think they do or that’s what the NDA is about. So what secrets are they protecting?

    I have heard rumblings of a no-compete clause, don’t know if it’s true, but that would also be very weird in a church setting.


  45. First we had “in fear and trembling, work out your salvation..”; then we had, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; now, we finally have persecution and suffering faithfully aboard a cruise ship.


  46. For the record: Having swum “Tiber Creek,” I’ll tell you that it was very difficult, far more difficult than an “honest-to-goodness river.” I was, however, swimming away from Rome and toward Canterbury, so maybe that accounts for the difference.


  47. That brought a smile to my face and you are right. I do tend to jumble everything together. I think sometimes my mind works that way. Too many thoughts coming at once and my typing can’t keep up but thank you. I will try that


  48. w, love your posts, but a suggestion: Keep your paragraphs to 6 or 7 lines to make it easier to read. I find it difficult to go from line to line when a paragraph is 20 lines long.

    Otherwise, I look forward to your offerings.


  49. Jesus’ disciples were not in lock step agreement, so how can we be expected to be anything else but a reflection of the same state?


  50. ” And, most importantly, it became unable enforce conformity despite the existence of cognitive dissonance.”

    Correction: …it became unable to enforce conformity in the face of cognitive dissonance, as it had in the past.


  51. Ironic that Penley, who claims to critique the proliferation of subjective interpretations of Scripture, himself foists his own interpretation upon history with his blatant misrepresentation of Luther that is obviously based upon a mere cursory understanding of the man and his work.


  52. Your take on things have much merit. Our enemy, it is a tricksy thing too but it got turned upside down at the cross. So if there is a way it will come out what seems impossible. I wonder if a confident smile on Jesus face is mixed with gentleness and love. As far as the Calvinist debate I have worked it out mostly and it just makes me sad to the point of crying. It did point me to this though. Whitefield was ask when he gets to Heaven if he would see Wesley there and his reply was I am afraid that he will be so close to the throne of grace that I might not be able to catch a glimpse of him. How gracious and loving this statement. Wesley did Whitefield’s eulogy. It is here that I was able to see peace within the debate.


  53. Yes. Where there is coercion and suppression of dissent, there can be no real consensus.

    And leaders shouldn’t be the only ones building a tradition of comprehensive Scriptural interpretation. Laity should be as important in developing hermeneutics as clergy and/or scholars. In this area, the Liberation theologians had the right idea, when they started consulting the poor and indigent members of their base communities about what they believed the meanings of Biblical texts were for them, and how these meanings might apply to the Church as a whole. They took seriously that God is able, and wants, to speak through the voices of the humbled, the “nobodies.” The hermeneutical charter for this approach is the Magnificat.


  54. The system of “all leaders can interpret the Bible for themselves” is the worst system for generating consensus – except for the other one (magisterium). History has proven time and again what happens when an unaccountable elite has charge of something.

    Human beings are tricksy folk – they can always be counted on to find the best way to twist any system for their own benefit. That far, I still remain a Calvinist. 😉


  55. Went on a cruise with my wife a couple of years ago now. She qualifies for these things through work and it is take it or leave it with no bonus money option. I was a less than a year into crying out to God on my hands and knees every morning literally from a two year bout of drinking after a twenty year lay off from it. This bottom I had hit in two years was the darkest point of my life but he met me there. The previous twenty had not brought me closer because I always thought I had to get my thinking right before we could have a relationship. This time around I have found I never could get my thinking right without him and being busy was never the answer. I had books in tow and was going to spend as much time as I could with Him during this cruise. Certainly is a lot of drinking and such on the ship and it was there to stare me in the eyes every time and everywhere. Just like fasting it certainly can draw you close to Him. Never mind that what stuck out the most was how spoiled and self focused the cruise was for everybody. I felt bad most of the time and it was difficult and I have not gone on another trip or vacation since. I prefer home and my pets and my own bed and walks on the mountain it is much more relaxing to me. I would imagine with that topic aboard a cruise ship there might be a lot of conviction being placed on people and if not well that might not be so good. With such stark difference the point might be driven home and if that the intent it would be brilliant but I fear not. I wrote many poems on that ship as I use to write in high school but quit when the poet died but my Father and Jesus through Holy Spirit brought him back to life and he has written one every day since after a 33 year absence I could feel again.

    My take on the denominations is we all have personal things God is telling us through the Bible in the way we can understand. Unfortunately we believe that everyone needs that as we have gotten it. I am learning it is not so and that I want people to hear from God the way He would want them to not me. I see Paul always telling people this. My belief is that at some point there will be a drawing in of us all to be one again within our diversities becoming the true body of Christ. Now I am sure that will get a lot of flack but my confidence is in the Holy Spirit not me.

    It is a shame that so many women are struck everyday and children mistreated but the light goes on a few men who have enormous temptations in front of them everyday. When they fall we want to find fault with everything around them. What a time to call things what they are and bring such things into the light and take the power out of such darkness. These are opportunities that were paid for and should not be squander by just firing someone. Generational curses have a chance to be broken and be of benefit to our people.


  56. I’ll have to tune into Evangelical Radio this week and see how they spin the Seattle Times coverage as Evil Left Wing Mainstream Media. The content of the story… meh, won’t matter.

    Somehow “standing behind our brothers in times of crisis” or not-shooting-our-wounded will get deployed. Certainly those at least apply to powerful, wealthy, or popular brothers.

    ASIDE: as a legitimate criticism of the coverage – “revealed that Mars Hill had tried forcing departing pastors to sign nondisclosure agreements”… So? I’ve never entered or exited any professional arrangement without signing an NDA. That is just standard practice. And under USA law the NDA is mostly toothless. Most people have signed NDAs [although I have discovered a lot of people don’t pay enough attention to realize they have].


  57. CM, my comment above has been put in moderation, and if recent experience means anything, it could be there for a while, which I’d like to avoid, because I really want to join the discussion on this issue. Thank much.


  58. I don’t think institutional unity was what Jesus had in mind, either. It seems to me that there has always been a plurality of voices in the Church, from the time of Acts, and they didn’t always agree at the end of the day, even in important matters.

    The only time institutional unity existed in even an approximate sense was when the Church employed the state to exercise coercion on its behalf. One of the early results of this was Constantine banishing Athanasius, who subsequently has come to represent the “orthodox” position, for disagreeing with the conclusions regarding the natures of Christ of a council that Constantine had supported.

    The reason the institutional unity of the Western Church was fractured was because the Church became unable to enforce conformity. It became unable to prevent the translation of the Bible into vernaculars; it became unable to suppress knowledge of the gap between its own practices/teachings and the Scriptural testimony; it became unable to give a compelling account of why that gap should exist. And, most importantly, it became unable enforce conformity despite the existence of cognitive dissonance.

    Coercion may be enough to attain institutional unity, but it can never establish spiritual unity. Perhaps some believe that it would be a good thing if the Church were able to go back to a time when most people lacked the ability to read the Bible, and the ecclesiastic authorities jealously guarded their right and prerogative to be the sole interpreters of Scriptural text ( right and prerogative that can only be secured by employing the power of the state), but I would disagree with them.

    Better to have the plurality and confusion we now have, which I believe has always been latent in the Church, even when it was exercising maximum control in the middle ages, than to suppress dissent and disagreement. Such suppression is always spiritually untrue, and even where it leads to impeccably “orthodox” conclusions, it undermines and falsifies truth by putting a sword in its hand.

    There’s no putting the chicken back in the egg. There is, however, much room for learning respect, toleration, patience, charity in our dealings with Christians who interpret Scripture differently from ourselves and our traditions.

    Most of all, the contemporary situation affords us the opportunity to learn something that our more certain ecclesiastic forbears lacked: Modesty about the stridency with which we insist on the correctness and certainty of our own interpretations. It’s exactly this modesty, which can only occur in the midst of interpretative pluralism, that makes possible a truly conciliar approach to the Scriptures, and to Christian truth. Denial of a hearing for those voices in the past only led to the illusion of conciliarity and interpretative certainty.

    Yes, some, or even many, of those voices and interpretations are irresponsible and divisive. Each voice and account must be dealt with on a case by case basis; we cannot get rid of them solely by referring to some putatively pristine and pure tradition of interpretation. On the one hand, we do not in fact possess such a tradition, historically speaking; even more importantly, there are many voices that should not be silenced, and which it would be wrong to silence, on the basis of looking back to a sacrosanct tradition of authoritative interpretation.


  59. Google the gay comic-book miniseries “Bulldogs,” by Dale Lazarov. So called for being set in Britain.

    Issue no. 1 features gay Scotsmen in tartans.

    Issue no. 2 features gay Anglican vicars.

    I suppose issue no. 3 will have to center on Beefeater guards. (Heh heh, beefeater!)

    The covers are SFW, but the insides, not so much.


  60. Don’t forget to engrave some druidic runes [whatever those are, ask MADD, they apparently know] into the handle and a pentacle on each side of the axe head.

    That avoids confusion – remember there are only two kinds of people: true believers and baby eating devil worshipers, regardless of that the later call themselves.

    Ok, make that three kinds of people: true believers, true believers on cruise ships studying suffering, and we devil worshipers. It really does merit its own category.


  61. “This winter, Ligonier Ministries is sponsoring a Caribbean study cruise of the Eastern Caribbean. Our theme will be Christ’s call to endure persecution and suffering faithfully, and I am excited that Steve Nichols and R.C. Sproul Jr. will be joining me as we look at what God’s Word and church history have to tell us about this subject. Our itinerary includes St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and the Bahamas, and we will have many opportunities for fellowship and learning together as we travel.”

    Wait, wait, wait. You mean they’re all going to be in one place, miles out to sea? And there’s still a chance for one ax-wielding liberal to sign up?

    Well now … that is interesting …


  62. ” He prayed, “may they be one” (John 17:21). 34,000 church denominations later, his prayer goes unanswered.”

    Unless God’s idea of unity is something other than bureaucratic and administrative unity. Whenever ‘unity’ is discussed, its always as organizational unity, one organization/denomination/church body. Rome seeks to bring all other believers under the magisterium and thinks that is the unity Jesus asked for. Most ‘ecumenical’ dialogue strives for this end also. I figure it is probably something other than that, or else the second person of the Trinity did not have His prayer answered, which I consider unlikely.

    I had a friend that converted from Mormonism when he studied Christianity. He was taught in the Mormon church that the Christians were hopelessly divided. When he researched it he told me all the orthodox Christian churches believed in the same Jesus even if they disagreed on other details. This shook him to the core and he eventually left Mormonism and became a Christian.


  63. Goodness……between yesterday’s YEC debate and Penley today, I am very glad that I do not have a dog in this fight!!

    In fact, I am perfectly happy with Tiber Creek Community Church…..the Jumbotron makes those Latin hymns so much easier to sing. My only complaint is that some of the donuts seem to be 2000 years old!!!


  64. Favoring Ginger over Mary Ann is a sign of apostasy.

    Also, I thought I was just lazy when I didn’t read the Bible. But now people have given me an excu—, er, a theologically sound reason not to do so.

    As for the cruise ship, the passengers can apply their lessons by drinking the local water at each of their stops. Suffering….


  65. I knew projector screens would re-emerge topically at some point.

    For what it’s worth, “Tiber Creek” would be easier to swim across than an honest-to-goodness river — and hence more seeker-friendly by default.


  66. Ian Paisley – that’s a tangled legacy he leaves. In his later years ,he did seem to get very pragmatic about power-sharing. In the heyday of his career, though, he stirred up a lot of bitterness and hatred that had direct (if unintended) consequences in paramilitary violence.

    The mercy of God on all the dead!


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