What John Piper Didn’t Say About Wayward Kids and Their Parents

The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” -Dr Who


TARDIS-at Dragoncon

Recently, John Piper was asked to answer the following question at Desiring God.

“Pastor John, does God promise to save my children? Some teachers say that I need to have faith and that I should claim it and that God would save them. I have four children. All raised in the local church. All walked away from the faith. Two seem to be returning, but both struggle with sinful lifestyles. The other two are very far from God. I’m so depressed over my children’s spiritual condition and have asked the Lord to forgive me for being depressed. Do you have any advice for me?”

What he didn't say

I found what he didn't say as interesting as whet he did say. He is one of the most outspoken advocates for hard line, 5 point Calvinism on the celebrity pastor circuit today. He adamantly supports the idea of predestination/election. Here is another link to his views on the matter. He has written extensively on the subject so there is no doubt about what he believes.

Knowing this, I would have thought he would say something like "Maybe your kids are not amongst the elect. If so, there is nothing in the world that you can do about it." I have read a number of posts by hard core, 5 point celebrity leaders on the issue of raising children in the faith. Here is one by Tim Challies: Setting Up My Kids for Salvation in which he claims to believe his kids will be saved. Sadly, as a 5 point Calvinist, Tim Challies has no idea if his kids are/will be among the elect and that no matter how hard he prays, how much he believes, and how hard he tries to teach them about God, he cannot do a thing about a decision that he believes was made at the beginning of time.

And the same is true for my children. They can’t earn their salvation and I can’t earn it for them. I believe the Lord has saved or will save them and they will be saved not by their father but like their father—by trusting in Christ and Christ alone as he opens their eyes to see him and as he opens their hearts to receive him. Their souls are in the good hands of the good God. 

These folks seem to avoid mentioning the ramifications of their doctrinal stance when it come to their own families. Their kids may not be elect and there is nothing they can do about it unless they have some sort of Biblical out for their kids. If so, I have yet to read one in their sermons and posts. 

I would love to hear from our readers why you think that Piper and many others don't mention the possibility that their kids are not going to be in heaven?

Do not firget, the Deebs are not Calvinists.

Where I agree with John Piper

The Bible does not promise us that our children will become Christians.

Now, all in all (as I look at those and lots of other things), I don’t think the Bible gives any absolute promise to parents that faithful parenting will result in faithful children. It’s likely to produce faithful children — and we should pray and hope that it will. But I don’t think an absolute promise exists,

Where I disagree with John Piper

He launched into a discussions which he calls *hope for failed parenting.* Did you catch what he did there? The fact that your children did not become Christians is due to your failure as a parent. He has a particularly bad habit of throwing zingers to make others feel guilty. Let's go over them.

1. You may think you tried to do a good job but you may find out in eternity that you didn't. 

The first thing I would say is that none of us can pass final judgment on our own parenting, and neither can our children. Their memories and our memories are fallible. Situations are very complex. We can know for sure that there will always be some sins against our children that should be confessed to God, confessed to them, and made right as far as they will allow us to make it right. But that is no final judgment about how we did. That will only come to light at the last day, and that’s true for our children in their assessment as well as our own assessment.

2. Ah ha! I bet you didn't even fast for your kids!

He starts off OK with the "we all sin" part but then he does the typical Piper put down. You can bet he fasted…

We all sinned. We all did less than we could. None of us prayed as much as we could. None of us fasted as much as we could. Did you fast at all? 

He continues on with his list of our failures. He does appear to include himself in this list.

None of us was faithful to the word of God as we could have been. None of us in exhortation, kindness, meekness, or gentleness was as good as we could have been.

What John Piper didn't mention.

1. Legalism/fundamentalism

Sadly, Piper did not mention a number of things that can cause children to run away from the church. One of those things is fundamentalism. Now, Piper loves fundamentalists although he does not believe that he is one. (I think he is but that is for another discussion for another day.) Many young people leave because they don't see Jesus behind the "how to be a good Christians* rules. 

Two scenarios based on two families.

The perfect church family:

Dad was a long time elder; Mom ran the Women's Ministry. They home schooled their kids. They attended and then followed and taught all of the latest Christians trends to insure that they raised Christian kids. Their kids were leaders in their youth groups. The parents were not abusive. The girls were dressed modestly (long jean skirts). They were not allowed to date. They couldn't go on sleepovers. They were told that all scientists were atheists. All three kids went to college and left the faith.

The non-church family:

Dee was raised in a home that showed little concern for anything to do with church. Her parents didn't pray for her nor did they pray for anything. Her dad went to the Russian Orthodox church only when there was a festival going on. Dee learned to dance the polka by the age of 3. Her mom sent her to the Methodist church up the street because it was a nice thing to do although her mom never darkened the door of the church. They were liberal in just about every aspect of their lives and allowed Dee to watch TV programs, go to movies and read books that would raise the hair on the head of James Dobson. She was loved by both parents and was not abused although her dad had quite a temper. Yelling was not an uncommon event around the house. Dee became a Christian when she was 17 and grew in her faith, even in college.

So, if raising a kid in a Christian home, especially one that fasts, is a prerequisite for faith, I should not be a deeply committed Christian.

2. Abuse

The abuse of children, physically, sexually and emotionally, is not uncommon in so called *Christian* families. Such abuse affects a child throughout his life. I remember being told about child who was severely beaten by her so-called Christian father. Whenever she was beaten, she was told that this is what Jesus wanted. Throughout most of her adult life, she was unable to go to church because whenever she heard the word *Jesus,* she would have panic attacks.

3. Arrogance

There are far too many Christian groups that appear to have all the answers. Children are often raised with simplistic answers to very difficult questions. I have been guilty of this myself. When one of my daughters returned from a mission trip in which she saw lots of starving children, she went through a tough time with her faith. I blew off her questions with lots of simplistic answers like "We live in a fallen world. Be glad you have such a good home." (Dee still kicks herself.)

Thankfully, I had a friend who was a counselor who I asked to figure out whey she seemed depressed. My friend said I needed to be a little more thoughtful in dealing with her extremely difficult questions. I apologized to my daughter (along with giving her a Cookie Bouquet) and walked with her as she struggled with those questions. I learned about keeping my mouth shut and letting her talk things out. Thankfully, she grew up and still believes. She now takes care of traumatized foster children. It really is OK to say that you don't have perfect answers to your kids.

John Piper does not seem to mention the word *love* very much.

I remember hearing the old saying "God doesn't have grandchildren." That meant more to me as my children grew up. We presented the faith to our kids, emphasizing the great love that God has for all of us. We did not focus on the wrath of God but we helped them to understand sin-particularly since our kids could see it lived out in their Mom and Dad. Yes, we sinned. Yes, we didn't do all we could. Yes, we have regrets. But we dearly loved our kids and our kids know that to this day. We also told them that God loved them even more. Our dear son in law is now deeply loved by all of us as well.

However, we knew that we could not force the faith on our kids. We learned to let go and let them choose their own way as they became adults. We loved them even when they disagreed with us. God is still loving them, even as they go their own way. Never forget that I didn't have Christian parents and I became a Christian. I wasn't homeschooled, given a Bible, or told to read the Bible. I didn't have any Christian friends at all growing up. I didn't have catechism, confirmation or the Gospel Project Sunday school program.

Please do not beat yourself up over how you raised your kids. My parents sure didn't, yet here I am. Keep praying for them and, above all, love them deeply, even if they don't follow the faith. God loves them as well. Remember Romans 5:8 NIV Bible Hub

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Send them a surprise gift No-not The Case for Christ. Try a necklace.  Text them funny jokes and share You Tube videos. (They love to text back "Oh, Mom!") Be open with them about your life like the stupid things that happen each day. My son in law and I text each other about books we are reading- we both love dystopian fiction. This weekend, he and my daughter attended Dragoncon. They sent me pictures of them standing with Star Trek and Dr Who actors and the TARDIS. My husband and I bought our son in law an official Dr Who scarf for Christmas. Get to know what they like. 

Your life with your kids does not end when they move out. It is merely beginning. I would say this to the man woh wrote John Piper. 

You are still a part of their lives. Don't push them on the faith. Just really, really love them.  Remember, God gave them free will to live their lives. He still loves them. You can do the same thing. And, if they are mad about something that happened as they grew up, be quick to apologize. Remember God has forgiven you as well. Help them to see that you didn't have all the answers and that you made lots of mistakes just like they do. Then, no matter their reaction, double down on showering them love and stay in their for the log haul. 

 


Comments

What John Piper Didn’t Say About Wayward Kids and Their Parents — 219 Comments

  1. I have heard it said, there are no grandkids in heaven, only first generation children..

  2. I have three sons. Every night after they are asleep I turn on the hall light, open their bedroom door, and walk from bed to bed, laying my hands on them and praying. Often I am moved to tears of joy and longing. I pray that Karsten Luke become a great physician of the soul, that Benjamin John become the beloved son of my right hand in the gospel, and that Abraham Christian give glory to God as he grows strong in his faith.

    But I am not ignorant that God may not have chosen my sons for his sons. And, though I think I would give my life for their salvation, if they should be lost to me, I would not rail against the Almighty. He is God. I am but a man. The potter has absolute rights over the clay. Mine is to bow before his unimpeachable character and believe that the Judge of all the earth has ever and always will do right. – How Does a Soverign God Love: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-does-a-sovereign-god-love

    I remember this from a little while ago, it sounds really relevant. I’m surprised that he didn’t basically use something that sounded similar to this. “Trust in God’s sovereign knowledge to know if your children are elect, and if not, then trust in his sovereign knowledge to know that this is best for you to be separated for a season before you’re separated for eternity where He will wipe away every tear.”

  3. Wow, this poor man even feels guilty about his depression. I keep forgetting that neo-cals see depression as evidence of sin.

  4. @ dee:
    On a more serious note, I think even pastor Piper has enough sence to realize how bad being a hard core, 5 point Calvanist sounds to a parent in this situation… at some point these neocals realize that they might turn away followers if they are brutally honest about the full implications of their theology…..

  5. For a lot of these people, Heaven is, as Christopher Hitchens once put it, the eternal North Korea. You get to be lobotomized so you don’t remember all your non-elect loved ones and don’t constantly think about their endless screaming as they are tortured for eternity. No, you’re one of the lucky ones: you get your memories and mind permanently altered so all you want to do is stand there praising the great leader forever and ever.

  6. Missionary work. Once children become independent adults … [we are in fellowship with them as fellow Christians, or], … we are reaching out in love, sharing the love of God that we experience. We are missionaries on a mission, hopefully walking the talk, in love.

    Do the 5-pointers do missions? (Since salvation is predetermined, anyway?)

    (Unless they believe that their own offspring are special and in the Kingdom – due to their fate of royal parental lineage.)

  7. But Dee, in Calvinist thinking, you can’t lose your salvation (because of abuse or other reasons). The response to someone who abandons their faith is that they were never in the faith to begin with.

    . . . . . cuz they know all things like God.

  8. I was recently thinking about Calvinists, and they basically make God into a monster. In their view, God chooses who will be saved and who will be damned. The damned get tortured in hell forever, and there is absolutely nothing they can do to change that, because God has decreed it.

    This is simply not compatible with the God who is revealed in the Bible as a loving father (and mother). What parent would chose to condemn their children?

    No wonder Calvinists are so reluctant to apply their doctrines to their children.

  9. JYJames wrote:

    Do the 5-pointers do missions? (Since salvation is predetermined, anyway?)

    Yes, generally speaking. Calvinists believe that the elect have to hear the Gospel before the Holy Spirit can work in their hearts and draw them to faith. So Calvinists (in theory) want to proclaim the Gospel as widely as possible.

    However, there is a view called hyper-Calvinism which states that God will bring his elect to faith no matter what, and so they see no need to proclaim the gospel. I don’t think there are many of these around.

  10. Of course Piper doesn’t mention love much— supremely arrogant people have no use for love. Having seen Piper in person in his heyday in Bethlehem Baptist itself in downtown Minneapolis back in the 90s, I can say a couple things stood out above all others, fairly screamed out: pride and arrogance, the man reeked of it.

  11. Law Prof wrote:

    Of course Piper doesn’t mention love much— supremely arrogant people have no use for love. Having seen Piper in person in his heyday in Bethlehem Baptist itself in downtown Minneapolis back in the 90s, I can say a couple things stood out above all others, fairly screamed out: pride and arrogance, the man reeked of it.

    Piper alleges bad parenting as the reason their children did not adopt the faith when instead he should take note that in the many stories of those rejecting the Church, nimrod pastors such as himself often played the pivotal role.

  12. Thersites wrote:

    Piper alleges bad parenting as the reason their children did not adopt the faith when instead he should take note that in the many stories of those rejecting the Church, nimrod pastors such as himself often played the pivotal role.

    A New Cal I knew said this was because it proved they were not Elect. Those who are not Elect will reject “proper authority”.

    They have an answer for everything, even if it isn’t well-supported in Scripture.

  13. When my kids were little my greatest fear was that they would lose their faith. At some point when they were a little older I realized that I had no control over their faith. That was between them and God. What a relief it was to not carry the weight of their salvation on my shoulders.

    Now I’m not sure where they are in their faith. In fact, we’ve all been through lots of changes regarding faith. What I do know is that my kids are pretty fantastic human beings. They are smart, funny, interesting, kind, and compassionate. I love them both very much and I couldn’t ask for more.

  14. brian wrote:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/john-piper-s-prayer-in-the-path-of-hurricanes

    These are the ramblings of a man who is cutting and pasting from Psalms while safely watching The Weather Channel from his throne room in Minnessotta with The Doors playing in the background. These guys pride themselves on having the answers to the most difficult theological questions, but think they’re exempt from the basic instructions of Jesus about prayer.

  15. “Recently, John Piper was asked to answer the following question at Desiring God.”

    I seriously doubt that anyone really asks the questions as presented on Desiring God. They are phrased in a way that casts Piper as a wise sage whom childlike followers depend for the answers to everything they face. I believe the questions really come from his imaginary friend and half brother Hojn Nivlac.

  16. Sorry, I’m doing a littlecventing tonight. I’ve been reading press leaders of churches and other faith based organizations that are exploiting and mischaracterizing thrir relief efforts.

  17. Jamie Carter wrote:

    But I am not ignorant that God may not have chosen my sons for his sons. And, though I think I would give my life for their salvation, if they should be lost to me, I would not rail against the Almighty. He is God. I am but a man. The potter has absolute rights over the clay. Mine is to bow before his unimpeachable character and believe that the Judge of all the earth has ever and always will do right.

    Isn’t “Islam” the Arabic word for “Submission”.

  18. Paul D. wrote:

    For a lot of these people, Heaven is, as Christopher Hitchens once put it, the eternal North Korea. You get to be lobotomized so you don’t remember all your non-elect loved ones and don’t constantly think about their endless screaming as they are tortured for eternity. No, you’re one of the lucky ones: you get your memories and mind permanently altered so all you want to do is stand there praising the great leader forever and ever.

    Not just Calvinists.

    Substitute “Saved” for “Elect” and you have the “Worship Bot” Heaven of Left Behind, where (at the end of the prequel trilogy/Volume 16(?) we find that all the Raptured do is tell each other about Jesus in a never-ending Testimony Night. During my time in-country in the Seventies, I remember hearing similar from Christianese AM radio (dominated by Calvary Chapel in my area), and encountering one difference from the End Time Prophecy Bible Studies: Never-Ending Compulsory BIBLE STUDY.

    I too said “This sounds like an Eternal Cosmic North Korea” and have never been able to completely shed that image.

  19. This weekend, he and my daughter attended Dragoncon. They sent me pictures of them standing with Star Trek and Dr Who actors and the TARDIS. My husband and I bought our son in law an official Dr Who scarf for Christmas.

    Accompanied with a Sonic Screwdriver and bag of Jelly Babies?

  20. scott hendrixson wrote:

    “Recently, John Piper was asked to answer the following question at Desiring God.”

    I seriously doubt that anyone really asks the questions as presented on Desiring God. They are phrased in a way that casts Piper as a wise sage whom childlike followers depend for the answers to everything they face

    Shill questions.

    Like one of those Christianese AM radio shows I remember from the Seventies, “Counseling with a Purpose”. The format was the pastor/host doing over-the-phone pastoral counseling, taking phone-ins from callers with problems. Funny thing — no matter what the caller’s problem, the solution was always the same: AcceptJesusChristAsYourPersonalLORDandSavior. Every call ended with pastor/host leading the caller in The Sinner’s Prayer(TM). In retrospect all these years later, it was obvious these were staged calls by shills, implied to be actual phone-ins.

  21. I mutter a lot but I think Prayer is very powerful but often can get confusing and frustrating. I just think God wants to hear our hearts and to comfort our souls. God also seems to offer us opportunities to be the answer to other peoples’ prayers through our prayers if that makes sense?

  22. This is where the rubber meets the road in Calvinism….are your children part of the, elect, or not?

    Either you believe they could be destined to hell, and nothing can be done about it, or you end up sounding more like you believe in, Arminianism.

    Thank God He loves His creation so much, anyone, at anytime, can call out to Him and be saved. No methods, no formulas, no works….just believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

  23. Yes, I love how Piper does the ol’ switcheroo and blames the parents for everything! His logic is as nasty as the faith healers that say you didn’t get healed because you didn’t have enough faith!
    I keep seeing Jesus talking about these guys in Matthew 23…the similarities between the Neo-Cals and Pharisees is undeniable!

  24. I just really want to say bad things to and about people who blame the parents for everything. Personally I have seen parents do really bad stuff to children. No doubt that happens. On the other hand, Susanna Wesley raised a bunch of kids-with mixed results. It works both ways-good parents and bad parents alike have mixed results.

    People produce children, not clones of themselves. JP needs to zip his lip unless and until he can come to grips with reality.

  25. Kids will remember your little “inside jokes” with them and such things all their lives. My mom was the master of it. She is long gone, but I remember them often and chuckle.

  26. I was in a Sovereign Grace church when they moved to Calvinism. I still remember when I told my then pastor that the move of the Spirit in the church, which we had been experiencing, would be dead in a short period of time. They immediately became 3.5 point Calvinists… And then, later, 5 point Calvinists. Just like MANY ” chosen frozen” before them, they shriveled up and died spiritually. Calvinism loses the need for the active role of the Holy Spirit in the church and in ones own life. He becomes the “crazy uncle” that nobody talks about. Why? Because they have their doctrine and They don’t need Him any longer. Love becomes secondary. The Holy Spirit goes missing. Doctrine becomes their god.
    The Calvanistas have a serious problem in that they are no longer relevant to this generation. Their churches are dwindling as they continue to hold to legalism. People aren’t dumb. If the god they hear about is unloving, and has already decided to give billions of people to Satan already, why would I want to be a part of that? I believe at its core, Calvanism is a ploy of Satan. It ensures that legalism rules the day. It binds people’s souls. Doctrine outweighs love. Calvinism doesn’t express the love, care and forgiveness of Jesus Christ for the ENTIRE world … It’s only for some… Not all.

  27. @ Mae:
    One of my early pet peeves about Calvinism is that Calvinists (especially leaders) rarely take or live what they teach to its logical conclusions. Talk to them one on one long enough and they live lives of free will that totally eclipse their ‘compatiblist” style explanation from the pulpits.

    I have seen a few totally walk away from their faith when serious tragedy strikes. It all falls apart when you get into real life scenarios like babies with cancer.

    For the ordinary person there is a ton of bondage wrapped in believing God is controlling every molecule 24/7. Can He? Yes. Does He? I don’t think so. If He does, that is an indictment of His character. And doesn’t even remotely look like Jesus Christ.

  28. Lydia wrote:

    They view the Holy Spirit as their competition.

    I hadn’t seen your comment before mine on Piper. Great minds & so on.

  29. @ Beakerj:
    Lol. There seems to be a chain of command. In their doctrine, The HS resides in the leader and the leader passes that on to the ignorant pew sitters. It fits their paradigm. Such as Mohler telling a room full of pimply faced pastors that they are God’s messengers sent to teach the ignorant.

  30. @ Lydia:

    It’s such a depressing belief system. Everything is ordained. Too bad if your life is difficult,God is glorified in it.
    Too bad if your not the elect, God ordained in ages past. Ugh, no hope, no joy.

    I agree the, big wigs, do not practice what they preach. Heaven forbid though some peon get caught questioning the doctrine, they’ll be disciplined for rebellion.

    It’s such a hellish system of beliefs. It so discredits the character of God. Jesus walked this earth to show the love of God towards us. The Holy SPirit is our gift of comfort in the hard times of life. How sad Neo Cals have no experience with our loving savior.

  31. One thing I was taught in the PCA regarding children was something called covenant theology, derived from the Old Testament as well as the teaching that the Church is the New Israel. My understanding, in a nutshell, is that when born to at least one Christian parent and infant baptised, then raised in the Church, a kid is considered part of the New Covenant and is *more than likely* to be elect. At some point they will be required to go through confirmation so they can be allowed to receive the Lord’s supper, at which time they will be assumed to definitely be a Christian. If somebody apostatizes as an adult or refuses to profess faith, either they’re not elect or they have yet to come to real faith.

    Given his background, I have no idea whether or not Piper believes in classic Reformed covenant theology. I’m just going on my own experience.

  32. Beakerj wrote:

    @ Jamie Carter:
    I am just giving thanks that neither you nor John Piper is my parent.

    I’m pretty sure that was a Piper quote about him and his kids, not Jamie.

  33. I also love dystopian fiction. This summer I got my older daughter to read things like Fahrenheit 451, Harrison Bergeron, Alas, Babylon, 1984, and Brave New World. I should check out One Second After again. If I can locate my copy of Day of the Triffids I’ll hand her that as well.

    Can’t give her The Road, though. I haven’t seen the movie, but parts of the book are very violent. I doubt I’ll read any more Cormac McCarthy.

    Of course, John Piper probably would think such books are a waste of time anyway.

  34. Lydia wrote:

    @ Somewhereintime:
    They view the Holy Spirit as their competition.

    The Holy Spirit is irrelevant in their theology.

  35. And the glossy photo featuring John Piper and CJ Mahaney for the T4$ conference just came out. Maybe if your children notice that your mind consumed with all the things your decent fellow Christians aren’t doing good enough for you but your friend enabling child sex abuse is just an oopsy-daisy, they will decide Christianity is BS.

  36. Hey, I know *exactly* where that TARDIS was – yay for DragonCon. Also, seems like everytime I hear anything about Calvinists, it essentially boils down to, “My God is a dick, and so am I.”

  37. @ NJ:
    What you describe has been a huge issue in the SBC because of the Neo Cal resurgence. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of debates about this going back hundreds of years in Baptist circles except they were mainly in academia or pamphlet style debate.

    You see, the Neo Cals declared all babies guilty by inheritance and born worms, so it hardly mattered. They was no need for a covenant family and infant baptism. Presbyterians who love Mohler & co would wander into the blogosphere and tell us that infant baptism was about covenant family not rea ally related to ordo salutis. ( I failed to see the difference between that and a typical baby dedication at most churches except there was no water involved)

    An interesting example of this issue is Barnabas Piper. He was raised in a Reformed Baptist church (not SBC) that did not baptize infants. In fact, years ago Bethlehem Baptist released papers on why they did not baptize infants. Barnabus eventually joined the Presbyterians that DID baptize infants. He even wrote several blog post about it on his own blog emphatically endorsing padeobaptism and why. Then he got a big paying job at LifeWay. Some in social media started linking to his blog posts on infant baptism. No problem, though. The blog post came down and Barnabas Piper joined an SBC church. All fixed now.

    See how simple it all is? (Wink)

  38. @ Mae:
    Your comment reminds me of two things

    One of many reasons why creeds bother me so much is because they leave out so much of Jesus’ life on earth. Creeds simply say, oh he was perfect, sinless, he showed a lot of love, blah blather. But that just doesn’t cut it with me. I personally think there is a whole lot to what he did, didn’t do and what he said, didn’t say, in situations. There are people who went to a whole lot of trouble to see to it there was documentation as to his life on earth. (With translations, originals and interpretations as a side issue)

    One of the ways I combated the determinism all around us at ground zero (even in bible class at a non Calvinist Christian school!) was by using examples with the pre teens. Things like, gee I wonder why God decreed Joe break his foot in the Iron Man competition? Was it to keep him humble because he was more interested in his bodybuilding than God? was it because Iron Men are putting men first instead of God? Or was it simply because Joe took a bad fall? And God is not guilty. (Joe is a synonym for a neo-Cal youth pastor)

    When you start applying the belief system to real life examples it crumbles. Unless you are totally fatalistic.

  39. NJ wrote:

    Of course, John Piper probably would think such books are a waste of time anyway.

    Who the hell here cares what Piper says?

  40. Injun Joe wrote:

    NJ wrote:

    Of course, John Piper probably would think such books are a waste of time anyway.

    Who the hell here cares what Piper says?

    His drooling fanboys.

  41. scott hendrixson wrote:

    These are the ramblings of a man who is cutting and pasting from Psalms while safely watching The Weather Channel from his throne room in Minnessotta with The Doors playing in the background.

    I just cannot imagine Piper having The Doors in his collection, old vinyl or compact disc.

  42. scott hendrixson wrote:

    @ Beakerj:
    Lol. There seems to be a chain of command. In their doctrine, The HS resides in the leader and the leader passes that on to the ignorant pew sitters. It fits their paradigm.

    So a Predestined Elect Elder carries his own Shekinah with him?
    Lydia wrote:

    @ Beakerj:
    Lol. There seems to be a chain of command. In their doctrine, The HS resides in the leader and the leader passes that on to the ignorant pew sitters. It fits their paradigm.

    Isn’t that “paradigm” called “Priestcraft”?
    Or the Heresy of Clericalsim?
    And didn’t the Reformers (all genuflect) rip into Apostate Romish Popery (all Boo & Hiss) for the same “paradigm”?

  43. JYJames wrote:

    (Unless they believe that their own offspring are special and in the Kingdom – due to their fate of royal parental lineage.)

    In a time when Lineage meant everything, didn’t that Rabbi from Nazareth proclaim a Kingdom where those on the bottom without Lineage could become of the Lineage of God Himself?

  44. @ Lydia:

    Four gospels recorded who, God in the flesh, is.
    So important for people to be well acquainted with the gospels. As well as, the recordings of Acts.

  45. scott hendrixson wrote:

    @ scott hendrixson:
    I also meant to ask if anyone knows why ” Sir Tweets-A-lot had absolutely nothing to say about Harvey. Maybe I missed it.

    On another blog I sometimes post under the moniker “Pastor John”. Here’s what I posted Thursday.
    “Now I’ve got to get busy writing my tweet about God sending hurricanes to punish Lutherans or to get Pastor John’s attention.
    Hedonistically yours, Pastor John”
    I hope this is helpful.

  46. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    When I was researching the reformation it’s seemed to me they replaced the “sacraments” with a preacher –in a way. They still held onto the sacraments as a means of grace but felt like the preacher was the part that was missing. I also keep in mind the high illiteracy rate of that time and the native language translation. But in the end, I think most of it was political on both sides.

  47. Lydia wrote:

    When you start applying the belief system to real life examples it crumbles.

    This statement makes me reflect on some of the Bible’s more fantastic stories.

    For example Balaam and his talking donkey.

    One wonders why God could make Balaam’s donkey talk but doesn’t seem inclined to have a chat with Kim Jong Un through that horse that I’ve seen pictures of him on. A “deity to deity” chin wag about the consequences of thermonuclear war.

    Because in the real world, animals don’t talk , and hurricane’s are created through a process of the sun heating large swaths of water, and cancer is caused a fault in the cell’s dna, and a pedophile won’t stop molesting because he “found Jesus”.

    John Piper makes no sense because in his world, the donkey can talk.

  48. “Whenever she was beaten, she was told that this is what Jesus wanted. Throughout most of her adult life, she was unable to go to church because whenever she heard the word *Jesus,* she would have panic attacks.”

    “I blew off her questions with lots of simplistic answers like “We live in a fallen world. Be glad you have such a good home.”

    This article begs the following question: How many young people were raised in an environment (or environments) that presented Christianity as the suppression the truth, a never-ending guilt trip, a denial of emotions (i.e. “you should move on, pretend it never happened”), hierarchical enslavement (quiverfull, patriarchy and wife-beating sermons, anyone?) and that God was behind everything bad that happened in their lives (i.e. “You might not realize it now, but God has allowed that to happen, so it can be used for his glory)?

    Jesus wasn’t kidding around when he talked about allowing little ones to stumble. He knew what the effects were and that kids and teens are not as resilient as some might like to think. Paul also pointed out to parents not to provoke their children, because he knew that would lead children (especially in their adult lives) to seethe in hatred and see their “Christian” parents as hypocrites and liars : using a “God” to do what they wanted to their children. In addition, the NT warns that teachers are going to be judged more harshly. How many teachers have seen their Bible studies, Youth groups and classrooms as a way to abuse children and see children as inferior, stupid beings who shouldn’t dare to question their “biblically-mandated” authority.

    In addition, why on earth would any young girl consider continuing in a church environment where men have no control over their libido, where she is told that whatever she’s putting on that day will result in her being shamed -despite her having no desire to seduce anyone- and that God will never ever love her as much as he loves his male children…

  49. Paul D. wrote:

    You get to be lobotomized so you don’t remember all your non-elect loved ones and don’t constantly think about their endless screaming as they are tortured for eternity. No, you’re one of the lucky ones: you get your memories and mind permanently altered so all you want to do is stand there praising the great leader forever and ever.

    That is incredibly frightening. They did read the part of the Bible where God is “good” though, right?

  50. Lydia wrote:

    For the ordinary person there is a ton of bondage wrapped in believing God is controlling every molecule 24/7. Can He? Yes. Does He? I don’t think so. If He does, that is an indictment of His character. And doesn’t even remotely look like Jesus Christ.

    Amen. Though it does serve as a convenient excuse to blame sins on God, doesn’t it. “God willed it” sounds SO much nicer…

  51. In Other News: cricket

    Jimmy Anderson’s 7-42 eventually kept the West Indies lead to 106 which, in improved batting conditions, England reached for the loss of just one wicket.

    Nevertheless, this has – overall – not been a bad series, noteworthy for the Windies’ tremendous (and successful) run chase to win the second Test. The Windies are not the force they were in the 1980’s – not many people know this, but I modelled My “four horsemen of the apocalypse” illustration on the fearsome pace attack of Garner, Marshall, Holding and Walsh – but they can take some credit from the tour so far.

    Best regards,

    God

  52. The church i attend, and have done so for 20sum years has moved so far from the Spirit filled worship led meeting we were to something i am recognising less and less. Our pastor recently began not just asking if certain songs could possibly be sung but is beginning to demand what he wants, including hymns, even if the music leader for that Sunday felt their choice came from God.
    We are also, sadly, drifting towards a rather calvinistic view point which us slowly driving many away.
    People have expressed concern, but seem not to be heard.
    So really sad.

  53. This article reminded me of something I read somewhere once. Without the exact words or the website, it’s taken me hours to find it, and now I must go to work. But I’m interested in your thoughts, and will read your answers “off the air”.
    Commenter BirdOfTheEgg responding to the OP:
    “johnnyparker wrote:
    1. Thank God I don’t have Piper for a father. He only “thinks” he’d give his life to save his children from an eternity of suffering in hell. Wow, thanks dad! You brought me unbidden into the world, presumably to gratify your God-given instinct to procreate, and yet you’re not sure you would lay down your own life to stop me burning in hell forever and ever and ever. You’re the greatest!
    Under Universalism, procreation is a duty. Under Arminianism, it’s a huge risk. Under Calvinism, it’s a crime.”
    http://www.evangelicaluniversalist.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2747&hilit=underbelly

  54. “Worm Theology” (so-called) regularly gets a bad press here, and is frequently misrepresented by all sorts of people of all sorts of religious convictions. I’d like to say it isn’t a bad thing, it’s not about low self esteem, it shouldn’t be about false humility -which I think some here rightly rail against when they see it in certain prominent Christian speakers, writers, preachers.

    The essence of it seems to me to be summed up in the hymn by Isaac Watts.
    “Alas! and did my Savior bleed
    And did my Sovereign die?
    Would He devote that sacred head
    For sinners such as I?
    [originally, For such a worm as I?]

    Refrain

    At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
    And the burden of my heart rolled away,
    It was there by faith I received my sight,
    And now I am happy all the day!

    Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
    And bathed in its own blood—
    While the firm mark of wrath divine,
    His Soul in anguish stood.

    Was it for crimes that I had done
    He groaned upon the tree?
    Amazing pity! grace unknown!
    And love beyond degree!

    Well might the sun in darkness hide
    And shut his glories in,
    When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
    For man the creature’s sin.

    Thus might I hide my blushing face
    While His dear cross appears,
    Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
    And melt my eyes to tears.

    But drops of grief can ne’er repay
    The debt of love I owe:
    Here, Lord, I give my self away
    ’Tis all that I can do.”

    You’ll notice that this theology leads to being “happy all the day”.

  55. @ Lowlandseer:
    It’s a matter of perspective and where one spends their energy. I believe that when Jesus is talking about the kingdom of God (Kingdom of Heaven, too) he is referring not only to himself but those who follow him here on earth. “On earth as it is in heaven”

    Often we will see churches either focused on the cross or the kingdom. So one group may be stuck at the cross and they focus on our perpetually sinful state as both perpetually guilty and supposedly born-again believers while the other ignores the cross to do social justice works. ( and all the other theories and ST theologies fit into one or the other.)

    My experience is that the reformed tend to stay stuck at the cross because it is inherent in worm theology. I find it fatalistic to be constantly focused on sin for which we are perpetually guilty as we inherited it and awaiting death so that we can then be perfection. We can’t even choose to sin in that scenario. Our very existence sin.

    I like what my teen said one day when she mused that we should be wearing empty tombs around our necks, not crosses. I believe the cross is also about conquering death and that all sin falls under the death category. Pride, greed, perversion, etc and all things that pull us toward death. Life is what is good and noble. Yes, I believe we get it all backwards.

    This is more easily said than done but I believe it’s all matter of abiding in Him. It’s not about choosing one over the other. I think it’s more about understanding them and their place in our lives. There is a time to get up off the mat as broken people and walk.

  56. Lydia wrote:

    You see, the Neo Cals declared all babies guilty by inheritance and born worms

    Isn’t Paul Washer pretty big with the neocal set? I remember seeing a clip of him saying that if a baby was big enough, they’d murder you and steal your wrist watch without batting an eyelash. Which seems to say a lot more about Washer than infants…

  57. @ Jack:
    I do think God’s intention was for us to subdue the earth and make it bloom, so to speak. And we have done it, including unbelievers, to some degree. Example, I was reading an article about hurricane Harvey and the how that would have affected people in an undeveloped country or even 150 years ago The same model would have killed over 100,000 people. The early warning systems, the ability to evacuate quickly, better infrastructure, etc, all speaks to subduing the earth. These are things that people, both believers and unbelievers, have done to make it a better place. They use the brains and brawn that God gave them to do so.

    However I doubt very seriously that little Kim would listen to a donkey. Or an angel of the Lord. 🙂

    While I hope and pray God intervenes in many bad things I don’t hang my hat on it as part of the belief deal.

  58. Lydia wrote:

    My experience is that the reformed tend to stay stuck at the cross because it is inherent in worm theology. I find it fatalistic to be constantly focused on sin for which we are perpetually guilty as we inherited it and awaiting death so that we can then be perfection. We can’t even choose to sin in that scenario. Our very existence sin.

    My experience with many New Cals is that they don’t talk much about Jesus or the cross at all, just sin. And they preach a great deal on the angry God of the OT and only mention God’s mercy in the OT as it relates to Israel being “God’s chosen people”.

    As you commented a bit later, they put a lot of emphasis on proclamation as regenerative, but Jesus is often left out of the equation completely. On a practical level, that puts a whole lot more emphasis on the preacher than God. I think it was Max who commented on one of the recent posts that if you do a checklist of how many times God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and their famous pastors are mentioned in their online sermons, their pastors come out on top. It’s no wonder they believe they can get away with all the stuff that they do.

  59. Sam wrote:

    “Whenever she was beaten, she was told that this is what Jesus wanted. Throughout most of her adult life, she was unable to go to church because whenever she heard the word *Jesus,* she would have panic attacks.”
    “I blew off her questions with lots of simplistic answers like “We live in a fallen world. Be glad you have such a good home.”
    This article begs the following question: How many young people were raised in an environment (or environments) that presented Christianity as the suppression the truth, a never-ending guilt trip, a denial of emotions (i.e. “you should move on, pretend it never happened”), hierarchical enslavement (quiverfull, patriarchy and wife-beating sermons, anyone?) and that God was behind everything bad that happened in their lives (i.e. “You might not realize it now, but God has allowed that to happen, so it can be used for his glory)?
    Jesus wasn’t kidding around when he talked about allowing little ones to stumble. He knew what the effects were and that kids and teens are not as resilient as some might like to think. Paul also pointed out to parents not to provoke their children, because he knew that would lead children (especially in their adult lives) to seethe in hatred and see their “Christian” parents as hypocrites and liars : using a “God” to do what they wanted to their children. In addition, the NT warns that teachers are going to be judged more harshly. How many teachers have seen their Bible studies, Youth groups and classrooms as a way to abuse children and see children as inferior, stupid beings who shouldn’t dare to question their “biblically-mandated” authority.
    In addition, why on earth would any young girl consider continuing in a church environment where men have no control over their libido, where she is told that whatever she’s putting on that day will result in her being shamed -despite her having no desire to seduce anyone- and that God will never ever love her as much as he loves his male children…

    That is the flat out truth.

  60. Lydia wrote:

    I like what my teen said one day when she mused that we should be wearing empty tombs around our necks, not crosses. I believe the cross is also about conquering death and that all sin falls under the death category. Pride, greed, perversion, etc and all things that pull us toward death. Life is what is good and noble. Yes, I believe we get it all backwards.

    Smart teen you got Lyds. I too believe that much of Western Christianity has gotten it bass ackwards for two millenia now.

  61. @ Law Prof:
    …and your description makes me glad I was raised in a family where we went to church maybe five times my entire life growing up, usually on Easter, I guess just to say we did. Dad liked to ride his Harley with a bike gang on occasion, took me to a biker bar as a little kid, cussed and drank and smoked and told crude jokes and rough stories about his conquests as a younger man. He got in bar fights into his 50s, was arrested two times. But dad always told the truth and always helped people in need. Never stabbed anyone in the back, never used phony, sweet-sounding words to cover up hatred. He was a soft touch. A kind man. He never subscribed to any religion or political party, and I regret very much I was never able to lead him to Jesus, but he probably in his rough manner was more in the image of the God who’d made him than all of the T4G types combined. I never saw hypocrisy, had no bad feelings about Jesus growing up.

  62. Lydia wrote:

    @ Beakerj:
    Lol. There seems to be a chain of command. In their doctrine, The HS resides in the leader and the leader passes that on to the ignorant pew sitters. It fits their paradigm. Such as Mohler telling a room full of pimply faced pastors that they are God’s messengers sent to teach the ignorant.

    @ Gram3:
    You are right & I’m an idiot. I need at least 2 cups of tea before I comment on anything in the morning. Sorry Jamie, big apologies.

    Dee can you get rid of my stupid comment?

  63. Clearly I need 2 cups of tea before commenting in the evening too.

    I’ll just be quiet now.

  64. Lydia wrote:

    My experience is that the reformed tend to stay stuck at the cross because it is inherent in worm theology. I find it fatalistic to be constantly focused on sin for which we are perpetually guilty as we inherited it and awaiting death so that we can then be perfection. We can’t even choose to sin in that scenario. Our very existence sin.

    It’s not just the Reformed. There are plenty of Arminian outfits who follow the same trajectory. Calvary Chapel comes to mind. Both are obsessed with an alleged standard of perfection that you (generic you) cannot keep and so the Almighty had to sacrifice his Son by Penal Substitutionary Atonement in order to confer perfection onto you.
    In my opinion their “differences” are only cosmetic and incidental.

  65. Muff Potter wrote:

    It’s not just the Reformed. There are plenty of Arminian outfits who follow the same trajectory. Calvary Chapel comes to mind. Both are obsessed with an alleged standard of perfection that you (generic you) cannot keep and so the Almighty had to sacrifice his Son by Penal Substitutionary Atonement in order to confer perfection onto you.
    In my opinion their “differences” are only cosmetic and incidental.

    It’s true, and there is one other thing they have in common, and that’s cults of personality. That kind of theology makes the sheep much easier to control.

  66. Random thoughts: hard core Calvinists are often hyper covenantal, which means to some saved parents can be sure their kiddoes are also in the covenant. Let’s some of them sleep at night.

    And there are plenty of both Reformed and Arminian who are not into PSA, just SA.

    And of course there are growing numbers who see the whole eternity thing more as: born innocent, we all choose freely to sin. If we do not respond to the bad effects of that in this life and turn to Christ, we get time in a purgatorial state to help us learn the truth and turn to Him. (Forget bad teaching on purgatory. I did not say torture chamber.) If that is ineffective some believe then off you go to hell itself for a permanent (eternal in that sense only) burning off of the dross so the pure good as you were created you can then enter heaven. All of these thoughts have both been heralded by the early church fathers and called rank heresy by others of the same. Some see it as the relentless love of God, others as a heavenly stalking. None of us knows:)

    BUT PSA is not the only rodeo to enter and be an orthodox Christian.

  67. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    In a time when Lineage meant everything, didn’t that Rabbi from Nazareth proclaim a Kingdom where those on the bottom without Lineage could become of the Lineage of God Himself?

    Thanks, JC. Love Him.
    And HUG, thanks for sharing. God bless you.

  68. Law Prof wrote:

    He got in bar fights into his 50s, was arrested two times. But dad always told the truth and always helped people in need. Never stabbed anyone in the back, never used phony, sweet-sounding words to cover up hatred. He was a soft touch. A kind man. He never subscribed to any religion or political party, and I regret very much I was never able to lead him to Jesus, but he probably in his rough manner was more in the image of the God who’d made him than all of the T4G types combined. I never saw hypocrisy, had no bad feelings about Jesus growing up.

    God bless that man. Even in the Bible, there are quite a few times when God uses non-believers to show himself to others. (Abraham and the two times he said Sarah wasn’t his wife, but his sister, anyone?)

  69. NJ wrote:

    One thing I was taught in the PCA regarding children was something called covenant theology, derived from the Old Testament as well as the teaching that the Church is the New Israel. My understanding, in a nutshell, is that when born to at least one Christian parent and infant baptised, then raised in the Church, a kid is considered part of the New Covenant and is *more than likely* to be elect. At some point they will be required to go through confirmation so they can be allowed to receive the Lord’s supper, at which time they will be assumed to definitely be a Christian. If somebody apostatizes as an adult or refuses to profess faith, either they’re not elect or they have yet to come to real faith.

    Given his background, I have no idea whether or not Piper believes in classic Reformed covenant theology. I’m just going on my own experience.

    NJ, spot on. In classic reformed churches, children of believers are presumed to be Christians unless they reject the faith. That’s why they baptise children – as a sign of the covenant God makes with His people, and that covenant includes the children of believers.

    Baptists trace their ancestry to a group called the Anabaptists, who were seen as heretics by the early reformers. In fact, in some times and places, being a Baptist could get you drowned!

    There is a huge split, theological and practical, between reformed Baptists like Piper and MacArthur, and Presbyterians like Keller and Sproul. Organisations like TGC downplay this, but in truth each group regards the other as being in error. If you are a Presbyterian, you regard it as serious sin not to baptise the children of believers (it’s reason for excommunication). If you are a Baptist, it is very wrong to baptise someone who hasn’t professed faith, or not to baptise by immersion.

  70. “He launched into a discussions which he calls *hope for failed parenting.* Did you catch what he did there?”

    In other words, Jesus was a bad Lord because of Judas Iscariot, right? In his question, the father never once admitted to failed parenting, but rather to depression over his children’s lives.

    In my experience, blaming parents for their children has a stronghold within Christianity, neo-cal or not. This is just another example.

  71. Beakerj wrote:

    @ scott hendrixson:
    That is absolutely what they set Piper up as. Is he their HS? Discuss.

    I’m getting older, so I had to look up hs. I came up with 34 possibilities, but due to context I think you may be referring to Manson. If that’s what you mean, it might seem like that if we just look at Piper isolated from the many other leaders that people follow in much the same way. The disturbing thing to me is that Piper and friends each have “their” own community of devoted followers that are supposedly tied together by a solid doctrinal base. In practice these communities often follow a set of mutually exclusive practices determined by the leader at “his” discretion. But, like some secret society, they support each other when attacked. Its absolutely foul the way they comment on such a wide variety of topics. Another day mucking houses, so I’m still ranting I guess. The devastation makes me far more humble and patient with most people, but these guys.

    I still believe that the questioned has been doctored at the least.

  72. Lydia wrote:

    @ scott hendrixson:
    Did you ever read “Vanity of the Bonfires” by Tom Wolfe? The Calvinista leaders correlate well to the “Masters of the Universe” guys in his book.

    I may check that out. Even a fictional anecdote is helpful when you there are so few peo people saying that the emperor has no clothes.

  73. Lydia wrote:

    @ scott hendrixson:
    He moved to Nashville despite his expensive retirement video implying otherwise.

    He’s from Chattanooga. It sounds like he’s moving closer to the SBC control center. Or, he wants to be a country songwriter.

  74. Muff Potter wrote:

    scott hendrixson wrote:

    These are the ramblings of a man who is cutting and pasting from Psalms while safely watching The Weather Channel from his throne room in Minnessotta with The Doors playing in the background.

    I just cannot imagine Piper having The Doors in his collection, old vinyl or compact disc.

    8 track

  75. Update on The Nashville Statement: I personally believe the following, which means it could be true:

    The Nashville Statement may have originally contained a section about Metrosexuality that was removed because Owen S. Had veto power.

  76. @ Beakerj:
    I haven’t any children. I’m just saying I’m surprised that he didn’t remain consistent with what he had previously said about him and his own sons and how it ought to be true of the “failed parent” and their kids.

  77. Donnie wrote:

    Metrosexuality

    https://youtu.be/mEOqxibhCxU

    And he is a bit mild compared to what I have heard just how evil children are, how they are rebellious from the womb even in the womb. God is enraged at babies because of their actual (IE defiant behavior towards parents when they cry too much and by doing so do not love their neighbor). It was almost constant that God has a burning white eternal hatred of the majority of humanity from the foundations of the Universe. And that was the mild view.

  78. “Lydia wrote:
    You see, the Neo Cals declared all babies guilty by inheritance and born worms
    Isn’t Paul Washer pretty big with the neocal set? I remember seeing a clip of him saying that if a baby was big enough, they’d murder you and steal your wrist watch without batting an eyelash. Which seems to say a lot more about Washer than infants…”

    My above message did not seem to quote right this is the answer concerning Mr. Washer and some of my personal experience.

  79. I think I understand the problem here. You’re all looking for the perfect church!

    What I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it because you’ll spoil it.

    Yours sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

  80. @ Donnie:
    And rip pierced earrings off your ears! He was the first Pastor I ever heard who made babies sound like members of s street gang.

  81. ishy wrote:

    On a practical level, that puts a whole lot more emphasis on the preacher than God

    This! This is it exactly.

  82. @ Dave A A:
    Clearly I can only agree, vociferously. The whole Calvinism/Arminianism thing was significant in my choice not to have kids, along with serious health issues.
    I grew up with a Catholic Mother, who, if she thought she needed to, would have shaken her fist in the face of the Almighty for the welfare of her children. I don’t hear anything like that love coming from these neo-cals. What is wrong with them?

  83. Jamie Carter wrote:

    I should probably learn to format stuff online anyway to make it easier for next time.

    Thank you.

    It wasn’t your formatting either, it was just my mistake. I am wearing a pair of broken varifocals which sit totally lopsided on my face at the moment…I’d like to think this was a factor, but it’s probably just tiredness.

  84. @ Lydia:
    I just don’t think it’s any wonder that when non-Christians hear this stuff that they just laugh & move on. It is so far removed from reality it’s painful.

  85. Hmm. About sin and babies. Is that a new idea really?

    Maybe that explains infant baptism.

    Maybe that explains the idea of the necessity of believing in the virgin birth of Jesus. and yet back one more generation maybe that is behind the idea of the immaculate conception of the mother of Jesus-to keep the sinfulness of babies out of the divine person of the Son of God.

    Maybe nothing has changed except the window dressing.

    Perhaps, and I just throw this in for discussion, if babies do not have a ‘sin nature’ then at what age does one acquire a ‘sin nature’, and at what level of understanding does this happen, and is there a standardized test to identify when this has occurred?

    Or is the whole idea of the inherent tendency to sin (including in ignorance) just one more bit of theological nonsense? Have people tended to identify just being human as inherent sin? Babies are certainly inherently human.

    And how would we ever know for sure, so we perhaps set up definitions because not knowing is so scary. Because God is so scary. Because we are finite and apparently temporary and who wants to think about that? Better to set up theological scare crows against whom we can prevail, at least in theory, than to deal with realities of non-understanding against which we cannot prevail.

    Maybe. Just maybe. And maybe there is some truth in the idea that fear is a great motivator for the proliferation of religious ideas, whether true or not.

  86. Just off for a short run – keeping it to 4km because a) the weather’s boggin’, b) I want a proper run tomorrow when the forecast is better, and c) I haven’t got long as I’m going over to fix Mum’s shower.

    IHTIH

  87. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    IHTIH

    It does. I’m about to walk the dogs & then fit a new side on the bath, plus take the measurements of a large socket on part of the shower to borrow a tool the right size to fix it. So great to know blokes are out doing this stuff too 😉

  88. @ Beakerj: Not really… all I need to do is fit two rawlplugs into the ceiling. The rest is just turning a screwdriver.

    As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised by the weather; I thought it was going to be that kind of thick drizzle that doesn’t produce any actual raindrops but still soaks you right through. But it turned out to be light drizzle.

  89. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The rest is just turning a screwdriver.

    It’s not even that, of course, because the same toy that drills holes for rawlplugs also turns screws.

  90. @ okrapod:
    I am going to be ridiculous for a moment. One of the questions I had for the inherited sin/guilt/born a worm folks was how in the world did a Holy God incubate around Mary’s inherited guilty sin goo? Did God take it away first? I know. Dumb. But when you’ve heard enough of their sermons about our horrible state at birth due to inheriting sin and guilt, one starts to wonder about these things. Is Mary the only one that ever got a pass?

    So when did baptizing infants start as a necessity? Wasn’t it after the concept of original sin was codified?

  91. Anyway, “mission” accomplished.

    Chicken’s in the oven; we’ll be eating around 6. I’ll need to wash the pressure-cooker, mind you (it has chick peas in the noo) before I do the potatoes.

    IHTIH

  92. Lydia wrote:

    Yes. The scourge of evil babies.

    Quite true. It’s no wonder Jesus said of them, “The Kingdom of Heaven is forbidden to such as these”.

    Oh… wait…

    Never mind.

  93. brian wrote:

    I mutter a lot but I think Prayer is very powerful but often can get confusing and frustrating. I just think God wants to hear our hearts and to comfort our souls. God also seems to offer us opportunities to be the answer to other peoples’ prayers through our prayers if that makes sense?

    This makes total sense to me and is similar to my thoughts on prayer/conversing with our Father.

  94. Beakerj wrote:

    I don’t hear anything like that love coming from these neo-cals. What is wrong with them?

    I suspect what’s wrong with them is Functional Universalism.
    “A functional universalist is one who talks like, lives like and hopes like all things are going to be made new but when pressed they deny their support of it. Some have even gone so far as to write lengthy blogs and even books to defend their belief in a limited redemption of God.
    A functional universalist is someone who claims they believe most of humanity is headed for a hopeless eternity filled with unthinkable torture yet have passed up literally thousands of opportunities to warn others. It is rarely preached, hard to locate on church websites and found only in certain theological works. Otherwise it seems it isn’t worth bringing up. Unless it is threatened.
    A functional universalist is someone who says they believe in an eternal hell for the majority of the world yet often are heard saying conflicting statements. One is that which you often hear at a funeral of an unbeliever, “Well, we know that God is bigger”. Or we often hear, “God’s intention is to restore all of His creation” or sentiments and songs talking about how God is “making all things new”. Some just put it out of their minds and avoid talking about it. But when they do, it is usually vague, evasive or softening the actual aspects of the doctrine.”
    http://www.godslovewins.com/articles-q-functionaluni.htm

  95. Lydia wrote:

    I am going to be ridiculous for a moment.

    Not ridiculous at all Lyds. More folks than you know have asked, and are asking the same questions. Theologians write tomes thick enough to stop a rifle bullet and still can’t give you a straight answer. Ya’ just gotta’ take their word for it.

    Lydia wrote:

    So when did baptizing infants start as a necessity? Wasn’t it after the concept of original sin was codified?

    I read somewhere that much of the medieval impetus for paedobaptism was because of the high mortality rate of infants back then, as a kind of insurance policy that their little souls would not be cast into hell, which is of course what a holy and just god demands for imperfection.

  96. Lydia wrote:

    One of the questions I had for the inherited sin/guilt/born a worm folks was how in the world did a Holy God incubate around Mary’s inherited guilty sin goo? Did God take it away first? I know. Dumb.

    The RCC teaches that Mary herself was born without sin; the immaculate conception of Mary. As far as I know the calvinists may or may not believe that, but I have not heard you all talking about the issue so as to make me think that they believe it.

  97. Bridget wrote:

    brian wrote:
    I mutter a lot but I think Prayer is very powerful but often can get confusing and frustrating. I just think God wants to hear our hearts and to comfort our souls. God also seems to offer us opportunities to be the answer to other peoples’ prayers through our prayers if that makes sense?
    This makes total sense to me and is similar to my thoughts on prayer/conversing with our Father.

    I’ve thought of prayer as almost a wheel. We pray up to God and he sends down direction, concerns,for us to act upon. Almost like we tap into, the bowl of the prayers of the saints.
    Kind of hard to explain but I do believe when we send our petitions upwards, God sends His thoughts downwards for us to fulfill.

  98. Lydia wrote:

    Yes. The scourge of evil babies. Sigh

    Oh yes. I for one keep a stout broom by the door to repel all those evil babies crawling up my pathway, trying to ensnare me in their schemes.

  99. @ okrapod:
    The Eastern Orthodox do not accept original sin in the sense that the churches of the West do and do not accept infant damnation. They practice infant baptism.This from the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese webpage on baptism. They believe in a type of original sin in which falleness, sickness, disorder is brought into the world. We all share in that. Baptism is sacramental incorporation of the individual into the new covenant of Christ’s death and resurrection. Rome believes in the incorporation view as well and adds Augustianian original sin. I strongly lean toward the Eastern view on this one. Original sin as understood in the West makes no sense to me.

  100. Beakerj wrote:

    Oh yes. I for one keep a stout broom by the door to repel all those evil babies crawling up my pathway, trying to ensnare me in their schemes.

    Well that’s a brain picture to forget . . . 😉

  101. DEW wrote:

    Baptism is sacramental incorporation of the individual into the new covenant of Christ’s death and resurrection. Rome believes in the incorporation view as well and adds Augustianian original sin. I strongly lean toward the Eastern view on this one. Original sin as understood in the West makes no sense to me

    Just curious, what is the church’s belief about a child (or anyone) who dies without being baptised?

  102. @ Lydia:
    We tend to forget the Eastern Church was always there often doing the same thing but with a twist. I believe that they would say it took some time and conflict for the practice of infant baptism to become standard and was done and not done at various times and places. (In the Orthodox Church.) They seem right on that. They would also argue it was the earliest practice of the Church. Evidence weaker there. Present da, besides the argument from stabilized Holy Tradition they would argue why would any Christian parent deny their children incorporation into the Body of Christ. None of their views hinge on an Augustinian Western Church concept of original sin.

  103. Now, it occurs to me that there’s an important perspective missing in all of this.

    What have John Piper’s kids said about Wayward Parents?

  104. ION: just had one of those about-to-sneeze-but-don’t-actually moments.

    People don’t realise just how tough my life can be sometimes.

  105. IFON: Tennis

    I bet naebdy saw this coming at the start of the year: the four Grand Slam titles of 2017 shared between Roger and Rafa.

  106. Lydia wrote:

    @ okrapod:
    I am going to be ridiculous for a moment. One of the questions I had for the inherited sin/guilt/born a worm folks was how in the world did a Holy God incubate around Mary’s inherited guilty sin goo? Did God take it away first? I know. Dumb. But when you’ve heard enough of their sermons about our horrible state at birth due to inheriting sin and guilt, one starts to wonder about these things. Is Mary the only one that ever got a pass?
    So when did baptizing infants start as a necessity? Wasn’t it after the concept of original sin was codified?

    Don’t know where I read/ heard this…. apparently, some believe males only carry the sin line. So, since Mary was overpowered by the Holy Spirit, no sin line was transferred.

  107. DEW wrote:

    @ Lydia:
    We tend to forget the Eastern Church was always there often doing the same thing but with a twist. I believe that they would say it took some time and conflict for the practice of infant baptism to become standard and was done and not done at various times and places. (In the Orthodox Church.) They seem right on that. They would also argue it was the earliest practice of the Church. Evidence weaker there. Present da, besides the argument from stabilized Holy Tradition they would argue why would any Christian parent deny their children incorporation into the Body of Christ. None of their views hinge on an Augustinian Western Church concept of original sin.

    I don’t even see baptism as a requirement for such so when we are talking about infants it seems rather bizarre to require such to be a member of the body of Christ.

    OTOH, most padeobaptist quote the “households were baptized” versus to me. But some Scholars say those denote extended family and servants. In a Jewish household, for example, a male child would start more formal education at age 7.

    Without getting into too much detail, in that day and time children were counted very differently than they are today.

  108. Lydia wrote:

    @ Mae:
    I should have thought of that. But Mary had a human father. So the sin goo was in there.

    Yes, but her father was not the Holy Spirit. Sin line was circumvented because Holy Spirit intervened. Not saying I have the answer, or agree with this theory. As I remember the emphasis being on females alone. They’ve no ability to pass on the sin lineage without a human male’s literal assistance. 😉

  109. Lydia wrote:

    While I hope and pray God intervenes in many bad things I don’t hang my hat on it as part of the belief deal.

    I suffer from chronic pain due to a bum shoulder. Even if I were so inclined to do so, I wouldn’t pray about it.
    I have a good job with benefits, I’m no high roller but we do all right. In spite of the odd sleepless night, on the suffer-o-meter, I’d say I’m on lower end of things.
    Contrast this to the ongoing civil war in Central African Republic or any other ongoing conflict, or the folks who have to pick up their lives after the two hurricanes or kids being trafficked for horrible purposes….
    Meanwhile in my wife’s church, they’re amening all over the place when some clown claims that broken bones are being magically healed in India while never questioning why God doesn’t just solve the problem of abject poverty in that same country or for that matter healing little ones in our local hospital neonatal intensive care unit.
    John Piper and others spout absurdity after absurdity because that’s how they reconcile their magical thinking with the unmagical world.
    Ultimately I have a big issue being blamed for a dude eating an apple from a tree. Or blaming a baby for that same “sin”.

  110. Beakerj wrote:

    scott hendrixson wrote:

    I’m getting older, so I had to look up hs.

    HS here is Holy Spirit. Apologies.

    In the sense that the vast majority of the church in America must come up with something that resembles the presence of God, he is their HS. Most people from his camp substitute some combination of derivative theology, pseudo-intellect, and organizational structure in place of the Spirit, but he seems to be the manifestation of all three. He’s also prolific which makes him a satisfactory substitute for God to many people. In the midst of the devastation here in the Houston area I’ve seen evidence of the simple love found in the two great commandments which seem to be one in practice. It has been my experience that, anytime the true Spirit shows up, the people in authority either fail to recognize or feel threatened.

  111. Jack wrote:

    Meanwhile in my wife’s church, they’re amening all over the place when some clown claims that broken bones are being magically healed in India…

    Like the incredible stories in supermarket tabloids — always off in some distant land where it can’t be checked.

    Or the scene in Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court where the Connecticut Yankee calls Merlin’s bluff by (after prophesying about things happening in distant lands) demanding he prophesy about “How many fingers am I holding up behind my back?”

  112. Mae wrote:

    Sin line was circumvented because Holy Spirit intervened. Not saying I have the answer, or agree with this theory. As I remember the emphasis being on females alone. They’ve no ability to pass on the sin lineage without a human male’s literal assistance.

    Doesn’t that trace back to Augustine?
    Augustine trying to figure out a rationale behind how Adam’s sin echoed through his descendants?

  113. Lydia wrote:

    So when did baptizing infants start as a necessity? Wasn’t it after the concept of original sin was codified?

    I’ve come across one or two different theories on this; one being that infant baptism emerged as persecution increased and/or in response to high childhood mortality. IOW, it was a practical (for want of a better word) response to people’s uncertainty as to whether they and their families would live long enough to baptise their offspring as believers in due course.

    Slight tangent, but I’ve come across some very odd behaviour here in the UK over credobaptism vs paedobaptism. The oddest example of all was set out in a book, The church in the market-place, by George Carey; he wrote it quite some years ago before he became Archbishop of Canterbury – actually, before he became a Bishop at all, I think.

    The oddness on infant baptism is not a major part of the book – just a two-page digression, where he describes why he absolutely could not work with a particular new congregation that started in the city around that time. They were re-baptising people, you see. Of course, they would argue that they weren’t at all, but rather were baptising people, some of whom had undergone a certain rite as babies which had no particular authority or meaning. Bizarrely, Carey lamented that this new lot were being unreasonable in insisting on their way of baptism because it wasn’t worth splitting the church over, even as he insisted he had to split the church over it. Moreover, he offered no justification for his commitment to it other than that he just couldn’t deny it.

  114. As regards answered prayer and the relief of suffering, there are only two possibilities.

     Possibility 1: Instant and perfect rescue from all suffering

    When you become a christian, you are totally and irrevocably healed of every and any physical, mental and emotional ailment. You remain happy and at peace for the rest of your life until you die peacefully in your sleep at a ripe old age (as you define it). You never know unemployment, poverty or lack. Nor do you struggle with any temptation any more; your beliefs, desires and intentions are all transformed into those of Jesus himself and your behaviour is like his forever more. All your prayers will be answered, within a realistic timeframe, exactly as you prayed them. Your every day will demonstrate irrefutable, or compelling (5-sigma or better) evidence for the existence of God. That’s the point: the Christian life is supposed to be based on, and provide, exactly that evidence.

     Possibility 2: No rescue of any kind from any suffering

    The only thing that changes when you become a Christian is that you exchange one value-system for another. Your attempts to conform to that value system will not be boosted by any divine assistance of any kind and, in general, you will do no better than chance in any of your attempts to live the Christian life. Nor will any of your prayers be answered in any way that, over time, performs any better than chance. Your life will provide no independent evidence of the existence of God. That’s not the point: the Christian life is supposed to be lived in the absence of any evidence.



    These are, of course, the only two possibilities. There cannot be, nor should we expect, any middle ground; nor should we accept any evidence purporting to show any middle ground. The only thing is… they might not be the only possibilities. There might indeed be some middle ground. It may indeed be the case that true justice, and happiness, will not be achieved in this physical world, but that they will both be achieved in a conscious existence beyond this one, in some way that it’s difficult for us to grasp at this point but that we will experience. And meanwhile, there are – or can/could be – pointers along the way that are more than just random.

  115. If Adam did something so profound as the genesis story would seem to say could that be passed on to subsequent generations? Could something have changed the structure of humanity, either DNA or the expression of the DNA. in such a way as to alter the course of the species? Remembering, of course, that ‘could’ and ‘did’ are two different concepts.

    Can experiences cause changes in the DNA/genetic expression?

    Can those, if any, be passed on to the next generation?

    Can changes so acquired be modified in the next generation such that it stops being passed on to the generation after that?

    Is there evidence either way for questions #1 and #2 and #3 above?

    Answer:
    #1 Yes, in both mice and humans. See recent results in PTSD research.
    #2 Yes, in mice.
    #3 Yes, in mice.
    #4 Yes. Think more recent thinking in the epigenesis vs preformation concepts. Do not be fooled by the words/vocabulary or the reference to long dismissed ancient theories; keep reading until you get to the recent research. Check out methylation and what has been found so far.

    Question: Is it possible that there are things which are not only possible but which do happen but of which the current state of science is as yet unaware? It is not only possible, it is a sure bet.

  116. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    And all too often you find yourself the only “Possibility 2” in a world of Born-Again Super-Spiritual “Possibility1″s. i.e. Everybody’s “Possibility 1 Christian” except YOU.

  117. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    That, or because you’re not hard-line Possibility 1, you’re accused of being Possibility 2.

    Or vice versa.

    The frustrating and destructive thing about False Antithesis is that it sabotages dialogue, and therefore possible friendships or at least working relationships, before they have any chance to begin. I.e., because you’ve said something that makes me uncomfortable – particularly regarding a cherished belief I may have – you must believe the extreme opposite of what I do. That being the case, you must be my enemy, mustn’t you?

  118. okrapod wrote:

    Question: Is it possible that there are things which are not only possible but which do happen but of which the current state of science is as yet unaware? It is not only possible, it is a sure bet.

    Agreed. I see genetic science as a discipline in its infancy, much like the ancient Chinese mariners venturing past sight of land with their newly invented magnetic compass. When it arrives at maturity? Who can say? That’s all science really is, just well placed bets on what can be observed, measured, and replicated by others.

  119. Mae wrote:

    Don’t know where I read/ heard this…. apparently, some believe males only carry the sin line. So, since Mary was overpowered by the Holy Spirit, no sin line was transferred.

    A fascinating conjecture. Setting aside the Judeo-Christian concept of ‘sin’ for a moment, and considering alone how physical death spread to all men (via the writings of St. Paul), is there any substance to it?

  120. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    That, or because you’re not hard-line Possibility 1, you’re accused of being Possibility 2.
    Or vice versa.
    The frustrating and destructive thing about False Antithesis is that it sabotages dialogue, and therefore possible friendships or at least working relationships, before they have any chance to begin. I.e., because you’ve said something that makes me uncomfortable – particularly regarding a cherished belief I may have – you must believe the extreme opposite of what I do. That being the case, you must be my enemy, mustn’t you?

    My parent’s immigrated from the UK although both came from non-religious families. The religious education that my parents received was from the Church of England, and that’s the faith I was raised in. So when I was Christian, I was most definitely a possibility 2 Christian.
    I was quite shocked from my brief sojourn into evangelicalism how many possibility 1 Christians there are and how hostile (some not overtly but just not open to any discussion that doesn’t involve complete agreement with their version of faith) they are to the possibility 2 variety.
    In keeping with the spirit of this post, I think that young people growing up in our pluralistic liberal democracies find themselves on the opposite side of possibility 1 when they are told their non-christian (or even Christians that don’t fit the strict guidelines of their version of the faith) are to be pitied at best as lost or unchurched, reviled at worse as damned or not chosen (irredeemable).
    They find themselves unable to discuss such topics as evolution and they are eventually unable reconcile what they see in the world with what their churches are telling them.
    I have no doubt that there’s a feeling they’ve been sold a dud set of goods.
    In fact I think there’s a large contingent of christians who parrot the party line of possibility 1 but secretly or in practice subscribe to possibility 2.
    Ie) “Amen!” the ridiculous assertion of unverified miracle healing while secretly knowing it’s a load of baloney because if they don’t then they’ve “fallen” with the risk of losing all their support systems. One heck of a way to live.

    I speak from personal experience when eventually something gives and the two sides can’t reconcile so you pull the ejection bar and pitch the whole enterprise.

  121. okrapod wrote:

    Question: Is it possible that there are things which are not only possible but which do happen but of which the current state of science is as yet unaware? It is not only possible, it is a sure bet.

    But the initial assertion that there was an Adam and a tree and a talking serpent can never be verified regardless of the possibility that eating the wrong fruit will rewrite your DNA such that your children will carry the consequences forever more.

    We may not understand the nature of life, or even the nature of consciousness but it’s the hubris of any religion to claim that by default it all comes down to their God, as opposed to the myriad other Gods throughout history.

    That’s faith and it can’t be proven or quantified, only believed.

    That’s why Piper and crew make their ridiculous assertions. Anything that challenges faith must be wrong. We must believe the bible as written, we must believe that everything is for God’s glory – no matter how awful it is. No matter what the evidence says.

    So his God kills people, lots of people and will continue to kill and maim and slaughter, all for his glory. All an elect can do is tamp down their compassion and love, because that doesn’t matter. Only glory matters.

    For me such a faith would be special heck all it’s own.

  122. ___

    Adoption, Eternal Life, And Salvation are for you and your children, —> all for the asking… ❤️

    Yep!

    Assurance of adoption into God’s household.
    “To all who received him (e.g. Jesus), to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
    JOHN 1:12

    Assurance of eternal life.
    “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me (e.g. Jesus) has eternal life and will not be con- demned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
    JOHN 5:24

    Assurance of Salvation.
    “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son (Jesus). He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
    1 John 5:11-12

    Assurance of Answered Prayer.
    “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name (Jesus). Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
    John 16:24

    “If you remain in me(Jesus)and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”
    JOHN15:7

    Assurance of Victory.
    “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
    1 Corinthians 10:13

    Assurance of Forgiveness.
    “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
    1 John 1:9

    Assurance of Guidance.
    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
    Proverbs 3:5-6

    Assurance of understanding what God has freely given us.
    “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”
    1 CORINTHIANS 2:12

    God delights in giving good gifts to his children, so don’t forget ask!

    (See your bible for details)

    ATB

    Sòpy

    😉

  123. ___

    “*Succumbing To Double Religious Jeopardy, Perhaps?” (1)

    hmmm…

    Of a truth, the theologian John Calvin, (the founder of Calvinism) was obsessed with terms like ‘the Sovereignty of god’ and ‘Predestination’. His followers became obsessed with terms like ‘the doctrines of grace’, which is nothing more that code words for their false T.U.L.I.P. theology. Their ‘default’ bible is the ‘Institutes of the Christian Religion (2)’; they adhere to Calvinist creeds like ‘the Westminster Confession of Faith’. Their religious ‘ideas’ are false and misleading. Their gospel is a (now) five hundred year old false gospel based upon the Gnostic writings of Augustine. Their message and methods cripple the Christian pulpit and exasperate the mission field. Their religion, not unlike their fellowship is progressively egotistical, argumentative, exclusionary, authoritarian and legalistic in nature. They possess absolutely no biblical assurance of the salvation Jesus came to present. They do not preached the gospel Jesus preached. They do not preach the gospel that Jesus came to establish for His people Israel.

    *

    A broken record?

    huh?

    The true message of the gospel was later preached to the gentiles (e.g. the people’s of the whole world). Calvinist don’t believe this inclusive gospel. The Calvinists have corrupted this inclusive biblical message with their own ‘exclusionary theology’ ™ .

    Is the New Calvinist a stealthy religious 501(c)3 ninja crusading professionally in sheep’s clothing?

    What?

    Don’t you be deceived by the Calvinist message if it is brought to you or your church pulpit.

    That the message that God so loved everyone that He gave His only Son, that if an individual would put his or her faith in Jesus they will be adopted into the household of God, redeemed, saved, covered with the blood of Jesus, and granted eternal
    life, is the best message on the planet. Please don’t accept any other substitute!

    (Please see your bible for details)

    *

    Listen to the tide slowly turning
Lord, wash all our heartaches away
We are part of the Holy Spirit’s true fire that is burning
And from His church 21st century reformation we can build another day
But I’m frightened for your children
And the present church life that we are living is in vain
And the sunshine we’ve been waiting for
Will turn to rain

    …When the final line is over
And it’s certain that the curtain’s gonna fall
We can hide inside your sweet sweet love, Jesus
Forever more… (3)

    **

    ATB

    Sòpy
    ___
    Notes:
    *(1) The risk or disadvantage incurred by two nefarious false religious sources simultaneously. (The sovereignty of god, and predestination as presented in the ICR ( (2) Institutes of the Christian Religion) See: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes

    *
    Intermission :

    Moody Blues – “Question”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tmOZFAYeurY
    Moody Blues – “Balance”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9jhfWH1h2OQ
    Moody Blues – “Ride My See Saw”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GXHMTuoK060
    (3) adapted fr. Moody Blues – “The Story In Your Eyes”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbxz0IxFHeI

    😉

  124. NJ wrote:

    One thing I was taught in the PCA regarding children was something called covenant theology, derived from the Old Testament as well as the teaching that the Church is the New Israel. My understanding, in a nutshell, is that when born to at least one Christian parent and infant baptised, then raised in the Church, a kid is considered part of the New Covenant and is *more than likely* to be elect.

    I’m Presbyterian now and I think this is part of the whole baptizing babies thing too? I know someone expressed something similar to this and in a some ways you could see it might be more comforting than another system.

    Maybe it’s weirder when you become a Calvinist in a Baptist church because your child is sort of hanging out there, and then some of these folks won’t even let them BE baptized as children because they supposedly don’t ‘understand’…

  125. Lydia wrote:

    Example, I was reading an article about hurricane Harvey and the how that would have affected people in an undeveloped country or even 150 years ago The same model would have killed over 100,000 people.

    The Galveston hurricane of 1900 killed something like 10k.

  126. Lydia wrote:

    @ Donnie:
    And rip pierced earrings off your ears! He was the first Pastor I ever heard who made babies sound like members of s street gang.

    The thought process of babies who grab your earrings is not evil! More like ‘oooh, shiny’.

  127. Yes, experience can change the dna you pass on, or so we are told concerning toxins, some forms of recreational drug use, etc. We are told both sperm and ova can be affected. So maybe Adam and Eve experienced that?

    I long ago gave up worrying about the h bomb or heresy charge. Modalism does nicely do away with ESS since it eliminates false Trinitarian teaching which is Tri-theism.

    And the most cogent “systematic theology” I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading is Talbot’s The Inescapable Love of God. It seems to me to square what we innately, as one author put it, cannot not know with what the Bible does say.

    And it doesn’t give me nightmares like hard line Calvinism or hardline Arminianism do. It doesn’t gloss over sin as no big deal, and it doesn’t cross over into a monster God delighting in frying folks. It does state basically no one gets to heaven without explicit faith in and repentance to Christ. It accepts some pretty hellish states, but makes clear we choose them and they are not states from which we cannot escape.

    For my own view, with God being our Father, and ordering us to love others as ourselves and to forgive and love our enemies as He does, it makes sense. Just as a good parent on earth sets rules for the good of the child, and enforces them, with increasing degrees of displeasure felt by the child until it willingly obeys, God disciplines all He loves. (And my Bible says He loves all. It is the sin in the sinner, not the person, He hates.)

    And just as our goal is happy, well adjusted offspring to enjoy relationship with and to bless the world with, His parameters will bring us the utmost pleasure and relationship.

    And sometimes to get us there He uses natural consequences of our actions, sometimes consequences He ordains, and sometimes if we really push it severe and very painful circumstances. (Not all of those are discipline. We live in a fallen world. But even then He walks with us and can use it to benefit us.)

    Our choice if we are difficult kids or easy ones. But are still His kids either way.

    Calvinism and Arminianism both seem to me to be led by mean thinkers delighting in seeing others punished.

    Nah. Bah. Rather read some Talbot and Lucado.

  128. @ Lea:

    I didn’t even realize there are different rungs to Christianity. How many days do I have to go without having a lustful thought, or losing my temper, or eating too much, or being too slothful (and about 600 other laws) until I move up a rung on the ladder?

  129. @ Lea
    @ Donnie

    Are you all defending porn, or is it that you just don’t like his terminology and analogy?

  130. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    infant baptism emerged as persecution increased and/or in response to high childhood mortality. … response to people’s uncertainty as to whether they and their families would live long enough to baptise their offspring as believers in due course.

    My lay understanding is that infant baptism is not a declaration of the baby’s future belief, but the family’s public commitment to raise the baby as a Christian. The time to declare faith is at confirmation, not baptism.

    I know one (now former) baby who was baptized just before major surgery. The phrase “marked as Christ’s own forever” comforted the parents in the event that the baby did not survive the operation. That might not stand up to withering logic, but who can blame the parents?

  131. Donnie wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    You see, the Neo Cals declared all babies guilty by inheritance and born worms
    Isn’t Paul Washer pretty big with the neocal set? I remember seeing a clip of him saying that if a baby was big enough, they’d murder you and steal your wrist watch without batting an eyelash. Which seems to say a lot more about Washer than infants…

    Oh my….lots of love and understanding of an infants mind….NOT!

  132. @ Friend:
    Not a Presbyterian but if our infant children had ever faced such a grave situation, I could become one.
    As it was, our 12 year old son was in an accident, his spleen ruptured. I was very grateful when our Pastor came to the hospital ER, and prayed over him. Very comforting.

  133. Friend wrote:

    the family’s public commitment to raise the baby as a Christian

    Yes. We also make a commitment as a church to the child. And adorably (to me) the kids in the congregation promise to be kind, show the kid around, etc.

  134. Friend wrote:

    My lay understanding is that infant baptism is not a declaration of the baby’s future belief, but the family’s public commitment to raise the baby as a Christian. The time to declare faith is at confirmation, not baptism.

    I think it depends on the setting, but that’s close to what the Anglican view is (in England, at any rate), IIRC.

  135. Meanwhile, it’s bedtime in Scotland.

    Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z

  136. Lea wrote:

    @ brian:
    Paul Washer is weird. Apparently if you do anything sexual wrong, you haven’t even made it to the first rung of Christianity? What is that about?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePt1daKYsB4

    it’s not just that it is basically no one is saved, that’s what I got from most of my time in the evang community is that almost everyone in the Christian faith is a false convert and can’t be saved because of what it says in Hebrews about tasting the fruit of the spirit and then returning to the world. It seemed that God is in a constant state of rage at everything.

  137. Friend wrote:

    That might not stand up to withering logic, but who can blame the parents?

    (Talking in my sleep here, of course.)

    Who indeed.

  138. Mae wrote:

    our 12 year old son was in an accident, his spleen ruptured. I was very grateful when our Pastor came to the hospital ER, and prayed over him. Very comforting.

    Wonderful that your pastor offered this healing in a frightening situation. We can always pray.

  139. Lea wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    @ Donnie:
    And rip pierced earrings off your ears! He was the first Pastor I ever heard who made babies sound like members of s street gang.
    The thought process of babies who grab your earrings is not evil! More like ‘oooh, shiny’.

    If you take their teaching on evil demanding babies to its logical conclusion it means that God given instinct is sin. That is how creepy they are.

  140. @ okrapod:

    No, not at all. I just find his reading of theology off. Of course, I grew up in an IFB church and was constantly told that unless you do XYZ you won’t get any crowns in Heaven and everybody will judge you because you weren’t as holy as they were. That might have something to do with it.

  141. @ Jack:
    Personally I think it is an ancient creation narrative probably written during Babylonian exile. Which is countering other ancient pagan creation narratives with a good God that wants relationship with His creation but humans turned away. Different than angry multiple arbitrary gods. It helps to understand the backdrop with barbaric pagans in mind and not modern enlightenment.

  142. Lydia wrote:

    @ Jack:
    Personally I think it is an ancient creation narrative probably written during Babylonian exile. Which is countering other ancient pagan creation narratives with a good God that wants relationship with His creation but humans turned away. Different than angry multiple arbitrary gods. It helps to understand the backdrop with barbaric pagans in mind and not modern enlightenment.

    And there’s a good possibility the final form of Genesis was deliberately structured as a PARODY of the surrounding Mesopotamian creation narratives. To wit:
    1) Everything mentioned as created was worshipped as a god in its own right by the goyim.
    2) The Sun, Moon, and Stars (the last being an afterthought) is in exactly the reverse order of importance as for the goyim. To Mesopotamians, the stars were the greatest gods, the moon inferior to the stars, and the sun the least important.
    3) Man is the crowning pinnacle of creation. To Mesopotamians, the gods created man as an afterthought, someone to flatter and sacrifice to them. (And later in the myth of Ut-Napishtim, the gods got tired of hearing humans and tried to drown them all with a global flood.)

  143. @ linda:

    Lucado made a fortune. I saw one his speaking gig checks many years ago. Some poor People made half that a year!

  144. Donnie wrote:

    I grew up in an IFB church and was constantly told that unless you do XYZ you won’t get any crowns in Heaven and everybody will judge you because you weren’t as holy as they were.

    My experience was not in an IFB church but in an independent Shepherding “Fellowship” with probable Calvary Chapel influence. There “XYZ” was Saving More Souls than the other guy; the “crowns in Heaven” were to be given out depending on how many converts YOU “led to Christ”. In retrospect it was a folk belief (mis)taken as Gospel, but it caused some real guilt trips and pressure to Witness(TM) as much as possible.

  145. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    That’s *exactly* what we were told, except this church had nothing to do with Calvary Chapel.

    This was around the 7-9th grade Sunday school. An angry red-faced man shouting and screaming about “And your friends will have dozens of crowns and you’ll have barely any and everybody will know how lukewarm you were in your walk with Christ!”

  146. @ brian:

    That and the comment elsewhere about making shipwreck of one’s faith are two primary passages that the FWB say indicate the possibility of actual apostasy, as opposed to and/or in addition to the other idea about they left us because they never were one of us. The belief in the possibility of actual apostasy is one of the differences between FWB and SBC. A rejection of the idea of once saved always saved.

    They do not have a concept of mortal sin like some do, but rather believe that apostasy is deliberate and irrevocable and not all that frequent; actual apostasy that is, not just sin.

  147. okrapod wrote:

    @ Lea
    @ Donnie
    Are you all defending p***, or is it that you just don’t like his terminology and analogy?

    What? No. Where would you get that? But I don’t think it’s worse than killing someone (although the stuff with children and some of it is on a different level and may be comparable). Definitely consensual sex is not. I think that ‘rung’ thing is weird.

    Generally, I think it’s weird to say any sin having to do with sex (and they do include A.N.y.) is worse than all other sins and that ‘not doing sex stuff’ is the most basic christian you can be or something. Instead of emphasizing something like love and kindness. Giving to the poor. What have you. If we have to make it hierarchical.

  148. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And there’s a good possibility the final form of Genesis was deliberately structured as a PARODY of the surrounding Mesopotamian creation narratives.

    Interesting!

    Something clicked for me when it was explained that the myth with the days goes
    1/4 (night and day)/sun moon stars
    2/5 (skys and sea)/sea creatures birds
    3/6 (land and vegetation)/animals and people

    This explains so many things that didn’t make sense to me before like, um, how did god create day and night before the moon and stars? And…whY exactlY? Oh, never mind. This is just symmetry. Fits better.
    Donnie wrote:

    “And your friends will have dozens of crowns and you’ll have barely any

    Now I’m picturing people either wearing 15 crowns on their head or having crown rooms where they showed off. What a weird view of heaven that is, people being all jealous of each other.

  149. Lea wrote:

    What a weird view of heaven that is, people being all jealous of each other.

    One of the tragedies of this tawdry culture is that it reduces Jesus’ kingship to a tacky pyramid selling scam.

    I never get particularly excited when I hear stories along the lines of “10 people were saved at XYZ event”. All it means is that 10 people were persuaded to respond temporarily to a message that may or may not have had more substance than the face-to-face equivalent of clickbait. Quite possibly, nobody was saved.

    This from the classic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty Four:

    But actually, he thought as he re-adjusted the Ministry of Plenty’s figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head.

    For example, the Ministry of Plenty’s forecast had estimated the output of boots for the quarter at 145 million pairs. The actual output was given as sixty-two millions. Winston, however, in rewriting the forecast, marked the figure down to fifty-seven millions, so as to allow for the usual claim that the quota had been overfulfilled. In any case, sixty-two millions was no nearer the truth than fifty-seven millions, or than 145 millions. Very likely no boots had been produced at all. Likelier still, nobody knew how many had been produced, much less cared. All one knew was that every quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps half the population of Oceania went barefoot.

  150. okrapod wrote:

    @ brian:
    That and the comment elsewhere about making shipwreck of one’s faith are two primary passages that the FWB say indicate the possibility of actual apostasy, as opposed to and/or in addition to the other idea about they left us because they never were one of us. The belief in the possibility of actual apostasy is one of the differences between FWB and SBC. A rejection of the idea of once saved always saved.
    They do not have a concept of mortal sin like some do but rather believe that apostasy is deliberate and irrevocable and not all that frequent; actual apostasy that is, not just sin.

    Thank you, I think I understand that, as it was explained to me not so much from the pulpit but in one on one and in smaller Bible studies that God wants to constantly test our faith, even though He knows the outcome He wants to see if we will stand. So He tries to trip us up so to speak. The outcome is many who thought they were saved would find out on the last day that they were actually lost and even far worse off than say your basic concentration camp guard, who was just a basic sinner fulfilling the Lords wrath against the Jewish people (a whole other post). Us who tasted of the Spirit had trampled under our feet the blood of the Son of God, the only thing left for us is God’s most vengeful wrath. For example in one of the Left Behind books towards the end, a scene in heaven where the Goats and Sheep are separated there is this sense that the goats did not know they were goats.

    I won’t go into the view of those in heaven getting to watch those in hell for all eternity and the saved giving praise to God for His wrath and justice. I can tell you, back when I believed all that nonsense it really twisted my soul up, to my shame. As I was taught apostasy was Divinely ordained and irrevocable from the foundations of the universe. It was also stressed that a huge majority of humanity would be lost like when only eight were saved in the Ark and literally billions were lost and now awaiting their place in the lake of fire. I have not really talked about this aspect of the Christian religion except here on this blog and one other blog. It does mess up one’s perception it should not but it does. It sort of supported my “hell” dreams as a kid after being burned so bad. Those really did not stop until my early fifties.

    My only real salvation on this earth has been my students and my family I got to help. I never want or wanted any type of reward, it just seemed like the right thing to do. That is its own reward, like one, should even need a reward to do what is right. That is probably heretical but it is how I see things.

  151. @ okrapod:
    First, I agree partially with your yes answers to your first four questions. The remainder of this comment will attempt to explain my use of the adjective partially.

    There is biological continuity between all earthly organisms. There is a single genetic code for all of life. It would be hard to feed ourselves if this wasn’t so.

    In summary, all cells of a multicell organism contain the complete genome for the organism. In multicell organisms the process of epigenetics controls how a particular cell specializes its function. This process works from the very beginning as the fertilized egg develops into a mature instance of what is designated by its genetic code. The majority of genome function appears to be epigenetic. A useful book on this subject is “The Gene An Intimate History” by Siddhartha Mukherjee. The concluding couple of chapters provide interesting speculation about the future of this branch of science. There is slight evidence for some epigenetic carry forward to a following generation. Other than germline (inherited) mutations there is no evidence that parental DNA modifications propagate to following generations.

    One well publicized insight of early complete genome sequencing is that our human genome and the chimpanzee genome are approximately 98% identical. For perspective is it claimed that human male and female genomes are 99.7% identical. Now the Bible indicates we are “made in God’s image”. I must believe that this is a reference to our moral nature, not our physical appearance and genetic heritage. Evolutionists as dissimilar as Richard Dawkins and Stephen J. Gould appear to agree that Darwinian natural selection doesn’t yield morality even as it does explain the variety of life. Explicitly, what we accept as a moral code is not transmitted through our genes.

    Thus, a very basic question is: What is the source of our concept of morality and why must it be learned rather than inherited? We are given the answer in the Genesis chapter 3 story of Adam&Eve.

    As one who made a career of exploiting some of the knowledge gained from the physical world I anticipate the biological sciences will provide the same opportunities for many others over the next 50 years. Obviously I agree with your final question answer. However as Christians if we don’t understand the biological sciences any better than the physical ones what little effect we have on the society around us will completely vanish.

    (I intended this reply to appear yesterday but Irma turned our lights out earlier than usual.)

  152. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    One of the tragedies of this tawdry culture is that it reduces Jesus’ kingship to a tacky pyramid selling scam.

    Tawdry, now there’s an adjective one rarely sees here in the States.

  153. Lea wrote:

    Paul Washer is weird. Apparently if you do anything sexual wrong, you haven’t even made it to the first rung of Christianity? What is that about?

    Not just Paul Washer, but Todd Friel (host of wretched radio) too.
    Just the name of Friel’s outfit (wretched radio) is very telling in itself.

  154. Muff Potter wrote:

    Tawdry, now there’s an adjective one rarely sees here in the States.

    “Clarty” is probably rare too; but then, it’s unknown south of The_Border.

    They’re a load a’ clarty hawkers, so they are.

  155. Loosely on the subject of science, it is worth giving a mention to

    The Cassini spacecraft

    Launched nearly 20 years ago, Cassini has been in orbit around Saturn since July 2004. On Christmas Day 2004, the secondary Huygens probe was dispatched and survived passage through the atmosphere of Titan to send back some of the most extraordinary pictures ever captured by the human race. Since then, Cassini has sent back over 650 GB of data on the ringed planet.

    Now, however, Cassini’s onboard fuel tank is all but empty; it can no longer make small corrections to its orbit and is therefore no longer controllable. This presents a tiny risk that it might, in future, crash into (and contaminate) one of Saturn’s moons, some of which are thought to have sub-surface oceans of liquid water and therefore to be potentially capable of harbouring life. Thus, on Friday, 17th September at around midday UTC, Cassini will enter Saturn’s atmosphere and burn up.

    Cassini is a machine, not a person, and it’s not quite appropriate to have an in memoriam; but still…

    Cassini-Huygens
    1997-2017

  156. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Cassini is a machine, not a person, and it’s not quite appropriate to have an in memoriam; but still…
    Cassini-Huygens
    1997-2017

    Years ago, I heard about a Shinto shrine in Japan where broken/worn out sewing needles are laid to rest in state, under the rationale that they were only sewing needles, but they gave long and faithful service in what they were made for.

  157. Muff Potter wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Paul Washer is weird. Apparently if you do anything sexual wrong, you haven’t even made it to the first rung of Christianity? What is that about?
    Not just Paul Washer, but Todd Friel (host of wretched radio) too.
    Just the name of Friel’s outfit (wretched radio) is very telling in itself.

    Muff Potter,

    I couldn’t agree more with you. Like a fool, I used to listen to Todd on a regular basis and one day, I finally woke up and said, “This guy is just plain sickening and self righteous, I can’t take it anymore!” And yes, his radio show is appropriately named for I now believe it is truly wretched and painful to listen too. He needs to go out and get a real job working with his hands, per the Apostle Paul.

    And I’m going to be sarcastic here, as I have found Todd Friel and host of other conservative fundamental preachers and teachers to be, so here it goes:

    “John Piper is a parent. John Piper has children. John Piper’s son chose to divorce his wife. Would that not make John Piper a poor theological preacher and teacher for his own household in not in order? And would that not make Piper’s son a wayward son, according to the precepts of the Scriptures?”

    My reasoning is not intended to offend anyone, but pointing out the logic of Piper’s own teachings. And I personally am entertained by his latest post on FACEBOOK regarding the precepts of masturbation. And the patriarchy culture loves him so. BLEH!

  158. Karen wrote:

    “John Piper is a parent. John Piper has children. John Piper’s son chose to divorce his wife. Would that not make John Piper a poor theological preacher and teacher for his own household in not in order? And would that not make Piper’s son a wayward son, according to the precepts of the Scriptures?”

    The law is not for Princes. It is for the protection of the people.
    — Unknown —

    Karen wrote:

    My reasoning is not intended to offend anyone, but pointing out the logic of Piper’s own teachings. And I personally am entertained by his latest post on FACEBOOK regarding the precepts of masturbation. And the patriarchy culture loves him so. BLEH!

    No offense taken Karen. I believe it was a beautiful Rabbi from Nazareth who long ago said something to the effect of:

    “And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.”

  159. I feel like there should be an ongoing post just to put every annoying thing from piper or dg…

    This showed up on my feed today:”God often withholds the things we want most in life to show us just how much we already have in him.”

    Um, ok.

  160. Lea wrote:

    I feel like there should be an ongoing post just to put every annoying thing from piper or dg…

    There already is such a thing; it’s Mr Piper’s twitter feed.

    One’s enough, IMHO.

  161. Hmm… though on reflection (which started as soon as I hit “Post Comment”), there are such things as really-good-quote pages. Maybe the converse is not such a bad idea. An example of mindsets not to get trapped by.

  162. @ Karen:
    Karen, my view, according to their own teaching, is that we should not believe a word they teach about such things until they are dead and we can scrutinize their entire life. If it did not work for them then we will know. (Wink)

  163. @ Lea:
    That doesn’t sound like this does it?

    Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

    (Note, He’s not speaking about a pony 🙂

  164. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    I feel like there should be an ongoing post just to put every annoying thing from piper or dg…
    There already is such a thing; it’s Mr Piper’s twitter feed.
    One’s enough, IMHO.

    GOD BLESS YOU SIR!!! Your response is the best gut laugh I’ve have in a long, long time. I know your comeback wasn’t meant to offend, but I did find it quite entertaining to say the least. If ever there was a pastor who loved the sound of his own voice crying in the city, it’s John Piper. And the people love his heresy so.

    Good Work, Nick Bulbeck

  165. Lydia wrote:

    @ Karen:
    Karen, my view, according to their own teaching, is that we should not believe a word they teach about such things until they are dead and we can scrutinize their entire life. If it did not work for them then we will know. (Wink)

    I was told during RCIA that was the reason the RCC doesn’t officially canonize a saint while they are alive — because we don’t know their entire life until it’s over.

    (Or if you’re being more cynical, it’s also because they’re not around to contest the official story of their life.)

  166. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I was told during RCIA that was the reason the RCC doesn’t officially canonize a saint while they are alive

    Lesley and I were canonised by the CEO of our last congregation. That is to say, we were fired.

    But we consider it a badge of honour.

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