Biblical Pessimism

Today’s reading took me again to Roman Catholic and Kuyperian expressions of optimism. In the face of mounting evidence that our society is coarsening, Billy Boyce and Michael Sean Winters affirm hope. First, pastor Boyce (the Kuyperian):

But there is a way forward. Kuyper’s emphasis on the antithesis keeps us humble, recognizing that there will always be spiritual warfare in this age against the powers of darkness. Simultaneously, Kuyper’s emphasis on common grace allows us to participate in the public sphere with hopefulness that, by our faithfully sowing seeds of righteousness, we can reap a harvest of flourishing for the common good. To quote Dr. Vincent Bacote, “Ultimately this is a vision of a society where change occurs because Christians participate in the realm of common grace, and, as a result, the world gets better.”[3]

There may never be a Golden Age (I’m an amillennialist, after all), but this does not mean that we cannot look for cultural renewal in this life. Because we acknowledge the presence of sin, we can view our past with honesty, as a mixed bag of good and bad. But because we know God is at work, we can hope for more. Our hymnal teaches us that “not with swords’ loud clashing, nor roll of stirring drums, but with deeds of love and mercy, the Heavenly Kingdom comes.” These deeds of love and mercy are powerful, and they include all sorts of cultural participation, even politics. Ours is a long march forward; our enlistment in the Church Militant is for the entirety of this age.

If not a Golden Age, at least point to an instance of cultural renewal. If we can spot that, then we might identify the ingredients that make for such positivity. Without the specifics — 1550 Geneva? 1630 Boston? 1900 Amsterdam? — we have only haze.

Michael Sean Winters (Roman Catholic) also keeps hope alive:

These prophets of doom may or may not be culturally attuned, but they misunderstand who is in charge. Maybe it is just that I have been reading Kuyper, but it seems to me that a truly holy preacher of the Gospel does not invite his listeners to despair, but to hope, hope not in their own efforts, but in God’s promises. Love and labor, then, not breast-beating and complaints about slippery slopes. Besides, sometimes we humans even slip up the hill.

So what does the Bible say about what Christians should expect from their futures on planet earth?

Anyone remember the curse?

To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:16-19 ESV)

Unless I’m mistaken, the curse is still in effect. Mothers chime in if you want to correct that impression.

Remember Paul’s counsel to Timothy:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:3-5 ESV)

Not much forward rhetoric there.

How about Peter’s closing words?

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:1-13 ESV)

Is waiting for the world to get torched much of a plan for cultural renewal?

But let’s not leave out Jesus’ pessimism:

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:15-31 ESV)

Perhaps hoping for a restoration of cultural standards in the United States comes up a tad short of the kind of cataclysm that seems to await sinners in the hands of a righteous God.

Of course, some might want to point to any number of Old Testament prophecies as the basis for hope (even while avoiding signing up for Jack Van Impe‘s newsletter):

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.

He will raise a signal for the nations
and will assemble the banished of Israel,
and gather the dispersed of Judah
from the four corners of the earth.
The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart,
and those who harass Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah,
and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west,
and together they shall plunder the people of the east.
They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab,
and the Ammonites shall obey them.
And the LORD will utterly destroy
the tongue of the Sea of Egypt,
and will wave his hand over the River
with his scorching breath,
and strike it into seven channels,
and he will lead people across in sandals.
And there will be a highway from Assyria
for the remnant that remains of his people,
as there was for Israel
when they came up from the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:6-16 ESV)

But if that is what the hopefuls are optimistic about, then they may want to stay away from the U.S. State Department’s diplomatic team in the Middle East.

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69 thoughts on “Biblical Pessimism

  1. In his book on the subject of the total depravity of the natural man, The Bondage and Liberation of the Will, John Calvin wrote: “The worth of good works depends not on the act itself but on perfect love for God so that a work will not be right and pure unless it proceeds from a perfect love for God” (p. 27).

    The Westminster Confession of Faith (16:7)– Works done by unregenerate men, although, for the matter of them, they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from an heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the word; nor to a right end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God

    The distinction between two kinds of works performed by unbelievers is not between works that are good and works that are sinful, works that please God and works that displease God. Rather, it is the distinction between works that are sinful and works that are more sinful, works that displease Him and works that displease Him more.

    “That which is highly esteemed among humans is abomination in the sight of God”. Luke 16:15

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  2. All works are like filthy rags. We cannot have a perfect love, it has to point somewhere though…

    Only Christ could meet the definition Calvin put forward. Those in the Calvin camp (and many others) would also add that those who have faith in Christ are cloaked in the perfect works of Christ.

    It isn’t hard to find examples of worse sins in Scripture with more the punishment for them.

    The tipping point? A knowledge and application of revelation that seeks to give glory to God in all things, even if it is pathetic compared to those excelling at the top limits of general knowledge.

    It is very hard at times to see the good works done by others along with works of brilliance and genius that have been for the good of the world, and believe they have no righteousness to God.

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  3. And here I was all set to redeem some culture this weekend and reclaim a few square inches.

    I guess I’ll just watch the Tigers.

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  4. it must be tough to try to get us to agree to every square inch

    and we say it sounds good, but how does that work

    and then they get really angry and accuse us of being the worst thing ever

    and we say “cool story, bro, later….”

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  5. In light of this season’s collapse, I’d rather reflect on the age to come and not this present evil age come Sunday.

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  6. The religious mania following the Blue Jays the last few weeks has been remarkable. Who could believe that 50,000 will now show up every night and claim rabid devotion all along when you couldn’t find 13,000 on most weeknights since May 1994 to 2 weeks ago…

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  7. Hebrews 6:1– “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from DEAD WORKS

    Hebrews 9:14–”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from DEAD WORKS
    .
    John 3:19– “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light BECAUSE THEIR WORKS WERE EVIL

    I John 3: 12 Cain was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And WHY did he murder him? Because Cain’s WORKS WERE EVIL and his brother’s were righteous.

    Romans 7–Before we were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah, sinful passions operated through the law in every part of us and bore FRUIT FOR DEATH

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  8. Kuyperianism and amillenialism are truly odd bedfellows. I can’t see how anyone who reads Revelation as a summary of the inter-advental age would expect some form of a golden age anywhere at anytime. The oft repeated OL trope embrace the suck seems more appropriate. The best we can hope for is to maintain a good Christian witness in a history marked more by catastrophe and upheaval than peace and prosperity. Even in those brief periods of peace and prosperity spiritual danger abounds for the people of God as we are even more prone to seduction when life is easy.

    Only by the West and America’s aping of biblical eschatology can anyone seriously contend that such golden ages are a) possible, and b) desirable.

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  9. But if one talks about “creation” and ignores what Ephesians 3 says about Christ having created the world for the purpose of redemption, then you can also ignore that Christ the lawgiver commands Christians to submit to “them” and thus ignore the suck…..

    http://www.midamerica.edu/uploads/files/pdf/journal/mcilhenny20.pdf

    I Corinthians 15: 23 But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits; afterward, AT HIS COMING, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He ABOLISHES ALL RULE and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet.

    Hebrews 2—For in subjecting everything to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. But we do see Jesus…

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  10. Mark Mcculley
    Posted August 15, 2015 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    Hebrews 2—For in subjecting everything to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. But we do see Jesus…

    ‘There is not a square inch in the whole domain of … existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!’–Abraham Kuyper

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  11. Mark, Eph 1:9-10, an eschatological hope after key application verses for believers.

    One can be amill and have hope for God to cast upon the earth a utopia that aims solely for His glory.

    But it will be only be a true act of His will, it won’t come about by people thinking their works will force it into existence for their own glory.

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  12. D.G.,
    So since the time of the Apostles, there has never been any positive, though temporary, developments in society and culture? For example, the Civil Rights movement in our country never brought any partial positive changes because the abomination of desolation has already come and we’ve been living with a dark sun and blood red moon because we have been in the tribulation?

    Again, I think your approach is one that justifies withdrawal from the world. And such withdrawal is meant to minister to oneself than to took to love one’s neighbors. Remember here that Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan doesn’t restrict one’s neighbor to those who live on the same block as you do.

    Now if that is how you want to live, that is fine. But why criticize those who have an interest in more people than you are willing to have?

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  13. Curt, did Civil Rights bring salvation? That’s the question. You need to appeal to religion to give simple examples of human decency umph — or to threaten others if they don’t support your causes of justice. Lots of low level good things happen and giving black Americans voting rights is one of those. But if you think those are on the order of salvation or ultimate meaning, I’m worried.

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  14. I Corinthians 15: For He must reign UNTIL He puts all His enemies under His feet.

    The present reign of Jesus Christ does not depend on His having no enemies. And it certainly does not depend on Christians being loyal to two different kingdoms.

    Romans 12—Leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord

    Romans 13—They are an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. Therefore, you must submit to them….

    John 18—-My kingdom here and now is not of this world, said Jesus. “If My kingdom here and now were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom here does not have its origin from here….

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  15. Changing attitudes towards drunk driving is a massive social improvement in so many ways over the past 30 or so years.

    I hesitate to call that driven by a religious perspective. Years ago National Review noted Ted Kennedy got an award from MADD and hoped he took the bus there and back.

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  16. D.G.,
    Spoken by one who enjoys privilege. Is eternal salvation the only concern we should have when dealing with the world because that is the only good that is not low-level? After all, salvation is our wheelhouse. But did you ever consider that if the Church swings only at the pitches in our wheelhouse, our Christian witness is all too often called out on strikes?

    Did the Civil Rights Movement bring some benefits or at least some opportunity to bring benefits to the world? And with those benefits, could the Christian witness be enhanced by helping usher in those benefits in the name of the Gospel? But here, my word choice also shows my privileged status in society. For what I easily call ‘benefits’ is called ‘essentials’ by those who suffered from oppression, especially when that oppression was carried out in the name of Christ by those who used the Scriptures to justify that oppression. And perhaps it is our lack of suffering that causes us to view everything but salvation to be a ‘low level’ good. And I write this as one who views salvation as the most important good.

    Tell me D.G., what do you think we need to do to evangelize? Do we only preach the Gospel not caring about whether what we do or omit from doing unnecessarily offends those we are evangelizing?

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  17. Curt, your understanding of privilege is blinkered by worldliness. The Civil Rights movement was good for blacks. It’s not good right now for believers who are being forced not to discriminate against gay partners. Life is complicated.

    But was an African-American suffering under Jim Crow going to claim MLK Jr. as his basis for standing before God on judgment day? If you think civil rights legislation, clean water, or progressive tax rates is going to assist salvation, this conversation is done.

    And while I’m at it, I own the privilege that comes with being a child of God. And that privilege crosses all earthly privileges. If you want to work for a world of greater justice, equality, and freedom, have at it. But if you do that in the name of the gospel you don’t have a grasp on the gospel’s real cure — which is that kings and slave, blacks and whites, need the righteousness of Christ to stand in that great day. Associating the gospel with anything less trivializes it and that is why you get such blow back here, Curt, you Orthodox Presbyterian, you.

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  18. D. G. Hart: the gospel’s real cure — which is that kings and slave, blacks and whites, need the righteousness of Christ to stand in that great day.

    And no mention of the righteousness of Christ here…..

    http://WWW.CATHOLICSCOMEHOME.ORG/YOUR-QUESTIONS/

    How should I (a Catholic) respond to someone who asks me if I’ve been saved, or born again?

    Answer with a resounding, “Yes!” Tell them that it is through Baptism that you were saved, just as the Bible says in 1 Ptr 3:20-21 and that it is through Baptism, water and the Spirit, that you are “born again,” just as the Bible says in John 3:5.

    You see, many Protestants believe that they are saved by making one single act of faith at one single point in time in their lives. Nowhere does Scripture say such a thing. As Catholics, however, we believe that salvation is a process which begins with our Baptism and continues throughout our lifetimes, just as the Bible teaches us. There are so many places in Scripture, which talk about how one is “saved”, but not one of them says we are saved by one act of faith at just one point in time.

    As I just mentioned, 1 Ptr 3:20 says we are saved by baptism. In Hebrews 12:14 it says that we will not see the Lord unless we are holy, and that we have to strive for this holiness. In Matthew 6:14-15, it says we must forgive others or we will not be forgiven. Can you attain salvation if God hasn’t forgiven you? No! So, our forgiving others is necessary for our salvation. 1 Tim 2:15 says that woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with modesty. John 6:54 says we will have eternal life by doing something…eating the flesh and drinking the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Matthew 19, verses 16 and 17, Jesus is asked directly what one must do to have eternal life. Did He say, accept me into your heart once and that’s it? No! Jesus said to keep the commandments and you will have life.

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  19. ali: You see, many Protestants believe that they are saved by making one single act of faith at one single point in time in their lives. Nowhere does Scripture say such a thing

    DUH. Are you even paying 1% attention to what we are saying on here?

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  20. Ali, DG-

    Well, faith is required for salvation, some Catholics are saved, salvation requires becoming Christlike, which has as its basis (perhaps the only necessary component) His righteousness. As all Christian (or supernatural) virtues in man arise from Christ, His righteousness could be said to stand at the very base of all other virtues.

    I don’t think orthodox Catholic theologians or orthodox Catholic laity would disagree.

    Ali, you should email the webmaster- he or she might appreciate the tip in how potentially better to express Catholic teachings to the P&R.

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  21. I am wondering does 2k suggest we should become like Yoder? Can I get a straight answer on this, is 2K hyper-Calvinistic? I’m guessing a Francis Schaeffer would be a sell-out?

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  22. Matt, 2k says we should become like Machen. The church is a priority. You fight some political battles on the grounds of national political ideals. You serve God in a variety of callings. And above all you defend the gospel.

    Good enough?

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  23. @matt 2k is not anabaptist. Demanding that the church not bind your conscience on items not demanded in scripture is not the same thing as prohibiting the individual believer from getting involved in all sorts of activism. But in so doing, she should not presume to be speaking in the name of the church. Think Luther’s criticisms of the crusades. Not a problem for one country to send her troops into battle to liberate a city under siege. Big problem for the church to raise an army to march under the cross to fight a holy war.

    Hyper-calvinism is an epithet…usually hurled in the context of soteriological arguments about total depravity, election, and the limited atonement. 2k doesn’t really have the Canons of Dordt in mind here. Believing that there is one kingdom (versus two) doesn’t make one a sellout, but history indicates that churches that embrace 1k understanding of the church find that the requisite compromise necessary to transform culture results in transforming the church rather than society. Kuyper’s legacy in the Netherlands is nil. The social gospel movements in the 19th century built institutions that are now neutral to the church at best and at worst often working against the church.

    2k is paradoxically more rigid and less rigid than 1k. It is sort of a regulative principle applied to churchly activity instead of just sunday worship – If God doesn’t require it of us in scripture, then the church cannot advocate for it. If God requires it of us in scripture, then we must obey. Scripture is clear that keeping the sabbath is very big deal embedded in the creation – we neglect it at our peril. Scripture does not tell us what the laws of the land should be, the extent to which the sword should be use to coerce “good” behavior, etc… So one Christian may believe that sexually immorality should be punished by the state and support 1st amendment exceptions for pornographic material, while another may believe that the state should not be involved in policing such material. Another Christian may believe that economic charity should be required of everyone and support a robust social welfare state with high taxes, while another may believe that charitable work is best left to private entities. While the individual Christian does not need to remain neutral on this issue or that, the Church must remain neutral and not discipline members for behavior not prohibited in scripture. It is not the anabaptist view that prohibits believers from engaging in political activity. It recognizes that one may be a republican, libertarian, democrat, green, socialist, communist, or bircher and not be sinning.

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  24. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
    Matt, 2k says we should become like Machen. The church is a priority. You fight some political battles on the grounds of national political ideals. You serve God in a variety of callings. And above all you defend the gospel.

    Good enough?

    Ignore murder, genocide, keep your skirts clean. Blessed are the inert, the freeloading.

    The “church struggle” (English for Kirchenkampf) describes a tumultuous period for the churches in Nazi Germany under Hitler from 1933 – 1945. This involved the conflict between Hitler’s Nazi regime and Protestant churches, as well as the Roman Catholic Church. We can divide the Kirchenkampf into five major stages that led to its horrific and bloody finale. Hitler initially caused internal qualm within German Protestants camps by his promotion of the pro-Nazi chaplain Ludwig Müller. He made Müller, a Nazi and former naval chaplain, the Reich Bishop in 1933. Subsequently, a year later, the Nazi regime would inevitably try to suppress churches and place them under their control. At this stage there was some resistance, and many pious Christians were pressured, and harassed. Stage three involved the imprisonment of many pastors, and the crucifix, as a symbol of Christ’s death on the cross (which is the heart of Christian theism), was to be removed from schools. Many Christians protested against this, but ultimately to no avail. From 1937 to 1939 the church increased its protest against the regime, however such was met with force, and in retaliation many theological universities were forcefully shut down, as well as many pastors and theologians arrested. Expectedly, the final stage, from 1939 to 1945, was the bloodiest as clergy camps were erected at Dachau, and churches were seized by the state. Some clergy were forced to join the military, and it was at this time in 1945 that the widely known priests Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Alfred Delp were martyred for their resistance to Hitler.

    Furthermore, it’s widely thought, although debated, that the primary goal of Kirchenkampf was the intentional obliteration of churches, and their presence in Germany, as well as Christianity as a whole. Expert on German history Joseph Bendersky tells us that: “… it was Hitler’s long range goal to eliminate the churches once he had consolidated control over his European empire.” (1)

    It was Hitler’s ideological goal to alter the minds of his people, and such would entail a deliberate modifying of the attitudes, values and mentalities. Hitler’s henchmen Martin Bormann and the infamous Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister for Propaganda, were explicitly anti-Christianity, and thus made the forced eradication of churches in the country a main priority. Goebbels was to lead the violent persecution of the clergy as the war progressed. He would go on to write that “There is, namely, an insoluble opposition between the Christian and a heroic-German world view,” thus making his malicious intentions vivid. (3) Something Hitler was to agree upon as in his view “Christianity was ripe for destruction.”

    Hitler’s manifest disdain for Christianity became ever more apparent as he “detested its ethics in particular,” as well as declared it teachings “a rebellion.” (4) However, he was shrewdly strategic and hid his contempt due to political tactics. (5)(6) In fact, he was so good a hiding his true intentions towards Christianity that many went away convinced that he was a deeply religious man. Hitler even promised not to meddle in the business of the churches; however, this was an obvious tactic he implemented to gain favour with this German public. Not soon after he gained considerable strength did he go back on this very promise. (7) This was no limited effort on his part as he would go on to persecute many of faith ranging from Catholics, Protestants, and Jehovah Witnesses. Inevitably, this effort would lead to the incarceration of many priests in barracks and concentration camps, as established in stage five of the Kirchenkampf. At this time the Gestapo, the German secret police, arrested over 700 pastors, as well as over 6000 Jehovah’s Witnesses for their expressed refusal to declare loyalty to the Reich, as well as because of their refusal to enter the military. (8)

    Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary, was another forerunner of the Kirchenkampf, who writes that “National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable,” and that any power the churches had “must absolutely and finally be broken” (9) (10) The historian William Shirer tells us that “the Nazi regime intended to destroy Christianity in Germany, if it could…” (11)

    The infamous military commander Heinrich Himmler was specifically opposed to Christian sexual morality as well as their belief in mercy, in 1937 he writes:

    “We live in an era of the ultimate conflict with Christianity. It is part of the mission of the SS to give the German people in the next half century the non-Christian ideological foundations on which to lead and shape their lives. This task does not consist solely in overcoming an ideological opponent but must be accompanied at every step by a positive impetus: in this case that means the reconstruction of the German heritage in the widest and most comprehensive sense.” (12)

    Himmler’s Schutzstaffel, also known as the SS, were to be the “vanguard in overcoming Christianity” in Germany, as well to provide preparation of the inevitable conflict between the “humans and subhumans.” (13) This was not met by ignorance by those in the church. One pastoral letter of the German Bishops voices that the “existence of Christianity in Germany is at stake,” and that the authorities under the regime were soon to “dissolve the blessed union between Christ and the German people.” (14) Another letter written in 1942 reveals the intense struggle and upheaval of the church: “Repeatedly the German bishops have asked the Reich Government to discontinue this fatal struggle; but unfortunately our appeals and our endeavours were without success.” (22 March 1942 Pastoral Letter of the German Bishops.) Ultimately the Catholic Church had faced intense restriction, and had no say in the public life, almost as if it disappeared altogether from its once formidable position. Churches were being closed, Catholic schools spurned out of existence, and clergymen were watched and harassed. The church refused to condone euthanasia under the Nazi regime because of their support for human rights and personal freedom under God. The bishops “shall not cease to protest against the killing of innocent persons.” (22 March 1942 Pastoral Letter of the German Bishops). All this was likely to lead to one chilling conclusion:

    “Had the Nazis won the war their ecclesiastical policies would have gone beyond those of the German Christians, to the utter destruction of both the Protestant and the Catholic Church.”

    http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005206

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  25. Kevin: Ali, you should email the webmaster- he or she might appreciate the tip in how potentially better to express Catholic teachings to the P&R.

    Kevin , it did help me understand better your belief.

    Nothing seems more important than answering that question very very carefully and clearly. Wouldn’t that include:
    1)mentioning Jesus our Savior before 2/3s of the answer is over.
    2)not implying Catholic=reborn
    3)mentioning the word free gift Rom 5:17; 6:23
    4)mentioning critical missing Scripture including Rom 3:20-23; 4:3,6,16; 5:1; Eph 2:8-9 and more

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  26. DG-

    [kc:] faith is required for salvation, some Catholics are saved, salvation requires becoming Christlike, which has as its basis (perhaps the only necessary component) His righteousness. As all Christian (or supernatural) virtues in man arise from Christ, His righteousness could be said to stand at the very base of all other virtues.

    [dg:] Kevin, “salvation requires becoming Christlike.” What does that mean for death bed or on-cross conversions?

    I believe it means the act of embracing the faith causes the soul to become justified. God calls different things from us dependent on the circumstances of our lives.

    If that answers your question, we might make the 2016 deadline for signing a joint declaration on the faith.

    Otherwise, what’s the unstated assumption motivating your question?

    Like

  27. sdb: Scripture is clear that keeping the sabbath is very big deal embedded in the creation – we neglect it at our peril.

    peril about what and in what way would you say, Sdb? Hopefully you mean Heb 4..
    and therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.v16

    Like

  28. Ali (as in Alison or Ali ibn Abi Talib?),

    [Martignoni’s Bible Christian Society via another site:] How should I (a Catholic) respond to someone who asks me if I’ve been saved, or born again?

    [Ali:] Nothing seems more important than answering that question very very carefully and clearly. Wouldn’t that include: 1)mentioning Jesus our Savior before 2/3s of the answer is over.

    It does in the first sentence, via Scripture. The response begins:

    Answer with a resounding, “Yes!” Tell them that it is through Baptism that you were saved, just as the Bible says in 1 Ptr 3:20-21

    So let’s turn to the reference: “It [Baptism] saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Peter 3:21

    2)not implying Catholic=reborn

    Not sure what you mean – the reply states clearly being reborn is a part of being Catholic:

    it is through Baptism, water and the Spirit, that you [Catholics] are “born again,” just as the Bible says in John 3:5.

    3)mentioning the word free gift Rom 5:17; 6:23

    I don’t see “free gift” in either passage in various standard translations. Can you clarify?

    4)mentioning critical missing Scripture including Rom 3:20-23; 4:3,6,16; 5:1; Eph 2:8-9 and more

    I typically remember Scripture when provided with the text or an accounting of it, but rarely by citation alone. Could you please cut and paste the passages which interest you, and let me know what your interpretation is of them so that I can respond? That makes it easier for someone else to jump in if interested as well.

    The intention of the BCS response was to provide something relatively short and memorable in response to a single in-person question- adding half a dozen quotations is fine for a blog comment, but a bit much for a quick reply to someone’s question, no?

    Like

  29. Ali,
    sdb: Scripture is clear that keeping the sabbath is very big deal embedded in the creation – we neglect it at our peril.

    [Ali:] peril about what and in what way would you say, Sdb?

    I believe he means peril of going to Hell, Ali, and I think he’s right.

    Like

  30. From another thread:

    Lisa
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 12:11 am | Permalink
    The Pharisees in Matthew 12 agree with you. They were plotting to kill Jesus because he had violated the sabbath by healing on the sabbath. Jesus is Lord of the sabbath, it originated in him, how dare men tell Jesus he violated his own Sabbath. Sabbath was made for men, not men for the sabbath. The work of men is to believe in him, and through the change that takes place in their heart they will know Jesus’ heart. If another man is suffering, and it requires my working, even on the sabbath, I’ll go it. That’s the heart of God.

    Like

  31. D.G.,
    At least you are now saying that the Civil Rights movement was brought more than just low level goods. However, I have a question for you: If it it is wrong to discriminate against Blacks, why is it right to discriminate against those from the LGBT community? That is the question many are asking and because they see many conservative Christians unable to justify their discrimination, they see no other option than to say that homosexuality must be acceptable. And some of that is because we refuse to acknowledge the equality of those in the LGBT community in society.

    But as for judgment day, again, you speak from a privileged position as if judgment day is the only issue for those suffering from oppression. When you are sitting at home and worried whenever your father is late coming home after work because he could easily be murdered by Whites with impunity, then it is natural to have more concerns than judgement day. That we could easily say to those suffering from such oppression that judgment day should be their only concern is heartless. Furthermore, that that kind of oppression or lack of concern about it is practiced in the name of Christ shows a greater concern for managing one’s own personal world than a concern for what judgment day will mean for others. For how can that oppression or the lack of concern about that oppression honor the Gospel?

    See, while you try to change the subject of privilege, what do you think people whose race prohibits them from being privileged in society think of your Gospel?

    Like I wrote before, if you want to live in a small world, then do so. But don’t go persecuting fellow Christians who have a wider concern for the people in the world than you do. Such can indicate a sense of guilt, but more than that, it hurts the reputation of the Gospel. From belief.net came an article that listed the characteristics atheists attributed to Christians. Two of those traits are that Christians are both ‘sheltered and isolated.’ These aren’t traits that tell atheists that Christians have anything worth sharing with them.

    Like

  32. Curt Day
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 12:52 am | Permalink
    D.G.,
    At least you are now saying that the Civil Rights movement was brought more than just low level goods. However, I have a question for you: If it it is wrong to discriminate against Blacks, why is it right to discriminate against those from the LGBT community?

    Because although all persons are created equal, all sexualities are not created equal. Sorry.

    Further, although each individual human person is created in God’s image, including of course our brothers and sisters who are sexually attracted to their own sex, there is no such thing as “the LGBT community.” That’s a flowery rhetorical fiction, clever but dishonest.

    For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    It should go without saying, no “gay” or “straight” either.

    Like

  33. Curt,

    Having dark skin and engaging in inappropriate sex acts are no more similar than having blond hair and habitually drinking yourself into a stupor – excepting from a sociological or legal positivistic perspective.

    Many people I work with on a daily basis who are of African ancestral origin would be seriously offended by the likening.

    The sociological perspective lends great support to those wishing to undermine society. They (power structure enemies of Christians, particularly Catholics) used the Civil Rights movement similarly, although at least that had a just cauuse to rally around.

    Like

  34. Kevin, conversion before death gives no time to be Christlike in an infused righteousness sense. You die and go to purgatory. Don’t get out until your family pays for enough Masses. But what if your family never finds out you convert?

    Like

  35. Curt, has it ever dawned on you that Christ and the apostles were oppressed in ways worse than African-Americans were. And they didn’t talk about social justice and corporate sin and white privilege.

    Since gays have never been excluded from voting, education, property, financing, were never owned — for starter — I don’t think their discrimination is all that different from the sorts of barriers that most Americans face.

    Talk about privilege. As if gays don’t have it?

    Earth to Curt. . . .

    Like

  36. D.G.,
    Has it ever dawned on you that the reason why they didn’t talk about social justice, with the exception of James, was historical context? The Church was just starting and the goal was to spread the Gospel. But they were not just concerned with spreading the Gospel, they were concerned with honoring the Gospel. And not only that, Christianity lived in an empire, a collection of nations some of which were democratic in one way or another. And being democratic, citizens bore more responsibility for society’s results than it did under an empire.

    Are you going to ignore the different historical context so that your Christian life is nothing more than following what was directly commanded or imitating the positive behaviors of what the apostles did? It makes life simple and it partially justifies your living in a small world. But it still ignores the different historical contexts and so that living your kind of Christian life does not honor the Gospel today as it once did in the time of the apostles. Are you more content with restricting your Christian life to imitating the Apostles than with learning what it means to honor the Gospel today?

    But even if you were going to be content in your small world, what do the Scriptures say about trying to put down other Christians who believe they have a different calling on life than you do? Didn’t Paul ask if Christ was divided? And what is said here does not even mention what the Old Testament prophets wrote about and you forgot to mention James as he challenged the rich.

    And have you accounted for the differences that exist between the Church and society in your first question? When oppressed, must one be a martyr for Christ to be a just member of society or is that just for members of the Church? And how do unbelievers react to the Church when the Church makes the same demands of society as it does its own members? Aren’t there two kingdoms here?

    Finally, when do the Scriptures ever oppose the pursuit of justice for the vulnerable?

    Like

  37. Kevin: I believe he means peril of going to Hell, Ali, and I think he’s right.
    Hope he didn’t mean that (and don’t think so) unless in the Heb 4 sense. Hope you don’t either.

    Kevin:I don’t see “free gift” in either passage in various standard translations. Can you clarify?
    don’t know what version you use Kevin; I use NASB which says free gift; χάρισμα – a favor with which one receives without any merit of his own

    Kevin: but a bit much for a quick reply to someone’s question, no?
    ok, rather than going back and linking those righteousness passages Kevin, I’ll just copy DGs question “why you think the infused righteousness you think you have will ever make you pure enough to stand in that great day.”

    Kevin, DG: Ali ibn Abi Talib or Alibaba ……just Ali or usually Al, but talking dead people and folk tale do seem to be broached when discussing faith

    Like

  38. DG,

    Alibaba. Is that an answer to the Q or a suggestion for an alternate way to ask it? I initially wrote Alibaba, but vaguely remembered one Ali (Ali ibn Abi Talib – Ali, son of Abu of the tribe Talib I think) was Mohammed’s son-in-law and hugely important in both Shia and Sunni history, so figured why not look it up and try to make it stick in my mind.

    Kevin, conversion before death gives no time to be Christlike in an infused righteousness sense.

    Grace is infused at the Baptism itself – sanctifying grace necessarily follows justification, or, once justified, we are put into the state of grace.

    In on-the-deathbed cases, not in the standard sacramental form with water, but in an extraordinary manner. You’ve thought your position through more than I have mine I’m sure.

    You die and go to purgatory. Don’t get out until your family pays for enough Masses. But what if your family never finds out you convert?

    Then you’ll have to rely on the liturgy and general prayers – Catholics, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Orthodox all have special days honoring the faithful departed. I suspect the ACE would also.

    In Roman Rite lands, this is All Souls’ Day – the 2nd day after Halloween. All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween) is followed by All Hallows (All Saints Day), is followed by All Souls.

    The Syriac liturgy of St. James (oldest currently in use) is an example of what will (eventually) finish the purification of souls:

    we commemorate all the faithful dead who have died in the true faith…We ask, we entreat, we pray Christ our God, who took their souls and spirits to Himself, that by His many compassions He will make them worthy of the pardon of their faults and the remission of their sins.

    1-3rd century Christian gravestones contain inscriptions urging prayer for the dead and the hope God will make them worthy for a place in heaven. Requiescat in Pace – RIP – is the one handed down to us from early Christian times- it is an optative, not indicative – a fulfillable wish – “may he rest in peace” not “he is resting in peace.”

    So Christians have been praying for the souls in Purgatory continuously since Christ’s time, and continue to do so. It’s better if your family can as well, but not all are so fortunate.

    Like

  39. Curt, the different historical context is the reassurance that liberal Protestants tell themselves. Anyway, if you’re a serious Protestant, you need a thus saith the Lord for your scheme of social justice. You just conceded you don’t have one. I stand biblical.

    It’s not that simple, in case you haven’t noticed, avoiding the outrage of either the Christian left of the Christian right. Please give me more credit in my ever small world (that you can’t seem to ignore in your largeness).

    What the Scriptures say is beware another gospel and Paul wasn’t all that happy with the Galatians or Jesus with the Pharisees. I’ve regularly faulted you for playing around with gospel matters. I stand gospelal.

    Oppressed socially is different from oppressed spiritually. Do I really have to remind you that you trivialize that great day when you compare God’s righteousness to social equality and justice?

    Like

  40. D.G.,
    I’ll have to disagree with you here. The Lord tells us to bring honor to the Gospel. And Paul tells us to be all things to all people so that we could have a better chance to evangelize them. So how is it that I am not saying ‘Thus saith the Lord’ simply because I noted that changes in our historical context can change how I implement the command to bring honor to the Gospel?

    The same goes for loving one’s neighbor. The Lord tells us to love our neighbor. But changes in historical context can alter how we implement that command.

    I would remind you that not everything liberal Protestants tell themselves is false. So why is saying that liberal Protestants tell themselves that changes have occurred in our historical context from the times of the Apostolic Church a point you want to make?

    Finally, who is trivializing things here? Is it the person who denies the observable changes in history so they can merely imitate what was done before or directly commanded or is it the person who is thinking about how the commands which the Lord has given us are to implemented today? Also, you need to be careful not to so easily accuse people of preaching another Gospel. I you think that is what I have done, there are actual procedures you can follow.

    And it is your description of the world you want to have that has caused me to talk about your small world. You have stated in a discussion to another blogpost how you want to just focus on your family and immediate neighbors.

    Like

  41. Curt, first you agree the apostles didn’t call for a just society. Remember context, you tell me.

    Then you say, wait, I have a biblical proof text — bring honor to the gospel. Huh? Why didn’t the apostles then bring honor to the gospel by opposing injustice and inequality far greater than what Dr. King faced in 1955? Start making sense.

    I didn’t say you preached a false gospel. I have been more careful than that. I have said that I’ve pushed back against you precisely in an effort to preserve the gospel. And remember, every time I ask you for a social gospel that remedies social sin, you say you don’t have one.

    This game is fixed.

    Like

  42. D.G.,
    Except for James when he is admonishing the rich. And except for Paul in Galatians when he talking about being concerned for the poor. And except for the Apostles when they endorse the OT prophets. But the issue is why a just society was not the subject of their attention and not just that they didn’t mention it much.

    As for your question, where haven’t I answered that before? The differences between the historical contexts are immense. In the Apostolic Church, the Gospel had not been spread throughout the world, Christians were sometimes persecuted, and one was living under an empire. Now if we were living under same conditions that the Apostolic Church was, you would have a point. But we are not. The Gospel has been spread through much of the world yet we are still called to preach it. Christians have just finished living in a society where they were a privileged group, and democracy demands more citizen participation and thus gives the same more accountability for the results of the society.

    Now when we get to the passage of loving one’s neighbor, how is that done when we see groups other than our own unfairly persecuted? For if we are silent, we are all but implying that the persecution is not sin. Remember that there are two audiences when preaching about corporate sin: those who are persecuted and those who are persecuting. If you don’t tell the later that they are sinning, how is that different from not telling the adulterer that they are sinning?

    Ray Dillard, citing the work of Carl Ellis, noted that what is preached in the churches today often depends on the demographics of the audience. A predominantly White church audience will hear more about individual salvation. A predominantly nonWhite audience will need to hear how to handle being marginalized and how to love one’s neighbor who is being marginalized. So what am I saying that is so divergent than noting how people are being sinned against by the system and society?

    And, btw, your telling of my accounts for the remedy of social sin is wanting. You said that that lack of corporate redemption implies the nonexistence of corporate sin. BTW, I didn’t hear any Scriptures that proved that implication especially in contrast to the OT and NT scriptures I cited that showed the existence of corporate sin.

    What I wrote was that by standing with the marginalized, we can minister to them by somewhat alleviating the temporal effects of injustice, much as the Good Samaritan did for the man who was robbed and beaten or what medical missionaries do in the field. In addition, to the extent that society listens, we have reduced the suffering for the marginalized and called society to stop sinning. Now so far all of that has only temporal effects. But for believers and those coming to faith, we have told them to do what Paul said in Romans 12:1ff where he says to them not to be conformed by the world. Now if we are imitating

    As for your preaching another gospel comment, please read what you wrote:


    What the Scriptures say is beware another gospel and Paul wasn’t all that happy with the Galatians or Jesus with the Pharisees. I’ve regularly faulted you for playing around with gospel matters.

    See, the difference between us isn’t in the remedy. We both believe that repentance and belief in the Gospel is what saves. The difference between us is in the scope of the sins to repent from. That we not only repent from individual personal sins, but that we repent from sins that are committed by the groups we belong to. In other words, we are called to come out from them in their sins against people and God. That isn’t playing around with the Gospel, is debating the scope of the sins for which we are responsible.

    Like

  43. imputed righteousness

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    Like

  44. @ Matt,

    HyperCal is a commitment to God’s sovereignty over against a good-faith offer of salvation to all. It sometimes works itself pragmatically as an opposition to human evangelism or missions on the grounds that God will call whom He calls, and to inject a human action speaks of a lack of faith.

    2k does not oppose human actions. Rather, it seeks to put them under their proper jurisdictions. To the civil government belongs restraining of evil and administration of law and common grace activities. To the church belongs the proclamation of the gospel and administration of sacraments and preaching of the word.

    For example, fighting malaria is a good thing, and Christians who are so called ought to fight malaria as a common grace activity. Doing it under the proper jurisdiction allows them to

    * partner with non-Christians without fear of compromise
    * have the freedom to choose ways and means without needing a specific Biblical mandate for those ways and means (naturally, avoiding sin at all times)
    * let others have freedom to teach math if they are so called without judgment
    * participate in the ministries of the church without confusion as to which is what.

    But if the church takes fighting malaria as its mission (I passed a church this Sunday whose message board read No Malaria), it now brings fighting malaria under the wrong kingdom. Hence,

    * partnering with non-Christians means making non-Christians to be co-laborers in kingdom work
    * ways and means now fall under the Regulative Principle
    * other ministry priorities now compete with malaria
    * the congregation now becomes confused as to whether malaria fighting is gospel work.

    So in contrast with hyperCals, 2kers are proactive but careful about what falls under the ministry of the church.

    Like

  45. I don’t think there are more than 100 real hypers on the planet and there sure wouldn’t be talking to us on here if they actually did exist

    They used to have a few forums that were bat-crazy but no more…

    Like

  46. Curt, “Now when we get to the passage of loving one’s neighbor, how is that done when we see groups other than our own unfairly persecuted?”

    It’s these questions that you need to ask of Christ and the apostles. Why didn’t they tell the church to take on economic inequality and injustice?

    You can quote their words that you use for justification all you want. But it doesn’t change the fact that they did not oppose more injustice that Dr. King or you have seen in your lives.

    I’m done.

    Like

  47. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink
    vd,t, so what happened to universal salvation, brah?

    Better pray for it, Dr. Goat. Your cleverness at theology will not save you. Impute this.

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    Like

  48. @ Kent:

    Part of my family history is tied up with the Primitive Baptists, who cheerfully teach hypercalvinism.

    Like

  49. @Ali

    peril about what and in what way would you say, Sdb? Hopefully you mean Heb 4..
    and therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.v16

    Well, the sabbath was established in the created order itself and the command to keep the sabbath is to remind us of the saint’s everlasting rest. Contra John MacArthur and others, I don’t believe that the fourth commandment was rendered moot by Jesus. As the Westminster confession teaches us that,

    “This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.”

    By ignoring God’s commandment to keep a day set apart to him, we violate his holy law. Willful unrepentant sin is a sign that one’s faith is dead. To look across the conservative churches, it is staggering to me how many are willing to compromise sunday worship so their kids can go participate on travel team sports, they can get their grocery shopping done, and dine at restaurants. It is a sign of our hardness towards God. We aren’t talking about legalistic definitions of how many steps you can take, whether lighting a fire to make lunch counts as work, or brushing off the sick or needy because its Sunday.

    My sense is that the church is really concerned about the symptoms that emerge from worldly congregations, but many are completely unwilling to deal with the fundamental root of the problem – namely that “the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture”. Over and over again in the OT we see that the downfall of the people – characterized by rampant sexual sin – was caused by a lax attitude towards the proper worship of God. I’m no utopian – I do not believe that there was a golden era we can go back to post-fall. But I do see a church that is compromised and featured by worldliness…that believe that if we could only elect the right president and achieve the right level of relevance, we would be much better off. I think this is a terribly (and dangerously) misguided notion. How and when we worship matters. Getting this wrong has implications for everything else we do as a church, and I don’t think there is any question that we are getting it wrong. When conservative evangelical churches are singing “sweet home alabama” as part of their worship service, we’re doing something wrong. When members miss Sunday worship so their kids can play soccer, evening services get canceled to make room for super bowl parties, and church services get canceled on Sunday because the Saturday Christmas Eve service took up all our energy, we are doing something very, very wrong.

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  50. sdb: So you’re saying you aren’t Ali

    haha. Oops sdb, I forgot your suggestion, ok modified.. “but talking, and talking to, dead people and folk tales do seem to be broached when discussing faith, and executed with pride, punching, and tko attempts

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  51. D.G.,
    What you seem to be implying is that every issue we deal with today was explicitly and directly dealt with by Christ and the apostles so that there have been no significant historical contextual changes. So says a deductive approach that wasn’t explicitly taught by either Christ or the Apostles. An inductive approach shows the implication to be false.

    We believe that the Scriptures are sufficient for teaching us how to live for Christ not because every single issue we now face has been explicitly addressed by the Scriptures, but because in addition to the explicit statements in the Scriptures, the Scriptures provide enough teaching so that what is not covered by explicit statements can be learned through the implications made by these teachings.

    In fact, as I asked you before, match all of the actions done by the Good Samaritan with explicit examples or commands from the OT. For if you can’t, then Jesus is teaching us something about loving our neighbor that extends past what has been explicitly taught. Remember that it was the Pharisees who relied solely on literal teachings and they did that to justify themselves.

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  52. Thanks Jeff, everywhere I go I meet someone who has a relative or friend who is one, then they describe in precise and full detail why they are and I concur.

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  53. And those are very good textbook definitions of Hyper.

    The reality goes into far more areas and the personality and attitude are a sight to behold when invoked.

    Like

  54. Curt, wrong. The sufficiency of Scripture is at the heart of Christian liberty. The church can require only what the Bible requires. Beyond that, pound sand.

    The way out is to do good in the common realm as you see fit. Go for it. YOU can do THIS!

    But if you need the added uplift that comes from having divine warrant, you stray. That’s why you say gospel. That’s why I push back.

    You’re not being very Protestant. Conservative anyway.

    Like

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