No Rest, No Worship

I wish Bethany Jenkins would try to find the work for which she trained in law school. To graduate from Columbia, she must be bright. But I’m not sure she has captured the high points of Reformed theology and worship. I think that means that I also wish the Gospel Allies would not give spiritual cheerleaders a platform. (Unlike Las Vegas, what the Kellers enable doesn’t stay in but spreads all over.)

The post that has my jaws clenched today (thanks to our southern correspondent) is one in which Bethany calls for worship that reflects all the ways that God is glorified, especially the work Christians do outside the worship service:

For churches, the question is not just, What is worship?, but also, What kinds of worship should we experience and model when we gather together? Shying away from offering any particular rules, Carson casts a high vision for corporate worship: “Work for a massive display of the glory of God and character and attributes of God.”

That display is not massive, but miniscule, when we limit it to include only work that contributes to our worship services. If we only have church activities in mind when we sing, “Come and see what God has done” (Ps. 66:5), then we miss out on that “massive display” of God’s glory, character, and attributes.

If Ms. Jenkins ever watched The Wire or a Coen Brothers movie she might have a clue about how self-serving this talk of massive displays of God’s glory seems. She is close to saying, even though I’m sure she doesn’t intend it, that worship should be about what WE do during the week. If worship doesn’t expand to include our work and how we think about it, we will miss God’s glory. If we only hear about and meditate on — oh, say — the creation of the world, the call of Abraham, the exodus, the incarnation, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension, our worship doesn’t capture the big picture of God’s glory. Sure enough, I love it when people compliment me for the books (all about me) I’ve written. I even like it when they talk about the ways (some about me) my writing has helped them understand the gospel or the work of the church. But I thought the point of worship was not all about me. My understanding of Reformed worship was that it was theocentric.

The self-servingness of Jenkins and company’s understanding of work is especially evident when she quotes the formal words of commission that folks at Redeemer NYC give to people who work in professions:

In a world filled with brokenness, confusion, darkness, mourning and loneliness, God has called his people to bring the healing light of the gospel into every sector of our city through every profession, institution, and calling. There is no inch of this city where his gospel cannot redeem.

If you work in mid-town Manhattan, drink a lot of expensive coffee, and roam from wi-fi hotspot to hotpsot, these words may give you the gumption to go out and get things done. But if you’re a pig farmer, or regularly milk cows, or clean toilets, or collect subway tokens, the inspiration that works on mid-town Manhattanites may not be your cup of chai.

Entirely missing from this bloated view of work is the Sabbath setting for worship. The Lord’s Day is one reserved for rest and worship and as the Heidelberg Catechism explains, that rest has soteriological significance:

Question 103. What does God require in the fourth commandment?

Answer: First, that the ministry of the gospel and the schools be maintained; and that I, especially on the sabbath, that is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, to hear his word, to use the sacraments, publicly to call upon the Lord, and contribute to the relief of the poor. Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by his Holy Spirit in me: and thus begin in this life the eternal sabbath.

One of the arresting points of redemptive history I am learning from a Sunday school series on the Sabbath taught ably by our pastor is that the Sabbath was almost nowhere to be seen between the creation week and the giving of the law at Sinai. The patriarchs knew no real Sabbath and Israel did not enter into meaningful rest until the saints entered the promised land where they could worship in the holy of holies.

If Ms. Jenkins paid more attention to the Bible and its teaching about worship, rest, and the Lord’s Day, she might reconsider her views about massive displays of God’s glory. A loan, a contract, a consultation, a piece of legislation, a foundation grant, an interview with a reporter might look important if you don’t rest from your labors but carry thoughts of them into worship. But if you take a break and contemplate the remarkable work of God in redeeming a sinful world, you may be able to discern the difference between temporal and eternal things.


198 thoughts on “No Rest, No Worship

  1. High Touch: Pastors can also pray for people in different professions by season. For example, in God at Work, David Miller suggests praying for certified public accountants around April 15 and for salespeople and those working on commission at the end of the month and at the end of the year when quotas are due. Lord, give wisdom to accountants, as they help others to steward their resources justly. Give assurance to those working on commission, that you will provide their every need. We can pray for teachers in August, coaches during playoffs, and farmers at harvest time.

    Hmm, I work on commission and it is just about the last thing I want to be reminded of on Sunday morning. I’ve also found that the passing of the plate (do they do anything so gauche in NYC) tends to remind me anyway.

    Prayers for “coaches during the playoffs” — what about those that don’t make the playoffs? What’s the prayer for them — suck less, draft better, or redeem that O-line by canning the lot of them and looking for free agents? What is the prayer for the Jets’ janitor who is mopping up sweat and cleaning showers almost every other Sunday?


  2. CW, love all your comments.

    But dangit, I just wanna show up on Sunday with hopes for a clear conscience, specially when there’s a baptism so I can simply BE a part of it. Can’t anyone support the missions without banging on a drum about how much they/we support or don’t support the mission? It’s making my heart ache.

    Isn’t there a Reformed zen dude out there who just says “be there” instead of “get hot on X thingie.”


  3. CW,

    Why even pray for coaches or for peoples jobs for that matter? Christ’s kingdom (contra the Transformers) does not consist in our vocations.


  4. Tim really needs to pack it in on this initiative. It may have sounded good in theory (to them), but it’s been laughable in reality. Tim should know better. Even Dutch Neocalvinists are blushing. Bethany is a nice person, but she’s a Baylor grad. Hang this one all on her shepherds (Kathy Keller is her mentor and the BS detector is clearly in need of new batteries).


  5. Frankly Luther and, believe it or not, Wesley, said all that needed to be said on Christians, work, and making money. Everyone since then has really not improved on them.


  6. If I was cynical I would say this initiative is an effort to quell discontent over the number of cushy jobs being funded at The Gospel Coalition and Redeemer by the working stiffs. Mega churches and evangelical ministries rarely have skinny staffs. It’s as if they’re trying to say, “Wait! You’re in ministry, too, Mr. Stockbroker and Ms. Barista!”


  7. The test for the notion that “your work is holy” is going to be the contentious issue of whether or not religious business people have to serve gays. Article in the NYT right now. PCA churches don’t marry gays. Using the work is holy logic, should PCA business owners be disciplined for doing so? Follow the logic.


  8. Multiple choice question. Pick the best response.

    Bethany is to Reformed thought as
    a) Ronda Rousey is to mixed martial arts.
    b) Tina Fey is to Sarah Palin.
    c) John Piper is to Sylvia Plath.
    d) A tofu burger is to a hamburger.
    e) TKNY is to New York City.


  9. Muddy, I’m in the standardized testing business. That’s the old model of item writing (very unCommon Core). But if you want to stick with it, you need to eliminate one of those and replace e) with “all of the above.” Then submit a draft for a constructed response.


  10. why do people not enter Sabbath rest? unbelief.
    God really wants to be believed in all He says, though not in a way demons believe, but with faith.
    Heb 4:1-7; Gal 2:20; 2 Cor 4 7; Rom 12:1

    morning Andrew


  11. Z, I include Tina Fey and that’s the thanks I get? And how many of your la ti dah test questions have theology, martial arts, comedy, politics, poetry, and cuisine in the same question? Muddy the Renaissance Man, I’m tellin ya.


  12. M, just here to help is all. Like shrimpin’, standardized testing is tough. Even tougher is transforming the governmental machine from creating God-hating pagans to the opposite. But keep the Fey reference, ding.


  13. TGC is a confused eclectic mess.

    I will say that being a bad employee, who comes in late and does lazy work is dishonoring to God. Honoring God in your work simply means doing good work wit ha good attitude.

    Corporate worship is for exalting God for being God. That said, I won’t be the one to tell somebody who got a job last week that saved their house that they are in sin if they gratefully remember that during corporate worship.


  14. All this time I thought part of my daily performance of worship was coming here and reading this blog. But no….

    I’m shattered, DGH. I’m shattered.


  15. Greg, so the only way for a believer to glorify God is to be a superstar? What happens when an unbeliever does better work and is way more chipper than a believer? Happens all the time. Is there no hope for a C- believer?


  16. Seriously, DD — what does this mean for my TWITTER MINISTRY?!? Whatsabout all those who worship on Facebook with their inspirational-motivational graphics, memes, and videos?


  17. Zrim says: “Greg, so the only way for a believer to glorify God is to be a superstar? What happens when an unbeliever does better work and is way more chipper than a believer? Happens all the time. Is there no hope for a C- believer?

    No sir. I said “good work with a good attitude”. As opposed to bad work with a bad attitude. Not “superstar”.

    A Christian employee should be perceived buy their employer as getting that person’s best. Which may or may not be the best in the company. But certainly THEIR best. Plastic “chipperness” is phony, but being a positive, easy to get along with workmate and employee who still has bad days, is simply being a Christian at work.

    Additionally, the standard of holiness and honesty that believers are commanded to walk in everywhere else, certainly goes for work too. A person who participates in obscene jokes and profane language, pilfers supplies and cheats on the time clock brings reproach to the name of Jesus.

    I say again. Honoring God in your work simply means doing good honest work with a good and godly yet still human attitude.


  18. Greg, it’s those bad, even mediocre and ordinary days I wonder about. If you can find a way to say a believer is still glorifying and honoring God in those times, maybe you’d sound less like an after-school-special poster or a The More You Know commercial.


  19. A godly person’s godly reputation, earned through their usual performance and attitude, will carry them through the occasional bad or even VERY bad day. At least with any even half way reasonable boss. If a day that includes sin the it is not glorifying to God. Getting caught ripping off the company or cursing your workmates will not be viewed as virtuous.

    Perhaps I misunderstand. Please give more explanation of glorifying and honoring God on bad and or mediocre days.


  20. Lemme try this again. To Zrim:
    A godly person’s godly reputation, earned through their usual performance and attitude, will carry them through the occasional bad or even VERY bad day. At least with any even half way reasonable boss. If a day includes sin then it is not glorifying to God. Getting caught ripping off the company or cursing your workmates will not be viewed as virtuous.

    Perhaps I misunderstand. Please give more explanation of glorifying and honoring God on bad and or mediocre days.


  21. Doesn’t Bethany know she needs to include honey and refried beans in her expansive view of worship?

    Why did God make honey so tasty and sweet? So that we would have some idea what wisdom is like (at least, that’s one reason). The sweetness of honey points beyond itself to the wisdom of God. Honey is “good,” and we are exhorted in Psalm 34 to “taste and see that the LORD is good!” Our souls have taste buds, just like our tongues, and we can train the soul-buds by exercising the tongue-buds. When we savor the sweetness of honey or sweet tea or pumpkin crunch cake, we engage in a fancy bit of “reading.” We transpose the physical enjoyment of taste onto our souls and offer thanks to God, not only for the simple pleasures of food but also for the spiritual pleasures to which the food is but a fitting echo.

    But this means we can’t short-circuit the enjoyment of the honey. In order for us to gain the full spiritual benefit of honey, we must really enjoy its sweetness. There must be a savoring of honey as honey before there can ever be a savoring of honey as a pointer to divine wisdom. In short, if we’re to obey the biblical exhortation to “Know that wisdom is such to your soul,” we must first “Know . . . such”—that is, we must first eat honey.

    So as we confront a world full of potential idols, let us not overlook the true purpose of creation. Creation is communication from the triune God. God loved his trinitarian fullness so much that he created a world to communicate that fullness ad extra, outside himself. And not just any world. A world full of fish tacos, tickle fights, afternoon naps, Cajun seafood, back rubs, wool house shoes, and church softball.


  22. What substance was this guy on when he wrote this and where can I get some?

    William S. Burroughs is jealous.

    It’s like reading a John Piper poem on the joys of funnel cake.


  23. Greg, wow, so a believer relies on his earned works? So much for the doctrines of grace being practical. But you also don’t have any category for a believer glorifying God in ordinary times? That’s most of life.


  24. I wish the sanctified bliss coming from the means of grace of the morning service would last long enough so people would be patient in getting out of the parking lot.


  25. Zrim says: “Greg, wow, so a believer relies on his earned works?”
    While at “WORK”, yes, he earns money by his “WORKS”? That’s why it’s called “WORK”.. see? This is what James is talking about, when he declares a man justified by his “WORKS”. Not before the tribunal of the offended God where his works are less than useless, but before a dying world where his works are all they see. Yes, even this good work and attitude belong to the author and finisher of his faith, which faith if these woks are not done in, they are sin. Good works prepared by God Himself from eternity that our good employee here should walk in them. If this is in any way still unclear, just say the word and bless God I will continue helping you understand.

    Zrim says: “So much for the doctrines of grace being practical.”
    See the immediately above please.

    Zrim says: “But you also don’t have any category for a believer glorifying God in ordinary times? That’s most of life.”
    Lemme try this now too. What I have been describing IS ordinary times. What I said was: “If a day includes sin then it is not glorifying to God. Getting caught ripping off the company or cursing your workmates will not be viewed as virtuous.” Did ya see that now? Yes, we sin in word thought and deed every day, but allowing that sin to be of such a nature as I have just hypothesized, would cause one’s workmates and employer to look askance at God and His gospel. NOT be impressed with the character of those claiming His name. True Christians CAN do some really bad stuff, but they will not be justified before men while doing so.

    We are to live our lives TO God, IN Christ, BEFORE the world. We are commanded to do this. We will fail sometimes and yes, how we handle that failure can be glorifying to the Lord too.

    What is your point Zrim? If I might ask? How do YOU understand the Christian’s responsibility to portray Christ in the workplace. OR, does he have none?


  26. That’s actually one of the things at the Lutheran Church that I’m looking forward to. They have a church softball team in the summer.

    I need a sanctified way to pull a hammy.


  27. “he created a world to communicate that fullness ad extra, outside himself. And not just any world. A world full of fish tacos, tickle fights, afternoon naps, Cajun seafood, back rubs, wool house shoes, and church softball.”

    Whose world is this?


  28. Zrim says: “category for a believer glorifying God in ordinary times? That’s most of life.”

    thinking we can at least see when we are NOT doing it, don’t you think, Zrim, and His word is always informing our deceived hearts about it

    put aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander; keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation; the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these; let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another

    the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh for these are in opposition to one another so that you may not do the things that you please; those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires; the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control against such things there is no law.

    we might ourselves;: you were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A pupil after he has been fully trained will be like his teacher.
    1 Peter 2:1,12; Gal 5 verses; Luke 6:40


  29. Best softball game I played in required you to run the bases without spilling more than half your cup of beer.


  30. What bothers me about that honey post is it has the *ahem* nuanced way of placing fish tacos, tickle fights, and church softball in a sort of mediatorial role between God and man. “See how good God’s grace is? You will if you try these beans!” Isn’t that role exclusive to Christ? I guess honey is nice but Christ is better, especially in the bread and wine. So why mess around talking about honey so much?

    Or maybe I’m over-reacting, it’s been known to happen.


  31. Very good ANDREW. There’s more too.

    Let’s not forget this all time classic from our Lord in the 5th of Matthew.
    “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

    Except when you’re at work?


  32. Greg,

    a. has never revealed his/her identity. Note he/she is not Shane D. Anderson, but could be any other person, except Shane Anderson (who is at twitter handle @Shane_A7).

    Do you like the greek for andrew?

    You should check out “Greg” on Wiki. The “Carl” on Urban Dictionary (i.e. Carl Trueman, per my earlier comment, about Zen Calvinism) is worth it too.

    In short, you have me and a. confused. A. is a non-denom guy who most certainly, again, is not @Shane_A7, I want to make that clear.

    Have a nice weekend.


  33. Oh, so that wasn’t you? Sorry. Yes, the Greek for Andrew is cool. I have the font too. That’s pronounced ahn DREH ahs. Greek has no W equivalent and the accent is on the epsilon. 🙂

    I’ll check out your suggestions and you have a nice weekend too.


  34. Greg, my point is that most of life is somewhere between the old Army slogan to “be all that you can be” and blatant sinning. You seem to think it’s either one or the other, which is what makes your pious advice on the workplace ring lame. You also come across like the type who thinks vocation for believers is some sort of platform for proselytizing and witness when it’s actually a means by which to serve others.


  35. Zrim, I have said nothing like you are here attributing to me. I’m not giving advice. I’m declaring biblical truth. I ask again. What do you believe a Christian in the workplace should look like.

    Vocation, like everything a Christian does, is to bring glory to God. By doing it honorably and honestly and using the fruit of our labors to provide responsibly for the family he has entrusted to us. Or honorably and responsibly in other ways in the case of singles.

    Maybe the faithful discharge of these duties will be used by God to bring home one (or some) of His elect. Only He knows. In any case, we represent Him as His ambassadors in the earth every second we’re alive. Including in the workplace.

    You don’t seem to have much joy in your life Zrim? That can change ya know.


  36. A couple of thoughts have stewed in my head after reading Bethany’s article. First, taking church into such a cultural, academic scene as Bethany does once again reinforces the blinding obvious – that there is a stonking big problem with a clear section of folks who are supposedly Reformed like TKNY and their UK equivalents. Maybe I am an inverted snob with a working class Lancashire background, but GC, TKNY etc. all reminds me of what is scathingly called here in the UK as the metropolitan elite who think they genuinely know what’s the best for the rest of the peasants in England. Degrees, PHD’s, high flying careers and connections seem to be the badge of authority for such folks.

    Does working in Capitol Hill, Bethany, give you more credence than someone who flipper burgers at Wendy’s? In essence such GC culture typified in Bethany’s article simply reinforces an upper middle class ethos which has it’s example, surprise, surprise, in the academic intellectual form of Tim Keller and the New Calvinist PCA hot ticket, KDY. How such stuff translates into real life outside the upper middle class, PHD culture bubble is beyond my dense brain, apart from the main point that work should be left out of Sabbath day worship. It all reminds me of how here in Blighty the fans of such stuff are found in the affluent, comfortably suburban Home Counties, London and places where the outlook of the readers of Evangelical Now reside.

    Second, is Bethany teaching? Or sharing? My understanding is that pastors teach (men) in church, but it seems that the ladies are now given free reign to share/teach in all sorts of settings, contrary to historic, Protestant church teaching. It is odd that in the GC the sisters are doing a heck of a lot of ‘teaching’ under various guises. This is another reason to see GC shown up as dodgy. Even MR has the ‘housewife theologian’ sharing/teaching with the lads and the lasses, whatever folks want to call it.


  37. Paul, TKNYism (and assorted associated orgs including increasingly urban-urbane TGC) may also be viewed as efforts to reinsert upper middle-class values to the cities. Their niceness and ambitious plans for nearly everything and everybody are reminiscent of the old mainlines who (if I’m not mistaken) tried very similar things in the late 18th c. and early 19th c.


  38. In other words, Paul — I agree with you. There is nothing new or revolutionary about TGKCNY. It may be seen as a sort of self serving, conservative, protect-my-own, take-back-our-(cities, culture, neighborhood, arts, etc) cultural imperialism. It’s not hard to see how they differ from northern presbyterianism of, say, 1895 or 1921.


  39. UK Paul, you’re suggesting TKNY is not a complimentarian the way John Piper and the BB’s are?

    It’s rhetorical. As if complimentarianism would play in the fast-talking-career-person environs of Redeemer NYC.


  40. Paul,

    Good comment.

    I read “the new yorker” and “the new York times”, but the day I let new yorkers tell me how to do religion is the day TKNY drinks Folgers.


  41. Greg, the Carl thing is kind of a joke. Dr. Carl Trueman has a Podcast that I enjoy listening to on my commute, along with stuff at Reformed Forum, I’m currently evalutating their stuff on Geerhardus Vos, it’s really quality stuff, if you are looking to find something worth while for your studying. Along those lines, According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy is a good intro into the subject of Biblical Theology. Anyway, that’s an interesting song you recommended to Zrim, reminds me of my babdist upbringing.



  42. Paul, don’t forget that (in an attempt to appeal to gun-shy urban females – my opinion) Redeemer has female deacons and the chairman of their deacons is a female. Further, to get around that pesky Book of Church Order they no longer ordain any deacons — their position being that an unordained woman can do anything (better?) that an unordained man can do. So male deacons are deprived of the privilege and benefits of ordination as part of a marketing-apology campaign to urban women. And Redeemer is considered the epitome of modern diaconal excellence. Oh, and they call them “deacs” around the joint — not deacons or deaconesses, as I recall. Ecclesial gymnastics. Here’s the firestorm of outrage from the rest of the PCA:


  43. TGC at times seems almost embarrassed with the heavenly-mindedness of Biblical Christianity, wanting it instead to better every aspect of this life in this passing world. One of the main differences between the ancient pagan religions and the religion of Abraham was that the pagans viewed their gods and religion as a means of bettering this life, while Abraham recognized he was an alien in this world and understood the goal of religion was entrance and preparation for the life to come, true life. While serving God in this world, he was under no illusions about his religion improving this old world. Wise to read Vos here:

    “It (the heavenly goal) has in it somewhat of the scorn of the relative and of compromise. He who knows that for him a palace is in building does not dally with desires for improvement on a lower scale. Contentment with the lowest becomes in such a case profession of the highest, a badge of spiritual aristocracy with its proud insistence upon the ideal. Only the predestined inhabitants of the eternal city know how to conduct themselves in a simple tent as kings and princes of God.” — (Geerhardus Vos, “Heavenly-Mindedness,” Grace & Glory, pp. 108, 109)

    “ A religion that has ceased to set its face towards the celestial city is bound sooner or later to discard also all supernatural resources in its endeavour to transform this present world. The days are perhaps not far distant when we shall find ourselves confronted with a quasi-form of Christianity professing openly to place its dependence on and to work for the present life alone, a religion, to use the language of Hebrews, become profane and a fornicator like Esau, selling for a mess of earthly pottage its heavenly birthright.” (Grace and Glory…pg. 119)


  44. DGH, memory fades. I want to think we had Oktoberfest girls coaching 1st & 3rd base but that might have been a TV commercial.


  45. Jenkins overreaches by reflex apparently. Same tendency is evident in her column on racism. These evangelicals are rapidly talking themselves into irrelevancy, even as they think they are doing just the opposite. She needs to go into college teaching, where she will fit right in.


  46. D.G.,
    If you think that I think that Keller speaks truth to power, then we’ve had a communication problem. Though he avoids the 2KT error of denying that the Church has a responsibility to speak to societal and systemic sins, his strategies cause him to substantially imitate the practical theology side of 2KT.


  47. Todd,
    What you wrote about Abraham’s religion is not all together true. For example, during Moses’ time, Abraham’s religion was substantially about bettering this life–that is if Abraham and Moses shared the same religion.

    Please note that religious escapism in the face of evil simply provides another reason for being complicit in that evil by reason of silence. Others are just as guilty of the same complicity but for other reasons.

    When our goal of heaven is the reason why we are too preoccupied to repent from loving our neighbor as ourselves, our heavenly goal could simply be a front for selfishness and selfish ambition.


  48. Greg, what should a Christian in the workplace should look like? If he’s a baker, like a baker (apron, flour on his cheek, etc.). He shouldn’t look like a banker (a suit, clean shaven, etc.). But I don’t want to stereotype either–these appearances may be culturally adjusted.


  49. Let’s hope Bethany doesn’t get wind that hoops are sacramental:

    Among Catholic high school alumni of a certain age with vivid, if not entirely reliable, memories of their athletic exploits, one sport is regarded with almost sacramental reverence: basketball.

    Count me among those whose identities as Catholics and proud members of their urban parishes were formed by the grace of the city game. A recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer (and available here) by columnist Frank Fitzpatrick reminded me of how deep the connection runs.

    A life-long Philadelphian, Fitzpatrick is a product of the city’s parochial school system and is still actively involved in all things Catholic (and athletic) in the area. He admits to pulling out his high school yearbook “at least three times a week” and is immodestly proud of his ability to “still recite the 1967 all-Catholic basketball team.”


  50. Men Are Just Happier People —

    What do you expect from such simple creatures?

    Your last name always stays the same.

    The garage is all yours.

    Wedding plans take care of themselves.

    Chocolate is just another snack…

    You can never be pregnant.

    You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

    You can wear NO shirt to a water park.

    Car mechanics tell you the truth.

    The world is your urinal.

    You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.

    You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

    Same work, more pay.

    Wrinkles add character.

    Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100.

    People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.

    New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.

    One mood all the time.

    Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

    You know stuff about tanks.

    A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

    You can open all your own jars.

    If someone forgets to invite you, He or she can still be your friend.

    Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.

    Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

    Everything on your face stays its original color.

    The same hairstyle lasts for years, even decades.

    You only have to shave your face and neck.

    You can play with toys all your life.

    One wallet and one pair of shoes — one color for all seasons.

    You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.

    You can ‘do’ your nails with a pocket knife.

    You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.

    You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives On December 24 in 25 minutes.

    Men Are Just Happier People


    If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Kate and Sarah. If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each
    other as Fat Boy, Bubba and Wildman.


    When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in $20, even though it’s only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.
    When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators… YEP!!!


    A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.

    A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn’t need but it’s on sale.


    A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel. The average number of items in the typical woman’s bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.


    A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.


    A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.

    A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.


    A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t. A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, but she does.


    A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.

    A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.


    Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.

    Women somehow deteriorate during the night.


    Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and
    dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.


    A married man should forget his mistakes. There’s no use in two people remembering the same thing!


  51. Andrew, I am well familiar with MOS. The “housewife Theologian” Aimee Byrd, who is my friend, is who Paul (UK) is railing o…. I mean talking about above.
    Have heard every one. Good stuff. Usually, I’ve had a couple real problems here and there.

    Christ the center, indeed reformed forum as a whole is usually good too. Yes, the Tipton series on Vos is excellent. VOS was excellent. I had THIS edition of his biblical theology years ago. Dr. Van Til looked way up to him.

    Zrim says: “Greg, what should a Christian in the workplace should look like? If he’s a baker, like a baker (apron, flour on his cheek, etc.). He shouldn’t look like a banker (a suit, clean shaven, etc.). But I don’t want to stereotype either–these appearances may be culturally adjusted.”
    🙂 Does God expect him to portray Christ in the workplace? Or more to the point. Where does God NOT expect him to portray Christ? OR… Does God not want His people to let anybody ever find out that they are His people? Some scripture to support your answer would be a real plus.

    Erik says: “Asking Zrim to be joyful is too much. He is properly medicated, however, and that’s all we ask of him.”
    Well, I’m not asking him, as if it would help me. I just hate to see a brother being all sour and cantankerous all the time. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. A prime indicator of one’s quality of spiritual life. It can be had while chained in a filthy dirt floor prison waiting for your next beating. There’s no excise for any American Christian not have joy. That’s not condemnation. It’s hope.

    Maybe He forget that he was once dead in trespasses and sins. By nature a child of wrath and an enemy of the most high God who now calls him brother, bride and son. Having predestined him from the foundation of the world to be conformed to the image of His only begotten son.

    A Calvinist for whom this theology of grace does not bring joy, might as well be under the letter that kills. I don’t want that for anybody.


  52. Greg,

    Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

    None of that sounds like your pious advice.

    You ask: “Does God not want His people to let anybody ever find out that they are His people?” Who said that? But the key phrase here is “find out.” There is a difference between being found out and advertising. The former naturally unfolds in the process of human relations, the latter as the result of of trumpeting faith (something Matthew 6 warns against).


  53. We’ve been down this road before, but generally in the business world the guy who is the most aggressive in telling me that he’s a Christian is the guy I most try to avoid. Why? Because the next thing he’s going to ask for is a better deal than other people are getting or an opportunity for business that he can not earn on the merits of his product or service.

    We do business with lots of Christians, but they don’t lead with their faith so it’s not an issue.


  54. DG, since I’m in TKNY state of mind — maybe the zen master is on to something: Maybe the ideal deacon is a metrosexual, sensitive male or a butch-but-not-mean female. Put them together and all is well as long as the latter get to boss the former, or else nothing would get done. The rest of us in the flyover states will just have to muddle through with dude deacons who are slightly disorganized and not always as thoughtful as they should be.


  55. There’s also the issue that, in the workplace and in business, you sometimes fail and disappoint people. If that happens, I don’t necessarily want Jesus shouldering any of the blame. It’s my failure, not His.


  56. I don’t give pious advice Zrim. I declare biblical truth. I must conclude from what you’re saying that you don’t believe the temptation to sin in today’s workplace to be very great.


  57. Erik: “There’s also the issue that, in the workplace and in business, you sometimes fail and disappoint people. If that happens, I don’t necessarily want Jesus shouldering any of the blame. It’s my failure, not His.”
    In what arena of life do you NOT sometimes fail and disappoint people Erik?


  58. Back to the post theme — When I was a deac(on) — XY variant — I sometimes found it impossible to concentrate on worship. Was it too hot? Too cold? What was that sound in the hall? Is that crazy lady who comes in 30 minutes late standing at the locked front door in our bad neighborhood. You had to watch for her always late arrival out the window. Such is the office and, though hirelings might do a better job, it’s just what you did. Some Sundays might involve seven hours or more at church. So when I could participate in a service undistracted thank goodness it wasn’t vocational or patriotic Sunday. Just simple, predictable worship, without metropolitan innovations.


  59. Greg,

    “pious advice” is not necessarily an insult. If I am correct, if the OPC writes a paper on a topic for GA and it is approved of by that body it would be labeled “pious advice”. It’s not necessarily binding on anyone.

    Your thoughts are not necessarily binding on anyone who is not a minor in your home and, if you’re nice about it, your wife.


  60. “Something you should be aware of, however. A committee report is nothing more than a committee report. When the church faces a thorny issue, it sometimes asks certain gifted members to help think it through. It “commits” the matter to them for study; hence, they are a ‘committee.’ They report back and the church decides what to do with their report. In this case, there was a committee report and a minority report, thus reflecting disagreement among the committee members. The general assembly sent both reports to the churches ‘for earnest study.’ What that means is that the church saw the committee’s work as helpful fodder for thinking about this issue, but they did not adopt it as an official position statement. That’s true of all these committee reports. So please don’t misunderstand them to reflect ‘The OPC position.’ To find ‘The official OPC position,’ you need to look at our Confession of Faith and Catechisms. The Confession and Catechisms don’t answer every question. They are not so much a tightrope that our officers must walk as they are a fence outside of which we agree not to stray.”

    Hence the term, “pious advice”.

    As Darryl has wisely said, most everything is contested.


  61. Greg,

    Since your questions normally just serve as a springboard to launch into a sermon complete with bold print, capitalization, exclamation points, and emoticons, no.

    If you converse in real life like you do here I suspect you are normally conversing with a lamp post on a street corner with no one particularly paying attention.


  62. Emoticons really have no place in professional discussions, as far as I am concerned. It bothers me to no end when I receive a work e-mail with a smiley – what does the smiley mean?!?

    Grown men know how to read words written to them and can interpret them however they need to. To convey added emotion does not add anything, but rather, comes off as patronizing. To me anyway..



  63. Greg, dial it down. We all give pious advice. But some of us aren’t as inclined to shove and call it a “declaration of biblical truth” when others push back undazzled by our brilliance. And one might conclude from what you’re saying that when Jesus tells us not to trumpet faith (in the workplace or anywhere else), he had his fingers crossed, because obviously to really believe that one must also think sin is no big deal and super obvious that he’s not got the joyjoyjoyjoy down in the depths of his heart (where?!), down in the depths of his heart. Here’s my pious advice: buy a connect-the-dot book and brush up on how one thing leads to another.


  64. kent
    Posted January 22, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink
    Any toad can lift up onto its hind legs and belch out all kinds of pieties and little laws that it wants in a perfect world.

    Others see it as a total waste of time to bicker about things that will never be and can get increasingly disgusted when this is imposed on the gratitude portion of our faith.


  65. Didn’t Schuller write a book called “The Be Happy Attitudes” or something like that? That was before he went off on some stewardess on a plane, if I remember right.


  66. I say yet again. Darryl, you have my most solemn word of honor that my yay is yay. I am not even slightly angry.(never was) Nor do I have so much as a hint of animosity for anybody on this site.(never did) Or anywhere else. See Andrew? This is why the emoticons. And Erik? This is why the fancy posts. Nobody can see anybody’s face or hear their vocal intonation. I try my best to duplicate what I’m emphasizing and the tone of my voice with the visual resources available in the blog software.

    I’m not a professional anything either Andrew. I’m a 10th grade dropout who shouldn’t have lived past his 15th birthday. My emoticons and formatting are not meant to offend anybody. It’s simply how I post. And I’m still routinely falsely accused and misunderstood anyway. I ask that you folks please read the following in light of all the preceding. You’ll notice that 97% of the bold is never my own words.

    Erik says: “As Darryl has wisely said, most everything is contested.”
    Not to God. That’s the mushy post modern position. It’s not the biblical position. OR the historic reformed position. It’s the atheistic/agnostic post modern position. Smuggled into the church by people in love with the world who simply will not have that oldlife mindset stand in the way of their worldly idols. This is what I’ve been talking about all this time Erik. Hence my big long quotes from the “oldlife” standards and the word of God.

    “” my foot. I’m the “oldlife” guy around here. You folks are a herd of post modern gnostics. A very interesting hybrid indeed. “Most everything’s contested”(post modern uncertainty) and THIS kingdom never touches THAT kingdom.(Valentinus with a 21st century American twist) So what we do in this kingdom down here has nothing to do with that kingdom up there and vice versa. Well mostly.

    This is a slick and erudite piece of self trickery that people engage in when protecting their unbiblcal views and subsequent sin. Your beef is not with me. I stand on the shoulders of giants who went before me. You as much as said so yourself Erik when you were forced to cast them off yesterday in order to escape their glare. I’m just the messenger and you can say whatever you want. You know that.

    What’s more is that NObody knows that better than Dr. Hart. I’m your friend Darryl. Never doubt that. We pray for you all the time. Not that God will skewer you with a lightning bolt either. Mostly that your bible reading time will be fruitful and that the Lord will strengthen and bless you as you seek Him in His word. How ugly can somebody be huh?

    Erik says: “If you converse in real life like you do here I suspect you are normally conversing with a lamp post on a street corner with no one particularly paying attention.”
    That hurt my feelings Erik. I will forgo the sad face for Andrew’s sake.

    Zrim says: “trumpet”
    Not me. Even once, or any equivalent.

    Zrim says: “Here’s my pious advice: buy a connect-the-dot book and brush up on how one thing leads to another.”
    See how this works? Maybe a tongue in cheek jab here and there but I have never been unkind to you Zrim. Yet watch. I’ll be the one who gets all the accusations, instead of the dialog Erik said he wanted. I guess I didn’t stay in his box. I wonder if he’ll pretend he doesn’t know me now? Like he said he would. 😦 (I couldn’t help that one Andrew)


  67. Greg,

    When we say your amp is at 11 that’s another way of saying you turn every small skirmish into the Battle of Armageddon.

    You stand on the shoulders of giants? In the Bible giants are usually the bad guys.

    Maybe you just need to switch to decaf. Works wonders.


  68. Greg,

    You say you know Old School Presbyterianism, but you mostly channel New Light/New School toolishness. Think Gilbert Tennent if he hung with babdists.

    Old School is chill, yo


  69. Muddy wisdom:

    Muddy Gravel
    Posted February 10, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink
    Go up in a helicopter, look down, and tell me how important blogs are. But, wait, before you come back down tell me how important comments on blogs are. Every morning I look in the mirror and say “you know you’re not that important, don’t you?” Then I affirm my sagacity with a high-five to the mirror: “you are correct, sir!”


  70. Greg,

    On a positive note, I do respect your passion. Channeled properly in the local church, with oversight, I can see you doing a lot of good.

    A blog ministry/prayer ministry to people you meet on blogs may not be the way to go, though. You really don’t get to know people that way.

    This is mostly a diversion that people use to break up the monotony of work, not a life-changing medium.


  71. Erik says: “but you mostly channel New Light/New School.”
    Poppycock. Every writer of every reformed standard of the 17th through 18th centuries would excommunicate you and most everyone else here, on the spot for moral heresy. Tell me that’s not true. You missed my comment about Finney too? Didn’t you?

    Erik says: “A blog ministry/prayer ministry to people you meet on blogs may not be the way to go, though. You really don’t get to know people that way.
    Then why did YOU invite ME to come back here? And even softly insist when I was going to back out? (I was very touched by that ya know) You changed your mind because you are down in that other thread. Right now. And the way you handle it is to simply demand that the other golfer not use his club. I throw a penalty flag on that one. There is no raised volume. I have brought all substance and have gotten no answers. Any disinterested party stumbling over this site would see that.

    Erik says: “Metanarratives are right up there with conspiracy theories. 99% of the time they’re bogus.”
    Define what YOU mean by “metanarrative” please. Because that’s the key right there. To me every point of discussion is a component in a comprehensive system of thought. Everything is related to everything else. For example. Here in this thread? You all were arguing over what Christians should be like in the workplace. To me that argument merely exposes one’s overall mindset of which that argument is only one illustrative piece.

    I’m arguing system for system. You’re arguing point for point. That’s why things like that are bigger to me. Hart’s book is ordered Chris. I plan to read it. I keep my word.

    Define what YOU mean by “metanarrative” please Erik. And stop with the “quiet down” routine will ya please? Nobody’s yelling and I’m the one attempting substantive discussion here.


  72. Eric,
    Metanarratives are up there with conspiracy theories? That is only true for post modernism. Post Modernism rejects the metanarratives of Pre Modernism and Modernism which are faith and reason respectively speaking.

    Contesting everything is not necessarily Post Modernism. And not everything about Post Modernism is to be rejected. Contesting everything can be a part of anarchism and that pretty much predates Post Modernism. And by anarchism, I am referring to a way of organizing for self-government, not the pejorative use of the term.

    Also, not being aware of how one offend others kind of makes you the heir Sheldon Cooper on the Big Bang tv show.

    See, you are talking to fellow believers, people for whom Christ died. So why not talk as an equal, rather than as an angry authority figure? And, unlike Sheldon Cooper, your name indicates that you are aware of how you come across.


  73. I hate to say it, though I don’t agree with every facet of the things Greg has to say, I do detect a very subtle grain or truth through these various blog threads (I think). I’m about to head off to church this morning (groggy and unadjusted to the DST change overnight) and I’ll have to endure the kamikaze bum’s rush for scant parking spots, dodge wild drivers playing would-be demolition derby on the streets (since I’m not handicapped and not that old yet, I park several blocks way so that those who are may have closer spots), get run off of the sidewalks by those leaving the earlier service walking two and three abreast and refusing to move over. Heck, I can see those kinds of behaviors on any given work day and on weekends in shopping centers by the general secular public! And these are supposed to be fellow believers. Where’s the salt and light?! Where’s the “always yield to one another?”


  74. I’d be curious to know if Greg had actually read any of Calvin’s institutes, and if so, how much. He comes off as someone who has not.

    Greg? Comment?


  75. I’m mostly just interested in finding out if Greg can make it through a complete thread without a meltdown. Hasn’t happened yet.

    How would his approach work on a Session or Consistory? Hard to get much done when people are labeled as heretics every 24 hours.


  76. Greg,

    You’re definitely not dumb, but the mindset of “everything is related to everything else” usually entails lazy thinking and may be a consequence of ending formal education so soon.

    Maybe you can go back and be Greg the Terrible of the sophomore class?


  77. Greg,

    You’ve gotten answers to all your questions. The problem is, you get to the point that you’re so frustrated with the answers that all you have left is to fume & demagogue. We disagree, that’s life. What’s your endgame – to call my mom?

    If you are going to last here, it has to be because you enjoy conversation, not because you think you need to win something.


  78. Erik, what became clear to me in the great eclessiastical debate over Genesis creation days in 2009 here in Northern California is that the most bombastic of yourlng earth creationists use their interpretation reformed as a weapon against others and not as the soothing balm to one’s conscience that those of usbwho truly appreciate it know it to be. Greg may not be the unlearned insecure interlocutor he comes of as, but I don’t think he grasps the depth of the system that he wields against you. I think you and Zrim see it too. That’s where I am, but I am willing for him to put me in my place. Oh and if he must emoticate, so be it, but again, it reveals his state of mind and level of learning.


  79. Re AB on Muddy wisdom (on blog interaction)

    morning Andrew. true, sort of, but not really [Romans 14:12, even every word and deed.]


  80. See? This is what people do when they have no answers. They make irrelevant, meaningless and sometimes juvenile ad hominem remarks in the place of substantive response. (no I have not gotten answers) Many times including diversionary cleverness with youtube it appears.

    This will be the very last time I say this. I have not spent one single second angry or melting down. Not one. Disappointed and grieved? Yes. Angy and melting down? God knows better and that is far more than good enough for me. This is a cheap personal campaign calculated to relieve you from actually addressing what I actually say.

    You guys would do much better just telling me to get lost and you don’t care what I think. Who am I that you should? That’s where I was until Erik very nicely convinced me to continue here. Now he is cornered and wishes he hadn’t done that. If you doubt that, convince him to continue with me in the other thread. You do very very greatly err if think this is about me prevailing over Erik. I have no desire to hurt him. Or anybody else. it’s just the opposite. God knows better than that too, and that is far more than good enough for me as well.

    I’m going to get around to continuing in the other thread whether you do or not Erik. What I will bring will be substantive, absolutely respectful and the unassailable truth. If Dr. Hart decides to resower me it will be because WHAT I say is unwelcome here. Not because I’ve done anything actually wrong.

    let’s do some exegesis, exposition and history together. Is that a bad thing? I’m not here looking to make enemies. Honest. All I care about is obeying God and declaring His truth. I’d be interested in hearing what you say is Gods’ truth as well. From the text and from reformed history. Why would that scare anybody? That’s an honest question sent with a bewildered tone. NOT arrogant condescension or simply to win a debate.


  81. From this perspective I agree with Greg. He is not being treated fairly. Either engage or bow out, but not mockery


  82. Greg,

    Do whatever you want. Stay, go, hover, lurk, blast into orbit.

    It’s entertainment we couldn’t pay money to get.

    If you get so mad that you are tempted to go out of bounds you need to tell us, though. Been there, done that. Let’s have a safe word: “Sowers”. If you say the safe word we will not antagonize you any further.

    And keep in mind that the original Sowers had the rule applied to him not because he was offensive, but because he became a one-hit-wonder and a tedious bore. Don’t do that. Switch it up a bit.

    And stop e-mailing me. I literally had to block you before. Your messages went straight to my trash were I would occasionally see them. Anything you want to say to me you can say here in public.


  83. Greg,

    The fact that you want to go back to the other string is one-hit-wonderism. You’re obsessed with that topic and it’s not healthy for you.

    Here’s my condition for any more discussion of that topic with you. Come clean here publicly on your past including any criminal convictions. Without that on-the-record I think it is unwise to continue. I need that context.


  84. Erik,

    You have an uncanny ability to conduct yourself publicly like a child, as you just showed in your comment to me, even when you are on the right side of a debate. No need for me to get drawn into that.


  85. Greg,

    I think your fundamental mistake is in thinking that only if we would agree to go head-to-head with you on exegesis of the Scriptures and the Confessions, we would at last see the error of our ways and agree with you. It’s not going to happen. Why?

    Because when I do something like give you the name of an actress, your immediate response is to overlook 49 roles she has played that involve no nudity (many of them in kids’ movies) and zero in like a laser beam on one that does involve nudity, post clips, and label her a harlot. This is just not how most of us approach a topic like this.

    Scripture talks about sin, as do the Confessions, but all of us live in a context where most everything we do involves some degree of virtue and some degree of sin. Fundamentalists think they can find ways to live that only involve virtue and completely avoid sin, but history has generally shown this to be a pipe dream. The places we go are mixed, the people we interact with are mixed, and we ourselves are mixed. We muddle through as best we can, looking to Christ, partaking of Word & Sacrament, but we don’t seek sinless nirvana on earth. It doesn’t exist.

    We deal with the same thing here with the Dutch Reformed on the subject of Christian schools. Talk to a Reformed person whose kids are in Christian Schools while yours are in public and the first hump you have to get over is their belief that your kids spend all day learning about evolution and condoms (thanks Zrim). There’s a fundamental disconnect in perception that is very difficult to overcome.

    So I think you are spinning your wheels. Do you have something to offer the libertine who thinks he can watch porn as much as he wants without consequence? I think you do. Do you have something to offer to the Christian with some degree of judgment and sophistication who watches movies, listens to music, reads books (including fiction), views art, and interacts with lots of people who are not Christians who are interested in same? I think you don’t.

    I think you do well in the context in which you live — a downtrodden community, full of people with addiction issues, dealing with sin issues that accompany poverty. The approach to that community is not the same approach you use with people who hold advanced degrees, serve on university faculties, hold ministerial credentials, and work in professions in college towns and big cities.


  86. Todd,

    It’s relevant because he would deal with you the same way he deals with me (probably worse). Then you wouldn’t be as sympathetic to him.

    Own your take on bestiality if it was right.


  87. Erik,

    I’ll abide your childishness one time. First of all, I do not have anything to own up to, especially to you. I made the point once in a debate with a theonomist on church discipline that in the reformed church we do not discipline Christian libertarians who do not want the government to punish against sexual sin if the sin does not harm fellow human beings, even perverse sexual practices, hardly a controversial point outside of theonomic circles.

    As for your insults, you made them, fine, not interested in responding


  88. Todd,

    Most people – Christian or not – have no problem with the state publishing bestiality.

    Whether a church should discipline someone for believing differently is a fair question — holding odd beliefs with no teeth to them is novel and likely not that harmful to the church.

    Why a minister of the gospel would touch the issue in a public debate is eyebrow-raising, certainly when 2K is under attack to begin with.

    We don’t need to give the Baylys any easy talking points.


  89. PS, a.,

    If you look at Muddy Wisdom again, note his stress on the fact that blogs don’t matter, and especially comments on blogs. So we are agreed, but I think his comment is worth reflecting on, for real. If I were Darryl, I’d enjoy blogging to get feedback, maybe a comment or two from people I enjoy hearing their opinion on, and maybe some light banter on the blog because it attracts people from the fringe who might otherwise not care about theology and rather want a vouyeristic experience of listening in on other people’s convos about religion. We should show the world how Xtians talk, but make no mistake that likely no one in their right minds are listening in on these convos, at least anyone that we want to be listening in (anyone of value). Again, these convos by and large are a waste, and in fact, Erik likens it to entertainment. From the moment I showed up, I analogized to golf (and it’s schadenfreude tendencies). There’s something to that, I guarantee you..

    It’s all covered in Oldlife 201, 101, and all that jazz.

    I do still wonder if Greg has read the institutes (full disclosure, I have never finished it), but not enough to post another comment or continue on any further here.

    Blessings, all.


  90. Greg,

    I see four approaches to these issues, and this comes from 45 years of life experience.

    (1) People who white-knuckle it with regards to anything that has a hint of sin to it. In my experience I would say 10% of Christians do this and are actually successful. By successful, I mean they avoid the things they have somewhat arbitrarily labeled as sinful. They still have others things that they do and leave undone that constitute sin that are not on their sin radar.

    (2) People who wholeheartedly agree with you on what is sinful, publicly will claim they avoid it, but in private they compromise and are involved with it to some degree. You see this in many Christian marriages. They each do things in secret that they think the other is avoiding and would disapprove of. Certainly they hide those things from other church members. I would estimate this group to be 50% of Christians.

    (3) People who agree with you in theory on at least some of what you label as sinful, but they make reasonable judgments and compromises in order to not be in group (2). Spouses generally reach these judgments together and for the most part live in harmony. I would estimate this group to be 35% of Christians.

    (4) Outright libertines who have no apparent concern about sin or sanctification. 5% of Christians.


  91. I do not concede your categories.

    Which of these do you feel is best represented by scripture and oldlife reformed orthodoxy? The men who wrote your standards?

    What would satisfy you Erik? As far as knowledge of my past? Do you need official documents or is my word good enough? Also, you made a point of giving me your new email address, saying you were phasing your old one out. Just in the last week. What changed?

    Anger will never be an issue except in your imagination where you continue to concoct it in me so as to convince yourself I’m not worth listening to. I with fair regularity, pray for God’s abundant blessing on you, your marriage, your family, your children and their future in the Lord. When was the last time you prayed for me or mine Erik?
    Entertainment is your bondage and your obsession brother. Not mine.

    Andrew, I read the Institutes all the way through in the late 80’s. It was Calvin’s own exposition of sin (not sovereignty or predestination or election, which aren’t even that much of a focus) that convinced me that reformed soteriology was true. I have read in them, but not all the way through since.

    ANYbody can email me, ANYtime, about ANYthing. Feel free. No background check necessary. I fear nothing and nobody.


  92. Greg – What changed?

    Erik – Your level of agitation. Plus, there’s just no need for you to e-mail me. We’re not going to be buddies. Way too different. It becomes stalker-like, as it did the first time.

    I trust your word on your past. People I respect have advised me that you “protest to much” on certain topics and that could be related to your past. I want to make that assessment. If you’re not comfortable doing that, we can just drop that line of conversation, as I’ve suggested. You are the one who wants to keep it going.

    I pray for family, church members, and people I really know. Not internet strangers.


  93. Greg – Which of these do you feel is best represented by scripture and oldlife reformed orthodoxy? The men who wrote your standards?

    Erik – The men who wrote the standards were by no means sinless men. How many of them approved of Charles I being put to death?

    In the American context, how many Southern Presbyterians owned slaves?

    You wear rose colored glasses about these men because you think they didn’t commit your select sins. They were sinful men, though, just like the rest of us.


  94. Greg – Entertainment is your bondage and your obsession brother. Not mine.

    Erik – Todd would say that’s picking on me.

    This is the kind of unbalanced accusation you make that makes people wary of your stability.

    Reformed people generally don’t use terms like “bondage”. That’s babdist-speak again.


  95. You trust my word on my past, but not my present? Agitation he says.

    Please publicly post the evidence of this stalker like behavior or I respectfully ask that you retract this statement and not make such libelous accusations. That’s not nice Erik. I would never do such a thing to you. This has nothing whatsoever to do with my behavior. Nothing.

    Ask me a specific question. I will with due prudence answer as best I can so as to allow you to make whatever assessment you think beneficial. Feel free to ask directly.

    “Have you ever participated, been arrested and or convicted of ______________________________.”

    For instance.


  96. Erik quotes me as saying
    Entertainment is your bondage and your obsession brother. Not mine.
    And then responds with:
    This is the kind of unbalanced accusation you make that makes people wary of your stability.
    Really? But falsely accusing someone of stalking is virtuous?
    Reformed people generally don’t use terms like “bondage”. That’s babdist-speak again.
    And in your mind, it’s reformed terminology(whatever that is exactly) or instability? That’s the choices?


  97. Greg, look at you!

    No emoticons, no Sowers Rule, and only your “the terrible” silly handle to hold you back from going truly toe to toe with Erik Charter of Literate Comments.

    If you can state your positions plainly, and in as few comments as possible, you could become this blog’s chihuahua. Lord knows I’m not up to it.

    I’d say you’ve clawed your way this far. No more links to nude videos and you’ll truly be a bona fide force to be reconed with at

    Props for reading the institutes in your early/mid twenties.



  98. This is not an attack Erik. (it really isn’t). But it sure seems like you are the one who’s agitated. Not me. It’s not necessary.
    BTW another deflection on reformed history.

    Which of these do you feel is best represented by scripture and oldlife reformed orthodoxy? The men who wrote your standards?

    That was the question. Could you answer that question please?


  99. Greg,

    Why do you think the Sowers rule was invoked against you a year ago?

    You creep people out and you’re starting to do it again.

    I didn’t save the e-mails and blog comments from a year ago. They’re deleted. It was enough to scare my wife so that was enough for me to cut you off. You haven’t done anything to that level this year, but I’m not taking a chance.


  100. @Erik

    What about those of us who are not libertines, but who also have no apparent concern about sin or sanctification? Christ died for my sins. Once for all. Past. Present. Future. Even so, I am His, and I seek to live by that identity. Sure, I fall short from time to time, but I see nothing to be “concerned” about. My failings as a son don’t make me any less my father’s son. Surely that is at least the case with God, right?

    Too often evangelicalism strikes this mainliner’s ears as a gnostic moralistic program for self-improvement. Why not just do yoga? The monthly fee is cheaper than tithing, and it probably does more good for the BMI.


  101. Erik says: “I’m not going to drag this out. Either you tell us that stuff or you don’t.”
    If I missed it forgive me please. I don’t know which “stuff” you are referring to. Could you ask again? Or point me to where already did please? I honestly didn’t see it.


  102. “ the royal we”

    evening Andrew.

    I don’t know, some of that youtube hurt my ears, but the ‘royal we’ was funny– always safer to say that ,but now that you mention it, it does fit. 1 Peter 2:9

    I don’t know- thinking many people’s Jesus may be the winking Jesus- have you seen that icon depiction.

    and why ‘old life’ Is that intentional resisting the fact of the new life Romans 6:4.

    also why ‘theology’ and not something like good-old-boy –pasttime blog-and-if-any-unsaved- person- is- listening:-don’t do as we do or as we say here blog . guess that would be too long a title, so maybe that’s why the word ‘theology’ is substituted; didn’t read 101, 201, maybe it’s explained there

    anyway hope you have a good church gathering and lesson today. Our lesson was good; it began with “Jesus is not santa claus” and got better from there


  103. Greg,

    Your question doesn’t even make sense grammatically.

    What is “oldlife reformed orthodoxy”?

    And what am I supposed to be comparing to “the men who wrote your standards?”


  104. Bobby,

    I do agree that sanctification accompanies justification. The rub is what that looks like in the context in which we live.

    From your past comments I would guess you are to the left of me by a fair amount on this issue. Greg is to the right of me. Maybe I can step out of the middle and let you two take over.


  105. a., oldlife is a play on the opposite “newlife” presbyterians (think TKNY).

    Listen to Heidelcast 67 for more info on that, Hart talks it up with RSC.

    Now pipe down (if you take my word for it), let’s let the other guys talk. This Greg guy is on a roll.

    I’ll see you around.


  106. Greg,


    Are you a convicted felon, yes or no?

    If so, did the conviction involve a violent crime or a crime involving a weapon, yes or no?

    If so, did the conviction involve a sex crime, yes or no?


  107. @Erik

    I’m not sure that it makes much sense to debate what it looks like. God sanctifies people at different rates and in different ways. Besides, we fall so short of His holiness, that we’re fighting over differences that may be insignificant in comparison to the difference between us and Him. I commend Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Revelation”.

    I prefer not to afford Greg further opportunity to make a fool of himself. So, I’ll sign off for now and do my hour of spinning. Road cycling season starts in a few weeks!


  108. Erik asks: “And what am I supposed to be comparing to “the men who wrote your standards?”
    Which of the men who wrote any of the reformed standards would say that Amy Adams is a sound inspiration and role model for their daughters? Taking into account her whole life? Kids movies too. How about one single syllable of scripture that would support such an attitude too. Notice I didn’t ask about slavery or Charles the 1st. Or even Michael Servetus. Please answer that question sir and I will answer yours. In fact I’ll answer yours even you don’t answer mine.


  109. Greg,


    Are you a convicted felon, yes or no?

    If so, did the conviction involve a violent crime or a crime involving a weapon, yes or no?

    If so, did the conviction involve a sex crime, yes or no?
    No on all counts. The worst conviction I have is a felony burglary from 32 years ago. It was reduced to a misdemeanor when I met the courts demands of drug and alcohol treatment. That’s when I got clean and sober the first time for several years.

    During a time of extended backsliding I pilfered computer equipment from my job that I rationalized was being destroyed in storage (it was, but that’s not an excuse) and I took it home and used it. (10 years ago). Later God greatly convicted me of that. I took it back. Even after I’d been laid off. They had me arrested. (Ford has a zero toleration policy) I spent the night in jail and a very nice detective got me out on a Saturday morning after interviewing me and my telling of the Christian reasons why I took it back and turned myself in.

    I went through a Detroit City program for non dangerous offendees. At the sterling completion of this program, they let me press the enter key myself as I deleted the record permanently from my name. It now looks like a traffic stop. The dollar value was actually higher on that one so it may be considered worse. I had a whole string of juvenile arrests and convictions for drugs and running away from home, shoplifting, petty theft and fleeing and alluding the police. No sex, no violence. You have my word.


  110. Greg,

    Thanks. That makes me feel better.

    Greg – Which of the men who wrote any of the reformed standards would say that Amy Adams is a sound inspiration and role model for their daughters? Taking into account her whole life? Kids movies too. How about one single syllable of scripture that would support such an attitude too.

    Erik – I don’t evaluate whether or not to partake in something based on whether or not everyone involved is a “sound inspiration and role model…taking into account her whole life”, and I frankly don’t care what guys from 400 years think about it. I set reasonable limits for what I watch and tighter limits for what my minor children watch.

    Shaming, ginning up moral outrage, etc. is not going to work with me. I’m a grown man and I make my own judgments about what I watch, what I read, what I listen to, etc. A church who would discipline me for things like this (short of watching hardcore porn) is not a church I would join. It’s none of their business and, if they disciplined me they need to discipline 70% of the rest of the church and probably themselves if they’re being honest.

    Let me ask you this. When Constantine declared the Roman Empire Christian and the West remained Christian for over 1,000 years, why was Greek and Roman art that included nudity not destroyed like Islamic radicals destroy art that does not meet their stringent moral standards today?


  111. Just so we’re clear. Your standards are radically different than those of the men whose confessions, catechisms and canons the reformed churches affirm as necessary for holding communion with them? On matters of sexual morality. Not slavery and politics. You are far more permissive than they were. Like really far. And you don’t care? Yes? I just want you on record saying that.

    I Keep trying to go back over to the other thread because we already have an established conversation going there. We can continue without disrupting new ones. I made one simple comment on the first page of this one. It you’ll go back and look, had Zrim not challenged me, that would have been the only one.(probably)

    “Let me ask you this. When Constantine declared the Roman Empire Christian and the West remained Christian for over 1,000 years, why was Greek and Roman art that included nudity not destroyed like Islamic radicals destroy art that does not meet their stringent moral standards today?”
    Are we really going to call that a “Christian” era Erik? A time of high moral discernment in the church? Really?


  112. I said “Please publicly post the evidence of this stalker like behavior or I respectfully ask that you retract this statement and not make such libelous accusations. That’s not nice Erik. I would never do such a thing to you. This has nothing whatsoever to do with my behavior. Nothing.”

    To which you responded with:
    “I didn’t save the e-mails and blog comments from a year ago. They’re deleted. It was enough to scare my wife so that was enough for me to cut you off. You haven’t done anything to that level this year, but I’m not taking a chance.”
    I have them all. Including the deleted blog comment. I save everything for just such an occasion. (and have had to pull it out a few times to disprove false accusations) You and your friend Sean had me in tears. Though as I said. Much of that bombast (and there was plenty) was for effect.

    A sample: 2-16-14 4:10pm:
    “Here’s an idea. Instead of ridiculous attacks upon my person. (I’m the one who should feel threatened maybe), what if YOU actually came with an argument? …Let’s get this straight ok?. I have not, nor will I ever evER EVER, in any way harm or threaten to harm ANYbody. I am equipped with the armor and aresenal of God most high which are wielded with HIS words that are spirit and truth. I have neither the need nor the inclination for carnal battles with carnal weapons. Good grief, how femmy can ya get? You guys can’t possibly be serious with this.”

    I asked you guys to Skype too. You and your friend Sean. I was pretty railing and disrespectful, I admit. You guys really were a couple pieces of work though too. Though in a totally different way. if you like, pick a place and I will post the entire email exchange and the deleted blog comment. The one I repented of when I thought I had been so wrong about you. I might still think that. Doesn’t matter to me. I’d rather go forward. You’re the one who keeps going back there.


  113. Greg,

    You throw out 1,000+ years of Christian history? How Buffalo Breath Baptist Bible Church of you.

    O.K How come your vaunted Puritans didn’t destroy all nude art? One would think they would have given the Nazis & Islamists a run for their money the way you describe them.


  114. Greg,

    People can read the Sweetbreads string if they want to see all that. You were worse to Darryl than to me. Just move forward. My wife reads some of this still and has you on a short leash. If you push it too far she’ll have me withdraw for good.


  115. Greg,

    Presumably you base all this on WLC 139.

    Obviously judgment is needed in interpreting that because Christians read books, watch and participate in dancing, and act in and watch stage plays, all without church discipline. Go visit Calvin College if you don’t believe it. I don’t need you to make those judgments or provide me with a conscience on these matters.

    I won’t Skype you each time I watch a movie to ask your approval.

    Join an OPC and push the GA to give pious advice that church discipline should be applied for disregard of every item in WLC 139 and see how far you get. Or even try it in your own Baptist church.


  116. Imagine the OPC telling Alan Strange that he can’t go to the opera or telling D.G. he can’t watch the Coen’s. Not happening.

    If you throw out the OPC, conservative Presbyterianism in the U.S. will fit in a thimble. The PCA won’t come to your rescue.


  117. I now have a firm grip on what’s going on here Erik. I’m going to work on a piece addressing it. In the meantime, unless drawn into it again, like I was in this thread (anybody can look back and see that), I will leave this topic alone for the moment on this site. I had planned on that anyway, until my outrageous assertion that God’s people continue to be His people when they go do work sparked such consternation.

    As has always been the case, any ill will or malice you may perceive from me is the unfortunate figment of your self defending, still breathing imaginative conscience my brother. I refuse to give up hope that you will eventually understand my motivations in this. But even if not? That’s fine too.

    One of my all time heroes of the faith, the prophet Jeremiah, is my inspiration. I am no Jeremiah,(I wonder how many times I’ll have to repeat that after this?) but he is an awesome model of the faithful man of God. He preached 40 years to a whoring backslidden Israel and nobody listened. We find him in the book of Lamentations, sobbing as he watches his beloved Jerusalem burn under the judgement of a covenant keeping God.

    He measured his success by his obedience. Not results. The results driven ministry is a modern Americanism. Born in the boardroom, not in the kingdom of God.

    Here is a pledge for you Dr. Hart. I will do my utmost, go above and beyond the call of duty, to constrain the discussion of the modern church’s idolatrous whoredom with the great and mighty gods of “art and entertainment” to one place. I also apologize for my participation in taking threads like this one so far off topic. It is not good manners in somebody else’s house. I’m sorry.


  118. Alan,

    The rest of us sclubs have only these comment boxes, and twitter to vent our frustration.

    But if anyone gets space on, I would want it to be you, Darryl, and John M.

    Hope you are well, thank you for AI (2009). You don’t know the peace and healing you helped effect.

    Grace and peace.


  119. Not reading through 4 pages of comments, so sorry if this was already pointed out.

    Preaching on how we can bear God’s creative image? Talk about how carpenters can reflect his creative work when they build high-quality cabinets that serve their clients’ needs. Preaching on how pride destroys relationships? Talk about how lawyers might be tempted to view their partners as competitors and their clients as transaction costs. Preaching on how to apply the doctrine of adoption to our hearts? Talk about how teachers can root their identity in being co-heirs with Christ—even when their paychecks are modest and their students are unruly.

    The Reformed ministerial vocation is already one that struggles — or doesn’t — with men with a master’s degree speaking as if they overflow with wisdom and knowledge relative to the people in the pew, or even other ministers, instead of only beginning their career like any other vocation requiring graduate training. This is apart from when they’re paired with undergraduate Bible degrees or unaccredited, and when the minister has only worked one or two jobs in the same industry, and often half-or-less-heartedly. And at the risk of being uncharitable, the seminaries are not exactly pumping out Vosses and Warfields when it comes to the ministerial vocation.

    On another note, I can’t be the only one who read “Sing songs that celebrate work” and imagined John Frame banging out a ditty about Lumberjacks.


  120. Every now and then someone on this blog comes up with a gem of a comment and this is one of them. If it took for pages of contentious bantering to ferret them out, it was worth it.

    “… The results driven ministry is a modern Americanism…born in the boardroom, not in the kingdom of God …”

    Those words ought to be tattooed on every new seminary graduate’s forehead in backward lettering so they’re forced to read them every time they look in a mirror.


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