Why Would an Orthodox, Gospel, Holy Spirit Filled Theologian Like Francis Schaeffer Abuse His Wife?

"The problem with depicting abusers as full-time monsters is that when a person is actually experiencing abuse in their own life, they'll think "oh but he's the sweetest guy most of the time so he can't be an abuser " or "but he's not ALWAYS horrible, he's usually amazing, so he's not an abuser", and they'll make the mistake of thinking they mustn't really be being abused when they actually are.” ― Miya Yamanouchi link

In the span of about a week, TWW received two emails that discussed some pretty serious sins and the lack of response by the churches involved. Both churches have pastors that most every reader here would immediately know. One women said, "I bet you don't believe me. No one does." I answered, "I have no reason, at this point, not to believe you."

Why did I answer like this? It is because of this blog. We have posted story after story of serious sin committed by Christian leaders. When we do, we inevitably get pushback. Some claim we are lying. Others say they go to his church and just *know* he couldn't do anything like that. Others say we just shouldn't talk about it because it is gossip and it hurts the church when these things get out.

It is next to impossible to keep sins of the pastor celebrities hidden because they exist in the public eye. Most of them will make some sort of statement to the fact that "I am not perfect" but they never tell us what they mean by that. They could simply mean that they disobey speed limits or overeat. But they could also mean that they molest kids. When the bad thing that do is finally revealed, their followers often state "Well, they said they weren't perfect."

As I take a long view of Scripture, it seems to me that serious sin is part and parcel of the lives of all Christians. I don't really want to get into a discussion of whether *so and so* is or is not a Christian. In the end, it is up to God to make that decision. Can we assume that because someone is a well known theologian type Christian, that they are somehow less sinful than me, the *Joe Average* Christian?

When I first became a Christian, I was encouraged to read Francis Schaeffer's books. His view on abortion had a significant effect on my pro-life stance. In my mind, he was one of those super Christian celebrities who really *got* the Bible. He believed that the Bible should influence society and culture. This influenced me to become involved in politics until the last decade or so when I realized that it wasn't my hill to die on. But, Schaeffer was always high on my list of go to authors as a young Christian.

Then, today, I learned that Francis Schaeffer abused his wife, Edith. He had a terrific temper and would hit her and throw things against walls.

Francis Schaeffer allegedly physically abused his wife, Edith.

In 2013, Christianity Today published Remembering Edith Schaeffer, the Evangelical in Pearls and Chanel No. 5.

Of course, Edith didn't really let us in on the secrets of the Schaeffer family; her son, Frank, did that later in his books Crazy for God and Sex, Mom, and God, telling us of Francis' fits of abusive rage and apparent sex addiction, Edith's periods of manic activity and her obsession with maintaining the impression of her family's perfection, and his own drug use and sexual activity with the pretty hippie girls who dropped by L'Abri, all of which his parents knew about and carefully cloaked. Even as I would've been helped in my early adulthood by knowing that she wasn't really that perfect, I had to sympathize with my dad's response to Crazy for God: "If for some reason you need to write a tell-all about me, could you please wait until I'm dead?"

Edith was from a different time; a time when people didn't air dirty laundry and where maintaining outward appearances was considered an important part of being a good "witness for Jesus." I will not defend her self-abnegating vision of Christian womanhood (to the point that she seems to have tolerated abuse), nor the fact that she presented a picture of family bliss that was not, according to her children, at all accurate.

Their children appeared to take second place to Francis and Edith's ministry.

Christianity Today published a two part series called The Dissatisfaction of Francis Schaeffer, Part 1 and Part 2

These may have been the hardest years of marriage for the Schaeffers, both of whom were extraordinarily intense, work-centered personalities. Edith was by nature proud and competitive, and Francis had for a long time struggled with a plant-throwing, pot-smashing temper. Stormy sessions between them were not infrequent. 

…Edith also took up her typewriter, publishing L'Abri in 1969. In the mid-1970s, she wrote a regular column for Christianity Today, and by 1981 had completed a total of eight books on family life and devotional topics that had sold over 1 million copies. In her writing she often voiced opposition to "women's liberation" and the trend toward two-career families. This latter was curious, given that Francis's wider ministry commenced for her a new full-time career as a writer and lecturer. Meanwhile, 11-year-old Franky was trundled off to English boarding school.

Francis and Edith Schaeffer were Calvinist in their perspective.

According to their son, Frank, in Sex, Mom & God

Frank indeed grew up in a strange world.  Growing up the son of hardline Presbyterian missionaries in a missionary chalet and spiritual-seeker-haven in Switzerland would have to have been a very unique experience (though it must be added that many, many people count their visits and time at L’Abri as seminal moments in their own Christian journeys…and I do wish I had been old enough to visit as well).  As Francis and Edith grew more popular, Frank was left alone for long periods of time as his parents went on their speaking tours.  He witnessed a double-life in his parents as well that scarred him deeply.  Francis had a terrible temper and would hit and throw objects at Edit

In 2014, their son Frank wrote My Parents Stayed Married Because my Father Tearfully Apologized for Hitting Mom and then Worked to Curb his Violent Male Dominant (Calvinist-Fed) Temper

Eventually Francis apologized to Edith for hitting her (it took years) and worked on controlling his temper. Apparently this meant giving up on his idea that men were the head of the household, according to his son.

My parents gradually learned to ignore the biblical teaching about men being the “head of the home” to our benefit. 

Did Francis Schaeffer's treatment of Edith have an effect on today's Calvinist teachers?

We are all aware of John Piper's infamous video in which he said that women should endure abuse for a season. Even his attempts at clarification were not terribly helpful. I wondered if John Piper ever listened to Francis Schaeffer. Apparently he heard Schaeffer speak at Wheaton College in the 1960s.

In 2009, John Piper recommended the following post at Crossway Francis Schaeffer and a World in Desperate Need.

Thus Schaeffer wrote, “The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually or corporately, tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than the Spirit. The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them.” “If we do not want to waste our lives,” Schaeffer continued, “then we must understand the importance of having a humble, quiet heart and the power of the Holy Spirit.”

…Schaeffer was not a flawless man, but we can benefit greatly today from his commitment to historic Christian orthodoxy, and for his compassion to reach this desperately lost generation with the only hope there is — the gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word, lived out across the whole spectrum of life, in compassionate response to the degeneracy of the world and the tragic consequences this has in the lives of people everywhere

The article ends by saying this.

I would commend this sermon by Francis Schaeffer as one that has profoundly shaped the work of Crossway and that has likewise provided a frequent checkpoint and challenge to me personally — to do “the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way,” in the power of the Spirit rather than the power of the flesh, and for God’s glory alone.

But in spite of this theology, he beat his wife!!!!

Sure, his orthodox teachings were fine and he wanted to save the lost but he was a terror at home, raging and throwing things at the wall while smacking Edith. Is this a normal response of those who have the power of the Holy Spirit? Did Schaeffer's theology, so admired by today's Calvinists, make a difference in the personal lives of these men.

I have a theological dilemma, folks, and I need your help in figuring it out.

How could Schaeffer abuse his wife while functioning under the power of the Holy Spirit?

Since Schaeffer was a Calvinist, it is only fair that we view the Christian life through his lens to attempt to understand his actions. 

Calvinists believe that when God, via His Holy Spirit, calls His elect to come to Him, they must respond in the affirmative since he is part of the Godhead. This is irresistible Grace, the letter *I* in the TULIP.

Irresistible Grace:
When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that "it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy"; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s. 
“All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out," (John 6:37).

Now, all Christians are given the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion. This is the same Holy Spirit that calls the elect to God. This is irresistible Holy Spirit now dwelling in the lives of the elect.

A number of the gospel™ boys recommended Jen Wilkin's post Failure Is Not a Virtue at The Gospel Coalition website. here is her construct.

If our hearts have been transformed by the Holy Spirit, we can obey so says the Calvinists at TGC.

She starts off OK, stating that our hearts are now different because of the Spirit.

Interestingly, Jesus battled legalism in a different way than the celebratory failurist does. Rather than tossing out the Law or devaluing obedience to it, he called his followers to a deeper obedience (Matthew 5:17-48) than the behavior modification the Pharisees prized. He called for obedience in motive as well as in deed, the kind of godly obedience that is impossible for someone whose heart has not been transformed by the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit

We must stop disobeying and begin obeying because the gospel gives freedom to obey so they say.

She has switched from the Holy Spirit to *the gospel.*

The gospel grants both freedom from the penalty of sin and freedom to begin to obey (Rom 6:16). And what are we to obey? The Law that once gave death now gives freedom. God's Word teaches us that behavior modification should absolutely follow salvation. It just occurs for a different reason than it does in the life of the unbeliever. Modified behavior reflects a changed heart. When Peter says we have spent enough time living as the pagans do, surely he means that it is time to stop disobeying and begin obeying

How does this work for us? Through Biblical lists and Christian leaders according to TGC.

Earnest Christians look to their church leaders and ask, “Teach me to walk in his ways.” We owe them an answer beyond, “Fail and repent.” We owe them, “This is the way, walk in it.” This way is often delineated by lists—a list of ten don'ts in Exodus 20, a list of eight do's in Matthew 5, a list of works of the flesh (Galatians 5:22-23) and spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) in Galatians 5, and so on. 

Wait, where did the Holy Sprit go? Is the Holy Spirit ineffectual in causing us to obey? Is that why we need lists?

If the Holy Spirit  is effectual in calling us to Christ, why is it not effectual in stopping men like Schaeffer from abusing their wives? Surely Schaeffer knew all of the lists given by Wilkins. He knew all of the great Christian leaders of his time as well. So, why wasn't knowledge of Scripture, orthodox doctrine and a zeal for God not enough to stop a man like Schaeffer from abusing Edith?

What is the difference between the Holy Spirit and the gospel in Wilkin's treatise? 

Here is the list from Galatians 5:22-23. Is the Holy Spirit effectual in helping us do these things? How effectual? When does it decide to let us attempt do good on our own as opposed to helping us do it? If I pray for all of these fruits each day, whey doesn't the Holy Spirit guarantee that I can do it?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

Why do I ask these questions? The more I see the leaders fail in spectacular ways: adultery, pedophilia, domestic violence, child abuse, embezzlement, etc. I wonder what went wrong? Does being *orthodox* in one's theology means anything when it comes to sinful behavior?

I want to hear from you since I do not have any pat answers. I really, really want to know why the Holy Spirit is sometimes effectual but not effectual in stopping supposed Christian orthodox theologians and leaders who know all about the lists from abusing their spouses.

I think I would rather have seen a world without the works of Francis Schaeffer if it would have prevented him from abusing Edith.

 

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Comments

Why Would an Orthodox, Gospel, Holy Spirit Filled Theologian Like Francis Schaeffer Abuse His Wife? — 807 Comments

  1. Thank you for this honest, brave post.
    I think I have at sometime heard some of this about the Schaeffers, but how sad to see their sins.

  2. I want to hear from you since I do not have any pat answers. I really, really want to know why the Holy Spirit is sometimes effectual but not effectual in stopping supposed Christian orthodox theologians and leaders who know all about the lists from abusing their spouses.

    A friend and I were discussing this last night, and I have been contemplating it all day.

    Right now, the conclusion I come to is that trying to be obedient will always fail. And trying to only think in theology will fail, too.

    Surrender is the first step. And that means being honestly willing to do whatever God wants us to do. I don’t think He usually tells us what that is, which makes it thousands of times more difficult, but the reason is that we’ll probably stop surrendering and become prideful.

    We have to seek who God is, not just what He wants from us. I also don’t think God makes us instantly perfect on purpose, so we’ll keep turning to Him. And while reading modern books on theology and faith has worth, it’s not seeking God from the source, and actually listening to Him.

  3. What about Martin Luther? He is another great theologian who did and said some awful things. Yet God definitely used him for good.

    I don’t know. We aren’t robots. That is why I can’t buy rigid Calvinism. We have real choice and power to resist. God is not the author of evil, which includes the abuse of Edith Schaeffer.

    I was sad to read this about Dr. Francis Schaeffer. His works were very influential in my life and choice to go to Carleton College plus Yale Divinity School afterwards. Besides, I even attended a private school for a few years named after them–i.e. Schaeffer Academy.

    Ultimately, I believe it is a mystery. Calvinism tries to erase that mystery with certainty that just isn’t there. Best to exhibit humility and say, “I don’t know how that is possible.” Humans have free will, AND God is Sovereign. How that all precisely works out is beyond human understanding, IMO.

  4. Dee, you have picked a scab for me!
    I have read one reformed pastor who you have cited positively on this blog say that if one is truly a Christian you could not be an abuser and if you are an abuser, you cannot be a Christian. FULL STOP!
    When I pointed out to him in comments on his blog that I am sure that he would agree that slavery as practiced in the America was abusive. Being as venerated Calvinists Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield were slave owners and proponents of slavery, they could not be Spirit filled Christians.
    No, he could not agree to that. He explained that was an isolated incident. HA! Tell that to the slaves…
    The point I had been trying to make and he refused to recognise, is that Christians are fully capable of being outrageous, hypocritical sinners despite the pleading of the Spirit. Our hearing is highly dependent on what it will cost us to hear and obey. Secondly, popular culture and indeed Christian culture understands things differently depending on the time and place. Slavery, being a prime example.

  5. My parents gradually learned to ignore the biblical teaching about men being the “head of the home” to our benefit.

    That is the crux of the matter imo. The Calvinist emphasis on the word “head” is often accompanied by expected behaviors that may appeal to those who have a propensity toward those behaviors; i.e. boss, decision-maker, obedience-enforcer, etc. They have, in actuality, received permission to adopt those types of behaviors as expected of that “role.” (lovingly, of course) 🙁

  6. Didn’t John Stott say that Christianity’s problem was it was wide not deep? The celebrity pastor/teacher/theologian combined with blogs, websites, and conferences may be one of the most damaging things that has happened to the church in the West. Sitting under the preached word of the local pastor is minimized because you are either expected to get your spiritual growth at the events or your pastor is supposed to gain all of his knowledge on spiritual growth from these same places. People are sinners and in all times some sins have been overlooked where in other times they were not. I mean how could men of God condone American slavery? Yet they did.
    Shaffer clearly felt shame for what he did but he found that he couldn’t really control his anger. Many Calvinists say they believe in Total Depravity but I wonder if they really do? Whether believer or non believer we all have propensity to behave in heinous ways. But if you have a system that never takes into account Romans 7 (I know lip service is given about it but…) it seems that what happens is you can’t admit on going sin or sinful desire because then one of two things are going on 1. Your system is wrong 2. You aren’t saved. I am learning more about the Reformed tradition and I wish so badly it’s origins could be recovered from the YRR who took over the conference circuit and behave as if they recovered the Reformation truths 12 years ago.
    I’ve noticed now some are starting to capitalize on Luther and have Lutheranish conferences. I am hoping the Lutheran church (think LCMS or AALC) doesn’t go down the road the Reformed went down… stay faithful to the word, preach, teach, and evangelize locally and then use your money for missions instead of going to 10 conferences a year.

  7. Dee! I finally watched Spotlight on the bus back home today. I’ve also been watching Leah Remini on Scientology religiously (no pun intended). I was also here in Dallas when the Karen Hinckley story. People thought the eeeevil atheists were ready to march on Flower Mound and frog march Matt Chandler to the torture rack. “They just hate him because he’s such a great preacher!” If a person or an institution becomes seen as great, important, and crucial to a movement, it just takes one person to figure out they’re above the law. He did it because he got away with it.

    Give up on understanding Jen Wilkin. No one does. It’s all vague descriptions of an enlightened state of mind that people just interpret to mean what they want it to mean. And it’s not you who gets to decide how enlightened your state of mind is, it’s this guy: http://www.thevillagechurch.net/about/staff/member/600054/

  8. @ Loren Haas:
    I saw that exchange. It got me thinking as well.

    Clearly, Scripture teaches us to judge fruit of leaders. It talks about how if we persist in sin, then we do not know Jesus (I John 3:6). When the fruit is not aligned with the Holy Spirit, I do think we have enough verses to suggest healthy doubt or skepticism regarding the individual’s salvation. If not that minimally, then all those verses talking about judging by fruit and not living in ongoing sin are ultimately pointless, IMO.

    Yet, I agree. The final decision about eternal destination belongs to God alone.

  9. Didn’t John Stott say that Christianity’s problem was it was wide not deep? The celebrity pastor/teacher/theologian combined with blogs, websites, and conferences may be one of the most damaging things that has happened to the church in the West. Sitting under the preached word of the local pastor is minimized because you are either expected to get your spiritual growth at the events or your pastor is supposed to gain all of his knowledge on spiritual growth from these same places. People are sinners and in all times some sins have been overlooked where in other times they were not. I mean how could men of God condone American slavery? Yet they did.
    Shaffer clearly felt shame for what he did but he found that he couldn’t really control his anger. Many Calvinists say they believe in Total Depravity but I wonder if they really do? Whether believer or non believer we all have propensity to behave in heinous ways. But if you have a system that never takes into account Romans 7 (I know lip service is given about it but…) it seems that what happens is you can’t admit on going sin or sinful desire because then one of two things are going on 1. Your system is wrong 2. You aren’t saved. I am learning more about the Reformed tradition and I wish so badly it’s origins could be recovered from the YRR who took over the conference circuit and behave as if they recovered the Reformation truths 12 years ago.
    I’ve noticed now some are starting to capitalize on Luther and have Lutheranish conferences. I am hoping the Lutheran church (think LCMS or AALC) doesn’t go down the road the Reformed went down… stay faithful to the word, preach, teach, and evangelize locally and then use your money for missions instead of going to 10 conferences a year.

  10. “Earnest Christians look to their church leaders and ask, “Teach me to walk in his ways.” “–Jen Wilkin.
    +++++++++++++++++

    good grief, do earnest christians really ask this??

    to be an ‘earnest christian’ means to turn off your acquired knowledge, understanding & deductive reasoning skills in exchange for adopting the posture of brain dead helpless moron?

    i’ve known some church leaders who were fabulous human beings and some who were immature, ego-inflated schmucks — but none of them understood any more than i did or didn’t on ‘how to walk in His ways’.

    were i or anyone to ask jen wilkin, TGC, or any professional christian this silly question, all we would get would be lists. might as well add ‘clap 3 times & spin around’. dead data warmed over, picked off the pile of used up, dried up christian ideas.

    but really, it’s common sense heavily weighed down with all manner of convoluted christianese.

    i mean, ask a mindless question, be prepared for a mindless answer.

  11. “I have a theological dilemma, folks, and I need your help in figuring it out.
    How could Schaeffer abuse his wife while functioning under the power of the Holy Spirit?”

    I don’t really separate “flesh/spirit” as if we are really two different beings in one. That is the dualism I find so frustrating in large swaths of Christendom.

    I can understand rage and even acting on it. What I can’t understand is perpetually hiding it to prop up a Christian image for a following. That is the part that bothers me because that is the decision that actually perpetuates the problem. Would there be no eventual Holy Spirit conviction that one is a public fraud for Jesus? Would it not be better to say, I am a fraud and stepping down. Don’t follow me. I have abused my wife in a rage fit.

    From what I read on this, the anger continued for years. Anywho, I have no answer except I have been done with tge whole spiritual guru/leader thing for quite a while now. Big time. The idea one can physically harm others, use them for personal gain, narcissistic supply or sexual gratification while supposedly modeling truth of Christ —wears me out. I know agnostics who have more integrity than that.

  12. Dee,
    Look at David and Peter ( from the Bible)!
    If history tells us anything, any man( uses the word “man” to represt humans) is capable of great evil, no matter what their belief system.
    The arogance of the current crop of fundy, evangelical, and Neo-Calvinist leaders, just underscores this point. I have very good Jewish friends and i do not mention Martin Luther around them!
    I wish i had an answer to your post, but if i had a simple answer, then i would just be another example of the arogant current crop of leaders!!
    I am personally still hurting ( mainly angry) about seeing the face of my 7th grade teacher as a convicted pedo… growing up with the arrogance of the fundy school and teaching, and then seeing his sick face convicted 23 years later makes me want to throw-up…. why didn’t the Holy Spirit stop that monster so he did not molest more kids….
    The arrogance of all my school leaders worried about us kids listening to rock music with a pedo in our midst!

  13. Haven’t read the earlier replies, just wanted to chime in that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not an “it” as written in this post. 🙂

  14. I am perplexed by this as well. I am hesitant to post on my blog or on Facebook about my own spiritual journey because I fail so often! One of the best books I’ve ever read is The Critical Journey by Hagberg and Guelich. It is about the journey of faith over time. I’m convinced that many of our Christian leaders are still in Stage 3, which is a very “black and white” and “works oriented” stage. It’s getting through the “Wall” in Stage 4, which many people never do, which brings someone true spiritual growth. The thing is that you have to engage The Wall, which is some life changing event, like illness, temptation, etc. This is really not a great explanation, I know. My point is that people are coming into Christian leadership without much Christian experience. Many of those who have lived the Christian life for a long time may still have not successfully engaged “The Wall”; they are living a legalistic life instead of taking hold of the grace that is necessary to get through whatever The Wall(s) is in their life. Anyway, read the book. It has helped me understand my own spiritual journey as well as give other people grace in theirs.

  15. @ Divorce Minister:
    I don’t think it needs to be about judging salvation but we are able, hopefully, to recognize rotten and good fruit. That is the problem with having spiritual gurus– one only knows their crafted public/ stage persona. They don’t really know them at all. That might be a sign of our times. People don’t even expect to know their pastor personally. Or, they think they do because they listen to them preach.

  16. Lydia wrote:

    “I have a theological dilemma, folks, and I need your help in figuring it out.
    How could Schaeffer abuse his wife while functioning under the power of the Holy Spirit?”
    I don’t really separate “flesh/spirit” as if we are really two different beings in one. That is the dualism I find so frustrating in large swaths of Christendom.
    I can understand rage and even acting on it. What I can’t understand is perpetually hiding it to prop up a Christian image for a following. That is the part that bothers me because that is the decision that actually perpetuates the problem. Would there be no eventual Holy Spirit conviction that one is a public fraud for Jesus? Would it not be better to say, I am a fraud and stepping down. Don’t follow me. I have abused my wife in a rage fit.
    From what I read on this, the anger continued for years. Anywho, I have no answer except I have been done with tge whole spiritual guru/leader thing for quite a while now. Big time. The idea one can physically harm others, use them for personal gain, narcissistic supply or sexual gratification while supposedly modeling truth of Christ —wears me out. I know agnostics who have more integrity than that.

    I agree with you… i see both high integrity, and lack therof at my secular university… the difference is that my colleauge are not pretending to be spiritual guru’s..

  17. mental and emotional problems ….. a disparity between self-image as the obedient Christian and the reality of an out-of-control anger problem, and the inability to reconcile the two opposites even within his own understanding of himself

    so how did he cope?
    how did his wife cope?

    they apparently could not face their problems directly and deal with them effectively, no

    if anything, it looks like the fierce patristic Calvinism they had clung to aggravated their marital and personal problems

  18. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    Peter ( from the Bible)!

    Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

  19. @ Divorce Minister:
    To be clear, the man I am talking about has a great ministry, has taken much abuse for it, isn’t getting rich and is doing much more for the Kingdom than me. I just think there is a blind spot in his theology, whereas mine is mostly blind.

  20. I am currently reading a Kindle book by Wade Burleson called: Radically New: The New Covenant Will Change the Way You Think and Live…..

    It’s on Amazon and it’s just terrific…..I truly think you’ll find some excellent answers to your excellent questions in this book.

    Wade Burleson, as always, writes clearly and also has the depth of scholarship that makes his exposition so trustworthy….

    I found Mr. Burleson through TWW—do look at this book…It is like finding clean water in a dirty desert.

  21. One of my favorite short stories is The Minister’s Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It’s all about secret sins. I think there is a danger when everyone looks to you for advice and guidance you forget to guide yourself – like the over weight PE coach. It doesn’t necessarily mean his instructions are bad, just that he can’t follow them. Abraham is the father of our faith and he pimped out his wife. David was a man after God’s own heart and he raped a woman, killed a man, and then turned away when his daughter was raped. In my opinion the Holy Spirit isn’t nearly as intrusive as I’d like it to be, it’s all to easy for me to turn it off, and I have nothing to lose. I can’t imagine if I had as much money, fame, and pride as these celebrities. It doesn’t excuse it and they should be held accountable, but I don’t think it always negates everything they have said or taught. My grandpa once told me there was no such thing as a good Christian, we may be justified, but all our old sins are still there.

  22. Schaeffer was a big Rushdooney fan until he found out that Rushdooney was a postmillenialist. I wonder if Rushdooney’s teachings on women, combined with Schaeffer’s lack of self control, contributed to the abuse?
    Schaeffer’s wife gets a lot of high praise from the Complementarian women speakers/writers/bloggers, too.

  23. @ Loren Haas:
    problem with many ‘theologies’ is that they lack the wisdom to understand that there is that which we may not know

    I think Calvinism developed partially as an interconnected thought-system in an effort to rationalize about the deep mysteries of God, but they ran into problems because they were using human logic to explain something far above the ability of humans to comprehend

  24. Christiane wrote:

    @ Loren Haas:
    problem with many ‘theologies’ is that they lack the wisdom to understand that there is that which we may not know
    I think Calvinism developed partially as an interconnected thought-system in an effort to rationalize about the deep mysteries of God, but they ran into problems because they were using human logic to explain something far above the ability of humans to comprehend

    I completely agree….

  25. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    I agree with you… i see both high integrity, and lack therof at my secular university… the difference is that my colleauge are not pretending to be spiritual guru’s..

    Lydia, I think you’ve hit on something here! The people we’re talking about, the John Stotts and John Pipers and Francis Schaeffers of the world, they’ve been set up as spiritual gurus. (The same could be said of some women on the Christian celebrity teacher circuit.)

    I have a subscription to the New Yorker (funny, for someone who has never been to New York) and today I was rummaging through their website looking for a book review. Instead, I happened upon an *awful*, completely *horrible* story about how high school aged boys were sexually abused at Horace Mann private school, how long it took for it to get out, and how, in between New York law and the fact that records didn’t exist for the period in question due to a fire in 1984, there was literally no way to get justice. Yet young men had definitely been hurt. (The story is called “The Master” and was published in April 2013.) The thing is, the teacher in question set himself up as a guru to these impressionable young men and took advantage of them.

    I am absolutely *not* saying that our Christian celebrities, Calvinista or no, are using their celebrity to prey sexually upon people. But set themselves up as spiritual gurus? You betcha, I am *absolutely* saying that. You can’t hardly speak against these gurus without being attacked.

    Getting back to Francis Schaeffer, I don’t know, in the 1980s when I knew people who went to L’Abri and came back (a couple even married there), if we’d heard that he was physically assaulting Edith Schaeffer that we would have thought it a terrible, heinous situation. Remember, sexual assault in a marital relationship wasn’t a crime until the 1970s and didn’t extend to all 50 states until the early 1990s (as in, I went to law school in a time where, in some states it was legal for one spouse to rape another). In any case, we didn’t hear about it, because Edith Schaeffer felt like it was completely necessary to sweep it under the rug in order to protect the great man and her marriage, which people looked up to.

    It’s not as if I haven’t had issues with anger. Twice before I turned 15, I put my fist through a window (both times my younger brother was on the other side taunting me, as younger brothers will do). Amazingly, I was physically uninjured both times. I have no idea how that worked! So yeah, I have a temper.

  26. dee asks, “Does being *orthodox* in one’s theology means anything when it comes to sinful behavior?”

    “I really, really want to know why the Holy Spirit is sometimes effectual but not effectual in stopping supposed Christian orthodox theologians and leaders who know all about the lists from abusing their spouses.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    well, as i see it, being orthodox is like a ‘Members Only’ Jacket amongst one’s peers. like Hugh Laurie’s privileged entry into the “exECutive breakfast lounge” (it’s funny, from Fry & Laurie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrtSu5KG0UE)

    pish posh, i know buddhists, hindus, moslems, atheists, and agnostics who are more like Jesus than many a christian wearing the orthodox badge.

  27. Just maybe, the idea of a Holy Spirit who works in Christians to sanctify them and cause good works is a pious fiction. People are responsible for their own actions. Invisible ghosts don’t make you do bad or good things.

  28. dee asks, “I really, really want to know why the Holy Spirit is sometimes effectual but not effectual in stopping supposed Christian orthodox theologians and leaders who know all about the lists from abusing their spouses.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    gah, i don’t know. what i do know is christians take themselves so dang seriously. at once God’s gift to every environment they enter while simultaneously being less than dirt and trying not to be paranoid about it. talk about pressure!

    the way i see it, it’s all a journey, a long & winding road. we make mistakes, we pick ourselves up and take responsibility for them, we face up to them, we are not disqualified. God understands. it’s all a process. we do our best, & have our share of successes and failures.

    seriously harming someone is no small thing, though.

    tough question….having a hard time navigating this one….

  29. thinkstoomuch wrote:

    Shaffer clearly felt shame for what he did but he found that he couldn’t really control his anger.

    I’m inclined to think he would have controlled his anger if his wife had the ability to say enough at the first infraction, he did it because he got away with it. If Schaeffer was unable to control his anger he would have been abusive to a lot more people yet it appears he only abused those he had power over and there lies the rub. As long as we have institutions that elevate one person over another person we enable abusers.

    David, “a man after God’s own heart”, had someone murdered. My guess is that if he were not a king, with the sense of entitlement that went with his power over others, he would never have considered such a dastardly act. I am unable to address the Spirit’s restraint on abusers but it does appear that empowering abusers quenches the Spirit.

  30. I do think their bad theology leads to bad behavior. They seek perfect holiness. They seek concrete answers about everything from their idol, the Bible. I believe neither of those is what God intended on this earth.

    Trying to meet that standard will exhaust and frustrate you, And that opens the door for big sins, particularly because I don’t think the Holy Spirit is in it. Now, I’m not saying the Spirit doesn’t empower us or help us resist sin. I’m saying it’s not the Spirit’s job to keep or make us perfect. Jesus was perfect and no one else needs to or should be.

    I like was Ecclesiastes 7 has to say about it:

    16 Do not be overrighteous,
    neither be overwise—
    why destroy yourself?
    17 Do not be overwicked,
    and do not be a fool—
    why die before your time?
    18 It is good to grasp the one
    and not let go of the other.
    Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.[a]

  31. Bill M wrote:

    ’m inclined to think he would have controlled his anger if his wife had the ability to say enough at the first infraction, he did it because he got away with it.

    Bingo. If there is an overarching theme in domestic violence it is that the abuser does not abuse his/her peers at work, etc. It is reserved for the spouse who puts up with it or children who have no ability to escape.

  32. If someone is mentally ill, can they still have the holy spirit? I worked in a mental health facility for 8 years & saw many delusional people who had all sorts of issues related to religion.

    I think many abusers can lead double lives. They wall off the abuse or rationalize it while maintaining a veneer of respectability.

    I think they believe they have the holy spirit, when they are in respectable mode.

    Others may be psychopaths. Using their gifts only for their own gratification.

    Ultimately I remain unconvinced that if there is God, he intervenes in life in the way of miracles. I’m more inclined to believe that he intervenes using people. In most cases it is within us to make the choice.

    It could also be that belief in God’s forgiveness is itself a double edged sword. If you believe you’re one of the elect. A chosen one, then you’re Scott free.

    To paraphrase a children’s rhyme
    “When he was good, he was very, very, good & when he was bad, he was horrid”

  33. ishy wrote:

    I want to hear from you since I do not have any pat answers. I really, really want to know why the Holy Spirit is sometimes effectual but not effectual in stopping supposed Christian orthodox theologians and leaders who know all about the lists from abusing their spouses.

    A friend and I were discussing this last night, and I have been contemplating it all day.

    Right now, the conclusion I come to is that trying to be obedient will always fail. And trying to only think in theology will fail, too.

    Surrender is the first step. And that means being honestly willing to do whatever God wants us to do. I don’t think He usually tells us what that is, which makes it thousands of times more difficult, but the reason is that we’ll probably stop surrendering and become prideful.

    We have to seek who God is, not just what He wants from us. I also don’t think God makes us instantly perfect on purpose, so we’ll keep turning to Him. And while reading modern books on theology and faith has worth, it’s not seeking God from the source, and actually listening to Him.

    I agree completely with this.

    Lists lead to either shame or pride.

  34. So, why wasn’t knowledge of Scripture, orthodox doctrine and a zeal for God not enough to stop a man like Schaeffer from abusing Edith?

    Knowledge of Scripture means obeying it, being changed by it to where you become more and more like God, Who is love. Mental assent, belief in the God of the Bible is one thing, but of course Jesus’ little brother James told us the demons believe also.

    Orthodox doctrine is not orthodox if it doesn’t produce love. You can speak and write words that sound correct, but that means nothing. With sufficient training, so can a parrot.

    A zeal for God means a zeal for love, see above. Abuse is hate.

  35. Paul D. wrote:

    Just maybe, the idea of a Holy Spirit who works in Christians to sanctify them and cause good works is a pious fiction. People are responsible for their own actions. Invisible ghosts don’t make you do bad or good things.

    I actually have personal experience with that phenomenon and know that what you say is categorically incorrect.

  36. Lydia wrote:

    The idea one can physically harm others, use them for personal gain, narcissistic supply or sexual gratification while supposedly modeling truth of Christ —wears me out. I know agnostics who have more integrity than that.

    Yes, we have found many with better morals outside the “church” than those within. The problem is that the “church” can be a haven for abusers and narcissists.

  37. Catherine Martin wrote:

    I am perplexed by this as well. I am hesitant to post on my blog or on Facebook about my own spiritual journey because I fail so often! One of the best books I’ve ever read is The Critical Journey by Hagberg and Guelich. It is about the journey of faith over time. I’m convinced that many of our Christian leaders are still in Stage 3, which is a very “black and white” and “works oriented” stage. It’s getting through the “Wall” in Stage 4, which many people never do, which brings someone true spiritual growth. The thing is that you have to engage The Wall, which is some life changing event, like illness, temptation, etc. This is really not a great explanation, I know. My point is that people are coming into Christian leadership without much Christian experience. Many of those who have lived the Christian life for a long time may still have not successfully engaged “The Wall”; they are living a legalistic life instead of taking hold of the grace that is necessary to get through whatever The Wall(s) is in their life. Anyway, read the book. It has helped me understand my own spiritual journey as well as give other people grace in theirs.

    Excellent points, Catherine!

  38. Dee/Deb, is there any way of installing a ‘like’ button for posts? Often I would like to like someone’s post without necessarily responding to it.

  39. For the Christian, life is a journey to a place we will never arrive. We are called to be like Christ. Although, the perfection of Christ is not attainable, we are, nonetheless, called to strive for the goal. In the end it is not about where we are, but rather; where we are headed. That is the reason confession and repentance are so very important in the journey of a Christian. We can lose our way quite easily, even the most mature among us. We can make excuses for our behavior, even ask forgiveness for our behavior, but without true repentance – change of heart, change of thinking, change in life direction – we will find ourselves mired in the mud of sinful behaviors and sinful thinking, controlled by pride that keeps us doing the same old things the same old ways. For me, confession and repentance are very difficult, it is hard on the ego. I can only imagine how hard it must be for a celebrity Christian. The unfortunate thing is that the celebrity preachers, teachers and writers who have a platform to teach about true Christian confession and repentance by example are unable to do so, mostly because of pride, arrogance and fear – fear of losing their reputation, position of prominence and wealth. For the most part, confession and repentance (often feigned) seems to be a last ditch effort of doing what none of us can do – saving ourselves.

  40. “As I take a long view of Scripture, it seems to me that serious sin is part and parcel of the lives of all Christians.”

    I agree with you, dee. So isn’t your question about spousal abuse part of the larger question of why serious sin exists in all Christians?

    All sin is serious to God, but, here on earth, it does seem that some sins are more egregious and have greater consequences than others. Physical abuse is one of them, I would say. But we can’t assume that everyone sees this the same way.

    I once was part of a group that was discussing whom we would be surprised to see in heaven. Inevitably, someone wondered if it was possible that Hitler was in heaven. One woman was outraged. “Hitler can’t be in heaven!” she exclaimed. “He had a mistress!”

    I believe that John MacArthur once wrote that it was impossible for a Christian to commit murder. My point is that we probably all believe that there is at least one type of sin that a Christian simply cannot commit. The sad truth is that it is likely that a believer is capable of committing any of them.

  41. I’m not prone to having ‘idols’ but the Schaeffers were my idols in the 1970s, Francis’ clear teachings and Edith’s book ‘Hidden Art’ which became almost my bible, that God gave us creative talents so we could use them to serve him – if a homeless person came to her door, she would serve them homemade soup on a tray with a pretty cloth and a flower vase. I met one of their DDs and g/daughters at a large house in the UK that the owner wanted to give to L’Abri. While we adults talked, the mini-Schaeffers sat on the lawn in beautiful handmade dresses and sketched the house ‘to show grandma’ – no one had brought a camera. I was so impressed they seemed to be ‘practising what they preached’ from granny’s book! I’m shocked to read this post, but I’m sure it’s true, image was everything…and thanks to the Web, these things are exposed now. sadly the hypocrisy of such exposures is hardly helping to attract younger generations to church.

  42. thinkstoomuch wrote:

    Sitting under the preached word of the local pastor is minimized because you are either expected to get your spiritual growth at the events or your pastor is supposed to gain all of his knowledge on spiritual growth from these same places.

    I actually think this belief is problematic as well. It’s not the Word being preached that is effectual. It’s the Word impacting a surrendered individual through the power of the Holy Spirit that changes people. This can happen whether Scripture is read aloud, read quietly, or recalled in memory.

    Back in Jesus’ time, there were a lot of illiterate and barely literate people. You also couldn’t print books, and copying them was a monstrous task. So most people memorized their Scripture. Preaching the Word was a necessity of the time period, because they often couldn’t read it for themselves.

    One reason all these things have become a problem in churches is that we’ve developed a celebrity culture around preaching. You could argue that Jesus was a celebrity preacher, but it only was while he was preaching in parables. When he started talking straight out, the crowds stopped following.

    I’ll also state that I believe most celebrity pastors are not “preaching the Word”. This means they read the Word, then exegete it by presenting a study of the meaning and context. No, they are entertainers. I’ve sat under “famous” pastors who read a couple verses, then told golf stories. I’ve sat under orators who waxed beautiful, but you came away barely remembering what the passage was. I’ve sat under hipsters who talked about their perfect marriages, but I didn’t see how it pertained to the passage at all.

    All this focus on the “preached Word” ends up doing is putting the focus on the messenger, not God. God is the one who gives us ears to hear through the Holy Spirit, and as I am not a Calvinist, I believe we are the ones that surrender ourselves to be changed by it. If we really were seeking God, we wouldn’t need a preacher, because we’d be constantly studying the Bible for ourselves. We have way more tools now that ever, and nobody really has an excuse not to be as competent as someone with a MDiv.

  43. Strangely my two favourite quotes by Schaeffer are ‘The Mark of a Christian is love ‘ and ‘Biblical Orthodoxy without Compassion is the ugliest thing in the world’! All very sound indeed.
    By the way I’m sure Frankie would love to talk to you as he is always keen to tell the tale.

  44. Forrest wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    The idea one can physically harm others, use them for personal gain, narcissistic supply or sexual gratification while supposedly modeling truth of Christ —wears me out. I know agnostics who have more integrity than that.
    Yes, we have found many with better morals outside the “church” than those within. The problem is that the “church” can be a haven for abusers and narcissists.

    If nothing else seeing this makes me totally reject the Calvinist point of “total depravity” when you see agnostics or atheists act with more integrity than some supposed believers do.

  45. Strangely my two favourite quotes by Schaeffer are ‘The Mark of a Christian is love ‘ and ‘Biblical Orthodoxy without Compassion is the ugliest thing in the world’! All very sound indeed.
    By the way I’m sure Frankie would love to talk to you as he is always keen to tell the tale.

  46. The simple answer to the question is that there is no statistical evidence that one’s practice of Christianity shifts the behavioral model in any way. People – including the folks at T$C, bless their hearts – who pretend that embracing their breed of Christianity will result in changed behavior are lying.

  47. Steve240 wrote:

    seeing this makes me totally reject the Calvinist point of “total depravity” when you see agnostics or atheists act with more integrity than some supposed believers do

    New Calvinists move beyond “total depravity” in their belief system to “total inability” … the total loss of free will. I’ve heard some of them essentially defending their addiction to pornography because they are unable to choose to put it down! They believe they have an innate incapacity to overcome certain sins, when actually they have an inability to overcome the flesh because they don’t have the Spirit to do so. If/when the New Calvinist movement dies, the greatest field for evangelism in America will be among their ranks – they have not been exposed to the true Gospel which saves AND delivers.

  48. @ william Wallace:
    That is why, as HUG likes to point out, the Neo-Cal boys and fundys like to redefine words… because their behavior does NOT constitue “love” in the traditional sence… so, instead of coming to grips with the reality of the hard truth of behaving in true sence of the word love ( humility, self sacrifice, denying oneself, etc) they just redefine words, such as love, gospel, etc…. clasic technique..

  49. Forrest wrote:

    Dee/Deb, is there any way of installing a ‘like’ button for posts? Often I would like to like someone’s post without necessarily responding to it.

    Me too!!!

  50. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    The simple answer to the question is that there is no statistical evidence that one’s practice of Christianity shifts the behavioral model in any way. People – including the folks at T$C, bless their hearts – who pretend that embracing their breed of Christianity will result in changed behavior are lying.

    Yes. Tell it.

  51. We already know that power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely – I think that is true spiritually and in relationships; wherever there is an imbalance of power, it’s achieved by one person usurping the power their partner should have had and would have had were they equal. Calvinism’s Complementarianism is sanctifying the power imbalance, creating an environment where corruption and abuse is unlimited.
    Our founding fathers built into the system a series of checks and balances – it keeps one party from becoming too powerful and abusing their power. Christianity needs that – not some “tell the elders, they’ll fix everything” because all too often they’re so busy protecting the abuser for being too important or too useful than to deal with the hidden sin. I saw a video of a deacon who was abusive whose church knew about it, but wouldn’t hold him accountable because his ministry was far more important. It sounds like the same thing with Francis’ story. It’s really a wonder why abuse isn’t worse given that so many basically get a free pass to keep on getting away with it so long as nobody knows about it and those who know about it choose to do pretty much nothing about it.

  52. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    The simple answer to the question is that there is no statistical evidence that one’s practice of Christianity shifts the behavioral model in any way. People – including the folks at T$C, bless their hearts – who pretend that embracing their breed of Christianity will result in changed behavior are lying.

    Even for someone who truly accepts Jesus as Savior, salvation does not automatically change behavior. It’s not like waving a magic wand. For most of us, changing a behavior takes commitment and hard, hard work; oftentimes, years of hard work.

  53. Bill M wrote:

    I am unable to address the Spirit’s restraint on abusers but it does appear that empowering abusers quenches the Spirit.

    Bill M, you make a good point. Perhaps the Holy Spirit was quenched in regard to this part of his life and sin, and not so much in some other areas of his ministry?

  54. @ Nancy2:
    Admitting this reduces the “value” of the “product” that the salesmen (opps, preachers) are trying to “sale”… the simple and “magical” it is, the more valuable the product!

  55. It really grieves me to read a Francis Schaeffer doing what is reported here. It really makes you wonder.

    Titus 1:16 does say:

    16They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

    It sure sounds like this applies to Francis Schaeffer but that is really only for God to decide.

    One thing that I have read about is what psychologists call “confirmation bias.” Wikipedia defines it this way:

    Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias,[Note 1] is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities. …People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position.

    IMO, everyone should learn about this and be aware of this tendency that all people have. Thus in this case maybe you hear Francis Schaeffer speak and he sounds so sincere and make all kinds of assumptions about him due to this speaking ability. This belief about Schaeffer then makes you discount or even disregard any report of Francis having anger issues since you are biased by what you already believe.

    Just something to be quite aware of.

    It is along of the lines of having a boss who doesn’t think you are any good and despite what you do well it still isn’t any good and the converse a boss thinks one of their employees can do no wrong.

  56. Why did Martin Luther advocate burning down synagogues? Why did Jonathan Edwards struggle with alcoholism throughout his life? Why did John Bunyan suffer from OCD symptoms? How could a local pastor lead a vibrant church for over 20 years while being in an adulterous relationship almost the whole time? I don’t know, but the cognitive dissonance created by these sorts of things produced cracks in my faith that expanded until it was destroyed. I appreciate your honest questions. Deconversion, for me, was the only way I found peace. I don’t necessarily recommend decconversion to anybody else (It’ painful!), but I do advocate for the faithful to take a long, honest look at how their has played-out over the past two millennia.

  57. Paul D. wrote:

    Just maybe, the idea of a Holy Spirit who works in Christians to sanctify them and cause good works is a pious fiction. People are responsible for their own actions. Invisible ghosts don’t make you do bad or good things.

    Of course, it’s possible that the idea of a God who has desires, intentions and purpose is a pious fiction. But ISTM that the two ideas you postulate:

     The effect of the Holy Spirit on people’s behaviour is always identically zero
     Any effect of the Holy Spirit on people’s behaviour is total control

    … are essentially the same idea painted two ways (one black and one white).

    A more likely supposition, and one that to my mind embraces a lot more of the help the Bible offers on the topic, is that the Holy Spirit has no intention either of abandoning us as orphans or of subjugating and controlling us. As a crude starting-point: I do a lot of hill-running, and when I’m running downhill, I breathe a lot less hard than I do when running uphill. It’s almost as though some kind of invisible force is helping me. But for some reason it only helps me in one direction. And it doesn’t force me to run either. I realise that this is nonsense: there is no “invisible force” and if there were it certainly wouldn’t be helping me. And yet…

    AWWBA, Jesus described the Holy Spirit using, at least insofar as the Greek-using new testament writers quoted him, a word that doesn’t translate that easily into modern english but implies one that we can lean or brace against for assistance, often translated “helper”.

    If I understand aright the testimony of scribsher, God really does want adult heirs (for want of a less anthropomorphic term), not little babies, however precious. So I think the statement that People are responsible for their own actions is both true and fair.

    But I wonder whether the Holy Spirit himself grapples with the same problem we do in reverse: that of helping believers without weakening their responsibility for their actions.

  58. I think we underestimate 2 things:

    1. The ability of real Christians to do awful things.

    2. The ability of non-Christians to do kind, thoughtful, noble things.

    The difference would be that the Christian should feel awful while doing awful things, or soon after. It’s called conviction. A Holy Spirit thing.

    Can a Christian squash conviction? Obviously. And theology can be really helpful in the squashing. We’ve been asking if Schaeffer’s theology contributed to his bad behavior. I’m wondering if Schaeffer’s bad behavior and his need to deal with the conviction drew him to a theology that helped him do that.

    I should add that I have good friends who are classical Calvinists, and I greatly admire the Burlesons. I don’t think classical Calvinism is the problem, but the Calvinista variant often is. Any theology used to justify abuse is the problem.

  59. @ Forrest:
    If we can get our acts together and catch a break between important stories, we plan to do a full revamp of the blog this year.

  60. GSD wrote:

    Can a Christian squash conviction? Obviously.

    Then why can’t a person squash the call to salvation if the view of the Calvinist is correct?

  61. Matilda wrote:

    nd thanks to the Web, these things are exposed now. sadly the hypocrisy of such exposures is hardly helping to attract younger generations to church.

    Let me give you a piece of encouragement. If we Christians truly understood God’s grace, we would bring people into the church because we would honestly deal with our sins.

  62. JYJames wrote:

    How would he answer your questions?

    Here is the problem. Frank is not longer a believer. Many people do not know the he first converted to Greek Orthodoxy and then left the faith, sort of.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christian-piatt/frank-schaeffer-the-god-b_b_5306149.html
    I am looking for answers within the historic faith. So, to put it in a nutshell-why does the Holy Spirit compel us, without fail, to come to God but not compel Schaeffer to stop beating his wife.

  63. dee wrote:

    Then why can’t a person squash the call to salvation if the view of the Calvinist is correct?

    Because Calvinism is false.

  64. GSD wrote:

    I don’t think classical Calvinism is the problem, but the Calvinista variant often is.

    I would like to agree with you, but I cannot because even classical Calvinism teaches the five points. I think the difference between the old and new Calvinists is the extent to which they take the logical implications. New Calvinism take the five points of Calvinism to their logical conclusion. Old Calvinists are too Christian to go that far.

  65. Donner wrote:

    aven’t read the earlier replies, just wanted to chime in that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not an “it” as written in this post.

    I know that the Holy Spirit is a person. But how to a address this person? Is it a he or she? Our language gives us few pronouns to deal with a complicated picture like the person of the Holy Spirit. There seems to be both masculine and feminine qualities to the Spirit. However, traditionally, the Spirit is referred to as male but I bet a number of you can find instances when. description of the Spirit is used in a feminine sense.

    So, you caught me. You are correct but I am still a bit unsure how to deal with this third member of the Trinity who is a *who.* I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

  66. dee wrote:

    GSD wrote:

    Can a Christian squash conviction? Obviously.

    Then why can’t a person squash the call to salvation if the view of the Calvinist is correct?

    I think they can. Sadly, most do. I have friends who are Calvinists, but I’m not one. Which, honestly, is a bit of a struggle.

  67. Mark wrote:

    Deconversion, for me, was the only way I found peace. I don’t necessarily recommend decconversion to anybody else (It’ painful!), but I do advocate for the faithful to take a long, honest look at how their has played-out over the past two millennia.

    I think there is a way to find peace within the faith as well. But it involves blunt honesty about ourselves.

  68. Well, God used an ass to talk to Balaam, so he can use anyone. Year ago I read a book about Bill Bright that was difficult to read as well. There does seem to be a mania and corresponding serious sin in Christian leaders. Maybe they’re swinging from one extreme to another: sin, then atone for it. I was with a cousin of mine who happens to be gay and he talked about “those who protest too much” i.e. Francis Schaeffer talked a lot about love but had difficulty practicing it.

  69. dee wrote:

    Is it a he or she?

    I’ve heard that in the OT the Spirit is almost described by feminine pronouns, articles, and verb forms.

  70. Mark wrote:

    Why did Martin Luther advocate burning down synagogues? Why did Jonathan Edwards struggle with alcoholism throughout his life?

    Edwards also kept slaves if I am recalling my history correctly. Here is a point of view that works for me. Everyone sins no matter how convinced they are of the truth of the faith. the Bible demonstrates the utter failure of mankind to live a sinless (or moral, ethical life fro atheists).

    Even the lives of missionaries, when looked at with a telescope, show all kinds of problems. Certainly our leaders demonstrate everything from adultery to arrogance. Yet so do those outside the faith.

    I personally do not believe that mankind is getting better. From what I understand there are more slaves now then there were 200 years ago. One would think atheist would do sexism better than Christians. They don’t.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/10/03/new_atheisms_troubling_misogyny_the_pompous_sexism_of_richard_dawkins_and_sam_harris_partner/

    I think one omg pastors explained it this way. We are positionally holy but functionally sinners. Maybe this is the reason we needed Jesus. Maybe it is all about forgiveness and our goal is to live that forgiveness openly.

    One thing I do know, Jenn Wilkins and her crowd, for all of their obedience talk, don’t do it any better than other groups that I know.

    Maybe this is about living in the tension of bowed shoulders and heads held high.

    CSL : “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”

  71. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    why didn’t the Holy Spirit stop that monster so he did not molest more kids….

    That is a similar question to the one that many people have of God, why, if He is good and loving, does he allow these awful things to happen. I have delt with child abuse as a mother with my children. I have watched the pain and destruction it causes. I have asked the same question.

    Many times (not all though) I come to this answer — I believe the Holy Spirit does speak, but people are not listening, or they do not respond to what they hear. This can allow abuse to continue, as we see in many of the church abuse situations when men are allowed to move on to other places to abuse again. The children do not get justice and evil continues if people do not stand up it.

    The Holy Spirit speaks, but men/women must respond.

  72. Ken F wrote:

    I’ve heard that in the OT the Spirit is almost described by feminine pronouns, articles, and verb forms.

    Me too. and in the NT it is addressed n more male terms. Maybe there is no word in the languages of this earth to describe, utterly correctly, he/she/whoever.

  73. I think the Lutheran idea of “simultaneously justified and yet a sinner” might be helpful, although I don’t know if it can be made to fit in a Calvinist or fundamentalist context. Now, Bonhoeffer did warn against “cheap grace” in his wonderful book, The Cost of Discipleship. Cheap grace takes true grace for granted – an attitude of cheap grace is busy calculating what it can get away with – obviously that is not true repentance.

    You cannot even know your own heart completely. Even if you do something that is truly good and you cannot find anything in your heart that condemns or questions what you did, even then you cannot be sure that the good thing that you did is not tainted with sin. I think this is where legalism fails. I think an attitude of daily repentance – something I struggle with – is something needful, even when you think you are doing okay. Especially then.

  74. Bridget wrote:

    The Holy Spirit speaks, but men/women must respond.

    I agree with you. But how does this apply to Calvinists who are dead set on the infallible effectiveness of the Holy Spirit in the call to salvation?

  75. Mark wrote:

    Why did Martin Luther advocate burning down synagogues? Why did Jonathan Edwards struggle with alcoholism throughout his life? Why did John Bunyan suffer from OCD symptoms?

    I can relate to your cognitive dissonance, Mark. I feel a version of it when I switch past “Christian TV,” or listen to “Christian radio,” or walk into a “Christian bookstore.” Or when I walk into most churches, to be honest.

    And history is messy. Then there are always the Crusades, the witch trials, and no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

    On the other hand, I was thinking of a lawyer friend who has spent most of his career setting up adoptions for kids who otherwise wouldn’t have a home, while raising his own kids to be amazing adults. Or the wife of a jewelry store owner who has spent tons of time and much of her own money establishing a ministry where poor people can eat lunch daily, wash their clothes, get a shower, and stay warm when the temps dip. In their cases, this whole Christian thing motivated them to do good things, and brought peace to them. And a bunch of other people.

    And then there are our own blog queens. They really don’t have to do this. But their faith motivates them, and I don’t sense any cognitive dissonance here. It’s a version of Christianity that is rational, compassionate, consistent.

    What’s the opposite of cognitive dissonance? Cognitive Sonance? Or maybe just Peace.

  76. ishy wrote:

    I actually think this belief is problematic as well. It’s not the Word being preached that is effectual. It’s the Word impacting a surrendered individual through the power of the Holy Spirit that changes people. This can happen whether Scripture is read aloud, read quietly, or recalled in memory.

    I so agree with this!

  77. Ken F wrote:

    I think the difference between the old and new Calvinists is the extent to which they take the logical implications. New Calvinism take the five points of Calvinism to their logical conclusion. Old Calvinists are too Christian to go that far.

    Like how the National Socialists took Eugenics and Master Race Theory (both of which were Respectable Mainstream Science at the time) and ACTED on it all the way?

  78. dee wrote:

    Bridget wrote:

    The Holy Spirit speaks, but men/women must respond.

    I agree with you. But how does this apply to Calvinists who are dead set on the infallible effectiveness of the Holy Spirit in the call to salvation?

    In the stable with “The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs! We Won’t Be Taken In!”?

  79. Mark wrote:

    Why did Martin Luther advocate burning down synagogues? Why did Jonathan Edwards struggle with alcoholism throughout his life? Why did John Bunyan suffer from OCD symptoms?

    Because (unlike today’s Mythologized versions) they were F’ed Up like everyone else.

  80. @ dee:
    I did a bunch of research on this fascinating topic back when trying to figure out ESS. While I have forgotten most of the intricacies, I found that Baxter Kruger gives what I think is a great overview of the Holy Spirit within the One True God if anyone is interested.

    It is understandable that we are determined to gender the Holy Spirit because that is how we communicate. There is a tradition to gender the Holy Spirit for communication purpose but one finds it referred most often in terms of “Spirit of”. As in ‘Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead’. Or, as in Genesis, the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Or, the Angel told Mary, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you….’

    I don’t have a problem when people use “It”. I try to get around it by using the full name, HS. It can become redundant, though.

  81. Mark wrote:

    Deconversion, for me, was the only way I found peace. I don’t necessarily recommend decconversion to anybody else (It’ painful!), but I do advocate for the faithful to take a long, honest look at how their has played-out over the past two millennia.

    These are very good questions that Christians should be more willing to address. I very much understand why you went down the path of deconversion. I’ve thought about doing it myself from time to time because of the seemingly unanswerable questions and problems within theism. But the logical and philosophical implications of atheism create more problems than theism. For example, if there is no God, then everything that exists is just a freak accident with no design, purpose, or meaning. For if there is any hint of design to it then one must concede a design-giver. With no design-giver, any hint of design must be merely an illusion. And if there is no ultimate meaning or purpose to the universe, then there is no ultimate purpose or meaning to life. And consequently, there is no ultimate reason to behave morally. Morality itself would be just part of the meaningless freak accident.

    Likewise, if there is no moral-lawgiver then there is no moral standard by which to judge anything as good or evil. It means that the distinction between good and evil is nothing more than an artificial construct, a meaningless illusion. The logical implication of atheism is that there is no rational argument for opposing murder, abuse, or anything else we consider evil because there is no such thing as evil. The strongest statement we could make about “evil” is that we don’t like it, but even the fact that we don’t like it has no ultimate meaning. The fact that the vast majority of humans across all cultures believe certain things are bad/wrong gives us a hint that we might have gotten morality from something other than just a big freak accident.

    The practical implications of atheism have to be thought about as well. People often cite all the killing done in the name of theism throughout the ages. But atheism was no small player in this in the 20th century. I believe one can make a good case that more people were killed in the name of atheism during the 20th century than were killed in the name of God during all of the previous centuries combined.

    As much as I have been tempted at times to deconvert, I keep finding that Christianity is the only religion that makes sense, even though it is much messier than I would like it to be.

  82. This does not surprise me, not at all.

    I remember the days when the Schaeffers were the luminaries in the Christian world. They were all about mobilizing the church to be certain kinds of people and to influence the world in certain ways. “How Shall We Then Live,” was their rallying cry.

    I’ve come, after all these years, to see 2 different mindsets among Christians.

    The first is focused on God. This person comes to know God and wants to know him better. They seek to really know Jesus Christ, to who he was, what he taught, what he did. As they focus on him within a sincere heart, a change in their character and behavior is inevitable, because a person becomes more like the One they are focused on. This person is not so concerned with how others see them or what their position or role is, they just live the life they have in the awareness of Christ and in love for Him, and the end result is the person treating others as Christ has treated him.

    The second person comes to know God (or to know about God, perhaps) and immediately turns his focus outward to the world. What am I supposed to DO, he says to himself. He realizes the world is messed up and decides it’s his job to set things in order. “How am I to influence the world around me?” is his first question and focus. This person’s focus is on the world. He, too, becomes more like the one he focuses on. He may do some good, or may seem to be doing some good, but things are backwards in his own heart.

    When a person is focused on Jesus Christ, he gradually becomes more like him, and this shows in his outward relationships and character. But when a person is focused on the world, on how to influence the world, how to change the world, how to ‘be someone’ in the world, this does not seem to produce a reverse affect on his own character. In fact, it seems often to produce a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, a seeking after fame and position, and hypocrisy. And, it turns out, this person is often motivated by his own need to “be someone” more than his relationship with Christ.

    It’s such a subtle difference, and I think believers sometimes move from one mindset to the other in the course of their Christian life.

    As Christians, we ought to be more aware. We ought to keep our focus on Christ rather than leaders who we imbue with all the qualities we wish were there, based on outward appearances.

  83. Nancy2 wrote:

    Even for someone who truly accepts Jesus as Savior, salvation does not automatically change behavior. It’s not like waving a magic wand. For most of us, changing a behavior takes commitment and hard, hard work; oftentimes, years of hard work.

    JMJ over at Christian Monist makes this point many times in his blog. And the disasters that happen when “Salvation Automatically Changes Behavior” (i.e. Instant Sanctification – just Say The Magic Words) becomes Dogma.

    Current blog: https://jmichaeljoneswriter.com/blog/
    Archives: http://evangelicalinthewilderness.blogspot.com/

  84. Lydia wrote:

    I found that Baxter Kruger gives what I think is a great overview of the Holy Spirit within the One True God if anyone is interested.

    I very much agree. I recently read his book “Across All Worlds: Jesus Inside Our Darkness.” I thought it would be a book on theology. It was more like a book on psychology because of how it forces us to see how our beliefs about God impact how we think and live. I highly recommend it, but it’s not a fun book to read because the questions he asks us to consider for ourselves are so penetrating. I think that Kruger, by going back to the early church, is on an good path out of the morass of new-Calvinism.

  85. dee wrote:

    I personally do not believe that mankind is getting better. From what I understand there are more slaves now then there were 200 years ago. One would think atheist would do sexism better than Christians. They don’t.

    I was shocked to hear about the blatent misogyny exhibited in parts of the progressive Tech Industry and STEM programs.

  86. @ siteseer:
    And both these mindsets have their light and dark sides. You have given the light side of the first and the dark side of the second; let’s balance them out a bit:

    The first has the danger of Christian navel-gazing, sealing off reality inside an event horizon of Contemplation, Devotions, Piety, and FAITH FAITH FAITH. So tunnel-visioned on Knowing God(TM) that they can ignore/neglect/abuse others.
    http://i1.wp.com/www.nakedpastor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/the-theologians.jpg
    With this can come “Knowing More God Than Thou” one-upmanship and Gnostic Dualism where the goal is to become so Spiritual that reality ceases to exist.

    The second has the light side that you are actually DOING something other than Knowing God(TM), Waiting for The Rapture (any minute now), being Spiritual.

    The second can lead to A Social Gospel without Personal Salvation; the first to a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation. Current Christianese Activism seems to have gotten the Dark Side of both, with the attitude of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation and a Social expression of Political Activism for its own sake (and POWER) no matter what — “TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP!”

  87. Jacob wrote:

    Cheap grace takes true grace for granted – an attitude of cheap grace is busy calculating what it can get away with – obviously that is not true repentance.

    “I did not Know her in a Biblical sense (Loophole! Loophole!).”
    — Douggie ESQUIRE (Loophole! Loophole!)

  88. siteseer wrote:

    I’ve come, after all these years, to see 2 different mindsets among Christians.

    Your description is like the comparison between Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Martha was so busy “serving Jesus” that she lost sight of what was important.

  89. Hi Dee, I think I commented recently that the Schaeffers, as described by Edith at least, weren’t 5 point Calvies at all, just 2 maybe 2.5 pointers. They were asked by Sproul Snr to submit work to a book specifically on ‘I’ (irresistable grace) but turned it down as they didn’t believe it. This would certainly influence how the questions of a Christian’s behaviour under the influence of the HS would look. I think the issue of whether this behaviour genuinely grieved Francis, & whether he worked to change it with any success are pertinent too. Schaeffer talked of the debris or residue of the Fall, like the messy jumbled stuff left after an avalanche, where things are broken in ways that don’t necessarily make sense.
    It would be interesting to hear what Frankie has to say on this, but I know that his sisters & definitely old L’Abri workers who were with Swiss L’Abri during these years (10 or 20 years there) say they are skeptical of Frankie’s recollections.

  90. GSD wrote:

    Can a Christian squash conviction? Obviously. And theology can be really helpful in the squashing. We’ve been asking if Schaeffer’s theology contributed to his bad behavior. I’m wondering if Schaeffer’s bad behavior and his need to deal with the conviction drew him to a theology that helped him do that.

    Or Both/And, not Either/Or.

  91. @ siteseer:

    And, furthermore, I think the whole model of “Christian leaders” that we are supposed to “follow” is faulty. I think the model of “Christian books” and articles that purport to show us how to live the Christian life is a faulty one.

    We are all equals under Christ. We all have areas of strength and areas of weakness. We all struggle. So I think we ought to be having conversations with each other on this path we are traveling, rather than leader-follower relationships. The model where one Christian has supposedly ‘arrived’ and can act as a Christ substitute for others to follow is faulty.

    The article quoted above, by Jen Wilkins, is faulty. It implies that one can arrive, that one can come to the place where he no longer sins, and by implication, when one speaks that way, are they not saying they have reached that place? Otherwise, how are they the teacher who is teaching this idea? No one has reached that place, there is no such place. The teaching that it is possible to no longer sin leads only to hypocrisy. We are called to “walk by the Spirit” and this is a daily process.

    We are taught to bear one another’s burdens, the strong (spiritually) are to help the weak (and we are all strong or weak in some areas and at different times), we are to restore each other in a spirit of gentleness when we fail, and to speak the truth in love, as we walk this path together as equals in pursuit of Christ.

    At least, that is how I see it. But who am I. Nobody.

  92. dee wrote:

    But how does this apply to Calvinists who are dead set on the infallible effectiveness of the Holy Spirit in the call to salvation?

    They don’t have an answer because there is no logical answer for this in Calvinism. This is where their theology breaks down. The closest they can get is to state that such a person might never have been saved to begin with. In fact, they have no way to know whether anyone is among the elect or not. The only possible assurance they can have is (relatively?) sinless living (the “P” part of TULIP). This is why sin-sniffing and accountability are so big with them.

  93. Ken F wrote:

    siteseer wrote:

    I’ve come, after all these years, to see 2 different mindsets among Christians.

    Your description is like the comparison between Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Martha was so busy “serving Jesus” that she lost sight of what was important.

    And I have seen the opposite, the Mary who is so busy Contemplating and Being Spiritual and Holy that she ends up freeloading off the labor of the Marthas.
    http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_martha.htm

  94. Ken F wrote:

    Your description is like the comparison between Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Martha was so busy “serving Jesus” that she lost sight of what was important.

    Yes! That’s exactly what I’m thinking. And even though we have been given that example, and it is given lip service in the church, we seem to really always be taught to emulate Martha!

  95. @ siteseer:
    Love this comment! Because of the second type you mention and the amount of control/Influence the church and “spiritual” leaders have over people, I had to rethink things. I came back to the understanding I was taught as a child. Salvation is individual. Not collective. There is no earthly mediator. Soul competency. Yet, saved “individuals” can come together to worship, accomplish good, etc.

    The focus from most Christian institutions is on the collective which then sets up an Us/Them false dichotomy. I just think many take the collective unity metaphors way too far as in lock step unity with a guru as mediator.

    I also think this individual salvation would be recognized as the “light of the world” which was God’s intention for the Jews early on. People who reflected His Image out into the world.

  96. GSD wrote:

    I think we underestimate 2 things:

    1. The ability of real Christians to do awful things.

    2. The ability of non-Christians to do kind, thoughtful, noble things.

    The difference would be that the Christian should feel awful while doing awful things, or soon after. It’s called conviction. A Holy Spirit thing.

    Speaking as an agnostic, I feel awful while and after doing awful things. To try to parse that out, since I don’t believe in a specific god who judges me, and I don’t anticipate heaven or fear hell—I feel that I have failed the people I hurt and also my own standards for myself. I feel that I have added another little grain of misery to a world that already has plenty. I feel shut out from the joy that comes when I can see another person’s light and reflect it back.

    I believe that we are bound together in this life, that in the words of another famous theologian who had some moral flaws, that “we must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

    That’s the main reason I come here, to listen to others who take these questions of “how to live” seriously. A Muslim friend told me her perspective on the people who sully and betray the principles of her own faith is that people bring their basic attitudes to whatever religion they follow. Then they find the preachers and the texts that support their own traits.

    Our religious choices reflect us as much or more than they guide us, maybe. The rituals and traditions of our faith may be more for reminders of our priorities than anything important in themselves. My friend and I express our beliefs by working at the local food bank, laughing and teasing and singing while we sort donations.

    (I always get extra philosophical at the end of the year….)

  97. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And I have seen the opposite, the Mary who is so busy Contemplating and Being Spiritual and Holy that she ends up freeloading off the labor of the Marthas.

    That is losing sight of what is important by falling off the other side of the fence. I have a hard time understanding how someone sitting at Jesus’ feet could become a freeloader. Maybe they are sitting at the feet of someone else? Or maybe they choose disobedience?

  98. I’ve never struggled with this. I’m a child-abuse survivor so I know all about looking good on the outside while being all kinds of wrong on the inside. The biggest mistake evangelical Christians make is in thinking that conversion makes you perfect or that the Holy Spirit provides you a firewall between you and sin. It doesn’t.

    The Holy Spirit is that part of you that mourns even while you’re sinning, the part that admonishes you, exhorts you to do better, the part that feels like it’s dying any time you sin. It guides you, but you’re still a willful little human living in a fallen world. The further down your walk with God you get, the easier it is to avoid the temptation of sin, to listen an obey the Holy Spirit’s guidance. It doesn’t mean you’re cured. It’s entirely possible to be a great theologian and an abuser.

    Neo Calvinists are guilty of thinking their dedication to scripture, their careful study, somehow makes them holy. It does not.

    Otherwise ‘good’ people do bad things. Humility is what we need to see in our leaders. Not the false stuff either. We should be honest about our brokenness.

  99. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And I have seen the opposite, the Mary who is so busy Contemplating and Being Spiritual and Holy that she ends up freeloading off the labor of the Marthas.

    I think the person who makes a show of “being spiritual” and in contemplation, may be just as focused on their own position and role as the one who is busily working. But I don’t think Mary was doing that.

  100. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    @ william Wallace:
    That is why, as HUG likes to point out, the Neo-Cal boys and fundys like to redefine words… because their behavior does NOT constitue “love” in the traditional sence… so, instead of coming to grips with the reality of the hard truth of behaving in true sense of the word love ( humility, self sacrifice, denying oneself, etc) they just redefine words, such as love, gospel, etc…. clasic technique..

    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH,
    My Dear Wormwood.

    Remember my previous epistle on Semantics, specifically the redefinition of words into their “diabolical meanings”.
    http://landonlarmstrong.deviantart.com/art/Uncle-Screwtape-104173076

  101. Paul D. wrote:

    Just maybe, the idea of a Holy Spirit who works in Christians to sanctify them and cause good works is a pious fiction. People are responsible for their own actions. Invisible ghosts don’t make you do bad or good things.

    Yes. This. One of the many reasons I don’t believe in the Christian faith exclusively anymore ( I’m a pluralist at the moment). I cannot reconcile someone having “God” living in them and being an anti-semite like Luther or a wife beater and fraud like Schaefer. I realized a while back that Christianity and Christians are no better and no different from most other religions and religious people. I know Christians who are the real deal and shitty ones too. I also know great atheists, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc., and yes shitty ones too. I believe in God because I’ve seen him in many of these people of varying faiths.

  102. westerner wrote:

    A Muslim friend told me her perspective on the people who sully and betray the principles of her own faith is that people bring their basic attitudes to whatever religion they follow. Then they find the preachers and the texts that support their own traits.

    Until they have “a God who agrees completely with Me”.

  103. Christa wrote:

    I’m a child-abuse survivor so I know all about looking good on the outside while being all kinds of wrong on the inside

    I am so very sorry that you had to endure this. I stopped and prayed for you.

    I have a question. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is 100% effective in calling people to Christ? This is the just of my argument. I want to know how people who believe this also believe that the Holy Spirit is ineffectual in causing people like Francis Schaeffer to not beat his wife.

  104. Ken F wrote:

    The closest they can get is to state that such a person might never have been saved to begin with. In fact, they have no way to know whether anyone is among the elect or not.

    This is reflected in Calvin’s Institutes when he writes on Reprobation.

    Basically it goes like this: A person can believe they are saved/chosen, act saved and look saved but in the end not be saved at all. They don’t even have a way of really knowing. They either never talk about this part or tell you that you have misunderstood it.

    Sounds like Islam.

  105. Mark wrote:

    Why did Martin Luther advocate burning down synagogues? Why did Jonathan Edwards struggle with alcoholism throughout his life? Why did John Bunyan suffer from OCD symptoms? How could a local pastor lead a vibrant church for over 20 years while being in an adulterous relationship almost the whole time?

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Because (unlike today’s Mythologized versions) they were F’ed Up like everyone else.

    And, also, because these people are no longer just ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ but rather GREAT LEADER, whose flaws we all must conspire to overlook because we want some kind of figurehead to follow.

  106. I can tell already that this here thread’s gonna’ be a barn-burner.
    I’m takin’ Vegas style odds that this here thread’ll go past the 700 mark comment wise.
    Anybody game?

  107. @ siteseer:

    it’s great to be a nobody. so much easier to live one’s life honestly.

    and nobodies are not without their sphere of influence, just as honeysuckle or jasmine delightfully perfume a large radius just by simply living their life & doing what they do (so to speak).

    as long as they’re healthy (nutrients, light, water, destructive agents kept at bay), it’s not complicated and they change their environment for the better simply by being them.

  108. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Ken F wrote:

    I think the difference between the old and new Calvinists is the extent to which they take the logical implications. New Calvinism take the five points of Calvinism to their logical conclusion. Old Calvinists are too Christian to go that far.

    Like how the National Socialists took Eugenics and Master Race Theory (both of which were Respectable Mainstream Science at the time) and ACTED on it all the way?

    I could totally see New Calvinism eventually merging with the alt-right. Guys who agree with Richard Dawkins’ description of “the God of the Old Testament”, the only difference being they are all those traits as a feature rather than a bug. And who don’t waste time with theodicy (that’s for Cuckvinists!), they just flat out admit that their theology makes God a sadist who is the ultimate source of evil as well as good, and they’d think it’s awesome. It’s already started happening; Theodore “Vox Day” Beale is a good example of this kind of person.

    In other words, sicko Calvinism. Or post-Christian Calvinism.

  109. dee wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    The Holy Spirit speaks, but men/women must respond.
    I agree with you. But how does this apply to Calvinists who are dead set on the infallible effectiveness of the Holy Spirit in the call to salvation?

    Ken F wrote:

    dee wrote:
    But how does this apply to Calvinists who are dead set on the infallible effectiveness of the Holy Spirit in the call to salvation?
    They don’t have an answer because there is no logical answer for this in Calvinism. This is where their theology breaks down. The closest they can get is to state that such a person might never have been saved to begin with. In fact, they have no way to know whether anyone is among the elect or not. The only possible assurance they can have is (relatively?) sinless living (the “P” part of TULIP). This is why sin-sniffing and accountability are so big with them.

    I agree with what Ken F. Says here.

    But I believe many Calvinists do try to have an answer. God’s Sovereignty is their answer. He can do as he pleases, allowing good and evil. His sovereignty overrules everything. Man really has no say in what he chooses.

    I happen to disagree. Jesus gave the rich young ruler a choice. He didn’t force the woman at the well to do anything. Martha and Mary made choices. Peter made choices.

  110. Christa wrote:

    It doesn’t mean you’re cured.

    A couple of months ago a friend showed me this sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mAoIt3u6Ww. It’s a great explanation on why penal substitutionary atonement is a bad way to view the atonement. But near the end he talks about the idea of being cured of sin. That part pretty much starts at 27:17. I found this very helpful.

  111. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    “And I have seen the opposite, the Mary who is so busy Contemplating and Being Spiritual and Holy that she ends up freeloading off the labor of the Marthas.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    ha, aren’t they just! nursing how-many-is-it-now Starbucks pricey coffee nothings and warming their Starbucks chairseat all the way. workin’ hard…. workin’ hard…

  112. dee wrote:

    Here is a point of view that works for me. Everyone sins no matter how convinced they are of the truth of the faith. the Bible demonstrates the utter failure of mankind to live a sinless (or moral, ethical life fro atheists).

    Yes; think of all the admonitions in the new testament to ‘do this good thing’ or ‘not do this bad thing’ – why would they be in there if it wasn’t possible for us to do bad or to fail to do good?

    I think that Christ set us free from the penalty of sin and death yet when he gave us his Holy Spirit – a new nature that wants to please him – he also left the old nature, so that our Christian life is a process of learning to follow the new and leave the old behind. This process of having to choose, of having to struggle, it is a learning process that makes us experienced, wise, mature, with time. One has his “senses trained to discern good and evil” even within ones’ own heart.

  113. Bridget wrote:

    His sovereignty overrules everything.

    It even rules god (capitalization intended). Even god is bound by Sovereignty in their system. The funny thing is, sovereignty requires something to be sovereign over. It cannot exist in isolation. That makes god dependent upon his creation. Or the father can be sovereign over the son and the spirit prior to creation as is taught in ESS. In any case, I believe their emphasis on sovereignty is missing a bigger point, and it logically leads them to heresy.

  114. @ siteseer:
    Don’t you just love how Jesus turned tradition on its head? Martha could have been listening at His feet, too. She was where women were expected to be. Tradition taught they did not learn at the feet of the Rabbi.

    I see Mary as a bit of an iconoclast considering the traditional practice of the times. Jesus said she “chosen” what is better. It was her choice. And, ironically, it isn’t recorded that the other men complained about her being there.

    I map this to what Paul said in 1 Timothy about the singular woman who was domineering with incorrect teaching. “Let her learn”, he said.

    We forget that women were simply not taught.

  115. dee wrote:

    JYJames wrote:

    How would he answer your questions?

    Here is the problem. Frank is not longer a believer. Many people do not know the he first converted to Greek Orthodoxy and then left the faith, sort of.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christian-piatt/frank-schaeffer-the-god-b_b_5306149.html
    I am looking for answers within the historic faith. So, to put it in a nutshell-why does the Holy Spirit compel us, without fail, to come to God but not compel Schaeffer to stop beating his wife.

    Perhaps the Holy Spirit was speaking very strongly to Frank about his spousal abuse, but he refused to listen. If other Christians knew about it, the Holy Spirit may have used them to speak to Frank. My guess is that dealing with his behavior would have taken time & would have been a “stain” on his ministry & ego, so he didn’t want to do that.

    Paul kicked against the goads until the Holy Spirit knocked him from his horse, blinded him temporarily, and spoke to him. While we may not experience this to as great an extent as Paul, I think we do “kick against the goads” sometimes when the Holy Spirit is trying to teach us things, but He allows us to make choices.

    For me, the worship of idols in the form of Christian leaders and secular leaders has been the area that the Holy Spirit has been patiently addressing with me over many years. It took bad experiences with leaders in SGM and another church as well as with work managers to show me that I had been seeking the approval of people rather than receiving the approval of God that Jesus earned for me. Being in Christ is huge!!! It helps me to behave in a way that honors God. Not that I no longer struggle with sin, but knowing who I am in Christ, being secure and resting in Him, helps me to love God & my neighbor.

  116. Mark wrote:

    Why did Martin Luther advocate burning down synagogues? Why did Jonathan Edwards struggle with alcoholism throughout his life? Why did John Bunyan suffer from OCD symptoms? How could a local pastor lead a vibrant church for over 20 years while being in an adulterous relationship almost the whole time? I don’t know, but the cognitive dissonance created by these sorts of things produced cracks in my faith that expanded until it was destroyed. I appreciate your honest questions. Deconversion, for me, was the only way I found peace. I don’t necessarily recommend decconversion to anybody else (It’ painful!), but I do advocate for the faithful to take a long, honest look at how their has played-out over the past two millennia.

    Why did all those Christian leaders advocate and participate in terrible things?
    A possible (albeit lighthearted) answer:

    “Dear sir,

    In regards to your question, ‘What is wrong with the world?’

    I am.

    Yours Truly,
    G.K. Chesterton”

    As for a deeper answer, I’ll say this upfront: I may disagree, but I’ll try not to be disagreeable. I sympathize with you and mean no disrespect in my answer, and hope for the best in your intellectual endeavors; but I noticed a few things in your argument that might be a hindrance to intellectual honesty.

    I totally understand being disgusted with the actions of Christians, but I would caution against rejecting a worldview simply because its adherents are messed up individuals. I understand your frustration and anger at Christians behaving badly; I share your frustration, and have witnessed that kind of stuff my entire life; and from talking with agnostic friends it seems to be the biggest reason they reject Christianity.

    However, despite the wrongness of what these Christians do, before we discredit Christianity we must ask: Do their misdeeds truly reflect the teachings of Christianity–more specifically, the teachings of Christ? Is their failure as Christians indicative of Christianity’s failure as a worldview?

    That’s a question I’ve struggled with as well, but I think it pushed you and me to different conclusions. You cite the hypocrisy of Christians as evidence that Christianity is wrong. I cite the hypocrisy of Christians as evidence that Christianity is true. It is precisely their deplorable behavior that, while undermining their own credibility, supports the fundamental claims of Christianity: Namely, that humanity is sick and in need of help.

    I understand you are fed up with the failings of Christians (so am I, and daily more and more fed up with the failings of one in particular: myself), but I hope you realize the logical fallacy of rejecting Christianity’s claims simply because of Christians acting wrongly. That does not mean I condone any of the failings of Christians; I am just as angry with them as you are. But hypocrisy simply does not give enough ground to rationally disbelieve in a worldview. It certainly doesn’t help towards belief, but it really has no effect on the inherent veracity of the worldview; it only diminishes the credibility of its adherents.

    I think a similar question to yours is, “If Christianity is true, then why are there so many messed-up (or abusive, or acoholic, or all-round messed-up) people in the church?”

    I would argue that that is exactly what we should expect if the claims of Jesus are true. That question is similar to asking, “If modern medical theory is accurate, then why are there so many sick people in hospitals?” Just as it is precisely the sick people who know they need medical help, it is precisely those messed-up (or abusive, or acoholic, or all-round ‘sinful’) people who realize they need moral help. That is the central hope of Christianity: the hope of renewal, to be made good again.

    But the question that immediately follows, of course, is this: “If modern medical theory is accurate, then why are so many patients in hospitals still sick?” Or, “If Christianity is true, then why are so many Christians still ___ (abusive, alcoholic, messed-up, etc.)?”

    The appropriate answer to both, I think, is to ask honestly: “What would they have been like without the treatment?” And that is something which, I think, is far too complex and personal upon which to base general belief or unbelief.

    At the heart of the matter is this: Would you reject the entirety of modern medical theory simply because a famous doctor smokes and heavily abuses painkillers, even though he does so in spite of his professional knowledge? Modern medical theory is true or false completely independent of “The Good Doctor’s” bad behavior. Similarly, the central claims of Christianity (and by ‘central claims,’ I mean those straight from Jesus Christ, not necessarily later church tradition) are true or false completely independent of “The Good Christian’s” bad behavior.

    Sorry if this reply was a little long, but I’m just trying to help. I totally agree with you on the injustices committed by Christians; but it drove me to lose my faith, not in Christ, but only in Christians.

  117. dee wrote:

    So, to put it in a nutshell-why does the Holy Spirit compel us, without fail, to come to God but not compel Schaeffer to stop beating his wife.

    Compel: force, subdue, overpower
    With that definition I don’t believe the spirit “compels” us to God so I can’t see why the Spirit would compel us in anything else.

  118. Lydia wrote:

    I see Mary as a bit of an iconoclast considering the traditional practice of the times. Jesus said she “chosen” what is better. It was her choice. And, ironically, it isn’t recorded that the other men complained about her being there.

    This is a very good argument against YRR complementarianism. I had not made that connection before.

  119. @ Ken F:
    I have not listened to the video but just wanted to add that when we use the word “sin”, I am not convinced everyone is on the same page.

    I don’t think sin should be measured understood in terms of the perfection of God. Yet, I do think Jesus Christ’s humanity was instructive in how people can choose to live.

    Large swaths of Christendom believe in original sin. Many also believe in inherited guilt. And total depravity.

    I think we are inclined to do wrong and are capable of horrible evil but I am not convinced that what everyone views as sin is really sin. One example is anger. Is anger sinful if you don’t wrongly act upon it? I think it can be a God given instinct to seek protection for yourself and others.

    I don’t think we can divorce nurture from this either. Children can be raised and conditioned to do evil as all well know. I am not saying that isn’t sinful but it all seems to work together, nature and nurture. Which is why I think “light of the world” is so important.

  120. Matilda wrote:

    and thanks to the Web, these things are exposed now. sadly the hypocrisy of such exposures is hardly helping to attract younger generations to church.

    Which one really is hypocrisy – speaking the truth about the behavior, or the behavior, itself?

  121. Lydia wrote:

    @ Ken F:
    I have not listened to the video but just wanted to add that when we use the word “sin”, I am not convinced everyone is on the same page.

    I don’t think sin should be measured understood in terms of the perfection of God.

    All too often it’s “Whatever YOU Do that *I* Don’t”.

  122. dee wrote:

    So, to put it in a nutshell-why does the Holy Spirit compel us, without fail, to come to God but not compel Schaeffer to stop beating his wife.

    GNT 1 Peter 3:7: “In the same way you husbands must live with your wives with the proper understanding that they are more delicate than you. Treat them with respect, because they also will receive, together with you, God’s gift of life. Do this so that nothing will interfere with your prayers.”

    I studied at L’Abri in Switzerland right before Francis and Edith left due to his illness. There was a day when they cancelled everything and asked all to pray. Later, their son Frank wrote that they struggled financially. Soon, Francis Schaeffer, even at Mayo, succumbed to cancer, while Edith outlived him. Publicly, Francis Schaeffer lauded and highly praised his wife, I recall.

    Obviously the health and prosperity teaching is false. However, sometimes I wonder if when prayers are not answered or a ministry is cut short or a ministry has its wings clipped due to lack of finances, it can be due to the teaching of 1 Peter 3:7. There are a number of candid Christian memoirs that attest to this.

    When the wheels leave the temple – Ezekiel reference – or the Holy Spirit is grieved and not blessing the ministry or the life, the work appears fake, shallow, without power and the Gift(s). A supernatural work of God does not succeed on human energy alone. With leadership in public positions, it’s as if the rug is pulled out from under them. The same for the rest of us, who are not of highly visible stature, when we disobey.

    However, in reading candid Christian memoirs, there can be a struggle and trajectory of God trying to correct this and the Christian struggling with obedience, over years. It is a highly personal struggle in a marriage and in one’s life (if we are talking about husbands and wives here), yet at some point, the personal evidences visible fruit or not.

    When I was a little kid sitting in the pew on Sunday, I always wondered about those important people of God who passed in front of us as spiritual leaders. How did they treat their spouses, their children? That was the litmus test, that was real Christianity. (Not talking about sex here at all – a little kid doesn’t think like that – only about basic kindness.) Turns out some of these important people, both men and women, are/were not so kind and loving close up. However, God is love.

  123. dee wrote:

    JYJames wrote:

    How would he answer your questions?

    Here is the problem. Frank is not longer a believer. Many people do not know the he first converted to Greek Orthodoxy and then left the faith, sort of.

    At the time I heard him on the radio (Rich Buhler’s talk show, circa 1980 or so) he was RABID ANTI-CATHOLIC; like RaulReesCalvaryChapelCostaMesa (all one word), he went out of his way to find anything to denounce Romish Popery(TM).

    (The interview was on some sort of book tour for his latest at the time, Addicted to Mediocrity, which would have put it around ’82-83; I tuned in for “Christians and the Arts” and instead got an earful of “NO POPERY!” rhetoric.)

    Since this was most probably 1983, it would have been before he went Greek Orthodox; when I heard he’d crossed the Adriatic into elaborate Byzantine liturgy and Greek theospeak I wondered if he was just jumping from one Anti-Catholicism to another.

  124. Christa wrote:

    Neo Calvinists are guilty of thinking their dedication to scripture, their careful study, somehow makes them holy. It does not.
    Otherwise ‘good’ people do bad things. Humility is what we need to see in our leaders. Not the false stuff either. We should be honest about our brokenness.

    True.

  125. westerner wrote:

    Speaking as an agnostic, I feel awful while and after doing awful things. To try to parse that out, since I don’t believe in a specific god who judges me, and I don’t anticipate heaven or fear hell—I feel that I have failed the people I hurt and also my own standards for myself.

    I think it’s a Christian myth that all non-Christians run around gleefully doing whatever they want, without conscience. The reality is that faith and conscience are two different things. It’s quite possible for a person without faith to have a very active and healthy conscience, like you. And apparently, it’s quite possible to have faith while lacking conscience. That’s the irony of Schaeffer. How he could abuse his wife, for years it seems, and not have been wracked with guilt is beyond me.

    And I like that idea that maybe our religious choices reflect us as much or more than the guide us. Reminds me of our tendency to create god in our own image.

  126. Beakerj wrote:

    It would be interesting to hear what Frankie has to say on this, but I know that his sisters & definitely old L’Abri workers who were with Swiss L’Abri during these years (10 or 20 years there) say they are skeptical of Frankie’s recollections.

    I have a lot of empathy for Frank Jr even though I tend to cringe at too much detail with dirty laundry.

    When the family business is Christianity it can be hard for the one kid in the family who doesn’t necessarily have full buy in or who doesn’t really fit in anywhere because if age or temperament. I realize he eventually worked with his dad in producing information later. I can only imagine, from my own limited experience, how that world might have come to look false later on.

    I have seen this same phenomenon in other families whose source of income is religious. But not as public as the Schaeffers.

  127. JeffB wrote:

    The sad truth is that it is likely that a believer is capable of committing any of them.

    It’s because we have been given ‘choice’ AND because we are ‘not well’ in the sense that we needed The Great Physician to come and care for us.

    I don’t understand one thing:
    some say you can be ‘saved’, a recognized ‘Christian’, and still be given over to the way of harming others WHILE you are ‘claiming Christ’.
    I don’t see that can be possible because people who are choosing to harm others do not bear within themselves any witness to the great mercy of God BECAUSE they have ‘chosen’ to turn away from God and turn away from the way of grace.

    Turning away from God is a conscious choice and in order to sin, it must be done willingly. Can a person ‘choose’ to return to the Lord again? YES, but that involves being ‘convicted’ by the Holy Spirit who points us always towards the Lord, and feeling remorse and heart-break; then it involves seeking forgiveness and more importantly, making a commitment to God not to place ourselves in the way of temptation, and then continuing in prayer to God to ‘lead us not into temptation’.

    If any of this were easy or simple, our world would be a whole lot different than it is. We are in great need of grace and mercy. But the Light has come, and the darkness is lessening. So, we live in hope and stand witness to the mercy of God.

  128. Lydia wrote:

    Don’t you just love how Jesus turned tradition on its head?

    And his purpose was not to turn tradition on its head but to value Mary. His act of treating people as individuals, each worthy of his love and respect, was revolutionary.

  129. dee asks, “I really, really want to know why the Holy Spirit is sometimes effectual but not effectual in stopping supposed Christian orthodox theologians and leaders who know all about the lists from abusing their spouses.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    ok, my thoughts are starting to coalesce (& mental muscle memory kicking in… i know i’ve wrangled with these things before).

    i think holy spirit does pow-bam-explosive things as unique events. but for the most part, it’s the mundane day-by-day learning how to tune in to him/her/it. i mean, if we believe there’s merit to the information about the HS in the NT, we have to acknowledge that the holy spirit is present and available, right?

    i see holy spirit like something familiar and similar yet other — we have to learn to adjust to ‘it’, relax and learn how to tune in to ‘it’. by experience through daily living.

    but not an ‘it’, a person ready to interact with us with comfort, companionship, ideas/insights/information, power, energy, enablement (in a good sense), activation, a catalyst, an environment changer…

    sort of like:

    *adjusting the dial on a radio (those old-fashioned things — love my radio), trying to zero in on that hard-to-find station and eventually finding it.

    *those trendy pointillisms from the 1990s with hidden dinosaurs, etc. mingling with and behind the dots. you have to stare at it for a while — you have to “let your eyes adjust to it” (or so i was told) — and then it begins to come into focus and “it’s right there, you can see it” (or so i was told, by those standing next to me)

    *0rg@$m — sorry — potential learned by relaxing & letting it happen and not trying so hard

    *the scene from the deep-sea dire-straights movie “The Abyss” — a military person visits the deep-sea station & demonstrates an oxygenated liquid. puts a rat in a clear box of the blue liquid, the rat struggles but learns to adjust and relax and pretty soon is breathing.

    *artistic inspiration — employing one’s artistic skills in the moment, but learning to let it happen and run with it.
    ———-

    head knowledge, cerebral things don’t help. and certainly over-confidence in oneself & “i’m doing such a great job!” and “aren’t i hot stuff!” immediateley & firmly shut the door.

    i understand if my carrying on here sounds weird or is off-putting.

  130. This ought to be quite the clickbait…

    Some of this stuff I knew already, but the physical abuse allegations are new to me. How much to take Junior seriously, I don’t know.

    It makes me think of the idea of especially besetting sins in the life of the believer, that they never fully overcome in this life. It certainly runs counter to the narrative of continual, upward progression in sanctification that I’ve seen repeatedly in Reformed circles. Frankly, I wonder at their rejection of entire sanctification a.k.a. sinless perfectionism; it should at least be possible, right? The emphasis on a Christian life with no major falls into sin, no intractable problems, etc. characterizing the *genuine* Christian was almost enough to drive me from the faith.

  131. Lydia wrote:

    I am drawn to it like a moth! Got to finish a project though.

    Psst! Don’t tell Injun Joe!
    And yeah, it (this thread) will engender questions directly related to — what is orthodoxy? — or better yet, — what is perceived as orthodoxy?
    For heretics and apostates (although I prefer the term ‘dissidents’) like me, it will open a whole new can of fishin’ worms.

  132. JYJames wrote:

    Christa wrote:

    Neo Calvinists are guilty of thinking their dedication to scripture, their careful study, somehow makes them holy. It does not.
    Otherwise ‘good’ people do bad things. Humility is what we need to see in our leaders. Not the false stuff either. We should be honest about our brokenness.

    True.

    A prayer from the eastern Orthodox:
    “From the Eastern Christian tradition, comes this teaching:

    “Our Lord cries to us in the depths of our hearts,
    “Awake 0 sleeper, rise up from among the dead, and Christ will illumine you”.

    “And you shall be as I fashioned you, a child of light capable of great compassion and love. And then I will awaken within you my Holy Spirit. You will know the profound love without limits I have for you.

    And your flow of tears will witness to the melting of frozen places within you. The softening of your tear stained face will be an invitation for Me to take up my abode in your heart……”

  133. Interesting to see the references to Frank Schaeffer; I read his book (I think titled Addicted to Mediocracy); quite a polemic tone which I did not hear in his father. I cannot say that I am a fan–his tone at Huffington is similar in terms of the polemic.

    I am sorry for what he experienced in his home; I sometimes think that ministers often emphasize what they personally struggle with or need grace for without admitting their personal need. In other words, when a preacher rails against sexual sin from the pulpit, I often question whether they struggle with that sin themselves. Their ‘strong condemnation’ of those who struggle with that sin somehow expiates their personal sin or struggle. Or, as in the case of Tullian T., his emphasis on grace (a right emphasis, in my personal theological view) is used by him as personal cover for his failings.

    This calls out for us to be discerning regarding truth–invest in the message, if it is true; never the messenger. The name Schaeffer opened a lot of doors for Frank; it is doubtful that we would know him as a writer if not for the resume of his family. If you follow his career trajectory it seems he made what would appear some transitions of convenience, if that makes any sense. Looking back, I simply do not know when Frank was real and when he was not–or if he is real now, or not.

  134. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    Looking back, I simply do not know when Frank was real and when he was not–or if he is real now, or not.

    I wonder if he is not troubled by the same thoughts.

  135. @ Lydia:
    I completely agree incidentally, it wasn’t meant to be a defense of or minimisation of domestic violence & it could absolutely be that Frankie was the only one who said it as it was. I have a huge soft spot for Frankie & I follow him on fb – for a start sarcasm is my native language & his books about Xtian culture were so refreshing when I was younger & little punk me at art school didn’t know what I’d landed in with the Xtian art scene. I imagine the pressure on Frankie was immense to follow in his Dad’s footsteps & I imagine that to this day the Schaeffer kids & grandkids (some of whom I know to talk to) still have that pressure – esp. those who look like Francis 🙂
    It’s just weird though in that I have known, & known well, people who went through those years alongside the Schaeffers, who talk about both Frankie & his recollections (often childhood & teenage Frankie) with both great love & some skepticism.

  136. Frank Schaeffer’s book, Portifino, is for my money the best of his writing. True, it is a novel but it is autobiographical, closely paralleling his own story, with no whitewash on his father’s violent behavior. It’s his best writing, and his clever sense of humor shines though. It gets 4+ stars on Amazon and can be purchased for a penny plus shipping.

  137. What made these two so different from the world? Abuse, perfection, lying, neglect, hypocrisy, sex issues. I could care less how many books or devotionals, speaking engag ements these two participated in. It seems that if you slap Christian/Jesus on it a pass should be given or repentance later in life erases years of harm done. Look what happened to king David his past sins had serious consequences. What we do in the nane of Christ impacts everyone. I don’t care how good of a Christian Calvinists are im sorry but I believe that theology is straight out of the pit of hell!!! My opinion you don’t have to agree. Calvinism is a disaster and they all seem to share the same problems across the globe. Abuse, child sex abuse, controlling, they lie not up front with you, shunnings, cover ups, church discipline and so on

  138. Nancy2 wrote:

    Even for someone who truly accepts Jesus as Savior, salvation does not automatically change behavior. It’s not like waving a magic wand. For most of us, changing a behavior takes commitment and hard, hard work; oftentimes, years of hard work.

    This is true, some sins are such a struggle and of course we never fully get over ourselves. But the first time I knew I’d become a follower of Jesus was when noticing that I’d suddenly started experiencing a love for people that was never there in the same manner before.

  139. elastigirl wrote:

    i understand if my carrying on here sounds weird or is off-putting.

    not at all …… perception is a part of discernment

    there are those times and places where it is easier for us to ‘see things differently’, to be awakened to something we had missed, to be able to see a little more clearly ‘through a glass darkly’ and so to be made aware of the Presence of God with us

    these are holy grace-filled moments and we are strengthened by them, yes

  140. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    Interesting to see the references to Frank Schaeffer; I read his book (I think titled Addicted to Mediocracy); quite a polemic tone which I did not hear in his father. I cannot say that I am a fan–his tone at Huffington is similar in terms of the polemic.

    I am sorry for what he experienced in his home; I sometimes think that ministers often emphasize what they personally struggle with or need grace for without admitting their personal need. In other words, when a preacher rails against sexual sin from the pulpit, I often question whether they struggle with that sin themselves. Their ‘strong condemnation’ of those who struggle with that sin somehow expiates their personal sin or struggle.

    Reminds me of Fr. Peter Miqueli, whose parishioners didn’t like his diatribes against homosexuality. Turns out, he spent his parish’s money on sex dungeons and vacations with his muscular boyfriend.

  141. @ Beakerj:
    You obviously have more experience with them. I have only read a few of SR books about 20 years ago. I just am familiar with the problems associated with kids who grow up in homes where Christianity is the main source of income.

    I can imagine Frank Jr has had to work through a lot. Especially considering how revered his parents were in certain circles. I am sure his writing made a lot of people who revered them, very angry. Another reason not to have spiritual gurus?

  142. Law Prof wrote:

    But the first time I knew I’d become a follower of Jesus was when noticing that I’d suddenly started experiencing a love for people that was never there in the same manner before.

    ah, you had an epiphany, not unlike the one experienced by Thomas Merton:
    “In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers….There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”

    it happens and when it does, you have experienced a gift of grace that is a ‘keeper’, you never forget this experience, and you come back to it in time of need later in life, as a touch stone that ‘yes, it happened, it was real’ 🙂

  143. Bill M wrote:

    Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    Looking back, I simply do not know when Frank was real and when he was not–or if he is real now, or not.

    I wonder if he is not troubled by the same thoughts.

    That is what I thought. What was his normal? Didn’t I read he did not even graduate from High School? Or was it he had an eclectic home school education? I can’t remember yet read excerpts somewhere about his growing up years and thinking about what was his “normal”.

  144. Christiane wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:

    i understand if my carrying on here sounds weird or is off-putting.

    not at all …… perception is a part of discernment

    there are those times and places where it is easier for us to ‘see things differently’, to be awakened to something we had missed, to be able to see a little more clearly ‘through a glass darkly’ and so to be made aware of the Presence of God with us

    these are holy grace-filled moments and we are strengthened by them, yes

    I treasure these moments. I’ve been in places, and with people, where spirit just shimmers in the air and it’s clear what matters and what doesn’t. I think it’s an experience that transcends any particular creed.

  145. @ Lydia:
    Oh, totally. Nothing good ever really seems to come from it.

    They are the only ‘famous’ Christian people I have ever known, I grew up utterly outside that world & had no idea who they were when I first went to L’Abri. I’m sure there are lots of issues common to kids who grow up in famous Christian families, as there are to Pastor’s Kids or Missionary Kid’s, or indeed L’Abri Worker’s Kids. In general my impression of the Schaeffer’s larger family & kids is very loving & very positive, but man, the pressure.

  146. @ Christiane:
    He describes himself as “home schooled” on his website. That doesn’t mean he didn’t do some stints in boarding school. I remember he married very young, too.

  147. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    r. I cannot say that I am a fan–his tone at Huffington is similar in terms of the polemic.

    I agree with this, too. I cringe when I read some of his articles because despite his bizarre upbringing for which I have much emoathy, he comes off a bit holier than thou for not being holy. Or intolerant of those he thinks are intolerant. And I think he overstates some things like overthrowing the gov.

    It’s like he is living out his tumultuous journey in public and we are to learn what from it? As in, who is Frank this year? and he is a “brand” of sorts and was able to cash in on his last name.

    I think he is still finding himself, perhaps, and is doing it in public making a living from it. A variation of his childhood.

  148. Christiane wrote:

    “In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district,

    Oh my word. This is hard to believe. The old Stewart’s Dry Good store used to be at the corner of Fourth and Walnut in downtown Louisville. Every Christmas they put up elaborate automated Christmas scenes in which the little characters moved-always one about Santa’a workshop. It was miserable there in winter; the cold wind would just cut right through you. That would be the wind which came down from Canada, had nothing to stop it across the flatness of Indiana, picked up humidity as it crossed the Ohio River, and then whirled straight down Fourth Street.

    I too had a religious experience of sorts right there, but not like his. I remember that after I had my own epiphany of doubt at age four I used to stand there shivering in the cold during Christmas shopping in subsequent years watching the window displays and think how sad it was that it was all just not true, the Santa thing and the Jesus thing, and how sad that people told lies like that. Maybe it was just because we did not have enough money to shop at Stewart’s. But one of Mom’s sisters used to save Stewart’s boxes for use Christmas after Christmas just because it was, after all, Stewart’s. It is amazing how long a box will last like that.

    I don’t remember when I got beyond that, or how, but it was not at the corner of Fourth and Walnut. Anyhow, the moral of this story is that the Spirit does what he pleases when he pleases and we basically need to get off his case about how or why that is so.

  149. Mark wrote:

    Why did Martin Luther advocate burning down synagogues? Why did Jonathan Edwards struggle with alcoholism throughout his life? Why did John Bunyan suffer from OCD symptoms? How could a local pastor lead a vibrant church for over 20 years while being in an adulterous relationship almost the whole time?

    Because those people were jerks and/or fakes. But Jesus isn’t.

  150. siteseer wrote:

    And, also, because these people are no longer just ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ but rather GREAT LEADER, whose flaws we all must conspire to overlook because we want some kind of figurehead to follow.

    That is certainly a possibility. We conspire to overlook since we want a figurehead. In other words we don’t want to see the flaws.

  151. Amendment to previous comment to Mark:

    I guess having OCD or alcoholism doesn’t necessarily make you a “jerk”, it makes you fallible and human, though some alcoholics are nightmares to be around. But Luther had major anger management issues and the adulterous pastor is just a jerk. What I don’t get is why someone denies Jesus when He sure wasn’t fake or cruel and when He warned us about predators and phonies who’d come in His name and also warned us, via Paul, that we’d never get over our sin on this earth. You’re rejecting Jesus even though He told us the truth about what people were really like and even though He certainly wasn’t like that. Dang.

  152. Bart Campolo is now a nonbeliever too. The NYT just did a piece on him. He suffered a head injury at one point, which may have played a role, but he appears to have begun doubting his faith before then as well. Is anyone hear familiar with him?

  153. Christiane wrote:

    In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people

    I’ll have to go stand on this corner, the next time I’m in downtown Louisville. Sounds like a very spiritually potent spot.

  154. From the main body of the Post up top:
    — Why Would an Orthodox, Gospel, Holy Spirit Filled Theologian Like Francis Schaeffer Abuse His Wife? —

    Because he chose to, simple as that. Several commenters have pointed out that The Holy Spirit is no guarantor of right action. And they’re bloody well right. Each of us is in charge of his or her own actions, God is not in control.
    We are.

  155. Law Prof wrote:

    Mark wrote:
    Why did Martin Luther advocate burning down synagogues? Why did Jonathan Edwards struggle with alcoholism throughout his life? Why did John Bunyan suffer from OCD symptoms? How could a local pastor lead a vibrant church for over 20 years while being in an adulterous relationship almost the whole time?
    Because those people were jerks and/or fakes. But Jesus isn’t.

    Does OCD come under those titles, or is it a mental illness?

  156. @ GSD:
    To set the ‘stage’ so to speak, Merton had personally spent some time in retreat from the world as a monk, as much alone as his superiors would permit,
    and in this prolonged isolation from people, he may in fact have become more ‘aware’ of others when he was once again out among people….

    was what happened to him a study in ‘contrast’ or something ‘more’ ???

  157. Steve240 wrote:

    siteseer wrote:

    And, also, because these people are no longer just ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ but rather GREAT LEADER, whose flaws we all must conspire to overlook because we want some kind of figurehead to follow.

    That is certainly a possibility. We conspire to overlook since we want a figurehead. In other words we don’t want to see the flaws.

    The Jews begged for a king like the pagans had. This made God angry because He was their King. Yet He gave them what they wanted. And even today, people look to some pastor, priest, Pope or Seminary President as their spiritual leader.

  158. Lydia wrote:

    And even today, people look to some pastor, priest, Pope or Seminary President as their spiritual leader.

    Plus, there sure are a lot of people that want to be that pastor, priest, Pope, or Seminary President.

  159. MidwesternEasterner wrote:

    Bart Campolo is now a nonbeliever too. The NYT just did a piece on him. He suffered a head injury at one point, which may have played a role, but he appears to have begun doubting his faith before then as well. Is anyone hear familiar with him?

    Familiar enough to know that he walked away from what he felt was no longer meaningful to him: the way he had been taught about people going to hell who did not know Christ, the way he had been taught was the right way to ‘judge’ gay folks, the way God was portrayed as being ‘sovereign’ in a world where there was so much suffering …….

    he’s left behind those teachings that ‘insult his own soul’ and I cannot find fault in his search for an integrity and a sense of meaning, no.

    At least he’s not out there openly spouting the usual Christianese while secretly living a life abusing others.

    And, thank God, he hasn’t turned out like Franklin Graham, whose dear famous father is nothing like the son.

    I think Bart Compolo will land on his feet. Give him time. God is not finished with any of us yet. 🙂

  160. @ okrapod:
    When I was little my grandmother had to buy her hosiery (they came in a box with tissue paper) at Stewarts for some reason so we were in there a lot. My mom loved to eat in the cafeteria because they had the best chicken salad stuffed tomato in town.

    I remember the elaborate Christmas displays and how cold the corner still can be. I was always hoping we would stop in McCrorys who had tons of bulk candy choices in big glass display bins. But that was a very rare occurrence. :o)

  161. @ ishy:
    I don’t think the problem is having a spiritual ‘mentor’ so much as wanting someone else to take responsibility for your spiritual health. Any good mentor will point you towards Christ, as does the Holy Spirit, and not try to ‘be the boss of you’ or override your moral conscience, no.

    I’ve had several nuns that I have spent time talking with who helped me. But no time did they ever not respect my own personhood. Leaders? More like guides. Pointing to something greater than themselves. Did me good.

  162. Christiane wrote:

    I don’t think the problem is having a spiritual ‘mentor’ so much as wanting someone else to take responsibility for your spiritual health. Any good mentor will point you towards Christ, as does the Holy Spirit, and not try to ‘be the boss of you’ or override your moral conscience, no.

    I was quoting what Lydia said about that, and myself pointing at the motivations of the people who want to be those celebrities. I’ve met a lot of people who had a dream to be a Christian celebrity, especially in college and at seminary. Not just a little, either, but absolutely desperate to be famous, almost like a stage mom. And I never heard anyone in Baptist circles confront that as a problem, and it is.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a mentor, but I think most Christians look to the wrong people to find mentors, judging by outward appearance, and not choosing the person who is walking humbly.

  163. @ Law Prof:
    Jesus wasn’t going around trying to control people either. He said if they reject you, move on. He invited people. He seemed to reserve His anger for the Religious leaders of His own tribe. But not the pagans … which I think shocked many at that time because Roman occupation was the boiling issue.

  164. The Man who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    You cite the hypocrisy of Christians as evidence that Christianity is wrong. I cite the hypocrisy of Christians as evidence that Christianity is true. It is precisely their deplorable behavior that, while undermining their own credibility, supports the fundamental claims of Christianity: Namely, that humanity is sick and in need of help.

    I don’t think I have ever heard an argument from this perspective. It sounds a bit like something CS Lewis could write. But I don’t remember reading it in anything Lewis wrote.

  165. ishy wrote:

    And I never heard anyone in Baptist circles confront that as a problem, and it is.

    This one will throw you for a curve: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/is-it-sinful-to-seek-fame-online.

    So, I say: Yes, it is a sin to want to be famous; that is, to want to be known by more and more people who will make much of us and praise us. It is a deadly craving of the fallen human ego to want to be made much of — even for the good that we do, let alone the evil that we do.

    What timing. Published yesterday.

  166. Ken F wrote:

    So, I say: Yes, it is a sin to want to be famous; that is, to want to be known by more and more people who will make much of us and praise us. It is a deadly craving of the fallen human ego to want to be made much of — even for the good that we do, let alone the evil that we do.

    Whenever Piper talks about sin, I get the distinct impression that he’s referring to anyone but the Calvinista elite. Have to keep the peons low.

  167. Lydia wrote:

    He invited people.

    Ah yes. The gentlemanly invitation from God Himself. What’s not to love about our wonderful Creator God. A Gentleman through and through. Always and forever.

    Rev. 3:20 He knocks and asks, “May I come in and fellowship with you?” So genteel, respectful, acknowledging the full agency of his created people.

  168. Max wrote:

    Steve240 wrote:
    seeing this makes me totally reject the Calvinist point of “total depravity” when you see agnostics or atheists act with more integrity than some supposed believers do
    New Calvinists move beyond “total depravity” in their belief system to “total inability” … the total loss of free will. I’ve heard some of them essentially defending their addiction to pornography because they are unable to choose to put it down! They believe they have an innate incapacity to overcome certain sins, when actually they have an inability to overcome the flesh because they don’t have the Spirit to do so. If/when the New Calvinist movement dies, the greatest field for evangelism in America will be among their ranks – they have not been exposed to the true Gospel which saves AND delivers.

    This is a new one on me for some Calvinists to go to the point of “total inability.”

    Talk like that sure sounds to me what Paul was talking about in II Timothy 3:1-5

    1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

    Isn’t this what these people are doing is having a form of religion or godliness but then denying the power of religion to change them? Paul then further on describes his continue in proper character etc.

    Paul also talked in Titus 1:16 about some person’s actions deny him.

    16They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

  169. I would also add that it is disgraceful that Francis Schaefer continued in ministry if he couldn’t solve his anger issues with his wife. Maybe Francis couldn’t take the pressure and demands of being in the type of ministry he was in. If that was the case then he should have just stepped down from doing this vs. live in this type of hypocrisy.

  170. JYJames wrote:

    acknowledging the full agency of his created people.

    a great phrase:
    the God who created ‘persons’ …. not at all like Calvin’s robots pre-programmed to heaven or hell with no ability to control their own lives or make decisions as people with dignity

    the closer people get to Calvin’s deterministic concept of ‘who God is’ and ‘who we are’, the more they disrespect the dignity of the human person who was given the responsibility to ‘chose’

  171. Steve240 wrote:

    This is a new one on me for some Calvinists to go to the point of “total inability.”

    I’ve seen “Total Inability” quite often in my look into Calvinism. Perhaps they think it sounds better? Here is Piper using language like it in 1985: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-we-believe-about-the-five-points-of-calvinism

    This inability to save ourselves from ourselves is total.

    It’s complete nonsense that makes no sense and is not even in the Bible.

  172. @ Ken F:
    But Ken, they don’t seek fame. The youngen’s just flock to them because they have THE truth. It’s a burden they must carry.

    (Sarcasm alert)

  173. Ken F wrote:

    It’s complete nonsense that makes no sense and is not even in the Bible.

    Wow – I must have overdosed on Piper tonight. That sentence I just wrote is redundant. That video unbalance me.

  174. Ken F wrote:

    This inability to save ourselves from ourselves is total.

    It’s complete nonsense that makes no sense and is not even in the Bible.

    This is the most frustrating one of all.

    Me: I believe in free will choice

    YRR: So, you think you can save yourself, huh?

    Sigh.

  175. Christiane wrote:

    the closer people get to Calvin’s deterministic concept of ‘who God is’ and ‘who we are’, the more they disrespect the dignity of the human person who was given the responsibility to ‘chose’

    And hence, the abuse. What you wrote is a great segue back to the main point of this thread (and this site).

  176. Ken F wrote:

    Ken F wrote:

    It’s complete nonsense that makes no sense and is not even in the Bible.

    Wow – I must have overdosed on Piper tonight. That sentence I just wrote is redundant. That video unbalance me.

    I don’t immerse in Piper anymore or keep up with him but I can remember the days of needing Piper detox when trying to figure out his appeal to so many. He is very unbalancing. Zombifying. Not to mention slogging through the flowery verbosity which is mind numbing.

  177. I also read a lot of both Schaeffers, Francis and Edith, in my 20s. I seem to remember Edith writing that Fran’s father was a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed man who got into plenty of fights. This is the model Schaeffer grew up with, and those family-of-origin difficulties don’t automatically disappear after conversion, despite the message given, implicitly and explicitly, that all your problems will go away if you acceptJesusChristasyourpersonalLordandSavior. Not only was the role of women circumscribed in their day, but the idea of counseling was not even on the radar, especially with your pastor. You just gritted your teeth and got through the problem however you could.

    I personally think there has been more comfort available for a suffering woman or man in a church with a sacramental theology, even back in the day when attitudes were very different and divorce was unthinkable, because there were things one could actually do rather than just sit and conceptualize everything. Calvinism on its own is cold in so very many ways. Schaeffer at least was enthralled by beauty and sought to connect beauty with God. I wouldn’t be surprised if that love of beauty wasn’t at least partially responsible for opening his heart so that he eventually apologized.

    I have read some of Frank Schaeffer’s books about growing up in his family. Even in the midst of living with all his parents’ flaws, he knew he was loved. As he got older he was able to understand better, see them in their wholeness, and forgive them. As for where he is now and how he looks back on the political Evangelicalism with which he was involved, there is a current movie about him, which he did not make but with which he cooperated. Search for letmebefrankmovie dot com; the film is about 45 minutes long and is free to watch.

  178. I am watching Spotlight again, one thing really struck me at the beginning when they were in the police station. The one officer says to the sergeant Its going to be hard to keep this out of the news at the arraignment, the Sergeant said “what arraignment?” Then the priest walks out with the Monsignor I think it was and they drive away. That just struck me and it is the same theme that is played out again and again with protecting the brand, the leader, the doctrine etc. The movie covers the grooming process really well and the connection to the Leader/priest being “god”. The movie describes explicit events and it needs to me.

    Another scene where the Lawyer says he is one of the lucky ones, he is still alive. The conversations are so telling. When I was back in the evangelical faith and this stuff started coming out there was a sort of glee because this was proof about a celibate priesthood and Romanism being evil. The fact kids were abused was well not really important when compared to the apologetic value. I do not use the word “glee” lightly there was always this sort of giddy feeling when there was a gotcha for the big dog on the block IE the RCC.

    Spotlight is a very good film and can be very hard to watch.

  179. The one word nobody has brought up yet is conscience. Your conscience should tell you what is right or wrong. But if you have subdued it, you no longer listen to it. Just like the Holy Spirit. It is your choice to listen to it or not. We can say no and go on with our christian walk. That is our choice. But there are consequences.

    In Tyler, TX, we lost a great Baptist preacher this week, by the name of Rev. Paul Powell. He was well known all over east Texas, and Texas in general. I was privileged to sit under his ministry when he filled in at a church we went to, while they were looking for a minister. This man didn’t and wouldn’t put up with all this calvinism stuff. His obituary is lengthy. Our whole town and nearby town grieves for this servant of God. At one time he was the Dean of the Seminary at Baylor University, in Waco. We need more men like Reverend Powell. I don’t believe we will find out any scandals about his life later.

  180. Ken F wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    Me: I believe in free will choice
    YRR: So, you think you can save yourself, huh?

    Here is a list of 119 similar conversations: http://blog.savetheperishing.com/114-contradictions-from-calvinists/

    @ Ken F:
    Oh my word. Those contradictions bring back many frustrating memories. Remember, I live at ground zero and you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a zealous YRR for the last 15 years or so.

    I wish I had that list years ago!

  181. Ken F wrote:

    The Man who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    You cite the hypocrisy of Christians as evidence that Christianity is wrong. I cite the hypocrisy of Christians as evidence that Christianity is true. It is precisely their deplorable behavior that, while undermining their own credibility, supports the fundamental claims of Christianity: Namely, that humanity is sick and in need of help.

    I don’t think I have ever heard an argument from this perspective. It sounds a bit like something CS Lewis could write. But I don’t remember reading it in anything Lewis wrote.

    I’ve heard that argument before, but I don’t remember the original source. I just remember one of the faculty members at the Christian college I went to say it.

  182. brian wrote:

    When I was back in the evangelical faith and this stuff started coming out there was a sort of glee because this was proof about a celibate priesthood and Romanism being evil. The fact kids were abused was well not really important when compared to the apologetic value.

    The shoe is on the other foot, now.

  183. brian wrote:

    The fact kids were abused was well not really important when compared to the apologetic value. I do not use the word “glee” lightly there was always this sort of giddy feeling when there was a gotcha for the big dog on the block IE the RCC.

    Spotlight is a very good film and can be very hard to watch.

    the strange thing is that Catholics don’t see the film as anti-Catholic but recognize it as an excellent film on a topic of great importance to the Church, which cannot be a place that tolerates evil or excuses perpetrators of evil.
    http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2016/spotlight-is-not-anticatholic-vatican-newspaper-says.cfm

  184. When I was really deep in the industry I had a very sensitive conscience, at least that is what a Catholic lay leader told me. From my faith family, the constant and I do mean constant drum beat was we were so totally corrupted that we could not trust our heart ‘ conscience if it was out of line with what we were told by the leadership. Leadership informed our conscience and our shepherds were the guardians of our souls. In a very strange sort of backhanded way, some of us actually questioned if we actually had one of those things, a soul that is. That really is how some of us looked at it, we questioned our humanity or even if we were human because we felt like such wretched god hating trash. We were not called scum directly, well not a lot, but it was in almost every sermon, every single song about our wretchedness how we were lost, blind, faithless, rebels, deceived, spiritually dead, filth, liars, children of Satan, Children of disobedience… Now some that were applied to me apart from the standard list above, disruptor of the brethren, dog returning to its vomit, and people like me are “spiritual abortions” sort of like the seeds that did not blossom but a bit more colorful.

    You get to the point where you dont trust anything you think it messes you up for decades once you are booted out of the faith. I know I have said this before but one just does not shut off the voices that defined you as a person. My salvation was the people I work with they are the heart and soul.

  185. Christiane wrote:

    the strange thing is that Catholics don’t see the film as anti-Catholic

    The Vatican newspaper holds that view, but does the Vatican newspaper speak for all Catholics?

  186. @ Christiane:
    Good PR move after hiding thousands of cases for decades and moving the perps around and then having to pay out zillions when victims decided to band together and the Jewish editor at the Globe pushed the reporters to after the long time cover up at top
    Just like the evangelicals going to great lengths to play their “getting caught cards” right after the bad stuff becomes public. Like The Village Church, CJ Mahaney, etc. The name of the game becomes saving a corrupt institution that perpetuated evil at high levels. It’s not anti Catholic that is the problem. It’s the institutions that are anti Christian.

  187. @ Bridget:

    I read the article, thinking that some sort of survey had been done to poll Catholics on the subject. But it looks more like a statement from the Vatican.

  188. @ Bridget:
    Catholics have their own opinions as persons. As Catholics, we share the @ Lydia:
    what’s ‘anti’ would be any attempts to foster the evil, to hide the evil, to excuse the evil, to minimize the evil, to ignore the suffering of the victims and their families, to fail to help the victims of abuse ‘as Church’. As to financially helping the victims, especially with their counseling needs, I can imagine there are people with the wrong priorities still, and I hope they will be convicted of their errors and make course corrections. Such people work AGAINST what the Church needs to be doing.

  189. Christiane wrote:

    MidwesternEasterner wrote:

    Bart Campolo is now a nonbeliever too. The NYT just did a piece on him. He suffered a head injury at one point, which may have played a role, but he appears to have begun doubting his faith before then as well. Is anyone hear familiar with him?

    Familiar enough to know that he walked away from what he felt was no longer meaningful to him: the way he had been taught about people going to hell who did not know Christ, the way he had been taught was the right way to ‘judge’ gay folks, the way God was portrayed as being ‘sovereign’ in a world where there was so much suffering …….

    he’s left behind those teachings that ‘insult his own soul’ and I cannot find fault in his search for an integrity and a sense of meaning, no.

    At least he’s not out there openly spouting the usual Christianese while secretly living a life abusing others.

    And, thank God, he hasn’t turned out like Franklin Graham, whose dear famous father is nothing like the son.

    I think Bart Compolo will land on his feet. Give him time. God is not finished with any of us yet.

    Thanks for helping put things in perspective. I hadn’t really heard of him before so I didn’t really know much about his personal upbringing.

  190. siteseer wrote:

    This does not surprise me, not at all.
    I remember the days when the Schaeffers were the luminaries in the Christian world. They were all about mobilizing the church to be certain kinds of people and to influence the world in certain ways. “How Shall We Then Live,” was their rallying cry.
    I’ve come, after all these years, to see 2 different mindsets among Christians.
    The first is focused on God. This person comes to know God and wants to know him better. They seek to really know Jesus Christ, to who he was, what he taught, what he did. As they focus on him within a sincere heart, a change in their character and behavior is inevitable, because a person becomes more like the One they are focused on. This person is not so concerned with how others see them or what their position or role is, they just live the life they have in the awareness of Christ and in love for Him, and the end result is the person treating others as Christ has treated him.
    The second person comes to know God (or to know about God, perhaps) and immediately turns his focus outward to the world. What am I supposed to DO, he says to himself. He realizes the world is messed up and decides it’s his job to set things in order. “How am I to influence the world around me?” is his first question and focus. This person’s focus is on the world. He, too, becomes more like the one he focuses on. He may do some good, or may seem to be doing some good, but things are backwards in his own heart.
    When a person is focused on Jesus Christ, he gradually becomes more like him, and this shows in his outward relationships and character. But when a person is focused on the world, on how to influence the world, how to change the world, how to ‘be someone’ in the world, this does not seem to produce a reverse affect on his own character. In fact, it seems often to produce a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, a seeking after fame and position, and hypocrisy. And, it turns out, this person is often motivated by his own need to “be someone” more than his relationship with Christ.
    It’s such a subtle difference, and I think believers sometimes move from one mindset to the other in the course of their Christian life.
    As Christians, we ought to be more aware. We ought to keep our focus on Christ rather than leaders who we imbue with all the qualities we wish were there, based on outward appearances.

    So right.

  191. @ Bridget:
    Bridget, Catholics hold together on matters of faith and morals, but they certainly have their own points of view on other issues.

  192. Christa wrote:

    I’ve never struggled with this. I’m a child-abuse survivor so I know all about looking good on the outside while being all kinds of wrong on the inside. The biggest mistake evangelical Christians make is in thinking that conversion makes you perfect or that the Holy Spirit provides you a firewall between you and sin. It doesn’t.

    The Holy Spirit is that part of you that mourns even while you’re sinning, the part that admonishes you, exhorts you to do better, the part that feels like it’s dying any time you sin. It guides you, but you’re still a willful little human living in a fallen world. The further down your walk with God you get, the easier it is to avoid the temptation of sin, to listen an obey the Holy Spirit’s guidance. It doesn’t mean you’re cured. It’s entirely possible to be a great theologian and an abuser.

    Neo Calvinists are guilty of thinking their dedication to scripture, their careful study, somehow makes them holy. It does not.

    Otherwise ‘good’ people do bad things. Humility is what we need to see in our leaders. Not the false stuff either. We should be honest about our brokenness.

    I’m a cradle Christian in my 7th decade, & I’m considering Reform Judaism so seriously because it cuts out so much of the clutter and focuses on the basics: Honor God, serve others, and enjoy life; approach death as the inevitability and mystery it is.

    Christa’s post makes more sense to me than the past month of sermons, discussions and theological worrying ever began to. I think I can remain Christian and just honor, serve and enjoy. So thank you, ma’am.

    As it happens I’m reading “Crazy For God” & just passed the part where Frank mentions that Francis’s rages ended abruptly with his cancer diagnosis. Interesting.

    If I’m reading Frank right, he (Frank) wonders if Edith didn’t embroider her tales of Francis’s libido as an excuse to tour with him. Frank is proposing (as I read him) that Edith was more invested in being the religious author, lecturer and leader; & that Francis might have been content to focus on cultural topics. Who knows?

    Anyway, Christa, thank you for the clear-headed comments. Very meaningful and appreciated here, no matter how I proceed.

  193. Lydia wrote:

    Zombifying. Not to mention slogging through the flowery verbosity which is mind numbing.

    Piper’s not the only holy man who uses long-winded flowery verbosity. There are others (which I’ll not name) who also rely on obfuscating clap-trap. When you finally do slog out of the swamp, you realize they haven’t said a god-dang thing.

  194. Christiane wrote:

    Bridget, Catholics hold together on matters of faith and morals, but they certainly have their own points of view on other issues.

    I’ll vouch for that. I remember going door to door with a couple of Catholic grad students in order to get the vote out to defeat Prop. 8 (gay marriage amendment here in Calif.) A thing not possible with say grad students from the fundagelical mega-biggie here in my town, or Billy Bob’s Bible church down the road a piece.

  195. @dainca, I’m trying to quote you about Francis Schaeffer’s father but iPhone not working. Anyway, I just finished the part in “Crazy For God” about Francis’s father and Francus’s opinions of him. The father was undereducated and impoverished but incredibly able to get things done and Francis apparently spoke of him with awe and respect when talking to Frank.

    Frank observes that Francis had no emotionally intimate friends nor counselors in whom he could confide or go for help in controlling his moods. Now this is the first book I’ve read about the family but I don’t get the impression of Francis’s father as a hopeless brute. Not that it matters one way or another. Just putting in my oar. 😉

  196. Christiane wrote:

    Bridget, Catholics hold together on matters of faith and morals,

    I don’t believe this for a minute nor that you, or anyone, can possibly know what 1.1 billion professing Catholics actually hold to. It’s a noble and hopeful thought, but not reality in the least.

  197. I don’t think there is a Holy Spirit, and that men like Francis Schaeffer are the worst of hypocrites. Edith was a victim of Pastoral abuse, and then chose to ignore it and write books on Christian Family. Equally a hypocrite, in my view.

    Men and Women, like the Schaeffers peddle medicine that they themselves do not taste, and say that they should have be ignored.

    Jesus said to Judge a tree by it’s fruit. The twisted Neo_calvinist movement is almost entirely indebted to the Schaeffers (as well as the religious right).

  198. @ dee:
    Hi Dee, I absolutely agree that some people find peace within the faith. My wife is one of them! 🙂 We both look at the same problems regarding spiritual issues and come to two different conclusions. I don’t view my conclusions as a result of a moral or spiritual failure on my part, even though she’s definitely the better half in the marriage 🙂 I think we disagree because we’re just programmed differently.

    Like you, I don’t see the human race as getting better in a lot of ways. For example, our technological innovation has definitely outpaced our ability to handle it wisely. I don’t know the answers to humanity’s shortcomings, but I highly suspect the answer is not the faith of my upbringing, even though I do agree the Bible contains some wisdom and beauty.

  199. elastigirl wrote:

    i understand if my carrying on here sounds weird or is off-putting.

    Not at all elastigirl, your originality and honesty is refreshing.
    I think you’re right about the Holy Spirit not being confined to the boxes invented by theologians, know it alls, and navel gazers.
    I’m convinced that -it/he/she- works in conjunction with what’s already resident in humans as this short you tube sketch illustrates:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYtjcu5GFLo

  200. Bridget wrote:

    professing

    it’s that word ‘professing’ that is important ….. maybe you still remember the creed we say every Sunday?
    It’s called the Nicene Creed?
    It starts out ‘WE BELIEVE’ and we all say it together?

    I guess you may have forgotten that. ?

  201. brian wrote:

    When I was back in the evangelical faith and this stuff started coming out there was a sort of glee because this was proof about a celibate priesthood and Romanism being evil. The fact kids were abused was well not really important when compared to the apologetic value. I do not use the word “glee” lightly there was always this sort of giddy feeling when there was a gotcha for the big dog on the block IE the RCC.

    “I THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOORD, THAT *I* AM NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY ROMISH PAPISTS OVER THERE…”

  202. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Schadenfreude.

    Like the week that PTL and the Bakker couple went down, our Baptist pastor got up that Sunday morning and literally started with, “I thank God I am not an Assemblies of God pastor.”

  203. @ GSD:
    Hi GSD, thank you for your comment, and Happy New Year. I agree that a lot of good Christians have done a lot of good for the world because of their faith. I know some of these people myself 🙂 In fact, I still give to a local ministry that boards victims of sex trafficking. My theological differences with this ministry are nothing compared to giving those kids a second chance in life. With that being said, I can think of examples where people’s faith in Judaism and Buddhism inspired them to do great and selfless things, and these people purport to have great peace. Notwithstanding, these two religions have their “problem children” just like every other religion, including Christianity.

  204. I have wondered about some of the things Dee was wondering about in the OP.

    I don’t have any neat answers for it.

    I wonder if it comes down to choice?

    Jesus said something in the New Testament to people like, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ but do not do what I teach?”

    I don’t expect any Christian to be perfect all the time at everything, but I do wonder about people who say they are Christians (especially the ones who work as professional Christians, who write books about Jesus and so forth), but then you find out they are doing things in private such as abusing their wives.

    I think things like ‘Not Abusing Your Wife’ is Christianity 101. It’s hard for me to understand how a person who claims to follow Christ would abuse his wife or do other really horrible things.

    I guess even if you have the Holy Spirit living in you, He doesn’t force you to do anything and allows you to choose what you are going to do and how you are going to treat people.

  205. @ Christiane:
    Christiane wrote:

    Catholics have their own opinions as persons. As Catholics, we share the @ Lydia:
    what’s ‘anti’ would be any attempts to foster the evil, to hide the evil, to excuse the evil, to minimize the evil, to ignore the suffering of the victims and their families, to fail to help the victims of abuse ‘as Church’. As to financially helping the victims, especially with their counseling needs, I can imagine there are people with the wrong priorities still, and I hope they will be convicted of their errors and make course corrections. Such people work AGAINST what the Church needs to be doing.

    That’s probably an effective way to parse the narrative. I expect the evangelicals will follow suit. I had this friend who is communist and whenever anyone would bring up the massive failures of communism, he would insist those weren’t “the real communists, those were the fake communists.” Trouble is, they were the communists in charge of every actual communist system…

    I think the lesson of Spotlight is that without a free press that exposes the truth, no change occurs. Only light drives away the darkness. It’s only when these types (and they are the very types that are driven to achieve positions of authority in our faith communities) are forced to respond that they do, and they only seem to respond as far as they have to. And their feet have to be continually held to the fire. (And that’s another reason I love the Wartburg Watch.)

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/world/article/Argentina-probes-sex-abuse-at-deaf-school-what-10814885.php?cmpid=twitter-premium

  206. Happy New Year, Wartburg Watchers! All the best to the Deebs and all of you for the coming year!

  207. I had never heard of Francis Schaeffer until a few years ago when I was a member of, unfortunately, an authoritarian NeoCalvinist church (Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley). I had been in evangelical churches for about ten years.

    A few years ago my ex-senior pastor at GBFSV unleashed a tirade from the pulpit about the son, “Frankie Jr.” and what an awful person he had become. I thought to myself, “We are supposed to be out in the world attending to the needs of suffering people or if we have the free time looking at our own faults not discussing the (supposed) faults of others.”

    Far from being impressed by my ex-pastor’s attack on Frank Jr., I was unimpressed and thought I should research what Frank Jr. was all about because my (ex) pastor was obviously threatened by him, and perhaps that my (ex) pastor’s own children could renounce (dogmatic) teachings they had been taught.

    Here’s what I learned in my research: Frank Jr. renounced the most hateful things about evangelicalism and decided to tell the truth. He was willing to criticize its faults. He was willing to apologize for things that he had helped his father propagate in the way of wrong teachings. Good for him! Go Jr.!

    When I launched my new blog about spiritual abuse and my ex-church, I made sure that the blog roll contained a link to Frank Jr.’s blog, just to tweak my ex-pastor’s nose.

  208. siteseer wrote:

    Happy New Year, Wartburg Watchers! All the best to the Deebs and all of you for the coming year!

    Thank you! And to you too.

    I’m in California with two minutes to go in 2016.

  209. I see people kind of going nuts with this. I have learned not to go crazy with everything I read on the net. If it is true it is deplorable. But before we run off half cocked I am curious. Was this confirmed by Franky’s sisters? In case you didn’t know it Franky has his own issues. Further, some of you act as if this affects Francis’s teachings. In terms of his theological beliefs he was pretty spot on. In terms of his philosophical beliefs much of what he taught is now coming true.
    Biblically speaking, David was probably closer to God than anyone in scripture, yet he was a murderer and an adulterer. All we can hope is that Francis repented of his horrible acts if they be true.

  210. JeffB wrote:

    “As I take a long view of Scripture, it seems to me that serious sin is part and parcel of the lives of all Christians.”
    I agree with you, dee. So isn’t your question about spousal abuse part of the larger question of why serious sin exists in all Christians?
    All sin is serious to God, but, here on earth, it does seem that some sins are more egregious and have greater consequences than others. Physical abuse is one of them, I would say. But we can’t assume that everyone sees this the same way.
    I once was part of a group that was discussing whom we would be surprised to see in heaven. Inevitably, someone wondered if it was possible that Hitler was in heaven. One woman was outraged. “Hitler can’t be in heaven!” she exclaimed. “He had a mistress!”
    I believe that John MacArthur once wrote that it was impossible for a Christian to commit murder. My point is that we probably all believe that there is at least one type of sin that a Christian simply cannot commit. The sad truth is that it is likely that a believer is capable of committing any of them.

    I agree that some actions have greater consequences than others. But the sin is in the heart, not in the action itself. When it comes to killing, both God and our human justice systems take motive into account, and make a distinction between murder and manslaughter. God blessed the Hebrew midwives for not being entirely honest with Pharoah and preserving the babies alive (Exodus 1). Rahab lied to protect the spies and God saw her heart and blessed her. On the other hand you can commit great sacrifices and God considers it of no value at all (1 Corinthians 13). I do not believe in a “grade” of sins because God looks at the motivation for that action. Physical abuse is motivated by selfishness and pure wickedness in the heart and anyone who does such things is in no fit state to preach to others.

  211. Ken F wrote:

    Steve240 wrote:
    This is a new one on me for some Calvinists to go to the point of “total inability.”
    I’ve seen “Total Inability” quite often in my look into Calvinism. Perhaps they think it sounds better? Here is Piper using language like it in 1985: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-we-believe-about-the-five-points-of-calvinism
    This inability to save ourselves from ourselves is total.
    It’s complete nonsense that makes no sense and is not even in the Bible.

    I agree, the five points of Calvinism is hogwash (I have another word for it but it’s unprintable).

  212. Lydia wrote:

    I don’t immerse in Piper anymore or keep up with him but I can remember the days of needing Piper detox when trying to figure out his appeal to so many. He is very unbalancing. Zombifying. Not to mention slogging through the flowery verbosity which is mind numbing.

    I have always found reading Piper’s stuff makes me want to vomit. He talks like a politician trying to weasel his way out of a condundrum of his making. His Calvinism and Christian Hedonism are classic examples. There were some honest Calvinists like A.W. Pink who blatantly said “God fore-ordains people to eternal punishment”. Whilst i don’t agree with him I respected his honesty. He made his point in five simple lines. Piper, on the other hand, believes the same thing but is not honest enough to admit it. Therefore he will spend 300 pages trying to make it rational and reasonable – a truly hopeless task. I could say a lot more about the Pied Piper.

  213. ZechZav wrote:

    Therefore he will spend 300 pages trying to make it rational and reasonable – a truly hopeless task.

    I think this is why people think he is deep. Instead of taking a bit of time to actually do some analysis of his teachings, they assume his incomprehensible blabbering is a sign of his superior intelligence. I wish more people would think for themselves. If they did then Piper would never have gotten a stage. His popularity is an indictment against the intelligence of the Christian community.

  214. Daisy wrote:

    I guess even if you have the Holy Spirit living in you, He doesn’t force you to do anything and allows you to choose what you are going to do and how you are going to treat people.

    Your comment here is better than anything I’ve seen published by the YRRs. The YRR theologians seem to want to have all of their various doctrines spelled out in great precision. They want an air-tight logical system that does not exist in reality.

  215. Christiane wrote:

    the closer people get to Calvin’s deterministic concept of ‘who God is’ and ‘who we are’, the more they disrespect the dignity of the human person who was given the responsibility to ‘chose’

    That is true, and I agree. There is a problem, however, if the opposite approach is taken to the extreme, because God will let somebody choose themselves straight to perdition-literally. However, if choice is the main issue, then why baptize infants, given the sacramental aspect of baptism? Why not wait until they freely choose, unhindered by anybody else’s faith or anybody else’s teaching, or any sacramental bestowal of grace at the time of baptism?

    So it looks to me that the sacramental/liturgical approach in this matter is not whole-hog about choice but is rather more nuanced than that. And it looks to me that the evangelical approach to the theology of election is also more nuanced since it does not presume in any individual case either salvation or damnation but merely offers a supposed explanation of why some believe and some do not.

    So it looks like the calvinists say that God gives grace to believe to some. The sacramental approach says that God gives grace and we have the water to prove it. But nobody that I can see is saying that grace comes from man and not from God, choice or no choice, dignity or no dignity.

  216. okrapod wrote:

    .. then why baptize infants…

    This, of course, is a whole nuther battleground, and I’m impressed that you managed to introduce it without igniting one!

  217. Ken F wrote:

    they assume his incomprehensible blabbering is a sign of his superior intelligence

    Hahaha. I love the way you put that. You know what they say: if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with baloney! Piper has followed that advice and he has deluded the masses who follow him.

  218. dee wrote:

    I have a question. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is 100% effective in calling people to Christ? This is the just of my argument. I want to know how people who believe this also believe that the Holy Spirit is ineffectual in causing people like Francis Schaeffer to not beat his wife

    I don’t accept the label “Cavanist” but I see in the Bible what they see. To answer your question, look at how Christ spoke to Nicodemus about spiritual birth parallelling physical birth. Neither birth was the choice of the person birthed. Alive babies cannot help but breathe and do so without a conscious choice. But they can suffer with bad lungs all their lives. The evidence of physical life is breathing no matter how shallow. The evidence of spiritual life is faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior no matter how weak. I leave it to you to make your own judgment about Francis Schaeffer. Was he a Christian breathing badly or was he faking his second birth?

  219. Michael wrote:

    Was he a Christian breathing badly or was he faking his second birth?

    So basically, what you are saying, is that the Christian Church, or more specifically for this comment thread, a large percentage of the Neo-Calvinist leadership, past and present, including the wife abusing Schaeffer, a large majority of these leaders and a good percent of their followers are suffering with moral asthma?

    Now here’s a thought. Does Neo-Calvinism attract spiritually asthmatic believers, produce them (by giving them lung cancer for breathing in the Neo-Cal air), or exacerbate a previously underlying condition?

  220. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    This calls out for us to be discerning regarding truth–invest in the message, if it is true; never the messenger.

    I’m with siteseer on this one – you’ve put it very well.

    It sort of touches on a topic I’ve been pondering over the last few weeks, namely, the vague-but-widely-applied idea of “condoning”. As in:
     By saying X without condemning Y…
     I am condoning Y…
     therefore, bennyHinnAndToddBentley

    I’m sure you’ve all come across the idea of “Six Degrees of Separation” (wiki article here). In a nutshell, everyone on earth is at least as close as being a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of mine. That may not literally be true, but you get the idea.

    The link with the present discussion is how connected I am to another person’s sin. We’re all only a few degrees of separation from bennyHinnAndToddBentley. But I hang out with evilCharismatics quite a lot. This means that I’m probably only two steps removed. In point of fact, early on, Lesley actually attended a conference put on by some friends of ours at which toddBentley spoke. Does this mean that I’m directly condoning bennyHinnAndToddBentley, that I’m personally culpable for enabling the monster, and that you should never, ever trust anything I ever say, ever?

    Well, no, it probably doesn’t. And equally, that’s not an example of “sin levelling” whereby I declare that we’re all imperfect, messy, broken people and so we must let paedophiles and wife-beaters and everybody else off with a nice big forgiving hug *. Although it does mean that I find myself increasingly reluctant to accuse someone of “condoning” anything until they really have condoned it.

    * Apart from those horrible whining victims who keep rocking the boat. We can’t let them off, obviously.

  221. Christiane wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    professing
    it’s that word ‘professing’ that is important ….. maybe you still remember the creed we say every Sunday?
    It’s called the Nicene Creed?
    It starts out ‘WE BELIEVE’ and we all say it together?
    I guess you may have forgotten that. ?

    But the priests who were molesting children at the time said it, too, right? I am at a loss why that means anything.

  222. Mara wrote:

    So basically, what you are saying, is that the Christian Church, or more specifically for this comment thread, a large percentage of the Neo-Calvinist leadership, past and present, including the wife abusing Schaeffer, a large majority of these leaders and a good percent of their followers are suffering with moral asthma?

    Basically, yes. That is the only way I have been able to show any mercy to them.

  223. @ ZechZav:
    I think Pink might be a great example of someone who actually took Calvinism to its logical conclusion. His life and end of life sort of mirrors that. Or, he might have just been manic depressive.

  224. @ Catherine Martin:
    I think you nailed it here. So is the Bible like the owner’s manual to my car? Many of my Neo Calvinist type friends think so but what if I memorize the manual and never actually practice driving the car until I have to get on the Interstate going 70 miles an hour? I have to say that I walked out my faith in living with illness, personal loss and seeing the leadership at my church milk people out of money, cover up abuse and put on a big show not unlike the Shaeffer’s did.

  225. ZechZav wrote:

    if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with baloney! Piper has followed that advice and he has deluded the masses who follow him.

    Some say, “I’m right because I’m louder!” Others say, “I’m right because I can’t quit talking/writing.”

  226. Lydia wrote:

    I think Pink might be a great example of someone who actually took Calvinism to its logical conclusion. His life and end of life sort of mirrors that. Or, he might have just been manic depressive.

    The two aren’t mutually exclusive, of course.

  227. @ Ken F:
    And a still other say, “I am right,” because they have an audience, someone listening to them, as in false shepherds and sheeple.

  228. @ Ken F:
    Hi Ken F, Happy New Year. I find atheism lacking as well, which is why I call myself a religious or “soft” agnostic. I don’t deny the existence of something beyond the material world. I just examine religious dogma with extreme skepticism. I encourage you to stay in the faith if it enriches your life! For me, it was doing the opposite, so I left. In order to fill some of the spiritual void for leaving, I now practice mindfulness meditation, which calms my mind and body and helps me process life

  229. Law Prof wrote:

    Amendment to previous comment to Mark:
    I guess having OCD or alcoholism doesn’t necessarily make you a “jerk”, it makes you fallible and human, though some alcoholics are nightmares to be around. But Luther had major anger management issues and the adulterous pastor is just a jerk. What I don’t get is why someone denies Jesus when He sure wasn’t fake or cruel and when He warned us about predators and phonies who’d come in His name and also warned us, via Paul, that we’d never get over our sin on this earth. You’re rejecting Jesus even though He told us the truth about what people were really like and even though He certainly wasn’t like that. Dang.

    Hi Law Prof, I never meant to imply that hypocrisy within the Church is why I left the faith. The Bible makes some significant claims reality, and my studies in evolution, neuroscience, biblical criticism, and history have just led me to believe that Christian dogma does not conform to reality.

  230. Christiane wrote:

    it’s that word ‘professing’ that is important ….. maybe you still remember the creed we say every Sunday?
    It’s called the Nicene Creed?
    It starts out ‘WE BELIEVE’ and we all say it together?
    I guess you may have forgotten that. ?

    Haven’t forgotten at all.

    Saying something does not make it real in a person’s life. And it does not mean that the Pope, you, or anyone can possibly know how 1.1 billion professing Catholics are going to behave in real time.

    To say that “Catholics hold together on faith and morals” because they all recite the Nicene Creed is pretty far fetched. Priests and nuns who abused children recited the same Creed. It didn’t mean much when it came to their faith and morals.

  231. Ken F wrote:

    The YRR theologians seem to want to have all of their various doctrines spelled out in great precision. They want an air-tight logical system that does not exist in reality.

    I think the YRR logic is very simple, but they just don’t like admitting to it, so they try to coach it in more complex terms. They believe God controls everything everyone does, so it’s pointless to try to do anything. Those put in “leadership” are special snowflakes who not only get to act like the secret police, but they also get a host of benefits and blessings.

    I think it’s totally wrong, and that they themselves are the ones putting themselves in charge, but the logic in it isn’t complicated.

  232. dee wrote:

    I have a question. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is 100% effective in calling people to Christ? This is the gist [editorial change] of my argument. I want to know how people who believe this also believe that the Holy Spirit is ineffectual in causing people like Francis Schaeffer to not beat his wife.

    Rephrase the question: was Jesus 100% effective in teaching people?

    As Bridget pointed out, Jesus didn’t chase after the rich young ruler and apologise for being so insensitive to him, and work out a gentler, compromise solution whereby he need only sell those possessions that he’d finished with.

    ISTM that, likewise, the Holy Spirit takes what belongs to Jesus and makes it known to us (this from John’s account of the Last Supper). But he doesn’t force us to use that knowledge, or if we do, he doesn’t force us to use it wisely.

  233. @ The Man who Wasn’t Thursday:
    Hi, Man Who Wasn’t Thursday, thank you for your reply. Just like my response to another comment, I never meant to imply that hypocrisy was my sole reason for leaving the faith. My reasons for doing so stem from my studies in evolution, biblical criticism, neuroscience, history, and just my own personal experience. My response to the modern medicine analogy is that medicine keeps looking for new treatments until it successfully eradicates the disease for all who have it, even discarding the old treatments when appropriate. The answer to medical issues, and the human condition as a whole, may be something we have yet to discover.

  234. Bridget wrote:

    To say that “Catholics hold together on faith and morals” because they all recite the Nicene Creed is pretty far fetched.

    But you have changed what I said. And that all the difference.

    Catholics define what they believe on MATTERS of faith and morals. They do this clearly.

    If you want to change my wording, I will not let it stand, but if you made a mistake leaving out part of what I DID say, I can at least understand that, Lydia.

    I don’t confuse what the Church holds to on matters of faith and morals with the evil has gone on anymore than I would conflate the evil done by the neo-Cals with the good people of the SBC who are being attacked by neo-Cal stealth.

  235. “I really, really want to know why the Holy Spirit is sometimes effectual but not effectual in stopping supposed Christian orthodox theologians and leaders who know all about the lists from abusing their spouses.”

    Well, to begin with, the Holy Spirit is always effectual in a believer’s life who yields to the leading of the Spirit. I’m reminded of the following Scripture:

    “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1 KJV)

    Those who call themselves Christians but abuse others, whether they are in the pulpit or pew, are walking in the flesh and not the Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts and convinces us of sin and gives us the power to overcome it. But if we choose to turn from that conviction, we walk in the flesh and turn away from the power within us to conduct ourselves in holy and pure lives. Without the Holy Spirit active (effectual) in our lives, any of us are capable of anything.

    An interesting thing about Romans 8:1 is that you won’t find the last half of that verse in the ESV and certain other versions of the Bible, which reads:

    “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 ESV)

    Standing alone, that spin on Scripture paints a different picture. However, that text read in the context which follows talks about walking in the flesh vs. walking in the Spirit. A church leader led by the Holy Spirit would not abuse his wife or advise the wives of others to endure abuse for a season!

    Have you noticed that New Calvinists talk a lot about “God”, with only occasional mention of Jesus, and hardly a word about the Holy Spirit? When a “pastor” relegates the Holy Spirit to the back pew, he is capable of anything like the rest of us sinners who choose to walk in the flesh and not the Spirit.

  236. @ Max:
    Have you ever read FS’s True Spirituality though? All about the moment by moment challenge to walk in the Sprit & not to live a life of practical atheism as a Christian.

  237. Max wrote:

    Have you noticed that New Calvinists talk a lot about “God”, with only occasional mention of Jesus, and hardly a word about the Holy Spirit?

    The hesitancy to celebrate the Holy Trinity fully may be one reason why neo-Cals have dissed the place of Our Lord in the Holy Trinity, and having done that, the Holy Spirit is seen as even a lesser Being ……

    Their trinitarian doctrine is weak. I don’t see them believing in the orthodox Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, no.

  238. Mark wrote:

    I just examine religious dogma with extreme skepticism.

    It’s something we all need to do. I think there is a general tendency for all of us to think that “they” need to examine “thier” beliefs, when in fact we all need to examine our own beliefs. Theists need to be a bit skeptical about their theism, atheists about their atheism, agnostics about their agnosticism. It applies to idealogies as well, whether political, economic, religious, philosophic, scientific, etc. But it’s much easier to just go along with a group with whom one reasonably agrees and to look with varying degrees of disdain on the other groups.

  239. Max wrote:

    An interesting thing about Romans 8:1 is that you won’t find the last half of that verse in the ESV and certain other versions of the Bible,

    It’s not in most of the modern translations because it is apparently not in all the Greek manuscripts. It would take some digging to find out what is the most likely original reading. This highlights the problem with the topic of inerrancy – we don’t have the original manuscripts.

  240. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Rephrase the question: was Jesus 100% effective in teaching people?

    That is a very good point. I cringe when I hear Calvinists try to explain it.

  241. Ken F wrote:

    Max wrote:

    An interesting thing about Romans 8:1 is that you won’t find the last half of that verse in the ESV and certain other versions of the Bible,

    It’s not in most of the modern translations because it is apparently not in all the Greek manuscripts. It would take some digging to find out what is the most likely original reading. This highlights the problem with the topic of inerrancy – we don’t have the original manuscripts.</blockquote
    my goodness, Max is right
    http://biblehub.com/romans/8-1.htm

  242. @ Christiane:
    Actually, Catholics are “told” what to believe on matters of faith and morals. A billion Catholics have no say in the matter nor seem to want one. It is decided for them and they are ok with that. I get that part. That may or may not have influence on behavior.

    They look to the Vicar of Christ on earth.

    Is the Pope infallible? I view the Popes infallibility much like I do the evangelicals and their cognitive dissonance with inerrancy of scripture. With so many nuances why have such a declarative doctrine at all?

    I approach these things from a systems POV. Changing leaders (they have to die, it seems) does not change the system. Huge systems are ingrained. The Pope is a dictator in a political theocracy that dictates doctrine for the masses of followers.. They even have ambassadors and are political which some like when they agree. :o) He might be benevolent –or not. And he has a press office and image machine that is the envy of other Christian leaders.

    I don’t see much foundational difference in the systematic hierarchical approach of Catholics and say, 9 Marx. A supreme leader over a flock of followers.. The methods/beliefs are different but fou dationally they are both hierarchical caste belief systems.. The CC has operated for over a millennia which for some people gives it credibility. I think it had more to do with power and now tradition than Jesus Christ. But it’s longevity makes people leary in questioning the huge, powerful and stinking rich system. Most people don’t question what has always been.

    The Pope is a Pontiff and a celebrity Christian albeit far away from most of his followers but millions throng to get a glimpse of him. The very lucky ones get to kiss his ring. How is that different foundationally from big Eva celebs?

    When I was a kid the Catholics always had the largest families. Many could not afford it. My mom told me it was because they taught that birth control was wrong. Most of my Catholic friends went on to ignore that rule later. And the church changed it. So much for what is moral.

    One must hope for a nice Pope. You surely don’t get a say in choosing him. But, I am a big believer in religious freedom. I also think it is healthy to question what some continually promote as good. I don’t think it is “mean” or “hateful” to question such and draw parallels to big Eva.

  243. A quick thought. In western culture, celebrity can be toxic. Christian celebrity is darn near radioactive. The Shaeffer family may have been happier if Francis had been a lowly professor at a small college, writing the occasional book. And maybe they could have gotten help for their issues, instead of having to maintain the celebrity facade.

    This is why I worry about MegaChurches, and how they perpetuate the celebrity culture. Not to mention the Evangelical Industrial Complex.

  244. ishy wrote:

    They believe God controls everything everyone does, so it’s pointless to try to do anything. Those put in “leadership” are special snowflakes who not only get to act like the secret police, but they also get a host of benefits and blessings.

    In contemplating this further, I think a massive flaw in their theology is that they feel like they have to have absolute control over their churches or the whole thing falls apart.

    I’m sure they could argue that God “predestined” their leadership to do so, but I think there’s two real reasons. Deep down they don’t really believe that God’s sovereignty really extends to everyday choices. In other words, they believe in a form of free will, post-election. Now, personally I believe some of the YRR leaders are complete frauds and don’t buy into the “Doctrine” at all, they just use it to increase their wealth and power. The rest just live in denial.

    Following that, because they know they have such a corrupt system, they have to force people to stay, or they won’t maintain their power base. So they use cultic tactics to keep people in line. This also has the added bonus of creating a system to attract new members.

  245. Greg wrote:

    I have learned not to go crazy with everything I read on the net. If it is true it is deplorable. But before we run off half cocked I am curious. Was this confirmed by Franky’s sisters? In case you didn’t know it Franky has his own issues. Further, some of you act as if this affects Francis’s teachings. In terms of his theological beliefs he was pretty spot on. In terms of his philosophical beliefs much of what he taught is now coming true.

    1. I find it interesting that whenever something comes out about a celebrity Christian leader, the first thing many do is deny its possibility. In fact, his sisters have not denied it which is interesting in itself.
    2. Did you ever think that Frank has his own problems due to the life he lived at home, seeing his dad throw things, smack his mom and then go on speaking tours in which people admired him.
    3. Some of his theology may be good, but theology that does not lead to stopping something as bad as abuse is flawed theology. It’s one of those nice college discussions that one has until the wee hours of the morning but does not change behavior the next day.
    4. David was forced to confront his sin in public. It appears that Francis Schaeffer never did.

  246. GSD wrote:

    And maybe they could have gotten help for their issues, instead of having to maintain the celebrity facade.

    For that matter, maybe Francis could have admitted that he needed help. More specifically, that he needed more help than the Bible and the Spirit alone could supply, like therapy or perhaps medication. Depending on how he viewed modern medicine and psychology, this step itself might have been very difficult for him to make.

  247. Serving Kids in Japan wrote:

    GSD wrote:

    And maybe they could have gotten help for their issues, instead of having to maintain the celebrity facade.

    For that matter, maybe Francis could have admitted that he needed help. More specifically, that he needed more help than the Bible and the Spirit alone could supply, like therapy or perhaps medication. Depending on how he viewed modern medicine and psychology, this step itself might have been very difficult for him to make.

    well, the Bible and the Spirit alone would not prevent the initial behavior ……. but the Spirit could and likely did, convict Schaeffer;
    but conviction does not force a person to take the needed steps to renewal and reconciliation, it just gives the person a swift kick in the conscience that won’t stop bothering him

    if Schaeffer saw his ‘image’ as necessary to his income, he may have tried to save his ‘image’ as a way of surviving, while hopeful of a change in his life for the better …… I doubt he was at ‘peace’ with himself, no ….. I doubt that very much, having examined some of his writings

    I wonder if wives asserting their own dignity in a marriage with a patriarchal abuser might not prove helpful to get the spouse to face what he is doing?
    This could be done ‘privately’ within the context of the relationship. Maybe Schaeffer’s wife tried. ???
    Maybe not.

    Big egos trap people.

  248. @ dee:

    Let’s review one of your statements.
    “Sure, his orthodox teachings were fine and he wanted to save the lost but he was a terror at home, raging and throwing things at the wall while smacking Edith. Is this a normal response of those who have the power of the Holy Spirit? Did Schaeffer’s theology, so admired by today’s Calvinists, make a difference in the personal lives of these men.

    You are asking a question, but count how many pre-assumed facts about FS you list off. 1-orthodox teachings were fine. 2-He wanted to save the lost.(define this) 3- of those who have the power of the Holy Spirit.(why do you assume this) 4- FS theology….. make a difference in the personal lives of those men.( why do you assume making a “difference” only results in a positive outcome. are you only counting differences you view as benificial)

    Is your trouble getting a handle on FS due to preconceived ideas about FS? What if you tossed your ideas and started fresh with this.

    Who was FS?
    Where did he obtain his doctrine?
    Is it consistent with the teachings of the Scriptures?
    If not, in what way is it different?

  249. The book, “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft is a must-read to understand the dynamics of domestic abuse. Though the book is subtitled, “Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men,” a central thesis of his book is (I am trying to quote but may be paraphrasing): “He doesn’t abuse because he’s angry; he’s angry because he is an abuser.” So to regard it as an anger problem will always fail to get to its root.

    Bancroft’s decades of experience in treating men who abuse their wives led to the conclusion that lack of self-control with regard to anger is not the problem, but instead there are two conditions necessary for abuse to take place: 1) the man has a sense of entitlement and 2) there is cultural support for the abuse. (Think lyrics of popular songs if you wonder if culture in the US supports abuse.)

    What kind of person has, by definition, a sense of entitlement? A narcissist . (Others may have a sense of entitlement without all the other symptoms of NPD but a self-centered life is at the core of this). If a Christian rises to a position of power via teaching, writing, etc. and is not a narcissist, then he or she will have to constantly be on guard against the temptation to elevate self because others are constantly doing it. If a narcissist rises to such a position, then it’s an “all you can eat buffet” of narcicisstic supply. It’s a terrible place spiritually for a narcissist to be, akin to an alcoholic in a bar or a sex addict in a porn shop. Anyone who cares at all for such a person’s soul would be working hard to help them step out of the limelight. It’s spiritual death to them. (Not speaking in terms of salvation, but more broadly.)

    I think it’s important to note that the Christian power person doesn’t get there all by himself. He gets there because people “want a king” (“Show us the path” type thinking. Also, “IF I’m associated with a king, then my status rises” thinking.) So I think it is actually a problem for the whole church, not just the leader. That is part of Christian cultural support for abuse. The church wants “strong leaders” just like the Israelites wanted a king. And they get them.

    Other parts of Christian cultural support for abuse include theology that has a simplistic view of human behavior. An earlier poster mentioned “the black and white” phase, which I think is apt. Right now, Neo-calvinists are among the Christian groups eschewing the insights of secular psychology—and it costs the church. Nouthetic counseling has a very shallow understanding of the Bible’s take on the human condition and so cannot be of much help in complex situations. (Not all Christian counseling is so shallow.) What is left for the person seeking help is to cover up and pretend. And given that the groupees who follow Christian leaders don’t want to be let down, that’s okay with them, too. (Not to mention those who profit financially.)

    The Bible is very clear that certain things disqualify from leadership. But that would mean the end of narcissistic supply for the abuser and also the end of the crumbs of supply that his followers eagerly lick up from around his table so there is a cooperative conspiracy to turn a blind eye or employ magical thinking about the perpetrator’s sin.

    Still another part of Christian culture, particularly among Protestants, that makes it possible for a man to abuse his wife and maintain his status as a teacher without apparently too much conflict is the emphasis on correct belief or ideas as divorced from actions. So a man can tell himself that his status with God is still assured because of his correct ideas—and others will believe that as well. Hence, the surprise when things are revealed.

    There seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence that people who write and teach about certain topics for other Christians as if they are the experts are actually struggling with and succumbing to those very sins. In this case, it was Edith Schaeffer’s books on the perfect family that would have been the big red flag. In real life, when I’ve asked older people whose kids turned out well what they could share about parenting, they have to a person responded by saying how much they didn’t know. Good reminder to actually know the fruit of a person’s work before following their advice.

  250. I agree with this… John Piper blows allot of smoke, just like politicians..
    Given that we humans are bound by time, and G$d by definition is beyound/above/not constrained by time, we can not even really begin really understand question about an all knowing G&d!
    As a practicing scientist, I continue to realize how fundamental the concept of time is to our understanding of reality…. so, when major theological works, either Arminian or Calvinist bents, i think they are blowing allot of smoke since i have not yet read a good piece telling me how to think “above” time…. which would mean ee would have at least some of perspective of G$d..

    Ken F wrote:

    ZechZav wrote:
    Therefore he will spend 300 pages trying to make it rational and reasonable – a truly hopeless task.
    I think this is why people think he is deep. Instead of taking a bit of time to actually do some analysis of his teachings, they assume his incomprehensible blabbering is a sign of his superior intelligence. I wish more people would think for themselves. If they did then Piper would never have gotten a stage. His popularity is an indictment against the intelligence of the Christian community.

  251. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    i think they are blowing allot of smoke since i have not yet read a good piece telling me how to think “above” time…. which would mean ee would have at least some of perspective of G$d..

    That is a very important but overlooked point. Many paradoxes exist because we cannot think outside or three dimensions of space and one dimension of time (really only a half-dimension since it seems to flow only one way). If God created space and time, which the Bible says he did, then he is not limited by space and time. I don’t believe enough “theologians” understand basic scientific and mathematical principles, therefor they come up with stupid conclusions that they pass off as Gospel(TM)* truth.

    * how does one make superscripts in forums like this? I’ve figured out things like strikeout and bold, but not superscripts.

  252. ishy wrote:

    In contemplating this further, I think a massive flaw in their theology is that they feel like they have to have absolute control over their churches or the whole thing falls apart.

    It might be one of the few aspects of their theology that is true. If they don’t exert absolute control, their churches will certainly fall apart. They cannot afford to let the pewpeons do any original thinking or ask any penetrating questions.

  253. @ Ken F:
    Exactly…@ Ken F:

    I might add that the character “Q” on Star Trek, The Next Generation, is an attempt to depict a ” living entity” that transcends time and space… leave it to Hollywood to begin to depict some of the actual attributes that theologians claim to define, but never really give us ant examples… interesting also that “Q” was far from “Holly”… but the Bible does say that their are other “entites” that transcends time and space…

  254. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    Star Trek, The Next Generation

    Earlier in this thread Muff Potter proposed a wager as to whether or not this thread would exceed 700 comments. The initial fury slowed down yesterday, which would suggest this will get nowhere near that many comments. But going off-topic with a Star Trek discussion could change that…

  255. Greg wrote:

    Further, some of you act as if this affects Francis’s teachings.

    I’ve always found it important to question the teaching of people who don’t follow their own teaching.

  256. Ken F wrote:

    * how does one make superscripts in forums like this?

    As far as I know, it’s not possible.

    🙁

    Most blog platforms support only a limited number of HTML tags in comments, and <sup>some text</sup> isn’t one of them here.

    You can, however, get the superscripted ™ symbol (as in, “Gospel™ Merchandise”) on a Mac using shift+alt+2. I found this out by accident; it does vary from keyboard to keyboard, but you can have fun going through all the keys in combination with the alt and shift+alt keys. You never know what you’ll find – I get my chomped-apple bulletpoints  using shift+alt+k, for instance.

    IHTIH…

  257. Bill M wrote:

    I’ve always found it important to question the teaching of people who don’t follow their own teaching.

    🙂 very wise

  258. I think we must avoid an oft accepted fallacy in this matter. If a person states something (X) and the person is subsequently found to be a bad person, that does not mean that the statement (X) is therefore not true. The statement stands on its own. To dismiss the statement because of who said it is the ad hominem fallacy. To say that Francis believed a certain theological belief (X) and now his son says he could not control his anger, therefore the theological belief (X) is not true, that is a fallacy.

    Therefore, I would not dismiss whatever it was that Francis may have said because he had his own ‘issues’ and sins. That takes leave of reason. Having said that I have no idea what it was that he said or wrote since I have read none of his writings and have no plans to do so.

    I do think that it is tacky of his son to pursue his own ideological bent while trying to refute his father’s ideological bent by holding his parents up to ridicule for their marital problems. With very little to go on, and next to nothing to gain or lose by having an opinion, I get the idea that these three may be peas from the same pod-highly intelligent, opinionated, aggressive, ‘missional’ in attempting to convince others, and way too apparently comfortable with physical aggression. The latter being seen that Francis would do it, Edith would tolerate it, and Frank would go public with it.

    If only they were southerners somebody could write one of those novels about dysfunctional southern families.

  259. Max wrote:

    Standing alone, that spin on Scripture paints a different picture. However, that text read in the context which follows talks about walking in the flesh vs. walking in the Spirit. A church leader led by the Holy Spirit would not abuse his wife or advise the wives of others to endure abuse for a season!

    The textual variation in Romans 8:1 is odd. The longer version is in the KJV, NKJV, Geneva and Catholic Bibles (and a few others), but not in most of the modern translations. What is strange is that the translations normally include a footnote about the alternate text. But those footnotes seem to be missing. Why is that? I tried to find articles that would clarify the issue but came up with articles that authoritatively come to opposite conclusions. I guess this means that we need to hold lightly whatever conclusions we draw from Romans 8:1.

  260. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Most blog platforms support only a limited number of HTML tags in comments

    There’s a reason for this, of course. If you could use the full range of HTML in a comment, then smartarses like me would be using spans, weird colours, floated divs, tables, you name it; and the thread would be next door to unreadable.

    I kind of miss superscript, though…

  261. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    You can, however, get the superscripted ™ symbol (as in, “Gospel™ Merchandise”) on a Mac using shift+alt+2.

    Wow. This could create an off-topic MAC/PC discussion. But we should avoid that if possible – far too religious.

  262. Ken F wrote:

    Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:
    i think they are blowing allot of smoke since i have not yet read a good piece telling me how to think “above” time…. which would mean ee would have at least some of perspective of G$d..
    That is a very important but overlooked point. Many paradoxes exist because we cannot think outside or three dimensions of space and one dimension of time (really only a half-dimension since it seems to flow only one way). If God created space and time, which the Bible says he did, then he is not limited by space and time. I don’t believe enough “theologians” understand basic scientific and mathematical principles, therefor they come up with stupid conclusions that they pass off as Gospel(TM)* truth.
    * how does one make superscripts in forums like this? I’ve figured out things like strikeout and bold, but not superscripts.

    Maybe we all need to learn how to speak Heptapod (the alien language in the film “Arrival”).

    BTW, weeks before I saw that movie or knew about the story it based on, I had independently came up with the idea of designing a language that would be completely reversible. This means that turning a page 180 degrees and reading the text upside-down-and-backwards, or playing a spoken recording backwards, would result in a still-intelligible message that would mean more or less the same thing. I didn’t get around to actually designing the language, other than figuring out the basic rules of grammar it would need to have.

    After seeing the film, I realized that Heptapod was a lot like my own idea. I’m still going to try and design that language one of these days. I’m going to call it “Somos”, which is not only a palindrome (as most nouns in my language will have to be) but it also means “We are” in Spanish.

  263. Ken F wrote:

    The textual variation in Romans 8:1 is odd. The longer version is in the KJV, NKJV, Geneva and Catholic Bibles (and a few others), but not in most of the modern translations.

    It appears in two of the four Greek new testaments available on BibleGateway.com; of the two that miss out the second part, one of them includes it in a footnote. You picks your manuscript and takes your choice… but the longer version makes eminent sense. It’s certainly picked up in the rest of the chapter.

  264. Ken F wrote:

    This could create an off-topic MAC/PC discussion. But we should avoid that if possible – far too religious.

    You’re not wrong there!

  265. Ken F wrote:

    I tried to find articles that would clarify the issue but came up with articles that authoritatively come to opposite conclusions.

    It occurs to me that you have come up with the perfect history of theology.

  266. okrapod wrote:

    To say that Francis believed a certain theological belief (X) and now his son says he could not control his anger, therefore the theological belief (X) is not true, that is a fallacy.

    Very good point. On the other hand, if the theological belief itself tends to support a behavior, then that theological belief is open to criticism. The bad behavior of the actor does not make the belief true or not, but the belief could justify the bad behavior in the mid of the actor. This is where I believe New-Calvinism falls. Its veracity has nothing to do with whether or not new-Calvinists are abusive. But I believe the new-Calvinist theology itself is abusive and leads at least some people to believe that their abuse is justifiable (e.g. “spare the rod spoil the child” justifies beatings).

  267. MidwesternEasterner wrote:

    I didn’t get around to actually designing the language, other than figuring out the basic rules of grammar it would need to have.

    Tacit: I hate gas, aroma of evil, a nut, sleep! No lemon-peels, tuna, live foam – or a sage Tahiti cat.

  268. okrapod wrote:

    If a person states something (X) and the person is subsequently found to be a bad person, that does not mean that the statement (X) is therefore not true.

    Agreed. There is still much room between Schaeffer’s abusiveness negating his teaching and the other extreme that his abusiveness has no bearing on the question.
    For example I sincerely question the doctrine proposed by a man that is complicit in burning his theological opponents. His act did not invalidate his theology but it seriously called it into question.

  269. Ken F wrote:

    I don’t believe enough “theologians” understand basic scientific and mathematical principles, therefor they come up with stupid conclusions that they pass off as Gospel(TM)* truth.

    Mathematics and the hard sciences will not tolerate anything less than 100% internal consistency. Theology labors under no such constraint, and it can make up and abrogate its own rules as it sees fit.

  270. Muff Potter wrote:

    Mathematics and the hard sciences will not tolerate anything less than 100% internal consistency. Theology labors under no such constraint, and it can make up and The entertainment industry (Ken Ham, for example) doesn’t worry about such things either.

  271. Os Guinness who lived with the Schaeffers and was best man at Franky’s wedding said that the bad stuff Franky wrote about his dad was not true. I saw an interview with Deborah Middelmann (Schaeffer’s daughter). She talked about how her dad impressed her as genuine and humble. I think this whole post is way off base. That’s my opinion. I am bracing for the attack to follow.

  272. Serving Kids in Japan wrote:

    For that matter, maybe Francis could have admitted that he needed help. More specifically, that he needed more help than the Bible and the Spirit alone could supply, like therapy or perhaps medication. Depending on how he viewed modern medicine and psychology, this step itself might have been very difficult for him to make.

    I must admit that I’m not that well versed in Schaeffer to know whether he was as extreme as the nouthetic counseling types when it comes to the “sufficiency of Scripture” for everything. I suspect he wasn’t, but it would be interesting to hear from someone more familiar with his writings.

    My guess is that he would have been more concerned that news of his shortcomings would have hurt book sales and speaking invitations and visits to L’Abri. Which, after all, was his business.

  273. @ Bill M:
    perhaps so ‘ordinary’ that all the followers of these openly abusive neo-Cal gurus no longer see the wisdom of your words, labeling them ‘platitudinous’ instead

    I’ll take the wisdom, and thank you. 🙂

  274. Godith wrote:

    I think this whole post is way off base. That’s my opinion. I am bracing for the attack to follow.

    Isn’t that sweet, will disagreement with you be waved off as an attack?

  275. Ken F wrote:

    I guess this means that we need to hold lightly whatever conclusions we draw from Romans 8:1.

    In the context of the whole chapter (Romans 8), it is clear that walking in the flesh is contrary to God’s plan for believers, who are called to be Spirit-led. As verse 8 says (in all versions) “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” This is not cherry-picking a verse to make a point, as the New Calvinists do; this is a critical truth to walking in victory over sin. But a believer must choose which way he is going to go on this … will his flesh push back conviction of Spirit? “If” a churchgoing man is genuinely saved (born-again), the Holy Spirit will convict him in the inner man with “NO!” before he smacks his wife.

  276. Godith wrote:

    I am bracing for the attack to follow.

    Come on Godith, that was unnecessary. You made some good points. Folks might ask for some links/references. But no one is going to ‘attack’ you. Sorry to disappoint. That sort of pre-emptive martyrdom rhetorical device is getting quite irritating.

  277. Godith wrote:

    Os Guinness who lived with the Schaeffers and was best man at Franky’s wedding said that the bad stuff Franky wrote about his dad was not true. I saw an interview with Deborah Middelmann (Schaeffer’s daughter). She talked about how her dad impressed her as genuine and humble.

    My feelings on this are, there is absolutely no way a person living with a family or acting as ‘best man’ is going to have a more intimate knowledge than the family member himself does. In fact, it’s pretty audacious for someone to imply that they do. The only thing they can say is, “I did not see evidence of this when I was present.”

    Secondly, it’s not unusual for siblings to have different experiences & relationships with their parents. The time of their parents’ life they were born, their sex, and their temperament can all engender a very different experience for each one. It’s not even unusual for one sibling to be unaware that another sibling was subject to sexual abuse.

    Is it possible for a child to be a pathological liar who spreads a false narrative about their parents? Yes, it can happen. When that is the case I always wonder what the dynamics were that produced a child like that. Is there evidence that Franky is a pathological liar?

    I hope you don’t feel attacked, Godith, this is just my opinion based on my own experiences and observations in life.

  278. Godith wrote:

    Os Guinness who lived with the Schaeffers and was best man at Franky’s wedding said that the bad stuff Franky wrote about his dad was not true.

    Digging around to find corroborating and conflicting sources of information I came across a short article “Will the REAL Francis Schaeffer Please Stand Up?”. The author jumped on the allegations by Franky just to make a trashy slam against a political figure he didn’t like. The author who jumped at the chance? Tony Jones, speaking of hiding bad behavior.

  279. GSD wrote:

    A quick thought. In western culture, celebrity can be toxic. Christian celebrity is darn near radioactive.

    According to many research articles, a high percentage of clergy have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Perhaps they bring their toxicity with them and create toxic environments where they can get away with their bad behaviors that feed their enormous egos and lack of conscience.

  280. Muff Potter wrote:

    Ken F wrote:

    I don’t believe enough “theologians” understand basic scientific and mathematical principles, therefor they come up with stupid conclusions that they pass off as Gospel(TM)* truth.

    Mathematics and the hard sciences will not tolerate anything less than 100% internal consistency. Theology labors under no such constraint, and it can make up and abrogate its own rules as it sees fit.

    Depends on the ‘theology’:
    here’s another VERY Christian perspective:
    “”…methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God.
    The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the Hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the Conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”

    “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny Himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth”.
    (from ‘Gaudium et Spes’, a pastoral letter)

  281. Actually did not Jesus address this issue in talking to people about the Pharisees? I think he told people to do what the Pharisees told them to do, because the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat, but that the people should not do what the Pharisees do.

    He seems to be saying that the bad behavior of the Pharisees did not invalidate what they taught.

    There is something similar in the catholic church, if I am correct, that the church maintains that the sacraments are valid even if the priest is living in some sinful state.

  282. @ OldJohnJ:

    This raises a further point that I have struggled with my whole adult life.. When I go to work, a majority of my work must be based on rational, testable, principles.. If I go out and claim such and such, and it has some level of significance, some is going to test it.. and if it is wrong, I will hear about it! People speak of “fraud in science”… but the very fact the their is “fraud in science” means people are testing others work and calling BS!

    What I see Dee doing this post is asking why isn’t the Holly spirit convicting “spiritual leaders” (whether Francis Schaffer is the focus is irrelevant, there are plenty of other well documented examples!). If you are a Neo-Cal, you have a real problem on your hands if you say we do not have “free-will”, since many of the “elect” continue to do bad things… which calls into question the whole “election thing”.. As a scientist, I want to “test this hypothesis, do the statistics, and see if what the Neo-Cals claim is true.
    The problem is, the theologians will call “foul” and say you can not use “secular humanistic” scientific principles on G&d.
    It reminds me of when a preacher will tell us that so and so had cancer, but we prayed, and the latest tests show the cancer is all gone! As a cancer researcher, I know not to believe one test, and I also know how tumors can respond, dissolve away fast, and then come back with a vengeance.. So, does this mean I am a “weak Christian” for being cynical, or just wise? I know to keep my mouth shut, because I have taken criticism for being to “scientific” in church…

  283. Ken F wrote:

    If God created space and time, which the Bible says he did, then he is not limited by space and time. I don’t believe enough “theologians” understand basic scientific and mathematical principles, therefor they come up with stupid conclusions that they pass off as Gospel(TM)* truth.

    This is true. Ironically, this is one area where the Schaeffers had it right. Their ministry embraced Science, Math, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Classical Philosophy, History, etc. All of these were going on at L’Abri in Switzerland, as well as gardening and really delicious meals together.

    Like many in ministry, Schaeffers didn’t have it altogether. I met Elizabeth Elliot a couple of times face-to-face. Though she had an amazing testimony, she was not a nice person up close.

    However, predators are a completely different lot, it seems.

    David, for example, had relations with someone else’s wife, and yet the Bible does not say he was a violent predator.

    Anyone out there in TWW land with the gift of discernment? Or the gift of wisdom? Your discourse on this?

  284. okrapod wrote:

    If a person states something (X) and the person is subsequently found to be a bad person, that does not mean that the statement (X) is therefore not true.

    True, but it does kind of hurt that person’s credibility.

    I do think that it is tacky of his son to pursue his own ideological bent while trying to refute his father’s ideological bent by holding his parents up to ridicule for their marital problems.

    I haven’t read him so I can’t say whether his writing is tacky or just honest, but if he’s speaking the truth, I’m glad, because I’ll be glad if we can leave the idea of Christian gurus who are on a higher spiritual plane behind.

  285. siteseer wrote:

    but if he’s speaking the truth, I’m glad, because I’ll be glad if we can leave the idea of Christian gurus who are on a higher spiritual plane behind.

    Frank writes in his book, “Crazy for God”, that Billy Graham “arranged” for his daughter, Virginia “Gigi”, to married Swiss-Armenian Stephan Tchividjian at the age of 17 for the money that the Tchividjian family would bring into the Graham organization. In the end, they got divorced, and their son TT, Graham’s grandson, is not someone to brag about. Since it is published by a major press and he has not been sued, it seems he has his facts straight. Frank writes with refreshing honesty about the Evangelical Industrial Complex and some of their leaders – what he witnessed from the inside out.

  286. GSD wrote:

    I must admit that I’m not that well versed in Schaeffer to know whether he was as extreme as the nouthetic counseling types when it comes to the “sufficiency of Scripture” for everything. I suspect he wasn’t, but it would be interesting to hear from someone more familiar with his writings.

    No nouthetic stuff there, that I am aware of, though he did mention that the Gospel may bring about psychological re-integration for some people, to some degree. English L’Abri, which I know well, had a Psychiatrist on staff for many years, Richard Winter, who wrote a book called Suicidal Saints. He used therapy & medication for client & students when needed. There’s still a trained Psychologist on staff now, others visit to see students who need help, & none of them have any trouble referring people on to medical Doctors, or people going into inpatient psychiatric care when needed. The 2 congregations I know of that grew out of English L’Abri would, I would say, have more openness about mental health & sufferers than any other church I know, & deal well, in general, with chronic sufferers, those who need to be on long term meds etc. There’s a lot I could say on this, at least from an English perspective, & I’m having a hard time thinking of anything negative, except that perhaps individual workers may not be as good with this as others, based on personality/background etc. L’Abri was where I learned that an anxiety disorder was not a sin.

  287. okrapod wrote:

    There is something similar in the catholic church, if I am correct, that the church maintains that the sacraments are valid even if the priest is living in some sinful state.

    that may be true because the grace that comes to the one being ministered to is believed to be coming from Christ Himself as ‘source’ ….. St. Ambrose explained it this way when talking about the Sacrament of Baptism:

    ““See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from His death. There is the whole mystery:
    He died for you.
    In Him you are redeemed, in Him you are saved “
    (St. Ambrose)

  288. JYJames wrote:

    David, for example, had relations with someone else’s wife, and yet the Bible does not say he was a violent predator.

    Had relations? Essentially MURDERED the husband to get him out of the way! I call that a violent something-or-other. And yet, David was ‘a man after God’s own heart’. This has always troubled me…

  289. roebuck wrote:

    Had relations? Essentially MURDERED the husband to get him out of the way! I call that a violent something-or-other. And yet, David was ‘a man after God’s own heart’. This has always troubled me…

    It is fundamentally impossible to read some of the OT and not come to the conclusion that the authors were unethical, and sometimes evil. Some of the laws in Leviticus are astonishingly wicked. As far as David goes, murdering someone and taking their wife seems to have been something of a manly sport in late bronze age ANE; David’s mistake was betraying a loyal and honorable warrior. The story is really about YHWH accepting David despite his gross dishonor than anything else.

  290. JYJames wrote:

    Frank writes with refreshing honesty about the Evangelical Industrial Complex and some of their leaders – what he witnessed from the inside out.

    Spot on.

    Frank’s insights validated my own experiences and didn’t make me feel so all alone anymore in my thoughts.

  291. @ JYJames:
    I think the ‘insight’ comes best to us from the prophet Nathan’s story, this:
    “2”The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. 3″But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him. 4″Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him. 5Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. 6″He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.” 7Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.…”

    and so Nathan teaches David and David, realizing the depth of his sin, sorrows and seeks God’s mercy

    There is no ‘mystery’ here: David committed a terrible sin, but it took Nathan, sent by God to David, to teach David the impact of what David had done to Uriah.

    When David saw the truth of it, he turned again towards God.

  292. roebuck wrote:

    David was ‘a man after God’s own heart’. This has always troubled me…

    JYJames wrote:

    insight, anyone?

    Perhaps the mystery is revealed in the second half of that verse:

    “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” (Acts 13:22)

  293. I agree with this… in fact, it was the focus of the sermon in my church today

    Christiane wrote:

    @ JYJames:
    I think the ‘insight’ comes best to us from the prophet Nathan’s story, this:
    “2”The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. 3″But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him. 4″Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him. 5Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. 6″He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.” 7Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.…”
    and so Nathan teaches David and David, realizing the depth of his sin, sorrows and seeks God’s mercy
    There is no ‘mystery’ here: David committed a terrible sin, but it took Nathan, sent by God to David, to teach David the impact of what David had done to Uriah.
    When David saw the truth of it, he turned again towards God.

  294. @ Christiane:

    Here I see a similarity which I think you do not see. I hear you saying, apparently, that you think that people believe what some preacher says (those you all call celebrity gurus) because they believe the preacher rather than because they believe that what the preacher is saying is, well biblical and/or reasonable. That is like for people to slam catholics by saying that you all just believe every word out of the pope’s mouth because he is a celebrity, a religious success story. I don’t believe any of that, about the protestants and their ‘gurus’ or about the catholics and their popes. I really think that christians are not all just brain dead like that.

  295. Max wrote:

    Perhaps the mystery is revealed in the second half of that verse:

    “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” (Acts 13:22)

    Scripture refers to David’s obedience as a man after God’s heart in the following way:

    “For David had done what was right in the eyes of the LORD and had not failed to keep any of the LORD’s commands all the days of his life – except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.” (1 Kings 15:5)

    He was completely obedient to the Lord’s commands “except in the case of Uriah the Hittite” … a case which involved adultery and murder, but leading to much repentance and many consequences. After being confronted by Nathan the prophet, David pleads “Create within me a clean heart, Oh God” … he didn’t continue on a path of sin and rebellion but turned in complete obedience to God. Forgiveness and mercy extends to the darkest pit to deliver those whose heart is set on pursuing God’s heart on the other side of a godly sorrow that worketh genuine repentance.

  296. roebuck wrote:

    Had relations? Essentially MURDERED the husband to get him out of the way! I call that a violent something-or-other. And yet, David was ‘a man after God’s own heart’. This has always troubled me…

    David’s remorse and grief over his sin is evident throughout the Psalms. He expresses his deep sorrow to the point that his bed is drenched with tears; He begs God not to hid His face from him. He begged God to forgive him, cleanse him and restore unto him His favor.

  297. okrapod wrote:

    Here I see a similarity which I think you do not see. I hear you saying, apparently, that you think that people believe what some preacher says (those you all call celebrity gurus) because they believe the preacher rather than because they believe that what the preacher is saying is, well biblical and/or reasonable. That is like for people to slam catholics by saying that you all just believe every word out of the pope’s mouth because he is a celebrity, a religious success story. I don’t believe any of that, about the protestants and their ‘gurus’ or about the catholics and their popes. I really think that christians are not all just brain dead like that.

    no, people ‘get it’ …..
    in a sacramental setting, the priest is not the ‘source’ of grace, so if he is not ‘perfect’ it doesn’t matter …..
    I think in a case where the worst possible person stands before a congregation and reads from the Word, that the Word comes also to the people as it was meant to and will fulfill its mission as God wills, even if the reader is ‘not worthy’ (who is?, only Christ);
    the problem comes when someone who is less than ‘friends’ with God takes a position of leadership in order to mis-use it …. then what he does it NOT going to help people, no …. so even sacred Scripture warns us to examine the fruit and to use our reason …. we are not to be blind followers of evil, no

  298. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    The story is really about YHWH accepting David despite his gross dishonor than anything else.

    The first time I read through the OT I was shocked by all the bad actors. I was shocked, perhaps even angry, that God blessed and used people who did not deserve his grace. And then it hit me that that might be the point.

  299. Christiane wrote:

    But you have changed what I said. And that all the difference.
    Catholics define what they believe on MATTERS of faith and morals. They do this clearly.
    If you want to change my wording, I will not let it stand, but if you made a mistake leaving out part of what I DID say, I can at least understand that,

    No, Christiane, I did not mean to change what you said. I did not mean to leave out the word “matters” in the quote. I don’t see how leaving it out makes that much difference, maybe you could explain that.

    You seem to be missing my point though. It is not about what Catholics believe. It is about you claiming that they “hold together on the matters of faith and morals.”

    You said:

    Christiane wrote:

    @ Bridget:
    Bridget, Catholics hold together on matters of faith and morals, but they certainly have their own points of view on other issues.

    I responded with this:

    Bridget wrote:

    Christiane wrote:
    Bridget, Catholics hold together on matters of faith and morals,

    Me – I don’t believe this for a minute nor that you, or anyone, can possibly know what 1.1 billion professing Catholics actually hold to. It’s a noble and hopeful thought, but not reality in the least.

    They (1.1 billion Catholics) can recite a Creed and say they believe it, but some of their actions can say something completely different, as we well know from the abuse issues in the Catholic Church. It is no different from seeing pastors preach in an Evangelical church on Sunday and finding out they have been abusing their wife or molesting children.

    What I see is that “Catholics hold together on matters of faith and morals” no better than any other religious group. Yes, they recite creeds, as do other denominations, but reciting is not the same as living it out.

  300. Greg wrote:

    You know Ken F try not to be the idiot you come across as. Because you have no more “devine” inspiration than the rest of us you haven’t got a clue God saves. Your just guy who”thinks” he knows.

    What in the world elicited a comment like this?

  301. Ken F wrote:

    And then it hit me that that might be the point.

    I’ve found your comments to be thoughtful, those from this other person not so much.

  302. Ken F wrote:

    I would like to agree with you, but I cannot because even classical Calvinism teaches the five points. I think the difference between the old and new Calvinists is the extent to which they take the logical implications. New Calvinism take the five points of Calvinism to their logical conclusion. Old Calvinists are too Christian to go that far.

    Yes, yes, yes!

  303. Greg wrote:

    You know Ken F try not to be the idiot you come across as. So your like the fourth member of the Trinity and you where there when God decided how he was going to save. Problem is your just a big talker with no more “devine” inspiration than the rest of us. Your just guy who”thinks” he knows.

    Why’d you gotta be so rude? Don’t you know Ken’s human too?

  304. okrapod wrote:

    If only they were southerners somebody could write one of those novels about dysfunctional southern families.

    Southern Gothic?

  305. Im no expert in greek or church history but it seems these folks will re “define” any cardinal doctrine, even the Trinity, to hold onto the concept of women submitting.

    http://www.dennyburk.com/the-eternal-generation-of-the-son-is-the-biblicist-position-and-always-has-been/

    I got through about three parts of the five “heady” blog posts Mr. Burk points to. Church history and greek are not that simple and if one wants to play basketball with the church fathers convert to EO or Catholicism. When evangelicals do it, it is well not very effective in my alleged opinion.

  306. @ Greg:
    Well, that’s a bit unexpected. What on earth prompted this? Ken F is an intelligent, well-read, thoughtful commented who has learned a lot of what he talks about in order to save his son’s life, both spiritually & literally. What hit such a nerve with you that you went for the person, not the point here?

  307. The problem with the Schaeffers was that they had set up an agenda that they were determined to fulfill, and they had already decreed that this was God’s will for them. You’re familiar with the verse, “quench not the Spirit,” right?

    How can the Holy Spirit work in us when we are telling the Holy Spirit what has to be done, instead of the reverse? A man with sins of anger should not be held up as a leader. If his denomination continues to keep him in that role, how can the Spirit work in him? The man is already struggling against the Holy Spirit by hanging on to prideful, stressful things.

    No doubt the Schaeffers would point to all the good that they accomplished, but that’s a faithless argument, since the good that they accomplished cannot nullify the evidence in Francis’ life that he was walking in disobedience. And, of course, we don’t know the good that would have been accomplished if Francis’ elders and Francis himself had obeyed the Scripture and kept Francis from church office and from such a prominent role in Christianity because of his gross infirmity.

    I don’t think the Holy Spirit should be blamed here. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, all cloaked and transformed as “Christian Service” barred the Schaeffers from honest Christian living, which begins with humility before God. If Francis has acknowledged his sinful anger and had been confronted with it, and if Edith had been transparent about it, refusing to let him off the hook, they would have found that day to day grace to live as a Christian married couple should.

    I’m transitioning out of Calvinism, but I can’t blame Calvinism here. In my research of Independent Fundamental Baptists, who are NOT Calvinists (and hate Calvinism) the same thing happens all the time. I think the culprits are self importance and entitlement: ie, PRIDE.

  308. Greg wrote:

    You know Ken F try not to be the idiot you come across as.

    Greg: your first comment on this thread (here) had, at least, some constructive potential; in particular, it could have introduced a new perspective into the discussion that broadened it.

    Reading the second comment tagged “Greg”, therefore, forces me to conclude that an angry drunk gained access to your computer while you were having lunch.

  309. Greg wrote:

    You know Ken F try not to be the idiot you come across as. So your like the fourth member of the Trinity and you where there when God decided how he was going to save. Problem is your just a big talker with no more “devine” inspiration than the rest of us. Your just guy who”thinks” he knows.

    Greg, assuming you are not a chatbot, I’ll reply to you.

    Whenever a person resorts to ad hominem it is a sign that they have conceded the debate. It means that they cannot compete in the realm of ideas, so they attack character. I take your comments to me (assuming you are a real person), as a compliment rather than as a curse because it means I struck a nerve on a topic for which you have no solid answer.

    Is there anything in particular you care to challenge me on in what I wrote on this thread or any other thread? I would be very glad to engage in discussion if you have something meaningful to discuss. If I am leading anyone astray I certainly deserve to be held accountable. But I need to know what the particular issue is so that I can know where I need to re-evaluate my thinking. I’ve changed my mind on many issues based on where the facts and evidence lead.

  310. Jeri, thank you for this–you put into words in a gracious way what many of us believe but lack the eloquence to say.Jeri Massi wrote:

    I don’t think the Holy Spirit should be blamed here. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, all cloaked and transformed as “Christian Service” barred the Schaeffers from honest Christian living, which begins with humility before God. If Francis has acknowledged his sinful anger and had been confronted with it, and if Edith had been transparent about it, refusing to let him off the hook, they would have found that day to day grace to live as a Christian married couple should.
    I’m transitioning out of Calvinism, but I can’t blame Calvinism here. In my research of Independent Fundamental Baptists, who are NOT Calvinists (and hate Calvinism) the same thing happens all the time. I think the culprits are self importance and entitlement: ie, PRIDE.

  311. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The second can lead to A Social Gospel without Personal Salvation; the first to a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.

    Interesting discussion I’m catching up on but I think where many fundamentalist type groups (and others) get wrapped up and wrong is that they focus so heavily on one thing, one passage, one aspect of God that they lose all balance. that’s where you make sense of any seeming contradictions in scripture.

    Obey your leaders except when they are wolves- that requires discernment. That requires a balanced perspective. It’s so hard to argue your way out of clobber verses with people who don’t get the balanced side of things, because they think you are ignoring one verse when you are focused on another.

  312. Ken F wrote:

    Whenever a person resorts to ad hominem it is a sign that they have conceded the debate. It means that they cannot compete in the realm of ideas, so they attack character.

    Oh, oops, sorry. For a minute there I thought you were talking about Frank Schaeffer, but as I read further I see that you are not.

  313. Jeri Massi wrote:

    I think the culprits are self importance and entitlement: ie, PRIDE.</blockquote
    Self importance and pride…..so applicable to the majority of Christians
    Whether it's theology, music, our preacher is better than yours, look at all the people who attend, see how humble we are, etc etc..it's endless.

    Unless you do go past the 'wall" that Catherine Martin posted about at the beginning of this thread you will never get past self importance and pride. So many people are full of themselves.
    If and when you finally realize that Jesus is enough then nothing else matters.
    But it is all line upon line precept upon precept so don't kick yourself about it. It will all be revealed in time if you ask, seek and knock with a sincere heart.

    The Schaeffer's really helped me back then and I didn't know about their problems but back then it was different and folks didn't open up like they do now. There was no instant information like today so they couldn't have hidden it now. Look at TT and all the pics and info….too much. If God can use a jackass he can use anyone….even me. And Paul said one will plant one will water and one will reap. And Jesus said don't hinder them from preaching about me
    and I assume that means all of us because all of us are wrong about some aspect of our interpretation of the Scriptures and God.

  314. westerner wrote:

    I believe that we are bound together in this life, that in the words of another famous theologian who had some moral flaws, that “we must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

    We used to talk about the ‘social contract’ as our way of living together in some peace. I think some of this and our basic manners as a society have fallen by the wayside and that leads to chaos.

  315. Jeri only wrote the first sentence of that block quote in my post…
    don’t know how that happened!

  316. Godith wrote:

    Os Guinness who lived with the Schaeffers and was best man at Franky’s wedding said that the bad stuff Franky wrote about his dad was not true.

    Os Guinness. Oh, the memories. He was invited to speak at our church’s Missions Conference back in 2000. I thought this was very inappropriate because of his participation in Evangelicals and Catholics Together. He signed the second document back in 1997 which stated that the Catholic gospel and the Evangelical gospel are one and the same. When I complained to the church elders that such a double-minded man should not be lead speaker at our Conference, I caused division among the elders. I wrote a satirical comparison concerning the issue at
    http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs178/1103980139727/archive/1111996750453.html

  317. old timer wrote:

    Jeri only wrote the first sentence of that block quote in my post…
    don’t know how that happened!

    Happens all the time! Don’t worry about it!

  318. Ken F wrote:

    even classical Calvinism teaches the five points … New Calvinism take the five points of Calvinism to their logical conclusion. Old Calvinists are too Christian to go that far.

    Reformed theology defies logic when its doctrinal propositions are viewed in the whole of Scripture. I’ve been a Southern Baptist for 60+ years and have worshiped alongside both Old and New Calvinists in a predominantly non-Calvinist denomination. I can tell you, from my experience, that classical Calvinists are much more civil and respectful when they bring up their aberrations of Scripture. New Calvinists present the same tenets of reformed theology with a much more in-your-face style and have received more visibility for their arrogant, aggressive, and militant behavior. However, Old Calvinists (of the ‘Founders’ sort) seem to be putting up with their neo-brethren in SBC ranks because they are accomplishing what the old boys couldn’t after many years of a “quiet revolution” (that’s what they call it) … Calvinization of the largest non-Calvinist Protestant denomination in America!

  319. @ okrapod:

    Like most Baptists are not versed in the BFM and don’t think it matters? That th same sort of things happen with the written tenants from Rome that the Pope is infallible, the Vicar of Christ and so on? Catholics just don’t pay much attention to that?

    I get that is most likely how it works.

  320. @ Dale:
    Most evangelicals are Protestants and not that far apart from Catholics in many areas. History shows The Protestants were just as political and sought the same kind of power the CC had over people. Taking a bird’s eye view, much of the Reformation was about money and land. A few radicals were serious about freedom from a state church but they were mostly on the run, burned and/or drowned by both sides.

  321. Jeffrey J . Chalmers wrote:

    The problem is, the theologians will call “foul” and say you can not use “secular humanistic” scientific principles on G&d.

    I agree that God is is outside of our science although He can intervene when and where He wants chooses. Still, all of us including theologians are bound by the fundamental laws of science. All of us benefit from technology, the application of science to solve and ease many of day to day trials we are all subjected to. Our technology is itself proof that the basic, underlying science is correct, or at least an exceptionally good approximation of our physical world.

    To use our technology to disparage the science on which it is based is hypocrisy of the highest order. Very simply, when our theological leaders insist on YEC they are telling those outside of our faith that they don’t know what they are talking about.

  322. Christiane wrote:

    in a sacramental setting, the priest is not the ‘source’ of grace, so if he is not ‘perfect’ it doesn’t matter …..

    This seems vague to me. The priest has to consecrate the sacrament. The priests title and position has the power of words to turn the wafers to Christs body that you can’t have. Not just anyone can do those rites or whatever they are called.

    The Donatists were were in serious trouble because they resented taking communion from corrupt priests and were refusing. Augustine thought that was good enough reason to wipe them out.

  323. Lea wrote:

    Interesting discussion I’m catching up on but I think where many fundamentalist type groups (and others) get wrapped up and wrong is that they focus so heavily on one thing, one passage, one aspect of God that they lose all balance. that’s where you make sense of any seeming contradictions in scripture.
    Obey your leaders except when they are wolves- that requires discernment. That requires a balanced perspective. It’s so hard to argue your way out of clobber verses with people who don’t get the balanced side of things, because they think you are ignoring one verse when you are focused on another.

    I call these things “theological black holes.” Churches take some secondary idea or they take some false idea and this becomes THE THING through which everything is filtered. Some churches take on the false idea that women are lesser creatures and this eventually leads to the doctrine of the Eternal Submission of the Son and Christ Himself gets filtered through this until He disappears! Some churches take Biblical Inerrancy to mean that the earth is 6,000 years old. Scientists have recently discovered that at least some dinosaurs might have had feathers. I recently read where a prominent YECer wrote that dinosaurs having feathers is not in accordance with a “biblical view of dinosaurs.” So now there is evidently a theology of dinosaur feathers and the whole Bible could orbit around this. I have heard some YECers talk and they go on about the odd views of science they have constructed and the Bible itself kind of vanishes into this. Some churches are deep into “Bible prophesy” and everything orbits around the latest “Bible code” trick to predict the future.

  324. @ Lydia:

    That all is probably true, what you said, but that was not what I was trying to say at the time. I was trying to say that is incorrect to label groups of people as either emotionally crippled guru followers on the one hand or intellectual robots on the other hand merely because some go to some mega protestant church or some are committed catholics. There are hoards of people who think things through, understand as much as they can, and make deliberate decisions about faith and practice.

    Example: the ongoing differences over doctrine in protestantism, and the very public liberal vs conservative ongoing struggles among catholics. These are due to people thinking for themselves, and it is incorrect to label them either fans or drones.

    The word for the day: complicated as used in the sentence, “It is more complicated than that”.

  325. Greg wrote:

    You know Ken F try not to be the idiot you come across as. So your like the fourth member of the Trinity and you where there when God decided how he was going to save. Problem is your just a big talker with no more “devine” inspiration than the rest of us. Your just guy who”thinks” he knows.

    OK Greg-this is against our policies. You are now going into permanent moderation. Tis means-if you play nice, you will be allowed to comment. If you don’t, go elsewhere.

  326. siteseer wrote:

    but if he’s speaking the truth, I’m glad, because I’ll be glad if we can leave the idea of Christian gurus who are on a higher spiritual plane behind.

    I agree. But I also think Frank Jr. milks it for personal gain and then he is all over the place. I could understand that better at 30 but 50’s? He does love the shock jock.

    Silly me left off at “sold out to EO” as truth. I had no idea that had changed. He was a bit too religious/ political for my taste. But I can understand why the near worship of his parents by many became too much for him. And even then, his last name keeps giving him entrance to media attention.

    I do think bringing children up in that sort of world carries high risk for them. I can’t begin to tell you how many MK’s I have known who have had horrible problems adjusting to any normalcy. There is a balance that seems hard to find between Jesus, others and the kids in that life.

    I can also imagine what Frank was around when working with his dad here producing materials. No thanks!

    All this reminds me why i am very attracted to the overall concept of Matt Redmond’s book, The God of the Mundane — after my own more limited experiences in commercial evangelicalism.

  327. @ dee:
    In fact, Greg, I am so irritated that you went down this road that I am deleting your name calling comment. Grow up. This is the beginning of 2017 and I am already irritated.

  328. @ dee:
    I think Greg is a bot. Two of its comments had several identical sentences, down to incorrect grammar and spelling.

  329. Dale wrote:

    I thought this was very inappropriate because of his participation in Evangelicals and Catholics Together. He signed the second document back in 1997 which stated that the Catholic gospel and the Evangelical gospel are one and the same.

    You probably will get irritated with me but I supported ECT since I believe we have much to gain by working with Catholics in a number of areas like abortion. I will now duck.

  330. @ okrapod:
    I totally get all that. What concerns me is the constant assertion that it’s totally different. It’s really not when you look at heirarchies, tenants, what one must agree to by dent of membership, etc. Some of it might be enforced but most likely it isn’t anymore. But it’s there. By membership it is implied one believes the Pope is infallible. (And everything else) And that is whether they understand all that implies or not.

    How each individual understands the tenants from on high and approaches them, varies. I totally get that.

  331. dee wrote:

    Grow up.

    The average age of a New Calvinist is somewhere around 29. They all have a lot of growing up to do … these keepers of the true gospel that the rest of us have lost.

  332. @ Ken F:
    Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words …

    Happy New Year, Ken! Looking forward to ‘working’ with you again this year.

  333. Walking in the Spirit is moment by moment. Any of us could absolutely refuse to follow the Spirit and do something awful which is why the Bible says to take heed when we stand lest we fall. I would be interested to know what kind of household the elder Schaeffer grew up in-abuse tends to run in families.

    In general my own opinion is that Christianity absolutely requires more humility than any of us think-and that being willing to actually confess our sins one to another would help us to forsake them way more easily. When we are not transparent with one another that is where sin has the perfect opportunity to fester. Sadly many congregations of the saints are not safe places for that kind of transparency.

  334. Max wrote:

    @ Ken F:
    Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words …

    Happy New Year, Ken! Looking forward to ‘working’ with you again this year.

    I have learned a lot from both of you. Godspeed in 2017.

  335. okrapod wrote:

    I think we must avoid an oft accepted fallacy in this matter. If a person states something (X) and the person is subsequently found to be a bad person, that does not mean that the statement (X) is therefore not true. The statement stands on its own.

    I read once that the part of the brain that knows what to do is different from the part that acts to do something. I think about it that way. You can know that you should not hit your wife and tell others not to and continue to do it anyway yourself. Different parts of the brain.

    Paul says we can know the right things but it counts for nothing if we don’t have love.

    That said, where I worry about theology, is when peoples morals and personality change in response to a new teaching. So those who convert to yrr or piper drones or comp or what have you and start becoming worse people than they were before? Well that’s either a theology problem or simply hanging around rotten people and being influenced by them, like high school.

  336. @ Lydia:
    Happy New Year, Sister Lydia! We go way back, but we ain’t done yet. Praise God!

    New Calvinists and other abusers, beware! As we enter a new year, Lydia won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. She cannot be bought, compromised, deluded or delayed. She’s got your number!

  337. brian wrote:

    Im no expert in greek or church history but it seems these folks will re “define” any cardinal doctrine, even the Trinity, to hold onto the concept of women submitting.

    The topic of eternal generation can make one’s head swim. The reason it is considered orthodox is because it is how earlier church fathers described it. It says that there was never a time when God existed as a singular “entity” rather than as Trinity. There was never a time when the Father was not the Father, the Son was not the Son, and the Spirit was not the Spirit. Arius argued that “begotten” implies that there was a time before the Son existed. The first council of Nicea rejected Arius’s view. Where people get messed us is in trying to define how the Father, Son, and Spirit are different. The supporters of ESS claim it is a difference in roles based on authority. So eternal generation is sound, eternal subordination is not.

  338. Max wrote:

    Happy New Year, Ken! Looking forward to ‘working’ with you again this year.

    Thanks. Happy New Year to you as well! Many people say 2016 was a terrible year, but it was the year that I started engaging on this site, which has been a huge blessing for me. I’ve learned so much and had my thinking challenged in ways that I needed it challenged. I stepped on some landmines along the way, but I am glad that I did because of how the fallout impacted my thinking in many areas. I hope I can make a positive contribution this year.

  339. Whether Greg was a chatbot or not, I can’t say. However the reaction could easily have come from a “true believer” in Francis Schaeffer’s teaching. When people feel that the “truth” as they see being God ordained is challenged then strong reactions are elicited. With some of my Christian friends there are limits to where I can take the conversation when it comes to religion.

    That being said an pilot can be a great pilot and still be an adulterer, a doctor can still be a great doctor and be a complete jerk, so I imagine a preacher could be a great preacher and analyze and interpret the bible and be an abuser.

    The question of whether the holy spirit is involved is a tricky one but I’ll try to explain it as I see it.

    We all have choices. I studied medical laboratory science in college, and I’ve made a career in the medical/pharmaceutical industry. I have learned from my studies combined with my various jobs throughout my employment history. Do I do good? I think so. I made a choice to be the best I can be in my career.

    Does it make me moral? or even nice? – not by default. I make a choice.

    So a guy like Schaeffer can be a great preacher and interpreter of the bible (studied hard to do so – a choice) and I think that the Holy Spirit can move people who read his material (or any preacher’s material).

    However he also makes a choice in his life to abuse or not abuse, be good or not be good – this is his free will. God won’t attach strings and force him to “behave”. I think that when some of these folks are positively reinforced by the feedback of their admirers, they are able to rationalize their less savoury attributes. But people give him/her accolades of their own free will based on what they are getting out of it. The outcome of a cascade of choices.

    I think the question highlights the fine line of God’s intervention versus our own free will. The line can appeared blurred as nothing occurs in a vacuum. Choices, circumstance, environment and (if you believe in it) the holy spirit do a complex dance that can lead to both good and bad outcomes – sometimes both.

    This in no way excuses or exonerates abuse. Nor is this a “one size fits all” explanation.

    Maybe that’s a little convoluted – but isn’t that life?

  340. Dale wrote:

    When I complained to the church elders that such a double-minded man should not be lead speaker at our Conference, I caused division among the elders.

    Well ouch. i think that’s a very harsh judgement on Os Guinness. Many people, including many here, including me, believe that the anti-Catholic sentiment of parts of evangelicalism was waaaayyy out of order, & actually the need for the same Jesus to save us is preached in Catholicism, ultimately.

  341. @ Lea:
    And the opposite can be true. I think of comp doctrine. A woman married to a mature and wonderful husband might not give it a second thought. It does not affect her life negatively. Submission is not an issue.

    Yet, the doctrine is there presented as biblical truth at church.

    I became very frustrated by this early on because other women, not blessed with a benevolent dictator head were constantly told their husbands were not doing comp right. It wasn’t the doctrine that was wrong. She was to pray more and submit more.

    Hmm. The biblical interpretation and understanding are wrong.

    That does not mean bad husbands would get better if they ditched comp and taught mutual submission but it would mean the church was not excusing and affirming his leadership over her.

    So I think bad theology can ingrain thinking that affects behavior. Did Calvin really believe he was acting on behalf of God when he punished heretics? His letter to his friend after Servetus burned seems to communicate he thought that way.

  342. Jacob wrote:

    I recently read where a prominent YECer wrote that dinosaurs having feathers is not in accordance with a “biblical view of dinosaurs.”

    Doesn’t the book of Hezekiah address that?

  343. dee wrote:

    You probably will get irritated with me but I supported ECT since I believe we have much to gain by working with Catholics in a number of areas like abortion. I will now duck.

    Okay, Dee. Duck, here comes a pillow! As evangelicals and Catholics, we can stand/work together and agree on many things. But we will never agree on the most important thing: the gospel. What I believed as a Catholic and what I now believe concerning the gospel are 180 degrees apart. The only way that the two gospels can be reconciled is to blur distinctions and minimize differences, which is what ECT II and the Lutheran Joint Declaration do.

    I don’t blame you for supporting ECT. Just as I don’t blame anyone who has been deceived by any improper spiritual movement. The fact that well-respected theologians and “evangelical celebrities” add their weight to this ecumenical project leads many down the wrong path. Deception can be very subtle, as I have seen by my association with 9Marks. Maybe we can discuss this off-site?

  344. Ken F wrote:

    Where people get messed us is in trying to define how the Father, Son, and Spirit are different.

    Bingo. When I researched this I was shocked to find they did many similar things or all were attributed to an event such as the resurrection.

    Also in the OT, God is not referred to as Father that much at all. And even then it might be Father of Israel, etc. The coming Messiah is even referred to as ‘Everlasting Father’ in Isaiah 9.

  345. Dale wrote:

    As evangelicals and Catholics, we can stand/work together and agree on many things. But we will never agree on the most important thing: the gospel.

    Perhaps the other side of the coin:
    – One side being a theologian who has his teaching ducks all in a row but from time to time throws a plant pot at his wife (Schaeffer);
    – The other side, a man like Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty of the Vatican yet saving thousands from the Nazis in Italy during the Holocaust of WW2 – his theology a click off but doing the right thing.

  346. Beakerj wrote:

    Many people, including many here, including me, believe that the anti-Catholic sentiment of parts of evangelicalism was waaaayyy out of order, & actually the need for the same Jesus to save us is preached in Catholicism, ultimately.

    First, should a distinction be made between anti-Catholic and anti-Catholicism? Second, the stream flows both ways. It is Catholic teaching that there is no salvation apart from the Roman Catholic Church. That seems to be anti-evangelical to me. Third, I don’t think it is out of order to critique religious systems. Seems like that is healthy if done in a truthful way. I think it is a reason this blog is so wonderful. Certainly Catholics are encouraging evangelicals to convert – just look at the TV program “The Journey Home” on EWTN. Or Catholic Answers.

  347. Abi Miah wrote:

    know the fruit of a person’s work before following their advice.

    Excellent post.
    “Knowing the fruit” would include how things play out in their daily life with spouse and children, for sure.

  348. Read more about Schaeffer–other than what Franky has written. Schaeffer Sr. turned away from the determinism he saw at Westminster Seminary when he was just a young man. Also there is a bit of a schism between the Schaeffer children (now in their 60’s and 70’s). Son-in-law Udo Middelmann has written The Innocence of God, one of the best books I have ever read. He and his wife are followers of Francis Sr.’s teaching and run the Schaeffer Foundation. I believe they are close to Franky, but it is evident they don’t share his views of his famous father being an abuser.

  349. @ Abi Miah:
    I missed this comment. It is excellent!

    Abi Miah wrote:

    What kind of person has, by definition, a sense of entitlement? A narcissist . (Others may have a sense of entitlement without all the other symptoms of NPD but a self-centered life is at the core of this). If a Christian rises to a position of power via teaching, writing, etc. and is not a narcissist, then he or she will have to constantly be on guard against the temptation to elevate self because others are constantly doing it.

    This is what I mean by spiritual systems that promote castes, heirarchies and plead special spiritual anointing of such. I am old enough to have known some mega leaders when they were in the process of growing the mega. They weren’t narissists. Yet the system they grew with lots of help eventually led them into entitlement thinking. They believed their PR. They believed the followers who adored them from afar. It became about image management and good PR. They did not eschew the accoutrements that came with the system but thought they did.

  350. @ Lydia:

    It’s a shame that Frank thought being an opportunistic hack for blue state causes was some kind of solution to his former participation in opportunistic hackwork for red state causes with his father.

    Francis Schaeffer’s trilogy was probably not intended to be read this way but in 2015 it read like a legend of WASP decline. Just the arts history shortfalls alone in the old Schaeffer trilogy merit a corrective response (incubating something like that this year, actually) I can still respect Schaeffer waded through stuff like the theater of the absurd but the notion that the arts became more avant garde as the Christian worldview was explicitly rejected withers under scrutiny. Several of the most pioneering figures in avant garde music in the last 120 years ended up being Catholic and Eastern Orthodox.

    And while I haven’t commented here in a while because things happen, regular Wartburgers probably remember that I’m a Calvinist and a Presbyterian. Turns out a number of old school Reformed types consider both Schaeffers to be showboating opportunistic political hacks.

  351. @ Dale:

    “…the gospel. What I believed as a Catholic and what I now believe concerning the gospel are 180 degrees apart.”
    ++++++++++++++

    can i ask, what is the gospel?

  352. dee wrote:

    Dale wrote:

    I thought this was very inappropriate because of his participation in Evangelicals and Catholics Together. He signed the second document back in 1997 which stated that the Catholic gospel and the Evangelical gospel are one and the same.

    You probably will get irritated with me but I supported ECT since I believe we have much to gain by working with Catholics in a number of areas like abortion. I will now duck.

    There are some Protestant churches that are closer to Catholic doctrines and practices than others. I don’t like the wall that some put up to distinguish themselves from the Catholics.

  353. @ WenatcheeTheHatchet: Schaeffer was brought in to the abortion issue by Harold O.J. Brown, probably the nicest person I have ever met. Yes, I have heard many “truly Reformed” speak ill of Francis Schaeffer. Sad.

  354. Dee,

    Great article—thank you! 🙂

    Loren Haas,

    Thank you for speaking the truth about George Whitefield. You’re right—most people don’t know how he opened the door to evil in the earliest days of America.

    After one of his close friends had died in debtor’s prison, James Olgethorpe (a powerful member of Parliament) founded Georgia as a safe place for poor people to go for a fresh start. The trustees of Georgia actually specifically forbid slavery from ever existing there because as Olgethorpe said it was “contrary to the Gospel.”

    For years there was a battle between the trustees of Georgia who didn’t want slavery and wealthy people who wanted it to line their pockets. Long story short—guess who successfully lobbied British authorities to allow slavery? George Whitefield—he wanted to have an orphanage but didn’t want to pay any workers so he opened the door to evil!

    Many of you know the famous argument between George Whitefield and John Wesley over free will vs. predestination. Guess which one of them wrote the book telling slaveowners that they were all going to hell unless they repented and freed all their people? (Hint—Wesley also wrote the famous letter to William Wilberforce, telling him that “if God be for you, who can be against you?”)

    That’s why I cringe whenever anyone talks of Whitefield as some great Christian. He was a monster who only cared about himself and used Calvinism to justify his own selfishness. Now why don’t these history books tell the whole story?

  355. There are critical things that can be said about Francis that don’t necessitate dumping everything he wrote. I agree with his criticism of art for the sake of art, that art which becomes an autonomous pseudo-religion withers on the vine. But his proposal that the “total work of art” emerged with the Beatles is completely wrong. Literally any opera from the 19th century fit that bill, and art as a would-be transcendental religious experience was something Wagner and Scriabin were aspiring to before there was a recording industry as we know it.

    So it’s entirely possible to agree with some things Francis Schaeffer said while regarding his scholarship as, in several places, severely wanting.

    If people are using Schaeffer’s work as a springboard to their own engagement with issues that’s great. If they are using Schaeffer as a shortcut that precludes thinking about things that’s not-so-great.

  356. WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    If they are using Schaeffer as a shortcut that precludes thinking about things that’s not-so-great.

    At L’Abri, Schaeffer himself expressed disappointment in the followers that hung out only to parrot his or anyone else’s ideas. Discourse was the better path.

  357. @ Dale:
    But have you actually heard Os Guinness speak, or know what he was speaking on? Do you know anything of his history or life story, which is remarkable? How does this association mean you write him off, i.e. petition for him not to speak, rather than listen & critique if need be?

    I grew up catholic btw, converted to & then burned out of evangelicalism, headed now maybe towards EO…we all have our journeys.

  358. elastigirl wrote:

    “…the gospel. What I believed as a Catholic and what I now believe concerning the gospel are 180 degrees apart.”
    ++++++++++++++
    can i ask, what is the gospel?

    Hi Elastigirl. Perhaps it would be helpful to compare and contrast the Catholic and Evangelical understanding of justification. How can a sinner be reconciled to God? In Catholicism, justification is a lifelong process. One must become inherently just before one can be declared just. This is accomplished in the sacramental system. At baptism one receives the righteousness of Christ and is fit for heaven. For the Catholic, this is being born again. But sin reduces or entirely removes this righteousness, and it must be restored. If one commits a mortal sin, all righteousness is lost, and must be restored through confession. The sinner needs another infusion of righteousness. Confession is known as the “second plank of salvation.” The process of justification usually entails some time in purgatory after death.

    In evangelicalism, justification is an event. The phrase “justification by faith alone” signifies that by trusting in Christ one receives the righteousness of Christ and is immediately “fit” for heaven. Many call this event being “born again.” All the righteousness a person will ever need to “qualify” for heaven is received at this point. I am an accountant, and it reminds me of what is known as a “T-account.” We have an account that is full of sin. This sin is debited to Christ’s T-account. He paid for our sin at the cross. Jesus has an account that has infinite righteousness. He led a perfect, sinless life. This righteousness is credited to our account. This is known as imputation.

  359. @ WenatcheeTheHatchet:
    I am ashamed to say I have Schaeffers Triology from years ago but never finished it. My take from the fringes is he was considered the first in some circles to take on the subject of divorcing the cultural from the spiritual as so many were want to do back then. I don’t know. Evidently, he was a big deal back then to many people.

    I have a lot of empathy for Jr but his writing wears me out.

    WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    I can still respect Schaeffer waded through stuff like the theater of the absurd but the notion that the arts became more avant garde as the Christian worldview was explicitly rejected withers under scrutiny. Several of the most pioneering figures in avant garde music in the last 120 years ended up being Catholic and Eastern Orthodox.

    I enjoyed NT Wright’s take on art in his Surprised by Hope video series. He focused on categories like cheesy Kitsch, in your face Brutalism, and the historical Christian art of stained glass, architecture, etc. Can one divorce mode of inspiration from art expressions? Not sure but fascinating topic.

  360. Christiane wrote:

    forgot to give the reference: 2 Samuel Chapter 12

    Agreed. No mystery at all. If you (generic you) let it, it will speak to you on multi-dimensional levels. For me, the tale of the poor man who loved the little ewe lamb as his own daughter is the centerpiece of the story. Heart wrenching in the extreme for me that the rich man took even what little the little guy had.
    Moral of the story:
    Better a poor man who’ll listen to Jiminy Cricket than a rich man who’ll spray him with DDT so he can acquire more.

  361. Jacob wrote:

    . I don’t like the wall that some put up to distinguish themselves from the Catholics.

    Is it OK to put up a wall between all heirarchical caste system religions/denominations? :o)

  362. Beakerj wrote:

    But have you actually heard Os Guinness speak

    He spoke to me in a written document concerning salvation that he signed in 1997. I have written a response to the errors of this document: https://xcjournal.org/2013/02/22/25-ways-to-subvert-the-gospel/

    He was invited to speak concerning missions. Missions relate to the gospel. He speaks against missions when he speaks against the gospel. Paul speaks pretty dramatically about those who amend the gospel in Galatians 1. ECT has been a very divisive issue within evangelicalism.

    I know nothing of his life story other than this chapter.

  363. Godith wrote:

    said that the bad stuff Franky wrote about his dad was not true

    A family friend – Os Guinness, and a son – Frank, would have different experiences and different points of view.

  364. Debi Calvet wrote:

    @ Abi Miah:
    This was excellent (and so well-written). Thank you.

    It is very good, and I’m glad that Debi found it and highlighted it. Longer comments can get stuck in customs. The thread can grow pretty long by the time they clear. It does all of us a great service when someone finds the hidden gems like this and pulls them closer to the most recent comments.

  365. Lydia wrote:

    Can one divorce mode of inspiration from art expressions? Not sure but fascinating topic.

    Glad you asked that Lyds. I’ve often wondered the same. What is mode of inspiration? And can modern artists come up with renditions of the Holy that don’t rely on overly-done expressions of purity that seem to dictate the bygone art forms of the medieval period?
    In other words, is there an artist who can depict Mary as a strong and spirited young woman who doesn’t have the medieval look of door-mat purity?
    Just curious.

  366. Dale wrote:

    This righteousness is credited to our account. This is known as imputation.

    A couple of years ago, when I started to dig into Calvinism, I searched on “imputed vs imparted righteousness.” I did this because I was one soundly rebuked for questioning why the distinction is so important. My Sunday school teacher went nearly apoplectic in stressing why imputation is so much more biblically correct than impartation. I still don’t see why people get so hung up on it. I think it’s because one of the big points of disagreements between Roman Catholics and Protestants. In any case, I found this article from an Eastern Orthodox (EO) perspective: https://oca.org/reflections/fr.-john-breck/gods-righteousness. This was eye-opening for me because it showed me that the issue is not nearly as black and white as I had been taught. That led me to read quite a lot more EO theology. EO theology was locked down at the 7th ecumenical council, which was centuries before the RC/Protestant split. As a consequence of that search, I am much more skeptical about the importance of some of these doctrinal distinctions.

  367. Lydia wrote:

    They weren’t narissists. Yet the system they grew with lots of help eventually led them into entitlement thinking. They believed their PR. They believed the followers who adored them from afar.

    It doesn’t have to be a megachurch either. I saw the process played out over twenty years with a man I knew fairly well but didn’t recognize the tragic quality of his story till the end. Becoming “a pastor” became his identity and it morphed from caring to controlling. Along the way he became more isolated or elevated from his former friends.

  368. And different children can have very different experiences growing up in the same family. Different needs, different stages in the parents’ lives, etc. I do have sympathy for Frank, but, as a poster above put it, he can wear me out.

  369. @ Dale:

    I belong to a parish which calls itself ‘an Episcopal parish in the catholic tradition’ and needless to say I think that both the Roman position on the one hand and the evangelical position on the other (at least as you have described it) have serious weaknesses.

    I must say that I was raised Baptist waaay before they became what they are now and raised my children Free Will Baptist also back when, and the ‘evangelical’ position as you have described it pertains only to salvation and does not address sanctification which has also been a part of the discussion in some ‘evangelical’ traditions. Which is to say that the Roman position views justification/sanctification as part and parcel of the same thing (and necessary for salvation) while the ‘evangelical’ position separates out justification (being saved) from the process of growing in Christ (sanctification) with justification (imputed righteousness) being necessary for salvation. And of course, there is more than one protestant position and the one called ‘evangelical’ seems to vary from denom to denom. Example: Can you lose your salvation? The SBC says no-one saved always saved, but the FWB say yes-but it is difficult to do. And that is just two of many Baptist groups.

    And of course, I think like I said that there are weaknesses in both positions.

    Hence, I think we should co-operate where we can and should not co-operate where we cannot.

  370. @ Lydia:

    separating mode of inspiration from expression happens all the time, it’s practically the history of all Western art in the last century. 🙂 Intra-arts debates about this tend to use the term “cultural appropriation” or, to put it in the bluntest terms, is it really legitimate for middle-to-upper-class white kids to start rock bands indebted to vernacular styles pioneered by black and Jewish and gay musicians in the first half of the 20th century?

    There’s not exactly a “correct” answer for that.

    The firebrand music historian Richard Taruskin has been proposing that the reason mode of inspiration can be separated from art by arts fans is that there’s been an awkward desire to suppress the fact that some of the highest profile artists, musicians and writers were more sympathetic to fascism and other totalitarian modes of governance than we might like to believe. Ezra Pound was a literary avant gardist who backed Mussolini. Stravinsky was okay with fascism before the guns started going off. Any number of American expatriots were willing to guess the best about Stalin. It’s dangerous to presume that artists and people who write about the arts can’t be as gruesomely despotic as warlords.

  371. @ Dale:
    Dale, I’m not quite sure how to reply to you. I have no doubt Os is a Christian & preaches Christ crucified. I think as long as people are pointed to trust in Christ for salvation then some of what you’ve written about, as well as the tone used, aren’t really necessary. Perfect theological credentials aren’t needed, whether it’s the Calvinistas, Catholics or former-Catholics who parse it this way, or sound a bit like they do. I may have misinterpreted you but I suppose I’m tired of seeing similarly-toned diatribes from all sorts of people justifying their theology in way which write off others.

  372. @ <a href="#comment-302574" title="Go to comment of this@ Avid Reader:
    Kevin Ezell’s (now NAMB Pres) former church here started a school named after George Whitefield. You ask the parents about it and they will tell you he was a great evangelist. They have no clue and don’t seem concerned to check the facts.

  373. okrapod wrote:

    Example: Can you lose your salvation? The SBC says no-one saved always saved, but the FWB say yes-but it is difficult to do. And that is just two of many Baptist groups.

    And of course, I think like I said that there are weaknesses in both positions.

    Hence, I think we should co-operate where we can and should not co-operate where we cannot.

    I also found that the EO position is we cannot lose something we don’t yet have. Here’s an example of where that is stated: https://oca.org/questions/scripture/hebrews-64-6-falling-away-from-the-faith

    While some Protestants would say that once a person is saved, he or she is always saved, and other Protestants would say that once a person is saved, he or she can lose his or her salvation, Orthodoxy, by virtue of its understanding of salvation as an ongoing process of spiritual growth, would say that one can indeed jeopardize one’s salvation, but that it is not realistic to say that one has “lost” something that one has yet to experience or possess in its fullness.

    My point is not to argue for the EO postion (I am not EO), but to suggest that there are other valid streams of thought that Christians follow. Jesus did not die for doctrine, he died for people.

  374. Ken F wrote:

    Debi Calvet wrote:
    @ Abi Miah:
    I’m glad that Debi found it and highlighted it. Longer comments can get stuck in customs. The thread can grow pretty long by the time they clear. It does all of us a great service when someone finds the hidden gems like this and pulls them closer to the most recent comments.

    Yes, it did get stuck in moderation. I didn’t realize how long it was until I hit post.

  375. elastigirl wrote:

    Turns out a number of old school Reformed types consider both Schaeffers to be showboating opportunistic political hacks.

    You make several comments that fit my memory. I wondered if the Schaeffers were opportunistic or if they were co-opted by the religious right. The wealth and megaphone were probably hard to pass up. They sure seemed to start off in an entirely different place associating more with a counter culture of the 60’s.

    Looking back it is hard to get an understanding of who they were because they are now viewed by many through the cultural and political adversaries of that time. As much as Francis may have been co-opted by the religious right I also wonder if Frank hasn’t been co-opted by the religious left.

  376. Bill M wrote:

    Turns out a number of old school Reformed types consider both Schaeffers to be showboating opportunistic political hacks.

    I have no idea how elastigirl got in there when I was responding to WenatcheeTheHatchet.

  377. @ Ken F:

    Jesus did not die for doctrine, he died for people.

    +1000, Ken.

    “We are not saved by what Jesus taught, and we certainly are not saved by what we understand Jesus to have taught. We are saved by Jesus Himself, dead and risen. ‘Follow Me,’ He says. It is the only word that finally matters.”

    ~ Robert Farrar Capon

  378. OldJohnJ wrote:

    To use our technology to disparage the science on which it is based is hypocrisy of the highest order. Very simply, when our theological leaders insist on YEC they are telling those outside of our faith that they don’t know what they are talking about.

    You’re much nicer that me. I’m blunt. I say YEC promoters are lying. And yeah, that’s harsh, but the evidence for an old earth and old universe is there. The problem is that YECers like Ken Ham are bluntly clear that they take the Bible as authoritative over any science. This does nobody any favors.

  379. @ Bridget:
    You want me to explain why your changing of my words doesn’t make any difference?

    Think about that for a while. You’ll get it.

  380. Muff Potter wrote:

    For me, the tale of the poor man who loved the little ewe lamb as his own daughter is the centerpiece of the story. Heart wrenching in the extreme for me that the rich man took even what little the little guy had.

    It is one of the most poignant stories in all of Scripture, and God sent Nathan to David with that example.

    It is said that ‘unkindness’ is the greatest sin. I think the heart-breaking story of that poor man and his beloved ewe is a way that God illustrates this truth to us in Scripture.

  381. @ Bill M:

    my take on it is that Francis was co-opted by the Right and Frank decided to join the Left after repudiating the positions of his youth but not necessarily his methods. It’s not necessarily as a Christian that I regard Francis Schaeffer as being guilty of lazy hackwork, it’s as a musician and lover of arts history that I regard some of his more famous claims about the arts to be wildly wrong. 🙂

    Frank mused ten years ago that had things gone differently his father could have been a hero of the religious left. That was a long, long time ago back in Crazy for God. I do regard Frank Schaeffer as an opportunistic hack, one who chose that path rather than stumbling into it like his father did. Since I regard both the red state and blue state civic religions as foundationally evil I don’t see the benefit of repudiating the red for the blue or vice versa.

  382. Lydia wrote:

    All this reminds me why i am very attracted to the overall concept of Matt Redmond’s book, The God of the Mundane — after my own more limited experiences in commercial evangelicalism.

    Same here!

  383. Lea wrote:

    We used to talk about the ‘social contract’ as our way of living together in some peace. I think some of this and our basic manners as a society have fallen by the wayside and that leads to chaos.

    Yes, I think the social contract is a big part of the ideas that guide me. And I agree that if we cannot agree on one, however broad, we’re in real trouble. I do feel a spiritual dimension to life as well, but my daily choices are more guided by my belief in the value of the community. I’ve been reading some mid-19th century philosophy lately–the folks who were trying to sort out a sets of values and beliefs beyond unquestioning faith. Here’s a quote from Charles Peirce:

    The question whether genus homo has any existence except as individuals is the question whether there is anything of any more dignity, worth, and importance than individual happiness, individual aspirations, individual life. Whether men really have anything in common, so that the community is to be considered as an end in itself…is the most fundamental practical question in regard to every public institution the constitution of which we have it in our power to influence.”

    For people who do not live in the fear of displeasing God, or the joy of worshipping God, an answer to this question is fundamental to sorting out life’s priorities.

  384. okrapod wrote:

    Hence, I think we should co-operate where we can and should not co-operate where we cannot.

    Agree 100%, Okrapod. We all cooperate daily in many ways and with a diversity of people.

    The ECT movement tries to make the basis of our co-operation the gospel. No matter how you parse it, Catholicism, evangelicalism, and Orthodoxy have differing beliefs concerning salvation, not to mention numerous other areas. What you believe has consequences, right?

    The manner in which ECT parses the gospel lacks integrity and abuses logic. Neither Catholics nor evangelicals are served.

  385. old timer wrote:

    The Schaeffer’s really helped me back then and I didn’t know about their problems but back then it was different and folks didn’t open up like they do now. There was no instant information like today so they couldn’t have hidden it now. Look at TT and all the pics and info….too much. If God can use a jackass he can use anyone….even me.

    It’s true that God can and does use jackasses (otherwise who would he use?) But, on the other hand, this is the exact excuse the pastor of our last church used for elevating James MacDonald and his teachings, Authentic Manhood, and so on. Pointing out how he had discredited himself by his character and behavior was useless because “God uses sinful people.” So I guess it is like Okrapod says, it gets… complicated.

  386. @ Dale:

    thanks for the time you took in replying there.

    on the topic of ‘justification’, your explanations depict evangelicalism as simpler, more basic, with ‘less ingredients and less processing’ than catholicism, inferring that the former is ‘biblical’ or ‘more biblical’ as opposed to the latter.

    perhaps evang. does not have the codified rigmarole that cath. appears to have — but it’s there, very much implied instead of codified. rigmarole in a variety of iterations, all in tension with each other.

    and when the powerbrokers for each call it “Gospelrigmarole” and state directly or indirectly that to reject “Gospelrigmarole-A” or “-B” or “-C”, etc., is to reject God, protestants find themselves no less bound to codes. and wary of all other iterations & practitioners.

    (really, the codes are pretty ill-defined, so it’s more like being bound by fear & paranoia)

    when i do a bird’s eye flyover on all the organizations emblazoned with crosses and christian words, what i see is “justification as an event” in theory only.

  387. Dale wrote:

    Jesus has an account that has infinite righteousness. He led a perfect, sinless life. This righteousness is credited to our account. This is known as imputation.

    That’s not the only way to look at Jesus’ death. That comes straight from Penal Substitionary Atonement, which was an invention of Anselm of Canterbury and modified by Luther and *especially* by Calvin. There are other ways to see Jesus’ death, such as “Christus Victor,” where Jesus’ resurrection is seen as God’s victory over sin, death and the powers of this world. N.T. Wright holds this position (and has given The Gospel Coalition over it) and I don’t know of anyone who would say that Wright is anything but orthodox.

  388. WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    It’s a shame that Frank thought being an opportunistic hack for blue state causes was some kind of solution to his former participation in opportunistic hackwork for red state causes with his father.

    I would argue that Frank Schaeffer is not anywhere near as involved in blue state politics as he was in shaping the politics of one of the current political parties. I follow Schaeffer on Facebook and while he has strong opinions, I would not call him an “opportunist hack.” If that were the case, you’d have to call me an “opportunist hack.” I can then add it to my other favorite pejoratives, like “harridan” and “virago.”

  389. N.T. Wright holds this position (and has given The Gospel Coalition over it) and I don’t know of anyone who would say that Wright is anything but orthodox.

    That should be “and has given The Gospel Coalition fits over it”.

    There is no one way to look at Jesus’ death, and that has been the case historically. Some of us have very serious problems with Penal Substitutionary Atonement, yet if you don’t hold PSA, others are quite willing to read you out of orthodoxy over it. Which is why I make it clear I am outside the charmed circle of the household of faith.

  390. Bill M wrote:

    . I wondered if the Schaeffers were opportunistic or if they were co-opted by the religious right.

    Many of us (raises hand) got pulled/co-opted in by the Religious Right, for what seemed like good reasons at the time (late 80s/through the 90s maybe? it seems a long time ago). I’ve gone in a different direction since then (still Christian, but not evangelical as it’s come to be defined), and am tempted to pretend it never happened. But that’s a cop-out.

  391. WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    separating mode of inspiration from expression happens all the time, it’s practically the history of all Western art in the last century. Intra-arts debates about this tenth

    I admit I am not particularly adept at these discussions but find them fascinating. A recent example of the above might be the public school music director who chided his students over the Pocahontas song saying, ‘i don’t know how you all sleep at night’. Then proceeded to lead them practicing Wagners Parsifal. :o)

  392. @ Dale:
    I think that all of us are stumbling in the dark.

    RC, mainline & evangelical Protestant are all wrong in various ways.

    I went to 2 church services this holiday season. A Lutheran & my wife’s Pentecostal Church. Both services were pretty good. Positive sermons that actually made sense.

    I’ve examined some of my antipathy towards religion and faith.

    I’m not an atheist. I’ve seen things that give me reason to believe not everything is easily explained.

    I feel that much of my antipathy is that I let others define what faith is for me. Ie “you are not Christian because…”

    Who has that right?

    Anyway all this introspection has been influenced by what I read here.

  393. Dale wrote:

    We all cooperate daily in many ways and with a diversity of people.

    True. As missionaries in West Africa, we worked together.

    Today, our son works with those displaced. People collaborate.

    I watched the segment on S. Sudan from the series, “Witness”. Reality reduces theoretical arguments to the essential.

  394. okrapod wrote:

    Example: Can you lose your salvation? The SBC says no-one saved always saved, but the FWB say yes-but it is difficult to do. And that is just two of many Baptist groups.

    An interesting comment. That term ‘your salvation’ as something that belongs to a person as a entity that can be ‘possessed’ and ‘lost’ IS confusing for people who believe that their ‘salvation’ resides ‘in Christ’. When some people of faith speak of ‘their’ salvation as something apart from Him Who is the Salvation of us all, then it does get murky and difficult to communicate to one another clearly and to understand easily. Could be it’s just semantics, but I don’t think so. I suspect the differences go very deep indeed.

  395. elastigirl wrote:

    thanks for the time you took in replying there.

    Your welcome!

    elastigirl wrote:

    when i do a bird’s eye flyover on all the organizations emblazoned with crosses and christian words, what i see is “justification as an event” in theory only.

    Well, I admit my personal experience colors my view of the gospel. I went from Catholicism to evangelicalism. Justification by faith alone is more than a theory to me and millions of Christians. For someone who has gone from evangelicalism to Catholicism, I am sure they have a different view which colors their understanding of the gospel. For most, it is more than a theory.

  396. Dale wrote:

    The manner in which ECT parses the gospel lacks integrity and abuses logic. Neither Catholics nor evangelicals are served.

    Yes, I see that too.

  397. @ Lydia:

    “Can one divorce mode of inspiration from art expressions? Not sure but fascinating topic.”
    +++++++++++++

    sorry to ask —

    mode of inspiration: as in defining modes of inspiration as being right/wrong, deriving from God/not deriving from God?

    art expressions: are we talking exclusively about religious art depicting God?

  398. Ken F wrote:

    My point is not to argue for the EO postion (I am not EO), but to suggest that there are other valid streams of thought that Christians follow. Jesus did not die for doctrine, he died for people.

    I agree that Jesus did not die for doctrine, that he died for people. But what you believe has consequences. God has spoken to us using language, which I think we are meant to understand.

    I have always had a sense of urgency related to these matters. My Catholic sister passed away in July. Years ago she confided in me that she felt close to God the Father and thought she understood the Holy Spirit, but she just didn’t feel close to Jesus. As a loving brother, I felt compelled to share why I thought this was so. This is doctrinal.

    I showed her a nested Russian doll. Using the dolls, I let one represent the Pope (Vicar of Christ); another, the priest (alter Christus); another, Mary (Co-mediatrix); another, the saints (intercessors); another, the sacraments (means of salvation); another, the Church (mediator of salvation). Catholic teaching provides many mediators between us and Jesus. I shared that perhaps all the mediators were keeping her from experiencing intimacy with the Savior.

  399. siteseer wrote:

    elevating James MacDonald and his teachings

    is not so hard ….. IF a person is pointing to Christ, then follow Christ

    IF a person is pointing to himself, we are still to follow Christ

    The Holy Spirit, God in the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, does not point to Himself. He points us towards Christ. This example of the divine humility and of intensely-focused service is a guide for ministers who would serve Christ.

  400. Bridget wrote:

    They (1.1 billion Catholics) can recite a Creed and say they believe it, but some of their actions can say something completely different, as we well know from the abuse issues in the Catholic Church. It is no different from seeing pastors preach in an Evangelical church on Sunday and finding out they have been abusing their wife or molesting children.

    Yes, although I do believe that certain doctrines lend themselves more readily to abuse, trying to pin this behavior to a denomination is to be sidetracked. It is everywhere. The pot and kettle arguing about who is darker misses the point.

    Jeri Massi wrote:

    I’m transitioning out of Calvinism, but I can’t blame Calvinism here. In my research of Independent Fundamental Baptists, who are NOT Calvinists (and hate Calvinism) the same thing happens all the time. I think the culprits are self importance and entitlement: ie, PRIDE.

    Yes! and I would add hierarchicalism.

  401. Lydia wrote:

    I became very frustrated by this early on because other women, not blessed with a benevolent dictator head were constantly told their husbands were not doing comp right. It wasn’t the doctrine that was wrong. She was to pray more and submit more.

    Ah in this case bad doctrine leads to bad advice plus a bit of the ‘no true scotsman’ fallacy.

    I tend to think good actions beat good doctrine every time. When your bad doctrine leads to or promotes bad actions is when it really becomes trouble. I think it’s worth asking here why ‘old school’ Calvinists tend to not produce the same type of issues with a similar starting point.

  402. Muff Potter wrote:

    In other words, is there an artist who can depict Mary as a strong and spirited young woman who doesn’t have the medieval look of door-mat purity?

    I know you’re not just referring to medieval art, but in that particular vein, everyone has the dewy-eyed look of medieval purity. Plus all the men are in their 90’s.

    Well, that’s not entirely true, of course. But it seems like it…

  403. Jenny wrote:

    @ Ken F:
    Jesus did not die for doctrine, he died for people.
    +1000, Ken.
    “We are not saved by what Jesus taught, and we certainly are not saved by what we understand Jesus to have taught. We are saved by Jesus Himself, dead and risen. ‘Follow Me,’ He says. It is the only word that finally matters.”
    ~ Robert Farrar Capon

    Indeed. Even many nonbelievers like Jesus _as a teacher_.Muff Potter wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    Can one divorce mode of inspiration from art expressions? Not sure but fascinating topic.
    Glad you asked that Lyds. I’ve often wondered the same. What is mode of inspiration? And can modern artists come up with renditions of the Holy that don’t rely on overly-done expressions of purity that seem to dictate the bygone art forms of the medieval period?
    In other words, is there an artist who can depict Mary as a strong and spirited young woman who doesn’t have the medieval look of door-mat purity?
    Just curious.

    Something makes me think of superhero comic book art, which (like medieval art and iconography) is heavily 2D.

  404. @ dee:

    I believe that the Holy Spirit calls to all, convicting us of our sin and calling us to God. For those that respond and give their lives to Christ the Holy Spirit exhorts us to continue to turn away from sin and walk with God as well as provides spiritual gifts. But as to preventing us from continuing to sin? No. It will convict us, exhort us, but believers are still sinners.

  405. Avid Reader wrote:

    That’s why I cringe whenever anyone talks of Whitefield as some great Christian. He was a monster who only cared about himself and used Calvinism to justify his own selfishness. Now why don’t these history books tell the whole story?

    Thanks Loren and Avid Reader for telling us more about George Whitfield. I didn’t know that. I don’t keep up with all of the Calvinists so I appreciate when others fill me in on the details.

  406. Dale wrote:

    Catholic teaching provides many mediators between us and Jesus. I shared that perhaps all the mediators were keeping her from experiencing intimacy with the Savior.

    I wish you could have shared this prayer with your dear sister before she passed. It comes from the ancient Coptic tradition. It speaks of a deep Christian faith that is immersed in Our Lord Himself:

    ““. . . You are the Life of us all, the Salvation of us all, the Hope of us all, the Healing of us all, and the Resurrection of us all.”

    Sorry for your loss. I, too, am grieving a dear family member. The Lord be with you.

  407. Christa wrote:

    @ dee:
    I believe that the Holy Spirit calls to all, convicting us of our sin and calling us to God. For those that respond and give their lives to Christ the Holy Spirit exhorts us to continue to turn away from sin and walk with God as well as provides spiritual gifts. But as to preventing us from continuing to sin? No. It will convict us, exhort us, but believers are still sinners.

    Even the Apostle Paul wasn’t sinless after his conversion. Romans 7:19 is quite a powerful and sobering verse.

  408. Christiane wrote:

    is not so hard ….. IF a person is pointing to Christ, then follow Christ

    IF a person is pointing to himself, we are still to follow Christ

    The Holy Spirit, God in the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, does not point to Himself. He points us towards Christ. This example of the divine humility and of intensely-focused service is a guide for ministers who would serve Christ.

    and if we are, what do we need James MacDonald for?

    (I’ll answer my own question- he promises his methods will grow the church, make it more exciting, and end result = more coin in the collection plate.)

  409. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    Ken Ham’s interpretation of scripture….. it is important to note that Ken Ham is not uniform in his intertrpation of scripture being supremely authoritative …

    Here’s the irony. Ken Ham tries to show how the early church believed in a 6000 year old earth. He does this because he believes the Bible should be interpreted strictly literally. But many in the early church went too far down the path of making everything allegorical, even to the point of looking for an allegorical meaning in the 153 fish in John 21:11 (do they forget that fishermen remember such details?). Some early writers made allegorical references to 1000 years being as a day to talk about the age of the earth in order to support their allegorical theories. Their point was to be allegorical, not literal. Overall, the early church did not make a big deal about the age of the earth. That “essential” belief is less than 100 years old. So if Ken Ham is right, authentic Christianity is less than 100 years old.

  410. @ Christiane:

    Hmmm. How can I explain it? Many evangelicals think of it like a transaction. A done deal. A one time establishing of a relationship which cannot be terminated since it is between the person and Jesus who said ‘no man can pluck them out of my hand.’ And like Dale is saying there are no intermediaries between Jesus and the person, Jesus himself being the sole mediator between God and man. A modification of that idea is with those who think that the relationship can be broken by a deliberate and fixed determination of apostasy (a chosen departure from the faith) on the part of the person (Hebrews 6 mostly), but none that I know of think that salvation is easily lost or that the relationship is fragile.

    So I think that focusing on ‘your’ probably sounds like something to you which is does not sound like to evangelicals. Except, that evangelicals are more apt to think of salvation as one-on-one personal relationship with Jesus as opposed to it having any communal element. So when an evangelical would be saying ‘we are saved by faith’ they would mean ‘we’ as meaning all of us individuals, not ‘we’ as meaning any identifiable group where salvation of some might depend on anybody else in the group. I know that is poorly said, but I am trying here. There is a much more individual emphasis of both thinking and experience in evangelicalism. When I was in RCIA I kept hearing criticism of protestants as thinking ‘just Jesus and me’ but they did not get the point. Just Jesus and me does not mean that it is not also just Jesus and all the other individual believers, it refers to the emphasis on the individual and personal and intimate relationship of the person with God himself.

    So, ‘your’ in my mind does not signify possession so much as the individual aspect of the idea. Now if you want to really get off track in vocabulary, ask yourself why I use the word Jesus more often and you use the word Christ more often. I think the answer is the concept of intimacy which as far as I can tell is different in Catholicism and Protestantism.

  411. Dale wrote:

    But what you believe has consequences.

    This is true. But it does not make the evangelical viewpoint correct. It could be correct, but I am beginning to doubt it. I used to be very anti-Catholic (mostly in my college days when I knew everything). But over the years I have had some very interesting conversations with very knowledgeable Catholics. I don’t think I could ever become RC myself because I think they added too much baggage along the way. On the other hand, I’ve fount that they have retained very important theology and practices that the church has believed from the beginning. By contrast, I believe the Calvinists (and evangelicals by extension (mostly)) have thrown out too much of what the early church believed and practiced. If the only two choices were Roman Catholicism and Calvinism I would chose the former. I don’t think I would have made that decision a few years ago. Over the last couple of years I have basically emptied all of my theology and beliefs onto the carpet and I am now in the process of trying to decide what, if anything, should go back into my pack. I think there are some gems in the mix, so I am not ready to throw it all away. The sorting out takes time and intentional* effort.

    * “intentional” is one of the buzz-words in New-Calvinism, particularly in youth/college ministry.

  412. okrapod wrote:

    I am trying here

    thank your for trying 🙂
    there is much in what you say and I value your insight into both worlds and your willingness to share what you see that is meaningful to you

    I’m sure you are right about the ‘personal Savior’ concept as opposed to the communal experience of Eucharistic celebration. Also, the Holy Trinity is not so much seen ‘separately’ by Catholics as it is in the evangelical world where when some say ‘God’, they really are meaning ‘the Father’. I suspect a lot of differences are reflected in how we use language.

    Thanks again. I do appreciate your efforts very, very much.

  413. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes & mirele wrote:

    Dale wrote:
    Jesus has an account that has infinite righteousness. He led a perfect, sinless life. This righteousness is credited to our account. This is known as imputation.
    That’s not the only way to look at Jesus’ death. That comes straight from Penal Substitionary Atonement, which was an invention of Anselm of Canterbury and modified by Luther and *especially* by Calvin. There are other ways to see Jesus’ death, such as “Christus Victor,” where Jesus’ resurrection is seen as God’s victory over sin, death and the powers of this world. N.T. Wright holds this position (and has given The Gospel Coalition over it) and I don’t know of anyone who would say that Wright is anything but orthodox.

    Ironically, (I think I am correct in saying that) the Orthodox (with a capital O) do not hold PSA as their primary view of the cross, but rather one of Jesus conquering death on our behalf. So Wright’s position is hardly unorthodox unless orthodoxy is defined as “all the things Neo-calvinists believe.”

  414. Muff Potter wrote:

    I can tell already that this here thread’s gonna’ be a barn-burner.
    I’m takin’ Vegas style odds that this here thread’ll go past the 700 mark comment wise.
    Anybody game?

    This thread picked up steam again today. You could be right about it exceeding 700 comments, but it depends on what the Deebs post tonight.

  415. Abi Miah wrote:

    Ironically, (I think I am correct in saying that) the Orthodox (with a capital O) do not hold PSA as their primary view of the cross, but rather one of Jesus conquering death on our behalf. So Wright’s position is hardly unorthodox unless orthodoxy is defined as “all the things Neo-calvinists believe.”

    Correct. RC and EO both reject PSA. Velour posted this collection of articles on PSA under the interesting items tab: http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-253218. I found these to be among the best articles on PSA. I’ve added to the list since then, but this is still a good place to start reading.

  416. @ Dale:

    “Justification by faith alone is more than a theory to me and millions of Christians.”
    ++++++++++++

    I believe you, and the millions — i count myself among them.

    existing in christian culture is like walking in a minefield, though — people and groups everywhere adjudicating your level of salvation/justification/viability with squinty eyes of suspicion, insisting they have the piece you are missing. and you’re a bit dangerous to them until you adopt it.

    Cynical Central, right here.

  417. Abi Miah wrote:

    So Wright’s position is hardly unorthodox unless orthodoxy is defined as “all the things Neo-calvinists believe.”

    In reflecting on how ‘orthodoxy’ is defined, I think there IS a way that Christian people CAN find some basis for that term, when you consider that the five major centers of Christianity spread out from Jerusalem and each developed their liturgies (ways of praying) and their celebrations;
    then IF you find that which is similar in those five centers, you can determine that the similarities came from Jerusalem and originated within the ‘deposit of faith’ left to the followers of the Apostles to care for and to pass down to future Christians.

    So, if the word ‘orthodox’ is correctly defined, it would be as close as possible to that original deposit of faith left to the Church by the Apostles.

  418. @ Ken F:
    If you spend some time at AIG, he will cite “great thelogians of the past” but ignors that those same theologians wrote they thought the earth was old…
    ken Ham, and his crowd, are honest at all, they pick and choose what they want..

  419. @ Christiane:

    That’s what I love about the Nicene Creed; it was, to a far greater approximation than we are ever likely to see in our lifetimes, agreed by The Church rather than by “a church”. Oh, and it’s about 5% of the length of a typical fundagelical Statement Of Doctrine (which, of course, is designed to separate them from the rest of the Church).

    That doesn’t mean I believe it abrogates our responsibility to make decisions relating to today’s world that the 4th-century church did not make, or could not have made. Nor that I believe it’s important to go into battle over the meaning of every last syllable. It’s more what its existence represents; one aspect of what joins people who have come to understand that there is a God, that he became human, and that this changes everything.

  420. siteseer wrote:

    what do we need James MacDonald for?

    I think there’s a meme in here. Kind of like Chuck Norris Facts in reverse.

  421. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    (which, of course, is designed to separate them from the rest of the Church)

    Interestingly, one of the hot buzz phrases for “statement of beliefs” with the YRR crows is “distinctives.” Not much in that word hinting at Christian unity.

  422. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    It’s more what its existence represents; one aspect of what joins people who have come to understand that there is a God, that he became human, and that this changes everything.

    I LOVE this, your statement about the Nicene Creed.
    In the ‘confusion’ wrought by so much division and defining of ‘how we are different’, so often what is core to Christian faith goes to the side. But every Sunday, my whole life, after the sermon, we stand up and we say this Creed together, and out loud, and we know it so well we don’t need to read it from the prayer books.

    It’s a proclamation. Down through the centuries. Yes

  423. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I know you’re not just referring to medieval art, but in that particular vein, everyone has the dewy-eyed look of medieval purity. Plus all the men are in their 90’s.

    True Nick, it’s not entirely medieval, the same dewy-eyed look is rampant today.
    What I had in mind is someone with the moxie of William Blake, and with the artistic talent to pull it off at present day.

  424. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    If you spend some time at AIG

    I’ve tried. Too painful, unless I need to find a quote. On a related topic, I was very disappointed in the fairly recent Ken Ham vs Bill Nye the Science Guy debate. Apparently both sides were scraping the bottom of the barrel. I thought Bill Nye performed better, but both demonstrated vast ignorance of both sides of the debate. No wonder people on both sides of the debate think so lowly of the other.

  425. Ken F wrote:

    even to the point of looking for an allegorical meaning in the 153 fish in John 21:11 (do they forget that fishermen remember such details?).

    Often they make it up too. Not to make a complete joke of it I’m inclined to think 153 could just as well be an estimate. Any number of times someone will give a precise number to represent a range, those present know no one counted, so the “153” just represents “about 150”. It is nice to be able to theorize here at TWW without someone getting uptight and labeling it heresy, i.e. if scripture says 153 it must be 153. It is as if some believe the writers were giving testimony in a deposition rather than telling a story.

  426. Ken F wrote:

    Here’s the irony. Ken Ham tries to show how the early church believed in a 6000 year old earth.

    They probably believed in four terrestrial elements, too. And I think we can make a good guess at what they thought about the unbiblical doctrine of continental drift.

    Incidentally, if God made the sun, the moon and the stars, then who made the planets, the nebulae and the asteroids?

  427. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Ken F wrote:

    Here’s the irony. Ken Ham tries to show how the early church believed in a 6000 year old earth.

    They probably believed in four terrestrial elements, too. And I think we can make a good guess at what they thought about the unbiblical doctrine of continental drift.

    Incidentally, if God made the sun, the moon and the stars, then who made the planets, the nebulae and the asteroids?

    The K. Ham folk seem to not be able to envision an ‘unfolding’ Creation, which is sad because the concept is much more of a witness to God than their rigid teachings.

  428. Muff Potter wrote:

    What I had in mind is someone with the moxie of William Blake, and with the artistic talent to pull it off at present day.

    Indeed yes – frivolity aside, you’re quite right.

    In a similar vein, I honestly think it would be worth setting the Psalms to Maori haka’s as a change from western music. They create a great deal of energy!

  429. Christiane wrote:

    Sorry for your loss. I, too, am grieving a dear family member. The Lord be with you.

    Thank you, Christiane. She was twelve years older than me, and was like a second mother to me growing up. She made the best Christmas cookies.

    My condolences for your loss.

  430. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I have a problem with Nicea and with the creed. As to the council it is problematic to me that the emperor was involved, and it is problematic that attendance was relatively low considering how many bishops there were at the time. I have problem with the fact that it was not some group hug but was done in order to settle differences and disputes. I have a problem with the creed in that, albeit the group decided on what to include in the creed, such that by definition it would be orthodox and universally adhered to, that does not in any way establish the truth of the various statements. We voted and therefore it is true does not play well. It sort of boils down to the problem that they could not agree on what was true so the emperor got involved and amazingly they came up with a statement to settle the issue. Imagine that. And this was the early fourth century. That is a long time to figure out what Christianity was or was not.

    So let me say it right out. I think the early creeds (plural) do constitute accurate statements of Christianity, but I think there is a possibility that in the long run Christianity may be proved wrong about some things.

  431. Velour wrote:

    Perhaps they bring their toxicity with them and create toxic environments where they can get away with their bad behaviors that feed their enormous egos and lack of conscience.

    Good point, Velour. It creates a vicious cycle that keeps them in their dysfunction.

    I was thinking the other day, how odd it would be to start a social club, where people gathered weekly to listen to some music and then listen to me give a little speech. As a serious introvert, that sounds ludicrous, like a nightmare. But that’s exactly what modern church has evolved into, under the guise of “preaching the Word, brother.” It’s exactly the sort of thing that would attract a person who NEEDS to be the center of attention.

  432. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Incidentally, if God made the sun, the moon and the stars, then who made the planets, the nebulae and the asteroids?

    How did God make the sun and the moon in a day when there is no 24 hour day without the sun and the moon?

  433. Dale wrote:

    She was twelve years older than me, and was like a second mother to me growing up. She made the best Christmas cookies.

    One Christmas gift I always received from my mother was a tin full of her home made sugar cookies with instructions to wash the container and return it. In her nineties she died just four weeks ago and oddly that was one of the thoughts that passed through my head, no sugar cookies for Christmas.

    When the family got together to exchange a few gifts this Christmas, my sister handed me the tin, she found it in the freezer full of sugar cookies. I get teary eyed just remembering.

  434. okrapod wrote:

    That is a long time to figure out what Christianity was or was not.

    So let me say it right out. I think the early creeds (plural) do constitute accurate statements of Christianity, but I think there is a possibility that in the long run Christianity may be proved wrong about some things.

    Maybe it is not so much a ‘constant’ as we think, as we live out the teachings of Our Lord, it changes us, as Christians, and maybe that ‘change’ is a part of Christianity as a ‘work in progress’. We are, after all, sojourners on the Earth. We are in movement. We follow a Lord Who had no earthly place to rest His Head. Sometimes we forget that.

  435. Bill M wrote:

    One Christmas gift I always received from my mother was a tin full of her home made sugar cookies with instructions to wash the container and return it. In her nineties she died just four weeks ago and oddly that was one of the thoughts that passed through my head, no sugar cookies for Christmas.
    When the family got together to exchange a few gifts this Christmas, my sister handed me the tin, she found it in the freezer full of sugar cookies. I get teary eyed just remembering.

    Strange, how the seemingly smallest things seem to touch us so deeply. Maybe the small things aren’t so small, after all.

  436. Nancy2 wrote:

    Strange, how the seemingly smallest things seem to touch us so deeply. Maybe the small things aren’t so small, after all.

    As Lydia has already alluded, it was yet another reminder of Matt Redmond’s book “God of the Mundane”. Maybe that I’m older and have grown sour on the big dreams but it seems the small things we do are what touch lives.

  437. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    That’s what I love about the Nicene Creed; it was, to a far greater approximation than we are ever likely to see in our lifetimes, agreed by The Church rather than by “a church”. Oh, and it’s about 5% of the length of a typical fundagelical Statement Of Doctrine (which, of course, is designed to separate them from the rest of the Church).

    That doesn’t mean I believe it abrogates our responsibility to make decisions relating to today’s world that the 4th-century church did not make, or could not have made. Nor that I believe it’s important to go into battle over the meaning of every last syllable. It’s more what its existence represents; one aspect of what joins people who have come to understand that there is a God, that he became human, and that this changes everything.

    Oh, Nick, Nick, Nick…the Nicene Creed is at bottom a supremely *political* document. You have to remember why the council was held in the first place–because Constantine wanted a united front in this religion he’d adopted. So the elite of the elite–literate, educated men who were clergy–were gathered together. And to be blunt, they *imposed*, with the force of Empire behind them, from above, the Nicene Creed on the church.

    In the process, they codified the Godhead, but they stripped away the teachings of Jesus. Everything Jesus taught, from the Beatitudes to the parables to the cryptic sayings is consigned to a comma and a space between “born of the Virgin Mary” and “crucified under Pontius Pilate.” In some ways, I can’t help but think it was deliberate, because Jesus and his teachings are dangerous to Empire. It’s hard to whip up a population who follows Jesus’ injunction to love your neighbor as yourself, even those dirty Samaritans, into a war against a enemy if they won’t hate. So best to make orthodoxy reliant on words defining the Godhead, not on what Jesus taught.

    While I have absolutely no problem pinning the ESS guys to the wall using the Nicene Creed, because they claim to subscribe to it, I myself cannot subscribe to a creed that was at bottom born of politics, imposed by Empire and neglects the teachings of Jesus. I don’t claim it.

  438. Nancy2 wrote:

    How did God make the sun and the moon in a day when there is no 24 hour day without the sun and the moon?

    You are not allowed to ask that question…

  439. westerner wrote:

    We used to talk about the ‘social contract’ as our way of living together in some peace. I think some of this and our basic manners as a society have fallen by the wayside and that leads to chaos.

    Sorry Lea, I seem to have melded your quote into mine in my previous response. You’re not responsible for my meanderings.

  440. Christiane wrote:

    @ Bridget:
    You want me to explain why your changing of my words doesn’t make any difference?
    Think about that for a while. You’ll get it.

    That comes across a bit harsh. I didnt change your words. I forgot two words, which I explained above. I guess it’s possible that you don’t accept my explanation, or understand the main point of my initial comment.

    I simply don’t understand the difference between “Catholics hold together on matters of faith and morals” and “Catholics hold together on faith and morals.” I thought there might be some kind of distinction peculiar to Catholicism which caused you to take offense.

    Maybe someone else can explain if they are aware of a distinction.

  441. okrapod wrote:

    I think the early creeds (plural) do constitute accurate statements of Christianity, but I think there is a possibility that in the long run Christianity may be proved wrong about some things.

    I agree with this.

  442. @ Bridget:
    Sorry for ‘harshness’. Whenever I try to be right, I forget to be kind. I suppose there is a lesson in there somewhere. 🙂

  443. Bill M wrote:

    As Lydia has already alluded, it was yet another reminder of Matt Redmond’s book “God of the Mundane”. Maybe that I’m older and have grown sour on the big dreams but it seems the small things we do are what touch lives.

    This is my experience as well. I loved that book.

    Sorry to hear about your mom, Bill.

  444. Bridget wrote:

    okrapod wrote:

    I think the early creeds (plural) do constitute accurate statements of Christianity, but I think there is a possibility that in the long run Christianity may be proved wrong about some things.

    I agree with this.

    who was it said ‘the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty’?
    when Christian people seek to know that which they may not know, they can end up using human logic to explain the deep mysteries of God, and that leads into some very convoluted and peculiar ‘explanations’.

    One think I admire so very much about the Eastern Orthodox is that they have a capacity for being comfortably at peace with the mystery of God. We western Christians want to ‘know’, we want ‘answers’, like ‘now’ ….. faith doesn’t deny reason, but it goes BEYOND reason and we in the west get impatient

  445. I always try to error on the side of being kind, I find when I am to right, im not. So to speak. In most cases.

  446. @ Ken F:
    I don’t even THEY believe their own stuff; I think they just need the ‘neatness’ of their precise statements of ‘what the Bible says’ and the control this gives them over those who would enter their fold;

    I mean, when some YEC pastor tells a youth that ‘if you don’t believe in YEC, you are not a Christian’, then that reveals some serious control problems in that tent.

  447. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes & mirele wrote:

    Oh, Nick, Nick, Nick…the Nicene Creed is at bottom a supremely *political* document. You have to remember why the council was held in the first place–because Constantine wanted a united front in this religion he’d adopted. So the elite of the elite–literate, educated men who were clergy–were gathered together. And to be blunt, they *imposed*, with the force of Empire behind them, from above, the Nicene Creed on the church.

    That’s a statement that is sure to get some responses. Everything I’ve read about the Nicene creed until now contradicts what you wrote. But it’s certainly worth digging into. Here is an interesting thread of discussion I found just now: http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/26186/was-the-nicene-creed-accepted-under-duress. I’m hoping to learn more when I can find time to dig deeper.

  448. Ken F wrote:

    That “essential” belief is less than 100 years old. So if Ken Ham is right, authentic Christianity is less than 100 years old.

    Hasn’t it been espoused since the late 1970’s, gaining traction in the 1990’s?

  449. GSD wrote:

    I was thinking the other day, how odd it would be to start a social club, where people gathered weekly to listen to some music and then listen to me give a little speech. As a serious introvert, that sounds ludicrous, like a nightmare. But that’s exactly what modern church has evolved into, under the guise of “preaching the Word, brother.” It’s exactly the sort of thing that would attract a person who NEEDS to be the center of attention.

    Good point.

  450. I appreciate the thoughts that Beakerj is sharing and encourage folks to re-read them. I have also spent a deal of time with some of the Schaefer children, sons-in-law, and workers and have learned from their gracious, honest, broadening approach to faith and life. Of course they are not flawless, and I’ve never seen them pretend to be so nor portray their parents that way. It is Schaefer who talked about humans as “glorious ruins” — no pretense of perfection nor groveling in despair. Franky has chosen to write about his parents, about what he claims transpired during his childhood as well as about Edith’s final years when she was so vulnerable, even claiming that she lost her faith which was not the case. His sisters have chosen not to confront this publicly but dispute the slant he has given. I think caution is the least we should give to the wildest of his accusations. Yes, Franky was sent to boarding school. This was something his parents wrestled with both at the time and later in life. Missionary children all have a unique, sometimes very painful, sometimes glad, most often mixed, life experience. It does not surprise me at all that one of the Schaefer children, the youngest by far who had a tremendously difficult experience as a child of missionaries would grow up bitter about matters of faith, and his parents, and might choose to deal with that by lashing out with hyperbole. The fact that his parents are famous enough to garner our attention is the only real difference between Franky and thousands of other missionary kids. All this is not to say that Piper and others haven’t horribly handled issues of spousal abuse — I am well-acquainted with the terrible fallout from their attitudes. But I think that assuming this was the case in the Schaefer household means we’ve convicted them based on the testimony of one, which is rarely a good idea.

  451. Bill M wrote:

    When the family got together to exchange a few gifts this Christmas, my sister handed me the tin, she found it in the freezer full of sugar cookies. I get teary eyed just remembering.

    Awww.

    If your family has the sugar cookie recipe, please post it at the top of the page under the Interesting tab, the Cooking tab.

    I promise to make them for Valentine’s Day and delivery them to elderly folks that I know in my area of Silicon Valley.

  452. Dale wrote:

    Christiane wrote:
    Sorry for your loss. I, too, am grieving a dear family member. The Lord be with you.
    Thank you, Christiane. She was twelve years older than me, and was like a second mother to me growing up. She made the best Christmas cookies.
    My condolences for your loss.

    I am sorry to hear of both of your losses, as well as the comments where others posted in the previous days that they to had lost loved ones.

  453. Ken F wrote:

    Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    If you spend some time at AIG

    I’ve tried. Too painful, unless I need to find a quote. On a related topic, I was very disappointed in the fairly recent Ken Ham vs Bill Nye the Science Guy debate. Apparently both sides were scraping the bottom of the barrel. I thought Bill Nye performed better, but both demonstrated vast ignorance of both sides of the debate. No wonder people on both sides of the debate think so lowly of the other.

    Even the choice of Ham and Nye seemed to reflect an implicit bias.

    Ham is a fringe figure among Christians while Nye is fairly mainstream. If they had instead held a debate between Abp. Justin Welby and TheAmazingAtheist, Christians would have looked like the sane mainstream while atheists would have come across looking like jerks.

  454. MidwesternEasterner wrote:

    Nye is fairly mainstream

    I don’t think Nye is considered a ‘great’ scientist. 🙂
    He’s known for shows that appeal to children, with neat experiments that they might try at home. He’s got some books out that show his experiments …. what you need, the procedure, etc. Kids love his stuff.

    I don’t think Ken Ham is known outside of his bubble, well maybe in the evangelical world, but mainline Christians likely would say ‘Ken Who?’

  455. GSD wrote:

    Perhaps they bring their toxicity with them and create toxic environments where they can get away with their bad behaviors that feed their enormous egos and lack of conscience.
    Good point, Velour. It creates a vicious cycle that keeps them in their dysfunction.
    I was thinking the other day, how odd it would be to start a social club, where people gathered weekly to listen to some music and then listen to me give a little speech. As a serious introvert, that sounds ludicrous, like a nightmare. But that’s exactly what modern church has evolved into, under the guise of “preaching the Word, brother.” It’s exactly the sort of thing that would attract a person who NEEDS to be the center of attention.

    Sorry. Third time’s the charm.

    http://www.searchingtogether.org/how-to-choose-a-good-pastor/

  456. Ken F wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    wrong Ken ….

    But seriously, the YEC answers to that question are very strange.

    When I wrote ‘wrong Ken’, I was referring to ‘the wrong Ken’ …. hope that came through 🙂
    sorry if any confusion ….

  457. @ brian:
    Christiane wrote:

    When I wrote ‘wrong Ken’, I was referring to ‘the wrong Ken’ …. hope that came through
    sorry if any confusion ….

    I love confusion like that. I laughed because I know how you normally respond. 🙂

  458. @ Bill M:

    What a long life your mother lived. Still hurts, though. My step father just turned 97.

    And Wow. Your sister sounds awesome.

  459. GSD wrote:

    I was thinking the other day, how odd it would be to start a social club, where people gathered weekly to listen to some music and then listen to me give a little speech.

    I am stealing this! Excellent illustration.

  460. Ken F wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:

    How did God make the sun and the moon in a day when there is no 24 hour day without the sun and the moon?

    You are not allowed to ask that question…

    Lol!

  461. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Lydia:

    “Can one divorce mode of inspiration from art expressions? Not sure but fascinating topic.”
    +++++++++++++

    sorry to ask —

    mode of inspiration: as in defining modes of inspiration as being right/wrong, deriving from God/not deriving from God?

    art expressions: are we talking exclusively about religious art depicting God?

    I was strictly thinking of any personal inspiration. My mom used to compose music all the time. The strangest things used to inspire her to sit down and start composing.

    Examples I think of are: What inspired the Brutalism of Soviet architecture?

    What inspired the artistic rendering of a European Blue eyed Jesus?
    (He looks like us! :o)
    Those sorts of questions.If I can find the time, I want to study art history. I am woefully ignorant.

  462. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes & mirele wrote:

    I don’t claim it.

    It’s better not to claim what you cannot honestly proclaim in faith. Especially if its a religious proclamation. That’s important.

    I do claim it. I stand up when we say it. There is one part where we all pause and bow our heads, this:
    “who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man”;
    when I was a child, we would kneel during that part of the Creed, such were the importance of those words in the proclamation of our Faith.

    No, I sure wouldn’t want any person to ever be a part of what they could not truly believe in, so I can respect that the words of the Christian Creeds are not spoken by many who claim Christ as Lord. People need to be integral in their faith and its practice, for the sake of their souls.

  463. Lately, I’ve had the sense that the true heroes of the faith have died in anonymity unless their stories have been told or their works published by one of the few souls they touched. They’ve lived unassuming humble lives within and without the formal church structures. Like Jesus, they were probably misunderstood by most and possibly persecuted when they wouldn’t betray their “spirit and truth” walk for something else. They are the “last that will be first” whereas many of us are the “first that shall be last”. Sadly, many self appointed leaders may be in the “depart from me, ye workers of iniquity” group.

    I’ve known a few of those heroes in my lifetime, but I see fewer and fewer of them as time passes. The Church has been taken by force by men and women who can articulate an intellectual vision of God that approximates the real Thing.

  464. Christiane wrote:

    It’s better not to claim what you cannot honestly proclaim in faith. Especially if its a religious proclamation. That’s important.

    If you are saying what you seem to be saying I cannot agree with that. I think that your approach in your previous comment about change is closer to reality than what you seem to be saying about commitment to a particular creedal statement, it being a current understanding of something. It rather boils down to this, if you had to choose between Jesus and the church including its codified statements of faith, which would you choose.

    IMO it is far more important to choose Jesus. If that is then the case one is free to adhere to certain statements of faith as working hypotheses as opposed to something which would merit the dogmatic approach of truth from truth, very truth from very truth, inspired not concluded, of the same being as Truth. As it were.

    Eventually we will know. Faith is what we do in the meantime. It is, but only is, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. It is not those things themselves. Those things, the hoped for and the unseen, we will one day obtain, but now we have to make do with what we have, and that is faith. To elevate faith, defined as a set of beliefs, above what it is comes very close to a transgression of having other gods. To practice faith, defined as taking the next step even in the darkness, is an entirely different matter.

  465. @ Anonymous 2:
    Please note though that I am not saying this didn’t happen. If it did it’s so obviously hideous & wrong it barely needs saying. I’d be interested too in a timeline of when this was happening, so I/we could all see if this was a struggle Schaeffer Snr overcame over time, I need to read Frank Jnr again to see this aspect.
    Again, this is the only situation like this I’ve come across where participants are known to me & the wider culture that has grown up around them is not one of pretence, generally, & certainly anyone hitting their wife in L’Abri today would be dealt with very firmly.

  466. @ Beakerj:
    I agree with you. It’s that “if” that I am accenting though of course we can’t know with certainty. And you’re right, this is not a group of people that condones/excuses this type of behavior whatsoever.

  467. Christiane wrote:

    MidwesternEasterner wrote:
    Nye is fairly mainstream
    I don’t think Nye is considered a ‘great’ scientist.

    He is mainstream though. He’s been on television, outside of childrens shows (TBBT, etc) and basically everyone knows who he is.

  468. I am late to the party and have not read all the comments, but my answer is this: abusers can’t be Christians; however, not all people who abuse are abusers. An abuser is someone who abuses without regard to the well being of others and feels not guilt or shame about harming others for personal gain. A Christian may harm others as part of a struggle with sin, but ultimately when faced clearly with their sin, they will know that it is bad (not just say that it is for social acceptance) and repent.

    This, good Christians in history have done some awful things in ignorance (slavery) or in “the flesh” (King David), but in cases where they were brought to understand the nature of their sin, they repented. But, humanity is progressing in our understanding of what is sin and how our actions affect others, so many have died in ignorance of many sins, just as I assume I will die in igrance of many of mine.

    With regards to Schaefer specifically, who know? But I’d rather not trust a man who could be so blind as to what was evil in his own family.

    But the question of what good orthodoxy has done us- this is a very real question. Because all the orthodoxy in the world didn’t prevent the white evangelical church from supporting a clearly abusive man for president. I’m not trying to be political here or judge voted- I know people had their reasons and politics is ugly. But this is somewhat of an exestential crises for me right now- what are we actually doing on Sunday morning that is of any value if we can walk out into the world and as a voting block overwhelmingly support someone who is so antithetical to everything the Bible teaches about morality?

    What is the point of any theology at all if it doesn’t spur us to seek goodness and kindness? Paul answered that in 1 Corinthians 13.

  469. I don’t know if Franky’s accusations in his book are accurate or not. I have heard that they are not, and I don’t consider Franky Schaeffer particularly trustworthy.

    Regardless, speaking as a Calvinist, in answer to the question of why, if the call to faith is irresistible, the Spirit’s work leading Christians to do righteousness in their lives is not, that is simply the Reformed doctrine of progressive sanctification.

    The Holy Spirit could make us instantly perfect. Everyone admits this, because that’s what every Christian believes happens at death (you become sinless upon entering heaven to be with Christ). Frankly (sorry for the accidental pun), that is actually good evidence for the irresistible work of the Spirit: if the Spirit cannot work decisively to fully accomplish his purpose when he chooses, then how is it even possible for a Christian to become sinless and perfect upon death? What if their “free will” wants to resist?

    So, why doesn’t the Spirit work irresistibly to prevent Christians from sinning, the way he irresistibly worked to bring them to faith? Because he has chosen to address our sin through a process of personal growth. This process could never start at all if the Spirit did not decisively bring a person to faith. Then, at conversion, we become genuinely new (Romans 6) but not yet totally new (Romans 7; Galatians 5:17). And so, while sin is dethroned, there are elements of it that remain.

    Apparently God believes that our having to fight against this sin through effort and intention and dependence on him is, in most cases, better for our growth and his glory than if he instantaneously took all remnants of sin from us. We learn how to fight sin, for example, by having to continue dealing with it–and in a different way than if it were just gone. We learn to trust God more deeply and in more ways. And much more could be said.

    In short, the Holy Spirit can have reasons for his different ways of working. The mere fact that, on the Calvinist view, the Spirit decisively works in conversion to bring us to faith does not mean that he has to also work that way in the process of our sanctification, causing us to always obey. There is no log