The Cilantro Mandate-How Legalism is Spoiling the Soup

If you feel that you can follow a few little rules or some clever gimmicks to make you a mature Christian, then you have fallen into a subtle trap of legalism. J. Vernon McGee

 

 

 

In a few days we are going to meander back to the topic of spiritual abuse. We have some interesting, and perhaps, new information to share with you. However, leading up to this, we are going to do a few posts that center around legalism. We believe legalism is one of the keys to spotting and curtailing spiritual abuse.
 

I love to cook. I am not an instinctive cook but I have the world’s best collection of recipes that I have discovered over many years. I am the annoying person at your dinner party who wants to know exactly how you prepared an item.
 

A few weeks ago, I was preparing my favorite taco soup recipe. I was about to put in some cilantro when it hit me. Legalism is a lot like cilantro. Digression alert: there may be a few of you who despise cilantro. Did you know that some people have a genetic predisposition that makes cilantro taste like soap? Here is a link to explain this.

End digression.
 

Cilantro is an herb that is used in Mexican and Pan-Asian cooking. It is sold in bunches in the herb section of the grocery. However, it is very strong and a little goes a long way. Most recipes call for about 1- 2 tablespoons, which is a tiny amount compared to the whole bunch. See the picture posted above-those are my glamorous hands and gives proof to our detractors that we are not a couple of radicalized females who have given up our God “mandated” homemaking responsibilities.
 

Cilantro is only sold as a bunch and you must buy all of it even if you need just a little bit. It cannot be frozen and, if it is dried, it loses its potency. The small tubes of refrigerated cilantro last only a month and cost about double the bunch. It is next to impossible to grow in my hot climate and cannot be transplanted. I tried growing culandro, which some claim tastes “just like cilantro.” It doesn’t. So, you are usually stuck with a bunch of cilantro that will probably be thrown out. What happens if you add the whole bunch to the soup or recipe? It will overwhelm the soup and taste disgusting.
 

The Christian faith has some undeniable mandates. Christ’s birth, death, resurrection and second coming are a necessary part of the essential doctrine. Without these, Christianity ceases to be Christian. Think of this as the small amount of cilantro that flavors the soup. Without it, it would cease to be my special taco soup.
 

However people add many more things onto the faith. These include, but are not limited to, young earth creationism, the exact time and method of Jesus’ return and the precise events surrounding it, how often one should have communion and the correct method of performing communion, homeschooling, gross tithe, strict authoritarianism and special anointing of pastors, speaking in tongues, not speaking in tongues, Sunday night service attendance, no drinking, not even a little wine for the stomach, women never teaching anywhere near a man, immersion baptism, infant baptism, how and when to study the bible, use King James Only, only ESV, especially if it has been autographed by John Piper… and on and on.
 

I just finished reading a book, The Prodigal Prophet, which I will be reviewing in-depth next week. The author, Dylan Morrison, was thinking about the free grace that we are taught is given to Christians at  conversion. At that time, we are happy and elated, free from the sin that has weighed us down. Then, we join a church and are given a set of religious laws or rules to obey. This drives the Jesus follower to performance-based piety. And this piety can get very depressing. We move beyond the initial joy and once again feel weighed down our inability to follow all the rules. We have traded one form of bondage for another. None of this freedom in Christ stuff for good Christians. On no, it is now back to the old ball and chain.
 

This is what happens when people take secondary issues and make them primary doctrine. We believe there are “A” issues, such as Christ’s Resurrection, and “B” issues, such as the age of the earth. We believe that Christians have freedom of conscience to choose amongst these ‘B” issues and that these beliefs should not divide us. We are supposed to represent the unity of Christ to the world and the world should know us by our love. Yet all they see is a bunch of people bickering over secondary issues and forming denomination after denomination.
 

My husband was having a disagreement with an elder over an issue that was not primary. They did not see eye to eye and were trying to come to an understanding. The elder looked at my husband and said “Well….I am not questioning your salvation.” My husband was appalled. It would never have occurred to him to even think to question someone’s salvation over such an issue. In this same church I personally know one teenager and one adult who were literally thrown out of Sunday school classes for merely questioning some stupid science that purported to show the earth was young. Thrown out! And we are supposed to be unified?
 

On this site, we had a man comment that only ordained pastors can serve the “elements” which, I imagine, is the proper, theological  name for bread and wine (or grape juice if you are Baptist) in communion and is used when one wants to sound pious. When I asked why, he said it was quite clear in Scripture that this was the case. He refused to explain to me exactly what supernatural event transformed a man who was ordained and why that made him uniquely capable to handle “the elements.”
 

I read another book recently in which an old woman excoriated a new pastor for how he handled communion. She said that he should have “piped” the chalice used in communion. He had no idea what she was talking about. Well, he called the old pastor who had a great chuckle. Apparently, the carpet in the pulpit area was prone to static electricity, which caused him a shock when he handled the metal chalice. So, as he held the chalice up to pray, he touched it against an old metal pipe that ran along the pulpit to discharge the electricity. This poor woman had a rule that she believed needed to be followed in order to "do"communion but had not reason why it should be so.
 

Over Christmas I visited a site called "Hallee the Homemaker." What I saw there astonished me. Hallee preaches a Levitical diet, claiming it is Biblical and that we need to follow this to be healthy. She claimed the pigs are dirty and therefore make you sick. However, she seems to have no understanding that some pig farms produce the cleanest of pork using methods unknown in the time of the Bible. God was protecting the people of that day and showed concern for their health. But she believes this should be applied to today.
 

Her equally sure husband is a die-hard young earth proponent and is an expert because, as his wife said, he has lots of initials after his name (some computer engineering stuff). When I challenged him, he condescendingly told me that he would be in prayer that God would reveal himself to me. Note the assumption-because I do not believe in his highly restrictive viewpoint, I am most likely outside of God’s revelation or may not have even met God Himself.

 

I heard a Dr Thomas Ice from Liberty University speak on the subject of eschatology. (I do want to deal with all of these guys who claim to have earned doctorates and I will but I digress). He defined Christians as believing in a literal 6-day creation, a worldwide flood, and a premillenial, pretribulation Rapture. I guess he assumes the “accepting Jesus” stuff but I find it odd that he does not mention this. But we sure better accept this other stuff. I started to laugh during the video. My husband now refers to this as "The Ice Package.” Unfortunately, I guess this means your humble blog queen is not a Christian by Dr. Ice or Hallee the Homemaker standards. Aw shucks!

 

Then there is the appalling case of Mark Dever who is a friend of Ligon Duncan. Dever only practices believer's baptism. Duncan baptizes babies. Well, Dever, showing us how to demonstrate true Christian love and unity, claims he would not let Duncan take communion in his church! This is his friend and fellow Christian. And we wonder why the world shakes its proverbial head when we claim to know the love of Jesus.

 

These sorts of folks want you to add the whole bunch of cilantro to the soup. And the soup will be spoiled. Yet we force ourselves to eat it, hoping that if we eat enough we will like it better; or maybe we will get used to it. In fact, some of us even get very sick from consuming so much of this soup and this is what I define as spiritual abuse.
 

Think of our recent story on Ed Young Jr. He adds the gross tithe to his list of requirements. Yet he demonstrates his lack of accountability for his lifestyle which is derived from his ministry. Those who attend his church try to find ways to justify his teaching and actions. “He deserves it.” It’s gossip to speak of it.” “Maybe he’s right. If I had tithed maybe I wouldn’t have gone bankrupt and my wife wouldn’t have divorced me.” And slowly, some of his members begin to feel let down. The sad part happens when they feel let down by Christ and leave the faith.
 

Here’s the bottom line. If you are tired of church and your church leaders; if your Christian walk brings you little peace and joy; if you feel like an abominable failure in keeping up with all of the rules, maybe, just maybe, you have added the whole bunch of cilantro to your life. And it is time to throw it down the drain and start over again.
 

Here is the message of the Gospel. Christ died for your sins, He has forgiven your sins, and you are loved just as you are. Find those who rejoice in the freedom and the grace of the Gospel instead of adding a whole bunch of rules. And remember, you only need a tablespoon or two of cilantro.

Bon appetit!

 

Lydia's Corner: Leviticus 9:7-10:20 Mark 4:26-5:20 Psalm 37:30-40 Proverbs 10:6-7

 

 

Comments

The Cilantro Mandate-How Legalism is Spoiling the Soup — 92 Comments

  1. A reader’s comment on the “Hallie the Homemaker” blog re eating pork:

    Hi- I believe as the Bible of John ‘s book says that a man is pure even as he is pure. We are pure because of what we eat & don’t eat & how we purify our system with fasting & prayer. The purer the food, the less blood of Christ needs to purify our system & it can go to heal others etc.. blessings. Also there is evidence scientifically that pigs have human genes or other such mutations from the past that makes them more like humans then other animals so we pick up that energy too. It takes more Holy Spirit to clean oneself from a pork dinner then a chicken etc.. fowl dinner. It won’t hurt you to eat it except as I suggest here & we all want salvation & resurrection which is easier without the pork to densify us more.

    The internet is an interesting and sometimes disturbing place, huh?

  2. notastepford

    Glad you kept reading. After this poor man’s unbelievable response, I left before I started swinging. This is exactly why the legalists cause major problems in the faith. These people are dense, alright but it is not caused by pork. It has to do with a basic misunderstanding of grace and the purpose of the OT. Excuse me, I have to go make a BLT.

  3. Jencendiary

    What is scary is that there is no credible biology or Christian theology in that paragraph. They may as well start their own religion.

  4. J. Vernon McGee, now that was a great man of God. I started listening to him in 1977, and still enjoy hearing him today.

  5. Speaking of spirtual abuse and legalistic mindsets, the nutflakes at that crazy Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas are going to picket the funeral of that little 9 year old girl killed in Arizona.

    And what, might you ask, are they picketing?

    The Catholic Church. The little girl was Catholic.

    I just makes you want to cry. This is what these folks think following Jesus means!?!?!? How someone can read Christ’s words and think this as the ‘Christian’ thing to do is beyond me.

    Zeta

  6. OB
    It is totally on topic. This is where legalistic interpretation of Scripture can lead. Frankly it makes me sick. Maybe we should do a post on them.

  7. I am not sophisticated enough to cook with cilantro but I love the analogy having bought an expensive spice only to use one teaspoon full for a special recipe never to be used again.

    AS to the legalism…the thing I try to focus on is that legalism takes the place of the indwelling Holy Spirit.. That is a scary thought. But teaching on the indwelling Holy Spirit is awol in most churches these days. Too many humans are wanting to be the Holy Spirit for believers. They don’t want them to mature in the Lord because they won’t need the leader anymore.

  8. Yes, I will plan to do a post soon on Westboro Baptist, which I understand is basically made up of extended family members. They demonstrate legalism at its WORST!!!

  9. Hi- I believe as the Bible of Matthew ‘s book says that if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. People have evil eyes because they have an imbalance of proper nutritions and spices, resulting in darknesses in their bodies. The key to curing this is light, and light is absorbed into vegatables by photosynthecism, such as in the Cilantro The greener the Cilantro, the more light has been absorbed, and the less we need of the Light of the World to remove the darknesses from our bodies and eyes, and the more Light can go to the rest of the World. Also there is evidence scientifically that Cilantro should be tithed along with all other spices, making us more biblical. It takes less Holy Spirit to clean oneself after a dinner with lots of the Cilantro. It will help you get faster into heaven if you are already full of the Light from photosynthecism.

  10. Junkster,

    Seems Dee was right, maybe there are times when illogic deserves a rubber room.

  11. Junkster

    I bow humbly before your thoughtful assessment. The world stands astonished! Well done!

  12. Garland,

    My mom, who grew up in Norway, warned me about trolls from an early age as she shared Norse folktales that she heard as a child. Yep, it’s important to watch out for those internet trolls. What an appropriate name!

    “Don’t feed the trolls” – I’m gonna remember that one!

  13. Pingback: Wednesday Link List « Thinking Out Loud UNITED STATES

  14. You say that Christ coming back is a primary, Christian essential. Would you say then that our full- preterist friends aren’t Christians? Where does the bible say that Christ coming back must be believed in order not to be excommunicated from the faith?

  15. Dustin
    I will answer the second part of your question momentarily. You see, I have a question on the first part. You call the full-preterists, our friends. Do you really believe that? When you say “our” what do you mean?

  16. Dee,
    I think on the baptism/communion issue, you’re conflating someone not letting someone else take communion with someone judging someone else’s salvation. As a baby-baptized Presbyterian who read the whole debate that blew up surrounding adult baptists determining if us baby-baptized Christians should be able to have communion at their churches and has extensively studied their viewpoints, I am not at all offended by Dever and those who agree with him. I might side with Grudem and Piper on the debate (as long as you have been baptized you can take communion, just like the Episcopal liturgy says), but from Dever’s theological standpoint what he’s doing is just about as loving as he can – he’s trying to encourage paedo-baptists to follow what he is convinced is scriptural.

    That is different than elevating a doctrine of secondary importance to a doctrine of primary importance.

  17. Watcher

    I disagree. Communion is a time for us to come together to remember, repent and celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus. We are one except some of us believe we are more one than others. This, for me, is an action that is cause for mourning.

    Loving? Not in my book. It is putting our secondary issues above love and unity. This is a secondary issue. We all believe in baptism. It is the type of baptism that is at debate. Did you know that some Baptists will not allow a person to join there church if someone hasn’t been baptized in a certain kind of Baptist church. I’m sure they think of that as a loving as well.

    I know, since I tend towards believer’s baptism and do not believe it should divide us, I will actively oppose those who think it should divide us because it is a loving thing to do. No more communion, no more fellowship-I need to save them from the error of their ways. I could even start a new denomination-we believe in believer’s baptism but will not allow those who do so believe but won’t have communion (which is the essence of fellowship) to have communion in my church.

    There are so many issues that could be interpreted as loving- KJVO, ESVO, number of days of creation, foot-washing, charismatic gifts-all those who deny my way of thinking should not be allowed communion because it is the most loving things to do.

    To me Dever’s position is the epitome of selfishness, spiritual elitism, and theological arrogance and it breaks my heart. So, therefore, no communion for him.

  18. Watcher, much as I HATE to look like the teacher’s pet (or blogger’s pet), I have to say, I disagree with you on the fact that Dever is not being a controlling son of a gun by refusing communion to someone he knows is a believer.

    Speaking as someone who grew up in the Presbyterian church (infant baptism there), but as a pre-teen refused to join the church ’cause frankly, I just couldn’t find anywhere in the bible where that made ANY sense to me- so as involved as I was in my church and as much as I loved my peeps, I couldn’t bring myself to agree and join. (I know that sentence was NOT a complete sentence in any way, shape or form. I hope you’ll forgive and try to follow along anyway.)

    So clearly, the stance on infant baptism/ adult baptism meant so much to me that I was willing to be the only member of my entire family (cousins, grandparents, etc all included) to NOT officially join a church and the ONLY member of my Sunday School class who joined when it was “time”- you get my point- it was something that I was not willing to do. (Man, another awful sentence- jsut got back from the doctor, not seeing all that straight- please bear with me.)

    So it was important enough to me not to officially join my own beloved church. And it was important enough to me to be baptized as an adult. And it was important to me that I still now, 23 years later, consider it one of the mroe awesome nights of my life. And it was important enough to me to risk my mother in law’s ire for not baptizing my children (as she was Presbyerian, too). And it was important enough for me to not want my children to choose to be baptized until I really thought they meant it as opposed to “everyone else is doing it”. And it was important enough to me that when a man I was seeing went to Israel and got baptized with his mother (which everyone else is of course saying “awww” to because it made her happy), I was so upset because he had already been baptized as an adult that I considered breaking up with him because it seemed so disrespectful to such a holy thing… (yeah, I can be an idiot sometimes)….

    My point is that, yes, clearly, adult baptism is tres tres important to me. And even in spite of all that I (the idiot at times) would NEVER in a million freaking years not share communion with someone because of something as ridiculous as infant vs adult baptism.

    Talk about missing hte freaking mark!!!!!!! Dude, Jesus died for you. He, the God of all creation, DIED. For you. And for the other guy. And you both want to celebrate it together. And you say NO?!

    Watcher, you said, “but from Dever’s theological standpoint what he’s doing is just about as loving as he can – he’s trying to encourage paedo-baptists to follow what he is convinced is scriptural.”

    Encouraging? Encouraging is to give courage. It is to say, “Hey, you would look really good in a dunk tank. Can I share with you some scriptures on why I think it would be a good thing for you to consider it?” If he was trying to get someone to be adult baptized by denying them communion, that is called manipulation.

    So he either completely misses the point of communion or is a manipulator.

    PS. This is coming from someone (me) that has at times in the past been so scared about not being “careful” when she takes communion due to that scripture about some have died. So trust me, as crazy as I am on the whole baptism thing, I’m just as crazy on the sacredness of communion thing. So it isn’t simply me going, “come on, it’s only bread and wine.” I know it is holy. Just as holy as two men somehow becoming family over the spilled blood of their God. That is why it upsets me so much that Dever would NOT share it with someone else he KNOWS to be a believer. That is sick when theology trumps love.

    It is good to call him out on this just like Paul called out Peter when he refused to break bread over another silly theological issue. When we stop loving, we stop living Gods’ word.

  19. Stunned, Dee, I just want to say thanks for your thoughtful responses (especially the careful thoughts on the issue from Stunned). Gives me plenty to think about.

    Stunned, I just wanted to say that your views on membership mirror my spouse’s. We think and talk about it regularly.

  20. Dee,

    Here in Southern Calif. cilantro is essential for good tacos. If you ever get the chance (and you haven’t already), you and your hubby should try Vietnamese cuisine. In my opinion, it’s got Chinese and Thai food beat by miles!

  21. I don’t understand why anyone would be surprised that a Baptist would expect a person to be immersed in order to take communion. That has been the dominant viewpoint among Baptists since they got started. It’s no different from a Presbyterian saying you can’t have communion in a Presbyterian church unless you’ve been baptized at some point, which is pretty much what all churches teach. The only difference for Baptists is that they believe that anything other than immersion is not truly baptism, so anyone not immersed is not baptized, and thus should not take communion.

    I don’t agree with the Baptist position on this, as I do not see any direct, specific requirement in Scripture that baptism must precede communion. Though one can rightly discern from the Bible that all Christians are expected to be baptized, there is no specific commandment that believers must be baptized prior to communion.

    But that only means that I also don’t agree with the position of almost every denomination on the relationship of baptism to communion. Thus I don’t think it is any more “legalistic” for a Baptist to expect persons to be immersed before taking communion with them than it is for a Presbyterian or other paedobaptist to expect persons to be baptized in some way before taking communion with them.

    I reserve the term “legalist” for those who would add to what Scripture says it takes to become a Christian or those who would claim that obedience to extra-Biblical commands are essential to being a “good Christian”. When people disagree on doctrine, that’s not legalism, it’s just a difference of interpretation. It’s only when someone says that certain extra-biblical actions are required to be saved or to be holy that they have crossed into legalism.

  22. @Jecendiary: Sorry, I just noticed that my comment could have been misinterpreted. I meant to say @notastepfordsheep, and I also meant, of course, that the commenter quoted sounded like an internet troll, not that you or notastepfordsheep did.

  23. Junkster

    Here is one definition of legalism-” Legalism, in Christian theology, is a sometimes-pejorative term referring to an over-emphasis on discipline of conduct, or legal ideas, usually implying an allegation of misguided rigour, pride, superficiality, the neglect of mercy, and ignorance of the grace of God or emphasizing the letter of law over the spirit.”

    Another -Legalism is alleged against any view that obedience to law, not faith in God’s grace, is the pre-eminent principle of redemption”.

    Another site on theology describes it as being told to do or not do something that has not been specifically commanded by God.

    Legalism is traditionally thought of as things to do or not do. The Baptists who say “I don’t drink, dance, play cards, or date girls who do.”

    As for Dever, if he is insisting on his view of baptism in order to take communion, he fits some of these criteria. He must believe that it is not holy to to baptize infants. Not holy=sin.

    As for the those who require baptism prior to communion-that is also legalism.There is no stated requirement to do so in Scripture. However, one who refuses to get baptized is definitely ignoring clear cut Scriptural admonitions.

    I have not heard legalism ever used exclusively in regards to salvation although it can apply to salvation issues, it is not limited to them.

    Ken Ham claims that those who do not buy YE are denying the doctrine of the atonement which is the code word for not saved.

  24. Hi, Dee,
    I agree completely with those definitions of legalism. I didn’t meant to say that legalism only related to salvation, I meant that it can relate to that or to being considered a “good Christian” (i.e., personally holy or obedient).

    Perhaps it is legalism to say that a person must be baptized in some way to receive communion, because, it is, in my opinion, going beyond what the Bible commands. But if it is, I don’t think Baptists are being any more legalistic by saying a person must be immersed than paedobaptists are by saying a person must be baptized in some way. Both arguments arise from the same thinking that baptism must precede communion.

    Whether or not I’d call it legalism to link baptism and communion would depend on whether a person was making their case from their interpretation of the Bible or from tradition or some extra-biblical source. Thus far I have not heard a convincing argument from Scripture that links the two, but I have seen some attempts to do so. So if a person believes something that I don’t. but they get their view from Scripture (even if I think they are misinterpreting it), I would hesitate to call their belief legalism in and of itself. But if they insist that others must believe the same as they do on “B” doctrines in order to be saved, or in order to be pleasing to God, or in order to be part of the spiritual in-crowd, etc. then, yes, I’d call that legalism.

    For example, if one person believes in YE and another believes in OE, but each accepts the other as a true believer and does not consider the other as somehow spiritually or intellectually inferior to the other, then just having their different views does not make either one a legalist. But if either the YE or the OE person insists that the other must believe as they do to be a Christian, or even to be a god and enlightened Christian, then they have moved over into legalism.

    The tricky part about legalism is that it is almost always easier to see in others than in ourselves. What others see as legalism in us we often excuse in ourselves as just trying to be faithful to God. Just as it was with the Pharisees.

  25. Make that “..or even to be a good and enlightened Christian…”

    I wouldn’t want to be confused for a JW or Mormon. :)

  26. Junkster

    Do you think we should exclude people from communion based on their beliefs on secondary issues?

  27. Cilantro: an great analogy! I think that my pet rabbit – who absolutely adores cilantro and wolfs it down when it’s part of her dinner – would balk at eating an entire bunch of cilantro at one sitting.

    Too bad the stuff doesn’t keep well; we could use the extra here! :)

    Re. the comment above about the Second Coming, may I quote something?

    On the third day he rose again
    in accordance with the Scriptures;
    he ascended into heaven
    and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
    and his kingdom will have no end

    (Sorry, must be the good Lutheran in me making me cite one of the creeds! … )

    And: there’s no discussion there on the manner of his coming, only a belief that he will return. I’m cool with that!

  28. Numo

    If you read our statement of our beliefs, you will find that we use the ApostlesCreed to define our faith. I have no problem with creeds that well define the basic beliefs. There is something to be said for repeating such creeds since it appears that many in the church have little idea of the necessary commitments of the faith.

    I have always wanted to do a “man on the street” thing in which I stand outside a church and ask the average person coming out of an Ed Young type of church certain questions about the faith. I think it would be rather discouraging.

    As for the cilantro thing, I wish I could get all the cilantro I throw away to your bunny. I have this vision of a bunny downing my taco soup and it makes me laugh.

  29. Dee, if you want to understand where baptists who believe that what they consider to be the only valid baptism (believer’s baptism) must occur before someone should be admitted to the Lord’s supper (or whatever they call their ordinance; the names confuse me between traditions sometimes), check out this book edited by Schreiner. What Scripture proofs are used are in that book.

    As Junkster said, while the evidence may not compel many of us, those who do hold the view that baptism must precede communion, a view in the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer liturgy for Eucharist, hold it because they believe it’s Scriptural.

    Over the years I’ve looked for Scripture evidence on ordination of elders and deacons, baptism preceding participating in the Lord’s supper, church membership, and many other historical beliefs of many branches of evangelicalism. It’s an interesting study. Sometimes I’m more and sometimes less convinced, depending on the topic.

  30. Dee, no I don’t believe we should exclude people from communion based on their beliefs on secondary issues. But almost all denominations teach that we should, based on their understanding of the Bible. I disagree with them about what the Bible teaches, but I don’t think they are necessarily legalists because they have a different interpretation from mine.

  31. As for the cilantro thing, I wish I could get all the cilantro I throw away to your bunny. I have this vision of a bunny downing my taco soup and it makes me laugh.

    Me, too! (Though I doubt she’d go for it… some of the ingredients, yes – and not just the cilantro.)

    About creeds: I think they are very important as clear, capsule statements of faith, encompassing essentials. Me, I’m an Apostles + Nicene Creed kinda gal. ;) I think there’s a lot of essential stuff in the Nicene Creed that isn’t as clearly explained in the Apostles’, though certainly, both are very, very important – and the Apostles Creed is much older than the Nicene.

  32. Junkster

    I believe that anything that divides us from taking communion with one another is legalistic. So long as a person believes in the essentials then communion should be unified.

    Interestingly, I have been a member of believing Baptist, Christian Reformed, Bible Churches, Congregational,Methodist, and Episcopal churches and all of them allowed people to take communion so long as the had accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I have never been a member of a church that did not allow this and I had some real problems with two of these churches on other issues.

    I even knew a Catholic priest who had no problem with evangelicals taking communion in his parish. He said he thought God would work out the trans-substantiation thing and he wasn’t worried about it.

  33. Watcher

    Thank you for the interesting link. I will read it. I am adamant that, when Christians cannot take communion with one another, we have given up the one thing that defines us as followers of Jesus. Anything that interferes with this, barring abject rejection of Jesus as the Christ, is, yep, I’m going to say it, wrong. We must be able to gather around the table as one or we cease to be the church and instead are a bunch of little factions that bear no resemblance to the Body spoken of in Scripture.

  34. Karlton, you must not have visited conservative enough churches. I’ve had friends in denominations where, if you want to take communion, you must meet with the elders before the service (unless you are already a member). I have also heard of Catholic priests refusing the elements to known atheists.

    I think most churches figure that you, as an atheist, would have no desire to partake.

  35. Why not, are you kidding…free wine and crackers (I sneak the cheese in inside a cutout in my KJV bible), what’s not to like?

    Of course, since many denominations have switched over to grape juice, it does take some of the fun out of it.

  36. I actually don’t “preach” a Levitcal diet. I explain that our family follows a Levitcal diet. And in the 2nd paragraph explaining our diet, I say, “However, the diet we choose for our family does not reflect judgment of what others eat or how they prepare their food. When we are guests at another person’s table, we eat whatever is offered in the spirit of hospitality and are blessed by their generosity (Romans 14:2-17). While we realize that following this diet is NOT the key to our salvation, we follow the guidelines offered in God’s word as an act of worship and faithfulness.”

    We follow a Levitcal diet only for our health. Not for our salvation. The reasons we give for avoiding pork specifically (http://www.halleethehomemaker.com/2010/03/give-a-pig-a-pancake/) were to educate people on exactly how nasty the mass produced and packaged meat is that is out there. Of course some pig farmers don’t fall under some of the umbrella (although the lack of filtering system in a pig’s body remains the same whether it’s raised in humane conditions or not). But you have to seek out those, and they didn’t produce the slab of bacon for $2.99 found at your local Food Lion. I don’t eat Tyson chicken, either — I just haven’t written that post yet.

    As far as the old earth vs. new earth debate, your sarcastic summation of a long explanatory response to your comment seriously damaged the respect I had for your site. My husband was a huge believer in evolution creation until he learned otherwise. It isn’t up to you to decide that the Holy Spirit did or did not enlighten him. Nothing he is writing about is unbiblical, which is what I thought your site was all about.

    Bottom line is that Christ died for our sins. Accepting Him brings salvation, whether you’re putting nasty meat into your body or not. Accepting Him brings salvation whether you believe that man sprung from some pool of ooze or not.

  37. Hallee the Homemaker,

    Welcome to The Wartburg Watch. For clarification, “notastepfordsheep” quoted a comment that I believe appeared on your blog. Your reader wrote:

    “Hi- I believe as the Bible of John ‘s book says that a man is pure even as he is pure. We are pure because of what we eat & don’t eat & how we purify our system with fasting & prayer. The purer the food, the less blood of Christ needs to purify our system & it can go to heal others etc.. blessings. Also there is evidence scientifically that pigs. ”

    Sorry that you took any criticism personally. By the way, do you agree with what this individual wrote – “the purer the food, the less blood of Christ needs to purify our system & it can go to heal others”?

    That is utter nonsense! I certainly hope you addressed this unbiblical remark made on your blog in the same manner you have attempted to chide us here at TWW.

  38. Hallee

    I grew up in a Russian family and we ate, and continue to eat, pork products and cured meats. The health and longevity in my family belies your dietary mandates. However, you are free to practice whatever food trend you wish. When you tie it to the Bible and make it appear that this is Godly, which is what you site implies, then, in my book, you have gone off reservation. It is a food choice for your family just a vegetarianism is a choice. However, it is not more Godly or informed than others who have chosen differently.

    You are not more faithful than others who do not choose your diet mandates nor does your lack of eating pork and lobster make your worship of God somehow better or special. I am glad that it makes you feel more worshipful. But I am disconcerted that you would imply that this is a Biblical mandate that is meant to be applied in its exact standard to today. Surely you understand the dangers of applying Levitical mandates to this New Testament time.

    Your husband’s response to me stands on its own. Your explanation that Holy Spirit enlightened him is one that is fraught with difficulties. The Holy Spirit seems to have enlightened people to speak in tongues, not to speak in tongues, to use the King James Only, to be reformed, not to be reformed, to be a young earth creationist, not to be a young earth creationist, need I go on and on? The Spirt you preach sure sounds schizophrenic.

    The moment one of us claims to hear the Spirit and that they understand God’s intent and the another person, who also claims to have heard the Spirit is therefore wrong, we run into a real problem. This has caused splits in churches throughout the ages and negates the unity that Christ has called us to.

    Your husbands response to me is indicative of his absolute belief that he has heard God and I am in need of God’s revelation. Perhaps he didn’t mean his response to sound arrogant and condescending, but it did.

    Your final paragraph indicates your lack of understanding of the OE perspective, your adherence to a set of rules that somehow elevates your bodily purity over others and gives credence to my perception that you are bound up in a bunch of rules that are so important to you that you do not see the underlying effects of your standards. But, I am sure you are praying that God will reveal HImself to me so that I will see the error of my ways and stop eating pork while standing in ooze waiting for life forms to emerge. Good night!

  39. Deb: I did not correct the commenter you reference because whomever it was didn’t ask any questions – just gave his/her belief. A couple of times I corrected people on the page explaining our diet because I was accused of suggesting that salvation lies in diet, and I absolutely don’t believe that. Of course I don’t believe that “the purer the food, the less blood of Christ needs to purify our system & it can go to heal others” – that’s ridiculous and unbiblical, and sounds slightly insane.

    Dee: My children are currently at my parents’ house while I’m visiting my husband. I’m certain that at some point this week they’ve eaten bacon, hot dogs, and pepperoni pizza. My daughter’s father supplements his income catching shrimp off the coast of Florida, and she’s grown up eating shrimp and crab for half of her meals. I’m not a purist, and I don’t judge. The reason that we follow a Levitcal diet, and that is specifically to say that if it is disallowed in Leviticus, we don’t eat it – is because we heard a Christian dietician explain the health benefits of following such a diet, then did further research ourselves. It was eye-opening and insightful. I do not now, nor do I ever claim that it makes me holier, more worshipful, nor a better Christian. Knowing what I know about pigs’ digestion process and typical pig farm environment would cause me to write that post about pork whether the food restrictions were in Leviticus or not. I have a post coming up next week about the ingredients in a product I saw on sale at Wal-Mart the other day. I feel as impassioned about the high fructose laden corn oil drink as I do about anything unhealthy that is out there for consumption, and I can assure this “citrus drink” isn’t found in Leviticus. The fact that pork is, along with the other restrictions and the unhealthiness of those other restrictions makes us admire God’s wisdom in making them restrictive in the first place.

    My final paragraph was sarcastic, and I apologize. I tend to type and send without considering tone.

  40. You said, “Her equally sure husband [that would be me] is a die-hard young earth proponent and is an expert because, as his wife said, he has lots of initials after his name (some computer engineering stuff). When I challenged him, he condescendingly told me that he would be in prayer that God would reveal himself to me. Note the assumption-because I do not believe in his highly restrictive viewpoint, I am most likely outside of God’s revelation or may not have even met God Himself.”

    I didn’t feel my reply to your comment was condescending and I apologize if you took it that way. I also greeted you as a brother in Christ, said I would pray that God continues to Bless you, and pray that He grants you revelation, certainly never placing you outside of a meeting with God or His revelation in your life in any of those cases.

    Further more, I wholeheartedly agreed with you that the age of the earth should not be a stumbling block for any believers. The exact words I wrote were, “I agree that the age of the earth should not be a stumbling block. The fact is that no human being alive or dead can tell you how old the earth is — atheist, old earther, or young earther. No one. We can only trust and believe in either 1) the infallible and inerrant word of God itself, 2) the interpretation by man in exegesis of that holy word, or 3) nothing but the word of fallible man. So, while you may disagree with the conclusions I have come to, you cannot really disagree with my logic [in reaching those conclusions].”
    .
    I have to wonder why you feel it is necessary to so completely misrepresent what I actually wrote to characterize me as closed minded and ignorant when, obviously, the exact opposite is true. Can you answer that?
    .
    I pray God continues to Bless you, and I pray God grants you revelation.
    Gregg

  41. Gregg

    It was not obvious to me. In fact, your wife alludes to your intent. She indicates a special revelation that you received from the Holy Spirit that caused you to no longer believe in man emerging from the primal ooze. There is a serious problem with said revelation and the Holy Spirit cannot tell one man that the earth is old and another that the earth is young. When one uses the Holy Sprit as a trump card, there are terrible implications for the church. This card has been played so much that we have many denominations with so many different ideas of the Holy Spirits revelation that it is becoming patently clear that the problem is men and their perception of the Spirit, not the Spirit. FRankly, our witness to the world stinks, especially when it comes to the unity and love part which is how the world is supposed to know we are Christians.

    Secondly, I do not agree with point one. If one takes your argument to its logical conclusion, we can’t know anything about anything. God has revealed things to us via the scientific method, which He invented and which the Holy Spirit can be a part of. I will agree that we can’t know precisely the age of the earth but we can come pretty close to the age. We are talking about 1000s within the parameter of billions. Therefore, we can know the earth is not 6000 years old. We are talking about a difference of billions versus thousands. Also, I do not believe that God is a cosmic trickster and created the universe to look old to fool us or to make it a sticking point so that the “truly” faithful would believe his Word as interpreted by the YE contingent.

    Once again, I believe that fallible man has interpreted a number of things erroneously in Scripture. Why? Because the witness of the Spirit will not tell one man that the earth is old and the other the earth is young. Bunkum. Also men have used the Bible to justify slavery and racism. These men would have us believe that the Spirit witnessed this truth to them. Of course, we would agree that this was wrong but they still believed it for centuries. Was the Holy Sprit asleep at the wheel?

    Finally, I was referred to your site by an atheist who had trouble believing what he was reading. I know you believe that you are “standing on God’s word” but there are consequences to those stands. When not clearly spelled out, you may be complicit in defining the faith as a belief in a young age of the earth and a certain dietary standard and this will limit the vast majority of the people in the world who accept the scientific evidence the earth is very old from accepting the faith and also enjoy a good BLT, even if the bacon is from Food Lion.

    OK, I’ll say it. I trust God will grant you revelation as well.

  42. Gregg,

    you said:

    “The fact is that no human being alive or dead can tell you how old the earth is — atheist, old earther, or young earther.”

    While this is true on a certain level, it does not really properly characterize the problem that comes up in the YE/OE debate.

    First and foremost, there are so many data points that imply the world and universe is over 10,000 years old that to claim it is younger than that is to have to literally claim all those many thousands of different processes all operating independently would drive to the very same conclusion. To further complicate the issues, these records tend to be very well cross correllated. An interesting example would be the green river varves, millions of layers theoretically laid down 1 layer per year. It turns out that when an analysis is done on the layers, cycles show up at precise intervals – intervals that match known solar and orbital cycles some of which span 10′s of thousands and even 100′s of thousands of years.

    So while it is true we do not know exactly how old the world is, to postulate is it <10,000 years old is to postulate, effectively, that when God made it, he planted literally millions of records of processes that simply never occured, that are false.

    That in and of itself is a theological nightmare.

    Zeta

  43. Dee, Gregg, if an outsider in the conversation you are having may step in, I think some wires are getting crossed and tangled in the communication due to the fact that our comprehension of what someone else is saying when reading is around 58% max. Seems like terms are being used to mean different things (revelation), biases about what proponents of one viewpoint or another must believe (that if you are OE man rose out of slime or that if you are YE you think only those who agree with you are good Christians), and other errors are creeping in to the dialog. We’ve got a duty to extend the judgment of charity to all whom we disagree with, believing the best of them.

  44. Watcher

    One concern that I have in all of this is the assumption that our interpretations come from God revealing HImself to us in this matter. God will not reveal two diametrically opposed ideas and call them both true. The earth is young, the earth is old. I think sometimes we come to these beliefs through our own thinking and then want to spiritualize the belief to give it more credence.

    That is an argument that many are using in this matter and it causes terrible division when one side claims that God has told them this is true. This then calls into question the adherence to Scriptural truths on the part of those who do not believe the other side. And that is when we start refusing to worship and commune with one another.

  45. Hallee

    The people were living under a theocracy at the time the Levitical laws went into play. God took the place of what we call the CDC today. Back in those days pork and shellfish were dangerous to the health of the people. Many things were dangerous and the lifespan of the people back then was very poor. People died of all sorts of diseases, etc.

    Today, in this age of grace, we have a CDC and an FDA and they research the safety of our food products and give us recommendations. Pork is clean now and people can eat it safely. So goes the shellfish. There is constant testing occurring and there are recalls if certain food get too high a bacterial count. Not only does shellfish get recalled but just about any produce you can imagine, including the supposed clean foods of Leviticus days. Organic foods are well known to have the highest bacterial count.

    Peter was shown a vision not to worry about the unclean foods. From Acts we read

    “About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
    “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
    The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

    Note that God did not say-except pork. if this was a problem, wouldn’t He have done so?

    I think that, instead of a mandate about a certain kind of food, one might be better off in saying that we should keep up with news reports regarding recalled foods, eat lots of vegetables and fruits, be careful with our weight and. in general take good care of these bodies graciously granted from God. And, all things in moderation-which means that the beloved pork and cured meats from my ethnic background can be enjoyed as well as my annual hot fudge sundae.

  46. Dee,

    Why did you pull those versus out of context. If you continue reading you will see that in Acts 10:28 (a few versus later), it says..

    “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”

    This was in response to a request from Cornelius, a Roman centurion, via his servants, to bring Simon Peter to his house. God was showing Peter that he should not ignore this request simply because Cornelius was not a Jew, because God had sent Cornelius to him. The verse was a metaphor to Simon Peter, it was not a piece of dietary advice.

  47. Karl
    I beg to differ. It was both applied to the diet as well as to the people. It was during this time that Christians began to eat more liberally than the jewish dietary laws and why Christians today do not follow Kosher guideline. So you are 1/2 correct.

  48. Dee,

    I’ll defer to your expertise on the historical setting, but from a strictly contextual viewpoint, Simon Peter tells us exactly what God meant by that vision, i.e. that he “should not call any man common or unclean”, there is no indication from from the context that God was also referring to food, and Peter did not seem to interpret it that way either.

  49. “I’ll defer to your expertise on the historical setting, but from a strictly contextual viewpoint, Simon Peter tells us exactly what God meant by that vision, i.e. that he “should not call any man common or unclean”, there is no indication from from the context that God was also referring to food, and Peter did not seem to interpret it that way either.”

    Karl, Keep reading in Acts…further on, the ONLY concession about food came up during the Jerusalem council where it talks about avoiding food offered to idols, strangled animals, etc. This was really offensive to the converted Jews.

    I don’t think you can make the leap that God was not inferring the same thing about food in Acts 10. God shows Peter all these unclean animals and then says, Peter, Get up, kill and eat.

    This is important about Peter because he had a problem with this as we see also in Galatians and when he allowed himself to be influenced by Jewish converts when it came to eating with Geniles:

    11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
    14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

    In effect, God would not have used the vision of unclean animals to “kill and eat” if they were to still be unclean for converted Jews.

  50. Lydia/Karl

    Thanks for your help. I would also add that food was one item that made a man unclean. So, if the early followers were to meet with a Gentile, there was a high probability that they would also be around food that would be considered unclean. The service of that food, near a follower of the food law, would have been a problem. God removed all possible barriers to reaching out to the Gentiles.

    During this time there was the great debate about the Judaizers who were insisting on circumcision for the converted Gentiles. This debate was settled quite efficiently by the church leaders-it was not to be done.

    I can imagine how difficult all of this was for the early Jewish Christians. Their world was turning upside down and clinging to the old law was comforting. But it was that very law which convicted them of their need for a Savior. Tradition can be meaningful but sometimes it needs to be changed. Someday I would love to talk to some of these early converts to get their take on how they perceived these changes.

  51. Does this mean that if I keep ordering my favorite Prosciutto from Florence I’m nothin’ but a dirty Goy-Dog at best, and at worst, destined for the lake of fire?

  52. Listen, I have sealed my doom with Italian sausage, a component of my sinful spaghetti sauce-oy vey

  53. “During this time there was the great debate about the Judaizers who were insisting on circumcision for the converted Gentiles. This debate was settled quite efficiently by the church leaders-it was not to be done.”

    Actually, Paul had Timothy circumcized but NOT Titus.

    Acts 16:3 and Galatians 2:3-5.

    Timothy was half Jewish but Titus was full Greek.

  54. In regard to the whole “Hey, you Gentiles need to be circumcised in order to be saved debate”, my favorite line comes from Paul. He said that if they were really insisting on cutting off part of it, he’d rather the legalistic guys go all the way and cut the whole thing off.

    Ha ha hah

    Gets me every time.

  55. Stunned

    Best laugh I’ve had all day. BTW did you see you are quoted in today’s post? You have achieved TWW immortality.

  56. Dee, I saw it and you totally ruined me! Moments before I saw it I was thinking a snarky thought toward someone. Then what happens? Your throw my own words about love and all that stuff right back in my face. Man! Totally ruined my self righteous mood.

  57. Stunned

    I am in a bit of a snit myself today so I am glad to share it with such a decent person. Glad to be of assistance in ruining your day. :)

  58. “When did the circumcising stop?”

    I have no idea. I just mentioned that because sometimes the scripture seems contradictory to some because they do not take the audience and historical situation into consideration.

    Timothy was raised as a Jew by his mother and grandmother but was not circumsized. Titus was full Greek and not circumsized. Both were followers of Jesus Christ. Yet Paul circumsized Timothy.

    Acts 16
    Paul came also to Derbe and Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews that were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

    I think of it in terms of what Paul wrote in 1 Corin 9:

    To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

    And then, we all get a shudder out of Paul’s excrutiating rebuke to the Galatians concerning the Judaizers that he wished they would “emasculate” themselves”.

    This is something we have to see through 1st Century eyes which is not easy to do!

  59. Lydia, you shudder, I laugh hysterically. ;)

    Btw, your line, “Yet Paul circumsized Timothy.” Now I know you’re not saying Paul ACTUALLY did it, but, Girl, you are cracking me up.

  60. Stunned,

    it ain’t “my line”. It is the NIV translation that says it in Acts. But where does one take a man to be circumsized in the 1st Century but to a Jewish circumsizer? That cannot be right…for Paul at that time…they must learn how to do it at rabbinical school. Perhaps Gameliel taught him how to do it? Circumcision 201 on grown men?

    I have often wondered if they have to peep under the robes to make sure the questionable ones have the right package before entering the synagogue?

  61. Lydia

    I think your are correct. My understanding is that Hasidic and Orthodox rabbis are trained to do the bris.

    Major digression alert: I have been in a Bible study of a number of years. We have a white elephant exchange every Christmas and boy do we do this one up. A number of years ago, one member bought a framed poster primarily for the frame. The picture in the frame was The Bris of Jesus but everyone was dressed in Elizabethan garb and everyone in this picture looked European-not a hint of a Middle Easterner anywhere. So, he decided to put the whole thing, frame and all, into the white elephant.

    That picture as been coming back every year, signed by the family who had it for the year. There have been clever wrapping schemes in order to conceal the picture which is most difficult. Anyway, it has become the annual laugh at our party.

    Why I wrote about this, I don’t know. I think I need more coffee.

  62. Junkster

    Of course I do-I have been trying to tell everyone that we are glamorous. Do you think Mark Driscoll would approve?

    You absolutely MUST read Muff’s last comment. He has a link to a rabbi who actually talks about the time dilation theory on the Huffington Post of all places. Then read my comment in which I mention you. Could it be that you are a prophet?

  63. Dee,

    Yes, you really do have lovely hands. Maybe you can share your secret. Do you soak them in Palmolive? Remember Madge?

  64. Lydia

    I spoke with my pastor today about the circumcision thing. He said Paul baptized Timothy and Titus in order to reach the very closed religious community of the Jews. An uncircumcised man would not be accepted. This was in line with Paul’s teaching on “becoming all things to all people.”

    He said there is no indication that Paul ever circumcised any other of his disciples.

  65. “I spoke with my pastor today about the circumcision thing. He said Paul baptized Timothy and Titus in order to reach the very closed religious community of the Jews. An uncircumcised man would not be accepted. This was in line with Paul’s teaching on “becoming all things to all people.”

    “He said there is no indication that Paul ever circumcised any other of his disciples.”

    I agree with most of this and am sorry if you thought I was communicating anything else besides Paul circumsizing Timothy.

    He did not circumsize Titus..See Galatians 2.

    I also agree with what he said about why he did it as I quoted 1 Corin 9 above.

    The confusion might have come that I did not communicate well that I was contrasting Paul’s teaching on legalism from the Judaizers concerning circumcision with his own circumsizing of Tim. Sometimes scripture can sound contradictory if we do not delve into the setting and historical implications of the teaching. I probably brought up something that no one else was thinking of and confused the thread. Sorry!

  66. Lydia

    Never once did I question your knowledge. You are awesome! Tis your humble blog queen that needs help. I thought I might have missed some history.

  67. Sometimes I think that Ed Young is just following the Baptist party line when it comes to tithing, much the same way they also elevate drinking alcohol to a near dividing line of faithful Christians. The misuse and abuse of scripture to support tithing under the new covenant just shows someone who is ignorant of the covenants. The fact is, ALL of the Old Covenant, dietary commands and yes, even the ten commandments, were nailed to the cross. We have a new covenant in Jesus Christ. Where tithing is concerned, there is no high water mark, or low water mark because in Jesus, there is no water mark. Using 10% even as a “guidepost” creates legalism, especially in the hearts of new believers.

  68. “Using 10% even as a “guidepost” creates legalism, especially in the hearts of new believers.”

    Exactly, Mark! Well stated.

    “Never once did I question your knowledge. You are awesome! Tis your humble blog queen that needs help. I thought I might have missed some history.”

    Oh please question my knowledge! We must study to show ourselves approved. I do not know what would have become of me if certain people had not challenged some of my “presumptions” that were very wrong…things that I had heard over and over from many preachers but never questioned even though some did not quite sound right.

  69. [Here's an unusual web item I ran into, for what it's worth. Arnie]

    Stamping Out Harold Camping

    I don’t care a fig for date-setters, especially those who predict when Christ will return. The current champion is 89-year-old, headline-grabbing Harold Camping of Family Radio fame.
    Is Second Coming date-setter Harold Camping worthy of death? He already has a zero batting average after his September 1994 prediction fizzle and, according to the Bible, is a false prophet.
    Nevertheless that California shaman, who should be ashamed, claims he’s found out that Christ’s return will be on May 21, 2011 even though Matt. 24:36 says that no one knows the “day” or “hour” of it!
    A Google article (“Obama Fulfilling the Bible”) points out that “Deut. 18:20-22 in the Old Testament requires the death penalty for false prophets.”
    The same article reveals that “Christians are commanded to ask God to send severe judgment on persons who commit and support the worst forms of evil (see I Cor. 5 and note ‘taken away’).”
    Theologically radioactive Harold Camping and his ga-ga groupies (with their billboards featuring “May 21, 2011″) should worry about being “stamped out” if many persons decide to follow the I Cor. 5 command.
    The above article concludes: “False prophets in the OT were stoned to death. Today they are just stoned!”
    PS – For many years Camping was not known as a pretrib rapture teacher. But now, for $ome my$teriou$ rea$on, he seeks support from those who believe in and teach an imminent, pretrib rapture which supposedly will occur SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE the traditional SECOND COMING to earth! For a behind-the-scenes, documented look at the 181-year-old pretrib rapture belief (which was never a part of any official theology or organized church before 1830!), Google “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Rapture Diehards” and “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts.” These are from the pen of journalist/historian Dave MacPherson a.k.a the “Pretrib Rapture Answerman” & the “Rush Limbaugh of the Rapture” – author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot,” an “encyclopedia” of pretrib rapture history (see Armageddon Books).

  70. Arnie

    Great comment! This doctrine is now so entrenched in some churches, it is considered this side of a heresy to question a premil, pretrib rapture. I used to be a “Left Behind” type. However, after studying the Bible and reading history, I now am far less confident on exact scenarios.

    Anyone who listens to Camping deserves his nonsense. I am also amazed that more pastors do not point out some of these false prophets and Camping is a false prophet.

  71. Funny thing about Camping is I would sometimes listen to his Family Radio when I was stateside. I am a worship leader and listen to a wide range of musical styles from Chopin to Dream Theater, but I actually enjoyed the cheesy production value and worshipful hymns found on that station.

    My wife and I would sometimes listen to Camping’s diatribes for the sheer entertainment value; all the while trying to understand why intelligent people would suspend logic and actually take this fruitnut seriously. Sad thing is, many do.

  72. Arrian

    People suspend a whole lot when dealing with church. It seems as if our intellects can get left on the sidelines while we get caught up in the emotionalism of the moment. I know so many people who believe something just because a supposed “pastor” said. One must constanttly evaluate what is being said, comparing it carefully with the Scriptures. But, then again, most people are reading books about reading the Scriptures….ah well.