An Experiment

Although the exchange between Greg and Erik has had its moments, I do wonder if Old Life is taking up too much bandwidth with all the comments that sometimes ensue different posts.

So I am going to add a wrinkle to commenting at OL: anyone who wants to comment should limit him or herself to three comments a day per post. I suggest one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and perhaps a nightcap to round out the day’s activity. Yes, this could result in much longer comments within each thread. But it may also force commenters to distinguish between the substantial and the trivial.

Comments are still open but those making them are encouraged to show restraint. Call it a good work and Mark Jones will be happy.

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386 thoughts on “An Experiment

  1. Can I butt in at this point and say this is in fact the very first time I’ve commented on Old Life today?

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  2. Hmmm. Don’t tell me what to do. What if I’m on one of my brilliant streaks? I need my space. I can’t be limited by others limitations. Isn’t this the tyranny of the weaker brother.(notice the lack of a question mark). Baby and I can’t be in a corner. I hear Sammy, audibly, sometimes, which is a little disconcerting when the radio isn’t on. I know people who hear worse things. Fine.

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  3. http://literatecomments.com/2015/03/09/d-g-hart-ends-old-life-as-we-know-it/

    D.G. Hart Ends Old Life As We Know It

    I was shocked…shocked…this morning to learn that the paragon of free speech, my online mentor D.G. Hart had placed a 3 comment per day, per post limit on his Old Life Theological Society blog.

    Three comments? That’s only three more than I get at Baylyblog. It’s only three more than I get at the heavily moderated Called to Communion (unless Bryan Cross is in a good mood). It’s only three more than Reformation 21 (no comments allowed), and probably only three more than the Gospel Coalition (moderated). It’s three more than the Twitter comments that Chortles Weakly gets to leave on the Tweets of the multitude of New School PCA Tweeters who have blocked him.

    I just can’t abide this and I’ll explain why.

    First off, there’s the logistical problem that if I’ve had my three comments and some doofus drops a challenge in my dojo, I’m not waiting an arbitrary 24 hours to respond. Not happening. I would stew over that response for 24 hours, which would impede on my real life of watching degenerate movies and listening to Steely Dan.

    Second, it is against the entire spirit of Old Life which, since it’s inception, has thrived because of unfettered debate. Who outside of the occasional Greenbaggins post gets comment threads of 500 or more? It happens monthly at Old Life. Now is there a lot of chaff amongst these comments? Absolutely. But the chaff is essential in order to get to the wheat. To switch metaphors, the sausage making at Old Life is not always pretty, but the sausage, once made, is like nowhere else.

    The practical problem that Hart creates for himself is that without unfettered comments the site becomes just one of many opinion oriented sites in a very crowded space. I for one subscribe to The New York Times, The Des Moines Register, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, not to mention Netflix and whatever else I manage to find in my bookscouting adventures. I have limited time to read and view this stuff, and without the chance to freely interact, Old Life is just another platform for information beckoning for my attention. Sans the addictive quality that unfettered comments cultivate, it will just need to take a number along with everything else.

    The other factor that bears examining is, what is the flavor of the site and how do open, unfettered comments fit into that? Hart’s style is antagonistic and challenging – to Roman Catholics, to New School Presbyterians, to pretty much everyone. Things are occasionally lauded, but the vast majority of time they’re challenged. And this is good. It’s what makes the site interesting. We have enough Gospel Coalition puff pieces on the topic of baking to last a lifetime. But absent free discussion Hart’s approach just becomes one man grinding his axe. That’s o.k., in moderation. But if I’m listening to axe grinding, I need the right to grind mine freely too. It’s why I quit listening to conservative talk radio. It’s only entertaining to have someone unload on you three hours a day for so long when you have no outlet to process it. After awhile you just move on to sports, music, or something lighter.

    So I mourn Hart’s decision. I respect it, but another site like this is not coming around any time soon.

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  4. Sean, I’ve been through that deal when everyone has to obey a rule cuz one or two people screwed up. Like one day a woman dressed inappropriately at work and the next day BOOM I can’t wear spandex anymore.

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  5. Muddy, now see, not all rules have bad consequences(when limiting others limitations). Speaking of spandex, we needed a no spandex rule in the A/P dept at Price Club. Yowza. That kept me single a few more years.

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  6. Chris,

    Does the courageous salmon stop for a break when swimming upstream to spawn?

    I think not.

    At least the site will play well at Old Bob’s Alexian Village now. All the geezers will be able to keep up in between gumming their bites of dinner.

    That’s three. I guess I’m out.

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  7. Erik, if you are right, imagine all 7+ Billion people coming here and commenting, because this place is like no other, who wouldn’t want to join in. And they all get 3 comments per person.

    You really think Darryl can scan through all those comments to determine which are from humans and which are from bots that need to be deleted or interacted with to show one’s self awareness and wit at being able to witty combat the spambots we receive?

    Think of Cordelia and Kabbigail, Darryl needs a break, I perceive as his popularity has grown, he is asking grown men to help do the right thing and be the ones who let others bloviate and rather we are the ones who can wait 24 hours while others spew and reveal their true colors. I think he’s on to something, here, but maybe you are right.

    [3]

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  8. For the record, I made this THIS comment…

    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.

    …before receiving Erik’s LC notification of this decision. In other words, knowledge of this experiment had nothing to do with my apology or pledge. I just now saw it. I humbly and repentantly join Erik in asking that you reconsider and give us/me a chance to remedy this situation without this radical and certain to be unpopular surgery to your commenting policy. In fact, if need be, I will voluntarily leave rather than be this kind of burden to yourself and your guests. I don’t want to, but I will if you ask me to.

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  9. Thank goodness. I was praying. I haven’t gotten the whole twitter thang figured out yet and the women drive me off of FB after a few moments. I need to know my place is there even when It seems I’m not. I am. There, here.

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  10. Greg,

    I saw that you mentioned you had ordered Dr. Hart’s book The Lost Soul of American Protestantism. Would love to hear your thoughts after you read that. I think you’ll find that you’ve we’ve all been influenced by pietism and revivalism a lot more than we realize. In the mean time, maybe, chill out on your Jeremiah routine – or not.

    Regards and have a great week.

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  11. Erik, zerohedge sounds like just the place for you. They fancy their comments section to be a Fight Club (apologies to Greg).

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  12. Antinomian 4th comment — Unificator privilege invoked.

    If I look at the “Recent Comments” list and I see that I have more than four out of the ten are mine, I feel bad about it and I cut myself off. Maybe that’s as good a standard as any.

    Full disclosure: I created Chortles Weakly as a jester character who could skewer those who were pompous, righteous overmuch (KJV – look it up), or serial commenters. Some people thought I WAS Erik at first — not so. Some of the serial commenters are my friends. Some who now irritate us may be our friends one day.

    Thus ends the Unification. I love everybody.

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  13. We need the ability to vilify and pillory individuals who are trying to achieve the incommunicable attribute of omnipresence through their comments. Such is a calumny, after all.

    Now the pressure’s on me to have content. Eeeeeeeeooow I’m getting stressed….I’m out!

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  14. I’m just happy we turned away from making Mark Jones happy. The whole experiment was also lent like in it’s sparsity. In fact, I think I was almost light headed from the possibility of asceticism and how I might have been taken in by the elementary principles of the world and how ineffective it was going to be against the deeds of the flesh. It’s already difficult enough being surrounded by ‘presbyterians’ observing lent.

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  15. “…having been freed from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”

    Isn’t true freedom slavery anyway?

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  16. Erik, please, please, please don’t go.

    And don’t any of the rest of you say anything interesting for the next 24 hours…

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  17. One question that always rattles in the back of my mind is what kind of job do people have that they can comment so profusely. Yeah, the occasional comment and some days are busier than others. But seriously – what do you do for a living that you can spend hours a day firing messages back and forth? Because if you’re making a sustainable living and have that much available time, I want in.

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  18. Erik,
    If D.G. has ended oldlife as we know it, shouldn’t it be renamed?

    D.G.,
    Limiting comments is a good move though it might make some of us get a life.

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  19. Hey now, Chris, neither is true of me. Though I’ve been a disappointment to my mother any number of times in my life.

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  20. A wise move indeed to restrict comments. The input of folks though is always way down my list of interest on OL. For six years this blog has stood head and shoulders above all the others for making me think about confessional, clearly defined Presbyterianism. The levellers who write in other supposedly Reformed web sites seem to be part more of an old boy’s network who seem to expend great effort in finding common ground and equivalence with others rather than articulating the clarity of plain, profound Word and sacrament given through Reformed church government and worship.

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  21. this change could open up room for more a diverse theological perspective on the appropriateness of emicon use (from the other day) – in the news today: “is the social media giant Facebook encouraging “fat talk” because users can tell the world something with a puffy, rosy-cheeked, double-chinned emoji face. “A ‘feeling fat’ status update with emoji makes it seem as though ‘feeling fat’ is a common feeling that everyone is expected to have from time to time,” Markman says, noting that it may even make it easier for people to engage in negative self-talk. “I would encourage Facebook to take it down.” While the emotional impact of the emoji varies from person to person, on a whole, the message of a “feeling fat” status “is not one that should be promoted if we take into account the mental health of communities,” Zucker says. “Weighing the potential emotional risks versus the emotional benefits in this case seem to lean toward deleting this status update” https://www.yahoo.com/health/facebook-lets-you-tell-the-world-if-youre-113180195172.html

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  22. Erik,

    Haven’t had a chance to respond to your last post, which deserved a response. Of course I regret explaining that in a public forum. Conservative Christians generally are not ready to fathom a consistent libertarian position within the church, especially areas having to do with sex, and I could have explained it better. Add that to the thousand other regrets I carry of things I have said to others in conversations, in counseling in my churches, in debates, to my kids, etc. Daily regret is par for the course, I assume, for most ministers, though I tend not to ask. Of course it only adds to the regret when people like you drudge up a comment I made so many years ago when they want to score points and embarrass me, but such is the nature of the Internet, I took the risk.

    Darryl, it was a good policy, should have stayed the course IMHO.

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  23. Erik and Greg,

    I might have some cap-and-trade credits you could pay me for. Although David R and I were working on deficit spending in summer/fall 2014.

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  24. Erik and Greg the Terrible (any relation to Ivan?) should be congratulated for their efforts. Their dialogue, left to the annals of history had all the subtlety and nuance of PCP addled toddlers fighting for dominance over the local sandbox.

    And then Erik has to go and top it off with a tirade about how his hero let him down, and he has half a mind to leave the sand-box, with all the stifling limits that DGH has suggested. When the more likely scenario is that Darryl has created a blog atmosphere that encourages rigorous and often entertaining dialogue where there hasn’t been a need for restrictions or suggested limits. Of course there are occasional dust-ups, but they are the exception, not the rule. OldLife incorporates many of the essential components of the local pub, and it’s a fine place to visit whether to listen, or to interact with the locals, and to see what the barkeep has to say.

    Enter Erik Charter – he’s a great buddy to the locals, has tons of great things to say, and has the uncanny ability to chronicle the history of the pub and connect any conversation to a youtube video. The problem is this is Erik’s Dr. Jekyll, and his Mr. Hyde is “likes to fight guy”, once the blood gets pumping, Erik just can’t back down. We’ve seen it with Richard Smith, Doug Sowers, KenLoser, and now GtT, where Erik moves from heated debate to a scorched earth approach. Then some of the other locals, who are generally on Erik’s side move in to break-up the fight (such as Todd in this case), then Erik starts throwing hay-makers at them. Eventually Darryl has to step from behind the bar, and without naming names simply says, “hey guys cool down, this isn’t the kind of bar I am running, if you can’t control yourselves, I’ll have to cut you off early so you don’t burn the whole thing down.” To which Erik responds with another defensive trope, “Well, this isn’t the kind of place it used to be DG, let me tell you what your pub is really about, and why you’re dumb for thinking otherwise…” Every bar has it’s Mr. Hyde, and if he is allowed to go unchecked he can ruin it for the whole lot – and the bar eventually empties out.

    Erik, I realize that some of this sounds rough on you. Even though I value pretty much most of what you have to say, you have demonstrated a consistent tendency to escalate disputes here to psychotic levels. I am sure I am not the only one who thinks it tends to poison the well. It’s obviously an issue when Darryl, who is typically a proponent of open comboxes, is asking his commenters to limit themselves. You got to know when to hold em and know when to fold em man. You are a grown man, I have high hopes you can figure out that this particular rut you are prone to fall into is just bad for business.

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  25. “Late summer, autumn 1968. Kurtz’s patrol into the highlands is coming under frequent fire. The camp started falling apart.

    November. Kurtz orders assassinations of three Vietnamese men and one woman…. Enemy activity in his old sector dropped off to nothing. Guess he must have hit the right four people.”

    Hit the right people and everything will be fine. Anything else will be overbroad. It’ll be fixing stuff that’s not really broken.

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  26. This will be my third for tonight.

    I’d be interested in learning if anybody else shares Jed’s view. If never so much as pranced across my consciousness that anybody around here would say something like this about Erik. I have my own assessment, but it was not this one. Not really. In the time I’ve been here, I’ve observed him to be the most loyal and substantive(except with me) commenter on this site.

    For the record, in the absence of unassailable evidence to the contrary, I refuse to believe what KW has accused him of. Jist not buyin it.

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  27. “Failed” So does that mean the experiment is over?

    I’m just a lurker and occasional commenter (who is probably too verbose), so my opinion probably shouldn’t count for much. That being said, I generally enjoy the threads. There have been a few where the craziness went off the charts, and some of the meta conversations about what a blog is and who shouldn’t be offended by what can get tedious. But overall i like the free for all. A feature to hide commenters on a thread could be helpful. It can be annoying to have an interesting conversation hijacked by off typical stuff.

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  28. GtT,

    I’ve observed him to be the most loyal and substantive(except with me) commenter on this site.

    This is the Dr. Jekyll side of Erik, the one we all know and love, and typically his comments are either substantive or funny (or both), and usually advance the overall conversation.

    However there is Mr. Hyde Erik, who at least I (and I suspect others) would like to put in a headlock, and inject with Ketamine until he can calm down and resume sanity.

    Does that paint a clearer picture?

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  29. Nate – kidding around – I hope. It certainly has that dive bar vibe going on; complete with someone’s old lady (Penelope) coming in and throwing a fit cause the boys were having too much fun. Greg, your way with words is simultaneously impressive and funny. I keep wondering, are you for real or is this just a masterful way of attempting to get Erik riled up with the praise-jab (except with me) combo.

    I hope Erik doesn’t leave. His, and the Old Life regulars, comments are as interesting as Dr. Hart’s posts most of the time. At least, don’t walk out of here crying like some people do.

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  30. Um, I think Chitter Chatter can go, peace be with him.
    Frankly we be getting tired of his promises to leave and then he never does. (Shut up while you’re ahead pal. Then you don’t have to be a man of your word and really really shut up.)
    Even when Kenny handed it to him on a platter.

    Now if we were to resort to substantive comments, diffrunt story.
    But because the prattlers and loose lipped have taken the open comments policy for a Good Housekeeping Stamp of Approval upon their remarks and miscellaneous mental lint, the really great intellects haf to take a hit.
    It’s not fare.
    But that’s life on the wild frontier of the innernet.

    Chort can stay. And opine away.
    Even if he did think we were so stupid to think he wuz sumbody else.
    That was a very low blow, but hiz previous track record has redeemed hymn and I might even let hynmn use some of my posting credits.
    Just so he duz’nt let it go two his head and blow hiz hat off.

    cheers

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  31. So this announcement, probably temporary anyways, frees a few knuckle heads to take completely pointless cheap shots?

    Really bold of you two….

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  32. As Pony boy, the leader of this little rebellion against the Facebook nature this blog has gone down, I will be issuing my minority report in 140 characters or less on my defunct twitter account. Oh, and let me update my avatar for the next 8 hours, I want to see Kip show up too, you know who you are.

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  33. Yeah, I’m on FB. Even when this place goes 1:50 am blitzed, dying, sad and desperate it’s still better than FB. FB is like my sister’s slumber parties when I was five and I’m trying to figure out how to get out of the house and what my chances are on the mean streets of Anaheim, with my Big Wheel.

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  34. Updated my photo to capture the new Old Life Zeitgeist:

    http://literatecomments.com/2015/03/09/d-g-hart-ends-old-life-as-we-know-it/

    Good luck keeping people awake in the comments section with Bob “Doug Niedermeyer” Suden, Easily Wounded Todd, and Jed “I’ll post once a year in between tables” Paschall.

    Maybe Jed can carry the comments with discussions of Murray Rothbard.

    I’ll try to drop by occasionally as a sleep aid when I have insomnia.

    This basically boils down to metrosexual/girly man takeover (other than Bob, who’s obviously overcompensating for something).

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  35. Four guys and four guys only can keep the comments alive:

    Sean
    Kent
    Zrim
    Chortles

    And Chortles is more of a great information source than a pure commenter.

    A few other minor solid contributors (who I won’t list because I don’t want to leave anyone out), but without those core guys posting 3 comments a day on every post, it’s dead as a doornail.

    No one else will attract and take on antagonists in an engaging way. Everyone else who fancies themselves a commenter will crawl into their girly-man shell.

    There is the occasional guy who is obviously struggling with Catholic truth claims who will engage those folks, but that all becomes pedantic rather quickly.

    In short, abandon all hope unless those four decide to really step it up.

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  36. Kent,

    It’s a satchel damnit! Is it mean to call foul when the combox is cluttered with psychoses that I usually only encounter with my psychiatrist? I respect Erik, but that doesn’t mean I particularly like when he blows up the combox with his brand of apocalyptic flame wars. He’s at his best when he sticks to his usual combo of snark, substance, and encyclopedic movie references.

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  37. Jed,

    That’s twice now you’ve made a reference to “psychoses”. Why don’t you just shut your mouth or start providing evidence. Slander is a real offense and if you ever graduate you might have something I want to take. Back the f**k off, in other words.

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  38. I’m gonna spend one of my daily three saying that I hope that Erik both doesn’t leave and stops threatening to. Our differences are on full display here, and I’m still not quite sure where he and I will end up, but he does not deserve this kind of treatment. He has steadfastly spoken highly of Dr. Hart and this site, as well as been a consistently substantive contributor for years.

    I must confess to being surprisingly disheartened at the quickly emerging utter absence of Christian community around here. Unless I’ve really missed something. I understand you guys beating up on a loudmouth, pietistic, holier than though, legalistic, revivalist like me (even though nobody really does except Erik), but he is one of your own. I’m dealing with a bunch of foaming, frothing, ferocious atheists right now who have more internal camaraderie than “oldlife” Presbyterians? The keepers of the covenants?

    And Darryl, you haven’t’ seen the private dialog between he and I, where he has defended you to a fault. You’d think he was upholding the honor of his own father sometimes. He is far from perfect (as are us all) and it is no secret that I believe he has severe issues, but it is unconscionable, the big hearty F**K YOU he’s getting from you people right now.

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  39. Darryl,

    The way you stir the pot, no, not for me.

    When guys act like this is some good natured site that’s all about easygoing joking & urbane wit, that’s the joke. You have a clear agenda that you passively aggressively pursue, day-after-day, year-after-year, to the point that no Presbyerian & Reformed institution will hire you.

    I’ve been on board with that agenda, but you have no loyalty to anyone but Darryl. I’m done with that. It’s all risk, no reward.

    Enjoy your golden years.

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  40. Darryl,

    The option was available to you to e-mail me privately. But no, you link me with Greg and have to embarrass me publicly. Greg actually has integrity and sincere concern for people, even if I don’t agree with him on some things. He’s probably a better friend to his friends than all but 2-3 people I’ve met here over the years. Van Dyke’s probably right about our pending extinction as a church. Way too many pathologies & gargantuan egos to fit in our real estate.

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  41. Jack, this may not be the best time for youtube videos, bud.

    All,

    See you all tomorrow (for reals). I’m over my daily allotment (+1). And I like getting par when I can.

    Don’t say anything you’ll regret later, peeps. I’m out.

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  42. Erik,

    That’s twice now you’ve made a reference to “psychoses”. Why don’t you just shut your mouth or start providing evidence. Slander is a real offense and if you ever graduate you might have something I want to take. Back the f**k off, in other words.

    This isn’t me slandering you, it is me saying directly that I think you have and do add a great deal to the discussions at OldLife, but that you also have the tendency to escalate discussions to ridiculous levels, where you end up threatening lawsuits, threatening to contact lawyers, etc. This isn’t sane behavior (coming from a guy who understands what battling with sanity is really like). When you go this route you take over the combox, and squash meaningful discussion. I don’t exactly know why you do this, but it doesn’t come across as level-headed or balanced in any way.

    You have acted out enough publicly here for me to publicly say, along with guys like Todd, that you are acting foolishly. If that wounds your ego, so be it. I don’t comment here as much as I used to because life is just too busy for me right now, but if I did, I would have said as much earlier. I don’t think you need to have an all or nothing approach – that essentially says “if I can’t say whatever I want, whenever I want to say it, I am leaving.” I don’t think anyone is saying that, just that you should cut out the crazy rhetoric and needless escalation.

    Your last comments to Darryl are just sour grapes because you have been called out, totally needless. Whatever DGH’s professional situation is, I am pretty sure it isn’t something you have much of any insight into, and are in no position to speak to.

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  43. Jed,

    Three times I’ve mentioned a lawyer over the years:

    (1) When Darrell Todd Maurina toyed with calling me a racist.

    (2) When Kenneth Winsmann absolutely made up the fact that I launched Facebook attacks on his family.

    (3) When you claim I suffer from mental illness.

    Basically I only play that card when people like you think they are smart guys but are basically full of s**t.

    Let’s see your professional credentials for evaluating mental illness. Last I heard, you were a manic depressive waiter. Not exactly a certified mental health professional.

    By all means keep going, though.

    And if you’re going to carry Darryl’s water, trust me, it doesn’t pay well.

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  44. Greg,

    I must confess to being surprisingly disheartened at the quickly emerging utter absence of Christian community around here. Unless I’ve really missed something.

    This is a blog, not a Christian community per se. We are members of churches for Christian community. There are like-minded folks here, but like any long-standing blog, there are personality disputes. In every one of my criticisms of Erik, I have also said good things about him, I don’t think he needs to take a hike, but I do think he needs to cut out some of his more excessive behavior. If calling something like this out is mean, or in poor taste, then I can live with being mean and tasteless. The very fact that DGH put up this post illustrates that there is something wrong in the combox. You are simply one of several commenters that Erik has gone round and round with like this – it gets old and detracts from the blog in my opinion, which is why I said something. What’s crazy to me is that some people have such a huge problem when someone finally speaks up and calls foul.

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  45. Jed,

    In case you haven’t noticed, Greg and I have no problem with each other.

    But we’re both grown men with backbones who can have an argument and not wet our pants.

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  46. Jed,

    And why do I threaten a lawyer?

    Because a have a profession where I can be accused of being smart and aggressive as hell, but I can’t be wrongly accused of being:

    (1) a racist
    (2) dishonest
    (3) mentally ill

    So start to back it up with evidence and your professional credentials to evaluate that evidence, or shut up. Just walk away from the keyboard and don’t return to this thread.

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  47. Dear “Mr. Dude” Erik,

    I sometimes wonder if you are the Oldlife’s version of Richard Smith…

    Just sayin’.

    Love and Peace,
    TeaBeeAargh

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  48. Jed,

    I’ll be even more specific. I have a boss who would spend money to protect my professional reputation if I asked him to. For you to even respond to a lawsuit is thousands of dollars out of your pocket. I am dead serious.

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  49. Erik,

    You can call me names all you want, it is not going to get under my skin. I never claimed you suffer from a mental illness, I said your comments can sometimes be psychotic, big difference. I have said nothing about who you are as a man, just commented on your behavior here. If your comments here at OL are that tied to your identity, then you might want to talk to someone about it – because it isn’t healthy.

    I know the history of the conversations with DTM, Ken, et. al. and yes, they were in the wrong in many respects. However, everyone here has been called names on the internet – its part of the medium (unfortunately). Instead of just shaking these things off and letting the other guy look bad, you elevated in kind and derailed the combox to suit your needs. It would be one thing if it was just one dude who got under your skin – we have all been there, but it seems like a pattern. I am only speaking for myself here – but I don’t think this pattern of escalation is kosher, so I said something, and I stand by the substance of everything I said – though I am sure I could have said some things better or with less snark.

    I have said my peace on this, and I have other things to focus on, so this is the last I’ll say on the topic. Just so you are clear, I am not calling your character into question – beyond this blog I don’t know you.

    All I am saying is that your comments can venture into being crazy, and that you should hold yourself in check. I am not asking you to like or agree with what I said, so take it or leave it. But I am of the opinion that OL is better, not worse when you don’t come uncorked in the combox.

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  50. Heck, while I’m lauding people (obviously on my way out), I also have respect for Tom Van Dyke and Bryan Cross. CD-Host and Cletus Van Damme, too. Tough, resilient, willing to come into hostile territory, give no quarter, persistent. If I agreed with those guys on theology, I would gladly go to war with them.

    Mediocre minds with mediocre commitment don’t change the world. True believers do.

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  51. Jed,

    “Psychotic”, “not healthy”, “crazy”.

    Keep digging.

    Have you ever been in a courtroom and watched how attorneys argue? Have you ever been in a deposition? It’s spirited, forthright, with high stakes, and not for the faint-of-heart.

    Why should debate over eternal matters not be the same?

    The problem may not be me. It could be you.

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  52. Which comes back full circle with why I’m leaving.

    If I’m going to take on TKNY, Called to Communion, Pietism, revivalism, and everything else that gets taken on here, I’m not going to fart around and act like I’m some character in a Whit Stillman movie. I’m either all in or I’m all out. If I care about something, I’m going after it hard. If I don’t, I couldn’t care less.

    Darryl lost his nerve and lost faith in my approach, so I’m out.

    Like

  53. Jack,

    I guess we Californians think alike.

    I’m just glad this place settled down.

    I miss my 2nd favorite church on God’s green earth.

    We may be down this summer, it’d be good to see you again.

    Peace.

    Like

  54. Sadly anything that transforms American religion probably does transform it for the worse and probably does suck. But I digress…

    My point is a wishy-washy “I’m going to poke people in the eye, but G*d forbid I would debate them for more than 3 posts” is lame. If you don’t want debate, shut comments down or quit stirring s**t up.

    It’s like being on the Autobahn and you’re just supposed to know the speed limit is 55. Who says? Well Darryl does, I guess.

    If everyone can quit mouthing off, I’ll leave, but no one can resist, which proves you’re no different from me.

    Like

  55. Andrew,

    Really?

    You want to start with me today?

    Really?

    You don’t bring a straw with tissue paper to a paintball fight.

    I’ll take on all-comers, though, so you might as well.

    Like

  56. Erik,

    We’re not doing this.

    Keep ’em coming. If there’s anyone to hit, here, come at me.

    Do more of that, please.

    Like

  57. I won’t cuss anyone out, I won’t lie about anyone, and I won’t reveal confidential information I’ve received in e-mails (unless the other party does so first), but I can go on as long like this as you guys want to.

    Let’s see who can’t resist making the next eruption.

    No one but Sean and Kent have the chops to win at this point. That would be a Battle Royale.

    Like

  58. ec, people who conjecture about other people’s professional abilities should get under onlooker’s skin.

    In case you don’t notice, I’m holding back out of respect for you erik. But that makes me a pussy. Thanks, Tim Bayly.

    Like

  59. Darryl,

    “Professional abilities” has nothing to do with it. You’re the best freaking historian the Presbyterian & Reformed world has seen since Philip Schaff, hands down, but you can not get along with others.

    Duh – neither can I, at least when it comes to religion.

    That’s my whole beef, as if I have to repeat it again. What are the rules for the site? For how you conduct yourself? For who you poke in the Presbyterian & Reformed world? For how you poke them? For how you engage Roman Catholics? The truth is there are no rules, because it all just depends on what your mood is from day to day.

    So if your mood changes one day and you’re changing the comment policy, don’t lump me in with Greg and Andrew when I’ve been your ally for three years. If I haven’t been your ally then tell me that, privately. Good grief Presbyterian and Reformed people are the most dysfunctional communicators on God’s green earth, from the local church to the blogosphere. It’s like we were raised by wolves. It’s like I’m being lectured on etiquette by a bunch of hyenas.

    Let loose if you want to say something to me.

    Like

  60. erik, Old Life is all about me. Why do you think I include the phrase so much? I get it. People don’t like me, they don’t come to Old Life.

    But for folks on the other side of Word Press’ dashboard, there is a shared space. Between you and Greg lately, not much space. I observe, you get pissed off (just like Fox News).

    As for my not getting along with others, is that what you saw in Iowa? I’ll put my clubability up with any of the socially awkward academics that dot the institutional landscape. What I’m thinking while being clubable is another question. It’s partly on display at Old Life. Welcome to my world.

    Like

  61. Darryl,

    If it’s about you, fine, just say so. I’ve tried to leave twice, now three times, and you ask me (nicely) to consider staying. I appreciate that, but it just doesn’t work. If it’s about you, why would I want to just reflect your glory for years on end? I like you, but not that much.

    Take on all comers and have worshipping minions at your feet. Some would call that a cult of personality, but if it works for Rome it might work for us Reformed folks, too.

    Find a gracious way to end this and I’ll move on peaceably. I really will. I’ve learned so much the last 3 years and had mostly laughs along with a few serious frustrations. Those who think this is a healthy way to do religion are crazier than me, though. It wears people down, leads to intense cynicism, and will ultimately lead some away from the church. Mark my words.

    Like

  62. Darryl,

    If you seriously have to limit comments because of WordPress, take up a collection. These companies have huge data centers to make room for as many dumba**es as the internet can muster.

    If we’re doing religious polemics on a tight budget, once again, just say so clearly.

    Like

  63. Darryl,

    if you want me to shut up, please say so, I’ll happily comply. You don’t need me to do your talking for you.

    Erik,

    I pretty much pointed out to you at your blog the problem as I perceived it:

    bdandrew42
    March 10, 2015 at 2:37 am #
    Erik, but oldlife is all about Darryl.

    Come on, you know this.

    I think the last couple fights (first the drunks, now Mr. Terrible) have scarred you, brother. I don’t get your approach.

    In this thread, you have managed to denegrate the bride of Jesus (His Church), Darryl’s ability to be hired in P&R institutions, and indeed all Presbyterian and Reformed people by saying we all have communication problems.

    Erik, hear me here – I am not coming after you. Rather, you have decided to start attacking, and now everyone else here is on the defensive. Including Darryl, you are forcing him to explain why he runs a blog.

    What are you accomplishing with all this? Please reflect on this, brother. I came out swinging at the entire blogosphere when I found greenbaggins in 2012, so I understand when you say that religion on the internet is risky business. Isn’t that what we are doing here, though, is revealing others who can’t hold back, and then politely (or not so politely) pointing out when they themselves “step in it” (Gov. Rick Perry).

    I sympathize with you, however, when you said that Darryl embarrassed you by posting this blog post. When I argued with atheists who podcast, it was my fear that I would become their spectacle in their monthly show, I was sure I would be their “stupid christian” doing dumb things on the internet in their facebook chatrooms.

    I don’t know what else I can say – so from here, I’ll continue on your blog on the thread you’ve opened, and not drag everyone reading here through my thoughts. You really can say anything you want here about me, my professional abilities as you perceive them, or whatever strikes you. But I’ll leave you with the one other thought about this, and then I’m done.

    I don’t think debate can really be done online and in these comment sections. Carl Trueman blogged on the “Theater of the Absurd,” at reformation 21. It’s a little more possible in Darryl’s new blog at Patheos, because they have upvotes in the Disqus format.

    No one is asking you to come here and defend Darryl or any positions. It is you who desires this. And now Darryl is asking you kindly to post fewer comments. I believe you are capable of this and continue putting forth your thoughts in this medium if you decide you want to. Everyone, including Darryl, is giving you the benefit of the doubt.

    One last thing, I would advise that the rest of what is said by anyone be without sarcasm or snark. It’s so easy to read anyone out here and snicker because they are sharing about personal matters (i.e. religious). If you want this to work going forward, I suggest full good will and a spirit of friendship and even brotherhood that would honor Christ as for sure our God lives and is even now watching us as we engage here one with another.

    Like

  64. “Presbyterian and Reformed people are the most dysfunctional communicators on God’s green earth, from the local church to the blogosphere. It’s like we were raised by wolves. It’s like I’m being lectured on etiquette by a bunch of hyenas…..It wears people down, leads to intense cynicism, and will ultimately lead some away from the church. Mark my words.” — Erik Charter

    “And the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome (fighting and contending). Instead, he must be kindly to everyone and mild-tempered [preserving the bond of peace]; he must be a skilled and suitable teacher, patient and forbearing and willing to suffer wrong. He must correct his opponents with courtesy and gentleness.” 2 Timothy 2:24,25

    Like

  65. Andrew,

    I’ve told you this publicly & privately – multiple times. I’m willing to try carrier pigeon or certified mail if it will help.

    Get far, far, far away from theology on the internet. You are a soft-hearted guy and the cynicism will catch up with you. It will do you in and will have dire consequences for your wife and children. I am a hard guy and it is not helping me.

    Don’t e-mail me, don’t comment on my blog – real Christian people, in your area. Just go to church, believe what the minister says, spend time with those people – period.

    Like

  66. I’m not Presbyterian, but the underlying problem you who are Old School have is that you are demographically and geographically sunk, short of a radical change in approach.

    Right now you have the label of being male dominated, grumpy, mean, crabby, and negative. Meanwhile Keller, Duncan, and the New School types are seen as friendly, warm, and inviting.

    Old Schoolers have always been in the minority, but it’s going to get worse and worse – even in the OPC – unless there is a radical change in approach. Why?

    Because you’re smarter than the other side, but no one is going to submit to someone smart who they perceive to be a cynical a**hole.

    You need fresh leadership and it needs to be all positive. What does that mean? People see the simplicity of your worship and they scratch their heads and are intrigued. They see your Lord’s Day observance and, after their skepticism wears off, they consider it for themselves. They see your healthy families (with grown kids who are also still Old School) and they take note. They talk to your kids, remark at how well catechized they are and how pleasant they are, and wish their kids were like that.

    Basically you need to call a truce and start over.

    There’s a church I know of with two elders. Both are Old School. One is pretty crabby, opinionated, and abrasive. He’s probably way more theologically well read than the other. His grown kids are only moderately on board with it all, though. The other elder minds his own business, is not online, has a large, healthy family, and is the kind of guy who will attract people to Old School churches. They believe the same things, but they market it in radically different ways – one is effective, one is not.

    We can’t win with theological arguments alone – not even close. We have to win by being nicer, more substantial, more mature, better read Christian people. The way we’ve been approaching it is a death spiral, and I’ve contributed to that – a lot. Don’t poke any New Schoolers for a year, model the Old School in an exclusively positive way, and see what happens. If it fails, it can’t get much worse.

    Like

  67. Michael,

    You rock. Here, have some of my past for a snack:

    Luther took all three, of course. But the eschatological point was not really understood. He, in his weariness of the theological fights – you cannot become more tired of anything in the world than of theological controversies, if you always are living it; and even Melanchthon, when he came to death, one of his last words was: “God save me now from the rabies theologorum – from the wrath of the theologians! This is an expression you will understand if you will read the conflicts of the centuries. I just read with great pain, day and night, the doctor’s dissertation of a former pupil, Mr. Thompson, Dr. McNeill’s former assistant, an excellent work in which he describes in more than 300 narrow and large pages the struggle between Melanchthonism and Lutheranism. And if you read that and then see how simple the fundamental statement of Luther was, and how the rabies theologorum produced an almost unimaginable amount of theological disputations on points of which even half-learned theologians as myself would say that they are intolerable, they don’t mean anything any more – then you can see the difference between the prophetic mind and the fanatical theological mind.

    Like

  68. Erik, Michael’s with me. West coast PCA guy with good taste in television. I’m easy like that, yo.

    Like

  69. Flippin’ hilarious.
    Somebody is clearly off their meds and needs to slow down and back off the paranoid Napolean complex.
    IOW shut up.

    Or the alternate version:
    As in since when are combox comments free of the ‘let your yea by yea and nay, nay’?
    If somebody is gonna leave, do it. We don’t need to hear about it and if they want to cry on somebody’s shoulder, the innernet is a cold and heartless place.

    As in the dude has said he was going to sue, going to leave etc. etc. yadda yadda yadda.
    So what/who cares at this point?
    Yeah maybe Dent and the Unificator, but really.
    This is pathetic and self inflicted.
    Again grow up and shut up because that is what you said you were going to do.

    cheers

    Like

  70. Bob,

    That’s awesome. You win loony bin inmate of the month. Pick up your box of Animal Crackers and juice box at the front desk.

    Glad that YOU’LL be staying on to take my place when I’m gone.

    Say “hello” to the 12 members of your denomination who come to see you on visiting day!

    Like

  71. Guys,

    With people like Bob on your team you must feel like world beaters! Soon you too can worship with assemblies in single digits, not because of doctrine, but purely because of social pathologies.

    If I chose to take on the Tom Van Dyke role I could do it oh so much better than him. I know all the weak spots and soft under bellies – like your Bob’s

    Like

  72. Erik, it’s not that you don’t have something to say at OL, but that we got’s to wade through lots of chaff many times to get to it.
    And put up with lots of histrionics at times. Like now.
    It’s unbecoming, embarrassing and demeaning to you, never mind the rest of us.
    You need to calm down, talk to your elders and stay off the innernnet, if you’re intent on flaming out like Jason Stellman.
    Seriously.
    Peace out, man.

    Like

  73. And since I’m in the URC, I assume you have left for what, the local megachurch.
    Good luck there with any elder oversight to speak of.

    Like

  74. DG, compared to anybody else I still got lots of posts left.
    Two, I haven’t been telling everybody I’m leaving and then not following thru. Big D there.
    And if E is really off his meds, then all bets are off and somebody should let the lowlier peons on the foodchain know.
    cheers

    Like

  75. This will be number one for today.
    =========================================
    Erik says: Old Schoolers have always been in the minority, but it’s going to get worse and worse – even in the OPC – unless there is a radical change in approach. Why?

    Because you’re smarter than the other side, but no one is going to submit to someone smart who they perceive to be a cynical a**hole.

    You need fresh leadership and it needs to be all positive. What does that mean? People see the simplicity of your worship and they scratch their heads and are intrigued. They see your Lord’s Day observance and, after their skepticism wears off, they consider it for themselves. They see your healthy families (with grown kids who are also still Old School) and they take note. They talk to your kids, remark at how well catechized they are and how pleasant they are, and wish their kids were like that. “
    That will never happen apart from the gracious power of God Erik. Read that 3rd chapter of Romans again. Herein lies the fatal problem. The classic human tendency to escape one extreme by hiding in the arms of the other. You don’t need positive image. You need power.

    In your derisive enthusiasm to denounce the things that are legitimately wrong with much of what passes for the reformed church today, you have reduced yourselves to what amounts to a moldy protestant sacerdotalism.

    They go to extremes with the subjectivity and you respond by accusing anybody with a prayer life who spends time with God and His word of being a piestist.

    They turn the gospel into an unbilical quest for world transformation and you respond by paddling anybody who thinks God might be pleased with His people honoring Him by their speech and conduct before unbelievers.

    They go kooky with Kuyper’s “every square inch” declaration and you respond with a moral dualism wherein none of the kingdom of God touches any of the kingdoms of this world in this age. I could go on.

    (I must say that the one thing you have in common is yes, a servile addiction to the great and mighty gods of “art and entertainment”. You may disagree on absolutely everything else, but when it comes to pop culture you are equally all in )

    Right after question 90 of the larger catechism at opc.org we have the following heading.

    “HAVING SEEN WHAT THE SCRIPTURES PRINCIPALLY TEACH US TO BELIEVE CONCERNING GOD, IT FOLLOWS TO CONSIDER WHAT THEY REQUIRE AS THE DUTY OF MAN” (caps theirs)

    This leads into an exposition of the ten commandments. Next comes sin and then the means of grace, including the sacraments.

    I am telling you that there is no “oldlife” as long you continue to ignore the parts of questions 91 through 148 that you don’t like. By “you”, I mean people longing for the “oldlife”, not just Erik. In principle. Your church may hold the three forms, but the religion spelled out in that LC IS the “oldlife”. This new culturally liberal, worldly morality makes any hope for the actual “oldlife” a hallucination. Mark my words. You can say whatever you want Darryl, but you of all people know that.

    Bob says: “the internet is a cold and heartless place.”
    I happen to know for a fact that this is not necessarily true. Friendships, courtships marriages, familial relationships and churches have been maintained over written correspondence forever. Much of the New Testament in written correspondence. I have many people I love and pray for and hurt with and laugh with and cry for and with who I only know online. We email, message, and Skype and have real live meaningful relationships. The internet is far more personal than written correspondence that until recently took weeks to go long distances. I (imperfectly) take the love and light of the gospel with me wherever I go. Including online.

    Like

  76. Guys,

    No meds, just vitamins.

    6 weeks away from this freaking dysfunctional religious nut house and I’ll be good as new.

    People confuse being here with being a part of a true Christian church and having a healthy Christian life. They’re not the same. And in fact, one hinders the other.

    Trust me, I know the inner circle. Guys I did and still do like. But this is not helping them, up to and including the host.

    The biggest mistake of 2K is the delusion that we get to act one way Monday through Saturday and somehow acting a different way on Sunday excuses it. No, if we’re an asshole Monday through Saturday, we’re likely still an asshole on Sunday. We don’t fool God.

    “Think of Old Life like a bar ” the faithful respond. O.K., when did God give us exemption from The Law in a bar?

    Like

  77. The bottom line for me is that Old School, 2K, theologically conservative people need a HEALTHY way to respond to the things that frustrate them — about their churches, about their ministers converting to Catholicism, about their ministers sleeping with their members, about “Obedience Boys”, about Tim Keller and his followers, about pietism, about revivalism. I agree those are all problems in our churches.

    A place where people come and grouse continually about real people under fake names after being constantly stirred up by a ringleader is not the answer.

    Now I know that if we actually put these things to a vote in our churches, we lose – thus the frustration. Those in the PCA are fighting a losing battle with The Obedience Boys AND with Keller (doesn’t seem possible to lose both those battles, but you will). Those in the URCNA will lose on 2K. Those in the OPC will likely lose on 2K as well. It stinks, but what are you going to do? Where else do you have to go?

    So I feel your pain, but see my post last night – going negative is not the answer. Going positive and winning over some is your best hope.

    Like

  78. Greg, “a servile addiction to the great and mighty gods of ‘art and entertainment’”? In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, shouldn’t you be out on a ledge somewhere?

    Like

  79. Erik, I’m not much for these sorts of exchanges, but no need to throw folks under the Greyhound. I’m afraid to ask, but have you considered maybe it’s you? Because it doesn’t sound like it.

    Like

  80. Darryl,

    Agreed, and my honest concern is the degree to which you are pointing people to Him or away from Him.

    Now at this point if I’m going to practice what I preach, I’m constrained in how I respond to people here, which is how it should be. So just take your best shots & let’s see how I do.

    Some here will never get what I’m talking about. Some will see the light, though, and that makes this entire ordeal worthwhile.

    Like

  81. Zrim,

    I have definitely been a huge part of the problem here for 3 years. Mea Culpa. This started out as a protest against Darryl taking away my right be be an asshole and morphed into a recognition that I have been being as asshole — and everyone had been celebrating that when I was attacking the hobby horses that they themselves were also annoyed by.

    You’re a smart guy, but your level of cynicism is off the charts. That’s going to catch up with you. I don’t want to see that happen.

    One big difference between most of us and Darryl is that he has no kids. Not criticizing him for that, but it’s just a fact. If we look back 20 years from now and none of our kids are in P&R churches, our cynicism will surely be largely to blame. No one is attracted to that unless they’re off the reservation themselves.

    Like

  82. A Pentecostal, a Baptist, and a Presbyterian are in a diner kind of tensely discussing some joint charitable venture in their town.

    While doing so smoke begins pouring through the window from the kitchen into the dining room.

    The Pentecostal jumps and yells “FIRE!”

    The Baptist jumps up and yells “WATER!”

    The Presbyterian remains seated and motions them both to sit back down and says…. “order”.
    ========================================================

    2K is not the problem. It is essentially the biblical view. With all due respect, the DG Hart, gnostic dualistic version of 2K is the problem.

    “Oldlife” is a good thing. I say, the closest to biblical Christianity thus far. It is however a package. That is to say, yes, a “worldview” (forget Schaeffer please, I wish I could). It’s defining characteristics are not a buffet where you pick what tastes good to you. Dr. Hart, you want a nice, sturdy, reliable oldlife car, but refuse to put oldlife tires on the thing or oldlife gas in the tank.

    It will sit here, collecting dust, up on blocks and unable to start until you do. An oldlife car will not run on new liberal practice flowing from a new romance with the world that your oldlife fathers would have been horrified to see their names associated with.
    ——————————————————-
    Erik, you made a couple awesome points. Hopefully I’ll have time for number two (or three) for today where I will address them. I must say brother, I’m glad to see you calmer today. That’s not a put down, but I couldn’t help thinking you were working against yourself for while there yesterday. I will not hold it against you if you decide to stay here again btw. I have my quirks and foibles too. I just do with you’d stop saying you’re leaving. (see a smiley here, though I won’t post one))

    Make no mistake gentlemen. We are heading into a (non dispensational) time on this continent and western Europe as well, where only what is truly built on the rock of Christ will last. You’re right about that Daryl. Christ IS the answer, but sir, I fear you do not know that that means.

    Like

  83. Erik, thanks for the warning, but I think of it as a relatively healthy skepticism (the middle switch between cynicism and optimism). And “off the charts” is when you get personal about it all.

    Like

  84. I always posted under the premise that what you got of me, here, wasn’t all of me and that was puposeful both in regards to the limitation of the medium and community and obligation to place(local church). This isn’t church. This isn’t family. This isn’t even a local bar. This is a virtual place. That’s all fine, but why insist that it be more? Or be responsible fto be more and is accountable when it fails to be those other aforementioned places? Not sure why this exchange is so loaded with ministerial accountability. FB, indeed.

    Like

  85. erik, if you don’t read the Bible and become cynical about all human efforts to “fix” things, I don’t know what divine revelation you’re reading. Don’t go from 2k to evangelical gullibility.

    Like

  86. Guys,

    There is a middle ground. Seek out your inner Jeff Cagle’s and stay in that mode. Treat people here and all over the Internet the way you treat people on Sunday at church.

    Sadly there is so little “middle ground” on the internet. The medium brings out the worst in everyone, Christians included. I have faith in both of you guys. I think it will click for you at some point.

    Like

  87. Sean,

    I guess my answer would be to ask you to provide a biblical and Confessional case for a sphere where Christians are without accountability.

    Did the concept of such a thing even exist before Al Gore invented the internet?

    You guys are at a disadvantage here because I know the script backwards and forwards. Now that I realize it’s bunk it’s like a heavy weight has been lifted off my shoulders. To quote Greg, I’m mad at no one.

    Like

  88. Erik, I hope you find your middle ground. I question why that involves scorching others or indicting others? If this is a process to hold yourself accountable, great. But maybe try to keep it centered on you and if others are different than you about similar issues give them the credit and liberty to be different.

    Like

  89. Zrim,

    My judgment on your level of cynicism is somewhat based on seeing you get in a nasty, personal fight with a brother within the past week. You were both pushing each others’ buttons, but things like that should not happen. Or at least when they do there should be apologies and reconciliation.

    Like

  90. Greg,

    Thanks. I was mad yesterday. I’m not today

    I would stay if the ethos of Old Life changed, but that will take time and the changing of the minds of several key people. I can’t be the only one clamoring for it. I would just get tuned out. People are forever being either hardened or softened and we don’t get to determine which it is

    Like

  91. Erik, you’re free to tell me to take a hike. I both care and don’t care. I do wish the best for you. You’ve admittedly transitioned away from a prior trajectory and position Some of us may be content and unencumbered by a panged conscience about our behavior. I would hope you wouldn’t impose your personal commitments upon others as if, ‘the lord sayeth’. But rather be content in your own mind and before God with your scruples. Being the sinner that I am, I’m pretty sure I’ll always live in some tension.

    Like

  92. Greg,

    Biggest critique of your approach is that I’m not convinced that retreat from the world solves our problems because the problem is not outside of us, it’s inside of us.

    It’s the battle that rages between our old & new natures that continues until we die.

    People can give up movies and still lust after an 18 year old girl at church. The problem is not “them”, but “us”.

    Like

  93. Erik, your comments were always a major reason for my trolling here. You’re incisive, quick-witted, funny, and perceptive – in the cosmic scheme of life, you’d be a really fun guy to meet in person and chat/debate the day away. Fwiw, I think your parting shots at the Old School stuff are apt. Much like your argument for how you have to make prudent decisions about entertainment options and own them, we have to make prudent ecclesial decisions, too. To that end, the ambience in the evangelly church (warts and all), together with its gospel centered outreach efforts (warts and all) has been far more compelling to me than the Reformed world, which is more cerebral-and-reverent (much as I like it) but overly-narrow-and-crabby-and-argumentative (not too fond of it). You’re always welcome to come back to the evangelly-world and “recover” from the trauma of P&R land! (emoticon)

    Like

  94. I’m signing off, but before I do I want to offer sincere apologies to those I’ve been rude and obnoxious to over the years – Richard Smith, Bryan Cross, Tom Van Dyke, Kenneth Winsmann, Cletus Van Damme, Curt Day, Doug Sowers, other adversaries I’ve forgotten, and allies who I’ve flared up against far too often. I sincerely apologize and hope the best for all of you in the future. I have learned a lot from everyone and have had the opportunity to think about a lot of critical theological issues and issues in the Christian life. That life, as we all know, is a marathon, not a sprint, with hills and valleys all along the way.

    It would be inappropriate to leave you all with anything other than a Steely Dan video. One that, respectfully, contains my truest intentions at this point:

    And with that, he was gone.

    Like

  95. The best place to continue this convo is on Erik’s blog where he is playing the Bryan Cross figure, moderating comments.

    As Muddy said, way long ago, there’s a desire for omnipotence. Comes back to Genesis 3, the fall, man wants to be like God.

    Erik has become Crossity – thus I am 2 over par.

    Like

  96. I always was a horrible golfer (working on it)

    Muddy Gravel
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink
    We need the ability to vilify and pillory individuals who are trying to achieve the incommunicable attribute of omnipresence through their comments. Such is a calumny, after all.

    Now the pressure’s on me to have content. Eeeeeeeeooow I’m getting stressed….I’m out!

    Like

  97. AB, since erik already concludes that 2k is cynical, I’ll improve your suggestion by recommending the blogs at Gospel Coalition as the place to take up the new and improved erik’s conversation. And instead of Drunk ExPastors, take a listen to Mortification of Spin.

    One more: forget the Coens. Remember Ron Howard.

    Like

  98. Jeff,

    Jeff Cagle
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink
    Erik and Greg,

    I might have some cap-and-trade credits you could pay me for. Although David R and I were working on deficit spending in summer/fall 2014.

    Ah the good ol’ days…. and I haven’t forgotten that I still owe you a response. The truth is, I composed a three-part series (nothing profound) but when the time came for posting, I couldn’t bring myself to do it, seeing as how a number of regulars had made clear their distaste for my offerings. However, if there is still any interest, I can find you on Facebook easily enough.

    Like

  99. Darryl, I listened to Rev. Master T this morning, I know of what you speak.

    Good experiment. After all, I was the first offender (you know of what I speak).

    I may need two beers tonight, instead of the one I needed last night. Grace and peace.

    Like

  100. David, for love of baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Mom, please don’t theologize on FB. Darryl, do a post called “This is Where Jeff and David Talk.” There it will be. And we can go back to it. Again, and again, and again.

    AB, thanks for the various kind words. I’m soon to publish “Muddy Proverbs: a Collection of Objectionable and Doofus Aphorisms, Sometimes with a Point.”

    Like

  101. I think we all know who “Rikki” is here.

    We hear you’re leaving, that’s OK
    I thought our little wild time had just begun
    I guess you kind of scared yourself, you turn and run
    But if you have a change of heart

    Rikki don’t lose that number
    You don’t wanna call nobody else
    Send it off in a letter to yourself
    Rikki don’t lose that number
    It’s the only one you own
    You might use it if you feel better
    When you get home

    Like

  102. “I’m not Presbyterian, but the underlying problem you who are Old School have is that you are demographically and geographically sunk, short of a radical change in approach.

    Right now you have the label of being male dominated, grumpy, mean, crabby, and negative. Meanwhile Keller, Duncan, and the New School types are seen as friendly, warm, and inviting.”

    I was thinking about these differences and the reasons why. Of course one’s behavior is reflected in one’s theology and among Protestants there’s wiggle room, so why stay with the nasty Old one’s if the Neo’s are nice and have programs for the kids?
    When you begin to see that you have bought into the rhetoric of one particular group and found yourself quoting their maxims just because they say so, then you realize you have freedom to ask, “Just how far back does that idea go?”, and that leads to more questions and so on.
    For instance, the community of which I was a member was always mocking Evangelicals for their music or for having a Christian subculture market. While I agreed that is was subpar, I still knew that these people were seriously doing their best to follow Jesus. And as far as I knew it was to the best of their informed ability, so how could I mock their piteous state? But I did, and so repeated the popular sayings of my community: ” Huh? WWJD you say?….(duh!) It isn’t What would Jesus do
    ( poor dummies), it’s what He has already done!” Now that sounded learned at the time, but it wasn’t humble nor was it charitable towards a wide swath of people who hadn’t yet been enlightened about the truth of Calvinism( hem-hem). Were the Calvinists correct? Well they were correct about the kitsch of the subculture, but were they right that Christianity had nothing to do with “behaving”? Of course not. It was a false dilemma. Yes, Jesus finished the work on the cross 2,000 yrs ago, but he also left behind a church to carry out his mission of fighting the gates of hell
    (evil).
    In this world the only experiential evidence we have of Christianity is through the medium of other persons. This is why its possible to be jaded by religion, for it is the church community that reflects the deity.
    The reason people buy books from people who say, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”, is because the opposite, “God doesn’t love you and your life is insignificant”, leads to despair. People know that their life has meaning and they know God is Love, so they will go towards the community that tells them so. Now,they may get there and also be told that God wants them to be rich, and of course that would be a distortion of the truth and was probably not what *most* people were drawn to in the first place despite that characterization by mainline Protestants, but they go their because they know that the people act( or try to act) like their master.

    ~Susan

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  103. Susan,

    Nice to hear from you. Sunny weather out here in Cali, eh?

    Read the Hobbit yet?

    Here, read this after you get done with Biblo (emphasis mine).

    Peace to you on your journey.

    New Horizons

    Presbyterians and the Heidelberg Catechism

    Alan D. Strange

    Why should Presbyterians—more particularly, Orthodox Presbyterians—care about the Heidelberg Catechism? We have two catechisms of our own that seem quite sufficient—if not to say, in the case of the Westminster Larger Catechism, challenging, even daunting at times. Why should we give a moment’s thought to the Heidelberg Catechism, particularly when we consider theologian B. B. Warfield’s assessment that, when compared to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Heidelberg Catechism is “too subjective”?

    The Heidelberg Catechism certainly does have a personal element that strikes a different tone from that of the Westminster Catechisms. The first question reflects that different approach: “What is your only comfort in life and death?” It addresses the catechumen directly, seeking to elicit a statement of trust from the one being questioned. The answer affirms the application of the gospel to the catechumen: “That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.”

    The History of Creeds and Confessions

    That first question and answer, as beautiful as it is, should whet the appetite of Orthodox Presbyterians for this seminal sixteenth-century catechism. Many are aware that it is one of the “Three Forms of Unity” for Reformed churches, which are the Calvinistic churches that emerged from continental Europe. They are represented today by two churches with which we have fraternal relations: the Reformed Church in the United States and the United Reformed Churches in North America. The Three Forms of Unity are the Belgic Confession of Faith (1561), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), and the Canons of Dort (1618). Note that this year is the 450th Anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism.

    The Reformation spawned confession making. Before the Reformation, creedal matters had been decided largely by ecumenical councils. The first two councils—Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381)—created the great Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. This, together with the Apostles’ Creed and the Athanasian Creed, formed the foundation of the church’s confession. The Reformation affirmed these great creeds, regarding them as necessary, but no longer sufficient, to secure orthodoxy. The Reformers understood that more was needed for a clear understanding of the gospel than was contained in the great creeds. The key Reformational insight—that the righteousness that God requires is given by him freely as a gift, received by faith alone—along with other insights, demanded confessional expression. These matters, now deemed essential, came to expression not only in the great confessions of the Reformation, but also in the Heidelberg Catechism, which is a teaching device, particularly for youth preparing to come to the Lord’s Table. The Heidelberg Catechism fits right into this great tradition, the background of which warrants exploration.

    First, just a word about the first of the Three Forms of Unity: the Belgic Confession is comparatively mild in its critique of Roman Catholicism and supportive of civil authority, all in an effort to distinguish the Reformed from the Anabaptists. The thirty-seven articles set forth a vigorous Calvinism, having much in common with the French Confession of 1559 (especially noteworthy are Articles 22–24, emphasizing the twofold grace of God in justification and sanctification, and Article 35, a Calvinistic articulation of the Lord’s Supper).[1]

    The Making of the Heidelberg Catechism

    Two years later, the Heidelberg Catechism was drafted. It was adopted for subscription in the Dutch church by the Synod of Wessel (1568). “Frederick III, elector of the Palatinate, had commissioned it, seeking to have the beliefs of the Reformed Church of the Palatinate defined in a way that reflected the core of Evangelical faith over against the kind of quibbling that he witnessed and detested among the Gnesio-Lutherans and the Philippists.” Frederick respected Melanchthon and never rejected the Augsburg Confession (1530), yet he was more Reformed than Lutheran. He wanted to bring together the best of both traditions and “asked the theological faculty and local ministers of Heidelberg to compose a catechism for teaching the youth of the region.”[2]

    Zacharias Ursinus, a student of both Calvin and Melanchthon and a professor of theology at the University of Heidelberg, is generally credited with drawing up the first drafts of the catechism. A committee of Frederick’s theologians, however, prepared the official text, drawing upon (at least) Luther’s Small Catechism, Melanchthon’s Examen Ordinandorum, and Leo Juda’s catechisms. It was approved by the Palatinate synod in January 1563. Caspar Olevianus, a student of Calvin and Beza and pastor of the main church in Heidelberg, certainly participated in this work, but probably played a less prominent role than was earlier surmised.[3]

    The sharp condemnation of the Roman Catholic Mass in Question and Answer 80 was added as a reaction to the anti-Protestant Council of Trent (which did not adjourn until after the Heidelberg Catechism was adopted). The (Reformed) Council of Dort in 1618–1619 organized the 129 Q’s and A’s into fifty-two Lord’s Days for preaching purposes.[4] The idea was that in the second service (the afternoon service), the whole congregation would be catechized, being taught the Reformed faith by the minister. Some have speculated, though there seems to be no clear evidence to support the point, that the Westminster Larger Catechism was similarly intended to be used by the minister in the instruction of the congregation. I must say that I would commend it for use in this way, either by the minister on Sunday or perhaps at midweek meetings, as the Larger Catechism is a remarkable compendium of Reformed theology.

    Preaching from the Catechism?

    The idea of using a catechism for preaching purposes may sound curious to Presbyterians, since we are told that a sermon is to involve, at least, a “painstaking exegesis” of a text. How could a human document, even a catechism meant to teach, be used for preaching purposes? To be sure, there are different theories among those who hold to the church order of Dort about how, precisely, this should be done. But there is agreement that since the Heidelberg Catechism faithfully expresses what the Scriptures teach, the Scriptures are taught in a proper catechetical sermon, in which the catechism is shown to set forth the doctrine taught in Scripture. My preferred way to do this is to read a Scripture text and the relevant portion of the catechism, and then to weave the two together in the sermon. If ministers in the OPC were to use the Shorter Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism as guides in the evening service, this would be a marvelous tool to train our people in the rich theology and piety of our faith. Good catechetical preaching covers all doctrine and in this way helps to set forth the whole counsel of God to the congregation. This, in addition to our mainstay—powerful redemptive-historical, heart-applicatory, expository preaching—could yield fruit for years to come.

    But, given that we have the Shorter and Larger Catechisms to use as preaching guides in our second services, if we choose to do that, why would we even bother to use the Heidelberg Catechism? For one thing, it is practical to do so, since it has already been divided into fifty-two Lord’s Days, as noted above. Additionally, it provides variety (so that one is not preaching the same Shorter and Larger Catechism sermons year in and year out) and does not contradict our Standards (the Heidelberg Catechism says less than Westminster). If there is thought to be a difference somewhere, and I concede that such is arguable at points, the minister might highlight what our Standards say that is thought to be clearer, or correct, as the case may be.

    But I would also argue that the very subjectivity of the Heidelberg Catechism, which Warfield held against it, is something in its favor, particularly in attempting to reach out in a postmodern culture that values the personal over the propositional. The Heidelberg Catechism does a good job embodying both, seeking to express what is ours in Christ by the power and application of the Holy Spirit, who brings Christ to us and us to Christ. The Heidelberg Catechism is, one might say, the firstfruits of the Reformation, expressed in catechetical form, whereas the Shorter Catechism and particularly the Larger Catechism are the fruit that has matured. There is an important place for the expression of both in the teaching ministry of the church, and it would be good for any Presbyterian church to make some sort of study of the Three Forms of Unity and to consider using the Heidelberg Catechism in some way on the Lord’s Day.

    The Structure of the Heidelberg Catechism

    The Heidelberg Catechism is organized in three main parts: man’s sin and fall, the redemption that is ours in Jesus Christ, and the consequent thankfulness that we are to render in a life of service to our God and our neighbor. This threefold schema is often reduced to helpful alliterative points like Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude, or Sin, Salvation, and Service. These three parts address the sin that is ours, what God has done in Christ to remedy that, and how we are called to live as the redeemed, engaging in kingdom life in a fallen world.

    Following the first question and answer, which summarizes the Christian life, and the second question and answer, which summarizes the three parts of the catechism, the Heidelberg Catechism proceeds to the first main section: “Of the Misery of Man.” This first section consists of Questions and Answers 3–11 and sets forth our original innocence that gave way to sin and misery, making it clear that we are sinners who need salvation. The second section is “Of Man’s Deliverance.” This is the largest section of the Heidelberg Catechism. Questions and Answers 12–25 address deliverance more directly. Since God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is the author of man’s deliverance, the Heidelberg Catechism treats the persons of the Godhead in Questions and Answers 26–28 (Father), 29–52 (Son), and 53–64 (Holy Spirit). These questions and answers particularly show the love of God in the divine rescue mission: the Father appoints the salvation of his own, the Son accomplishes it, and the Spirit applies it. Here we see Reformed soteriology set forth for the first time in catechetical form.

    Many questions and answers from this section could be singled out for their doctrinal precision and warm piety, but Question 60 merits particular attention: “How are you righteous before God?” The answer captures the genius of the Reformation: “Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments, of never having kept any of them, and of still being inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without any merit of my own, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, and as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is accept this gift with a believing heart.”

    The second section of the Heidelberg Catechism continues with ecclesiology, including the sacraments (65–68), baptism (69–74), and the Lord’s Supper (75–82). Here we have the first catechetical expression of a rich Reformed ecclesiology. It affirms the real presence of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the sacraments, while avoiding all the errors of Roman Catholicism, which views the sacraments not as means of grace but, idolatrously, as ends. The Roman Church commits such an error because, historically, it neglected the doctrine of the work of the Holy Spirit. Calvin is, as Warfield said, the “theologian of the Holy Spirit,” but Aquinas and the other medievalists were not, jumping over the Spirit in their theologies and proceeding directly from Christology to ecclesiology. When ecclesiology is not based on a proper doctrine of the Holy Spirit, it yields sacerdotalism—a theory of priestly intermediation in which, practically, the church replaces the Holy Spirit. The Heidelberg Catechism, on the other hand, has an ecclesiology that flows from its doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

    The third and concluding section of the Heidelberg Catechism is “Of Thankfulness,” in which the Ten Commandments (92–115) and the Lord’s Prayer (116–129) receive treatment. Recall what we’ve established thus far: though made upright, we are now fallen, miserable sinners (section 1), from whom God has elected a people and sent his Son to accomplish salvation, applied by the Holy Spirit in the context of the church (section 2). Section 3 addresses the way in which we as Christians are to live: we are to walk in love. That means we are to keep his commandments, not so as to be made acceptable in his sight, but because we are acceptable in his sight through the merits and mediation of Christ. We seek to keep the law out of gratitude for so great a salvation, and the law, in what is called the third use of the law, is the way of life for those who have been delivered from its curse by the person and work of Christ. How we ought to live and to commune with our God in prayer round out this last section of the Heidelberg Catechism.

    I hope that there is enough here either to reignite our interest in this wonderful sixteenth-century catechism or perhaps to prompt us to get to know it for the first time and to be instructed and heartened by its personal, devotional expression of the Reformed faith.source

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  104. Hi Andrew,

    No, I have not finished the Hobbit and the last installment of the movies comes out this month! eek, my daughter isn’t pleased:)

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  105. Susan,

    Yeah, I’m behind too. When Jason Stellman and I connected on e-mail a few weeks back, I said I would keep listening to his podcast. Alas, the times have gotten busy for me.

    Do you listen to Jason’s podcast? I wonder how his job search is going.

    Take care.

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  106. AB,

    You’re right, women do do Facebook. Men on Facebook are either selling, pitching, or promoting. All about you know who

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  107. I pop my head in here two minutes and already I’m a pinko girlyman snake oil salesman. Gotta love you guys.

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  108. No, David, not un-American.

    I’d say against the light of nature. The light lets guys hanging out just let ‘er rip but then clench when the lady folk are around.

    The analogy may not be spot on. Or maybe it is. Anyway, feel free to hang out with Jeff and let ‘er rip.

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  109. Muddy, a bonus is that since it’s only an analogy, I can let ‘er rip without the ladies here even being offended. Or not.

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  110. I wonder if this comment of the month cursed OL? Just a little too positive. The war with KW, gtt, and now this thread. It’s been a long winter.

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  111. Your BOOK came today Darryl. As recommended by Chris Townsend. I will read it as expeditiously as life will allow. I intend to attempt a grown up dialog with you, either as I go, if I have questions, or when I’m done, or both. Probably both.

    I would be most honored and gratified if you could find it in your heart to have that conversation with me. I am not on a witch hunt and maybe I’ve assumed some things in error. There is of course no particularly compelling reason why you should do this. I have no ecclesiastical authority over you and you’re even older than I am. You also probably feel you having nothing to gain. I was serious the other day when I said I think we do actually want at least some of the same things. I’m asking. That’s all.

    While we’re at it, I think it will help us go forward if I ask you to accept my apology for the way I treated you a year ago. Regardless of my reasons, it will probably be an unnecessary impediment to any potential future dialog. I apologize for the acrimonious and disrespectful way I spoke to you.

    Oh yeah. For the record, I was not and am not embarrassed or irritated by my association with Erik. Regardless of his feelings about it.

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  112. Erik,

    This thread has taken some strange turns, so I do have some very basic things to add, if it belabors anything I said earlier, so be it. However, my intention is not to beat a dead horse here, but to point out how far afield you actually steered this discussion.

    You have made this conversation about a lot of things, whether that be your angry responses to me, Darryl’s academic career, how 2k theology tends towards letting us be assholes every day but Sunday, to the impending doom of Reformed confessionalism, to the need for better rhetoric amongst conservative confessionalists to the church at large… and a whole lot of other things, most important your threatened departure from OldLife.

    The problem is that none of these matters are what Darryl’s post was about, nor did it deal substantially
    with the criticisms I raised to you. Whether or not DG’s experiment was a failure or a success frankly hasn’t actually been proven – I seriously doubt that he much cared if people exceeded his suggested post limit. The bigger concerns were right there, in print, plain as day:

    “it may also force commenters to distinguish between the substantial and the trivial. Comments are still open but those making them are encouraged to show restraint.”

    My initial comment, which was not addressed to you, rather it referred broadly to a dynamic I observed was made in a joking and sarcastic manner, as many of the comments on this blog are, but it was not made with malicious intent toward you. I can now see that the issue was actually far more sensitive, so if you were offended by my sarcasm, I apologize. However, I stand by the substance of my criticism fully – there are times where you have demonstrated that you cannot restrain yourself, and you needlessly escalate discussions, and it affects the quality of those discussions. And yes, I think that some of your comments are crazy – that is not an accusation that you are crazy yourself. I did not intend to intimate anything more than this in anything I said, if I did, again – apologies. I’ll hazzard the bar analogy again, all I was attempting was to pull you back and tell you to cool off, because this fight (i.e DGH ends Old Life…) is one you need to walk away from, and get your bearings.

    This could have gone a lot differently if after DGH gently suggested that you pull it back and put a lid on it, you would have simply said, “sure thing, my bad.” The three posts per day suggestion would have lasted equally as short as it did given the way things actually went down, and OL would just keep on truckin’. All you needed to do was when the blood gets pumping and the keys start claking, is to show restraint. Nobody said, “yeah, Erik needs to go.” Just that you need to tighten it up a bit. How this went from a simple experiment to what it has now become is beyond me.

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  113. ** I wasn’t clear in speaking ‘broadly to a dynamic I observed’, the dynamic was that of your (Erik’s) comments here at OldLife. Just in case that wasn’t clear.

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  114. Greg, re: book, great. I look forward to your questions which I hope you’ll post regardless of formal approval for engagement by the author. I’ve got ~ 25% left to finish and then a re-read. Another good one is: Living in God’s Two Kingdoms by VanDrunen. I’ve gotten through that once and want to read it again to make sure I understand it. My pastor is reading it now and I’m looking forward to getting his feedback on it. Some things I have appreciated and some have left me scratching my head. Having been steeped in the transformationalist side of things these books are, at least, thought provoking.

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  115. @cw I don’t know about deluded or dumb – I was thinking more along the lines of dangerously close to exuberant.

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  116. Some look at Chorts and see a peace-maker, others a divider. Some see sage, others a crank. Winsomeness and peevishness, illumination and dark clouds, all under a single chapeau.

    That’s a Muddy tribute.Of course my descriptions are limited by my mental capacity and variable sobriety so you might want to factor those in.

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  117. I’ve been thinking about Erik’s farewell post and I think he is making a fundamental error about demography and geography as it pertains to 2k/oldlife. Most people aren’t swayed only by one thing (nice people, clever theological arguments, etc…). Culture plays a huge role. The evangelical resurgence in the 1970’s made fertile ground for the “conservative” transformationalists. Their peak passed in the 90’s and is about to fall of a cliff.

    Thinking about Dreher’s comments on the “queering” of the GOP and the reaction of the OU president toward the students who led a racist chant, it seems clear that the battle lines regarding homosexuality are being drawn not like the lines of over no-fault divorce but interracial marriage laws. In other words, churches who continue to teach that gay sex is wrong will be in the same boat as Bob Jones in the 1980’s and it will be impossible to be a member of a conservative denomination and a respectable member of society – Keller’s church will have to either give up attracting movers and shakers or give up its teaching on homosexuality. This is coming and it is coming very quickly and it isn’t at all clear that the transformationalists (or at least the laity) grasp what this means.

    Christians have always been in exile and pilgrims, but the evangelical project of the last 50 years or so has helped us forget that. Now that the cultural tide is turning, I think a lot of the transformationalists are in for a rude awakening. Churches that should have been focused on preaching the gospel faithfully, administering the sacraments, and catechizing their flock will find that the time spent on voter guides, music & arts councils, seminars on Christianity and __________, and baptized TED talks have not prepared them for the challenges that lie ahead. This makes me sad because it portends a real loss for believers. The OldLife approach to church may not be very attractive in our image soaked culture and catechesis and sacraments may not be as exciting as redeeming the novel and transforming broadway, but they are the means of grace our savior instituted for us and the promise isn’t a better America, but the saints everlasting rest. And I have to say that promise sounds better and better with every passing year.

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  118. I’ve always been terrified that my actions online would lead to more notoriety than I desired. I sympathize with CW and EC that when DGH decides to go public with them in a blog post, that’s rough, but this is Darryl’s site, and it’s the game you are playing when you decide to go public as we all are with our convctions.

    Ultimately, Darryl remains consistent, as I perceive, since I have followed him now for coming up on two years. I was afraid this thread where Darryl told me to “show some restraint” was about me, because he mentions a renegade deacon:

    D. G. Hart
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink
    Andrew, show some restraint.

    It was enough to spook me into submission, and the rule applied against me a while back was that I was allowed 3 posts per day (entirely over every post, not just 3 per day on individual threads). After I posted more, Darryl started axing. Which, since I support Darryl, was never any problem – I appreciated that he cleaned up my drivel, but felt bad that I was employing him to delete my bad comments for me.

    I honestly don’t know what will become of Erik Charter, but I have hopes he will be restored. I have many opinions, many of which I will not share. But SDB is spot on here, and CW, you love everybody, and everybody loves you.

    Embrace the love, my friend.

    I’m out.

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  119. in light of SDB’s comment, please consider these thoughts from my decidedly estrogenized Facebook page. Spawned by the prime time, ABC FAMILY channel, full mouth kissing of 2 13 year old boys.
    ====================================================
    This show is on ABC-“FAMILY” at 8pm eastern on Monday nights. Apparently we have young girls kissing too.

    The clip of these two young boys is easy to find on Youtube. If this does not tear your heart out, you need Jesus. It is not not some quick passing blip on the screen either. It is the clear promotion of juvenile homo eroticism driven by a story that clearly seeks to lead children into homosexual adulthood. RIGHT at the onset of puberty when we are most susceptible to this kind of formative seduction.

    The devil is on offense church. He has the cultural ball. Make no mistake about it. First n goal after a spectacularly successful drive.. Faithful saints and churches must be exceedingly biblical in our response. The entire first chapter of first Corinthians comes immediately to mind. Reaching a degenerate culture with what is popular in that culture is exactly what the apostle says our God does NOT do.
    ========================================
    1st Corinthians 1:
    26-For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,c not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27-But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28-God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29-so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30-And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31-so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
    =========================================
    People and hence methods, that are “foolish”, “weak”, “low” and “DESPISED” in and to the world are what God uses to accomplish His purposes therein. That way HE gets the glory. Not us.

    I am quite confident in making this reverent (and accurate) textual commentary on the 17th and 18th verses of that same chapter.
    ———————————————————————————–
    17-For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom,[or ingenious “contextualized” cultural packaging, which is and accomplishes the same thing] lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
    18-For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
    ———————————————————————————–
    Jesus did not choose the wildly popular tv, movie or music people of His day to do His work. He chose common, unknown, ordinary citizens and lowlifes. Not to mention one who was murdering His church.

    I know exactly where this got started and why it is a grotesque failure as evinced by stories like this one. It is not our job to help God out of jams He’s not in.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    We need THIS God back. Who is not asking for our help, but commands our obedience. Which obedience He will reward with a harvest of all those He has given to His son from eternity.

    Westminster Confession of Faith – 1646
    …………………………………………………..
    CHAPTER II. Of God, and of the Holy Trinity.
    I. There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory, most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most just and terrible in his judgments; hating all sin; and who will by no means clear the guilty.

    II. God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; he is the alone foundation of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest; his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature; so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.

    III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.
    …………………………………………………………….
    THAT God is not wringing His hands hoping people will believe in Him and do the right thing if only properly influenced and motivated. He IS saving HIS people from their sins through the instrumentality of those who will trust HIM to do it by their obedience to His word and leaving the saving to Him. ALL will come. And of them He will lose none. He promised.

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  120. sdb, this is why I love The Wire. It is a show about perseverance, not about human flourishing. I don’t know how after the fall it gets much better than that.

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  121. Greg, everyone here knows what you are about, and we can read your many comments here, at OLTS, Literate Comments, and in Disqus threads. Thanks for sharing, and abiding by Darryl’s rules.

    That’s 3 folks.

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  122. I just now got back in after running since 9am guys. I am wiped out. Didn’t want anybody to think I jumped ship.

    Also, my “dis many” joke was just that. I meant it to be funny, not as a jab. To be clear. Need to do a couple things and sleep.

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  123. The network was founded in 1977 as an extension of televangelist Pat Robertson’s Christian television ministry, and eventually evolved into The Family Channel by 1990. In 1998, it was sold to Fox Kids Worldwide Inc. and renamed Fox Family.[1][2] On October 24, 2001, Fox Family Channel and Fox Family Worldwide were sold to The Walt Disney Company, in a sale that also included Saban Entertainment.[3][4]

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABC_Family

    So, a transformationalist extraordinaire’s own success is now beating the Church about the head and face with ‘family’ programming the previous network owner’s own scripture decries as degenerate.

    Ironic, that transformationalism…

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  124. “Ironic, that transformationalism…”
    If by the appellation “transformatinalist”, it is tended to connote a person who believes it is the Christian’s, and hence the church’s ordained mission to redeem society for Jesus, I do hereby state yet again, in the strongest terms possible, that I am not that guy. This is not directed at Mr. anonymous dead link personally, but I have a feeling I’m going to be copying and pasting the immediately above with fair regularity for a while still.

    Dr Hart, I reiterate. I fancy myself a man of no particular import in general, to say nothing of anybody who is owed authoritative attention by anybody else, including you. I ask that you treat this conversation simply as an interview by a “pietist”. Yes, I have an agenda. It is not however to beat you down in a debate or make you look bad. I promise.

    I am almost through the rather lengthy introduction to “The Lost Soul of American Protestantism”. I would find it very instructive if you would answer the following questions for me. Of course I enthusiastically welcome any of yours at any time as well.

    1. Has this blog experiment yielded results that you can report on? If so what are they? If not why not? I’m asking for blunt honesty.

    2. Same as I asked Curt. What is the driving motivation of your life?

    3. Closely related to number 2. What would you personally get out of a widespread western embrace of what you see as a return to pre Great Awakening confessionalism?

    4. What would America look like (spiritually, morally, socially, culturally) if we had never strayed from that in the first place, but if instead it would have gained the ascendancy in place of the pietistic, evangelical revivalism we see today? That is a dead honest, non trick question.

    Take ALL the time you need. I would rather wait a month (or two), for the thoughtful, substantive responses you are clearly capable of, than see a quick two sentence brush off for each one.

    OR… you can tell me to go play in the freeway.

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  125. Greg,

    This thread is all about Facebook style theolgizing. Allow me to take a stab.

    You are commenting on many blogs and you organize your engagement with these blogs very purposefully on your blog. You even are very intentional on which pages you include in your “website” field when you post comments. I notice these things.

    You also have been e-mailing me off line, so I get a picture of how you deal with people in a private message setting. I appreciate that you contact me in that way, I have enjoyed our interactions.

    I would echo the comments that Erik made to you here, the feedback he gave you was really good.

    You should not go in internet chatroom blog comment box facebook imitation discussions asking about people’s motives. This thread has long gone the way of usefulness, and like Chris Townsend said on the one about Chai Tea and Ms. Jenkins, should probably be deleted.

    Now, proceed as led, this is my first for the day, I get two more. But WHAT ARE YOUR MOTIVES, friend?

    E-mail me or twitter, we are good internet buds, you know I’m not out for blood.

    Grace and peace.

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  126. Erik Charter
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink
    Greg,

    Biggest critique of your approach is that I’m not convinced that retreat from the world solves our problems because the problem is not outside of us, it’s inside of us.

    It’s the battle that rages between our old & new natures that continues until we die.

    People can give up movies and still lust after an 18 year old girl at church. The problem is not “them”, but “us”.

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  127. Greg,

    And lastly for March 13, 2015, I will interact with Erik’s criticism of me, and then you are off to the races, go post all the live long day.

    Erik has told me that I am going to turn into a cynic by being on the internet. He’s not correct. The internet will not do these things to me. Sin will, and sin does indeed abound on the internet in ways unimaginable by the westminster divines, but when one can determine one’s own tolerance for the things of the internet, he/she can be the judge of how to engage out here.

    He feels I am doing harm to my family by being online.

    He feels I would rather be better served as a grade school teacher than in my job as an accountant.

    He has leveled criticism of me in various fashions and ways, and I accept them, but I have never refuted his claims.

    Along with you, I have been posting at his blog “Literate Comments” and indeed have posted for many years out there.

    I could go on. I have many opinions of Erik and how he has interacted with me since I found him and he posted under an avatar from the movie “bad news bears” at green baggins. That’s when I first met him.

    You want to know my response? A bible verse:

    Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
    reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
    (Proverbs 9:8 ESV)

    And one more:

    and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,
    (1 Thessalonians 4:11 ESV)

    I posted that verse as well as the few before it at his blog before he closed it. The man must be stressed with April 15 coming.

    Do you see how anyone can just type type type away in these comment fields? Or do I need to post Bob Suden’s comment from the Simspons thread “Jason and the Caller’s Worst Day?”

    In conclusion, you told Darryl

    Christ IS the answer, but sir, I fear you do not know that that means.

    Do you realize what it is you are saying? Why are you doing all this, Greg? What do you mean by that last statement, and what are you after? You are here attacking, like Erik is. We defend.

    Why?

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  128. Greg,
    1. Erik is gone. That wasn’t my intention. But that’s the only obvious result.

    2. To serve and confess Christ until my last gasp.

    3. A Swiss canton where Reformed churches still preached the word, administer the sacraments, and practiced church discipline. I say Swiss because I don’t care for most of the West’s political outcomes and Switzerland didn’t have imperial/colonial ambitions.

    4. Related to 3. I don’t really care what America looks like, though the colonies of PA and MD, where Presbyterians first set up shop, had its moments.

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  129. Darryl. Just in case you care, my respect for you just grew enormously. Thank you?
    Dr. Hart says: “Greg,
    1. Erik is gone. That wasn’t my intention. But that’s the only obvious result.”

    What was your intention? I f I might ask that? I don’t seem to grasp much of the thinking that goes on here. I mean nothing by that other than it’s the fact. It doesn’t have to be anybody’s “fault”.

    2. Dr. Hart says: “To serve and confess Christ until my last gasp.”
    That’s the right answer. I believe you.

    2. Dr. Hart says: “3. A Swiss canton where Reformed churches still preached the word, administer the sacraments, and practiced church discipline. I say Swiss because I don’t care for most of the West’s political outcomes and Switzerland didn’t have imperial/colonial ambitions.”
    “Canton.” Very good. I had to look that up. You’re not allowed to use words I don’t know anymore. Let’s get that outta the way right up front. (I will yet again forgo the smiley for Andrew’s sake)

    I will say this is consistent with your stated convictions. Let’s imagine a sort of Amish modeled community? Politically speaking, except with none of the aversion to technology? A confessional Calvinistic commune? That’s not sarcastic at all. There are worse things to wish for. I might like living there myself. If not, then of course correct me.

    2. Dr. Hart says: “4. Related to 3. I don’t really care what America looks like, though the colonies of PA and MD, where Presbyterians first set up shop, had its moments.”
    Well sir, with all due respect, I didn’t ask whether you cared what it would look like. I asked what in your view, you thought it WOULD look like? Let’s do it this way. Let’s say your ideal in PA and MD took hold and grew into everything you wanted. What would those communities have looked like? Fantasizing for the moment, unencumbered by federal intrusion. God has had His way in PA and MD.

    What does D.G. Hart’s confessional utopia look like? (spiritually, morally, socially, culturally) Again, no sarcasm. I might want to move my family in. (sincerely) I’m simply asking. No time pressure. Ever. We all have lives. As you can fit this in is more than I can ask for.

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  130. Greg, the only utopia is the new heavens and new earth. This side of glory it’s enduring the fall. I mean, don’t women giving birth still experience the curse that God gave to Eve? You make childbirth easy and I’ll consider utopia.

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  131. Greg, I’ve been in what I thought were church utopias before, but guess what — when things are humming along nicely you had better get ready for a bomb. Or four. You probably get this and know it from perosnal experience. Just saying that one should worry about anyone who is not quickly cured of earthly utopian dreams.

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  132. Greg, I’m at the end of my rope when I switch to xtian rock from my youth for listening on my commute.

    You won’t find a backdoor to heaven, yo:

    Lyrics to Soothsayer Speaks
    Soothsayer leans up against a wall outside the Temple doors
    He’s got deep blue eyes and a grin from horn to horn
    Greasy hair
    Salesman smile
    Burnt orange suit
    White patent-leather shoes circa 1974

    Well, he looks over his shoulder at the desperate ones
    And he badgers them before they reach the door
    Well, he says, “Say there, sucker
    Could something so big, so good
    Be as easy as just opening the door?
    Kneel down to the system
    Hail religious grind
    Now jump like a circus dog through my hoops of fire”

    You won’t find a back door to heaven

    Soothsayer lights up a holy smoke
    Exhales real big
    Stings my eyes
    And he said, “I can make you work hard for nothing
    Strive in the dirt and even spook you with the Holy Ghost
    I can make you walk around the block twice just when you wanna go home
    Make you jump like a circus dog through my hoops of fire”

    It was never meant this way
    I see open gates all the way

    It’s all right now
    It’s okay
    My love, my love, you will wait
    It’s all right now
    It’s okay
    I’m coming home today

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  133. PS Greg,

    if you don’t like Darryl’s answers, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church welcomes questions on its website, if your question is good (like my wife’s was about geology) they may even post your question with their answer, for all the world to see. Imagine the fame!

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  134. “Utopia” was a literary device using hyperbole to make the point of your ideal. I apologize for not making that clearer.

    Allow me to rephrase.
    2. Dr. Hart says: “4. Related to 3. I don’t really care what America looks like, though the colonies of PA and MD, where Presbyterians first set up shop, had its moments.”
    Well sir, with all due respect, I didn’t ask whether you cared what it would look like. I asked what in your view, you thought it WOULD look like? Let’s do it this way. Let’s say your ideal in PA and MD took hold and grew into everything you wanted. What would those communities have looked like? Fantasizing for the moment, unencumbered by federal intrusion. God has had His way in PA and MD.

    What does D.G. Hart’s PA and MD look like, in which dwells a church wherein everything you want has come true? Everything the OLTS wants has come true,(it might be everything I want too) and has been believed and practiced for generations now. The majority of citizens attend OLTS Presbyterian Churches, which are the only ones, not by force, but because they’re the only ones anybody wants to attend and nobody bothers trying to start any others.

    The 3rd chapter of Genesis and Shorter catechism 82 remain on full display, but oldlife confessional, non pietist, non revivalist Presbyterianism is the way of life there.

    Spiritually, morally, socially, culturally, what does that society look like? Again, no sarcasm. I might want to move my family in. (sincerely) I’m simply asking.

    No time pressure. Ever. We all have lives. As you can fit this in is more than I can ask for.

    Also, are we still on the 3 comment rule? I’m not complaining, just wondering. It’s doesn’t actually appear so.

    Thanks again for your valuable time. I do genuinely appreciate it.

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  135. Shorter version of my question. Beginning in the pre Great Awakening colonies, PA and MD are insulated and isolated and from the rest of the country and steadfast live the DG Hart oldlife until today. Are they different than the rest of the country is now?

    Andrew, you need to go back to the driving range. The next bucket’s on me LOL!

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  136. Greg, I’m not trying to be difficult but your question begs a premise, namely, that Christianity of any kind envisions a social, moral, political order. That’s what remains to be proved. Constantinianism taught Christians that premise. But I reject Constantinianism and I have trouble finding in the New Testament any expectation for a social/cultural order. That doesn’t mean that Christians don’t work for a society that allows them to live quiet and peaceful lives. They do. But all sorts of social arrangements might make such a life possible.

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  137. Dr. Hart says: “Greg, I’m not trying to be difficult…”
    I believe and appreciate that, but Lord knows I’d somewhat have it comin if you were. I don’t wish to overdo it, but do believe that I consider this conversation to be grace on your part.

    Dr. Hart says: “your question begs a premise, namely, that Christianity of any kind envisions a social, moral, political order.”
    Actually that’s not exactly true.
    I’ll take responsibility for still not being clear enough. From here forward please read “Hartland” as short for your oldlife ideal as enunciated above.

    I’m not talking about any particular social structure or form of government. Let’s stick with the moral arena for now. In Hartland, from the early 18th century to the present, a faithful, confessional church has held public sway in maintaining normative morality simply by existing there. It’s not that anybody’s set out to create a particular moral order to enforce upon anybody else, it’s just that a large percentage of the folks are godly sabbath keeping oldlife churchmen and their families.

    Would, say, the sexual revolution of the 1960’s to the present have happened there? Mainstream homosexuality? Legalized abortion for convenience? Can we not reasonably assume that in Hartland things would have been different? By “accident”? Heck, they keep the sabbath just because God says to and they love Him. Would Curt have anything to do in Hartland? (no personal insult to him intended. You get the point.)

    You see where I’m goin here and to a very large degree I’m actually on your side. In this discussion, I do NOT define success as my prevailing over you.

    Dr. Hart says: “I have trouble finding in the New Testament any expectation for a social/cultural order.”
    Me too, but there is the expectation that godliness in the saints will be readily noticed by the world around them. Salt and light, Let your light so shine, ambassadors of Christ. if they hated me they’ll hate you too and so on. I am asking you directly to deny that New Testament morality for marriage, sex and family was publicly normative for most of the history of Europeans on this continent. God’s most ancient and foundational human social construct. From which new life is spawned and upon which societies stand or fall. Now sir we both know you know that’s true and that ain’t even near the grace we’d find in Hartland.

    Dr. Hart says: “That doesn’t mean that Christians don’t work for a society that allows them to live quiet and peaceful lives. They do. But all sorts of social arrangements might make such a life possible.”
    Agreed. You never answered about the 3 comment rule. I’m sure an oversight. I’m trying to be a good citizen here.

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  138. Greg, The rule hasn’t been rescinded by any post or comment I’ve seen, but again, I personally view them more as guidelines than actual rules.

    Welcome aboard, Ms. Turner.

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  139. Greg, Presbyterians were not a majority in colonial PA or MD. Christians were not a majority in the Roman Empire — only 10% in 300 — until the emperor got religion and then Christianity became fashionable.

    The ideal here is perseverance, not kicking ass. How do Christians persevere when they are not running things? That’s the context for the New Testament, heck even for the Old (Israel was hardly a superpower).

    The question you need to answer is why you’re so fixated on the social effects of Christianity.

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  140. D.G.,
    There is more than one reason to be concerned with the social effects of Christianity. The first reason is that the social effects of Christianity affects the reputation and thus the honor of the Gospel. The reputation of the Gospel does have an affect how the Gospel is listened to.

    The second reason is that the social effects of Christianity can indicate whether how Christianity is pursued at a given time by a given group is more or less Biblical.

    We should note that there are other alternatives for how Christianity can influence beside either kick-ass, which we both oppose, or have a laissez-faire relationship.

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  141. Curt, I’m not buying this since the folks who are the most in your camp — the lefties — are the ones who employ what you consider to be the social effects of Christianity even though they aren’t Christian. Why won’t you consider that it is possible to be good without the gospel? And then think hard about how good that goodness apart from the gospel is.

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  142. D.G.,
    Doesn’t matter what you buy, what matters is what God approves. And we need to realize that people of different convictions can contribute to our walk and/or faith.

    See, all that goes back to Romans 2 and also what Martin Luther King Jr. said:


    The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just

    All we have to do is to replace ‘Western’ with a fill in the blank to make his statement relevant to every group:


    The ________ arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just

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  143. Dr, Hart says: “Greg, Presbyterians were not a majority in colonial PA or MD.
    Would they be in Hartland if you had your choice?

    Dr, Hart says: “Christians were not a majority in the Roman Empire — only 10% in 300 — until the emperor got religion and then Christianity became fashionable.”
    I know, but that’s not the point.

    Dr, Hart says: “The ideal here is perseverance, not kicking ass.”
    I say the ideal here is faithfulness. Which will manifest itself in different forms in different times and settings. From Bradford’s Plymouth through the mid 20th century a (comparatively) morally faithful church was luminous and salty enough to undergird the rise of the worst nation in all of human history… except for all the rest. (to borrow from Winston Churchill.)

    In China? (and the first three centuries) For instance? Perseverance is the ideal. For now. And maybe forever.

    Dr, Hart says: “How do Christians persevere when they are not running things? That’s the context for the New Testament, heck even for the Old (Israel was hardly a superpower).”
    Overall that’s true. The church’s history at the last trump will have been that. The United States is however proof positive that a faithful church can actually be salt and light as the Lord said. Salt is not meat. But when brought into contact with meat it naturally slows the process of decomposition. Light is not the world. But when shined into the world, it unavoidably at least slows the progress of darkness.

    Is this not what these sayings of Jesus mean? I hasten to clarify though that in my view, this still is not the primary purpose of the gospel or the church and will be unevenly seen throughout history in different cultural contexts. Your view simply “begs the premise”, if I might say, that this is never possible and theretofore undesirable right from the start. And that, despite the fact of yourself living in the decline of the horribly mixed, yet still greatest example thus far in history of that very thing as I type this.

    Dr, Hart says: “The question you need to answer is why you’re so fixated on the social effects of Christianity.”
    I assure you sir that I have no such fixation. My fixation is on the glory and reputation of our great God as displayed in the earth by a faithful church. The treatment of the social effects of Christianity has been thus far only a device for establishing that such effects can exist at all. If they can, then how Christians conduct themselves is profoundly consequential. To themselves, the world and most importantly, the Lord. That’s just a single reason why the Romans seven war IS the Christian life. I believe fought best with some of the weapons your “oldlife” religion alone provides.

    If you don’t mind, let’s switch gears for a minute. Give me a quick, but passably thorough exposition of your views of Sabbath/Lord’s Day observance if you would please. I’m sincerely interested.

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  144. Salt and light are interesting analogies but last I read preservation of this temporal life was due entirely to God’s covenant with Noah to preserve this world. Until, of course, He doesn’t.

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  145. Greg T. Terrible: Would, say, the sexual revolution of the 1960’s to the present have happened there? Mainstream homosexuality? Legalized abortion for convenience? Can we not reasonably assume that in Hartland things would have been different?

    In Puritan Massachusetts, that great “city on the hill”, there were legal killings of people convicted by spectral evidence, there was human trafficking, and there was outright theft of native American property.

    Why assume that Hart can manage things better than that? He can’t even reign in blog comments. 😉

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  146. Greg, there also isn’t legalized elective abortion or mainstream homosexuality under the likes of Saddam and Hitler. Do the culturalists ever consider this when pointing to these same two pieces of evidence in their case for the great social benefits of Christianity? If you want a well ordered society, and if evidence of it is the absence of these things, it doesn’t look like you need Christianity at all. Now what?

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  147. Until I hear otherwise from Dr. Hart, I’m sticking to the 3 comment rule. I have a feeling he prefers me under this constraint, at least for now. If not, he can tell me. This will be two for today in this thread.

    Sean, Jeff and Zrim are missing my point/s by a couple hundred thousand light years. Seriously.

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  148. Hoping to see at least 300 comments under the post intended to limit comments.

    Greg, is there a uniquely Christian way to fix Detroit?

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  149. The ________ arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just

    Well Curt, glad to see you have got human pride all figured out. I am going to assume you have some inkling of what those of us who are confessionally Reformed (old-school, whatever) believe about Scripture, the Church, history, etc – at least in a general sense. What do we need to know that we haven’t yet learned? Are you going to teach us? What would this learning entail?

    I’ll just tell you my suspicion – you’re proposal here, while sounding rather probing, actually doesn’t go that deep at all. It’s just a jingo that could easily be flipped on the one using it. Who decides who needs to learn what, and who decides whether or not those who fail to ‘learn’ are not ‘just’? It’s basically a fancy way of saying “If you don’t agree with me, you’re wrong, and if you don’t learn what I am trying to teach you, you’re worse than wrong…”

    I am not here to begrudge your convictions, or your reasons for holding them; do you suspect that we have mindlessly, or fraudulently arrived to ours?

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  150. Curt, why make this into some kind of western hubris? If you follow what I write, I learn plenty from others. You see many Reformed folk defending Islam? You see many WTS grads questioning antithesis applied to every square inch? In point of fact, 2k is all about learning about non-kingdom matters from folks outside the kingdom (you’re the one blurring kingdoms in good fundy fashion — if they speak truth they must be on God’s side).

    But you’re right about one thing. You don’t have much to teach.

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  151. Greg, I don’t care if Presby’s are the majority and it would worry me if they were. I wouldn’t refuse a majority status. The Spirit blows where he will. But majorities do odd things like impose themselves on minorities.

    I do think the fixation label applies since you seem to associate some kind of Christian influence within a society as a manifestation of God’s glory. The cross betrays that notion. Doesn’t mean we should all seek to be executed. But never was God more glorified or Christianity more influential than when Christ died — full stop. (Yes, I do know about the resurrection and ascension.)

    On the sabbath see: https://oldlife.org/2014/06/seven-good-reasons-stop-breaking-sabbath-right-now/
    https://oldlife.org/2013/05/did-god-rest-in-one-day/

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  152. D.G.,
    If we lived in another part of the world, we could make this about the predominant sins of society there. But we live in the west and the sins of the West are what tempts us. And so while you claim that you learn from others, you seem to think that you have nothing to learn from the Left. And your snide comment at the end is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how much one has to teach, it is whether one has positively contributed to some by teaching what they can. I could care less about being in the teaching equivalent of a beauty contest.

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  153. Curt, get coherent and I’ll listen. You think a lefty agenda is a fruit of the spirit even though leftys produced that agenda without the Spirit.

    What are you missing?

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  154. Greg, feel free to clarify then, but when those two social and political hobby horses arise it’s usually a strong cue that a culturalist lurks.

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  155. Curt, I was.

    Do you not think that the left reflects Christian views about sin and justice?

    Do you not admit that Marxism is not Christian?

    So where is the coherence? If you want to go 2k and say that what happens in society is one thing, and the church another, welcome. But you keep wanting to apply the language of redemption to the categories of the left.

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  156. Zrim,
    I’m probably not understanding you correctly, but sincerely want to better understand.

    Many of your comments leave the impression that cultures are largely amoral, that the religious worldviews of people do not (or, should not) meaningfully impact their culture, and that one should not expect any positive impact on a culture if more people became Christians. Yet, I’ll presume that you’d agree that, culturally, treatment of women in Judeo-Christian western civilization is “better” than in Arab/Muslim countries. To what do you attribute that difference in treatment of women, if not to religious reasons? Can you comment on that, and use the example to amplify your thinking on the evils of being whatever a “culturalist” is. Thanks.

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  157. Petros,
    Would you say that the treatment of women in 14th c. Florence or 1st c. Palestine was better than Turkey today? What about the treatment of women in Japan today? Is it really worse than in the Christian influenced Philippines? Maybe the treatment of women has more to do with the enlightenment than with “Judeo-Christianity”? I wouldn’t say that Christianity had no influence on the culture, but indwelling sin affects believers and not all people in an ostensibly Christian culture are regenerate. Paul had to go on and on about gossip and backbiting and James on showing favortism because the regenerate were gossiping, backbiting, and showing favoritism. As John pointed out to the seven churches in Asia Minor, they fell into sin pretty quickly. For a group that can’t even get church right, perhaps it is a bit much to expect them to redeem the culture. Further, economics, politics, climate, external threats, wealth, etc… all drive culture as well. Perhaps the question is how does one live as a Christian in a fallen world rather than make the world less fallen?

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  158. Petros, part of this is having some cognizance of one’s own assumptions and the ability to be skeptical of any conclusion that winds up making you superior to another. Sure, I’m a born, bred, and buttered white Yank and have an opinion about what good and worse treatment of women means. But wouldn’t it demonstrate some humility to say that my conception of good/bad treatment isn’t a hard and fast universal one? That isn’t to say there aren’t universals, rather to say to someone with whom I’m willing to suppose there is a shared conception of what good/bad treatment means to also be wary of an outlook that makes us look and feel superior. I mean, isn’t THAT the Christian thing to do?

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  159. D.G.,
    Why is the question of whether Marxism is Christian even relevant here, especially when I stated where I differed from Marx? Just because I agree with his assessment of Capitalism, doesn’t mean that I agree with his solutions. And I have already stated that before. So why bring it up?

    I think the left reflects Biblical values on certain issues of corporate sin and guilty. Certainly, they are not inerrant in what they say, but they have said things of value that we could all learn from.

    And finally, I haven’t stated redemption in leftist terms. I have stated the need for society to be more just in leftist terms. And it seems to me that 2KT recognizes the difference between the standards of righteous behavior in the Church from the standards of righteous behavior in society.

    My guess here is that you have more problems with my political views than my theological ones.

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  160. Zrim,

    So, you do think that cultures are largely amoral, that the religious worldviews of people do not (or, should not) meaningfully impact their culture, and that one should not expect any positive impact on a culture if more people became Christians. And further, that your reason is that it to ascribe any superiority to Judeo-Christian culture, is de facto, un-Christian, because it wouldn’t demonstrate proper humility.

    Is that a fair summary? If it isn’t, can you re-state it on your own terms and words. Thanks.

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  161. Petros,
    History warns us not to assume the superiority of a Christian culture. The examples are too numerous.

    In addition, we need to find a middle ground between the 2KT approach to culture and the neocalvinist approach. While 2KT rightly guards against Christians seeking a privileged position in culture, neocalvinsm acknowledges corporate guilt and sin and the need of the Church to address those issues. However, the two come together in that neocalvinist strategies in interacting with culture sometimes leave them too similar to 2Kers to distinguish the two.

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  162. Petros, a proponent of natural law would never say cultures are largely amoral (they are moral), and it isn’t that religious views don’t have any bearing on the wider culture (they do have bearing). But the point has more to do with the reality of abiding sin that clings even to those who are Spirit indwelt. It could be that if the category must be indulged that any “Christian influence” on society translates more into a humbler populace instead of a church that thinks the world couldn’t possibly effect any civil good without superior beings called “Christians” casting their salt and light.

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  163. Petros, I’d caution against Curt’s renditions. He wants to blend what he perceives as the best of the two camps, but doesn’t seem to realize that the ones who want to indulge the whole idea of societal sin usually end up being the same ones who appoint themselves the superior interpreters and makers of culture (and others inferior)

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  164. Zrim, thanks for the additional comments. It’s perfectly fine to emphasize the notion of humility. And, no argument from me about the reality of abiding sin. It just seems that there’s also room to acknowledge, from time to time (warts and all), the positive contributions of Christianity on culture.

    Agreeing that better treatment of women (to pick on just one example) can be attributed to the Judeo-Christian religious views of western civilization won’t suddenly make you a (bad) transformationalist.

    Put another way, suppose some high school girls come to you and inquire “Mr. Zrim, why are women treated so horribly in Arab/Muslim countries, relative to how well they’re treated in Israel and the U.S.?” How do you answer that question without explaining the religious dimensions at work in the respective cultures?

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  165. Zrim,
    I guess according to you saying that saying there are social sins is wrong because groups of sinful people are incapable of committing sins even when they imitate the sinful acts of individuals.

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  166. Petros, it may a moment to challenge the inquirer’s own assumptions, i.e. have you considered that non-Americans might think we treat women horribly by encouraging immodesty, etc.?

    And it’s not that religious beliefs aren’t in the mix when we examine social and cultural dynamics. It’s that it’s just that, a mix. Some of us are more skeptical of the tendency to not only to oversimplify the human condition but also draw straight lines from confessed religion to insert-here-whatever-is-culturally-prized. For example, widespread literacy in the west being attributed to Protestant logocentrism. It’s in the mix, but do we really think the only reason most are literate is that we lovely Protestants wanted to put the Bible into the common tongue for wide distribution? It’s what we say when we want cultural clout.

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  167. Curt, that tree is pretty well worn, but I’m still waiting for that succinct definition of the gospel (not to mention how you haven’t shown how social institutions can repent and made communicant members of a local church).

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  168. Zrim,
    Calling a statement ‘well worn’ could be an attempt to distract people from the truth of the statement. It doesn’t matter how worn the statement is. What matters is how true it is.

    Also, the gospel is belief in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And Christians can come out of those institutions that are practicing injustice by noncooperation and resistance. Just as social institutions can repent of social sins by quitting the sin. But if your hangup about social sin is that unless the group can be saved, whatever they do cannot be called sin, you have a lot of atrocities to account for. In addition, it seems that at this point, you forget that what is necessary for faith and life to be in good standing in the Church is different from what is necessary in life to be in good standing in society–a distinction that is part and parcel to 2KT.

    The idea of corporate guilt and sin, which are referred to in the Scriptures is the Achilles Heal of 2KT. And that seems to be the reason why you seem to believe that atrocities committed by societies cannot be called sin.

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  169. Dr, Hart says: “Greg, I don’t care if Presby’s are the majority and it would worry me if they were. I wouldn’t refuse a majority status. The Spirit blows where he will. But majorities do odd things like impose themselves on minorities.”
    Fair enough for now.

    Dr. Hart says: “I do think the fixation label applies since you seem to associate some kind of Christian influence within a society as a manifestation of God’s glory.”
    You persist in viewing this in reverse sir. It’s not the influence in society that brings glory to God.(per se) It’s a faithful church populated with faithful believers (THAT’S what I’m after) living to His glory that are blessed with influence. (Maybe, as the Spirit blows) Not as a matter of explicitly stated scriptural doctrine, though the general principal is there. But as a matter of rare but observable history.

    I say again: “From Bradford’s Plymouth through the mid 20th century a (comparatively) morally faithful church was luminous and salty enough to undergird the rise of the most wretched nation in all of human history… except for all the rest. (to borrow from Winston Churchill.)” We were very VERY far from perfect, but were also headed in the right direction. The 60’s were spectacularly successful in derailing that trajectory. A nearly perfect full frontal blitzkrieg against marriage, sex and family that is simply coasting to victory today.

    Dr. Hart says: “… never was God more glorified or Christianity more influential than when Christ died — full stop.”
    Though I don’t see how Christ’s death glorifies God without His resurrection (Romans 5:10), For the sake of moving the discussion forward, I will give you that. That said, you have here committed a classic non-sequitur sir. It does not follow that since God was never more glorified than in the death of His only begotten Son, that He is or is not glorified at any other time or in any other context.

    The existence of a superlative does not preclude the possibility of lesser examples. Therefore, even granting that God was most glorified as Jesus gave up the ghost (or as He stepped from that tomb) cannot be logically construed as negating the possibility of His glory in the love of His church simply being His body and bride in the midst of sin and death.

    Another serious and sincere question. You ask the following, in seemingly rhetorical fashion:

    “…are violations of the seventh commandment necessarily more heinous than those of the fourth commandment?”

    I assume you intend by this and the rest of the article, along with your comments there, to declare that they are not? More than that, you also say this:

    “If the church had more of a corporate sense of holiness by keeping the Lord’s Day holy, attending two services, removing American flags from the church, singing more Psalms, avoiding business activities, enjoying a day of rest in simple ways, maybe other incidents of violating God’s law would decrease.”

    Forgetting about cultural influence for now, what would be the blessing and benefit among and through God’s people if by the end of this week every otherwise generally sound Presbyterian and Reformed communion and congregation were now practicing Sabbath/Lord’s Day observance faithfully? By oldlife prescriptions.

    In other words, why should Christians want to see: “other incidents of violating God’s law… decrease.” ? Or ANY incidents for that mater?(as I say. Serious question)

    To everybody else. No slight or insult to any of you, but I have 3 comments a day and only so much time. Dr. Hart gets both for now.

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  170. Greg, I don’t think you’re sincere. Are you going to go so far as to sign off, In the peace of Christ? I’m seriously and sincerely curious. Why does all your questioning feel like a setup? Maybe even a stickup? I’m just asking questions, here.

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  171. Greg, so cultural influence is off to the side and it’s more a case of “blessing and benefit” for being good P&R? I detect prosperity gospel. But life doesn’t turn peachy even for those who soundly practice the Reformed faith.

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  172. Slighted Sean:
    2 pages ago I said: “Dr Hart, I reiterate. I fancy myself a man of no particular import in general, to say nothing of anybody who is owed authoritative attention by anybody else, including you. I ask that you treat this conversation simply as an interview by a “pietist”. Yes, I have an agenda. It is not however to beat you down in a debate or make you look bad. I promise.”
    I actually do care what you and others think of my sincerity Sean or lack thereof, but not enough to do any more than the following. I stand by the above and this will be the one and only time I defend myself in this regard.
    I am reading Darryl’s book and listening to his LECTURES
    I also am on record saying that I do NOT define winning here as prevailing over him in a debate.
    I tell you as the Lord lives, I WANT to agree with him. I am finding much with which I do. Especially in that linked video. I am operating under the assumption that at very bottom he and I want the same thing. yes, I’m going somewhere in somewhat Socratic fashion, but that does not mean my questions are not sincere. They are. I am fully prepared to submit to the same, as my views will survive any line of inquiry or they are untrue and I will change them

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  173. Terrible, yes or no works just fine. Your really really meaning it, indicates just the opposite to me. Don’t take it too personal, think of it as me reading a tell. You want an exception to the rule? I’m difficult that way. But, it’s not my party I’m just hanging out. Hey, the upside and the downside is that I read your last response and the one before.

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  174. Peter, and what do you say to the liberal Democrat who says that the Obama administration treats women better than Judeo-Christian western civilization has? Don’t you ever worry how your whiggish view of history stops at a place that makes you look backward to today’s progressives?

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  175. Petros, what exactly is a Judeo-Christian religious outlook? That is a term that comes from the 1950s. Prior to WWII Christians were pretty confident that Christian views about women were superior to Jewish ones. So are you simply mouthing Judeo-Christian in the way that most culture warriors on the right do, folks who don’t really care about theological differences between Judaism and Christianity?

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  176. Greg, where does the Bible say influence is an indication of Christian faithfulness. If that’s true, my dutiful and faithful father (whom I adore) was not a very good Christian. He didn’t have influence.

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  177. D.G.,
    Considering that the Scriptures talk about Israel’s sin in Joshua 7, being punished for the sins of one’s fathers in Daniel 9, and what Revelation says about the nations, it seems that you have a greater burden of proof to show the idea that there is only individual sin is a scriptural view rather than just an American or Western view than I have with social sin only being a leftist view and not a scriptural view.

    In addition, what you term ‘social righteousness,’ or what I described as what it takes to be righteous in society is a 2KT concept. Otherwise, how would Christians be able to work with nonChristians on joint ventures to benefit society? Don’t you realize that words have multiple definitions depending on the context in which they are used?

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  178. Curt, no one is righteous, no not one. I don’t talk about societies as righteous because Jesus and Paul didn’t.

    But if you want to go back to OT theology for your understanding, are you also going to support more settlements by Israelis on the West Bank? I mean, if you want the OT, get prepared to engage in holy war for the sake of holy land. Or is your appeal to Josh 7 a picked cherry so you can sound oh so biblical?

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  179. Dr. Hart asks: “Greg, where does the Bible say influence [can be] an indication of Christian faithfulness.”
    Unanswered from the previous page:

    “I am asking you directly to deny that New Testament morality for marriage, sex and family was publicly normative for most of the history of Europeans on this continent. God’s most ancient and foundational human social construct. From which new life is spawned and upon which societies stand or fall. Now sir we both know you know that’s true and that ain’t even near the grace we’d find in Hartland.”

    And also:

    “From Bradford’s Plymouth through the mid 20th century a (comparatively) morally faithful church was luminous and salty enough to undergird the rise of the most wretched nation in all of human history… except for all the rest. (to borrow from Winston Churchill.)” We were very VERY far from perfect, but were also headed in the right direction. The 60’s were spectacularly successful in derailing that trajectory. A nearly perfect full frontal blitzkrieg against marriage, sex and family that is simply coasting to victory today.

    I must insist that you either affirm or deny the preceding. If you affirm it then we agree and there’s no need for me to answer. if you deny it then I’ll answer your question.

    Dr. Hart asks: “If that’s true, my dutiful and faithful father (whom I adore) was not a very good Christian. He didn’t have influence.”
    Was he an “obedience boy” Darryl? What if he were not dutiful and faithful? I take you at your word that your father was a “good Christian” as evinced by the fact that he fought the Romans 7 war in his heart and through the power of the indwelling Christ, his hope of glory, he was a dutiful and faithful husband and father to the glory of his Lord. I praise God for that and him. He had influence over you. Clearly sir I am not speaking of individuals having single handed public influence

    It must then follow that if he had been an irresponsible and unfaithful husband and father, that he would not have been a “good Christian” and if flagrantly persisted in, in the present indicative as per 1st John 3, probably no Christian at all.

    If I could push my own button, every Christian on this continent would have been and still would be a sold out 16th through 18th century confessional Calvinist. Who understood, in the words of Calvin commenting on Matt. 5:13, that: “…if they do not fulfill their duty. The doctrine, which has been entrusted to them, is shown to be so closely connected with a good conscience and a devout and upright life, that the corruption, which might be tolerated in others, would in them be detestable and monstrous.”

    I wish you could hear me that culturally saving the United States or the western world is not my goal. Seeing a strong and faithful confessional Calvinist church with “a good conscience and a devout and upright life” is my goal. I say, the scriptures and history teach us that they come as a package. The world will never see a strong and faithful confessional Calvinist church without “a good conscience and a devout and upright life.”

    You sure do, at least on this blog, seem to think you’re gonna get the former without the latter. Even scornfully disparaging the latter. However in the LECTURE I linked above, you sound alot like me. I can’t find almost anything I disagree with there. You even seem to see a baby in Whitefield and Edwards bathwater. I think you’re right. I would invite you and your readers to listen to it. (love the lavender and gray hookup btw. Very spiffy)

    I do agree with Erik in that you could be a vessel of enormous influence and righteousness in today’s church. But you have a bunch of water in your tank and you’re going about it the wrong way. What if it’s possible that that’s true? That’s not an attack or an insult. It’s an honest observation.

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  180. Greg, It is likely that Europeans followed church teaching on marriage. But the church taught marriage was a sacrament. That’s not in the NT.

    If you want a confessional church with a good conscience and upright life, welcome to the OPC.

    Kidding but only sort of. The OPC has been faithful but for folks like you that’s not good enough. Why?

    You keep gazing up from the life of Christian devotion to the world.

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  181. D.G.,
    And this is your trouble, you can’t see how certain words have different meanings depending on the context. That there is a social righteousness does not contradict the idea that there are none righteous before God simply because the word righteousness is being used in two different ways and how it is used is contextually determined. How else could we understand Romans 13 or the 2KT teaching that Christians can join nonChristians in joint ventures. The problem isn’t whether some are advocating something against the Scriptures, the problem is that what drives you to over applying literalism keeps you from seeing that some words have multiple meanings and those definitions, again, are contextually determined.

    And the same driving force also causes you to say that the OT prophets concerns for the marginalized are inextricably bound to the theonomy of that day and Israel retaining the Promised Land. It is an all-or-nothing thinking, not the Scriptures, that is the driving force here. When Jesus read Isaiah 61 to initiate is His ministry, was he advocating the retaking of the Promised Land? And because Israel no longer has an exclusive claim to the Promised Land, does that imply that we are not share the OT prophets’ concerns for the victims of oppression and neglect? Does Jesus’ summation of the 2nd table of the law mean that we are only to love those who live on our block and thus we are free to ignore all others?

    Finally, I’m not cherry picking with Joshua 7. But you’ve neglected to comment on Joshua 7 until now and you don’t even offer an interpretation. I’ve already quoted Calvin’s commentary in the comments of another post on Joshua 7 and that quote does not support your view. And you still have neglected to comment on Daniel 9 or the passages from Revelation which I cited.

    You have to ask yourself a Machen question. Is Christianity being fashioned to support 2KT or is it the other way around. And if it is the other way around, then what flaws do you see in 2KT that need revising?

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  182. Greg, you seem to think it is central to the call of the pew sitter to tell others what to do.

    You know you can adress multiple people in one box, right? Because Sean isn’t used to being ignored.

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  183. curt, call me stupid.

    You haven’t done a lick of exegesis or theology. You produce citations.

    But where oh where does the NT talk about social righteousness?

    Funny about Machen. I learned how distinguish between politics/society and the church from him. That’s what gets me criticisms from transformers and neo-Calvinists. Now you invoke Machen? I’m thinking you read him about as well as you read Isaiah and Marx.

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  184. D.G.,
    Would never call you stupid, but I would say that, for all of us, our culture and our own thinking patterns interfere with an objective view of the scriptures.

    In addition, that the passages in revelation I cited were obviously referring to the nations and their sins and punishment, the passages stated that explicitly. You could have easily provided exegesis that could correct any errors, but you didn’t. And when I quoted Calvin’s commentary, I was providing his exegesis of part of Joshua 7. So you are wrong in saying that I haven’t provided any exegesis.

    Also, I’ve commented on Machen before without criticism from you. I am simply applying something Machen said to a theological perspective, your 2KT. And all I did was suggest a possibility.

    So let’s note your response. You only made comments about me, you didn’t make comments about any of the Scriptures I cited whether they were the passages I cited a while ago or the Romans 13 passage. And I used the Romans 13 passage to ask a question about social righteousness and instead of addressing Romans 13, you make comments about me.

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  185. That there is a social righteousness does not contradict the idea that there are none righteous before God simply because the word righteousness is being used in two different ways and how it is used is contextually determined. How else could we understand Romans 13 or the 2KT teaching that Christians can join nonChristians in joint ventures.

    Curt, the problem is that you seem to conflate the categories of temporal and eternal and speak of provisional virtue the way the Bible speaks of eternal righteousness. You can’t go in with unbelievers doing that. If, for example, it’s voting rights you want open to minorities, you can’t suggest to your political opponents that you and yours are on the right side of righteousness and they’re in cahoots with the devil, which is what happens when you insist on casting everything in terms of righteousness. You have to dial down the stakes to planet earth, which is near impossible with the social gospeler who inherently wants the eternal to swallow up the temporal. You bring up MLK a lot, but notice how much f his own rhetoric makes it sound like God shares his politics and anybody who disagrees with him should consider himself opposing heaven itself. Pro-lifers take pages from his play book and do the same thing.

    But the only right way to go in with unbelievers isn’t to cast your political views in religious terms. It’s actually to be careful not to, and the only way to do that is to carefully distinguish between the things of earth and the things of heaven. Why is that so hard?

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  186. “but I would say that, for all of us, our culture and our own thinking patterns interfere with an objective view of the scriptures.”

    Curt,
    If that’s the case then why try to persuade? All you’re doing is talking one person out of his “subjective” view of scripture into your subjective view…

    If you’re going to argue your case from scripture then it seems important that there’s agreement between you and DGH as to what the purpose of scripture is, i.e what is the message that it’s meant to communicate. If you get that wrong, then a lot is taken out of context and a lot that is foreign to the intended message sneaks its way in.

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  187. Curt, you still haven’t explained how OT Israel applies to the U.S. At least, Calvin understood that if he invoked Josh 7 he was also going to have to support the execution of heretics. But you somehow want the OT light. Yes, the categories of social sin but not the regs and prohibitions.

    But you are such a much better person than I. I have so much personal sin how could I ever contemplate social sin?

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  188. Zrim,
    Let’s pick some other examples and then come back to yours. Are you saying that in the days of slavery that those who owned Blacks as slaves and treated them the way they wanted were sinning? Are you saying that I couldn’t say to those who supported and followed Jim Crow that their treatment of Blacks was sinful? Now, let’s go back to your example. I can’t say that those who refused voting rights to Blacks was sinful?

    See, I am not doing what you accuse me of doing. I am not saying to Republicans and Democrats that you have to be a socialist because that the ideology God supports. I’ve said the opposite. I’ve said that our job to all in society is to be a prophetic curmudgeon. That is one who can use the Scriptures to rightly point out the faults of the policies of any group without stating that God is on my ideology’s or party’s side. However, we are called to challenge those groups who sin against people, especially those who are vulnerable. Our silence in the face of social sins is complicity and, as Calvin stated in his commentary on Achan in Joshua 7, shows that we are copractitioners of the social sin that exists. Don’t believe me?


    But here it is easy to object that all were ignorant of the theft, and that therefore there is no room for the maxim, that he who allows a crime to be committed when he can prevent it is its perpetrator. I certainly admit it not to be clear why a private crime is imputed to the whole people, unless it be that they had not previously been sufficiently careful to punish misdeeds, and that possibly owing to this, the person actually guilty in the present instance had sinned with greater boldness.

    The above quote comes from http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/view.cgi?bk=5&ch=7

    Note the maxim Calvin quotes but says does not apply because Achan’s sin was private. Then note what he says afterwards.

    BTW, in the meantime, you are reacting to more than what I wrote, you are reacting to social gospelers as if we were a monolith so that what some say, all say.

    The issue here is that what constitutes social sins is determined by what constitutes any other sin. However, the standard for righteousness in society is much less stringent than what God holds us accountable to in person. And again, that there is a social righteousness is implied by Romans 13. For there, Paul states that those with authority are there to punish the wrongdoer. What makes one a wrongdoer in this context? Is it not loving God with all your being? Is it being covetous? Because if these wrongs aren’t judged by those in authority and God does judge us for all of our sins, how is it that there aren’t 2 standards of righteousness where the standard for social righteousness is at least not disjoint with the standard God judges us with?

    Finally, remember that we are held accountable for all of the things of earth in which we are involved.

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  189. Jack,
    If D.G. and I are going to discuss what the scriptures say and I bring up specific scripture passages, then D.G. needs to comment on those scriptures if both of us are going to use the scriptures to guide us in the discussion.

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  190. D.G.,
    Is it possible that Calvin was right concerning his comments that were quoted here and wrong regarding his participation in the execution of heretics? That in a world where God’s people are dispersed for the purpose of bringing others to Christ and teaching them to become His disciples, that the warnings are still valid and necessary but the punishments were no longer in effect? But equivalent punishments were in effect in the Church. For example, the punishment for heresy is excommunication, not execution. Why? Isn’t at least in part because of the different historical context that now is in effect?

    So that when we see the OT prophets speak against oppressing or neglecting the poor, those actions are still sins today. They involve the breaking of the commandments from the second table. It simply that not all of commandments from the 2nd table apply in nations that are exclusively not identified with God’s people. However, that the OT prophets spoke against the sins of neighboring countries shows that those other countries had a standard of righteousness to meet as well.

    In addition, you can see my note to Zrim.

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  191. Curt, if you’re saying that to refuse voting rights to a class of people is sinful then you’re most certainly saying God’s politics are egalitarian, because to say something is sinful is to say that God opposes it and constrains all men in the other direction. But since God hasn’t revealed an ideology or a set of particular answers to any particular political question, you cannot say that the refusal of voting rights is sinful. All you can say is that you yourself affirm equal voting rights, full stop. But you’re not content with simply having a mere political outlook or opinion. You need to baptize it to lend it momentum and strength. Does it help to know I agree with your political conclusion? What escapes me is why I’d have to enlist God for it.

    Contra certain Republican interpretations on the one hand that it prescribes small government and on the other social gospelers that suggest it’s telling us something about civic righteousness and sin, Romans 13 is a prescription to believers about their duty for obedience to civil authorities.

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  192. Curt, if the equivalent of executing blasphemers/heretics is excommunication, then the equivalent of OT social sins are NT ecclesiastical sins. You’re headed in the right direction but go all literal when it suits your leftist sensibility.

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  193. Curt, but you’re the on who said “but I would say that, for all of us, our culture and our own thinking patterns interfere with an objective view of the scriptures.” Seems like it would be a good idea to see if DG agrees with your view on the purpose of scripture before you argue specific texts or you’re just talking past each other.

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  194. Zrim,
    If I am saying that refusing voting rights to a group because of their race is sinful, then am I not the New Testament passages against showing preference, such as James2, to racial and voting rights issues? And if I am silent when that kind of discrimination is shown, am I not saying that such discrimination is acceptable to God because he gives people the freedom to discriminate like that?

    In addition, did you know that the denial of voting rights was motivated by the desire of the White race to dominate over the Black race. After all, with the denial of voting rights came the absence of representation. But another point should be noted, the denial of voting rights in the South meant that crimes against Blacks would be heard by all-white juries. The result was that unspeakable crimes would be committed with impunity by Whites against Blacks. Was that acceptable to God?

    But let’s go to an interesting quote from a 2Ker:


    The church has no authority to determine the details of public policy, but it does have the authority—indeed, the obligation—to declare God’s condemnation of public as well as private sin.

    The context for that statement is that it is a partial interpretation of the following statement:


    Second, there is nothing in the “two kingdoms” or “spirituality” doctrine to keep the church from declaring to the civil powers directly what it proclaims to the world from the pulpit.

    Note what this Westminster Seminary (the sunny southern california one) faculty member said about ‘public’ sin and he is speaking fom a 2KT perspective. BTW, the link to this article is below and Anthony Bradley’s 1st comment to the article is worth reading (you have to keep loading previous comments until you get to the very first comment to access that:

    https://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/entry/general/2013/09/06/two-kingdoms-and-slavery#!kmt-start=0

    The whole is worth reading and just might the concerns you just expressed. BTW, you never addressed what I asked about Romans 13. You simply focused on another part of it. The question is, doesn’t Romans 13 and its declaration about how the civil authorities are there to punish wrongdoers imply that there are two standards for sins?

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  195. D.G.,
    Doesn’t our doctrine’s description of ‘inspiration’ concerning how the Scriptures are God’s inspired word tell us that the literal interpretation of the scriptures is to be done selectively? Why? Is it not because we didn’t equate God’s inspiration with literal dictation; rather, we held that God used all of man’s facilities in writing His word and so that since all of the ways man expresses himself were used to write God’s Word, we need to take context into account when deciding to be literal. Thus, we approach the Scriptures differently that those who believe inspiration meant literal dictation.

    In addition, my response was to your comment on Calvin and his commentary on Achan.

    BTW, did you want to compare Southern slavery with our status before God? And what about slavery? Was it condoned as being allowable or merely accommodated for because of the context of the times?

    Like

  196. Curt, there you go again, speaking for God where he hasn’t spoken. Again, I agree more or less with you on the political question of voting rights. But unlike you, I am willing to afford those who disagree with us liberty to do so without any implication of impiety, and that’s because God hasn’t revealed any of us to be correct. Don’t you have a category for the unholy or common (to ask is to answer)?

    2k is not a monolith. And there actually is something in the 2k-SOTC doctrine that at least should give the church pause with regard to the question of directly declaring anything to the civil powers. It’s WCF 31.5: “Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.”

    …you never addressed what I asked about Romans 13. You simply focused on another part of it. The question is, doesn’t Romans 13 and its declaration about how the civil authorities are there to punish wrongdoers imply that there are two standards for sins?

    Huh? What “other part”? The part you seem to be addressing is precisely the one I am calling a prescription to believers for civil obedience. It’s assuming there are things temporal and things eternal and that the CM is God’s authority over the former (so submit and obey, even when you don’t like it). It has nothing whatever to do with so-called “social sins,” such that the CM is some sort of arbiter of holy righteousness on earth. All it’s saying is that he keeps order and preserves a proximate justice.

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  197. Zrim,
    That is odd, didn’t I just reference the New Testament regard the preferential treatment of people? Or is it because the New Testament didn’t mention voting rights and thus it has nothing to say about it? So is racism, the principle on which denying voting rights to Blacks has been based, something we have a Christian liberty to embrace or ignore?

    BTW, it is neat that you can cite the WCF, but it isn’t the same as saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ And don’t you forget it (using the words of Quick Draw McGraw)! Apply that statement from the confession to the different atrocities committed by some state and see if following that statement causes us to be complicit with evil and to fail to love our neighbor.

    Finally, again, Romans 13 describes the jobs of the civil authorities is to punish the wrongdoer. Now, what standards should those civil authorities use to determine who is the wrong doer. See, one of their jobs is to help further justice. So as they do that, are they required to carry out the Church’s definition of sin or are there standards of justice which apply to society? The ideas that Romans 13 only talks about submission to the civil authorities and keeping order seems to be an attempt to cut out Romans 13:3-4 from Paul’s Epistle:


    For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer

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  198. Curt, bingo, the NT is silent on voting rights, so why do you play ventriloquist and enlist heaven for your temporal views?. “Racism” is a squishy term.

    It’s also neat how you don’t engage the language of WCF 31. You just roll right over it without ever seeming to stop and wonder what it might mean for the church to steer clear of meddling in civil affairs, then breezily skip right into the “silence is tacit approval” schtick.

    “What standards should those civil authorities use to determine who is the wrong doer”? Those found in natural law. Nobody needs the Bible to know that stealing and murder are wrong and should be punished by the sword. But the whole of Romans 13:1-7 is in view when saying its point is to prescribe civil obedience for believers. 1-4 is establishing why, which is to say that to obey the CM is to obey God (and to disobey is to disobey). I can see how this nags those who esteem civil disobedience over obedience, but to say it’s the groundwork for your program of “social sin/righteousness” is just a twisting of its plain meaning.

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  199. Curt, duh on literal interpretation of Scripture.

    If slavery is inherently evil, why does God’s inspired author call me/himself a slave of Christ? Could it be because it’s chattel slavery?

    Like

  200. Curt, are you saying that to deny voting rights to anyone is sinful? Is that how you apply James? Does that mean that you think Canadians should have voting rights in the U.S.?

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  201. you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
    Rom. 6:16-18

    A Bob Dylan knows, only two options…
    You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
    Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
    But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

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  202. D.G.,
    The issue is why we are denying votes, the not mere denial of votes. Does what James say about preference apply to denying votes for a particular race?

    And tell me how, regarding the voting issue, denying Canadians the right to vote in the U.S. is comparable to denying Black Americans the right to vote in the U.S.?

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  203. Zrim,
    The NT is silent on Rock & Roll, European Classical Music, American Classical Music, and a lot of other things. But are you saying that the NT is silent on deny people the right to vote based on race? That means that if it is silent, then Christians have the liberty to embrace such an idea?

    BTW, I’ve seen that statement several times. And as I said before, quoting the WCF is not the same as pronouncing “thus saith the Lord” before making a declaration. In addition, the use of “extraordinary” is ambiguous and relative.

    And Romans 13 has more than one point to make. And what we can learn from Romans 13 includes what is permanent and what is contextual.

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  204. Curt, doesn’t the non-enforcement of voting laws by the Feds to prevent illegal voting count as denying votes to legitimate voters in that their votes cast are diluted? This ignored violation of voting rights is documented and not just supposed under, what, the requirement for a voter ID in some states? I’m thinking, as DG has said, your list of social “sins” are strictly those from the left put under a biblical fig-leaf as opposed to the real sins of the moral law in the Bible.

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  205. Jack,
    Again, what are comparing? The subject I’ve been asking Zrim about is the denial of voting rights based on race. Why bring up the subject of illegal voting, which history has shown to be a complex subject. One only needs to see Susan B. Anthony’s trials to acknowledge that.

    BTW, I would add allowance of abortion as one of those corporate sins. Does that make me middle of the road now?

    And if we are more focussed on the scriptures than political alliances, why the concern about focussing on the social sins from a leftist perspective? Why not include those concerns with social sins noticed by the Right? That is if our allegiance to the Scriptures surpasses our allegiance to a particular ideology.

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  206. Curt, the point is that denying someone the vote is not inherently wrong. The reasons for denying vary. But we live with all sorts of restrictions on voting.

    In other words, I don’t think James had any idea that someone would interpret him to be talking about voting rights, especially when welcoming Canadians in worship is not a reason to let them vote.

    Think this through and don’t let Marx delude you.

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  207. Curt, that’s precisely what I’m saying. Are you saying the Bible has something to say about voting rights? Eisegesis alert. You talk about voting rights being in the Bible the way (other) Fundies talk about tobacco and rock music consumption (and dancing and card playing) being in the Bible. None of it is there, which is why there’s liberty on all of it.

    Who said the confession is “thus saith the Lord”? Not me. It’s a human document. What I am saying is that those who subscribe the WCF should at least attempt a good faith effort to engage and not undermine it.

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  208. I’m just watching here for now while I carefully go through Dr. Hart’s excellent series of lectures from Cornerstone Medford a few years ago. I am profiting greatly Darryl. Good stuff and I mean that.

    It is a bit startling to hear you sound more like me than you do these guys though. Seriously. Especially in the first two. Zrim for instance really should watch THOSE. I’m pretty sure he won’t, but he should. You are clearly arguing (albeit briefly) my side of several points that he and I have recently debated on this very site.

    Curt. You’re a nice fella and I bet we’d like each other in real life, but you need to pick a different religion without these pesky scriptures raining all over your liberation theology parade. You don’t happen to secretly play with a fully posable James Cone action figure do you? Like under the covers at night with a flash light? Valiantly slaying the oppressive white capitalist dragon together? In Jesus name?

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  209. D.G.,
    Denying someone the right to vote is ambiguous because the statement provides no context. Denying someone the right to vote because of that person’s race is a more descriptive statement that warrants comment. And it is that descriptive statement that not only draws what James says about preference along with what Paul says in Galatians 3:28, it is being tiptoed around here. Because as I mention denying voting rights based on race, the responses merely talk about denying voting. Why the decontextualization of the statement?

    The same goes with the slavery issue. When I mention the slavery once practiced in the South, you talk about us being slaves to Christ. And when I ask if you are comparing the two, you simply cite Paul and avoid answering the question. So again, are you comparing the slavery practiced in the South during the 1800s and before with being a slave of Christ as described by Paul?

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  210. Zrim,
    You are decontextualizing the question. The issue isn’t a mere denial of voting rights, it is the denial of voting rights based on race. So you are saying that Christians have the liberty to embrace the belief that voting rights to Blacks should be denied?

    If that is what you are saying, realize the inconsistency of 2KT. On the one hand, you rightly oppose Christian privilege in society. But on the other hand, it seems that you are comfortable with White privilege in society. Please let me know if I am misrepresenting your position.

    Like

  211. Greg,
    Mocking people never proves one’s beliefs. And as for your contention that our religion isn’t big enough for the both of us, before addressing that, we need to define what that religion is and who needs to move.

    Like

  212. Curt, yes, that’s what I’m saying. But keep in mind that political liberty cuts both ways, i.e. believers are free to affirm voting rights denied to whites. As far as white privilege goes, unlike some conservatives I’ve no problem conceding it exists as a social phenomenon, but I’m not as sure it implies specific political remedies. That likely owes to an agnostic view on the power of politics (unlike your more faithful view). IOW, should minorities be allowed to vote? Yes, setting aside the rather outdated nature of the question, that seems only right. Will it dismantle animosities among human beings? Meh.

    Like

  213. Zrim,
    What you have missed in all of this is the preferential based on race. That is what is forbidden in the NT.

    BTW, if Whites have the right vote and Blacks don’t, White privilege isn’t a matter of speculation or some mere phenomenon, it has been a harsh, cruel reality that allowed Whites to subjugate Blacks. But then again, your 2KT, not everyone’s since 2KT is not a monolith, seems to be comfortable with that subjugation. And one reason for that is because whip you are on. Appealing to the WCF to say nothing about such laws and conditions is more like the Pharisees as they, as Jesus described them, refused to help their parents when the resources with which they could help them was declared corban (see https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+7&version=NIV ). See, it seems that with all of your doctrinal purity, you’re forgetting the command to love one’s neighbor as yourself. That command has a greater call on us than the feeling that it “seems only right.”

    Like

  214. (I’m gonna use one of my comments just for you Curt.)
    Curt says: “Greg,
    Mocking people…”

    Come on man, that was funny. 😀 Ya need to lighten up once every few years. Go ahead and make fun of me. It’s your turn. I insist. You’ll feel better and I can take it.

    Curt says: ” And as for your contention that our religion isn’t big enough for the both of us,
    I’m not declaring you a son of perdition just for holding some preposterously unbiblical liberation heresies brother. (there, I called you brother). Some of my best friends are Arminians for Pete’s sake.

    Curt says: ” we need to define what that religion is and who needs to move.”
    Look man. Caring for the poor is all over the bible. (would you like to compare notes on who actuially does that?) Doing so through the pagan magistrate is nowhere. Until you overcome that one simple point, all of your secular socialist gyrations are so much insolent presumption upon the clearly revealed mind of almighty God. In the name of self exalting feel good moralism.

    Stop that please. It is dishonoring to our God.

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  215. Curt, I’m not missing it. I understand the Bible opens up access to God through Christ for all races (and sexes and ages, etc.), but what I’m wondering is where the Bible commands equal access to votes.

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  216. DGH, you had asked “what exactly is a Judeo-Christian religious outlook?” That’s a good question. DGH, can you answer that? I don’t want to mis-use the term.

    I would tend to use it as a cultural term to reflect a set of generically shared values common to Jews and Christians. Those values would include equality of people under God, equality of people under the law, civil and religious liberties, etc, etc.

    But I certainly would NOT use “Judeo-Christian” as a term to blur theological distinctions between Judaism and Christianity.

    Curiously, though, Hillsdale College, as part of its Mission, “considers itself a trustee of modern man’s intellectual and spiritual inheritance from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture”.
    What’s interesting there is the article “THE” before Judeo-Christian faith. That certainly appears to blur theological distinctions between Judaism and Christianity, doesn’t it? As if there is a single “Judeo-Christian” faith? If there is, that would be news to lots of people, I suspect. What do you think? Thanks.

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  217. Curt, Gal 3:28? Are you serious? You think Paul is talking about voting rights? You think he’s saying that the United State or planet earth are all descendants of Abraham?

    Did you take a course in hermeneutics?

    Both are chattel slavery. What’s so hard about that?

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  218. Curt, Zrim can speak for himself. But when someone questions your application of Scripture — and this is typical — then the questioner is actually guilty of harboring the application at issue. In other words, I doubt Zrim is a racist. But if he questions your appeal to James, you wonder if he’s a racist.

    Maybe you’ll notice how difficult conversations are with folks like you when a mere question can be sin.

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  219. Curt, the NT forbids racism in the church. The NT doesn’t speak about society. You keep missing that link.

    But you want to apply the NT to society. How Christian America of you? And then what will you do about blasphemy, idolatry, sexual infidelity? I don’t think the Left is going to like anything you say after you run out of quotes from MLK.

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  220. Petros, equality, rule of law, and religious liberty are not distinctly Christian or Jewish. In fact, most of the Christian and Jewish worlds prior to 1800 didn’t support those ideals. Now with a wand you wave biblical faiths get credit for all the good in the secular liberal world. And you wonder why non-Christians are upset with Christians?

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  221. D.G.,
    I made no personal accusation. I asked Zrim a specific question, and he answered it. In my response, I identified his specific 2KT, no one else’s, as tolerating White Privilege. Below is a review:

    I wrote:

    But are you saying that the NT is silent on deny people the right to vote based on race? That means that if it is silent, then Christians have the liberty to embrace such an idea?

    To which Zrim replied


    Curt, that’s precisely what I’m saying. Are you saying the Bible has something to say about voting rights?

    I responded with


    You are decontextualizing the question. The issue isn’t a mere denial of voting rights, it is the denial of voting rights based on race. So you are saying that Christians have the liberty to embrace the belief that voting rights to Blacks should be denied?

    If that is what you are saying, realize the inconsistency of 2KT. On the one hand, you rightly oppose Christian privilege in society. But on the other hand, it seems that you are comfortable with White privilege in society. Please let me know if I am misrepresenting your position.

    Zrim replied:


    Curt, yes, that’s what I’m saying. But keep in mind that political liberty cuts both ways, i.e. believers are free to affirm voting rights denied to whites. As far as white privilege goes, unlike some conservatives I’ve no problem conceding it exists as a social phenomenon, but I’m not as sure it implies specific political remedies. That likely owes to an agnostic view on the power of politics (unlike your more faithful view). IOW, should minorities be allowed to vote? Yes, setting aside the rather outdated nature of the question, that seems only right. Will it dismantle animosities among human beings? Meh.

    Then I replied:


    What you have missed in all of this is the preferential based on race. That is what is forbidden in the NT.

    BTW, if Whites have the right vote and Blacks don’t, White privilege isn’t a matter of speculation or some mere phenomenon, it has been a harsh, cruel reality that allowed Whites to subjugate Blacks. But then again, your 2KT, not everyone’s since 2KT is not a monolith, seems to be comfortable with that subjugation. And one reason for that is because whip you are on. Appealing to the WCF to say nothing about such laws and conditions is more like the Pharisees as they, as Jesus described them, refused to help their parents when the resources with which they could help them was declared corban (see https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+7&version=NIV ). See, it seems that with all of your doctrinal purity, you’re forgetting the command to love one’s neighbor as yourself. That command has a greater call on us than the feeling that it “seems only right.”

    See, I never called Zrim a racist. Rather, I said that his 2KT ‘seems to be comfortable with that subjugation

    And perhaps, before calling my hermeneutics into question, you need to read my comments more carefully. I didn’t say that Galatians 3:28 talks about voting rights. I did say the following:


    What you have missed in all of this is the preferential based on race. That is what is forbidden in the NT.

    BTW, after the word ‘preferential’ should be the word treatment. And it is preferential treatment based on race that goes again the grain of the New Testament in applications like voting rights. Voting rights is the instantiation, the preferential treatment based on race is the issue. And all Zrim did was to explicitly state what was implied by his theological statements here. He described his 2KT, not his own personal views, as being comfortable with white privilege.

    And see, this has been my point about 2KT. Yes, it has strengths and can teach some important things to all Christians. But, when it so fervently denies corporate/public/social sin and so focuses so much on personal sin, it makes implications about what it is comfortable with in society. At that point, the only way to check if those implications reflect the Scriptures is to talk about their applications on a case by case basis and in detail.

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  222. Greg the Cookie Monster,
    Yes, your comments on Cone was mockery. If you’re ok with, you’re ok with it.

    BTW, there is a difference between error and heresy and it has to do with the degree of seriousness of the faulty views. And while you can claim that I have ‘liberation heresies,’ note that all you’ve done is make the claim, you haven’t identified the specific errors involved nor have you shown why they are those views are wrong.

    BTW, caring for the poor through ‘pagan magistrate’ is not forbidden either. At this point, you might want to consider something Martin Luther King Jr. said about charity:


    True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

    You read what else he said as he spoke against the Vietnam War by reading the speech at the link below:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2564.htm

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  223. Curt, I didn’t say that I’m comfortable with WP. I said I believe it exists. But if checking things against Scripture is the litmus test, I’m still waiting to hear where it is forbidden to affirm a race test in voting. I get that you don’t like it, and neither do I, but why can’t you admit it’s just, like, your opinion, man?

    “What you have missed in all of this is the preferential based on race. That is what is forbidden in the NT.”

    It’s forbidden in the text of modern virtues. But where is it forbidden in Scripture? Darryl goes to the obvious text, but you say nope. Ok, where then?

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  224. DGH, I don’t recall ever waving any wands. Nor have I wondered why non-Christians are upset with Christians. Not sure to whom you’re addressing all that. I’m here to learn.

    I feebly attempted to explain how I (and I think some others) would understand the term “Judeo-Christian”, as it’s used in contemporary parlance.

    Can you clarify, then, your own views. It seems you think the term “Judeo-Christian” is not even a proper term? Or, you think it’s a term than can be employed to describe what? How do you make sense of Hillsdale’s Mission Statement?

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  225. Zrim,
    Again, check the conversation:

    I asked:


    So you are saying that Christians have the liberty to embrace the belief that voting rights to Blacks should be denied?

    If that is what you are saying, realize the inconsistency of 2KT. On the one hand, you rightly oppose Christian privilege in society. But on the other hand, it seems that you are comfortable with White privilege in society. Please let me know if I am misrepresenting your position.

    You responded with:


    Curt, yes, that’s what I’m saying. But keep in mind that political liberty cuts both ways, i.e. believers are free to affirm voting rights denied to whites. As far as white privilege goes, unlike some conservatives I’ve no problem conceding it exists as a social phenomenon, but I’m not as sure it implies specific political remedies. That likely owes to an agnostic view on the power of politics (unlike your more faithful view). IOW, should minorities be allowed to vote? Yes, setting aside the rather outdated nature of the question, that seems only right. Will it dismantle animosities among human beings? Meh.

    Then I wrote:


    BTW, if Whites have the right vote and Blacks don’t, White privilege isn’t a matter of speculation or some mere phenomenon, it has been a harsh, cruel reality that allowed Whites to subjugate Blacks. But then again, your 2KT, not everyone’s since 2KT is not a monolith, seems to be comfortable with that subjugation.

    Please note how I identified your 2KT as being comfortable with White subjugation of Blacks.

    I also wrote this:


    If that is what you are saying, realize the inconsistency of 2KT. On the one hand, you rightly oppose Christian privilege in society. But on the other hand, it seems that you are comfortable with White privilege in society. Please let me know if I am misrepresenting your position.

    You didn’t say that I misrepresented your position. But because the literal words ‘you are comfortable with White privilege in society I want to emphasize that I was talking about your 2KT, not you personally. And that statement was made in the context of talking about 2KT.

    Finally, the question you are asking implies that you, as a literalist, extend the regulative principle to the rest of life. That unless the Scriptures explicitly address the subject, regardless of the differences in societal and historical contexts, then there is no Scriptural teaching on the subject.

    Again, preferential treatment of people based on race is against the NT. Whether that treatment regards voting, whom you welcome into the Church, and to whom you talk, etc, those are the kinds of instances, among many, where preferential treatment implies a hierarchy based on race. It is that hierarchy based on race that ist verboten. And, historically speaking, it is not difficult to show how a denial of voting rights based on race leads to a subjugation of the race denied the right to vote by the race that is allowed to vote.

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  226. Curt, fine, if that’s the loaded way you want to construe the upshot of 2k (“comfortable with the white subjugation of blacks”).

    “Again, preferential treatment of people based on race is against the NT. Whether that treatment regards voting, whom you welcome into the Church, and to whom you talk, etc, those are the kinds of instances, among many, where preferential treatment implies a hierarchy based on race.”

    More assertion–for the umpteenth time, where does the NT forbid preferential treatment of people based on race in civil society? And so more confusion of categories, such that what’s prescribed for the church goes for civil society. That’s the theonomic impulse, but where theonomists want OT codes applied you want NT ethics. That’s not Protestant, it’s Anabaptist.

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  227. Zrim,
    First, when you ask questions like the following:


    More assertion–for the umpteenth time, where does the NT forbid preferential treatment of people based on race in civil society?

    don’t wonder why people see your theology as being comfortable with the subjugation of a race by another race. Unless you are looking for references to debate someone else, you are implying it, whether you mean to or not. It is no ‘loaded way’ to ‘construe the upshot of 2k. And with what else you have had to say, it doesn’t matter if 2k is supporting Black privilege and thus subjugating Whites. You still have one race subjugating another.

    Now how does that square with what Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28:


    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Does that verse lend any excuse for allowing one race to dominate another outside of Christ, or would such domination be wrong too? After all, what does Romans 3:9 say when comparing Jews to Gentiles?


    What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin

    If all are under sin, on what basis is one race allowed to subjugate another and treat it as inferior? Remember James 2:1-7:


    My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

    5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

    Now, is the subjugation of Blacks by Whites allowed simply because James only mentions the rich and the poor? That is that literalist approach. Unless it says it word for word, despite the different contextual differences between the times, your theology says that Christians and nonChristians have the freedom to treat others as if they were less human than themselves in society. Really?

    Did you ever think that the problem here is your theological model of thought? Yes, it has brought you some rich insights, but it is not infallible. And that it would declare as acceptable to God that one person or group can treat another group as less human than themselves denies that both are in equal need of mercy and that both have been equally made in the image of God.

    Finally, Geneva wasn’t theonomic? What you can’t see is that there are some basic rules of justice that apply for all societies. For one group to treat another as inferior is to deny basic truths about everyone. It isn’t theonomic. Your approach assumes that there are only two alternatives. And if what I am saying was theonomic, I would be advocating a return to the Torah, but I am not. BTW, it seems to me that it is the literalist who is theonomic.

    So quit with the mixed messages. Your questions, answers to my questions, and your theology has already spoken for itself. It may not express your personal preference, but it has said that it is comfortable with a number of situations including one race’s privilege and subjugation over another.

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  228. Curt,

    U mad, bro?

    Curt Day
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Curt Day
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Curt Day
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Curt Day
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Curt Day
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Curt Day
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Curt Day
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Curt Day
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Curt Day
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

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  229. Z, careful, I count four, and CD thinks those that post too much don’t have a life:

    Curt Day
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink
    Erik,
    If D.G. has ended oldlife as we know it, shouldn’t it be renamed?

    D.G.,
    Limiting comments is a good move though it might make some of us get a life.

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  230. Curt, being comfortable with what discomforts is a virtue. Seeking creaturely comfort and ease (or immanentizing the eschaton) is vice. But actually my theology says that politics aren’t that powerful, and it says that the Bible is the church’s prescription, not society’s.

    But now you have me pegged as theonomic. The transient theonomists at OL are howling.

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  231. I can’t bear to read the comments, but Zrim got tagged as a theonomist?! Wow, someone doesn’t know how to read nor what they’re saying. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll work the gaps you leave like it was a bottomless abyss, but a theonomist?! Ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho. And isn’t it the Anabaptist impulse to obliterate the temporal realities and stratifications for the eternal ones, now, and demand that anything less than glory now is unchristian? Something about immanentizing the eschaton. Nobody, and I mean no body likes the tension. Under pressure…..ding ding dada ding ding…

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  232. Curt, well, no. But neither was that slavery IDENTICAL to the kind that Philemon practiced and yet Paul didn’t call slavery sinful.

    The question for you: was the idolatry that Paul condemned identical to the idolatry that doesn’t bother you?

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  233. Petros, would you object to Roman Catholic-Protestant values? You don’t see a bit of a problem with synergizing Judaism without Christ and Christianity with Christ?

    And you didn’t say anything about Christianity and OT Israel not exactly giving the world religious liberty and equality.

    But now I’m supposed to defend Hillsdale’s mission statement because you invoked a bogus idea?

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  234. Jack,
    That book will have to be put on the queue. I already have read one of his books on 2KT. He has good points but I feel his weakness is that he reduces the Christian’s plight in this world to Babylonian Exile. Yes, the Babylonian Exile does help us to partially understand how we are to relate to the world. But that is partially. Keller notes that a key difference between our relationship with the world and the Babylonian Exile is found in how we reproduce. The Church uses evangelism to help create new members. That was not true of those who went through the Exile. We might also note that unlike those who were sent to Babylon, we’ve never been to the Promised Land. Thus part of what we experience in this world also can be partially depicted by the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness.

    Thank you for the suggestion.

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  235. For anyone who says OL has lost its mojo, let me call your attention to the fact that the comments on “He Has a Point” included recipes for squirrel dishes. Where else you gonna get that? And, Zrim, glad you’re paying attention.

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  236. Zrim,
    Accommodating personal discomforts can be a virtue. But how is being comfortable with injustice and the suffering it causes so many people a virtue? There, being comfortable is not the state that I think the Scriptures want us to be in. Remaining faithful is. But not being comfortable, that is if justice is important to us. Otherwise, being comfortable with injustice and the suffering it causes others might be a sign of withdrawal.

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  237. D.G.,
    Was slavery as practiced in the South significantly from Paul being a slave of Christ or just a little different?

    Yes, idolatry is horrible. And one form of that idolatry can be found in tribalism because that is when group loyalty trumps commitment to morals, principles, God’s Word.

    The question is what kind of wrongdoing are the authorities called on to oppose and punish? We get a partial glimpse of what they are not called on to punish when Jesus and Paul talk about Church discipline and what it is like to be cast out of the Church and be by oneself in society.

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  238. D.G.,
    Have to ask the question again because I left out a word.

    Was slavery as practiced in the South significantly different from Paul being a slave of Christ or was it just a little different?

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  239. Curt Day
    Posted March 16, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Permalink
    Petros,
    History warns us not to assume the superiority of a Christian culture. The examples are too numerous.

    Dude, your parents should ask your college for their money back. Even Two Kingdoms Darryl would find himself obliged to defend the superiority of “Christian culture” if he were ever forced to live under any other one.

    So would you. Bloody ingrate.

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  240. Tom,
    The anti-Semitism of Europe, White supremacy in America, and the slaughter and exploitation of the European empires are but a few examples of the superiority of Christian culture. But more importantly, when we rank Christian Culture #1 (where’s the tournament), are we praising God or ourselves?

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  241. DGH : The NT doesn’t speak about society”

    Scripture speaks to every circumstance -love does no wrong to a neighbor; treat others the same way you want them to treat you; all of His ordinances are everlasting (and are for everything)

    when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. Rom 2:14-16

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  242. D.G.,
    One more point about slavery, that is after you answer my last question to you. DId you ever consider that the different contexts between then and now requires us to go back to the Scriptures to see how some things should be done differently now than then.

    See, this is where we get into problems of both literalists and modernists. Literalists assume that either there is no change in context between the 1st century and now or that it doesn’t matter. Thus, the literalists only looks for direct commands or practices to imitate and thus how principles might be differently implemented today than in the past. And in looking for direct commands and practices to imitate, the literalist will neglect examining the commandments to love and how to carryout that love today, especially loving one’s neighbor, because they are preoccupied with keeping themselves pure and imitation is the highest way to be pure. The modernists want to change everything, including principles, to fit in with today.

    So now, apply that to the slavery question.

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  243. Curt, the cross was supremely unjust. Though discomforting at some level, I’m good with it. You realize the obsession with making sure only justice happens would leave us still in our sins, right? Then again, it seems to be a blind spot for the social gospeler who nags about the world’s injustices and scorns the orthodox for making the gospel a purely personal program.

    PS Don’t forget the other way the church reproduces–babies. Don’t be so eeeevangelical about it.

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  244. DGH,

    The term “Roman Catholic-Protestant values” is not a common term, so I don’t know what it means and cannot comment. As I previously stated, yes, there is a theological problem with blurring distinctions between Judaism and Christianity. But, again, that’s not the topic of my query to you.

    As you acknowledge, the term “Judeo-Christian” is a common term in use since the 1950’s, (yes, often in the context of culture wars). You call it a “bogus idea”.

    I’m honestly just trying to understand what your point is, and learn from it.

    By way of example, I thought Hillsdale’s mission statement would contain, presumably, a legitimate use of that term when it declares “itself a trustee of modern man’s intellectual and spiritual inheritance from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture”.

    So, can you clarify: In what way/context is the term “Judeo-Christian” bogus? Or is there a way/context it can possibly be a legitimate term? Many thanks.

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  245. Zrim,
    First, you are again avoiding the issue. Then you put the issue in all-or-nothing terms–either we correct all injustices or we escape being obsessed. Third, you put the issue in self-serving terms as if being involved in social justice issues is not worth it because we will still be in our sins.

    Also, it isn’t whether social gospelers nag about the world’s injustices, it is whether the Scriptures do because they talk about both personal and corporate sins

    Finally, babies are how both the Church and those in exile reproduce. The difference between the two groups was the use of evangelism by one of the groups.

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  246. Petros,
    There is a consortium of evangelicals and conservative Catholics. If you read blogs like First Things or the Imaginative Conservative, though the latter might be predominantly conservative catholic, you will get an idea of their agenda. Their agenda revolves mostly around cultural values issues and they approach them from a authoritarian, conservative point of view.

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  247. Curt, the point is how do you ever grasp the gospel of grace with a prior fixation on the horrors of injustice? And if it’s what the Bible nags about have you never noticed it doesn’t nag about the most supreme instance of human injustice, i.e. the crucifixion? If it’s not fixated on that eternal injustice then why should we be with temporal injustice? This isn’t a way to completely ignore or be callous about temporal injustice. It’s a way of trying to put earthly life into eternal perspective.

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  248. Zrim,
    There is plenty of time to look in the mirror to see my need for grace. And if I forget to do that, the family is here to remind me of what the mirror would say.

    The real piety question here runs along a continuum. On one end, we only pay attention to our personal sins and spiritual life. What is missed here is that this kind of piety compounds our failure to love our neighbor because we are so inner directed. When we are too inner directed to love our neighbor, we do harm to the reputation of the Gospel.

    On the other end of the piety continuum is that we become so involved with world injustices, we become like one of the soils mentioned in the parable of the 4 soils–not a desirable place to be. In other words, there is no place on this continuum for those who always try to make safe decisions. It is a balancing act. To me, paying attention to social justice issues isn’t about temporal vs eternal justice, it is about doing what I can to love my neighbor regardless of how imperfect I am at doing that.

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  249. Curt, I think you may well have 2k confused with some kid of pietism. But if you’d pay close enough attention, you’d know that confessional 2k’s construal of the gospel as personal is in no way pietistic or some inward fixation on personal holiness (seriously, are you new around here?). 2k piety is outward and conceives of the Christian life as service to neighbor. What it stops short of doing, though, is conceiving service to neighbor in social justice terms.

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  250. Zrim,
    Why stop serving with one’s immediate neighbor? And what about what Martin Luther King Jr. said:


    True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.”

    See, there are two concerns in a Biblical approach to social justice: helping the victims and calling the victimizers to repentance. How does 2K do both?

    The piety of most is a mixed. When we focus on our own spiritual needs, that is an inward piety. When we focus on others for their sake, it is outward piety. And what you are saying to me is that 2K social justice has some similarities with social gospelers but with a smaller, more localized group.

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  251. Curt,

    Yes, I read First Things occasionally, and am certainly aware, for example, of the ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) initiatives.

    Per se, I’ve never seen the term, as DGH puts it, “Roman Catholic-Protestant values”. But, that could be just my ignorance, and it’s not something I’m interested in, anyway.

    What’s is confusing to me is that DGH (unless I’ve misunderstood him, which is possible) rejects as bogus the term “Judeo-Christian” (presumably rendering the term either meaningless or misguided), and yet he teaches at a respected institution whose mission explicitly recognizes something called “THE Judeo-Christian faith”. So, I’m hoping that is something he will clarify.

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  252. Curt, because one’s immediate neighbor inhabits the actual small piece of earth one is ordained to. Think human scale and propriety. But this is in contrast to the booming and ambitious outlook of the social gospeler who wants to throw his arms around the world.

    You can have MLK (with his righteous indignation). I’ll take the less obnoxious Paul: “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.” In neighborhood terms, you’re the resident busy-body.

    No, even in the local context 2k thinks preserve, social gospel thinks transform. Those are two different programs.

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  253. a. where does the Bible speak to whether the federal government or state governments should decide on the legality of marijuana? Applying “love does no wrong to a neighbor” is inviting Curt to read Marx into the Bible.

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  254. Curt, it has nothing to do with context. It has everything to do with what the point of Scripture is. Is it about improving society and human existence or is it about the plan of salvation? If the latter, is salvation about improving society and human existence or is about something that comes after society and human existence — think judgment day Curt Day.

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  255. Peter, I’ll answer you when you answer me — where did Christianity of Judaism prior to 1780 promote equality and freedom of conscience? It didn’t. That may explain why J-C is a bogus idea that gives believers the upper hand in culture wars.

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  256. Curt, “an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

    You mean, planet earth after the fall? And you think that a guy leading marches or legislators passing laws are going to revoke the curse and human selfishness? Did you miss the Sunday school lesson on the gospel?

    BTW, did you or MLK ever consider that self-interestedness of the kind that Adam Smith promoted actually made life materially better for all sorts of people? In fact, did you ever consider that simply rearing my kids (which I don’t have) to be law-abiding self-sustaining persons is good for the whole society?

    But the problem is that you think we can solve the whole society.

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  257. D.G.,
    Why not start with here and our nation’s economic system. Because that was the edifice he was referring to. And no, one man can’t do that. But the results of many people doing nothing is continued suffering and, your favorite label, corporate sin.

    See, it seems that some don’t want to challenge the status quo because of the personal price they might have to pay. It was a personal price that the OT prophets and comparable to what the Apostles paid–James did speak out on social sin. But think about it this way, we might have to pay a price for telling people to repent from personal sin. So why not do the same for telling people to repent from corporate sin?

    And no, I never thought we could solve society and its problems. I do think that the better stewards we are, the more improvements we can make. And I look for improvements over total fixes because I am not thinking in all-or-nothing terms.

    Finally, did you ever think that Adam was fallible? He was battling mercantilism and wanted to make things better for the consumers. However, he did not have the opportunity to see how his fixes for the consumer produced their own set of negative effects. And self-interest alone, sounds like a great Pauline concept might help some, but as wealth disparity increases, the environment is destroyed, and the number of our enemies increases, self-interest alone is not just idolatry, it is self-destructive. Note what King said below:


    What I’m saying to you this morning is that Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the Kingdom of Brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of Communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. Now, when I say question the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.

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  258. a. where does the Bible speak to whether the federal government or state governments should decide on the legality of marijuana?

    I don’t know. I’m not well versed nor ‘intellectual’ on that, without researching or much thought, there was a previous compelling reason marijuana was too harmful? (to oneself and others) to legalize; think there is still that legitimacy; don’t know what changed. Now, while states approve, local people (local govt) in town after town still seem to agree and are banning sales in their own hometowns. Don’t know pushback on helmet laws, car cellphone use laws, right to die, etc.etc.
    But, anyway, I am glad for God’s kindness and favor to live in a country of, by, for the people despite what sinful people make of it.

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  259. D.G.,
    You have Marxophobia! Just think, accept one Marxist idea and suddenly one is a Marxist? Also,
    context is involved in everything, that is unless one believes in brute facts.

    The marijuana issue is interesting. We know from Jesus and Paul said about church discipline, that we need to let some personal sins go in society. But not all of our decisions will be black-and-white. And when we think about how the drug laws are being used, that is to incarcerate a comparably high percentage of minorities, then if we are going to keep marijuana an illegal or controlled substance, we might want to revisit the penalties being passed down.

    Also, didn’t the passages already cited along with the scripture that talks about all being created in the image of God imply equality?

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  260. DGH,

    I’ve never even attempted to make a case for Christianity or Judaism promoting equality and freedom of conscience prior to 1780. Therefore, I’m not sure why you’re intrigued to know my answer to that. But, as one example, I think most historians would acknowledge that Torah laws gave lots of protection to women that were non-existent in the Palestine of Moses’ day.

    Okay, now your turn. Hillsdale is a respected institution whose views likely resonate with 95% of the readers of Old Life (well, sans Curt). And, Hillsdale uses the J-C term to describe their mission in life. Maybe it’s as simple as you disagree with that part of Hillsdale’s mission statement (which is fine – I don’t care).

    Can you clarify/explain why the term “Judeo-Christian” in modern parlance (usually in connection to U.S. culture, to be sure) is bogus? I’m not challenging you on this point, I’m just trying to better understand. Thanks.

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  261. Petros, here’s what you said:

    I would tend to use it as a cultural term [i.e. Judeo-Christian] to reflect a set of generically shared values common to Jews and Christians. Those values would include equality of people under God, equality of people under the law, civil and religious liberties, etc, etc.

    Sounds to me like you think these are general characteristics of Judaism and Christianity for all time.

    And please lay off Hillsdale. Or at least give me your employer’s website or manual and let me see how you measure up.

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  262. DGH: re: Lincoln article and God’s active and passive sovereignty and providence – Scripture is clear that “God is in control of all of His creation and is somehow able to take the random acts of natural law, the free will of both good and evil men, the wicked intent of demons and combine them all to accomplish His good and perfect will”

    a (always with.)

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  263. DGH: “As appealing as it may have been to find meaning in such a brutal war”
    DGH: “he should have left God out.”

    We ponder that God is sovereign and providential; that God is not left out of anything even if we try to do so; that God has a purpose for everything He allows; that it is God who allows everything or not; that we are not God; that He likes us to ponder; that we must say Job 42:1; but not speak of things we do not understand, things too wonderful to know Job 42:3; that if we make a mistake and do so, we Job 42:6

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  264. Heh heh. “please lay off Hillsdale” This, from the guy who makes a blogging career by pointing out inconsistencies in Roman Catholicism.

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  265. Bryan-C-Laughs
    Posted March 21, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    What Comes Around…
    Posted March 13, 2015 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    True-Words-Here
    Posted March 10, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Who’s next?

    Like

  266. Lotsa good stuff on youtube Darryl. Making some progress on the book too. You are an excellent writer sir.

    I’m going to wait my turn here. You are not very much interested in talking to me right now. Whether you ever actually will be remains to be seen. LOL!

    Like

  267. I like the part where Hart mentions Machen’s views on German dancing.

    In Lost Soul, Hart mentions this:

    There must be somewhere groups of redeemed men and women who can gather together humbly in the name of Christ, to give thanks to Him for His unspeakable gift and to worship the Father through Him. Such groups alone can satisfy the needs of the soul. At the present time, there is one longing of the human heart which is often forgotten–it is the deep, pathetic longing of the Christian for fellowship with his brethren.

    – J Gresham Machen

    http://www.reformed.org/books/chr_and_lib/index.html?mainframe=/books/chr_and_lib/chr_and_lib_7.html

    [drei]

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  268. Curt says: “What I’m saying to you this morning is that Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the Kingdom of Brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of Communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. Now, when I say question the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.”

    Here’s a great idea. Let’s solve these problems through pagan political ideology and the point of the God hating pagan magistrate, giving pagans the credit and glory. That way nobody will EVER see their need for salvation in Christ because the pagans are their savior.

    BRILLIANT!! That’s just way too good to not be in the bible SOMEwhere.

    Like

  269. Greg the Cookie Monster,
    Don’t you mean a mixture of pagan political ideologies? We can’t do that. So instead, we force theonomy on the whole world. After all, Israel and Judah responded really well to theonomy.

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  270. Curt asks: “Don’t you mean a mixture of pagan political ideologies? We can’t do that.”
    I don’t know exactly what you mean by this. Is this the recognition of a lamented reality? If so, of the fact of our actually presently attempting it, of just in general?

    Curt asks: “So instead, we force theonomy on the whole world. After all, Israel and Judah responded really well to theonomy.”
    I have no idea what you’re talking about. I reject theonomy wholesale.

    Here’s the problem you’re having Curt. Every last command and example in the New Testament to care for the poor, widows, orphans, the sick, convicts etc is without exception, (follow me now) TO THE CHURCH. The ekklesia, the called out ones, the body of Christ, disciples of the alone true and living God.

    Did ya catch that? THE CHURCH. That you means YOU Curt Day take out YOUR wallet from YOUR pocket and voluntarily and with personal knowledge of where it’s going, give YOUR money to help them. Not steal it from other people in flagrant perpetual violation of the eighth commandment. Not only for yourself, but also in your promoting the sin of theft in those you are supposed to be salt and light too.

    It further means that YOU Curt Day, PERSONALLY go where they are and TELL them that SIN is the reason for their misery and that JESUS CHRIST is the eternally permanent solution to that problem whether they ever get one in this life with all of it’s problems or not.

    What you are practicing sir is tantamount to spiritual, theological, charitable and social mutiny and treason. You are betraying your Lord and using loathsome, reprehensible, lowlife politicians to lead people AWAY from their need for Him with filthy stolen lucre.

    I hope ya knock it off. Whatever that is, it is not Christianity no matter how warm and self righteous it makes you feel.

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  271. Dr Hart sneers: “Notice that [to those who ARE wrong] a desire for certainty in all of life’s dilemmas is not wrong.”
    Before I assume. Please explain this further.

    Dr. Hart says: “A similar dynamic may very well be at work with neo-Calvinism. You need the Bible but you also need philosophy which provides the rudiments of w-w, which in turn yields the answers to life’s questions.”
    I say the scriptures, being chapter one in the confession for a reason, provide the epistemological rudiments of w-w, including philosophy which in turn yields the answers to life’s moral questions based ultimately on scripture. By good and necessary consequence.

    Dr. Hart says: “2kers should also take heart. The idea that the Bible doesn’t speak to all of life is like what we’re sayin’. We’re also saying, live with the uncertainty. “
    To which Greg the Terrible answers that if I’m understanding you correctly, this is both unbiblical and anti-Christian. THIS is where we need to be Darryl. I’m so very glad you wrote this before I wasted any more of both our time on our last conversation.

    Which areas of morality does God leave us uncertain about? Or is it just which shoes to buy and truly indifferent things like that?

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  272. Hi Greg,

    Might I suggest if you wish to go after people in this blog, you do so here? This thread is about you, maybe even you can post more than three per day here, all for yourself.

    Erik gave me a wordpress tag at his blog, now this one is all about you. Read this post if you like, the renegade deacon comment in the original post spooked me in to submission, and I try to follow the rules. Ya feel me?

    Take care man.

    Like

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