Why I No Longer Call Myself an Evangelical But I Am Evangelical and a Lutheran

“I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me, Amen”. [Luther at the Diet of Worms (1521), LW 32:112–13]” link 

(Note: We are switching editing formats the editor for posts and this is our first post doing so. Please excuse any errors.)

Today, I decided I would admit to two things.

  1. I am not longer identifying myself as an evangelical although I am still evangelical.
  2. I am a member of a Lutheran church that tips conservative. I am not going to name the synod or affiliation.

Before I explain myself, I want to present a post written by a friend, Rich Shields, that expresses things far better than I could.  It is called Church in the Midst Turmoil and it is posted at his blog believe, teach, confess.

Rich has helped me wrap my head around a number of things that have been concerning me for years. Since attending my Lutheran church for almost 3 years, I have been presented with a faith that is well represented by kindly church leaders who do not compromise the Word yet convey it in a manner that has bought my husband and me much peace.

The following post is one of those defining moments for me. It was written after the 2016 election.


In the midst of much public angst, fear, etc. over the past week, accusations have been flung at Christians, specifically Evangelicals, about what should be done, changed, etc. In this post I will address that topic. But more, there is much about what Christians say and do, especially relative to the elections and who is elected/not elected, than has been addressed.

Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical

I use all three of these terms, but not as identified by a church body or movement. That may cause confusion, so let me explore this a bit. When I teach hermeneutics (principles of interpretation) I repeatedly point out that one key is looking at the referent of a word, i.e. what is it referring to, pointing to.

Definition: catholic 
When the word is capitalized (Catholic) it refers to the church body that is headed by the pope and headquartered in the Vatican. In my references to that church body I use the fuller title, Roman Catholic Church (RCC).

When the word is not capitalized (catholic) then it carries the basic sense of “universal.” Historically catholic referred to the universal Christian church, that is, believers in Jesus Christ, regardless of location or affiliation. It also meant that the Christians were identifiable by the confession they publicly professed.

I am catholic, in that I confess the Christian faith, and as articulated in the three ecumenical creeds (Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian).

Definition: orthodox
Like catholic, when Orthodox is capitalized it refers to a specific church body (or a group of church bodies: Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc.). When the word is not capitalized, orthodox carries the basic sense of “straight praise” (literalisticly) which came to indicate “straight doctrine.”

I am orthodox in that I confess the true, straight Christian doctrine (and praise/worship that reflects such) proclaimed in the Bible (as as expressed the creeds of the Christian Church.

Definition: Evangelical
Again, when capitalized the word, Evangelical, refers to a movement within the last 100+ years. Most of the rhetoric of the past 60 years about “Evangelicals” is used in reference to a conglomeration of people from various Reformed, Calvinist, and other Protestant backgrounds.

When not capitalized, evangelical has the historic meaning “gospel.” Interestingly, in Germany since the time of the reformation the Lutheran church was and still is known as the evangelische kirche, the gospel church.

I am evangelical as an expression historically meaning “gospel.” I adhere to the confession of the Gospel in all its purity, as articulated in the Book of Concord 1580.

Confusion and Caution:
These three words can also be used in a sociological way. That is, it might refer to many groupings of people who have the sociological identification as such, but are not theologically included in the terms. Thus, when each is used in a sociological way, then they might include Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses etc. However, when used in their historic theological understanding, the words do not apply to those groups.

I do not write this to cause problems but to note that using a word like “evangelical” (in a sociological construct situation) includes these groups which are not necessarily theologically accurate. For instance, I will never include these groups because I use the terms in their strictly theological sense.

Ministry in a Changing Social/Political Arena
What happens to the message of a Church/pastor when the social, political, economic situation drastically or subtly changes? The answer depends on how the terms above are used, sociologically or theologically? Sadly many churches/pastors don’t make that distinction. Is it any wonder that those outside the Church are confused when trying to provide an answer, demand changes?

Background:
With the election of Donald Trump as President, many are questioning how the Church can/should be changed or exhorted to respond. First, I would like to approach this from a secular standpoint. I served in the U.S. Navy 9½ years active duty and 4 years reserve. I served under four different presidents: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan.

In fact, my final processing interview (May 1973) took place when the Watergate investigation was reaching its peak. I was asked how this changing environment would affect my service in the Navy. I answered that my oath is to defend the country and the Constitution. If the President were impeached, then the VP would serve. It would not change my service at all. Thus, over the next decade, changing presidents didn’t affect my work, my commitment to the Navy, the nation, or relationships with family and friends.

So what is the Church to do?
So when the Church is called out now for not addressing the current hot points, I think I need to follow a similar path as a pastor. Note that most of these calls are for Evangelicals to change, or become what the Church should be, etc. My first response is: I am not part of the Evangelical movement, never have been, even though I am evangelical.

Second, I have pastored at the time of six different presidents (Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump). Over the past 30+ years, my focus as pastor has been on proclaiming the Gospel as historically understood. That means that much of my ministry is to and with people who are broken, abused, outsiders, etc. I began using the term “fringe ministry” to summarize this approach, which I think reflects Jesus’ ministry. Not once did the national climate affect the message or my ministry.

From that perspective, I do not have to change church bodies. I do not have to reinvent myself for the current situation. It is not because I am insensitive to what people are experiencing. Rather it is because I have been in the trenches of what people are experiencing: brokenness, abandoned, abused, neglected. The Gospel I proclaim is not a new social construct, in fact, to be Gospel, it cannot be.

What many, or most, people do not realize is that my ministry has even happened. It has not received public acknowledgement. And for that I am extremely thankful. Such public notice could easily close doors to ministry to the broken, abused, forgotten people, not open doors. I have seen God work changes in peoples’ lives that demonstrate exactly where God’s heart is, and therefore where my heart is.

Church and ministry do not change for anyone or any political, economic condition. I think we can learn from our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world: that even extreme, true (not artificial) persecution allows the Church to still be the Church. No president, no congress, no political platform can change that.

So what is the Church to do? In my case, exactly what we have been doing in the past. Thus, I speak Law to expose sin, but most importantly I speak Gospel to bring forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, hope in Jesus Christ. And the Church responds in caring for others as well.


Three years ago, my husband and  I were frustrated. We had watched a Reformed Baptist church mishandle a pedophile situation, watched a once thoughtful nondenominational church get taken over by a John Piper/Mark Driscoll quoting pastor, and watched a Reformed Baptist church treat communion like a drive thru window.

We began to feel caught in the middle. On one side were non-Reformed or *whatever* evangelicals like Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Ed Young Jr, and Pete Wilson. On the other side were the hard-line authority driven Calvinists like John Piper, Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur, and The Gospel Coalition crowd.

Then there were the demon wars, the gender wars, the ESV, ESS, the Prayer of Jesus, the Purpose Driven Life, seeker sensitive, seeker driven, church covenants, women not being allowed to read Scriptures out loud in the church, and on and on.

My husband and I weren’t like any of them. Wasn’t there something for those of us in the middle, who loved Jesus and didn’t want jump on all the latest evangelical fads?

We had been fortunate (Thank you Jesus) through the years to be able to find decent evangelical churches like Park Street Church in Boston or Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Dallas. Wasn’t there anything like that around here for us?

We found the church due to being a bit a selfish. We were looking for a church with a Saturday evening service which fit my husband’s work schedule and allowed him one morning a week in which he could sleep past 6:30 AM. Of course, the typical megachurches offered all sorts of service times but we were finished with them. However, there was one church, a Lutheran church only 15 minutes from our home that offered a Saturday evening service. Lutheran? I had attended one that I liked in college but I thought that Lutherans were either very liberal or very, very legalistic or so I had been told…

So, one cold January evening, off we trekked to a pretty church with stained glass windows. There was a small praise band in the corner, a big cross in the front and lots of candles lit against the dark, twinkling off the windows. The praise band picked the loveliest songs to sing and sang them in a way that invited us to sing along. The one hour service consisted of (and always does):

  • Greeting one another
  • Singing songs and hearing announcements
  • The Apostle’s Creed
  • 3 Scripture passages: OT, Epistles and Gospel read by men and women (gasp!) from the congregation up front at the lectern (No lightening bolts from heaven either)
  • A short but pithy sermon that I actually remembered the following week
  • Offerings
  • Confession
  • A declaration by the pastor of our forgiveness
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • The Sharing of the Peace
  • Communion-Pastors assisted by men and women in the congregation
  • The Benediction and the Charge

My husband and I looked at each other, stunned that we enjoyed it so much. So, we kept coming back. The pastors were kind but left us alone. We watched a church that did lots of things like rehabilitate homes, a prom for differently abled folks, midweek dinners which are incredibly well attended and are actually prepared and served by the, take a deep breath gender warriors, the men in the church.

It took us 2 years to join because we kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. It didn’t. We were delighted to be in a church in which the pastors were kind and knew everybody. They eat the midweek dinner with folks and go out of their way to shake your hand after the service.

We attended the 6 week course on joining the church, worried about things like church covenants, etc. No worries arose. We just had to agree that the church was following Scripture and we would help and pray for the church.

We are closing in on 3 years in attendance. As our readers know, our church supported us when Mr Nobody decided to send letters condemning this blog for caring about abuse in the church. I think I bawled my eyes out for about a week. I am so grateful for them as well as my friend, Rich Shields.

My husband and I help serve communion (and I haven’t tripped over my foot and fallen yet) and I am helping lead a small group of kids through confirmation classes which are awesome. I am learning as much as the kids.

I can no longer define myself as an evangelical as portrayed in the media. However, I am evangelical in my approach. My faith is important to me and most people who know me know about that part of me. However, I have learned something interesting. I used to say I was an evangelical and I would endure the occasional rolling of the eyes, knowing what others might be thinking. Oddly enough, when I say that I am Lutheran, I do not get the same response. In fact, others ask me if it is that pretty church nearby. It has a good reputation in our community.

I hope you all understand what I am saying. I have not changed but I now define myself more accurately.

Somehow, I think God kind of pushed me in this direction, knowing what I needed. he also has a sense of humor. Look at what we were led to name this blog. Look at what we chose for a picture for this blog. It is the Wartburg Castle where Luther wrote his German transition of the New Testament.

I look forward to the celebration of Reformation 500 this year as a Lutheran. And, to brag just a bit, the Reformation started 500 years ago when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. Sorry Calvinists, it started with Luther, not Calvin!


Comments

Why I No Longer Call Myself an Evangelical But I Am Evangelical and a Lutheran — 290 Comments

  1. “the Reformation started 500 years ago when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. Sorry Calvinists, it started with Luther, not Calvin!” (Dee)

    An important point that probably won’t get communicated through the New Calvinist ranks this month! Calvin will still come out on top as the new reformers bow before him – he is their champion, not Luther.

    The Reformation had many players. Luther certainly initiated it with his 95 Theses, but other groups quickly joined in – the Anabaptist, Moravian, and Pietistic movements added their voices to the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation was a great move of God that came into the world right on time. Attempts at a new reformation 500 years later pales in comparison – it is focused on Calvin, not Christ, this time around.

  2. After I left seminary, I spent years trying to find a church. The church that supported me into seminary (a requirement for SBC seminaries) fell apart my first year there. I went to a church that I liked for a few years, but they eventually made it clear that singles were not really welcome there and their main focus had become only nuclear families.

    When I moved to my new town last year, I determined I would find a church that at least these four things:

    1) They lived out their faith by being generous to each other and those around them. This generosity was not dependent on age, marital status, gender, or even whether or not you were a Christian.
    2) They had a female pastor on staff who they actually called a pastor or minister.
    3) They considered everyone coequal heirs and priests in Christ.
    4) The pastor(s) actually visited the sick and the hurting.

    These things not only exhibited what I wanted in a church, but it eliminated most of the churches (and people) that have made my college and seminary life miserable and caused me to question if there were actually decent churches out there. I resolved not to care about style of worship at all.

    I visited churches of a number of different denominations and finally settled on a tiny Methodist church just around the corner, though I found a couple of churches of other denominations a bit farther away that I liked as well, specifically a Lutheran church and an Cooperative Baptist church. I still intend to visit the Anglican church here.

  3. I am no longer an Evangelical although I once was. As many know here at TWW, I am now an Orthodox Christian. I could no longer tolerate the fads that kept coming and going. The infighting and schisms became odious to me. The propensity to judge, judge, judge all those other Christians who aren’t doing it right became exhausting and downright repulsive to me (although I do know there are exceptions). I could go on, but the gist is: Evangelicalism no longer met my spiritual needs, it no longer fed the depths of my soul. It became like a water-less desert. I have left Evangelicalism and never looked back.

  4. Dee, Thanks so much for sharing your journey. It seems that lived experience overrides titles and theological ad nauseam – with the value of human hearts in communion with one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and true to God’s Word. Praise God.

  5. JYJames wrote:

    with the value of human hearts in communion with one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and true to God’s Word.

    Beautifully put.

  6. I think you made a good choice dee. Lutheranism will survive and thrive long after the fad churches dry up and blow away like so many Walmart bags snarled in a chain-link fence.
    God Speed!

  7. Muff Potter wrote:

    I think you made a good choice dee. Lutheranism will survive and thrive long after the fad churches dry up and blow away like so many Walmart bags snarled in a chain-link fence.
    God Speed!

    Indeed, Muff. On my journey toward the Orthodox Church, I attended a Lutheran church for awhile. They tended to be far more stable and less likely to be influenced by the Evangelical fads.

  8. I am so happy for you, Dee!

    There are churches out there.Some Lutheran, some Orthodox, some nondenominational, Methodist, etc……little lighthouses of hope, grace and love. I am glad you found yours. I found mine about four years ago and they have been the best years of my life.

  9. The Lutheran church is awesome and I enjoyed my time there. Probably the best theology in the protestant realm.

  10. I love this. I’m so disgusted with the Evangelical church and how they have appropriated the terms “Christian” and “evangelical” in America. I’m glad you have found a committed and loving church.

  11. Growing up Pentecostal, I really didn’t know much about Lutherans. It wasn’t until the exit from the cult 10 years ago that I discovered what Lutherans were about. My dearest friend who exited that cult with me had been raised Lutheran. Her parents were founding members of the Lutheran fellowship in her hometown.

    So, when I would go home with her for the holidays to visit her family (that adopted me), we would go to that little Lutheran Church with them. And I have never found a more loving church and a down to earth pastor. The peace of God truly does permeate that place. And Lutherans teach Grace as it is taught by Paul …. by Christ. They don’t seem to know about that twisted definition Calvin gave. 😉
    So, yeah. That little Lurheran church has become a safe place for me. I’m glad you have found a safe place to call home. 🙂

  12. Try as I might I just can’t stomach the doctrine of election….another reason I’m being led towards Lutheranism

  13. I am not a Lutheran, but we found much of value in the LCMS church and school about which I have written several times. And it was a Lutheran hierarchy which intervened in the dust up at that school/church and as a result of which I have defended the idea that hierarchy can function well-if it will and when it does.

    Best wishes to those who are Lutherans, and much encouragement to those who look for a Christian tradition with whom they can be at peace during these difficult times.

  14. Why am I no longer evangelical, basically I was spewed out of its mouth, there is no room at the inn and I am a dog returning to its vomit. I cant compete and I am not welcomed even the death of Jesus cant save me and that was made clear in my evangelical experience. I get God hates me and He can’t wait until I draw my last breath so He can resurrect me to eternal perdition. I get that, so that is the main reason I am not Evangelical. I will admit I am drawn to liturgical faith groups. The main reason is that the folks I work/worked with can follow along, they can participate in it.

    I get if one does not fully understand every single aspect of the Christian religion in a cognitive aspect such people are lost and under the eternal wrath of a Holy God. Trust me I get that is spades. But liturgical services really appealed to the folks I worked with, especially in the institution I worked in, granted anything even remotely Catholic is Satanic and God’s eternal Holy Wrath is going to get poured out on those who are part of the children of disobedience. I get that as well, actually, I don’t but well, I guess I should. In my old faith tradition all Catholics, most EO, almost all Anglicans, all charismatics, most Lutherans, most Presbyterians, etc were all headed to the lake of fire, even most of the people in our own congregation were most likely secret apostates ready to betray the son of man with a kiss.

    It was actually thought that most in the congregation who were lost would not know it until the final resurrection when they would be gold the Son never knew them and they also along with almost all of humanity would be cast into the lake of fire. Pretty much everyone was lost but it was for the Glory of a Holy God whos wrath was burning and waiting to be poured out on a rebellious humanity. That is the rather mild version of it. I want to be an evangelical because they have financial resources that could help a few I want to help. I know shame on me for that. I would love to be part of a community of faith, but one phrase I learned very very very clear in my experience, There is no room at the inn and I am a dog returning to its vomit. I got that in spades and twice on Sunday. I have said this a few times, no good news here, please stop calling it that.

  15. That’s great! I’m trying to find the right Anglican church to go to round here. There is one in my village but my former husband goes there & he really needs a Beakerj free zone to thrive, so I need to look wider. All my reading etc is leading me in the lines of orthodoxy, inc.paleo-orthodoxy & actual Orthodoxy, potentially. I just need a really really nice stable church with a good community to start with. I really miss the community at my former church – they are awesome – I just can’t cope with any level of calvinism. 🙁 Maybe I was just over-sensitive to it & need to drop in to see.

    Welcome to what goes on in my brain when I think about these things…Dee I just wanted to say I’m delighted for you guys 🙂

  16. @ brian:
    Brian every time I read your comments I see things I recognise, not in me being told all of these things, but in fearing they are true. You work so hard for your clients & I just wanted to say that I really appreciate you being here & hope that you can move forward to peace in the future. There is room at this inn.

  17. Dee, glad you and yours have found a good home. I too am on the Wittenberg trail, being raised Lutheran and having spent the last thirty years wandering in the Evangelical wilderness. It took over ten years to get out of Bible Church Land, but now that we are out it is a lot more clear how bad it really was.

    I don’t know if you find liturgical worship as refreshing as I do, but I am so happy not to dread the sermon anymore, and so glad to get so much scriptural content in the worship.

    The confession and absolution is also very satisfying. I love that we confess as a community, and that the pastor includes himself in that. Yes, we confess that we are poor miserable sinners, but the sweet sound of being reminded that all our sins are forgiven because of Christ is so wonderful! I’m glad I hear that because I need to hear that, even as a believer.

    Also glad to be away from faux holiness, 12 steps to a better sex life, political sermons, and what I did on my fifth vacation sermons. Law/Gospel sermons are so much better, and like you, I too actually remember them a week later.

    God bless you & your church family. I’m sure there are a lot of refugees who would be helped by seeking out a good Lutheran Church in which to lose their Evangelical luggage. Issues Etc is another good resource, especially their series Liturgical bootcamp for Evangelicals.

    Also Rod Rosenbladt’s messages for those broken by the church are fantastic, and real eye openers. For those ready to Chuck Christianity into the trash bin, listen to Rod before you do. Craig Parton, another guest on Issues Etc is also excellent! Search the archives and you’ll find those guys. They saved me from quitting altogether. 🙂

  18. I think the reason half of you no longer call yourselves evangelical is that you’re all looking for the perfect church.

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

    Yours Sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

  19. Bah.

    It’s no wonder you’re all whining about evangelicalism and its so-called lying cheating leaders. If you’d only belt up and get on with submitting like the Word_of_God says, you wouldn’t care about them lying and cheating and you wouldn’t complain so much.

    You’re all rubbish.

    Up Yours,

    Roger Bombast

  20. I sometimes wonder how I ever managed to fine-tune the vacuum permeability, the relative strengths of gravity and the other forces, the charge/mass ratio of the proton (and electron), and all that stuff, without having a closed canon of My Word to refer to. And that’s before I had to worry about complex organic compounds to build living things out of. It would have made sustaining all things by the word of My power so much easier…

    😉

    Best regards,

    God

  21. I made the “living on a Diet of Worms” joke here a couple of years back – otherwise I’d be tempted.

  22. @ A.Tumbleweed:

    Mine (which really says the same thing, but from a different angle) is that I’ve found the perfect church; it’s called The Church. Whilst human beings have founded any number of copycat churches, Jesus has only ever built one.

    Peter found the perfect church and tried not to join it (e.g. Go away from me, Lord! I am a sinful man an’ a’ tha’!). But that didn’t work, because the perfect church can’t be spoiled by anyone. True holiness is contagious.

  23. ” We” are still recovering from Harvey( Our grocery store, both dollar stores, all of restaurants, local schools all closed for repair…school kids are going to a makeshift campus at a ” mega” church miles away)

    But at some point it is time for me to find a church. It is going to be difficult. It won’t be SBC or Pentecostal, which dominate the landscape here in East Texas. I may have to drive the 20+ miles away to Beaumont, but I’ve got to find a church in which I’ll be happy. And I may not be able to accomplish it.

  24. Great summary of your journey. Glad you are in a good and healthy congregation.

    When I joined the Baptist church at age 16, the pastor (who served there for 35 and who was raised Methodist) told me that there were believers in all of the Christian denominations and that they key was knowing and loving Jesus.

    Thanks for writing this blog.

  25. I’m so glad you’ve found a wonderful, supportive church!

    Gradually over the past couple of years, I’ve become more at peace with the conclusion that if the capital-E Evangelical church wants to say that I’m not an Evangelical, why should I fight for the word? The number of things over which I disagree with them (especially pertaining to things said in the latter part of 2016, if you catch my drift) reached a point where I gave up my attempts to reclaim the term.

    Since then, while still attending an SBC church, I’ve shifted further toward the Done category (i.e. “done with their [skubalon]”) in my mind if not in my physical presence. Admittedly, there are complicating factors in my life that make fitting in any sort of small-e evangelical church difficult, although I could probably still mesh with an ELCA congregation if they weren’t too conservative… : )

  26. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I’ve found the perfect church; it’s called The Church. Whilst human beings have founded any number of copycat churches, Jesus has only ever built one.

    There has always been ‘The’ Church within the church. Finding it may be a little difficult, but it’s there – try as it might, organized religion will never snuff it out. Jesus referred to ‘The’ Church when He said “Believe Me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father … the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth” (John 4). Some of us are fortunate to find where true worshipers gather in our area; others may have to dig their own spiritual well until the drought lets up. Being “Done” for a season might be the healthiest thing for you, rather than joining yourself to a place where Spirit and Truth do not prevail.

  27. Dee,

    We are in a Baptist church, affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Men and women are treated equally. The deacons do not run the church, but serve communion and look out for the spiritual welfare of the congregation. The church is organized into several councils that bring recommendations to the church for review and adoption in business meetings with a lay moderator. The church has many ministries to the community, including a clothes closet for public school children who are homeless or very poor and provides the “uniform” clothing schools require; mentoring of students at a nearby elementary school; meals on wheels; study halls with food at exam time for students at the nearby university; office space for a national hunger publication; and financial support for a variety of local, regional and national ministries. The pastor starts sermons with an illustration that is relevant to the message and often self-deprecating as well. All are welcome, and all will leave inspired.

  28. Dee,

    I left my home church after it was overrun by two powerful MacArthurite lay leaders. The more openly vicious one was an elder who once mentioned he would “allow” the senior pastor to stay until he was age 70, as long as that pastor abided by certain guidelines.

    (Equally vicious, but quieter MacArthurite #2 — though he had no theological degree — posted online ugly doctrinal critiques of key lay leaders, including one of the church founders, a good person whom I’d known all my life, a man whose life had shown a lot of “good fruit.”)

    And when there was an opening in the pastoral staff, MacArthurite #1 would sweep in, as the nominating committee was still vetting applicants, and approve anyone from Master’s Seminary (now Master’s University), usurping our mandate and wasting hours of people’s time. He called all the shots and was a bully to anyone who wanted to follow the church’s written guidelines. The senior pastor didn’t stop him (blackmail?).

    Thankfully, earlier at college I had met students from different kinds of churches. I was impressed by their devotion. They exposed me to many churches and I grew to appreciate the prayer-and-Bible centered-ness of liturgical churches.

    Today I am happy at my new church. In fact, I’d be happy at any church that has a smart, loving pastor who stands by people when they are in need: A pastor who is in the thick of things when people need compassion. And genuine humility is a must. I’ve found those gems in many denominations.

    My approach to life is evangelical, and I do like the warmth of Evangelical (big E) denominations, but I no longer identify as an Evangelical on a regular basis.

    Blessings at your new church, Dee.

  29. @ Muff Potter:

    “…the fad churches dry up and blow away like so many Walmart bags snarled in a chain-link fence”
    +++++++++++++

    what a great description! yes, that’s the mental picture of an edifice of artifice in its imminent demise. godspeed indeed.

  30. @ Josh:

    “I’ve become more at peace with the conclusion that if the capital-E Evangelical church wants to say that I’m not an Evangelical, why should I fight for the word?”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    yes, what’s the point? this conclusion sounds so delightfully freeing. reminds me of my realization that i didn’t have to go to certain social events where i already knew in advance i’d have to pretend to be enjoying myself.

  31. Janey wrote:

    I left my home church after it was overrun by two powerful MacArthurite lay leaders.

    When Joshua crossed the Jordan River with the children of Israel into the promised land, they quickly discovered that they were going to have to fight to possess it. The land was populated by various “ites” (Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, Jebusites, etc.). Now, eons later, the children of God have a new batch of ites to deal with (MacArturites, Driscollites, Piperites, Mohlerites, etc). It’s always been a battle to possess the land – this time around, it’s a war against Truth and half-truth/mis-truth … give the battle to the Lord, He will help you sort it out where you live.

  32. @ Darlene:

    “On my journey toward the Orthodox Church, I attended a Lutheran church for awhile. They tended to be far more stable and less likely to be influenced by the Evangelical fads.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    boy, that sounds good! in the way that a home-cooked meal of red meat and a chard-&-kale salad sounds so good after days of fast food sustenance while travelling.

    is it possible to find a church that hasn’t heard of John Piper, the assorted cast of TGC characters, RightNow Media, the words “complementarian”, “headship”, “servant-leader”, and who use the word gospel as a noun and sparingly?

    i’m so incredibly sick of the stale grease of it all.

  33. I guessed wrong! All this time I was convinced you were a member of one of the Continuing Anglican churches. Clearly I am a lousy guesser. Remind me never to be a contestant on a game show.

  34. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Darlene:

    “On my journey toward the Orthodox Church, I attended a Lutheran church for awhile. They tended to be far more stable and less likely to be influenced by the Evangelical fads.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    boy, that sounds good! in the way that a home-cooked meal of red meat and a chard-&-kale salad sounds so good after days of fast food sustenance while travelling.

    is it possible to find a church that hasn’t heard of John Piper, the assorted cast of TGC characters, RightNow Media, the words “complementarian”, “headship”, “servant-leader”, and who use the word gospel as a noun and sparingly?

    i’m so incredibly sick of the stale grease of it all.

    Well, FWIW, I’d never heard of any of that stuff before I came here. But since then, some of that stuff has popped up occasionally on my Facebook feed.

  35. I suppose it’s better to be long to a pro-social church if you’re going to belong to a church at all – but seems like they’d do well to ditch the name of Martin Luther. The 95 Theses had the right idea, and his theology might have been a little better than the Catholic church – but the Martin Luther himself was pretty atrocious. The man was violently anti-semitic, and endorsed executions of people who didn’t follow his notion of proper religion (anabaptists, specifically).

    If Mark Driscoll was still the unrepentant jerk that he is, but he had some legit theological ideas – would it still make sense to name a church after the guy?

    Anyways, just a little critical thinking from the atheist side of the fence.

  36. Beakerj wrote:

    @ brian:
    Brian every time I read your comments I see things I recognise, not in me being told all of these things, but in fearing they are true. You work so hard for your clients & I just wanted to say that I really appreciate you being here & hope that you can move forward to peace in the future. There is room at this inn.

    Amen!!!

  37. I am so glad that you found a church you feel supports you.
    There are a couple of points that seem off to me in the comments. In the classical definition Lutheranism would have to be included in “Evangelical”. Maybe that is your point.
    Has anyone ever read Luther’s “The Bondage of the Will”? There are those who say he was more “Calvinistic” than Calvin, so to speak. He even thanked Erasmus for bringing the issue up saying something like this was what the disagreement with RCC was really all about.

  38. Ken wrote:

    In the classical definition Lutheranism would have to be included in “Evangelical”. Maybe that is your point.

    I’m glad you found a good church, Dee.

    This whole discussion brings up an important point: what is an “Envangelical” (big E or little e)? There are so many definitions of “Big E” as to render the term meaningless.

    My opinion is that ALL Christians have to be evangelical given Jesus’ command known as “The Great Commission” (see Matthew 28: 16-20).

  39. I am glad you have found a place that ministers to you.

    I believe Jesus did give us certain guidelines to help us find a ‘perfect’ church: (just don’t tell Arnold! :))

    -you will know them by their love for each other (John 13:34-35);

    -they will worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24);

    -they will bear His good fruit (John 15:1-17).

    If you can connect with someplace that is doing that, regardless of their denominational stripe, you’re going to do alright!

    Jesus told the religious ‘elect’, however, exactly what He thought of them in Matthew 23 and He didn’t tolerate any of their heavy-handed, legalistic shenanigans! And neither should we.

  40. ishy wrote:

    I went to a church that I liked for a few years, but they eventually made it clear that singles were not really welcome there and their main focus had become only nuclear families.

    How utterly sad and bereft of heart! Not to mention sorely lacking in wisdom. Older folks and especially women are storehouses of valuable experience which an be passed on to the young.

  41. The one hour service consisted of (and always does):
    * Greeting one another
    * Singing songs and hearing announcements
    * The Apostle’s Creed
    * 3 Scripture passages: OT, Epistles and Gospel read by men and women (gasp!) from the congregation up front at the lectern (No lightening bolts from heaven either)
    * A short but pithy sermon that I actually remembered the following week
    * Offerings
    * Confession
    * A declaration by the pastor of our forgiveness
    * The Lord’s Prayer
    * The Sharing of the Peace
    * Communion-Pastors assisted by men and women in the congregation
    * The Benediction and the Charge

    That is a standard Western-Rite Liturgy. (You know, Vain Repetitions of Men? Romish Popery?)

    The only difference in order of operations with the REAL Romanist version is that at St Boniface, the “Confession” part comes earlier, soon after the “Greeting”.

  42. Max wrote:

    There has always been ‘The’ Church within the church.

    All too often de facto defined as “ME, not Thee”.

  43. @ brian:
    What you went through is Standard Fundagelical boilerplate. I went through the same during my time in-country, all backed up with SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! and have much the same damage.

    After a time as a Done, I ended up drifting into an older Liturgical church, much like Dee did. The structure of the Liturgy and the long historical trace acts as a stabilizer and protocol for approaching God.

  44. We found the church due to being a bit a selfish. We were looking for a church with a Saturday evening service which fit my husband’s work schedule and allowed him one morning a week in which he could sleep past 6:30 AM.

    Trying to fit around your work schedule is a legitimate reason, Dee.

  45. @ brian:
    I wonder if a LOT of these common Fundagelical behaviors and doctrines are just attempts at More-Christian-Than-Thou One-Upmanship with a side order of Sadism – inflicting pain on you and me gives them Pleasure.

    And in the Zero-Sum Game, the only way to Win is to make someone else LOSE.
    And the harder they lose, the bigger Your Win.

  46. I used to say I was an evangelical and I would endure the occasional rolling of the eyes, knowing what others might be thinking. Oddly enough, when I say that I am Lutheran, I do not get the same response. In fact, others ask me if it is that pretty church nearby. It has a good reputation in our community.

    Because as a Lutheran, your church has a historical trace and track record in the community.
    Something other than pop up out of nowhere, Say The Sinner’s Prayer, and Wait for The Rapture.

  47. I compleletly agree with Dee’s summary, and I do not consider myself an “Evangelical” either…. and I attend a “mainline “ demoniation….. i also do not get the eye roll when I use the “mainline” label

    While that makes “us” a “compromiser” , or “liberal”, or “lukewarm”, i am personally moving away from putting any worth in the “labels” that fundies/Evangelicals put on me…. and people that think like me

    I lived to much of my early life believing in/using these labels that fundies and Evangelicals are so quick to put on anyone that disagrees with them. However, my life experiences, and all of the examples on this blog and others , contiune to expose the ” inconsistencies” of these same fundies/Evangelicals…. they have lost all credibility with me!

  48. preacher’s wife wrote:

    I love this. I’m so disgusted with the Evangelical church and how they have appropriated the terms “Christian” and “evangelical” in America.

    Problem is, the Loud Lunatic Fringe has a way of defining the public face of any movement. Because they can out-SCREAM everyone else, and last longer as they have No Life to get in the way. It’s near-impossible to avoid being tarred by the Loud Crazies who proclaim to the outside world that they’re One Of You and You’re Just Like Them.

  49. Lutheran churches (and by extension other “mainline” churches) can certainly have the same issues that some of the evangelical churches suffer from – authoritarian leadership, abuse, misappropriation of funds but there is something to be said for having to be responsible to a national or international organization as far as accountability goes.

    Social psychology tells us that we are normally drawn to those who are most like us.

    Dee and her husband found a community that shared their values. It happened to be a Lutheran community.

    If you are going to join a faith community, it has to align with your internal morality. This is not to say you are going make a god in your image but the reflection of your worship has to be a reflection of your values.

    If your church doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t for you.

    I’ll put it into Christian vernacular – the point of singularity should be the resurrection and the promise of redemption that it offers.

  50. elastigirl wrote:

    boy, that sounds good! in the way that a home-cooked meal of red meat and a chard-&-kale salad sounds so good after days of fast food sustenance while travelling.

    Yeah that does sound good! Just like my all-day chicken breast (no skin) in the crock pot. Timed with with red potatoes (skins left on), asparagus and carrots in the steamer at the end…

  51. Muff Potter wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:

    boy, that sounds good! in the way that a home-cooked meal of red meat and a chard-&-kale salad sounds so good after days of fast food sustenance while travelling.

    Yeah that does sound good! Just like my all-day chicken breast (no skin) in the crock pot. Timed with with red potatoes (skins left on), asparagus and carrots in the steamer at the end…

    I’m looking forward to some crockpot chili with cornbread, followed by a blackberry pie. Now I should probably get my butt into the kitchen and start making that a reality.

  52. elastigirl wrote:

    is it possible to find a church that hasn’t heard of John Piper, the assorted cast of TGC characters, RightNow Media, the words “complementarian”, “headship”, “servant-leader”, and who use the word gospel as a noun and sparingly?

    Even better, one that has heard of all the above nonsense (excepting the word gospel, used as a noun and sparingly, from “nonsense”), and calm-assertively dismisses it.

  53. @ Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    Once you come out as Lutheran, evangelicals will most likely consider you lost and irrelevant. You are now a mission field. Or as Craig Parton has opined, you are “Roman Catholic but too stupid to know it”

    Being out of the Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    I lived to much of my early life believing in/using these labels that fundies and Evangelicals are so quick to put on anyone that disagrees with them.

    +1
    Now that I am out, I cringe daily.

  54. Dee,

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I relate to that feeling of being “caught in the middle”. While I’ve not changed much theologically over the last 3 decades both the churches that I have belonged to during that time have each shifted considerably (one less conservative, one more conservative).

  55. Ken wrote:

    Has anyone ever read Luther’s “The Bondage of the Will”? There are those who say he was more “Calvinistic” than Calvin, so to speak. He even thanked Erasmus for bringing the issue up saying something like this was what the disagreement with RCC was really all about.

    I have. Luther’s tome is a hard read, and to use a pithy metaphor? It’s a lot like humpin’ dense bush back on the Nam. Basically he says that free will is an illusion and that you (generic you) are in slavery to your ‘fallen nature’ as a default condition

    There was a time when I signed onto this and wouldn’t dare and question it. That time is past and I now no longer believe this teaching.

    Don’t get me wrong, Luther still had many great things to say that I still believe in, but I now pick and choose what I believe and disbelieve.

  56. Dee, I’m with you on not calling myself an evangelical. I don’t know that I ever really did. For me, it’s like the word fundamentalist; it’s taken on a whole lot of baggage that doesn’t describe me. I wonder what term low church protestants will come up with next. Gospeller, perhaps?

  57. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    That is a standard Western-Rite Liturgy. (You know, Vain Repetitions of Men? Romish Popery?)

    Papa Chuck (founder of Calvary Chapel) never missed a chance to take a shot at Catholics for their liturgical approach as ‘the vain repetitions of the heathen’.

  58. @ Muff Potter:

    If I remember correctly, this was one of Luther’s early books. He may have modified his theology in this area. I know confessional Lutherans who adhere to the Book of Concord believe in one way election–in other words, God chooses no one for eternal damnation.

  59. (from the post):
    “I look forward to the celebration of Reformation 500 this year as a Lutheran. And, to brag just a bit, the Reformation started 500 years ago when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. Sorry Calvinists, it started with Luther, not Calvin!”

    I am half-way through a 6-wk class about the Reformation (led by our Pastor Emeritus who has read more books than I care to think about). What surprised me to hear was that the ideas of the reformation started hundreds of years earlier than Luther, with men like Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, Jan Hus (burned at the stake eventually), and I think others I am forgetting w/o notes nearby.
    Anyway, Luther’s spread so quickly because (although written in Latin) it got both translated to local languages and spread rapidly by the recent invention of the printing press.

  60. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    Or as Craig Parton has opined, you are “Roman Catholic but too stupid to know it”

    That’s insulting. The original Lutherans purposefully wrought a conservative reformation, keeping as much as possible. In fact, their divine service was originally called the Lutheran mass. Once I came to the conclusion that the Bible doesn’t actually teach a regulative principle of worship, this is something I have come to appreciate all the more.

  61. Muff Potter wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    That is a standard Western-Rite Liturgy. (You know, Vain Repetitions of Men? Romish Popery?)

    Papa Chuck (founder of Calvary Chapel) never missed a chance to take a shot at Catholics for their liturgical approach as ‘the vain repetitions of the heathen’.

    You think Papa Chuck was bad, remember Raul Rees (AKA “PastorRaulReesCalvaryChapelWestCovina”)?
    It was literally IMPOSSIBLE to exaggerate Raul Rees’s level of rabid Anti-Catholicism.

    P.S. Muff? How are you doing with all the wildfires along the 91? We’re getting heavy smoke plume over Anaheim and Fullerton, with ashfall in Fullerton.

  62. Muff Potter wrote:

    Papa Chuck (founder of Calvary Chapel) never missed a chance to take a shot at Catholics for their liturgical approach as ‘the vain repetitions of the heathen’.

    Papa Chuck also never missed a chance to denounce Star Wars at the drop of a hat. Usually dropping the hat himself.

  63. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    Or as Craig Parton has opined, you are “Roman Catholic but too stupid to know it”

    Kallistos Ware (aka Timothy Ware) wrote in his book The Orthodox Church that in the eyes of the Eastern Orthodox faith, Protestantism and Roman Catholicism are two halves of the same whole.

  64. Burwell wrote:

    A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    Or as Craig Parton has opined, you are “Roman Catholic but too stupid to know it”

    Kallistos Ware (aka Timothy Ware) wrote in his book The Orthodox Church that in the eyes of the Eastern Orthodox faith, Protestantism and Roman Catholicism are two halves of the same whole.

    In that case, I think they may need to wash their eyes out.

    Certainly, in my experience, both Protestant anti-Catholics and Orthodox anti-Catholics take their shopworn polemics from the same discredited playbook.

    Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

  65. BTW, re Bishop Ware’s comment: This is what the late Hans ur Von Balthasar called “the Anti Mentality.” I am surprised to see someone of Bishop Ware’s prominence espousing it. He could scarcely be considered “cage stage.”

    Joseph leMaistre had a different take: “Hatred of the papacy is the tie that unites all of the separated churches.”

    Thankfully many Protestants and Orthodox are abandoning that hatred and misunderstanding. May their tribe increase.

  66. @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    I think Craig Parton conveyed that sentiment as an example of how he used to view Lutherans when he was an evangelical. Once he became a Lutheran, I did not get the sense that he retained an anti-RC bias. I hope I didn’t offend with that comment.

  67. IIRC, John MacArthur also called Lutherans “barely christian”. My guess is that most Evangelicals see Lutherans as irrelevant to any serious discussion. Obviously there are exceptions.

  68. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    IIRC, John MacArthur also called Lutherans “barely christian”. My guess is that most Evangelicals see Lutherans as irrelevant to any serious discussion. Obviously there are exceptions.

    ” Barely Christian”
    Most of these guys would know a Christian if they hit them in the face with a wet mop.

  69. readingalong wrote:

    Jan Hus (burned at the stake eventually),

    I am a mega fan for Hus. Did you know that the phrase “Your goose is cooked” arises out of the burning of His at the stake. Also, current days Moravians consider Hus as one of theirs. I was touring the Moravian museum in Winston Salem and decided to speak to the curator on my interest in Hus. He got so excited and we talked for almost an hour.

    A wonderful man who I serve with in a Christian medical/dental group attends a local Moravian church.

  70. dee wrote:

    A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    John MacArthur also called Lutherans “barely christian”.

    he should meet people from my church.

    I met more Christians since Harvey that have done stuff to help people that have lost everything….and many of these Christians have not been in a church-house in years.

  71. @ FW Rez:
    I am rather startled by where I ended up. I used to be a solid *non-denominational.* Sadly, I learned that non-denominational means “Could change on a dime.”

    There is peace in following centuries old system of belief that one knows will not change next week when the latest dudebro comes up with the latest idea.

  72. Janey wrote:

    (Equally vicious, but quieter MacArthurite #2 — though he had no theological degree — posted online ugly doctrinal critiques of key lay leaders, including one of the church founders, a good person whom I’d known all my life, a man whose life had shown a lot of “good fruit.”)
    And when there was an opening in the pastoral staff, MacArthurite #1 would sweep in, as the nominating committee was still vetting applicants, and approve anyone from Master’s Seminary (now Master’s University), usurping our mandate and wasting hours of people’s time. He called all the shots and was a bully to anyone who wanted to follow the church’s written guidelines. The senior pastor didn’t stop him (blackmail?).

    That is just plain awful and most decidedly not Christian. I am pleased that you, too, have found a resting place.

  73. @ Anonymous Oracle at Delphi:
    Thank you, Oracle. There is a church herein Raleigh called “The Oracle of God” and I always giggle and think of you when I pass it.

    I think you might enjoy my church. There Is no compromise on the Gospel (noun), they don’t roll with the fads, and they attract a number of people who are looking for leaders who are just plain nice. Kindness is an oft overlooked trait in pastors.

  74. Anonymous Oracle at Delphi wrote:

    the pastor (who served there for 35 and who was raised Methodist) told me that there were believers in all of the Christian denominations and that they key was knowing and loving Jesus.

    I had a pastor who once said “Same batter, different shaped cake pans.”

  75. @ A.Tumbleweed:
    I think I should have had you write my post. I love the liturgy. I love the confession and prayers. I am especially blessed that they pray for people who ask by name! You ca drop your prayer request in the offering plate and they will pray that service for you.

  76. Debby wrote:

    Try as I might I just can’t stomach the doctrine of election

    yes- I checked out a few doctrinal issues prior to joining and am pleased with their stance on these things.

  77. Jack wrote:

    extension other “mainline” churches)

    The Lutheran church that attend is not a mainline Lutheran church. There is a difference.

  78. NJ wrote:

    Dee, I’m with you on not calling myself an evangelical. I don’t know that I ever really did. For me, it’s like the word fundamentalist; it’s taken on a whole lot of baggage that doesn’t describe me. I wonder what term low church protestants will come up with next. Gospeller, perhaps?

    Totally get this. We’ve never referred to ourselves as Evangelical. We presently attend a Baptist Church, but aren’t Baptists either. We just refer to ourselves as, believers, Christians, etc. I wonder too what term best describes low church, non evangelical, non fundamentalist, believers.

  79. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    inconsistencies” of these same fundies/Evangelicals…. they have lost all credibility with me!

    I have been there. Three years ago I was at my wit’s end. I love attending a church -always have. I am one of those people who try to get to know folks and serve in some way. I rally thought I might not find a church in which I was entirely comfortable and began to wonder about the compromises that I might have to make.

    It’s funny. For the first few months, I was on pins and needles, waiting for the first mention of John Piper, Mark Driscoll, etc. Nothing-not even 3 years later.

    I waited for the first sermon on the *roles of women.* Nothing.

    Strangely enough, the first thing I noticed was the fat that they actually read a lot of Scripture during the service.

    Then, the topic of creation came up. Nope- no discussions on Ken Ham. Simply that God created everything

    Now, when I go to church, I relax. That doesn’t mean I am not challenged. But I don’t feel like the bomb is going to drop.

  80. Ken wrote:

    There are those who say he was more “Calvinistic” than Calvin, so to speak.

    I am doing lots of reading now. I do know that a seminary leader has point blank told me that Lutherans are not Calvinists and do not consider themselves Reformed. However, I will do an update on this after I get further into my study.

    I am auditing a Lutheran seminary course at the moment that deals with pastoral leadership. They have a different take on Matthew 18 and I plan to write a post about this in the near future. I think most people will really like what I have to say. The professor laughed when I told him he would see his words in writing soon enough.

  81. Max wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    I’ve found the perfect church; it’s called The Church. Whilst human beings have founded any number of copycat churches, Jesus has only ever built one.
    There has always been ‘The’ Church within the church. Finding it may be a little difficult, but it’s there – try as it might, organized religion will never snuff it out. Jesus referred to ‘The’ Church when He said “Believe Me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father … the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth” (John 4). Some of us are fortunate to find where true worshipers gather in our area; others may have to dig their own spiritual well until the drought lets up. Being “Done” for a season might be the healthiest thing for you, rather than joining yourself to a place where Spirit and Truth do not prevail.

    Agree Max. Our time of being, * dones * let us heal from leaving our, taken over church. We were also able to really consider what kind of fellowship it was we were looking for. Four years later we are still joyfully attending the church we found.

  82. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    I guessed wrong! All this time I was convinced you were a member of one of the Continuing Anglican churches. Clearly I am a lousy guesser. Remind me never to be a contestant on a game show.

    dee might not be, but I am! Ironically, for a church that doesn’t do women’s ordination, they are far more nicer to be in than in a Piperite/MacArthurite or even Calvary Chapel church. None of that women-are-easily-deceived-doo-doo-heads-who-need-to-stay-at-home garbage here. My priest’s wife is an engineer. Lots of women engineers at my parish, in fact.

    I grew up in Vineyard with some Calvary Chapel in my late teens and early adulthood. The misogyny was palpable, especially in CC. The the young men would look down on me and treat me like I had leprosy when they found out my STEM major. I guess they expected me to be majoring in being a kindergarten teacher like all the other young ladies who were passing the time until they got a ring.

    So happy to be out. Not looking back!

  83. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    That is a standard Western-Rite Liturgy. (You know, Vain Repetitions of Men? Romish Popery?)

    Papa Chuck (founder of Calvary Chapel) never missed a chance to take a shot at Catholics for their liturgical approach as ‘the vain repetitions of the heathen’.

    You think Papa Chuck was bad, remember Raul Rees (AKA “PastorRaulReesCalvaryChapelWestCovina”)?
    It was literally IMPOSSIBLE to exaggerate Raul Rees’s level of rabid Anti-Catholicism.

    P.S. Muff? How are you doing with all the wildfires along the 91? We’re getting heavy smoke plume over Anaheim and Fullerton, with ashfall in Fullerton.

    Ashfall? I haven’t noticed any ashfall. Maybe I should step outside my building and look? The problem with no windows….

    It looked like the wind blew a lot of the smoke away this morning.

  84. dee wrote:

    NJ wrote:

    Gospeller, perhaps?

    Sola Pipera-after one of their celebrities?

    LOL…something like that. Actually, Piper has recently gotten himself in trouble again, this time over his teachings on justification. Apparently, he sounds like he teaches final salvation by faith and works, a la the Catholic Church.

  85. NJ wrote:

    Apparently, he sounds like he teaches final salvation by faith and works

    So he is finally admitting it then…?

  86. Mae wrote:

    Totally get this. We’ve never referred to ourselves as Evangelical. We presently attend a Baptist Church, but aren’t Baptists either. We just refer to ourselves as, believers, Christians, etc. I wonder too what term best describes low church, non evangelical, non fundamentalist, believers.

    One I’ve heard from (I think) Todd Pruitt of Mortification of Spin, is the word confessional, as in confessional Presbyterian. It was some time ago when they were discussing the increasing meaninglessness of the word ‘evangelical’.

  87. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    NJ wrote:

    Apparently, he sounds like he teaches final salvation by faith and works

    So he is finally admitting it then…?

    Yeah, I can’t say I’m surprised in the least after what little I’ve read of his “christian hedonism”.

  88. @ God:

    @ dee:

    “I have a question….why the hairy legged big spider???”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    yeah, and the jerusalem beetle?! and flying saucers? (i have a friend who saw one — wish it were me)

    (it didn’t occur to me that i could ask all my questions!) (just 2 for starters)

  89. Clockwork Angel wrote:

    dee might not be, but I am! Ironically, for a church that doesn’t do women’s ordination, they are far more nicer to be in than in a Piperite/MacArthurite or even Calvary Chapel church. None of that women-are-easily-deceived-doo-doo-heads-who-need-to-stay-at-home garbage here. My priest’s wife is an engineer. Lots of women engineers at my parish, in fact.

    First of all, I thought she was a continuing Anglican too.

    Second of all, what you describe here is one of the things that bugs me about parts of the conservative Lutheran world. The Steadfast Lutheran guys in particular, seem to subscribe to ideas that make them sound like the Bayly brothers.

    Then there are things like the predominance of young earth creationism, and the persistent fear of Unionism that prevents them from having altar fellowship with other Lutherans, never mind other Christians.

    (For some fun, google ‘LCMS’ and ‘geocentrism’.)

  90. elastigirl wrote:

    @ God:

    @ dee:

    “I have a question….why the hairy legged big spider???”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    yeah, and the jerusalem beetle?! and flying saucers? (i have a friend who saw one — wish it were me)

    (it didn’t occur to me that i could ask all my questions!) (just 2 for starters)

    My first thought was that scene with Shelob and friends.

  91. Dee

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Everything I know about Lutherans, I learned from Garrison Keillor. Furthermore, I know little about the creeds and confessions apart from their derivative influence on the various churches where I’ve found fellowship over the years. But, I’m thankful that you shared your blessing with us. I think some of us may be encouraged to turn over a few more stones.

  92. Dee, Thanks for this post. I am a member and have been for almost 25 years of a small, quite traditional SBC church in Augusta, GA. Recently, a relatively young man (not fresh out of seminary) was hired as our pastor. No big changes have been proposed. Still, given what I read on TWW, I have noticed a couple of yellow flags. We are into the time frame where others have indicated pressures for changes becoming more forceful. At age 76 contemplating a change of denomination is not encouraging. Your post and the subsequent comments indicating that there are other denominations that maintain the spirit of the Gospels while managing in our bizarre and rapidly changing culture offers me hope for the future.

  93. Rich wrote:

    a pro-social church if you’re going to belong to a church at all

    I do not know what you mean by a *prosocial* church. The point I made was they do good things in the community just like a bunch of evangelical churches in the area do. I do not see a big difference in this area.

    Rich wrote:

    The 95 Theses had the right idea, and his theology might have been a little better than the Catholic church – but the Martin Luther himself was pretty atrocious. The man was violently anti-semitic, and endorsed executions of people who didn’t follow his notion of proper religion (anabaptists, specifically).

    I guess I have a problem with looking at all people of history. For example, King David was a murderer and adulterer. Thomas Jefferson had babies with his slave-Sally Heming. Christopher Columbus and other explorers exploited the indigenous people here in North America. Even the so called indigenous people came here over the land bridge. Native Americans used to enslave other Native Americans. (I spent 2 years working on the Navajo Reservation and have a deep interest in this area.)
    Thought: Was Christopher Columbus one of the original Dreamers?

    Let me throw out a few points-not well meshed together.

    1. Mankind is sinful, has been, always will be. Even the greatest of leaders were messed up.
    2. There is a reason that Jesus came for all of us. Even when we think we are pretty good, we learn that we are fallible, unkind, judgmental, mean, etc.
    3. Human slavery exists today.
    4. Jim Crow laws are only a few decades gone.

    Yes- Luther was wrong about the Jews and I believe that he should not have sided with the princes against the peasants.

    At the same time-Martin Luther changed the world. In 2000, I was listening to a PBS countdown (with the help of historians)of the greatest accomplishments/people of the last 1,000 years. Understand: this was PBS and not a conservative talk show. Guess what came in as Number 1? The Gutenberg Press. Number 2-Martin Luther. I smiled because I knew that the somewhere around 85% of what the Gutenberg Press was printing in the 1500s was Luther’s stuff.

    Luther changed the world. Take a look at art. Before Luther came on the scene, much of art was pictures of royalty. Luther believed in the priesthood of believers and taught the average person was a valued in God’s eyes as the priest. Soon, the great artists began to to feature ordinary people in their daily work. The Renaissance owed much to Luther as more and more attention was paid to the average person as being as precious in God’s sight as the royals and Church leaders.

    In case you think that my response is due to my recent membership in the Lutheran church, I want to stress that I have long been interested in Luther as exhibited by our choice of the name Wartburg. Also, I developed a 2 year course in church history that I taught at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Dallas many years ago. There are people there who may remember the time I dressed up as Cardinal Tetzel and refuted Luther’s 95 Theses. I had a hard time pulling it off because I kept giggling.

    In the end, I wonder how hard you would have to look to find a perfect role model for the world. There is One but He is not like us.

    Thank you for your comments.

  94. OldJohnJ wrote:

    At age 76 contemplating a change of denomination is not encouraging. Your post and the subsequent comments indicating that there are other denominations that maintain the spirit of the Gospels while managing in our bizarre and rapidly changing culture offers me hope for the future.

    If you have a moment, would you be willing to drop me an email and tell me what those yellow flags are? I am most interested.

  95. What Happened wrote:

    I think some of us may be encouraged to turn over a few more stones.

    I would never have predicted this solution for my problem. But I have learned a very important lesson. Explore for yourself and don’t always buy the “they are too legalistic” or “they are too liberal.”

    Most important lesson of all: Look for KIND pastors. That makes all the difference in the world.

  96. @ Clockwork Angel:
    I know a number of Anglican churches in our area that are wonderful churches. There are many similarities between my Lutheran church and a couple o the local Anglican churches.

    Also, those Anglican churches often have leadership councils which are made up of men and women. This means that women have input into he running of the church-something that would cause a Calvinist to fall over dead.

  97. I believe, and please correct me if I am wrong, but all of the major Lutheran church bodies have disavowed Luther’s stance on many issues that we would find objectionable today, specifically his later writing on the Jews that Hitler used as propaganda. And I believe that the official position on Luther is that they appreciate his contribution to Reformation Theology, but hang their hat on the Book of Concord (1580) which was written after Luther’s death in 1546.

  98. NJ wrote:

    (For some fun, google ‘LCMS’ and ‘geocentrism’.)

    Did you know that geocentrism once had iron-clad math rigor?

  99. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    I think Craig Parton conveyed that sentiment as an example of how he used to view Lutherans when he was an evangelical. Once he became a Lutheran, I did not get the sense that he retained an anti-RC bias. I hope I didn’t offend with that comment.

    You did not offend at all!!!

  100. Someone may have mentioned this (not enough time to read all the responses) but in our roughly a decade among the Lutherans we were definitely taught the doctrine of election and predestination. Not DOUBLE predestination like the hyper calvinists, but still predestination.

    Luther’s “Bondage of the Will” was sourced often.

  101. dee wrote:

    If you have a moment, would you be willing to drop me an email and tell me what those yellow flags are?

    The email is on the way. I’d appreciate knowing that you’ve seen it.

  102. NJ wrote:

    A.Tumbleweed wrote:
    Or as Craig Parton has opined, you are “Roman Catholic but too stupid to know it”
    That’s insulting. The original Lutherans purposefully wrought a conservative reformation, keeping as much as possible. In fact, their divine service was originally called the Lutheran mass. Once I came to the conclusion that the Bible doesn’t actually teach a regulative principle of worship, this is something I have come to appreciate all the more.

    No regulative principle of worship? Astonishing thought.

  103. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    P.S. Muff? How are you doing with all the wildfires along the 91? We’re getting heavy smoke plume over Anaheim and Fullerton, with ashfall in Fullerton.

    We are just sick at seeing the news. Praying for all who have been affected by the fires.

  104. NJ wrote:

    That’s insulting.

    I think that was his point. That was his opinion as an Evangelical, but now he is a Lutheran. And he was saying that it is how Evangelicals look at Lutherans when they approach them as targets for evangelism. Evangelicals, in general, believe Lutherans are liberal and lost. That was the reason he said it, to educate Lutherans on how they are viewed in the Evangelical world.

  105. Debby wrote:

    Try as I might I just can’t stomach the doctrine of election….another reason I’m being led towards Lutheranism

    I’m with ya on this one. Double predestination is a downright soul killer. It has the potential to lead a person to despair.

  106. brian wrote:

    Why am I no longer evangelical, basically I was spewed out of its mouth, there is no room at the inn and I am a dog returning to its vomit. I cant compete and I am not welcomed even the death of Jesus cant save me and that was made clear in my evangelical experience. I get God hates me and He can’t wait until I draw my last breath so He can resurrect me to eternal perdition. I get that, so that is the main reason I am not Evangelical. I will admit I am drawn to liturgical faith groups. The main reason is that the folks I work/worked with can follow along, they can participate in it.

    Brian, it just might be that the Lutheran Church could be the place for you. While attending a Lutheran church many years ago, I felt very welcomed. Not only that, but the theology never left one feeling hopeless. They don’t teach double predestination which is a real plus. Their understanding of forgiveness is refreshing. I could say more but I encourage you consider the Lutheran option.

  107. brian wrote:

    Why am I no longer evangelical, basically I was spewed out of its mouth, there is no room at the inn and I am a dog returning to its vomit. I cant compete and I am not welcomed even the death of Jesus cant save me and that was made clear in my evangelical experience. I get God hates me and He can’t wait until I draw my last breath so He can resurrect me to eternal perdition. I get that, so that is the main reason I am not Evangelical.

    I second what Darlene wrote. What you have expressed as the message you heard is the polar opposite of Christianity. God doesn’t hate you and he demonstrated that in spades. I think You would find Rod Rosenbladt’s message “The Gospel for those broken by the church” very helpful and refreshing. It would give you hope. I know it did me. because I was ready to chuck the whole thing. Almost did that twice. I am sorry you have experienced such abuse. It should never have been. 🙁

  108. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    “On my journey toward the Orthodox Church, I attended a Lutheran church for awhile. They tended to be far more stable and less likely to be influenced by the Evangelical fads.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    is it possible to find a church that hasn’t heard of John Piper, the assorted cast of TGC characters, RightNow Media, the words “complementarian”, “headship”, “servant-leader”, and who use the word gospel as a noun and sparingly?

    Elastigirl: You bet there is! I can guarantee you that no one in my local parish, other than me, has heard of those things you mention. And I’m sure not going to be the one to introduce them to such nonsense. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

  109. @ brian:
    I am sorry, but your story haunts me, and I just have to do this. If it’s frowned upon here, just let me know.
    I found this today and wanted to share it. We hear so much that is called “gospelly”, but maybe don’t hear the actual Gospel enough:

    “The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ is this: that for the sake of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, your sins are forgiven and you are reconciled with God. Your sins are not counted against you. This is irrespective of if your sins have been relatively minor and have just kind of collected like dirt on a filter over the years or whether you’ve had major infractions that haunt you. God thinks nothing of your sins now for the sake of Jesus. In fact, even more than that, God Himself has declared you free from all condemnation, all guilt, and all punishment. God as the almighty judge has justified the ungodly, he has released guilty prisoners who didn’t deserve it. He has released you. That is the Gospel, and there is not a truer Word of God in all the Scriptures.”
    From a sermon titled “Where the law should and should not go” http://www.wolfmueller.co/law-not-go-sermon-preached-pr-jared-melius/

    I just thought it was beautiful and good news. 🙂

  110. @ linda:
    That may be. However, it is not taught at my church (at least in the almost 3 years I have been there) and I listen very carefully.

  111. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    “Roman Catholic but too stupid to know it”

    Too funny!!! He is too stupid to realize that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  112. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    I guessed wrong! All this time I was convinced you were a member of one of the Continuing Anglican churches. Clearly I am a lousy guesser. Remind me never to be a contestant on a game show.

    CGC: Don’t feel badly. I was thinking the same thing!

  113. @ dee:
    I don’t have a problem with jumping on the Lutheran ship. You can do whatever you like. It’s a free country.

    I just hope it’s a move that is right for you, not just a reaction to the Calvinist crap laying all over the Church floor.

    Many moons ago, I had reached a tipping point because of the deadness of my church life. I felt incredibly empty and frustrated. So, I turned to para-church. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. I wanted to be about my Father’s business. A busy, productive servant. How could that be wrong?

    What I got was Seven Mountains, a really steep learning curve and lots of regrets.

    By coincidence, I just re-read the 95 theses last week because I could not remember them. Can I ask you if you’ve read them closely?

  114. To our readers who are interested in exploring this a bit deeper:

    @ linda:

    Linda
    I am a fan of the Internet Monk. Last week, he posted on how Lutherans can solve many problems inherent to the evangelical wilderness. I can assure you that Chaplain Mike, now a pastor in the ELCA , explains his thinking on the matter. I can assure you that he is no Calvinist in his thinking.

    In his 3 posts he remarks on how a number of Lutherans in the more conservative synods are not terribly unlike the ELCA except for a couple of issues. You might find these posts helpful. There are some Lutheran groups that are super duper insulated but many are not.

    Reformation 500: How the Lutheran Tradition Answers Many Post-Evangelical Concerns (1)
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/76763

    Reformation 500: How the Lutheran Tradition Answers Many Post-Evangelical Concerns (2)
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/76773

    Reformation 500: How the Lutheran Tradition Answers Many Post-Evangelical Concerns (3)
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/76789

  115. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    P.S. Muff? How are you doing with all the wildfires along the 91? We’re getting heavy smoke plume over Anaheim and Fullerton, with ashfall in Fullerton.

    Mrs. Muff and me are doin’ good. We’re at the North Eastern foot of the Santa Ana mountain range in Corona. The fires are West of us in the Anaheim hills region. We could see the smoke plume yesterday but the winds have shifted and it’s not visible today. Mandatory evacuations of more than 5,000 homes have been ordered as the ground and air crews have not yet achieved containment…

  116. Muff Potter wrote:

    Did you know that geocentrism once had iron-clad math rigor?

    And that it was taught as indisputable fact for 1500 years (give or take) in Europe’s universities?

  117. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    Once you come out as Lutheran, evangelicals will most likely consider you lost and irrelevant. You are now a mission field. Or as Craig Parton has opined, you are “Roman Catholic but too stupid to know it”

    So who in blazes is Craig Parton?

  118. Ken P. wrote:

    This whole discussion brings up an important point: what is an “Envangelical” (big E or little e)? There are so many definitions of “Big E” as to render the term meaningless.
    My opinion is that ALL Christians have to be evangelical given Jesus’ command known as “The Great Commission” (see Matthew 28: 16-20).

    The problem is, a certain group has co-opted the term “Evangelical” so as to exclude all others that don’t believe exactly as they do. So even though what you say is technically correct, I would never tell someone that I am an Evangelical, simply because of what that word conveys in modern parlance.

  119. Nathan Priddis wrote:

    jumping on the Lutheran ship.

    I waited about 2 years to join the church and attended almost every week. No jumping. As for the 95 Theses, I have read them. Could you let me know what you are concerned about?

  120. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    preacher’s wife wrote:
    I love this. I’m so disgusted with the Evangelical church and how they have appropriated the terms “Christian” and “evangelical” in America.

    Problem is, the Loud Lunatic Fringe has a way of defining the public face of any movement. Because they can out-SCREAM everyone else, and last longer as they have No Life to get in the way. It’s near-impossible to avoid being tarred by the Loud Crazies who proclaim to the outside world that they’re One Of You and You’re Just Like Them.

    HUG: Also the problem is that the LOUD LUNATIC FRINGE has made it bad for the rest of us who bear the name of Christian. They have made the word Christian into an embodiment of all that is judgmenal, arrogant, bellicose and self-righteous. Of course they think they are being persecuted when others speak poorly of them. However, it doesn’t seem to occur to them that it might be because of their obnoxious behavior that they are not well received.

  121. OldJohnJ wrote:

    I am a member and have been for almost 25 years of a small, quite traditional SBC church in Augusta, GA. Recently, a relatively young man (not fresh out of seminary) was hired as our pastor … I have noticed a couple of yellow flags.

    I recommend that you read TWW’s post “How to Spot a Calvinista Pastor – Are These Some of the Clues?” The “Reformed Red Flags” listed in that article would be helpful to you as you consider whether or not the yellow flags you are seeing fit the modus operandi of young reformers who have been taking over SBC churches through stealth and deception.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2017/05/17/how-to-spot-a-calvinista-pastor-are-these-some-of-the-clues/

  122. @ dee:
    It is also nice to be able to appreciate the recent Noble prize in physics and not have to try to go into all sorts of metal gymnaics to explain how they are all wrong because the Universe is only on the order of 10,000 years old…. or keep my mouth shut at church because I would otherwise be labeled a compromiser, or worse….

  123. NJ wrote:

    @ Muff Potter:
    If I remember correctly, this was one of Luther’s early books. He may have modified his theology in this area. I know confessional Lutherans who adhere to the Book of Concord believe in one way election–in other words, God chooses no one for eternal damnation.

    One thing I can say for certain, Lutherans do not believe in Limited Atonement.

  124. Happy for you Dee…

    Two words I purposely do not use any more:

    First is evangelical and the other, sadly to say is Grace.

  125. dee wrote:

    The Lutheran church that attend is not a mainline Lutheran church. There is a difference.

    A quick search. Lo and behold, a plethora of Lutherans. And I thought they only came in 2 flavours!

    The order of service you described sounded like the Anglican church of my youth I assumed all liturgical churches were mainline.

    I know that some Lutheran congregations are more closed than others.

    In our city, Lutheran churches have taken a hit. The Anglicans have too. A number of churches have closed their doors or amalgamated congregations.

    What’s the trend in the States?

    Liturgical protestant churches seem to be losing relevance. As a young person, liturgy was a bit of a slog through. Reading the same lines every week was difficult.

    Maybe in a more vibrant community, it’s a bit different.

    I still enjoy the Christmas service at my buddy’s Lutheran church.

    Couldn’t do it every week.

  126. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    Papa Chuck (founder of Calvary Chapel) never missed a chance to take a shot at Catholics for their liturgical approach as ‘the vain repetitions of the heathen’.
    Papa Chuck also never missed a chance to denounce Star Wars at the drop of a hat. Usually dropping the hat himself.

    Speaking of Star Wars, I once knew a Christian lady who said her son was getting nightmares due to sleeping on Star Wars bedding (Stars Wars being a tool of the devil and all). She said she was going to burn those sheets, and without hesitation I said: I’ll take those sheets if you don’t want them. Oddly enough, she gave them to me. And my son never had nightmares from sleeping on them. Go figure.

  127. Jack wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    I still have no idea what IHTIH stands for. Can anyone help me out?
    “I Hope That It Helps”

    Thank you, Jack!

  128. A.Stacy wrote:

    Happy for you Dee…
    Two words I purposely do not use any more:
    First is evangelical and the other, sadly to say is Grace.

    One I don’t use is biblical. Too many Christians have ruined the meaning of that word.

  129. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Burwell wrote:
    A.Tumbleweed wrote:
    Or as Craig Parton has opined, you are “Roman Catholic but too stupid to know it”
    Kallistos Ware (aka Timothy Ware) wrote in his book The Orthodox Church that in the eyes of the Eastern Orthodox faith, Protestantism and Roman Catholicism are two halves of the same whole.
    In that case, I think they may need to wash their eyes out.
    Certainly, in my experience, both Protestant anti-Catholics and Orthodox anti-Catholics take their shopworn polemics from the same discredited playbook.
    Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

    Oh, but Catholic Gate Crasher, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware is anything but an Orthodox anti-Catholic. In fact, he’s quite ecumenical and likes to rub elbows with other Christians outside of the Orthodox Church. In fact, some Orthodox think he’s too liberal in his views on Catholics and Orthodox uniting as one church. Look it up on YouTube and you will find some presentations by Ware that speak favorably of our two churches uniting.

  130. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    IIRC, John MacArthur also called Lutherans “barely christian”. My guess is that most Evangelicals see Lutherans as irrelevant to any serious discussion. Obviously there are exceptions.

    Who cares what John MacArthur thinks? Pretty much anyone that isn’t part of his tribe is considered outside the faith as far as he is concerned. Johnny Mac and the MacArthurites are some of the most rabid, caustic Christians around. They are in the Alt-Right wing of Christian Fundamentalism. Very much like Christian Jihadists except they don’t behead people. Now, if we were a Protestant theocracy….

  131. dee wrote:

    A.Tumbleweed wrote:
    John MacArthur also called Lutherans “barely christian”.
    he should meet people from my church.

    The question is, would he want to soil his hands or ruin his reputation by meeting with Lutherans? Imagine the kerfuffle that would cause within Fundamentalist Evangelical circles if MacArthur met with Lutherans? There would be folks looking to excommunicate him.

  132. dee wrote:

    @ FW Rez:
    I am rather startled by where I ended up. I used to be a solid *non-denominational.* Sadly, I learned that non-denominational means “Could change on a dime.”
    There is peace in following centuries old system of belief that one knows will not change next week when the latest dudebro comes up with the latest idea.

    Darn tootin’, Dee! This is one of the reasons I left non-denominational Evangelicalism. I recognized that a loud, squeaky wheel could come in and change the beliefs and practices of that local church body if he got enough people on his side. In fact, the last Evangelical non-denominational church I attended had originally been a Methodist church. Slowly, there was a mutiny from within and they began changing their beliefs and practices from Methodist to Baptist. My husband and I saw quite a bit of this happen before our very eyes.

    Change on dime….absolutely!

  133. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    IIRC, John MacArthur also called Lutherans “barely christian”.

    I am no fan of John MacArthur, but we need to be fair. When did he say this and where? I’m not a computer search expert, but I can’t find such a statement.

  134. Some churches just seem to start out with the right idea, on the right note, for example, the following introductory posting:

    “There’s a saying – ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.’ At our church, we aren’t about ‘fixing’ the Church to suit our modern tastes, but are instead praying to be shaped by God into faithful followers of Him, by an ancient heritage, into new creations of Christ Jesus. We follow the Church’s old ways, liturgies, confessions, and creeds–which are certainly old, but never old-fashioned!

    “We are a radically traditional Body of Christ coming from diverse backgrounds who gather from all around the area to worship according to the great tradition of the holy, catholic, and apostolic church. We strive, by Word and Sacrament, to grow in the image of Christ.”

    (Of course, the follow-through is the proof in the pudding.)

  135. Darlene wrote:

    Now, if we were a Protestant theocracy….

    They’d love to be top dawgs in a Protestant theocracy.
    Here’s what John Adams had to say to Jefferson in letter in 1817:

    “Oh! Lord! Do you think that a Protestant Popedom is annihilated
    in America? Do you recollect, or have you ever attended to the
    ecclesiastical Strifes in Maryland Pensilvania, New York, and
    every part of New England? What a mercy it is that these People
    cannot whip and crop, and pillory and roast, as yet in the U.S.!
    If they could they would.”

  136. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    It is also nice to be able to appreciate the recent Noble prize in physics and not have to try to go into all sorts of metal gymnaics to explain how they are all wrong because the Universe is only on the order of 10,000 years old…. or keep my mouth shut at church because I would otherwise be labeled a compromiser, or worse….

    It really is a shame that dialogue has become such a lost art and that sides with differing views cannot realize that it’s okay to disagree.

  137. Darlene wrote:

    Who cares what John MacArthur thinks? Pretty much anyone that isn’t part of his tribe is considered outside the faith as far as he is concerned. Johnny Mac and the MacArthurites are some of the most rabid, caustic Christians around. They are in the Alt-Right wing of Christian Fundamentalism. Very much like Christian Jihadists except they don’t behead people. Now, if we were a Protestant theocracy….

    Well, I for one would be stoned (and not from Colorado brownies). Thank God (I don’t mean that flippantly) they haven’t had enough influence to do anything serious … yet. That said, depending on how much latitude they end up getting for their practice of “religious freedom,” I may need to start watching my back.

  138. Muff Potter wrote:

    So who in blazes is Craig Parton?

    Sorry, this has obviously been misunderstood. He is a Lutheran Apologist and a former Evangelical, formerly with Campus Crusade.
    He made the remark to Lutheran’s at a Lutheran conference to explain his own attitude about lutherans before he was one.
    He also said that evangelicals view lutherans that way as targets for evangelism. Evangelicals think lutherans are lost.
    He is one of the good guys. Sorry if I didn’t communicate that right.

  139. Muff Potter wrote:

    Did you know that geocentrism once had iron-clad math rigor?

    And that it was taught as indisputable fact for 1500 years (give or take) in Europe’s universities?

    Lest we be too proud of our current understanding, the vast majority of us would be thought fools if we were transported back 1000 years and had to give proof why we thought we were right and they were wrong. Back then it was theorized that if the earth moved around the sun then other objects in the sky would move back and forth relative to one another due to parallax, their evidence at hand supported their understanding. It was not until the development of telescopes that the weight of evidence shifted to our current reality.

  140. Muff Potter wrote:

    They’d love to be top dawgs in a Protestant theocracy.

    I’m also fairly certain that MacArthur would dearly love to be supreme Ayatollah in said regime.

  141. @ NJ:

    My first thought was that scene with Shelob and friends.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i had to look that one up. are you a Tolkien-ite? we have the movies, but that’s as far as I’ve delved. yes, i do remember that spider. yikes! in that instance, truth plays 2nd fiddle to fiction!

  142. @ Darlene:

    “You bet there is! I can guarantee you that no one in my local parish, other than me, has heard of those things you mention. And I’m sure not going to be the one to introduce them to such nonsense. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    kind of like not having a clue who all the famous-for-being-famous faces & names are on magazine covers at the grocery store. i couldn’t be happier about that!

    i’m encouraged that there seem to be churches out there where evangelical powerbrokers and propaganda don’t exist. I’m quite giddy about it, actually.

  143. dee wrote:

    Nathan Priddis wrote:

    jumping on the Lutheran ship.

    I waited about 2 years to join the church and attended almost every week. No jumping. As for the 95 Theses, I have read them. Could you let me know what you are concerned about?

    Well, I have no concern about the Lutheran move. I am happy for you. In fact, I am opposed to Evangelicalism. It is due to my understanding of the history and goals of the movement. Out of curiosity, I asked about the theses to gauge your response. Going from SBC /etc to Lutheranism is a pretty big switch.

    My concern:
    You left a movement after 8 years of blogging it’s depressing dregs. Have you come to terms with why it’s so corrupt in the first place?

    Let me toss out some random Evangelical statements. How do you feel about these?

    *Neo-Evangelicalism only dates from about 1947.
    *NE is nationalism.
    *NE can mostly be traced to a single network called The Fellowship of The Burning Heart.
    *Neo-Calvinism is a form of Dutch Reform theology that arrived in the U.S. in 1898.
    *Seven Spheres was an embryonic fascist ideology.
    *The Fellowship was founded by a reported Nazi sympathizer. It has functioned ever since as a sort of secret society.

  144. Thanks everyone for the kind words, sometimes I think I have the “Chronic” Dark night of the soul but I truly appreciate all the very kind words it is nice to be able to spill that out from time to time. I hope everyone has a nice day.

  145. @ Darlene:
    Maybe some modern day Lutherans but certainly not Luther himself. In an excellent article (but rather lengthy) Luther is quoted as saying
    “But then woe to us poor wretches with such a God! For who shall be saved? Behold, therefore, the wickedness of the human heart! When God saves the undeserving without merit, yes, and justifies the ungodly, with all their great demerit, man’s heart does not accuse God of iniquity, nor demand to know why He wills to do so, although by its own reckoning such action is most unprincipled; but because what God does is in its own interest, and welcome, it considers it just and good. But when He damns the undeserving, because this is against its interest, it finds the action iniquitous and intolerable; and here man’s heart protests, and grumbles, blasphemes. So you see that the Diatribe and its friends do not judge in this matter according to equity, but according to their passionate regard for their own interest.”

    “….[I]f God who crowns the undeserving pleases you, you ought not be displeased when He damns the undeserving! If He is just in the one case, He cannot but be just in the other. In the one case, He pours out grace and mercy upon the unworthy; in the other, He pours our wrath and severity upon the undeserving; in both He transgresses the bounds of equity in man’s sight, yet is just and true in His own sight. How it is just for Him to crown the unworthy is incomprehensible now; but we shall see it when we reach the place where He will be no more an object of faith, but we shall with open face behold Him. So too, it is at present imcomprehensible how it is just for Him to damn the undeserving; yet faith will continue to believe that it is so, till the Son of Man shall be revealed.”[55]”

    The article can be found here

    http://www.contra-mundum.org/essays/mattson/Luther-predestination.pdf

  146. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    barely

    No, he didn’t. The quote comes from R C Sproul in article on faith and concerns Arminianism and you can find it here

    “I agree with Packer and Johnston that Arminianism contains un-Christian elements in it and that their view of the relationship between faith and regeneration is fundamentally un-Christian. Is this error so egregious that it is fatal to salvation? People often ask if I believe Arminians are Christians? I usually answer, “Yes, barely.” They are Christians by what we call a felicitous inconsistency.”

    https://www.monergism.com/arminian-understanding-“faith”

  147. @ Lowlandseer:

    Thanks for finding that little gem.

    I always thought that being a Christian was a yes/no thing. Sproul’s statement is kind of like saying someone is “barely” pregnant.

  148. NJ wrote:

    dee wrote:

    NJ wrote:

    Gospeller, perhaps?

    Sola Pipera-after one of their celebrities?

    LOL…something like that. Actually, Piper has recently gotten himself in trouble again, this time over his teachings on justification. Apparently, he sounds like he teaches final salvation by faith and works, a la the Catholic Church.

    Maybe he should go the whole way then and convert. Weekly confession is good for inducing humility. (Not that Catholics are doing that as a rule anymore. But it is an option and it does produce a bit of humility in my humble opinion and practice.)

  149. Lowlandseer wrote:

    No, he didn’t.

    Well, I appreciate you finding that quote by Sproul, but JM did indeed say it also. I just don’t possess any JM materials anymore as they were trashed a long time ago. But I remember a friend of mine and I discussing it at the time because we used to pass his tapes around and we were both heavily into the JM groupie phase. It was on one of those Q&A session tapes that GTY used to send out every so often. He went on to say that Luther didn’t go far enough, which is the standard evangelical view. To be honest, JM said a lot of things I am trying to forget.

  150. NJ wrote:

    Clockwork Angel wrote:

    dee might not be, but I am! Ironically, for a church that doesn’t do women’s ordination, they are far more nicer to be in than in a Piperite/MacArthurite or even Calvary Chapel church. None of that women-are-easily-deceived-doo-doo-heads-who-need-to-stay-at-home garbage here. My priest’s wife is an engineer. Lots of women engineers at my parish, in fact.

    First of all, I thought she was a continuing Anglican too.

    Second of all, what you describe here is one of the things that bugs me about parts of the conservative Lutheran world. The Steadfast Lutheran guys in particular, seem to subscribe to ideas that make them sound like the Bayly brothers.

    Then there are things like the predominance of young earth creationism, and the persistent fear of Unionism that prevents them from having altar fellowship with other Lutherans, never mind other Christians.

    (For some fun, google ‘LCMS’ and ‘geocentrism’.)

    I describe myself as a moderately progressive but theologically conservative Roman Catholic. I find some social positions of the RCC too progressive and some too conservative and, of course, there are local priests who are too traditional for my taste or too liberal, but I stay in the RCC part because there are good people there (the laity is often better people than the hierarchy everywhere) and even more importantly because the official teachings on the core issues are orthodox and historical. I am not looking, a la that guy who keeps posting it, for the perfect church. (Although given occasional frustration with stuff in my parish it is useful for me to be reminded that there is no perfect church and I probably don’t need to go parish-shopping and that I can be part of the problem depending on how I act.) I am also a believer in the hidden church across denominations but I suspect it includes more than we know since we can’t see into the hearts of men and women. I respect the conservative Lutherans a lot, they hold to core orthodox teachings, and more importantly, whenever I have met them they are good people on an individual basis. The LCMS on science, etc. is just stuff I ignore.

  151. Darlene wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Burwell wrote:
    A.Tumbleweed wrote:
    Or as Craig Parton has opined, you are “Roman Catholic but too stupid to know it”
    Kallistos Ware (aka Timothy Ware) wrote in his book The Orthodox Church that in the eyes of the Eastern Orthodox faith, Protestantism and Roman Catholicism are two halves of the same whole.
    In that case, I think they may need to wash their eyes out.
    Certainly, in my experience, both Protestant anti-Catholics and Orthodox anti-Catholics take their shopworn polemics from the same discredited playbook.
    Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

    Oh, but Catholic Gate Crasher, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware is anything but an Orthodox anti-Catholic. In fact, he’s quite ecumenical and likes to rub elbows with other Christians outside of the Orthodox Church. In fact, some Orthodox think he’s too liberal in his views on Catholics and Orthodox uniting as one church. Look it up on YouTube and you will find some presentations by Ware that speak favorably of our two churches uniting.

    We probably need to know the full context of that quote. He may have meant it in a very limited way.

  152. DEW wrote:

    But it is an option and it does produce a bit of humility in my humble opinion and practice.)

    That’s a humble brag, of course.

  153. dee wrote:

    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    You might want to check out something I have been reading about. Apparently the correct Pope is exploring the possibility of sharing communion with Lutherans.
    http://religionnews.com/2015/11/20/pope-francis-say-lutherans-can-take-communion-catholic-mass/

    Is that “correct Pope” or “current Pope”?

    Because “correct Pope” brings up all those Antipopes with their six-True Catholic congregations summarized on pp 317-319 of Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies for Dummies. Pope Michael I whose Vatican is a general store in Bellevue, Kansas. Pope Pius XIII in Springdale, Washington. Pope Gregory XVII The Very Great and Pope Peter II in Spain…

  154. dee wrote:

    @ FW Rez:
    I am rather startled by where I ended up. I used to be a solid *non-denominational.* Sadly, I learned that non-denominational means “Could change on a dime.”

    In my area, “non-denominational” meant “Calvary Chapel Clone”.

  155. dee wrote:

    @ Anonymous Oracle at Delphi:
    Thank you, Oracle. There is a church herein Raleigh called “The Oracle of God” and I always giggle and think of you when I pass it.

    Sounds Pretentious.

  156. Clockwork Angel wrote:

    Ashfall? I haven’t noticed any ashfall. Maybe I should step outside my building and look? The problem with no windows….

    It looked like the wind blew a lot of the smoke away this morning.

    You’re behind the Orange Curtain, too?

  157. NJ wrote:

    Actually, Piper has recently gotten himself in trouble again, this time over his teachings on justification. Apparently, he sounds like he teaches final salvation by faith and works, a la the Catholic Church.

    Pope Piper is too ROMISH?
    “NO POPERY!”

  158. Muff Potter wrote:

    So who in blazes is Craig Parton?

    GAWD’s Anointed Mouthpiece, who else?
    (Though GAWD has so many Anointed Mouthpieces someone really needs to start a Take-a-Number System…)

  159. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    In my area, “non-denominational” meant “Calvary Chapel Clone”.

    I am not surprised. I think we are going to see more and more nondevoms affiliate with the SBC, the ARC, etc.

  160. Muff Potter wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:

    They’d love to be top dawgs in a Protestant theocracy.

    I’m also fairly certain that MacArthur would dearly love to be supreme Ayatollah in said regime.

    He wouldn’t be the only one.
    Let the Game of Thrones begin — daggers and poison, daggers and poison, daggers and poison…

  161. dee wrote:

    @ Clockwork Angel:
    Iam so sorry for what you all are going through. It is so frightening to watch the fire as it suddenly rolls over a ridge.

    Especially when Monday we had Santa Ana winds — hot dry winds blowing off the inland desert through the mountain passes. Do you know what hot 30-knot winds can do to a wildfire?

    The visible plumes had dissipated by Tuesday when the winds died down, but there were reports of ashfall all the way to the coast. Fullerton yesterday morning was hazy — visibility around 2-300 meters, and you could taste the ash if you breathed through your mouth. A lot like the “smog alerts” when I was a kid, where you couldn’t see the other side of the school grounds. Or my summer in the dorms at Cal Poly Pomona when the Kaiser Steel Mills were still in operation in nearby Fontana.

  162. DEW wrote:

    The LCMS on science, etc. is just stuff I ignore.

    As you know, I am an OEC/TEC. When I was studying about all the synod stuff and belief structures, I noted that, even though YEC is still in their denominational statement, they make a big point that belief in a Creator God is what is required. I think more and more denominations are moving away from hard Ines on the subject.

    I respect the RCC for their understanding and acceptance of peer reviewed science.Through the years, I have been blessed to have contact with a fair amount of priests. There are some who follow this blog. The ones that I have known show great love and concern for the people their churches.

    I get so mad when the evangelical set make judgements on the salvation of those who do not see things exactly the way they do. Many of them do not realize that they all believe all sorts of kooky things within each of their churches.

    Recently, Hank Hannegraaf joined the Eastern Orthodox Church. Salem Radio kicked his program off their lineup because he was no longer a *Christian.* I listen to him via podcast anyway. But, he has nt change one bit in his discussions. I believe anytime people get into the “not a Christian* deal, I worry for their own understanding of salvation. God is the one who makes that decision and does not need their opinions on the matter.

  163. @ Lowlandseer:
    I think it is important to look at how the local church teaches it. The church that I joined does not go down this path whatsoever. It stressed the love of God and teaches two pronged approach regarding the Law and Gospel-the law that breaks and the Gospel that heals.

    Having read extensively on Luther, I was concerned about how various aspects are lived out today in churches that bear his name. They do not teach his views on Jews and they also care deeply about the poor.

    Since you have been reading this blog for awhile, can you imagine me joining a church that stresses the things that you quoted? Never forget, John Piper makes me break out in hives!

    I would imagine that after about 3 years, something would have slipped by now. Instead, I hear over and over again about the God who loves us and wants to know us. We confess our sins each week in church so there is no glossing over that but justification by faith alone is understood. We also have communion each week which serves to reinforce the emphasis on grace.

  164. dee wrote:

    God is the one who makes that decision and does not need their opinions on the matter.

    Amen!

  165. @ dee:
    I am glad that you have found a place to worship that you are happy in. To be honest I don’t know a great deal about the Lutheran Church but I think too much is made of the differences between it and the Genevan Calvinists. Calvin refers to Luther as his “much respected father” and submitted works to him to see if he approved. Luther also asked Calvin to try and sort out the Zurich reformers led by Bullinger who was causing the Lutherans some grief. There were others too who helped bring about the Reformation. It wasn’t these two men alone.

    You are quite right to look at a church and see what it is doing, as well as listening to what it is saying, because the works will validate their faith. I’m sure you will be of great help to them.

  166. I was one of those who thought the Lutherans were basically RC also, which seems to be what most of us in the Deep South believe. We don’t know much about either, really. Realizing something was not quite right with the mega I attended, I began to research some of the tithing nonsense being taught, which led me to Issues, etc. Six months later, my husband and I attended our first service at a Lutheran church and loved it. There was so much about the doctrine that was completely foreign to us, so we studied with our pastor every Tuesday night for almost a year! My testimony is that I believed in and was taught the theology of glory, which was all good when everything was all good! Then, when my world crumbled around me, I was told I didn’t have enough faith or perhaps there was some generational sin that needed to be confronted. It was in absolute suffering that I found Jesus and the cross.
    No, my little church isn’t perfect, but I leave every Sunday comforted and full of peace. I have a pastor who knows not only my name, but my struggles as well.

  167. OldJohnJ wrote:

    Dee, Thanks for this post. I am a member and have been for almost 25 years of a small, quite traditional SBC church in Augusta, GA. Recently, a relatively young man (not fresh out of seminary) was hired as our pastor. No big changes have been proposed. Still, given what I read on TWW, I have noticed a couple of yellow flags. We are into the time frame where others have indicated pressures for changes becoming more forceful. At age 76 contemplating a change of denomination is not encouraging. Your post and the subsequent comments indicating that there are other denominations that maintain the spirit of the Gospels while managing in our bizarre and rapidly changing culture offers me hope for the future.

    OldJohnJ,

    I want to encourage you to hang in there and to not lose heart, since I’ve been through this myself. But to quote Barney Fife, you’ve got to “nip it in the bud” before it gets to the point where the congregation no longer is allowed to have any input. According to Mark Dever with his book “9 Marks of a Healthy Church”, pastors come in with a ‘5-year plan’ where the pastor elevates his own group of ‘yes men’ to become elders. After that, they change the polity of the church from congregationalism to a strange hybrid form of congregationalism/presbyterianism.
    Once that happens, it’s usually ‘lights out’ for the congregation and reversing the process is nearly impossible.

    At the end of the day though, it really has nothing to do with church polity, theology or ‘cleaning up the rolls’. It’s genuinely all about seizing control over people. It’s very sad, but it’s what many SBC churches have become. Our little church managed to fend off our former YRR Neo-Cal pastor because he was not too far into the process of destroying the church. However, in the span of time he was there, he followed every step in Dever’s book to the letter. Once he realized the congregation knew what he was doing, he abruptly resigned–without even giving a two-weeks notice, and slithered off.

    It might be nothing, but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…it’s a duck!

    Sorry for the lengthy post, but this is something very near to my heart and I want to remain a faithful watchman to sound the warning and give people the heads-up…because these guys play for keeps! Keep the faith!

    John 16:33

  168. dee wrote:

    Since you have been reading this blog for awhile, can you imagine me joining a church that stresses the things that you quoted? Never forget, John Piper makes me break out in hives!
    I would imagine that after about 3 years, something would have slipped by now. Instead, I hear over and over again about the God who loves us and wants to know us. We confess our sins each week in church so there is no glossing over that but justification by faith alone is understood. We also have communion each week which serves to reinforce the emphasis on grace.

    This could describe the 9Marks church part of my family attends. It is so disorienting to read here and then interact with the preacher and elders and people there.

    And yet, there are little reminders. Names dropped in the sermons. Announcements of conferences, and praise reports by those who went. A sermon on complementarianism, followed by a Q&A because so many of the women in the congregation were disturbed by the message. A sermon series on “the family” that had all sorts of triggers and lots about authority in relationships (I ended up staying home through almost all 10 weeks of the series). A book table with 9Marks books.

    We are noticing increasing emphasis on nuclear families and child-raising. I suppose it’s natural, considering the bulk of the congregation (including the main teacher) are in the early child-bearing and child-raising years.

    The church emphasizes love, and they have reached out to those of us who are refugees from patriarchal churches. Yet it’s like walking through a minefield. I had a panic attack some time ago and had to walk out in the middle of a sermon because I couldn’t breathe. My near and dear talked me into meeting with the teacher and a couple elders to talk about it, and they were empathetic, rather than condemning. (Total contrast to our former church.)

    But because of the whole “minefield” deal and the fact that I go to church out of duty rather than love and gratitude (or whatever it is that moves healthy people to go to church), we are talking about seeking a church that is not a minefield. If there is such a thing.

    I checked out ELCA churches in the area the other day. What a range! From a “Reconciling in Christ” congregation to a church where the Sunday School class is going through a John MacArthur book!

    *sigh* More minefields.

    It would be easier just not to go at all, but that would distress my near and dear family members.

  169. Dee–thanks! I appreciate the articles, been there done that when we studied for conversion to Lutheranism years ago. Just wanted folks to understand there is a sense of predestination in Lutheranism. It always seemed to me more a Molinism revisited form. More “since God knows who will reject Him no matter what” He simply passes those by. Says to them “thy will be done.” And of course, Lutherans accept paradox, which drives calvinistas batty.

    My experience with both Lutherans and Cavinists has been this: when you find the truly good guys in each movement (and they are there in both) the focus is on Calvary’s Cross, the resurrection, God’s unmerited grace, and most importantly on imputed righteousness. So one goes to church and receives from God, gets refilled and energized for the coming week. But when you find the bad guys in either group (and they are there in both) you encounter neopuritanism at its very worst, full of little Hitlers wanting to rule all the hearts around them.

    Here is the ironic kicker: the puritan is concerned (rightly)that the world is going to hell in a handbasket and wants to make everyone conform to HIS, not His, law. But the truly Reformed people are so slap happy grateful for His forgiveness they gravitate to wanting to clean up their act. So puritan communities tend actually to be more full of gross sin than those communities focusing on imputed righteousness.

    Go figure.

    I’m glad you found Lutheranism. I would still be one if I had either one not affiliated with ELCA or an ELCA but conservative local congregation.

  170. Darlene wrote:

    Very much like Christian Jihadists except they don’t behead people.

    I believe this group is secretly envious of ISIS. They are already extremely misogynistic, poop all over raped women and children, and have a fetish for slavery.

  171. Ken P. wrote:

    This whole discussion brings up an important point: what is an “Envangelical” (big E or little e)? There are so many definitions of “Big E” as to render the term meaningless.

    When I wrote this earlier in the thread, I was hoping for some sort of definition of who the Evangelical are, but most of what I have seen in the thread is just generic complaints about Evangelicals. Therefore I will directly ask anyone, Who are the Evangelicals?

  172. @ Nathan Priddis:
    Really??????

    I mean, I like to snort at conspiracy theories, but this has all the trappings of something really disturbing lurking under the surface.

    I have had it drilled into me that “correlation does not imply causation”, but those dates and points of origin, taken together with the tone of our former church (where some of the people seriously yearned for a theocracy to be established in the U.S.), together with the official Evangelicals’ political stance in the last election, and the white supremacists insisting that the president owes them something… together with having studied German history rather extensively upon a time…

    I think my head is in danger of exploding. I’m going to go stock up on more coffee (I find caffeine strangely calming).

  173. @ dee:

    It’s really good to see that you’re in a Church sans all the nonsense which thoroughly rankled you in times past.
    If I were to ever darken the door of a Church in future, it would most probably be the liberal wing of Lutheranism (ELCA).
    Right now, and for all intents and purposes on my own journey, I’m convinced that not all who wander are lost…

  174. @ Ken P.:
    That is an excellent question. Sometimes I think it is more a label of convenience than statement of faith.

    The first name that comes to mind when I think of the word is James Dobson, for some reason.

    Chuck Colson? Jimmy Carter? Bill Bright? Pat Robertson? Promise Keepers?

    The good old days: Father Knows Best.

    Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. (Remember the old jingle?)

    I’ll leave it to someone else to list their religious tenets.

  175. Muff Potter wrote:

    Right now, and for all intents and purposes on my own journey, I’m convinced that not all who wander are lost…

    That is a comforting thought.

  176. dee wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    In my area, “non-denominational” meant “Calvary Chapel Clone”.

    I am not surprised. I think we are going to see more and more nondevoms affiliate with the SBC, the ARC, etc.

    Calvary Chapel began in my area, and dominated local Christianese AM radio in the Eighties. It seemed like every Calvary Chapel had its own half-hour time slot on the radio, and those half-hours added up.

  177. Muff Potter wrote:

    Right now, and for all intents and purposes on my own journey, I’m convinced that not all who wander are lost…

    The blade that was broken is mended,
    The crownless again shall be King…

  178. DEW wrote:

    Maybe he should go the whole way then and convert.

    No Way.
    There’s already a Pope in Rome, and it isn’t him.

  179. @ DEW:
    P.S. DEW? What’s the origin of your handle?

    I grew up during the middle of the Cold War, and “DEW” meant “Distant Early Warning”, a line of military radar stations in Canada monitoring the air approaches from Russia.

  180. Muff Potter wrote:

    Right now, and for all intents and purposes on my own journey, I’m convinced that not all who wander are lost…

    It entails effort and risk but many love to explore, both literally and figuratively.

  181. refugee wrote:

    Really??????

    I mean, I like to snort at conspiracy theories

    Keep your healthy suspicion of conspiracy theories, right now it is very fashionable to envision Nazis in a lot of places when in reality they are fairly rare in this country. To then link that bunch of crazies with Evangelicalism is the type of lunacy that will only turn off many readers, me being one.

  182. dee wrote:

    Recently, Hank Hannegraaf joined the Eastern Orthodox Church. Salem Radio kicked his program off their lineup because he was no longer a *Christian.* I listen to him via podcast anyway. But, he has nt change one bit in his discussions. I believe anytime people get into the “not a Christian* deal, I worry for their own understanding of salvation. God is the one who makes that decision and does not need their opinions on the matter.

    There’s a reason why Salem Radio and all the other derivatives of Fundagelicalism have been dubbed ‘Chrislam’…

  183. Ken P. wrote:

    Ken P. wrote:
    This whole discussion brings up an important point: what is an “Envangelical” (big E or little e)? There are so many definitions of “Big E” as to render the term meaningless.
    When I wrote this earlier in the thread, I was hoping for some sort of definition of who the Evangelical are, but most of what I have seen in the thread is just generic complaints about Evangelicals. Therefore I will directly ask anyone, Who are the Evangelicals?

    They have along history dating back to the Reformation itself. Lutheran Churches in Germany were known simply as “Evangelische Kirche” -“Evangelical Church”. The term was used widely in the Church of England in the 17th and 18th centuries for those who stuck more closely to the Bible, engaged in social good works. The Methodists too had the name. In the USA, if you leave out Jonathan Edwards and that age, it morphed into the “New Evangelicalism” of the 1940s, 50s and early 60s and was most commonly associated with Ockenga, Fuller Theological Seminary, Bernard Ramm, Wheaton College and Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and most famously with Billy Graham.

    But the best definition of an Evangelical is the one given by the late Prof John Murray of Princeton and Westminster in his Collected Works, volume 1, p152 (Banner of Truth) where he writes
    “An evangelical is committed to certain well-defined positions regarding the Christian faith. He is a trinitarian and believes that there are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He says without equivocation that there is one God, that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and that these three are distinct persons, as B. B. Warfield so simply stated the doctrine.

    The evangelical also believes that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the infallible Word of God written, inerrantly inspired of the Holy Spirit, the only infallible rule of faith and life. This latter belief is becoming increasingly the distinguishing mark of the evangelical as over against modernism, not because this belief of itself makes one an evangelical but because, in terms of our situation, a person begins to move away from his evangelical moorings whenever he is ready to abandon this position and because it is at this point that the attack on evangelical belief is most sharply drawn.

    The evangelical believes that the eternal Son of God became man by being supernaturally begotten by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary and was born of her without human fatherhood. The Son of God came into this world by this means in order to save men from sin and for this reason He shed His blood upon the accursed tree as a substitutionary sacrifice. He rose from the dead on the third day in that body that had been crucified and laid in the tomb of Joseph. After forty days He ascended up to heaven and was highly exalted, reigns from heaven as head over all things until He will have subdued all enemies, and will return again personally, visibly, and gloriously to judge living and dead.

    The evangelical believes that all men are lost and dead in sin, that there is salvation in none other name but that of Jesus, and that apart from regeneration by the Holy Spirit and faith in Christ Jesus, men are irretrievably lost. He believes in heaven and hell as places of eternal bliss and eternal woe respectively and that these are the two final abodes of mankind. Evangelism, therefore, for the evangelical, is the proclamation of the gospel of Christ to lost men in order that they may be saved. He must proclaim this gospel with the urgency which the gravity of the issues of life and death demands. Evangelism is supported by the fact that Christ is offered freely to all without distinction and that God commands men that they should all, everywhere, repent.

    This summary does not cover the whole field of evangelical belief. But it indicates what the identity of an evangelical is. If a professed Christian does not entertain the type of belief which the foregoing summary represents, then he is not an evangelical.”

  184. @ Darlene:

    Jack was close; it stands, on TWW, for “I Hope This Is Helpful”. It is most commonly (though not always) used when providing information that is in fact largely useless.

    ION = In Other News; likewise, generally used to introduce news that isn’t very important.

    AWWBA = As Wartburgers Will Be Aware, used to set a context without using an overly patronising explanation.

    IHTIH…

  185. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    ION = In Other News; likewise, generally used to introduce news that isn’t very important.

    Such as cricket updates. (insert smiley face here)

  186. @ Thersites:

    My bad – I should have said, unimportant news, and also cricket updates.

    Speaking of which, AWWBA, the Ashes aren’t too far off the noo. There will be many cricket updates then.

  187. Josh wrote:

    Admittedly, there are complicating factors in my life that make fitting in any sort of small-e evangelical church difficult

    I sympathise Josh. I will not go to any church with ties to the Go$$$pel Corporation for a start. I currently attend an Anglican church where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and they allow women to preach.

  188. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    DEW wrote:

    Maybe he should go the whole way then and convert.

    No Way.
    There’s already a Pope in Rome, and it isn’t him.

    That’s a good point. As to my handle, it’s just a variant of my real name.

  189. @ refugee:
    Refugee, I can’t really speak to what your church may or may not be drilling into you. Nor can I address the possibility of your head exploding, other than to say, I hope it doesn’t.

    It does sound like you are struggling with two separate things. The first is church history. Second is definitions.

    The items I tossed out are all events in time, movements, groups or theologies/ideologies.
    A conspiracy is two or more individuals creating a plan or plot. None of the cited items are conspiracies.

  190. ION @phil_johnson of Grace to You, still breathing out insults, is thinking today about following @fxturk in deleting his Twitter, after making a bit of a rash promise.

  191. Ken P. wrote:

    Therefore I will directly ask anyone, Who are the Evangelicals?

    A simple enough question to be sure, but the responses will likely vary depending on a host of different variables. My take on it is that the Evangelicals are a group of people who identify as low church Christians that are distinctly not part of the Classical Reformation like the Lutherans and Anglicans – the high church folks. They typically have no interest reciting creeds (No Creed But Christ) and their liturgy – if you want to call it that – is basically announcements, with a few hymns and a 45 minute to hour long sermon – sometimes with personal testimonies of how a particular member came to Christ, i.e. – was born again/saved. They tend toward being Ultra Conservative, pro-Republican, pro-gun rights, YEC (young earth creation), focused on the End Times and are biblical literalists. Denomination-wise, they can be as widely diverse as Pentecostal, Calvinist, Methodist, Baptist, Christian Missionary Alliance, and of course non-denominational. (I’m sure there can be others added to that list.) What would unite most of these Evangelical groups is there anti-Catholic stance, i.e. – Catholics are not Christians. Add the Orthodox Christians to that list as well. Many of them tend to be known for their ZEAL in telling other Christians how they are wrong because of some particular secondary issue, i.e. – celebrating holidays, women wearing pants, male headship, once-saved-always-saved, style of worship, i.e. traditional versus rock praise music, & a host of other things. Think of the wranglings between Calvinists and Arminians, both who would consider themselves Evangelicals. Many in this crowd demand a verse for every action and circumstance in life. Hence, HUG’s oft quoted phrase: “I HAVE A VERSE! I HAVE A VERSE!” Most all Evangelicals hold to the Protestant teaching on Imputed Righteousness (although those that follow Wesley’s teachings might be an exception) and Penal Substitutionary Atonement. All of them – as far as I know – are strong proponents of Sola Scriptura.

    That’t it for starters. Of course there are those who would call themselves “Evangelicals” that might color outside the lines a bit of what I listed above. 🙂

  192. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    Right now, and for all intents and purposes on my own journey, I’m convinced that not all who wander are lost…
    The blade that was broken is mended,
    The crownless again shall be King…

    A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not quench.

  193. Lowlandseer wrote:

    Evangelism, therefore, for the evangelical, is the proclamation of the gospel of Christ to lost men in order that they may be saved. He must proclaim this gospel with the urgency which the gravity of the issues of life and death demands. Evangelism is supported by the fact that Christ is offered freely to all without distinction and that God commands men that they should all, everywhere, repent.

    This is always what I thought the heart of evangelicalism is. The definition you gave here is the best I’ve seen. Thank you for sharing this.

    According to this definition, I have no problem identifying myself as an evangelical.

  194. Lowlandseer wrote:

    There were others too who helped bring about the Reformation

    Indeed! For Wartburgers who may be reflecting on the Reformation and the reformers as we approach the 500th anniversary later this month, I highly recommend the following book: “The Reformers and Their Stepchildren” by Leonard Verduin.

  195. Lowlandseer wrote:

    Ken P. wrote:
    Therefore I will directly ask anyone, Who are the Evangelicals?

    But the best definition of an Evangelical is…

    This summary does not cover the whole field of evangelical belief. But it indicates what the identity of an evangelical is. If a professed Christian does not entertain the type of belief which the foregoing summary represents, then he is not an evangelical.”

    Hmmm….Lowlandseer, me thinks that Dee would agree to most of the identifiers that you listed in your post from 2:57 PM and yet she no longer considers herself an ‘Evangelical.’ Me thinks Ken P.’s question goes much deeper than doctrine which basically was your explanation of an Evangelical. However, when you read my response from 6:19 PM (which is currently in customs) – I think you will see that I addressed the question much differently. Because I think what identifies an Evangelical is far more than doctrine. One of the things that brought this home for me was our nation’s past election in which without the Evangelical vote, Trump would not have won the Presidency. And yet those Evangelicals were quite different in their theological beliefs. Something to think about, eh?

  196. When people ask me if I’m YEC or OEC, I just say, “I’m a Creationist. I believe there was one.”

    Though… it doesn’t annoy New Cals as much as when they ask if I believe in free will or predestination, and I say, “Yes” and refuse to say anything else.

  197. Nathan Priddis wrote:

    The items I tossed out are all events in time, movements, groups or theologies/ideologies.

    I guess somehow I’m missing the reason you tossed those things out, then.

  198. Muff Potter wrote:

    I’m convinced that not all who wander are lost…

    This may be the most profound thing I’ve read in a while. I’m not being facetious. This really encapsulates how I feel about all faiths. I don’t believe salvation is as simple as any one creed. If there’s any heaven, the doors might be wider than we think they are.

  199. Off topic but URGENT. Northern California is on fire. 3500 houses and buildings destroyed. 10 ‘s of thousands of people displaced. Air quality even 45 miles away is dangerous. Prayers urgently needed.

  200. dee wrote:

    Never forget, John Piper makes me break out in hives!

    It’s good to be allergic to miserable people. Misery loves company, however, better to stay away and stay healthy and joyful, in contrast to the Miserables.

  201. Leslie wrote:

    Off topic but URGENT. Northern California is on fire. 3500 houses and buildings destroyed. 10 ‘s of thousands of people displaced. Air quality even 45 miles away is dangerous. Prayers urgently needed.

    Have been and will continue to pray.

  202. Leslie wrote:

    Off topic but URGENT. Northern California is on fire. 3500 houses and buildings destroyed. 10 ‘s of thousands of people displaced. Air quality even 45 miles away is dangerous. Prayers urgently needed.

    Will do Leslie. Those folks are in dire need.

  203. Leslie wrote:

    Off topic but URGENT. Northern California is on fire. 3500 houses and buildings destroyed. 10 ‘s of thousands of people displaced. Air quality even 45 miles away is dangerous. Prayers urgently needed.

    Napa, Sonoma, & Mendocino Counties north of San Francisco. California wine country.

    In Cali, we only have two seasons: Rainy Season (which you call “Winter”) and Fire Season (the rest of the year). And last Rainy Season was one of the wettest in years, which means a LOT of underbrush growth that dried out during Fire Season. This is compounded by a LOT of freshly-built-up areas of luxury homes in the hills, with brush (like Manzanita, which burns like Eucalyptus or gasoline) growing picturesquely right up to the house walls. Can’t do controlled burns to burn off all the kindling because of the yuppies in these new “Little Irvines” and their NIMBY attorneys.

    I know someone who grew up in North Cal (rural Shasta County) and he said one of the things that’s hammered into your head up there is to clear ALL brush and trees away from structures. That every Fire Season, California burns SOMEWHERE. Every season. And if you’re a native, clearing brush is second nature.

  204. Thersites wrote:

    To then link that bunch of crazies with Evangelicalism is the type of lunacy that will only turn off many readers, me being one.

    But there’s a lot of crazies in Evangelicalism. This blog tends to focus on the Sons of Calvin, but they’re all over the spectrum.

  205. P.S. Went through a prostate biopsy today. Alien Abduction Special. No fun. Have some incontinence pads ready for the side effect (not going to bloodstain any underwear this time around). Ultrasound indicates my prostate is between 60-70 cc’s (about the size of a tangerine instead of a walnut), so my PSA of between 9 & 10 is actually at the top end of normal range, NOT abnormally high. Good chance I just have BPH on steroids, like last time.

  206. Leslie wrote:

    Off topic but URGENT. Northern California is on fire. 3500 houses and buildings destroyed. 10 ‘s of thousands of people displaced. Air quality even 45 miles away is dangerous. Prayers urgently needed.

    Best online coverage I’ve found is “blancolirio” channel on YouTube. Here’s his latest:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzIU8zqZvzQ

    (I first started watching this guy’s channel for his coverage of Oroville Dam overflow damage and spillway rebuild.)

  207. @ refugee:

    wow – i understand. i know the panic attack.

    I just can’t do it. i can’t sit there buried in the middle of stacks of people, the invasiveness smileyness of everything and everyone, the emotional invasiveness of the music, the speakers’ smiley voices & the predictable cadences of the christianese words, the sermon content and delivery which can’t help but be pedantic, the very bad news of repression presented with smiles and happy words, all the while feeling the press of people closing in around me more and more.

  208. @ Ken P.:

    “Who are the Evangelicals?”
    +++++++++++++

    christians who see themselves as superior and the only true christians, as opposed to all the sad pretenders (catholic, orthodox, anglican, episcopal, etc).

    i know that’s not what your question was after, but it’s a quota of distinctives for me.

  209. @ Thersites:

    “It entails effort and risk but many love to explore, both literally and figuratively.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    well, all the risk of dropping the towel one is wrapped up in and joining the others in the water for envigoration, refreshment, and enjoyment.

  210. @ Nathan Priddis:
    Oh, I *think* I get what you were responding to now. You appear to have thought I was saying it *was* a part of a conspiracy. What I actually said was that it *sounded* like other conspiracy theories that were very popular in the relatively recent past, especially around Y2K, but not limited to that time. Our former church ran on fear and control, with side helpings of anger and pride. While conspiracy “nuts” were not in the majority there, they certainly found an environment in that church where they could thrive.

    No, I was reacting in shock to what *sound* like some very troubling early influences in the Evangelicalism movement, but I must have put it badly.

  211. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    I know it’s stupid of me, with so many people affected (deaths, losing everything they have, firefighters working without respite in a situation that’s already incredibly dangerous without being tired out of one’s mind), but I can’t help fretting about the animals that may or may not be able to get out of harm’s way.

    I read the story about the wildlife refuge where instead of trying to fight to save his home, the 70-something owner fought for hours to save 1,000 wild animals. And last I heard, he’d kept the flames at bay.

    And the kennel that bred our most beloved dogs, over a long string of rescued and bought dogs, is just a few miles from one of the fires, so we worry about those beautiful dogs.

    Maybe it’s a human thing; when the brain cannot grasp the enormity of an overwhelming horror, it clings to familiar things.

    Just weeks ago, smoke from nearby wildfires was making it hard to breathe here, homes burned and whole communities were evacuated, so we experienced a little of what you California folks are in the midst of now, and even that little bit was hard to bear.

    Praying fervently for all who are affected.

  212. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Thersites wrote:
    To then link that bunch of crazies with Evangelicalism is the type of lunacy that will only turn off many readers, me being one.
    But there’s a lot of crazies in Evangelicalism. This blog tends to focus on the Sons of Calvin, but they’re all over the spectrum.

    Amen to that. We certainly met our share in the “christian” homeschooling community. Y2K brought it to a peak of craziness, but there was always a more-or-less underlying level of paranoia, anger, fear, and self-righteousness.

    Because it was (is?) a large movement with many people, the “wild-eyed” people were able to blend in and take on protective coloration, but the Big Names certainly understood how to cater to their fears while still sounding somewhat reasonable.

    HSLDA: The government workers are out there just waiting to force your children into public school or even take them away from you. Give us money and we’ll (maybe) help you when they come and knock on your door.

    Doug Phillips (and so many of the other conference speakers we heard): Children need stable homes with both mother and father involved in their lives. (Subtext: The evil world is out there [Satan prowling like a lion], just waiting to devour your children. There’s a lion in the streets! [Give me lots of money and I’ll teach you how to keep them safe.])

  213. refugee wrote:

    I know it’s stupid of me, with so many people affected (deaths, losing everything they have, firefighters working without respite in a situation that’s already incredibly dangerous without being tired out of one’s mind), but I can’t help fretting about the animals that may or may not be able to get out of harm’s way.

    Speaking of which, there was an item on morning drive-time radio about displaced animals; Bay Area animal shelters flooded by the fire after accepting four-legged refugees from Hurricane Harvey, horses and other larger livestock (including several horses who died of burns) stabled at racetracks and stables all over the area.

  214. Let’s muddy the water a bit more: some of us DON’T subscribe to the whole evangelical schtick, but are simply highly evangelistic. There is a difference.

    Sort of like everyone assumes an SBC member is a fundamentalist. Most may be, but I bet the majority tend more just highly conservative. And then there are the true moderates and the true liberals still in the convention or churches that are in the convention.

    Labels get too confusing.

    But I’m evangelistic, just not a card carrying evangelical.

  215. dee wrote:

    Ken wrote:
    There are those who say he was more “Calvinistic” than Calvin, so to speak.
    I am doing lots of reading now. I do know that a seminary leader has point blank told me that Lutherans are not Calvinists and do not consider themselves Reformed. However, I will do an update on this after I get further into my study.
    Dee, I really like this. Defining our terms is very important. So often we talk passed each other because we give words different meaning.
    I think you are right that Lutherans today are not “Reformed” in the way the word is used to in connection with the YRR. However to say that Lutherans aren’t “reformed” wouldn’t make much sense, since that is where the whole Reformation started with that little Augustinian Monk. Yet some of the Lutheran Churches would still like to be referred to as Reformed. Wouldn’t they? I am not an authority by any means on the Lutheran churches. Thanks

  216. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Clockwork Angel wrote:

    Ashfall? I haven’t noticed any ashfall. Maybe I should step outside my building and look? The problem with no windows….

    It looked like the wind blew a lot of the smoke away this morning.

    You’re behind the Orange Curtain, too?

    Aye! Still looks smokey on the horizon. Or is it just smog? Fire, smog, same difference, I guess.

  217. refugee wrote:

    I read the story about the wildlife refuge where instead of trying to fight to save his home, the 70-something owner fought for hours to save 1,000 wild animals. And last I heard, he’d kept the flames at bay.

    What a good guy! Scarier still are all the animals who might be shut up inside a house with no escape because their owners are at work. At least the wild animals have a chance to run away.

  218. ishy wrote:

    When people ask me if I’m YEC or OEC, I just say, “I’m a Creationist. I believe there was one.”

    Good answer! I lean toward six days, but that doesn’t necessarily exclude an old universe or even earth. I’m just skeptical of the likes of Richard Dawkins. I don’t ask “How high?” when he says “Jump!” I am an engineer and have taken much science. I have also had physics professors etc. who are also skeptical of the motives behind much of today’s science. Much of it is ultimately theory, but has been taught as fact. At the end of the day, none of us have a time machine to prove it, so that means we need to be gracious concerning how others try to get their Bibles to fit with science.

  219. @ Ken P.:
    I think this is an excellent question! I think Dee uses it in the article as referring to mainly the people she writes mostly against. The Calvinistas, the mega churches, etc.
    As I understand it there is the classical definition of an Evangelical which is what the reformers called themselves. Again if I understand it correctly they emphasized the Five Solas of the Reformation. Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, all to the Glory of God Alone. All as in protest to what the Roman Catholic Church was teaching. As they understood it Faith plus works, Scripture plus tradition, Christ Plus Mary and the saints, Grace plus ones own faith and God’s glory plus my own choice and lifestyle and being a member of the Roman Catholic Church. This may be an over simplification.
    There is an “Evangelical” movement today of all those that profess to believe in evangelism and faith in Christ. There are many today who would profess this in our country and would be under the Evangelical movement. SBC, Christian and Disciples of Christ, Baptist of many different types, Assemblies of God, Church of God, The Church of the Nazarene, charismatics and many, many more.
    However I think Dee was using the term more narrowly that the larger Evangelical movement in our country. I may be wrong.

  220. @ refugee:
    No your fine. I was joking about a coffee related exploding head.

    Questioning what you are told is more than just a good idea. It is a command.
    We where not to have been as children carried back and forth by every wind of doctrine. Because, there where going to be certain ones laying in wait.
    Likewise, we where commanded to see that no one deceived us. Many where coming who would say, I am
    (annointed).
    Concerning specific things I mentioned, they are more than influences. They are part of the nature of the Church itself, as it continues to evolve over twenty centuries.
    If you are familiar with the parable of the leaven, you will remember the Church is rotting.

  221. Ken wrote:

    Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, all to the Glory of God Alone

    Someone made an excellent point the other day. The Reformed insist on “scripture alone” but then promote creeds/confessions. This person asked: So, which is it? :o)

    I think the question is more complicated than we think. the Creed/confession tells us what scripture teaches–for us–so we don’t have to work too hard at it. We don’t have to discover on our own or find concepts that resonate with us that are not in the creed/confession. Do we then interpret scripture from the creed/confession?

  222. elastigirl wrote:

    @ refugee:
    wow – i understand. i know the panic attack.
    I just can’t do it. i can’t sit there buried in the middle of stacks of people, the invasiveness smileyness of everything and everyone, the emotional invasiveness of the music, the speakers’ smiley voices & the predictable cadences of the christianese words, the sermon content and delivery which can’t help but be pedantic, the very bad news of repression presented with smiles and happy words, all the while feeling the press of people closing in around me more and more.

    What a precise and excellent word picture, Elastigirl. I want to assure you, I understand exactly how you feel. And this kind of Evangelicalism is MILES away from Orthodoxy.

  223. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Ken P.:
    “Who are the Evangelicals?”
    +++++++++++++
    christians who see themselves as superior and the only true christians, as opposed to all the sad pretenders (catholic, orthodox, anglican, episcopal, etc).
    i know that’s not what your question was after, but it’s a quota of distinctives for me.

    Ha! Elastigirl, I’m with ya! The only genuine, super-duper Jesus followers. All those other Christian are fakes and phonies. I’m aware I sound a bit extreme, but what can I say? Evangelicalism did a number on me.

  224. Lydia wrote:

    Someone made an excellent point the other day. The Reformed insist on “scripture alone” but then promote creeds/confessions. This person asked: So, which is it?

    Good point. The sufficiency of Scripture is … well … sufficient! A believer needs no other written covenant to comply with other than the Bible. The Word sets you free; creeds, confessions, and church membership contracts restrain you.

  225. @ Darlene:

    smiley and invasive, smiley invasiveness, invasive smileyness — these are the main ideas, I guess. in my final months of enduring it, i would drive home listening to the hardest, most acid-y, most coursely abrasive music i could find. and sigh deeply with relief.

  226. @ Darlene:

    it is not extreme.

    observing what christian leaders say and write over a short period of time makes it plain to see. little things, like little jabs at “the world”‘s response to the Las Vegas tragedy compared to the enlightened ‘spiritual’ perspective of Mr. Pastor. Little jabs and slights at everything and everyone in the realm of what’s current who is not in their tribe. big and overt things like oafs who presume to declare who God likes and who God doesn’t like.

    I hear and read things like this all the time.

    it only seems extreme to someone who is ensconced in the heady environment and is dull to such stimuli.

  227. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    it is not extreme.
    observing what christian leaders say and write over a short period of time makes it plain to see. little things, like little jabs at “the world”‘s response to the Las Vegas tragedy compared to the enlightened ‘spiritual’ perspective of Mr. Pastor. Little jabs and slights at everything and everyone in the realm of what’s current who is not in their tribe. big and overt things like oafs who presume to declare who God likes and who God doesn’t like.
    I hear and read things like this all the time.
    it only seems extreme to someone who is ensconced in the heady environment and is dull to such stimuli.

    I said it sounds extreme because I was considering some of the audience here at TWW who read and participate in the comments. And yes, I have heard and read many of those kinds of abrasive, heartless, cruel and vicious comments from Evangelicals when tragedies occur. It is mind-boggling and grates the very depths of my soul. It’s as if they have forgotten (or perhaps never knew) how to show mercy and compassion to one’s fellow neighbor.

  228. @ Darlene:

    yes, you’re right — i know you were acknowledging how it sounded, out of respect for others. i should have gone easier on my comment, i think. so tired tonight — only have energy to be matter of fact.

  229. @ Bridget:

    you are sweet to ask, bridget. we’re fine. although air is very smoky — can’t see hills a few miles away. a friend’s parents’ home incinerated, as well as their car. everything they owned — poof. it is heartbreaking. entire neighborhoods. or least large parts of neighborhoods.

    wineries, too — people who have invested everything for years to craft their art — gone. vineyards, equipment, facilities… poof.

    it hurts the heart.

  230. i should clarify. some of the loveliest people in the world are in the group ‘evangelical’ — some know it, some haven’t even heard of the word. my complaint is with the leaders who have made it what it is, largely oblivious to how unsavory & obnoxious.

  231. City of Santa Rosa hit hard — over 2000 homes destroyed, a good chunk of the city. One of the homes was that of the late Charles Schulz, the guy who drew “Peanuts”. A lot of personal memorabilia went up with that one.

    And the fires are not only putting a hit in the Napa and Sonoma wineries, but California’s other BIG cash crop — The Emerald Triangle, pot-growing capital of the West Coast. (Pot is now quasi-legal in Cali, going full legal next year.) Morning radio drive-time was wondering if any fire crews were volunteering to work downwind of those blazes.

  232. @ elastigirl:
    Imo, TWW serves as kind of an evangelical crowbar, and the discussions here have helped pry me out of that system. Some of the people we left are indeed very lovely and loving, but most seem oblivious.

    When I have tried countless times to point out some of the problems, the two main responses I get are: A> “I don’t believe that” or B> They don’t know what they don’t know and don’t care to know anymore than that. Being oblivious, the garden variety evangelical around here is surrounded by bibles and books and tapes and all forms of Christian media, but can’t seem to grasp the whole “love thing”.

    Best course of action for me was to leave the “Evangelical Bible Church” forever, and go toward the Lutheran Bible Church. Things are much clearer in the rear view mirror, and thankfully much farther away than they appear to be.

  233. @ elastigirl:

    Yes. It is devastating. I have been in the southern most county of Cali for 30 years. I have seen the fires. Housed evacuees. Been showered in ash and smoke. So sorry for those who have lost so much 🙁

  234. Arnold Smartarse wrote:

    I think the reason half of you no longer call yourselves evangelical is that you’re all looking for the perfect church.

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

    Yours Sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

    Do you just copypasta this comment to every post? Have you no other thoughts to express?

  235. Bridget wrote:

    @ elastigirl:
    Yes. It is devastating. I have been in the southern most county of Cali for 30 years.

    San Diego?

    Remember, Cali only has two seasons: Rainy Season (what you call “Winter”, Jon Snow), and Fire Season (the rest of the year).

    And if you’re from rural Cali, you know all about clearing brush and fire hazard until it’s a conditioned reflex. (However, all the city expats moving into those just-built-up Little Irvines don’t…)

  236. @ Clockwork Angel:

    Excellent points in your comment. I have serious doubts that we ‘know’ as much as we think we know about ‘bigness’, ‘smallness’, ‘longness’ and ‘shortness’. Don’t get me wrong, science is a great and wonderful thing, but it’s strictly limited to what can be observed, measured, recorded, and replicated by others.
    And our take on reality is just a best ‘guess’ based on that.
    At day’s end, and in my opinion, it’s a lot like trying to describe Michelangelo’s Pieta with a tape measure and graph paper.

  237. @ Muff Potter:

    i sure like your crystal clear metaphors.

    also like trying to measure and qualify inspiration-in-the-moment (artistic, scientific aha moment, perhaps extra sensory things can be included here…)

  238. @ Muff Potter:

    perhaps the pieta and many pieces of music and art will never stop being inspiration-in-the-moment’s. it’s like they’re alive.

  239. I at one point would call myself an Evangelical, without much understanding of what that word even mean. I for a long time thought that it means a focus on preaching the gospel to non-believers. In that sense I of course would be an Evangelical. This is a direct copy of the Great Commission.

    Now I understand it better, I see the huge problems with this term. The problem is how vague its definition is.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evangelical

    “emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching as contrasted with ritual”

    Salvation by faith? What is the definition of having faith? Is it coming to church every Sunday? Is it donating 10% of your income? Is it the thief on the cross?

    Personal conversion? What does this even mean? Does this mean God has to shrine a light at me to blind me, just as he did at Paul? Or can it be a slow conversion over 20 years?

    Authority of the scripture? Yes sure everyone, including all cults, would say they “believe” in the authority of the scripture. But the problem is who’s interpretation are we talking about? Diotrephes’ interpretation of the bible? Or the Pope’s? Or what Muhammad said about the bible? Or Mark Driscoll’s?

    Importance of preaching over rituals? A cultist preaching his false message will only lead to more cultists destined for hell.

    As for myself I was part of a Presbyterian church. I have since joined an Alliance church. But do I believe everything here? No. But what I see is that my church is very active in serving the homeless, the child prostitutes and human-traffic victims locally and around the world. I want my deeds to be defined by how I demonstrate my love for God by loving my neighbours. So I am glad to stay here.

    I no longer categorize myself with any denomination. I want only one word to categorize me: LOVE. I aim to love everyone, from the family to my very worst enemies. By this I don’t mean I love them equally. But that I will not aim to sin by hurting even my worst enemies. In fact if my enemies need help, I aim to push myself to help them. Only by loving everyone can I be categorized as a loving Christian. This is just as Jesus loved me when I was his enemy and was rebelling against him.

    I belong to God and his great love, not any denomination.

  240. Max wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    Someone made an excellent point the other day. The Reformed insist on “scripture alone” but then promote creeds/confessions. This person asked: So, which is it?
    Good point. The sufficiency of Scripture is … well … sufficient! A believer needs no other written covenant to comply with other than the Bible. The Word sets you free; creeds, confessions, and church membership contracts restrain you.

    Max, as a Lutheran (ELCA), I subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions not because I believe they supersede Scripture or are a supplement to it, but rather because I believe they are the best expositions of what the Bible teaches.

    Honestly, ALL Christians subscribe to Confessions or Creeds of some kind. If your church website has a “What We Believe” section, for example, I hate to say it…but that’s a creed.

  241. elastigirl wrote:

    perhaps the pieta and many pieces of music and art will never stop being inspiration-in-the-moment’s. it’s like they’re alive.

    They are alive. Magic is deeply rooted in the human psyche.
    Music and art are magic.

  242. @ Muff Potter:

    so many moments in literature, dance, film, theater, as well.

    we could talk about all these things for days.

    “oh, wait, listen to this one…. it’s the greatest thing… here it is… WOW!! did you hear that?!”

    “oh, man, you gotta see this….”

    “here, watch how she does this…”

    “watch this guy… look what he does…”

    “…listen to this — this little paragraph is just shimmering…”

  243. @ Paul:

    In all honesty, and although Lydia and Max can speak for themselves, I sincerely doubt that they’re against the tenets of the creeds and confessions in and of themselves. It’s when they become a be all and an end all is where the rub occurs.

    In my own form of faith, I sign on to the tenets of The Apostle’s Creed(the simplest of them all) and especially its supernatural components as non-negotiables.
    The rest of the stuff? I keep my own counsel on what I believe or disbelieve.

    For example, I have issues with a particular clause spelled out in The Athanasian Creed which I do not sign onto or agree with.
    You can read my response at the end of the comment section here:

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2017/09/04/the-athanasius-creed-raises-questions-about-the-eternal-subordination-of-the-son/

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