Do Calvinista Bloggers Truly Believe God Is Sovereign?

 

Big Ben (taken by Deb)

"The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all."

Psalm 103:19 (NASB)

Allow me to make an observation, to use SGM’s loaded language. Comments are mysteriously disappearing from several Calvinista blogs. Don’t these bloggers believe in the sovereignty of God? If so, then why are they micromanaging their websites by eliminating any commentary that might challenge their leaders and/or movement, which they claim are in the center of God’s will?

If these bloggers are divinely appointed by God to do His work here on earth, then absolutely NOTHING can stand in their way, not even critical or challenging comments.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  Job 42:4 (ESV)

“For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” 
Isaiah 14:27 (ESV)

Here at TWW, we firmly believe that God’s plan cannot be thwarted. That’s why we allow critical comments to stand. In this blog’s two and a half year history, we have only deleted a handful of comments. In those rare cases, we had someone silly enough to impersonate Dee’s husband and several commenters who unwisely chose to use extremely vulgar language. Other than that, ALL comments here at The Wartburg Watch remain visible for anyone to read. We believe, much to the chagrin of our detractors, that our blogging is God’s will for us, and we are not at all concerned about negative comments. In fact, it’s great to know that we have a variety of readers.

Unfortunately, there are those in the New Reformed movement who are threatened by negative comments. The first time I witnessed the deletion of comments from a Calvinista blog was last year. I had been sporadically reading Joshua Harris’ blog, and someone wrote a comment challenging Josh about his association with a pastor whom they described as vulgar (I assumed it was Mark Driscoll). Josh responded several times to this commenter, and then the next day I checked to see if there had been any more dialogue. Incredibly, they had vanished! All eleven of them! When this phenomenon happened again on Harris’ blog, I wrote about it in a post entitled The Power of Positive Comments on Josh Harris’ Blog.

Recently, I wrote an article that focused on the close friendship between C.J. Mahaney and Mark Dever.

Several days went by, and Jim posted the following comment on the Mahaney/Dever post:

Jim on Fri, Aug 19 2011 at 09:31 pm

“Sorry I’m late to the conversation, but I was so glad to find someone asking questions about Mark Dever, CHBC, and 9 marks and their relationship to the CJM debacle. I tried to post some comments and questions to the 9 marks blog. The comments were on for about a day, they gained some traction, and were getting responses, and then poof! They all disappeared (sort of like the broken links-cover up mode).

I have been around CHBC and have been troubled by the set up. I think the constant entourage that Dever has developed of Mark wannabees and sycophants (young men who like to read books, who want to have elbow patches on their tweed jackets, and who have not climbed as high on the ladder in the secular world and turned to religion) is creepy, even cultic. How long till there is a CHBC-Survivors or CHBC-Refuge blog?

Here were the sorts of questions I was posting that were yanked:

1. Given that Josh Harris and CLC have expressed dismay that CJM did not consult them in his decision to attend CHBC and these elders (in the church where CJM is a member) would prefer that he attend their church during his “break” from ministry, how can CHBC be welcoming him to worship with their church? Is this not hypocritical? Does Dever have one standard for his chums and another for every one else?

2. Would 9 marks please offer an open financial accouting of how much money CJM and SGM under his leadership have given to 9 marks over the years? Has this affected their motivation in caring for (protecting) CJM?

3. Would Mark Dever please offer an open accounting of the finances of T4G (which has grown into a mult-million dollar enterprise)? Would he release the amount given in honoraia to conference speakers and organizers?

Thanks!”

At least Josh Harris and 9 Marks allow some comments to be posted on their blogs, even though they have been caught in the act of deleting certain ones… In case you haven’t noticed, so many of the Calvinista bloggers DO NOT allow comments. Al Mohler and C.J. Mahaney are the first individuals who come to mind. Do you remember that Gospel Coalition interview where James MacDonald interviewed C.J. about whether e-mail should be used to correct others? (link)

http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/dont_use_e-mail_to_correct_others

At the very beginning of the interview James MacDonald says: “O.K. CJ, so I get this comment on my blog the other day. I mean why do I even take comments on my blog? I mean who is this person that’s writing this?”

Not surprisingly, Mahaney responds: “I would recommend you NOT take comments on your blog…”

Speaking of C.J. Mahaney, blogger Tim Challies, who operates the blog “Challies Dot Com: Informing the Reformed”, finally chimed in about the SGM debacle that we have been discussing here at TWW. His post is called C.J. Mahaney and Difficult Days. (link)

Here is what I believe to be the crux of Tim Challies’ post. He explained:

“The Lord has given me a unique platform at the blog and if there was a serious, systemic issue within the ministry, I might be able to use the blog to inform people. Was this legitimate or mere justification? I don’t know that I can discern the motives of my own heart enough to say with certainty.

As we consider future leaks and future documents exposing other Christian leaders—perhaps men I know and love—how will the Bible direct us? I believe that in almost every case the Bible would tell us not to read leaked documents like these ones. As soon as we read words that may well be gossip, we have allowed tasty little morsels to sink into our hearts—morsels that may well change our understanding of a brother or sister in Christ. We will inevitably begin to pass judgment based on an incomplete understanding of a situation that is far removed from us. A couple of proverbs seem to offer valuable guidelines: Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered. Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Once we read or hear these things, we cannot unread or unhear them. Our love for a brother or sister should cause us to refuse to listen to their interpersonal conflict. There will be occasional exceptions for those who are in positions of leadership over the people involved (If someone leaked documents about me, I would expect my fellow elders to read them). The situation may well be different where there someone has broken the law and remained unrepentant and is putting other people in danger. But at least as it pertains to conflict, I believe we need to avoid involvement.”

Clearly, Challies does not believe there is a systemic problem in Sovereign Grace Ministries because he presents the situation as simply an interpersonal conflict between C.J. Mahaney and his longtime colleague Brent Detwiler. There were quite a few comments in response to the Challies post, including several from Detwiler. When the comments reached 122 in number, Challies posted his final remarks and closed the comment section. He stated:

“Thanks for all the comments, everyone. At this point I am going to close them down. I typically do this after 100 comments, but have let this go on a bit longer. At this point I don't know that there will be much more constructive conversation. That is very difficult to do after a while (which is why I generally do cap things at around the 100 mark).”

Too bad if you didn’t read Tim’s post right away and quickly comment.  We never close comments here at TWW, so feel free to share your thoughts with us.

I read through all of the comments, and Tim Challies had quite a few commenters agreeing with his position. I was glad to see that some challenging comments got through, but then I wondered whether any had been censored. I checked over at SGM Survivors and found the following comments which related to the Challies post.

Joe
August 19th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

“Just suggested on Challies blog that he write his next post on the rights and wrongs of blackmailing one's ministry colleagues. My post was swiftly deleted. I wonder why?”

5yearsin PDI
August 20th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

“Well, try #3, I posted this below at Challies blog and they erased it, and I got a yellow flag that I am barred from posting any more comments at that site.”

Donald Philip Veitch
August 20th, 2011 at 3:09 pm

“@Melody and 5yearsPDI:
I think my post just got whacked at Challies’s blog.”

Donald Philip Veitch
August 20th, 2011 at 8:41 pm

“It’s unquestionable now. Have watched closely. Mr. Challies, http://www.challies.com, is actively and unquestionably deleting unfavourable posts, either as primary posts or as replies. Several “deletes” have been observed. Noted, decisively. For this scribe, Challies is in the cross-hairs.”

Just before Challies closed the comment section, Donald Veitch FINALLY got a comment posted. Hopefully, it won’t be deleted. Here is what he wrote:

Donald Philip Veitch

“Tim, an unimpressive and shallow review. I'll endeavour to redigest your argument; there are multidisciplinary reasons for the necessity of an on-going inquiry and analysis. Unfortunately, you haven't done that. This review wouldn't pass an undergraduate level course in writing. Go back to the sources again.”

I happen to know that Donald Veitch has read through the 600+ page document more than once, so I give him more credibility than Challies, who likely did not do exhaustive research on the matter.

In case you aren’t aware, Tim Challies has received quite a bit of notoriety through his blogging efforts. Because of his success, he was recently featured in a Christianity Today interview called “Christianizing the Social Network”.

The interviewer, Matthew Lee Anderson, asked Challies the following question: “You point out that the “new Calvinists” gained influence by adopting technology. How do you see those tools shaping the movement?”

Challies responds: “You can’t really understand new Calvinism apart from the Internet. It allowed us to hear from these people in an unprecedented way. We seem to have short attention spans, and much of what we’re learning and hearing comes through the social media. Far more people are getting John Piper in 140-character chunks than are listening to his 45-minute sermons…”

There can be no doubt that the internet is the means by which the Calvinistas have thrust themselves into the limelight. If it weren’t for this relatively new technology, few would recognize the name Tim Challies, and TWW loyalists wouldn’t be reading this blog post about him. Incredibly, this communication tool has revolutionized the way information is transmitted around the world, not just by the Calvinista leaders but by the average Joe. Isn’t it incredible that blogging allows ordinary Christians like Dee and me to challenge those who call themselves “new Calvinists”. Is the internet part of God’s plan? I believe so, even though there are those who shamefully use it for evil.

As we wrap up this post, take a look at how Challies responded to one commenter regarding what he believes Brent Detwiler should have done:

“To some extent it seems like he felt that was true. But even if that's the case, I'd contend that he should have just walked away and left it in the Lord's hands.”

So is that how Calvinstas respond to controversy that casts a negative light on anyone in their club? Just leave it in the Lord’s hands? When someone like Rob Bell writes a book that is contrary to their theology, they don’t “leave it in the Lord’s hands, do they?” I firmly disagree with Challies’ position to let go and let God… I believe God often uses His people whom He calls to carry out His plans. We see this happening throughout history. As God’s Word confirms, He does not change; therefore, He is using His children to do His work.

With regard to God’s sovereignty as it relates to Sovereign Grace Ministries and the posting of Detwiler’s documentation, I agree Juneapple. She bravely left this comment on a recent Sovereign Grace Ministries post at this link:

http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/A-quick-update-on-the-evaluation-process.aspx#disqus_thread

Juneapple

“…everything that is hidden will be brought to light…

“Sovereign God is behind this leak to wiki and the blogs, not Brent..

there is serious need for change in polity and doctrine in SGM and maybe a few leaders should be stepping down…

God may not be currently blessing this movement…

Just a thought..”

The Bible is crystal clear: God’s plan WILL NOT be thwarted. We can hardly wait to see how our Sovereign Lord goes about fulfilling His divine plan.


Lydia's Corner:         2 Kings 4:18-5:27       Acts 15:1-35       Psalm 141:1-10       Proverbs 17:23

Comments

Do Calvinista Bloggers Truly Believe God Is Sovereign? — 85 Comments

  1. “The Bible is crystal clear: God’s plan WILL NOT be thwarted. We can hardly wait to see how our Sovereign Lord goes about fulfilling His divine plan.”

    AMEN!!!!

    1 Timothy 2:4 “Who does will all men to be saved, and to come to the full knowledge of the truth” (Young’s Literal Translation)

  2. “Do you remember that Gospel Coalition interview where James MacDonald interviewed C.J. about whether e-mail should be used to correct others?”

    When these guys decide to take on bloggers, it does not go well for them. Check out this link where MacDonald takes on Bill Kinnon:

    http://kinnon.tv/2011/06/james-macdonald-and-i-in-blog-conversation-sort-of.html

    All of it was in response to MacDonald writing that congregationalims is from Satan. (We found out from bloggers that a church vote did not go MacDonald’s way and that article came after he lost the vote)

    They are all so obvious. Don’t get me started on Challies. Discernment? I think not.

  3. “So is that how Calvinstas respond to controversy that casts a negative light on anyone in their club? Just leave it in the Lord’s hands?”

    If we are to leave it in the Lord’s hands then the Epistles need not to have been written.

  4. Quote from above post – “For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” Isaiah 14:27

    AMEN!!!

    Romans 5:18 18 “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”

    God does will all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4) and God is Sovereign!

    Praise God for His Sovereign will. HIS will be done!

    2 Corinthians 5:19 – “God was in Christ, reconciling THE WORLD to Himself, NOT COUNTING men’s sins against them!!!!”

    John 1:29 “Behold the Lamb of God who TAKES AWAY the sin of the WORLD!”

  5. For the record, I think Challies is wrong on a lot of things because he doesn’t have the whole picture.

    BUT, I do believe blogs belong to the owner and not to the posters. I believe blog owners are free to delete anything they wish whether or not I agree with them.

    last I checked, Wade Burleson doesn’t allow comments either. Does that make him evil?

  6. Deb,
    I do not think the issue is God’s sovereignty. Sovereignty is power to do what one chooses to do; in other terms omnipotence. God clearly has all of the power to do whatever God chooses to do.

    The issue instead is the extent to which God uses the power or chooses to allow events to occur, whether there are spaces in God’s plan and purpose where God’s ultimate goal is better served by allowing humans choice, by allowing the natural laws God created to work without interfering in them, and/or by allowing sinful humans to affect the lives of others around them. In my view, it seems to fit God better that God allows these things, because otherwise God becomes the causal agent to great harm to many — God becomes an ogre who creates babies to be raped and murdered, as an example.

    I sometimes think of God’s plan as an ideal accompanied by a lot of what ifs, with the what ifs being what God will allow in the way of deviations from the ideal plan, and what God will do about those deviations to restore the path toward God’s ultimate goal for humanity. It is neither simplistic, nor demeaning of God, to allow God’s infinite capabilities to be used in having a master plan that encompasses trillions of variations in the details, as God seeks to inspire us to love God and to serve God out of our love.

  7. I find that many Christian blog owners are simply cowards or control freaks – not evil. Dee and Deb have more guts than most men. They are not afraid of a heated and spirited debate like the anti-SGM blog owners. Brent Detwiler is another one who controls and deletes posts. His latest blog post does not even allow comments.

    What are these coward control freaks so afraid of? Jesus NEVER walked away from a debate with the Pharisees, Sadducees, nor anyone else. He was a man’s man. He was not a wimp like these sorry blog anti-SGM blog owners.

  8. I just checked Burleson’s blog and he now does allow comments. but he didn’t for awhile. Excuse the awful typing…I love browsing with my iPad but not typing. All sorts of people limit and edit their blogs……it has nothing to do with being a Calvinist. It’s really a silly complaint.

  9. Dee,

    Thanks for the birthday wishes. Dinner at the Kanki was great!

    Guess what my family gave me… It’s white and fits in your hand. I don’t know how to use it yet, but since you have mastered it, I’m looking forward to learning all about it.

  10. Arce,

    Your point is well taken. Thanks!

    Shato,

    I used to be a fairly frequent commenter on Wade Burleson’s blog. He had a few commenters who became over the top confrontational, so he revamped his blog. Glad he enables comments again. He was one of the people who inspired Dee and me to start our own blog.

  11. Shato
    A bigger can do whatever she wants. However, there are many who limit the comments to carefully constructed yes commentary. Mahaney does not allow comments on his blog. Burleson was abused by some awful people that did not like his expose of the closed club leadership of the SBC. I have nevr seen such vitriol in my life. m
    Many bloggers, writing apologetics for Mahaney were startled by the comments they received. They are used to boring civilized discussions on parsing of vocabulary. It,s really hard when theology gets very real, down to nuts and bolts.
    I believe the evil my fellow bogged means is that the bad stuff that is present throughout the blogosphere in general. Not the Calvinistas.
    But, I shall make an observation. Calvinista control freaks are far more likely to limit discussion. It probably has something to do with sinfully expressing a differing opinion than them.

  12. Dee said, “Calvinista control freaks are far more likely to limit discussion. It probably has something to do with sinfully expressing a differing opinion than them.”

    YOU NAILED IT!

  13. I am quickly becoming a very corpulent fan of Donald Philip Veitch. :-)

    Been in SGM for 15 years. But I will not be a member of a church that will not trust it’s members with the truth. I will not be a member of a church that casts aside the pain and the suffering of so many people. There is no excuse. No polity; no scripture verse; no “interpretation of facts”, no earthly reason not even to save a job or a ministry that is worth pain and agony that have befallen these victims and their families. Do they even remotely fathom the horror of sexual abuse to children and their families. Does the “Whoever harms one of these little ones…” utterly escape them? What about families that have lost young children in tragic accidents, counseled not to seek outside help? SGM needs to drop everything and go and make this right. There needs to be no business as usual. There needs to be utter humility and a complete devotion to caring for these families. Take just a season and teach by doing, not preaching. Enough preaching.

    To Seneca and his post where he asked if I were to walk into a church; would I want to be told, “and there is Johnny, the child molester”, as the usher points to the person in the rows (I’m paraphrasing.) Seneca, as father, here is my answer. Put your ear up to the computer. Listen closely.

    “YES! YES! AND HELL YES!! PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY SHOW ME SO THAT I MAY NEVER ALLOW MY CHILDREN TO SUFFER SUCH DEBILITATING TERROR!”

  14. Argo,

    Donald Veitch has been vigilant in discovering the truth. I applaud him and hope he will keep digging and pursuing the Calvinistas.

  15. I don’t blame Brent for limiting his posts. He was answering the same questions over and over again, and the questions were kind of stupid, quite frankly. I agree that the blog owners are free to do as they will; I’m for using the delete button judiciously and rarely. However, in Brent’s case, if a pro-SGM/anti-Brent commenter is either too tired or too ADD to get it the first response…bleep bloop.

    I remember actually thinking to myself, ‘Brent needs to edit these blogs more’, that’s how asinine it was getting. My opinion.

  16. Argo, Brent Detwiler has turned out to be just another Calvinista control freak. It was not just pro-SGMers who were being deleted. Brent is quick to point the finger at C J but unwilling to talk about the log in his own eye. He is no better than the rest of the A-Team (apostolic team.

    Brent was “lording over those in his charge” just like the rest of the A- Team were, maybe even worse. He is a major league Calvinista control freak, just like the others. The only difference with Brent is his beef with C J. His SGM polity beliefs have not changed one iota. Brent is still SGM to the core. He is no different that he ever was. He is just as arrogant as ever. (I know – takes one to know one). So be it.

  17. Well…I cannot speak to Brent’s current heart. My assumption would be that he’s probably re-thinking his views on SMG polity, and (hopefully) feeling humbled and convicted about his role in creating the current SGM machine. I don’t know…you could be right, Nothing But the Truth. However, I don’t think that editing a blog or controling the content in the way he has amounts to being a Calvanista control freak. It’s possible, but Brent is working at a number of things, the blog being one, and I can see how constantly revisiting the same question over and over, or defending himself to people who’ve not read the docs could be time consuming and redundant.

    I will say that, Calvanista control freak or not, it’s obvious that Brent has done much to expose the hypocricy and fallibility of the thinking and organization Calvanista entities. And he has revealed the truth to thousands of people, like me, who used to be in the dark.

    If not for Brent, I would not have understood how rigid; how judgmental my views used to be. I would not have discovered this site, and I would not have ever learned all of the heart-piercing things I’ve learned here. God has used Brent to open my eyes and to see clearly all of the little things…the little nagging doubts and concerns I had for so many years in SGM that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Calvanista control freak or not, I thank God for Brent Detwiler.

    “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”
    Philippians 1:18

  18. Argo, if Brent’s docs and blog has helped you, that is wonderful. I do not want to make light of anything that the Lord uses to set people free.

  19. 1. The reading, research, meditation and deliberation continues. This is historic. The story continues to warrant evaluation.
    2. One volume has surfaced on the “Shepherding Movement” with secondary references. This gives a portal to the early years of PDI/SGM. Reviewing now. It is available online at: http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6GpBVoLKl80C&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=shepherding+movement&ots=DDtdADo00R&sig=i4ULx9vm7i4Swf82BqeS2wzWBug#v=onepage&q&f=false
    3. Also, Ambassadors of Reconciliation has issued a preliminary report at: http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/file.axd?file=2011/8/aor-proposal.pdf Interesting that Confessional and orthodox Lutherans are involved. This report warrants review.
    4. Yes, Mr. Challies was most premature, just like Mr. Ortlund, Mr. DeYoung, and Dr. Trueman. Ill-advised and premature. Not to mention Mr. Mohler and Dr. Duncan’s reactions.
    5. This much, Christ Jesus ain’t no fool and His Majesty gets it. His Majesty shall do all His good pleasure.
    6. Regards to all earnest readers, thinkers, and honest jurors in this inquiry.

  20. Donald,
    Thank you for the link to the AR review. I will read it thoroughly, but I’m anxious to hear your evaluation of it.
    Thanks again!

  21. Just to be fully accurate. We delete comments which appear to be SPAM. Either computer generated comments done to get someone to follow a link to another questionable site or a comment obviously trying to get someone to follow a link to buy the latest in medical miracles or similar such things.

    99% + of these are handled by an automated process we’ve set up but occasionally we have to smack one down by hand.

    We have also had a very few situations where people said they were being blocked from commenting but as best we could tell it was due to ad blocking software on THEIR computer and when they tried to post from another browser or without the ad blocker their comments went through.

    Now back to the original programming; Is God in Charge?

  22. ‘When someone like Rob Bell writes a book that is contrary to their theology, they don’t “leave it in the Lord’s hands, do they?”’

    Bravo, Deb! You nailed it right there.

    I read Tim’s post right after he posted the link on Twitter. I wanted to respond, but just couldn’t get a good angle on how to do so. Admittedly, I don’t really have a dog in this fight, so to speak.

    However… This had been “in the Lord’s hands” for years now. It took Brent to release the documents for something to actually happen! Does he really believe that when we see someone causing damage in the body of Christ we should just let it be? As another commenter pointed out, the apostle Paul didn’t see it that way.

    Why should we?

  23. Warwick,

    Glad you liked my remark. Tim Challies owes much of his livelihood to Mahaney and his circle of Calvinista friends. It is in his best interest to do all he can to restore CJ to his lofty position. Make no mistake, Challies’ defense of Mahaney will translate into $$$ in the future.

  24. Seneca/James

    I am afraid your cover is blown. I would suggest you rethink your strategy. It is difficult to maintain complete anonymity in this day and age. Please be kinder, especially to the wounded. And don’t use family names .

  25. Here is an interesting verse:

    1 Timothy 4:10 “… we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.”

    Especially believers??? How come it does not say “only believers”? Could it be that the Calvinistas have looked at their doctrine of election wrong all these years?

    Yes! God is Sovereign in Salvation, and He is the Savior of ALL PEOPLE – not just the elect!

  26. Mat,

    Glad you found the post of benefit. I’m so tired of these people playing games! They really need to grow up.

  27. “Misunderstandings of the Doctrine of Election”
    (excerpt from Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, pp. 674-79, Inter-Varsity Press, Zondervan Publishing House)

    “It seems best, for the previous four reasons, to reject the idea that election is based on God’s foreknowledge of our faith. We conclude instead that the reason for election is simple God’s sovereign choice – he “destined us in love to be his sons” (Eph. 1:5). God chose us simply because he decided to bestow his love upon us. It was not because of any foreseen faith or foreseen merit in us.

    This understanding of election has traditionally been called “unconditional election.” It is “unconditional” because it is not conditioned upon anything that God sees in us that makes us worthy of his choosing us.”

    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/misunderstandings.html

    Not a problem! God COULD save everyone but chooses to only save the elect. Everyone else goes to Hell in a handbasket. So then Jesus is NOT the Savior of the world, He is only the Savior of the elect and died only for the elect! ARE YOU SERIOUS?????

  28. Dee,

    Blogs exist for different reasons. Some people want to get their writings out there, but have no desire and/or time to respond. Perhaps they feel if someone really wants to respond they’ll write an email. Some blogs, like yours, were created with dialog in mind. I can understand why people wouldn’t want to deal with all the negativity and thinking they know everyone else’s motives. I’m not sure how patient I could be with it all. I think Kris, Guy, and Jim have done a pretty good job overall. Actually, I myself probably would have deleted the derogatory comments about ExCLCMom on the Survivor Blog as I thought they were uncalled for.

  29. Let me get this straight. God in His sovereignty chose for all people to be born in Adam. But God then chooses to send Jesus Christ as the Last Adam. So which Adam wins? Is the sin of the first Adam more encompassing, more influential, more dominant, more persuasive, etc, than the obedience unto death of the Last Adam? Does the sin of Adam, trump the perfect obedience of Christ for most of mankind? Do sin and Satan win over most people’s final destiny?

    Did I need to choose to be born in Adam? Did I need to believe in Adam? So is it easier to be in the first Adam than the Last Adam? So then which Adam is more powerful? Time to wake up to the truth here people!

  30. Shato, I think we all pretty much agree that people can do whatever they want with their blogs. But we can also gain insight into them as leaders when they delete negative comments asking reasonable questions or when they refuse to allow them. Over time, we get a feel for their censoring and know it is part of them crafting their public image. Those types of blogs simply become groupthink of the guru. Challies is like that. I read over there when he first got started. Blogging has made his career. He owes conference blogging business and book sales to his Reformed buddies.

    When they dare venture into the blogosphere to interact they no longer control the venue like they do with the pulpit and their own blog. That is why I linked to kinnon early on. You see what happens. All of a sudden, they are not the smartest guy in the room. If enough people figure that out, it could mean disaster for their careers. Even Josh finally hinted around that he might have been wrong about reading the blogs. So, they are sinful after all…They must control the message.

    So, no one disagrees that they can do whatever they want with their blog but we are also free to comment on how they manage them and the pattern of such. Things can get real uncomfortable for them when they come down off their perch and interact with the peasants. :o) The peasants, who are not drinking their koolaid, are smarter than they imagined.

  31. Romans 6:10 “For the death he died, he died to sin once for all…”

    1 John 2:2 “He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.”

    1 Corinthians 15:22 “For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ, all will be made alive.”

    Romans 11:32 “For God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all.”

    Psalm 136 “God’s mercy endures forever” (stated over 20 times in just that one Psalm!!!)

  32. “last I checked, Wade Burleson doesn’t allow comments either. Does that make him evil?”

    Overlooking the hyperbole in your statement, let’s take a look at what happened. Burleson used to get hundreds of comments per thread when he was actively blogging about SBC or doctrinal issues. Now he gets a few per thread ‘when’ he opens comments. I bet if you looked at his stat counter, readers went down drastically over time when he stopped comments. And I am sure he does not care a bit about that, either. He now blogs mostly about history. I check in when someone sends me an interesting link. But, like many others, I stopped visting several times per week as I did when comments were open.

    But I like to interact. I am not real interested in what most of the guru’s have to say. What they teach on something is most likely tied to their image and income since they are “professional Christians”. Wade put his gravitas on the line to blog about unsavory happenings in the SBC. He showed much courage.

    The really interesting and new thing about Wade’s blog back then was that the peasants were finally welcome to interact in real time with many pastors, outside a church venue. They were just bloggers, too, in that forum.

    This was new stuff back then. And you could really get a feel for what was going on in their minds. And it was not good in many instances. It was a learning lab and one of the places one could really get a feel for what was standing in pulpits in the SBC. A few were really great, btw. But not famous.

    Now, when folks ask me about the SBC, I send them links to certain SBC pastor blogs so they can get a feel. Some of these guys are not as wise as the guru’s who protect their image at all costs by NOT interacting (fighting) with each other in public. But people can get a feel for what issues or positions are important in the SBC by reading the pastors interact with each other. If their congregations ever get wind of these blogs, they will probably stop interacting on them. :o)

    The irony of these pastor type blogs is they spend a lot of time analyzing what the guru’s are saying. Funny how they have to constantly interpret what the ‘guru really meant’ for everyone when the guru is PAID to teach such things and be understandable. :o)

    But now, after years of reading the gurus online, watching pastors cudgel each other on blogs, I would much rather know what Cindy, Dee, Deb, Junk, NLR, Evie, Paula at fether.net, etc (and many more) think of a situation or doctrinal issue. They do not have their livihood and image tied up in it. They are not “professional Christians” who make a living from the Gospel or think of themselves as “specially anointed” over others but simply part of the priesthood who searches the scriptures as Bereans and can nuance issues while interacting. They do not think I am sinning when I disagree with them. They have nothing to gain or lose from our interacting. Reminds me more of 1 Corin 14 ekklesia!

    I love this blog post polemic:

    http://kinnon.tv/2007/03/the_people_form-3.html

    The People Formally Known as the Congregation

  33. Hebrews 8:11-12 “They will not teach every man his fellow citizen, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness. I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more.”

  34. Dee and Deb,

    Stay safe down in NC! I really would love to go rent a room on the OBX and watch the storm!

  35. Hebrews 9:12 “He entered ONCE FOR ALL into the most holy place, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, and so He Himself secured eternal redemption.”

  36. Shato,

    My husband and I were planning to spend the weekend at our condo located in Atlantic Beach. In fact, we was supposed to be there right now…

  37. Romans 6:7 “For he who has paid the penalty of death stands absolved from his sin.” Weymouth New Testament

    Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death..”

    1 Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

  38. “Things can get real uncomfortable for them when they come down off their perch and interact with the peasants. :o ) The peasants, who are not drinking their koolaid, are smarter than they imagined.”

    Well said, Lin!

  39. Romans 6:7 For the man who has so died has been pronounced righteous and released from sin. (20th Century New Testament)

    Romans 6:7 For, he that hath died, hath become righteously acquitted from his sin. (Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible)

    1Co 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
    1Co 15:43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
    1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
    1Co 15:45 Thus also it is written, “The first man Adam became a living soul;” the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

  40. Deb,

    Sorry you are missing out on your weekend away. Probably won’t see much of the storm where I live in VA…we are just west of the projected path. I have family in Raleigh and the Outer Banks. Tried to get the stubborn ones to leave the OBX but they won’t.

  41. Shato,

    I’ll be praying for your family in the Outer Banks! Hopefully, it won’t come as far inland as Raleigh, but I remember Hurricane Fran well as I’m sure your relatives do if they were living here then. It looked like a war zone…

  42. RE GuyBehindtheCurtain on Fri, Aug 26 2011 at 02:33 am:

    “…Now back to the original programming; Is God in Charge?…”

    I gotta chime in with Arce on this one. Maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Of course God is in charge, any deity who can create something from nothing (void, not even Cartesian space as we know it) is definately in charge.

    I think that rather than just Is?, How is? would be a better question. Is this in-chargeness a rigidly scripted blueprint settled beforehand? Or does it take the form of big giant roulette wheel (sometimes ya win & sometimes ya lose) set in motion at the fall of humankind by the hater(Satan) of humankind?

    In my opinion, the books of Job & Ecclesiastes lend better support for the latter contention. If readers are more comfortable with the former model, fine, who am I to say your belief system is wrong?

  43. Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people.”

  44. For those wondering about the “eternal fire” and the “Lake of Fire”, here is what Mark 9:49 says: “Everyone must be seasoned with fire.”

    1 Corinthians 3:15 “If anyone’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, but so as through fire.”

    God’s fire is a refining fire. Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. God’s fire will burn away the chaff and the dross.

  45. Deb,

    Thanks for praying for them!

    They live in a low lying fishing area, not a touristy area. Luckily they at least left their town for Manteo.

  46. Colossians 1:19 – 20 “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in the Son, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself by making peace through the blood of his cross — through Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”

  47. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death..”

    1 Corinthians 5:14 – “. ..We have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died.” (NET Bible)

    Romans 6:7 “For the man who has so died has been pronounced righteous and released from sin.” (20th Century New Testament)

  48. 1 Peter 3:18 “Because Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.”

  49. Isaiah 57:16 “For I will not give punishment for ever, or be angry without end…” (Bible in Basic English)

  50. Or just the parts, taken out of context, can be misinterpreted to support your odd theological position?

  51. Is God’s word causing you some discomfort Arce? Is it messing with your culture?

  52. Arce, I think you are smart enough to know that the context confirms these verses. The context will not contradict the verses it contains! I quoted the verses, so go look at the context. I have quoted without ant commentary. God’s word stands all by itself with no help needed from me. I have quoted numerous witnesses from Scripture. That is God’s word – not mine.

  53. John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

  54. Tit 3:4 3 “But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us…”

  55. Romans 5:20-21 “Where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more,
    so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

  56. NBAT – I’m in agreement with alot of what you say. Divine Love can’t be less powerful than human rebellion – free will is not the cause but the manifestation effect of Divine purpose.

    However you do a lot more bible quoting than I am used to!!

  57. Hi Dylan,

    Thank you for your very kind comment. Here is one reason why I quote so much Scripture: Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

    Most people have not seen the Biblical revelation of the complete victory of Jesus Christ. They believe Satan will be defeated in the end, but not really. They believe that sin will be defeated in the end, bot not really. They believe that evil will be defeated in the end, but not really. Satan and evil will be alive and well forever in Hell, tormenting those who rejected Christ (according to most Christians).

    So I want to flood people’s hearts, minds, and souls with the word of God that is sharper than a two edged sword. God’s word is powerful. The more we know it ( the truth of it) the better we will be. If we are in error, then error brings bondage. It is the TRUTH that sets us free, and God’s word, rightfully divided, is the truth. The Holy Spirit is the one who shows us the truth.

    I was in gross error about many doctrines. God in His grace has removed many of my blinders. I do not say that to boast. I am just very grateful to be set free from the bondage of the errors I held. (Like the many false teachings at SGM)

    This blog is about finding the truth and revealing it. Many do not think I have the truth, but that is ok. That is another reason I quote so many Scriptures. That way they can argue with God about it. God’s word will always win in the end. His PURE word.

    Thanks again for your very kind comment.

  58. Hi NBTT,
    I do not intend this to be insulting at all, so please don’t take it this way. But I am struggling to figure out what your point is. Could you clarify your position? Are you saying that people don’t need to believe in Christ to be saved? That simply the act of existing is enough for one to be saved; that they don’t need any saving faith? I’m thinking that’s what your saying, but I want to be sure.
    Thanks,
    Argo

  59. Hi Argo,

    Thanks for the question. First let me say that the Bible promises that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father (Phil 2:10-11 and Romans 14:11). Also Rev 5:13 shows everyone worshiping God. Unsaved people do not worship God.

    Jesus died for the sins of the world. That is true whether someone believes it or not. Jesus as the Last Adam, defeated the sin of the first Adam and replaced it with His perfect obedience unto death on the cross. That is also true whether anyone believes it or not. I did not need to believe in the first Adam to be born in Adam. I did not need to choose Adam follow Adam to be born in Adam.

    Jesus said “You (plural) MUST BE (passive voice) born again. My Greek grammar says that “dei” (must be) means “inevitable and unavoidable”. Also, it is a God ordained MUST. In other words, God must (has to) do it, and He will do it! We believers are but the first fruits of God’s redemptive plan. The elect are only the beginning of God’s redemption. 1 Timothy 4:10 says the God is the Savior of all people, especially believers (not ONLY believers!)

    Romans 8:21 promises that the entire creation will be set free from it’s bondage to corruption, into the glorious liberty that we Christians now have. Death is NOT the end of God’s redemptive plan. God’s mercy endures forever, not just till we die.

    There is a present salvation from the bondage of sin that requires belief. He who does not believe will perish in his sins. But there is no more sin in the resurrection. Everyone will be restored to the Father and all will be sin free. Romans 6:7 says “He who has died has been freed from sin.” The resurrected person will be 100% free from sin (1 Cor 15:42ff).

  60. How come God never warned Adam and Eve about this terrible place called Hell? Why didn’t God ever tell them about any AFTER death punishments? All of their punishments had to do with this life. Not one mention of any post death punishments. Now why is that? Did God forget to mention the “eternal torment in Hell” part?

  61. Hi NBTT,

    Thanks for that explanation. I appreciate your extremely thorough response, and your time.

    I have a couple of questions for you. What would be your take on the verses were Jesus commands people to repent, that they would be saved? Surely he meant in this life. What about the verses where Jesus explains that it’s better for part of there body (hand and eye) to be removed than the whole body cast into hell? Does this not speak to the damnation for some (e.g.those who continue to allow themselves to fall into persistent sin, and do not repent)? What about those who commit the unpardonable sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit? Would Jesus have mentioned this were there not eternal consequences?

    Thanks.

  62. If Hell is the payment for sin, and Jesus paid for our sins, how come Jesus did not go to Hell for our sins. Jesus DIED for our sins, He did not go to Hell for our sins. God told Adam and Eve they would surely DIE – not go to Hell. The wages of sin is DEATH – not Hell. He that believes in Him shall not PERISH – not “shall not be tormented in Hell.” Wide is the path to DESTRUCTION – not “wide is the path to eternal torment in Hell.”

    Genesis 2:187 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely DIE.”

    James 1:15 “Then lust when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth DEATH.”

    Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is DEATH”

    1 John 5:16 “There is sin that leads to DEATH”

    Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of DEATH.”

    Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to DESTRUCTION.”

    John 3:16 “Whoever believes in him should not PERISH.”

  63. Hi Argo,

    I did not see your comment before I posted. I had not refreshed my screen. That last post was not in answer to your question.

    All of the Gehenna warnings by Jesus had to do with the death penalty or being stoned or killed by someone. The way the body was disposed after stoning, hanging, crucifying, etc, was to burn the body in the fires of the garbage dump. Criminals were never given a proper burial.

    “Where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” is a description of the Gehenna garbage dump from Isaiah 66. “It is better to cut off your hand” means that someone could kill you for stealing from them and then dispose of your body in the Gehenna where it would be burnt beyond recognition and eaten by the worms.

    Remember when they were going to stone the woman caught in adultry? What would they do with the dead body after? Gehenna!

  64. Also, look very very carefully at all of the “Hell” (Gehenna) verses. Not one of them say one single word about rejecting Christ! NOT ONE!

    The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit can only be done by Satan himself. He is the only one who can masquerade as an angel of light and try to imitate the works of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was explaining to the Pharisees that His power was NOT from Satan, and that Satan does not cast out Satan. That passage has been misread and misinterpreted for years. No man can blaspheme the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees did not even know who the Holy Spirit was, so how could they blaspheme Him??? They could not.

  65. Lets look closely at Matt 10: 28 “And do not fear those who KILL the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can DESTROY both soul and body in Hell (Gehenna).

    In Jewish understanding, if someone was KILLED, their body would still be able to be resurrected. But if your body was burned and destroyed, how can it be resurrected? (again, in Jewish understanding). Their soul will no longer be able to be reunited with their bodies at the resurrection because their body would not exist. If you got killed, there is a still a body.

    Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Christ. If not, it would have been destroyed in Gehenna. Body preparation was very important for the Jews because of their hope and belief in the resurrection. There was no cremation for Jews because of this belief. Jesus is appealing to their understanding here. It has nothing whatsoever to do with any eternal torment in Hell.

  66. One more note on Matthew 10:28.

    Luke 19:10 says “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The Greek word for “lost” in this verse, is the same exact Greek word translated as “destroyed” in Matthew 10:28. Strong’s 622 – appolumi.

  67. NBTT

    Could you try to consolidate you responses? Sometimes people feel intimidated if someone is constantly posting frequently and profusely. I want to encourage all people to feel a part of the discussion.

  68. Hi Dee,

    I try to do that, but then I think of other considerations later on. I try to answer as thoroughly as possible without being too long winded. I will try and do better.

    Isn’t there a delete or edit option on here?

  69. Where did everyone go? Certainly I have not been THAT intimidating. Maybe they went to examine all those Scriptures I posted. Now they are trying to figure out how they could have been SO wrong for SO long! :-)

  70. Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    Rev 20:11-15 (ESV)

  71. Jonathan,

    Thanks for those verses. Let us examine them very closely.

    The end of verse 12 – “and the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.”

    Now the end of verse 13 – “and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.”

    Are people saved based on “what they have done”? Are we saved by our good works? Any mention here of being judge according to Christ? Any mention here of accepting or rejecting Christ? Any mention here of the cross, the blood of Christ, the death of Christ, the new covenant in His blood, redemption, atonement, etc?
    Any mention here of being crucified with Christ, dying with Christ, being born again, etc.

    The sheep and the goats of Matthew 25 were also being judged according to what they had done (or not done) like feeding the poor, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned. That is a works based judgement – not a judgement about salvation. Again, not one word about the cross of Jesus Christ and His perfect sacrifice and obedience unto death.

    Also, the Lake of Fire is the second DEATH. 1 Corinthians 15:26 says the last enemy to be destroyed is DEATH.

  72. Jonathan

    Forgive my denseness but I have been going at a whirlwind the last few days. I love that verse but would love to know what was in your mind when you placed it here. There are about 7 major theological points in these verses and I want to address the point that you are making.

  73. dee, is Jonathan a regular on here, or another drive by?

    I believe it is obvious that Jonathan’s concentration was on ONE theological point – that those who were not written in the book of life go to the Lake of Fire (mistakenly by most thought to be Hell). It was an attempt to show me the error of my ways, and I appreciate that. Without dialogue and hard questions, how are we to learn. Most “churches” today do not allow such dialogue. That is why your blog (and some others) are so very important. People need a place where they can ask any questions they have or voice any doctrine they have.

    Thank you once again for allowing us all this freedom. It is GREATLY appreciated.