When Doctrinal *We Won* Politics Subvert the Love of God: What I Learned in the UK and Ireland

“It was the haggis, a brownish lump sitting unobtrusively to one side of the plate, that drew the most riveting attention. … Some people approached their haggis with extreme misgivings.” Tom Knapp, on a traditional Scottish dinner


Nick Bulbeck showing me how to eat a burger with haggis on top.
I still believe that cheese is a better topping!


  • I enjoyed meeting up with Ian- a long time TWW commenter. My entire car of folks on the London Eye helped my husband and me to spot him on the ground .
  • I spent a wonderful evening with Nick in a park and then in a pub in Edinburgh. He is as delightful in person as he is on the blog.
  • Finally, I met with several people in Scotland who have commented on this blog but their identities will remain private. I plan a post or two in the near future. It is wonderful to meet with others who share our concern with sex abuse in the church.

After the wedding of my nephew in Sibton Park, we spent several days in London. My best experience was having a private tour of the British Museum. Viator, part of Trip Advisor, has great short trips in cities around the world. In full tourist mode, I bought Rosetta Stone salt and pepper shakers.

Then we hopped a 10 day bus tour of the UK and Ireland, complete with an Irish tour guide. I called this the *maximum castles* tour since we chose this particular tour for that reason. As we crossed into Ireland, our guide made a comment that was unexpected. As he discussed the history of that area, he said that the locals were glad to get rid of the Puritans because they were like the Taliban of that time period. Needless to say, I was jolted out of my slumber and resolved to try and understand his point of view.

When we began blogging in 2009, we became aware that many of the Calvinists had become rather enchanted by the Puritans, writing post after post about the godly people who were doctrinally pure and admirable in every way. However, Dee grew up in Salem, Massachusetts and knew things were not quite as rosy as presented. This link takes to you to a few posts we wrote in our early days.

Henry VIII gamed the Reformation for his personal benefit.

As we drove along, our guide discussed how Henry had little regard for the faith, instead using it to his advantage in order to shut down the monasteries and churches, looting the precious religious implements which he gave to his friends to buy their loyalty.

There is no question that tremendous social change was afoot. This summary from Wikipedia alludes to the fact that Reformation was both a political and a religious movement. Sounds like today, doesn’t it?

The English Reformation was a series of events in 16th century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider process of the European Protestant Reformation, a religious and political movement that affected the practice of Christianity across western and central Europe during this period. Many factors contributed to the process: the decline of feudalism and the rise of nationalism, the rise of the common law, the invention of the printing press and increased circulation of the Bible, and the transmission of new knowledge and ideas among scholars, the upper and middle classes and readers in general. However, the various phases of the English Reformation, which also covered Wales and Ireland, were largely driven by changes in government policy, to which public opinion gradually accommodated itself.

Henry, wishing to begat a legal male heir, attempted to annul his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon, a Catholic with whom he had one female child. Turned down by the Pope, Henry started his own church. Again from Wikipedia:

The break with Rome was effected by a series of acts of Parliament passed between 1532 and 1534, among them the 1534 Act of Supremacy, which declared that Henry was the “Supreme Head on earth of the Church of England”.[2] (This title was renounced by Mary I in 1553 in the process of restoring papal jurisdiction; when Elizabeth I reasserted the royal supremacy in 1559, her title was Supreme Governor.)[2] Final authority in doctrinal and legal disputes now rested with the monarch, and the papacy was deprived of revenue and the final say on the appointment of bishops.

As time progressed, destruction and punishment became the *good Christian thing* to do.

From Wikipedia:

The 1547 injunctions against images were a more tightly drawn version of those of 1538, but they were more fiercely enforced, at first informally, and then by instruction. All images in churches were to be dismantled. Stained glass, shrines and statues were defaced or destroyed. Roods, and often their lofts and screens, were cut down and bells were taken down. Vestments were prohibited and either burned or sold. Chalices were melted down or sold.[58]

Here is a picture of me standing out in front of York Minster, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. I am pointing up to the niches in the outer walls of the church. These used to be filled with beautiful, colorfully painted statures of saints which were destroyed by the reformers. I’m sure that resulted in deep change in the doctrinal stance of those who disagreed with them.

The Act against Jesuits, seminary priests, and such other like disobedient persons, also known as Jesuits, etc. Act 1584

As time passed, those religious leaders who refused to take an oath to obey the Queen could be subject to severe punishment. This law caused hardships for those priests who were still serving within the Catholic Church. Swearing an oath to the Queen was, in essence, swearing fealty to the Church of England. From Wikipedia:

…was an Act of the Parliament of England during the English Reformation. The Act commanded all Roman Catholic priests to leave the country in 40 days or they would be punished for high treason, unless within the 40 days they swore an oath to obey the Queen. Those who harboured them, and all those who knew of their presence and failed to inform the authorities would be fined and imprisoned for felony, or where the authorties wished to make an example of them, they might be executed.

The execution, by pressing, of Margaret Clitherow demonstrates the unloving acts of some of the Reformers.

Margaret converted to Catholicism in 1574. Because she no longer attended church services in the Church of England, she was arrested and imprisoned for *failure to attend church.* (Reminds me of some of today’s churches.) She hid priests in her home and elsewhere. This was dangerous because harboring priests was then a capital offense. And the local reformers couldn’t wait to make her pay for her horrendous crimes of disagreeing with them and attempting to save the lives of some priests. Their doctrine apparently did not include love.

Wikipedia describes her arrest and death.

Margaret was arrested and called before the York assizes for the crime of harbouring Roman Catholic priests. She refused to plead, thereby preventing a trial that would entail her children being made to testify, and being subjected to torture. Although pregnant with her fourth child,[4] she was executed on Lady Day, 1586, (which also happened to be Good Friday that year) in the Toll Booth at Ouse Bridge, by being crushed to death, the standard inducement to force a plea.[9]

The two sergeants who should have carried out the execution hired four desperate beggars to do it instead. She was stripped and had a handkerchief tied across her face then laid across a sharp rock the size of a man’s fist, the door from her own house was put on top of her and loaded with an immense weight of rocks and stones so that the sharp rock would break her back. Her death occurred within fifteen minutes, but her body was left for six hours before the weight was removed.

Why did, and does, doctrine trump decency and love?

I was deeply disturbed as I learned that many folks in the UK and Ireland do not respect the Puritans. As one who believes that doctrine is important, I could not understand how godly doctrine could lead to such destruction of property and lives. Where were the leaders of that day who would discuss Scripture differences with love and dignity? Where are the writings from leaders and others who encouraged kindness instead of winning a theological dispute and killing people?

Somerimes I wonder…is our faith merely a series of strategic steps which, if played well, makes us the *winners* of the theological battle du jour? Maybe this experience was what caused me to become irritated with the “rap song” celebrating the election of JD Greear to the presidency of the SBC. Frankly, who won or lost has little relevance for me since I am now a Lutheran. But I wish, instead of a *we won* video, they could have all joined arms and spent the night at a homeless shelter serving the lost and let down.


Comments

When Doctrinal *We Won* Politics Subvert the Love of God: What I Learned in the UK and Ireland — 221 Comments

  1. Haggis! Hang on a mo while I drool….it has been too long! Who cares what number I am, only that I see those tasty morsels once more upon my fork!

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  2. Heather:
    Haggis! Hang on a mo while I drool….it has been too long! Who cares what number I am, only that I see those tasty morsels once more upon my fork!

    Haggis is tasty….then again I love boudain and you don’t want to know that’s made…..

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  3. Oh my, that JD Greear video was too much for me to watch all the way through. Talk about elevating a man to almost rock star status. Ugh.

    On the history of the English Reformation,..when doctrine is the zenith of one’s belief system to the exclusion of love, anything can be done in the name of God and justified.

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  4. Here is Calvin on Church violence, from his commentary regarding The Parable of the Wedding Feast. Taken from Matthew 22, it (the feast) also is mentioned in Luke 14:23, in a somewhat abbreviated form.

    While the commentary chapter mentions compulsory worship of God in passing, my main point is the concept of Sola Scriptura. It’s really not based solely on the Scriptures but on evolutionary citation of precedent.

    Calvin cites Augustine”s advocacy of Imperial intervention in the Donatist / Catholic conflict. Ultimately this evolution ‘s initiation point is the King’s instruction to compel guest to come to his Son’s wedding.

    Augustine is the Father of both Catholics and Protestants, and both have used extensive violence. I see no reason to believe the future will not resemble the past.

    “….This is a display of the astonishing goodness of God, who, after freely inviting us, and perceiving that we give ourselves up to sleep, addresses our slothfulness by earnest entreaties, and not only arouses us by exhortations, but even compels us by threatenings to draw near to him. At the same time, I do not disapprove of the use which Augustine frequently made of this passage against the Donatists, to prove that godly princes may lawfully issue edicts, for compelling obstinate and rebellious persons to worship the true God, and to maintain the unity of the faith; for, though faith is voluntary, yet we see that such methods are useful for subduing the obstinacy of those who will not yield until they are compelled.”….

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  5. The Puritan fanboys are also high on Johnathan Edward’s famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. Pastor Brian Zahnd writes about his transformation away from his infatuation with this sermon in his book, “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God”. Best book I read this year.
    https://smile.amazon.com/Sinners-Hands-Loving-God-Scandalous-ebook/dp/B01MXNSXE7/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529377675&sr=8-1&keywords=sinners+in+the+hands+of+a+loving+god

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  6. Hi Nick!
    I had to google “haggis”. I’ve heard of it, but it never really got my attention. Now that it has my attention, I’ll tell ya what: All of my Scottish ancestors were on the North American continent by or before 1750, and now that I know about haggis, I think I know another reason why!
    There are things in Scotland that I’m sure I would love to see and experience, but haggis ain’t one of ’em!

    Hope you and Dee enjoyed your visit!

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  7. My former Calvinist pastor spoke of nothing more often than the Puritans, and his desire to return to such an era. Knowing what I now know, including his extreme views on Dominionism, I am pretty certain that this longing for the good ol’ Puritan days is essentially code for having complete control over life and death, and the ability to ‘build God’s kingdom’ once again by force.

    The true picture of the Puritans has been whitewashed and romanticized greatly. I can easily believe that they resembled the Taliban more than the glowing images we are presented by Calvinist apologists today. I can also imagine the nasty ‘church discipline’ movement growing into something similar to the ‘discipline’ given dissenters from earlier ‘orthodoxy’.

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  8. From @Max on the last thread about Christian leaders and their secret societies: “The secret part is when they move chess players around covertly to checkmate the masses.”

    From @Dee on this post (Welcome home, Dee): “Why did, and does, doctrine trump decency and love?

    “Where were the leaders of that day [of ANY day] who would discuss Scripture differences with love and dignity? Where are the writings from leaders and others who encouraged kindness instead of winning a theological dispute and killing people?

    “Sometimes I wonder…is our faith merely a series of strategic steps which, if played well, makes us the *winners* of the theological battle du jour? … instead of a *we won* video, they could have all joined arms and spent the night at a homeless shelter serving the lost and let down.”

    Excellent point. When Jesus fed the 1000’s, they all showed up. When he added Deny oneself, take up one’s cross and follow Him/the Father, many departed. Discourse & Dining ≠ Service.

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  9. jyjames,

    Whom do they serve indeed. When you see people leaving the church more wounded than they came, with many rejecting God altogether, the answer becomes fairly clear. Those who would ‘build God’s kingdom’ ignore the truth that this is something that God alone will do – and not by force. Truly, truly, when the message of God’s incomparable love is turned into an excuse for abuse and murder, it does not matter with what costume or name these wolves adorn themselves – they are utterly revealed by their works as servants of the enemy of God’s kingdom.

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  10. Fisher: Um… that video about JD

    Is this common practice for church people to rap about their leader guy – the awesome cool dude kind of deal? Like, it’s spontaneous, or is it just part of church life now? Strictly for guy leaders?

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  11. Jesus prayed for mercy for His enemies, and laid down His life for them. Leaders of His followers are tempted to pray imprecations on their enemies and persecute them even to the point of death. How can this be?

    My suspicion is that (aside from garden-variety corrupt motives), persecution is justified on the theory that “too much is at stake (in terms of eternal destiny of the people we reckon ourselves to be responsible for) to allow dissenters to go unpunished.” It may be a side-effect of the triumph of infernalism in the Latin/Western tradition churches. And I suspect that in the churches that remain faithful to this tradition, the tendency toward authoritarianism will never vanish, for the simple reason that “too much is at stake”.

    I have found David B Hart’s essay “God, Creation and Evil: the moral meaning of creatio ex nihilo” to be very helpful in this regard.

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  12. Well, Dee, you have begun to uncover the bottom line, the stinky stench of religion. These things happen because they are not of God. I know it isn’t a popular stance, but there is no group that calls itself “church” that has not compromised at some point. Some are better than others. Some people are more compassionate. But you find that outside of churches as well. I know how difficult it was for me to see this. I fought it with many “buts”. It went against everything i had come to believe. In the end, i walked away from every form of corporate christianity. And yet my love for God and my walk with Jesus is stronger. I’m glad your trip was engaging. Good to have you back.

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  13. Fisher: that video about…

    Videos rapping and singing of how cool our leaders are (not Jesus, though): thought we were over it since leaders have been derailed by various glaring improprieties (immorality, preying on youth, $$$, etc.). Since this is a video rap-happy with the new SBC leader, maybe the SBC doesn’t have the issue of leaders getting off track. Ya think?

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  14. Samuel Conner:
    My suspicion is that (aside from garden-variety corrupt motives), persecution is justified on the theory that “too much is at stake (in terms of eternal destiny of the people we reckon ourselves to be responsible for) to allow dissenters to go unpunished.”

    Pretty much. Thomas Edwards, one of the more obscure Puritans, wrote an entire treatise (because that’s what Puritans *do*) about how the greatest evil besetting England was… religious toleration. And how the slightest dissent was to be suppressed.

    Link follows, not for the weak of stomach…

    https://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=eebo;idno=A83437.0001.001

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  15. Haggis, according to what I see per google, aside from the animal of origin and aside from ‘lungs’ which I have never eaten, sounds a lot like our dish of chopped chicken liver, heart and gizzard in bread dressing.

    My mom used to scramble brains and eggs together. People do eat stomach lining. Come SHTF we will all be eating innards and glad to get it I think. So, yeah, I would at least try it.

    C S Lewis mentioned somebody being exempt from the sins of social aspirations by an even greater taste for tripe and onions, IIRC. I don’t know about tripe, but chicken liver and onions is one of my special favorites.

    So. you go Nick. Alway good to learn stuff from you.

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  16. “I was deeply disturbed as I learned that many folks in the UK and Ireland do not respect the Puritans.”

    The only ones who still would, would be found in the Scottish Free Kirk and its Northern Irish counterpart.

    As far as religious violence goes, I don’t know enough about Reformation history to say which side started it. The Catholic church on the continent was responsible for plenty of it, and there’s a reason Mary I acquired the nickname Bloody Mary. It seems to have been a feature of the times.

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  17. Before anybody comes to erroneous conclusions they ought read on about the history of the reformation in England. We are not all calvinists. A return to catholicism movement developed in time, and there are now two ends of a continuum in anglican-origin churchianity. It makes interesting reading for those who want to have an overview of the English reformation in light of the anglican communion and the offshoots of it today.

    So why would anybody care? Simply because some of the thinking has historically impacted this nation, especially in the former English colonies and especially in those denominations which arose out of the anglican tradition churches. Anybody who may not have thought about it will perhaps be surprised at how many actual denominations eventually arose from this tradition and how much protestant thinking has been impacted from this tradition in this nation.

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  18. NJ: As far as religious violence goes, I don’t know enough about Reformation history to say which side started it.

    It started long before the reformation and long before christianity. No political tradition that I know of is innocent of violence to accomplish its goals.

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  19. Nathan Priddis: At the same time, I do not disapprove of the use which Augustine frequently made of this passage against the Donatists, to prove that godly princes may lawfully issue edicts, for compelling obstinate and rebellious persons to worship the true God, and to maintain the unity of the faith; for, though faith is voluntary, yet we see that such methods are useful for subduing the obstinacy of those who will not yield until they are compelled.”….

    A long time ago I read something on Augustine and the Donatists. Initially, he was willing to debate them and use persuasion. Over time however, as they dug in their heels and tried to gain more converts from the orthodox churches, he lost patience and finally agreed to the use of force to bring them back to orthodox Christianity, or at least shut them up.

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  20. Dee, this article just appeared in the Bangor Daily News here in eastern Maine. It’s about a dark time in Maine’s history, an early Catholic priest getting tarred, feathered and driven out of town, churches being burned down, etc. One of the towns, Ellsworth, is pretty close and where we often shop. Hard to believe it was like this in the days of my great-grandparents. The priest, Johannes Bapst, founded a prominent high school in Bangor, named for him, and became the first president of Boston College. So at least he had the last laugh over his persecutors.
    https://bangordailynews.com/2018/06/19/news/bangor/164-years-ago-this-bangor-priest-was-tarred-feathered-and-ridden-on-a-rail/

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  21. Dee said:

    “My best experience was having a private tour of the British Museum.”

    They give private tours? And was it the entire thing or just a part? I was there 24 years ago, and I still remember how big the place was. Bigger than the Louvre.

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  22. We can all agree, I hope that violence in the name of religion is awful, anti-Christian and should never be embraced by anyone who names the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
    That said it seems very simplistic to me to try and insert today’s norms and standards in this time period or by the way any other time period. What is not mentioned is that there were Catholic conspiracies to overthrow these governments. Dee, did they take you to the exhibit in one of the museums, I can’t remember which, (maybe London Tower?) on the Gunpowder Plot? There were people in England and on the continent who were dedicated to the overthrow of the English government simple because it was Protestant. The Brits evidently still take the Gunpowder Plot very seriously, as the exhibit is still there today. The Spanish had a plot to overthrow Elizabeth and install a Catholic monarch. Has anyone ever heard of the Spanish Armada?
    So it is a little disturbing to me to hear all the sins of the “reformers” here without realizing that there was another side to the story. How would you have responded had you been Queen Elizabeth?

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  23. Ted: Sadly, that one is at least pretty darned good. More Beach Boys, no damned rap.

    O.M.G. Those videos.

    The Greear one was silly. They even got Russell Moore at the end! (Is he left handed?)

    But Lord help us, those videos by Ed Young would have been written and performed by Vanilla Ice.

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  24. NJ: But Lord help us, those videos by Ed Young would have been written and performed by Vanilla Ice.

    I meant BETTER written and performed by Vanilla Ice. Or Jim Carrey doing a parody of Vanilla Ice.

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  25. To ‘celebrate’ the 500th anniversary of the Reformation last year, I decided to read a book called ‘The Reformers and Their Stepchildren’ by Leonard Verduin. It’s focus is on how the tension between church and state played into the Reformation and all those involved. Fascinating read which I recommend highly to those who want a clearer understand of the mind-set of that time period and how it has effected our churches today.

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  26. NJ: the influence of Augustine on both sides with regard to the perceived acceptability of violence to keep/gain orthodoxy.

    It has been while since I read about Augustine, but if I remember correctly he controlled rather vast episcopal estates on which among other things he raised war horses some of which were furnished? or sold? to a Roman general in exchange for violence agains the enemies of ‘orthodoxy’ at the time of Nicea. Augustine had enough ‘influence’ that Constantine voted for the doctrine of the Trinity even though he himself did not believe it. I see politics here, not religion. Or more properly, you help me (politically) and I will help you (religiously) because collusion, all in the pursuit of power.

    Orthodoxy, like heresy, is defined by the winners. And winning takes more than just preaching. It looks to me like Constantine was a political genius and Augustine was unbalanced and both wanted power. But there is no need, as I see it, to accept Augustinian theology. And in fact there has been some religious pushback against some Augustinian thinking.

    So, yes, violence all the way around. You make good points there about Augustine.

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  27. Doctrine vs. Love:

    “Jesus replied, “You hypocrites, Isaiah described you beautifully when he wrote — ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’. You are so busy holding on to the traditions of men that you let go the commandment of God!”” (Mark 7:8)

    “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’. This is the first and great commandment. And there is a second like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. The whole of the Law and the Prophets depends on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

    To borrow from an old song:

    “What the ‘church’ needs now is love sweet love,
    Its the only thing that there’s just too little of,
    What the ‘church’ needs now is love sweet love,
    No, not just for some but for everyone”

    Much of the organized church in America would not be convicted of having love. The lost and hopeless wander in from the streets and find that “No man careth for my soul.”

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  28. Darlene: Ted: Darlene, then you’d better not watch this one:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2P2tqFlMnQ

    *sigh* Ashley a rap star? Lil Kim does a better job. These New Calvinists seem to have a thing for rap and hip hop in particular. Gotta get away from the image of stuffy white folks who listen to classical, I guess.

    I mean seriously, this reminds me of that Rappin’ For Jesus video on youtube complete with reaction videos.

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  29. Max: The cult of personality at its best!

    1. Acts 10:25, Acts 14:12: The apostles refused the accolades/honors of men.
    2. Ex. 34:14: “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
    3. The Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed – revered, honored – be Your name.”

    3 points to ponder. The cultish silly videos seem in bad taste, at best. Very strange. The fact that the “leaders” don’t run like the Apostles from these videos, but rather, seem to soak up the praise, shows their true colors.

    Never seen this in a church setting. Maybe it’s an inner circle thing, but on Youtube, the secret is out.

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  30. How many Protestants and Roman Catholics have killed each other “ in the name of Christ” over the last 500 years?

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  31. Darlene: I watched it for no more than 5 Seconds. That was enough for me! Adoring fans of Calvinists leaders is not my cup of tea. I don’t think God cares for it much either.

    I am a member of a Southern Baptist Church, and I watched most of the 2018 SBC meeting that was streamed last week. They played the race card ad nauseum. And these rap videos! Ridiculous!!!

    I will have more to say about all of this in an upcoming post.

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  32. On Margaret Clitherow…HBO did a (not great) series with Kit Harrington from HBO playing Robert Catesby, who worked with Guy Fawkes on his plot to blow up parliament. They had a scene with a fictional character that was probably based on her. Dark stuff. They then cut to iirc Spain, where they were similarly persecuting other faiths.

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  33. Toleration and freedom of conscience were the watchwords of Thomas Helwys and the early Baptists. Calvin in Geneva adopted an authoritarian rule as Servetus found out. Luther the same in Germany where the Anabaptists, the Jews and others felt his scathing denunciation as did the peasants when they rebelled. The Puritans also expected everyone to fall in line, as Anne Hutchinson found, and in England dissenters were regularly persecuted. My parents were born and brought up in Eire and were amongst the very few Protestants to be found there. They knew first hand the difficulties from Roman Catholics that were endemic in those days. Having lived in Spain during Franco’s time I can attest to the persecution suffered by the miniscule protestant ppopulation amongst whom were close friends of mine. Now it seems as if Mohler and co would like to impose a similar top down authoritarian structure which is in direct opposition to the ideals of the great early Baptists like Thomas Helwys and Grantham. Calvinism, Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism, the NAR and the SBC all in their own way demand that the sheep obey the ‘shepherds’. Ordaining some to be priests or ministers sets them up to be ‘over’ others, not something I find in the Bible since our Great High Priest came.

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  34. The Trinity, the Image of God, and How Women Have Been Left Out of the Picture by S. Dancause – an interview with Deb Gregory
    https://www.missioalliance.org/the-trinity-the-image-of-god-and-how-women-have-been-left-out-of-the-picture-an-interview-with-deb-gregory/

    [Steve Dancause speaking]:
    … This question is deeply linked to our view of the imago Dei, and it is only recently in history that the feminine experience has been allowed to weigh in on the topic.

    [Deb Gregory speaking]:
    … Probing further, I began to ask the more fundamental question:
    how do you [speaking to women] think of yourselves as an image-bearer of God?

    The silence in response to this question was unsettling.

    … That is what ultimately led me to investigate what the “image of God” means — and how the various historical interpretations, governed primarily by men in power, have impacted women.

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  35. The Greear Rap video is stunning. I really wonder what motivates this woman to create these videos. Who does she [or her husband] work for? Is this epic brown-nosing, or just blind hero worship?

    I just don’t care enough to actually do the research.

    When I watch these sorts of videos, it’s a lot like watching the TBN network. I’m pretty much confused by what’s going on, but I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to be a part of whatever is going on. Confused and repelled. And I have that same reaction to the troubled history of Protestants and Catholics. Just a giant mess. And I wonder, had I been alive at the time, whose side would I have taken? What would following Jesus have looked like in that context? Would I have had the guts to take the non-violent Anabaptist route? Because that usually ended poorly.

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  36. GSD [Getting Stuff Done]: I just don’t care enough to actually do the research.
    When I watch these sorts of videos, it’s a lot like watching the TBN network. I’m pretty much confused by what’s going on, but I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to be a part of whatever is going on. Confused and repelled.

    I don’t know if you’ve watched TBN lately, but ever since Jann and Paul Crouch died in the last few years, the son (and his wife) have re-tooled TBN quite a bit.

    I don’t agree with about 90% of the stuff on TBN, but I still sometimes watch, don’t know why.

    Anyway, they’ve lost a lot of the circus- like atmosphere and got rid of the super gawdy sound stages and sets they used to have.

    They’re not quite as tacky now (decor wise) as they used to be.

    After the parents died, they got rid of those incredibly boring and stupid Praise-A-Thons that they used to air 24/7, Mon- Sun for one to two weeks in a row, where they’d have people on begging for money.

    Now they raise money by doing 30 minute informmercials where they sell a different Christian book each month.

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  37. Ken A,

    My take is not so much, ‘They had good reasons for using violence’ as ‘Whenever state and church have been inappropriately intertwined throughout history – which is most of the time – the power of the sword has been ‘borrowed’ by the church and the power of ‘Orthodoxy’ has been ‘borrowed by the state.’

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  38. Max: Doctrine vs. Love:

    “Jesus replied, “You hypocrites, Isaiah described you beautifully when he wrote — ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’. You are so busy holding on to the traditions of men that you let go the commandment of God!”” (Mark 7:8)

    “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’. This is the first and great commandment. And there is a second like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. The whole of the Law and the Prophets depends on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

    To borrow from an old song:

    “What the ‘church’ needs now is love sweet love,
    Its the only thing that there’s just too little of,
    What the ‘church’ needs now is love sweet love,
    No, not just for some but for everyone”

    Much of the organized church in America would not be convicted of having love. The lost and hopeless wander in from the streets and find that “No man careth for my soul.”

    So sadly true. When the lost and hopeless wander in they have to first fill out a questionnaire to ensure doctrinal orthodoxy and fundamentalist purity. They walk out in disgust, saying ‘I knew this God thing was a joke.’

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  39. jyjames: The cultish silly videos seem in bad taste, at best. Very strange.

    I think it’s mostly that there is an endless need for ‘media’ in the type of churches that have video screens – which is a lot of megas and non-denoms or ‘contemporary’ services. I loathe these things, but they are probably making them all the time so they don’t seem so odd.

    The rapping though? Very 90’s. Maybe everybody doing this stuff are of the age that grew up with it.

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  40. truthseeker00: So sadly true. When the lost and hopeless wander in they have to first fill out a questionnaire to ensure doctrinal orthodoxy and fundamentalist purity. They walk out in disgust, saying ‘I knew this God thing was a joke.’

    Rich Buhler used to say the exact same thing about the Pharisees in the Gospels.

    People would hunger for God, seek out the Pharisees because of their reputation for being the most in with God, and walk away going “If that’s what God is like, I want no part of it”.

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  41. GSD [Getting Stuff Done]: The Greear Rap video is stunning. I really wonder what motivates this woman to create these videos. Who does she [or her husband] work for? Is this epic brown-nosing, or just blind hero worship?

    How about BOTH?

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  42. NJ: *sigh* Ashley a rap star? Lil Kim does a better job. These New Calvinists seem to have a thing for rap and hip hop in particular. Gotta get away from the image of stuffy white folks who listen to classical, I guess.

    And go GANGSTAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

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  43. Daisy: Other awful videos by Ed Young (you can find these on You Tube):
    U. B. U. – Ed Young
    Parent Map Rap 2.0 by Ed Young

    This Grinning Ed Young of Private Jet, Seven-day Sex Challenge, Bed-In, and “If you hold out on us, We Will Know Who You Are” fame?

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  44. I was deeply disturbed as I learned that many folks in the UK and Ireland do not respect the Puritans. As one who believes that doctrine is important, I could not understand how godly doctrine could lead to such destruction of property and lives.

    Simple.
    Godly Doctrine(TM) becomes The One True Way, The Pure Ideology, the Cause so Righteous it justifies any atrocity to bring it about. Like from 1798 Paris to 1970 Phnom Penh.

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  45. GSD [Getting Stuff Done]: The Greear Rap video is stunning. I really wonder what motivates this woman to create these videos. Who does she [or her husband] work for?

    The rapper on these videos, Ashley Unzicker, is married to Todd Unzicker, who serves as the “Pastor of Sending” at The Summit Church.

    Gotta wonder how many of these people being sent out as missionaries from The Summit are actually seminary students at SEBTS who are going off for a missions experience. SEBTS has/had (not sure of the status now) a 2 + 2 program where students took seminary classes for two years and then went off for 2 years to serve as a missionary, thereby earning their M.Div.

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  46. truthseeker00,

    In my opinion, I want separation of “church” and state. That is one of the reasons I am a Baptist. The history of what state and other establishment religions have done to Baptist is horrifying.
    The whole affair that is discussed in the blog is also horrifying. I however would not like to have been born in this time period and had to have chosen sides. If I had come to the conclusion that the state had the right to break from the Roman Church and then discovered that they wanted to overthrow that government. What would I have done? I don’t want to think about it.
    I agree with Dee that Henry used the Protestant Reformation for his own purposes. Horrifying again. However, would I have the freedom to worship as I see fit in America had England not been a protestant nation? I don’t believe we could ever know for sure. There was a lot more obviously, that went on that contributed to the founding of this nation as a free and open society. But, we don’t know that it didn’t contribute highly or a little either.

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  47. Grainne: Toleration and freedom of conscience were the watchwords of Thomas Helwys and the early Baptists. Calvin in Geneva adopted an authoritarian rule as Servetus found out. Luther the same in Germany where the Anabaptists, the Jews and others felt his scathing denunciation as did the peasants when they rebelled. The Puritans also expected everyone to fall in line, as Anne Hutchinson found, and in England dissenters were regularly persecuted.

    The founders of our great Nation were well aware of the horrors of religion run amok on the Continent, England, and even here in our first settlements.
    They were much closer in time to them than we are at present day.

    This is why they took steps in our founding documents to ensure that religion and government ride in separate carts, and that we have an independent judicial system to determine which is which.

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  48. Ken A,

    Agreed. But that’s part of the irony (or the tragedy). The world was a violent place at the time of Jesus’ public ministry. Rome wielded the sword to maintain public order. Jesus was not the only Jew to be crucified in the interest of preserving the status quo.

    Unless we think that His words to Pilate, “my kingdom is not of this world”, have no significance for future of His Church, we have to be grieved that the churches have tended to accommodate themselves to the temper of their times rather than being light to the world.
    (There are, of course, exceptions.)

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  49. Eeyore,

    Thomas Edwards is not representative of the Puritans as the following piece will show.
    “Most of Mr. Edwards’s productions are controversial; the language and sentiments of which are bitter and violent in the highest degree. He distinguished himself by all the zeal and bigotry of a fiery zealot. His bitterness and enmity against toleration rose almost to madness; and had he been possessed of power, he would undoubtedly have proved as furious a persecutor of all nonconformists to presbyterianism, as the prelates had been of those who ventured to dissent from the established episcopal church. Many of his severe and unworthy reflections upon some of the most worthy persons, as collected from his “Gangræna” and “Antapologia,” are noticed in the various parts of this work. The pacific Mr. Jeremiah Burroughs says, “I doubt whether there ever was a man, who was looked upon as a man professing godliness, that ever manifested so much boldness and malice against others, whom he acknowledged to be religious persons. That fiery rage, that implacable, irrational violence of his, against godly persons, makes me stand and wonder.”* (Lives of the Puritans, vol 3, p82 onwards).

    I was also in Ireland recently visiting holy places and castles. In one castle the young volunteer excitedly told me that the inhabitants had been exceptional examples of humanity and holiness by hiding some shipwrecked Spanish sailors from the terrible British (The sailors had been part of the Spanish Armada). And in a six minute presentation on the history of weaving in another tourist setting, I had the rare treat of seeing the British, depicted as pigs, being driven out of that part of Donegal. (In spite of the insults I still bought a tweed bunnet).

    So it’s a bit more complicated and not at all one-sided. Nor has it very much to do with the Puritans.

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  50. Headless Unicorn Guy: People would hunger for God, seek out the Pharisees because of their reputation for being the most in with God, and walk away going “If that’s what God is like, I want no part of it”.

    Same with folks who see high government officials assuring us that tearing a nursing baby away from its mother is ‘Biblical’ per Romans 13.
    They want nothing to do with said god or with said religion.

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  51. Deb: I am a member of a Southern Baptist Church, and I watched most of the 2018 SBC meeting that was streamed last week. They played the race card ad nauseum.

    Oh yeah. The New Calvinists all of a sudden took the high road regarding race and gender – they even came across as pro-female just prior to the convention! They are doing their best to portray traditionalists as the bad guys and the new reformers as the good guys. If you follow their hype, all traditionalists (non-Calvinists) are racist and authoritarian, abuse of SBC members is only coming from that side of SBC, etc. The photo of newly elected J.D. Greear standing behind SBC officers of color was just show biz. The enlistment of a female blog contributor over at SBC Voices just prior to the annual meeting is another example of their smoke and mirrors.

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  52. The laddie in the fotie at the top of the post has great hair…

    Anyway, ION: Cricket

    England posted a record ODI score of 481-6 at Trend Bridge. Australia have certainly set about replying, mind you – 21-0 after only 2 overs. An extraordinary match in prospect…

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  53. Deb: Gotta wonder how many of these people being sent out as missionaries from The Summit are actually seminary students at SEBTS who are going off for a missions experience.

    What in The Nam was called “punching your ticket (for promotion)”?

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  54. DEE – Before I retired, I occasionally traveled to the UK on business. The company I worked for had an office in Edinburgh, Scotland. After multiple attempts by staff there to convince me that haggis was OK, I used my spiritual discernment to avoid it.

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  55. Ken A: truthseeker00,
    In my opinion, I want separation of “church” and state. That is one of the reasons I am a Baptist. The history of what state and other establishment religions have done to Baptist is horrifying.

    And now Baptist leaders fall all over each other to be first to bend the knee, burn the pinch of incense, and become the new Court Favorite of the week. Look at the special speaker at their latest get-together.

    Now it’s THEIR turn to be The State/Establishment Religion of a New Geneva, and There Can Be Only One.

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  56. Deb: The rapper on these videos, Ashley Unzicker, is married to Todd Unzicker, who serves as the “Pastor of Sending” at The Summit Church.

    Thanks Deb, that explains it. Greear is her husband’s boss and also their pastor. So it is a bit of brown-nosing and a bit of hero worship. HUG was right.

    Now I’m curious about Greear, and I might listen to some of his messages. I suspect he’s a lot like one of our local SBC pastors, pretty much a Neo Cal, but too clever to admit it openly, and slick enough to preach through multiple sermon series without stating his perspective clearly.

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  57. Deb: SEBTS has/had (not sure of the status now) a 2 + 2 program where students took seminary classes for two years and then went off for 2 years to serve as a missionary, thereby earning their M.Div.

    That sounds like a great idea if done well. When I entered nursing there were two options for education, hospital based or college based. I chose a three year hospital based program which gave us some college credits through the local university but also furnished a lot of apprentice style education. We called the college based grads ‘clipboard nurses’ because we had more actual experience than they did, though fewer college credits, but they sure were comfortable with clip boards.

    There is something to be said for both approaches, but it is noted that medical/surgical residences are apprentice style training programs. Not that there are not classes-there certainly are-but it is the actual experience of doing that makes or breaks the practitioner eventually.

    It was my time in a discernment period in Africa where I discovered that medical missions was not going to be my destiny. I am all in favor of boots on the ground for students.

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  58. okrapod,

    First of all, NT Wright spoke at Mars Hill???? Weird!

    Second, that ‘my kingdom not of this world/we should be separate from the world’ thing always seemed strange to me. Being from the bible belt the ‘world’ around me were generally Christian too. My public school friends went to church. The distinction was not one that I could draw. We ARE the world.

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  59. okrapod: There is something to be said for both approaches, but it is noted that medical/surgical residences are apprentice style training programs. Not that there are not classes-there certainly are-but it is the actual experience of doing that makes or breaks the practitioner eventually.

    My old boss (doctor) said the standard was see one, do one, teach one. learning without hands on experience is not very helpful, but both are needed.

    It seems that most hospitals are shifting to preference for BSN’s now. At least that’s my impression.

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  60. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Those “baptist” leaders today can not have people jailed of killed for disagreeing with their doctrine. There is a lot wrong with what is going on in those “baptist” leaders. However we are a long way from them being able to have there religious opponents jailed or killed. Everyone has the right in this country to advocate for their political candidates, parties, etc. I do not like that a political figure would speak at any big religious meeting like that one. But was it overly intertwining of church and state? I guess we could hear arguments for and against.

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  61. As he discussed the history of that area, he said that the locals were glad to get rid of the Puritans because they were like the Taliban of that time period.

    There’s a saying among Anglicans that roughly goes like this: It should have been England to have had the first Thanksgiving when the Puritans left after the Restoration, not the Puritans in the New World. I have little doubt that C.S. Lewis’ quip in the “Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe” to the White Witch’s reign creating a state where it was “always winter, never Christmas” alludes to the Puritans. Under their rule, Christmas was banned. No holidays, no fun, no theater, no feasting, etc.

    Regarding the rest of the article, don’t forget that the Pope put a fatwa on Elizabeth’s head. With Spain on the verge of invading, that made every Catholic an automatic enemy combatant. It was a stupid thing for the Pope to do. I won’t repeat other points mentioned by other commenters above, but they are all true. In fact, much of today’s paranoia from Jack Chick tracts concerning Jesuits wanting to take over the world and infiltrating governments/churches has their origins from this era. All these centuries, and the Catholic Church has yet to live down the stigma of Spain’s attempt at conquering England. (Recall that Spain pretty much controlled the papacy at the time.)

    The ugly truth is, the Religious Wars during that era are ugly on all sides, and nobody comes out very saintly. I’ve heard of Huguenots on the continent stabbing unarmed priests in the open streets, things were so violent.

    State-run churches get really ugly. The state’s control has often meant choosing a political side over Christ and His ways. I am glad that we are blessed to live in a country where the state does not control the church and tell us how to worship. Even today in some European nations, there are state-endorsed churches (even though other denominations are allowed), and the people’s taxes go to support the official state church by default. It is a sad irony that the Puritans chafed at their own state-run church in England, but ultimately sought to run their own state church. I suppose we humans are slow learners.

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  62. What extreme doctrinal purity does to love right away is circumscribe it, limiting it to those with the right views, meaning those who agree with me.

    This in turn and over time enables and encourages contempt for anyone who does not agree with me and my doctrine. Even to the point of dehumanizing others.

    I’ve seen this happen to a family member who follows a particular extremely doctrinaire preacher. It can turn a loving and caring person into a prideful and dismissive human being with no care for those outside their small world and no guilt about being this way.

    Now add to that mix a hefty amount of worldly power and you will get the kind of torture and killing that happened in the reformation (and in the inquisition and other places and times, because sin is just that insidious), all with little to no guilt or compunction.

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  63. Ken A,

    I grant you that in reaction to the horrific slaughters justified in the name of ‘protecting the True Church’ Enlightenment philosophers demanded the separation of Church and State. So, yes, we can, in a sense, thank the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Calvin’s Geneva and the like for much of our current religious freedom. 🙂

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  64. John: This in turn and over time enables and encourages contempt for anyone who does not agree with me and my doctrine. Even to the point of dehumanizing others.

    Absolutely. I see way too much of this, on the internet particularly, where people feel free to speak.

    And if history has taught us anything, dehumanizing ‘others’ always has bad results.

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  65. Lowlandseer: She married a man whose job it was to report Roman Catholics to the authorities!

    Yet, he bailed her out the two times she was jailed for not attending the *right* church. My guess is he liked having her around.
    Secondly, Elizabeth may have said it wasn’t nice but…it still happened amongst the local populace of reformers. Where was the love of God in their reforming zeal? Did they actually think that God really wanted them to crush her to death for hiding some priests?

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  66. okrapod: https://bbhchurchconnection.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/n-t-wright-on-my-kingdom-is-not-of-this-world/

    Agreed. I’ve always understood “not of this world” not to mean “located somewhere other than in the familiar visible world of time and space”, but rather “not of the character of the kingdoms of this world.” Hence the following remark that Jesus’ followers don’t fight, with I suspect the deliberate implication that they are not a threat to Pilate and Rome.

    That was more or less the irony I was noting, that Jesus’s view of the Church He meant to found doesn’t resemble what actually happened. The churches ended up, for the most part, being very much “of” the world as well as “in” it.

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  67. dee: Did they actually think that God really wanted them to crush her to death for hiding some priests?

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”
    — Voltaire —

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  68. Headless Unicorn Guy: Godly Doctrine(TM) becomes The One True Way, The Pure Ideology, the Cause so Righteous it justifies any atrocity to bring it about.

    Intermittently, some come to their senses:

    DECLARATION ON THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS: NOSTRA AETATE

    “In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions. In her task of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, she considers above all in this declaration what men have in common and what draws them to fellowship.

    1. “One is the community of all peoples, one their origin, for God made the whole human race to live over the face of the earth.

    2. “One also is their final goal, God. His providence, His manifestations of goodness, His saving design extend to all men,

    3. “…until that time when the elect will be united in the Holy City, the city ablaze with the glory of God, where the nations will walk in His light.” – Pope Paul VI, 10.28.1965

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  69. dee,
    The religious murders which occurred then and still occur today in some parts of the world have their roots in forcing a state religion on everybody. Anne Askew and many others were also terribly murdered by the RC faction, while others were dispatched by the Reformers who promoted state religion. “Bloody” Mary oversaw the murders of many martyrs including those grilled on a rack in Lewes Sussex , an event which is still commemorated today. There are no known murders by the early Baptists because they saw the separation of church and state as being essential. Incidentally, the number of religious murders by protestants is small compared to those by other religious regimes. That does not make them right, of course, but it is worth noting.
    The early Baptists were Arminian at first until a split occurred when the Particular Baptists accepted the Westminster Confession as a basis for their own confession around 1664 and became Calvinists. The Arminian Baptists also preached freedom of conscience and practice which brought them under the grave suspicion of the authorities in power, supported by the authoritarian church of the time. Power, authority, and the desire to bring everyone under conformity are hall marks of much of the church in history and leads to penalising those who don’t conform, especially if church and state are inextricably linked – The Russian orthodox church is a good example.

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  70. There are many stories from that era of Christians killing other Christians. I come from the Anabaptist tradition and they were chased/killed by the followers of Zwingli and others. Mostly, it seems that it was the belief back then That social cohesion was more important than religious freedom. They seriously believed the fabric of society would fall apart if people had even (to us) slightly different religious beliefs/practices. It is sad, and apparently the puritans were infected with this belief too. However, as we are often reminded, we are able to see so far because we are standing on the shoulders of those who came before us. Also, as Elisabeth Elliot once said(loosely) no “great “Christian is perfect, if you look at any of them too long you will find things wrong. I think we can take the good and give them grace for some of their beliefs that were a product of their times. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in calling out those who are abusing power because they may have some good books/big church or whatever.

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  71. Grainne: There are no known murders by the early Baptists because they saw the separation of church and state as being essential.

    Maybe because they weren’t in POWER as a State Church?

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  72. dee: Elizabeth may have said it wasn’t nice but…it still happened amongst the local populace of reformers. Where was the love of God in their reforming zeal? Did they actually think that God really wanted them to crush her to death for hiding some priests?

    “So what if I rack him ’til he die? For I shall have Saved His Soul.”
    — “The Inquisitor”, Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

    Add to that the Certainty of Being Absolutely Right…

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  73. Clockwork Angel: In fact, much of today’s paranoia from Jack Chick tracts concerning Jesuits wanting to take over the world and infiltrating governments/churches has their origins from this era.

    i.e. From wartime propaganda from the wars between Spain & England.

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  74. Ken A: I do not like that a political figure would speak at any big religious meeting like that one. But was it overly intertwining of church and state? I guess we could hear arguments for and against.

    Said political figure has some involvement with Christian Reconstructionism and Evangelical Christians (including several megapastors at that conference) are among his boss’s most fanatical supporters. Add those to the mix and things start getting dicey.

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  75. The Calvinists are quick to say that rebelling against authority is wrong, yet the Puritans in England started the Civil War there and cut off the king’s head. I guess one is only supposed to not rebel against those whose agenda is all right with the Calvinists.

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  76. dee: Next challenge: Get a burger with haggis and eat it.

    Just NO! I grew up in Scotland. I think Haggis is vile, as is black pudding.

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  77. Here is a good collection of quotes from early reformers on the execution of Servetus (note the title): https://purelypresbyterian.com/2015/04/09/quotes-defending-the-execution-of-servetus/. Very chilling.

    Here is a sample quote from Calvin:
    “Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt. This is not laid down on human authority; it is God who speaks and prescribes a perpetual rule for his Church.”

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  78. Max: After multiple attempts by staff there to convince me that haggis was OK, I used my spiritual discernment to avoid it.

    I assumed Dee used the example of haggis to vividly show the problem of mixing and consuming things that should never be mixed and consumed, such as church and state…

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  79. Did you also learn that, unlike a great many of the children of the reformation, the Anglican church and her American cousin (TEC) learned from those horrible decisions of the past?

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  80. Nick Bulbeck,

    Nick Bulbeck:
    The laddie in the fotie at the top of the post has great hair…

    “Tap” you Sassenach, “tap”! 😉

    Anyway, ION: Cricket

    England posted a record ODI score of 481-6 at Trend Bridge. Australia have certainly set about replying, mind you – 21-0 after only 2 overs. An extraordinary match in prospect…

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  81. Ken A,

    I recall politicians have addressed the AME General Conference, General Synod 26 of the United Church of Christ and Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta with no objections.

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  82. Allie:
    The Calvinists are quick to say that rebelling against authority is wrong, yet the Puritans in England started the Civil War there and cut off the king’s head. I guess one is only supposed to not rebel against those whose agenda is all right with the Calvinists.

    When I first saw the words “Puritan” in this thread, the first thing that popped into my head …… Oliver Cromwell!
    Charles I was the only British king to ever be beheaded, and Puritan Cromwell played a huge part in that!

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  83. Ted: Headless Unicorn Guy: Maybe because they [the early Baptists] weren’t in POWER as a State Church?

    No, man, but we’re workin’ on it.

    That’s what bothers me. I think that is exactly what some are after. Look at Geneva – all it took was a vile, cruel, ruthless man at the helm, and the entire city eventually came under his sway. It didn’t take long for them to regret it.

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  84. Steph,

    Grainne,

    I hope everyone understand what I am trying to say. On one hand, we have the RCC which was involved in all sorts of shenanigans, including the Inquisition. It stands to reason that if people disagreed with the RCC and wished to reform it, then said people might consider the love of God as they sought to reform the doctrine.

    Instead, what happened? They got all mean and unloving, just like the people they protested against.

    I love to study doctrine. I do think it matters. But the study of doctrine should include the study of love and kindness. If we are reforming, we should do more than have a theological argument on a theological point such as *sola fide.* We should be able to lovingly disagree and be kind as we dialog. If we are unable to be kind and *nice* then maybe this disagreement has nothing to do with God and everything to do with an intellectual exercise in which a winner will be declared.

    I met with some wonderful folks in Scotland. We had a great conversation on the problems with being theologically astute whilst living a sinful life. Somehow, we all agreed that there must be some link between the two.

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  85. dee,

    I don’t mean to justify the harshness of the Reformers toward their adversaries (or the Catholics toward theirs), but I think it is useful to understand why they didn’t see things the way you suggest they and we ought to. The Reformers reckoned that the RCC was leading people to eternal destruction and the RCC regarded them similarly. Many protestants still think that (Catholics tend to be more open-minded since Vatican II). Faced with the enormity of that, civility and even basic humanity (Calvin’s approval of the execution of Michael Servetus, for example) might appear to be relatively minor considerations.

    I suspect that a large part of the problem (not all of it; there will always be ordinary bad motives and use of institutions for personal advancement) lies in the fateful choice in the Western/Latin tradition to enshrine infernalism in the dogma of the Church. Having done that, ever after the stakes have been so high that the imperative to snatch burning brands from the flames can eclipse every ethical command of Jesus.

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  86. There is more that you did not mention. The drink “Bloody Mary” was named after the Queen Mary you mentioned who brought back Catholicism with a blood bath in England. The two inquisitions of the Catholic Church was far bloodier than what the protestants did during the 1500’s in the British Isles.
    You are a Lutheran. I would suggest you do some reading about Martin’s history. He too supported certain violent things done to people in the name of Jesus Christ. The common element in all of this is that the lust for political power leads to some very bad orthopraxy. Human leaders do horrible things after gaining political power. The only leader we can trust is Jesus Christ. All of our leaders are fallen men. Pride keeps the cycle going because we will not look in the mirror. Could anyone who comments here really trust themselves if we were suddenly handed that much power as these men had? If we think we would do alright with that, then we are just like them. I find looking in the mirror to be very useful. Everyone points the finger at someone else. Very few point it at themselves as often. This is simply an action of pride.

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  87. It seems that we might come nearer solid and succinct doctrine by focussing on the juxtaposition of Jesus to doctrine than by the juxtaposition of doctrine to doctrine. The first way results in a foundation of Godliness; the other produces a large library built entirely of questionable materials. The first way testifies to the power of a living God to shed light on each generation; the other relies on frail humanity identify and fix the broken parts.

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  88. Rick Joyner – “The ones declared “heretics” and killed during the persecution of the Middle Ages were mostly Christians who held to the belief that Jesus alone was the Head of the church. They had many other differences with Catholic doctrine, but this was the main one. This doctrine supplanted Christ Himself and was the fulfillment of the prophecy about the man of sin taking his seat in the temple of God—the church—declaring himself to be God. Protestant history sees those that were persecuted as the true saints and martyrs for the faith. During this time, they were killed by the millions in what is still the darkest period in history, which is why some refer to it as “The Dark Ages.”
    This is an inconvenient and uncomfortable truth, but it is one we must address and derive the lessons given to us in Revelation so that the causes of such terrible evils can be recognized and overcome. However, many of the Protestant movements that grasped these things about the papacy used the knowledge arrogantly, assuming themselves to be better than the Roman church. Then many of the Protestant movements went on to do basically the same things the Catholics had done to those who would not submit to their views.
    This portrayal of an apostate and harlot church is not just about one denomination, but about what we will all become without the grace of God. He gives His grace to the humble. – https://morningstarministries.org/resources/word-week/2017/grace-god-book-revelation

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  89. Grainne: Power, authority, and the desire to bring everyone under conformity are hall marks of much of the church in history and leads to penalising those who don’t conform, especially if church and state are inextricably linked – The Russian orthodox church is a good example.

    Jew-baiting is again rearing its ugly head in Russia and Poland.
    I can’t help but wonder (even in this day and age) how much of it is under the encouragement and auspices of the bearded orthodox patriarchs.

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  90. Heather,

    Square sausage makes the best sausage rolls. Yum! My 21 yr old son has been asking for sausage rolls. I think I need to make some this weekend.

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  91. dee,

    I also did the YorkMinster tour a few years back and the tour guide gave the impression that worse should have been done to the reformers in England and longed for the return of a Catholic England. It cuts (or crushes) both ways.

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  92. Deb: Gotta wonder how many of these people being sent out as missionaries from The Summit are actually seminary students at SEBTS who are going off for a missions experience. SEBTS has/had (not sure of the status now) a 2 + 2 program where students took seminary classes for two years and then went off for 2 years to serve as a missionary, thereby earning their M.Div.

    If there IS a connection it might explain JD’s comments (when he announced candidacy to his surprised SBC Summit church a few months ago) that being in the SBC saved Summit 6.6 million dollars a year for their 140+ “missionaries.” Those figures seemed awfully high. Anyone here know any church that has 140+ long term missionaries from the congregation currently serving on the field? I don’t.

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  93. dee: I met with some wonderful folks in Scotland. We had a great conversation on the problems with being theologically astute whilst living a sinful life. Somehow, we all agreed that there must be some link between the two.

    Dee, I have sometimes paraphrased 1 Corinthians 13, “Although I may have excruciatingly correct doctrine, if I have not love I am nothing.”

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  94. Mr. Jesperson: During this time, they were killed by the millions in what is still the darkest period in history, which is why some refer to it as “The Dark Ages.”

    I always understood that the Dark Ages were the time in Europe between the end of the Roman empire and the reign of Charlemagne, characterized by succession wars & general instability. Considered “dark” because of the dearth if records from that time.

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  95. dee: Instead, what happened? They got all mean and unloving, just like the people they protested against.

    I love to study doctrine. I do think it matters. But the study of doctrine should include the study of love and kindness

    I had a great conversation with a friend of mine last week about abuse in the church. We were talking mainly about financial excess but I think it can apply to all sorts of nastiness on all sides.

    For these folks the point is to save your soul. They’re not here to feed you or hug you. They’re responsible for ensuring that you think correctly, act correctly in accordance with their strict interpretation of the bible.
    God will take care of you in eternity so your suffering here is meaningless.
    They then rationalize that they need more money, bigger churches, aircraft etc etc to reach the lost.

    It might also explain why so much abuse occurs & the pathological need to protect the church by covering it up. It’s more important for both abuser & abused to act & think correctly – for their soul. Bringing in authorities like the police or courts interferes with the mission.

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  96. To submit to any human religious authority is to commit idolatry. That is why the wages of religion is elitism, hatred, broken relationships and death everywhere it’s practiced.

    That is why whores and drunkards enter heaven before the religious.

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  97. dee,

    Modern day analogy. If I discovered that the Mormons where trying to plot to take over America and make me become a Mormon, it isn’t going to happen. Now I realize that the church of England was not perfect. But if the threat was real to take over the government there, which is what seems to have been happening. Then the people of that country had ever right to try and stop it. I am sure there were excesses. I don’t want to make light of it. But if you plot to over throw a government, you can expect that there will be opposition that will include death to those who so plot and try to carry it out. We can try to condemn those who were charged with making sure that the revolt didn’t happen, but the threat was real. The monarch was being threatened and they wanted to overthrow Parliament also. It is a little simplistic to boil it down to religious disagreement in my opinion.

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  98. Ken P.,

    Ha! He’s far more likely to speak Dutch and hop off to the Netherlands – Jacob Arminius country! Jacob Arminius did have a beard but it was not bushy.

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  99. dee: So what you are saying is that it is OK to overthrow the Catholic government but not OK to overthrow the Protestant government.

    I don’t know about Ken A, but I see a real difference in a local government with the quarrels being between the people and the monarch on the one hand, and a government in which the quarrels were between the monarch and Rome. Leaving religious dogma out of it there was still the issue of home rule, similar to what China has done in dealing with Rome. Both China in its way and England in its way in this matter were/are defending nationalism-making/keeping China/England great (again?).

    So, politically I see were the protestants were coming from, and a catholic England was not to the advantage of England for reasons outside the doctrines and dogmas involved.

    This statement brought to you by an anglo-catholic, not an anglo-protestant, to coin a term there. No matter how ‘catholic’ I may be in some matters of doctrine and dogma, however, I do not want to see Rome have political power in this nation as they have and/or have had and or may want to have or may have wanted to have had in some countries. Rome is intrinsically political as well as religious, and is an international power group. One choice is between nationalism and internationalism, a battle which we are engaged in here in our country when it comes not to protestant vs catholic but when it comes to many other issues.

    I just love helping verbs! But politics and religion are not separate, that is a misconception. They are more like a troubled marriage.

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  100. okrapod: I don’t know about Ken A, but I see a real difference in a local government with the quarrels being between the people and the monarch on the one hand, and a government in which the quarrels were between the monarch and Rome.

    Yes. There is also a huge difference in what was going on in England, where the monarchy was obviously pushing religious affiliation from above (with a few revolts thrown in from below), and general religious conflicts at the local level.

    History is so messy.

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  101. Ken A: I am saying that it is much more complicated than a mere dispute about religion.

    That is what I am saying also, and I have tried to argue that point in the past with a different commenter who keeps wanting to say it was about Henry’s marriage. Shoot, Rome had already enabled him to marry her in the first place, it being against church law because she had been his brother’s wife. And Rome had accommodated Henry on that in the past. Now he wanted to ‘repent’ as it were of the marriage, and Rome did not go along with that. Why not, if Rome was willing to cut a deal before? Surely a way could have been found? No, the issue was Power. Who gets to decide what the King of England gets to do. That had enormous ramifications in a lot of ways for all of the nation.

    The old quarrel in Europe was this: Does the Pope crown the King/ Emperor or not? Henry grabbed the power and England ran with it. And we in this nation later grabbed our own power away from the English throne. I am good with that.

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  102. dee,

    That’s not what Ken is saying at all. Dee, William Tyndale tried to be nice when reforming the church. They burned him at the stake. Anne Askew tried to be nice. They broke her on the rack, then burned her at the stake. John Ball tried to be nice when reforming the church. He was drawn and quartered.

    Dee, what would you have done if you lived back then? What would you have done during the St Bartholomew’s Massacre when hundreds of Protestants were killed for their faith? Would niceness have stopped the brutal violence? What about when the Spanish murdered an entire settlement of men, women, and children in America simply because “They were Lutherans and enemies of our Holy Catholic faith. All this took place on Saturday (St. Michael’s Day), September 29, 1565.”

    Then let’s not forget that in the earliest days of America—the Spanish tried to invade and wipe out the people in Georgia. Did niceness stop that? Nope. The settlers joined forces with the Native Americans and fought back for their very lives. If they hadn’t, they would have probably all been murdered.

    What’s missing in this discussion is the reality of danger that people of faith faced back then. They had to make difficult choices in efforts to try to stop the violence because they lived in the reality of a time when disagreeing with the RCC was a death sentence. Even getting caught with a New Testament was a death sentence. There was a time in history when the common people had no access to read the Bible for themselves. Much of the violence during the Reformation period resulted from efforts to stop the Bible from getting to the people and putting to death those who had been reading the Bible and questioning church doctrines.

    If we’re going to talk about history, then we need to look at the whole picture.

    Please don’t misunderstand us readers here. None of us are advocating violence. None of us are advocating rudeness. We all agree with you that we should seek to be more Christlike and gentle in all we do. Also, we all agree that the violence was wrong on both sides. The point that the whole group here, including Ken was trying to make is this:

    Dee, it feels like you are taking sides. It feels like you are blaming one side while ignoring the brutal horrors of the Spanish Inquisition and many people that the other side killed in order to stop the Bible from getting into the hands of the people.

    It also feels like you’re ignoring how King Phillip tried to overthrow Queen Elizabeth’s government just because he felt entitled to her throne because he had been married to her sister Queen Mary. That’s why he sent the Armada. Let’s not forget that the people of England were really concerned about losing their civil rights if King Philip seized the throne and the horrors of the Inquisition returned. They remembered how many people had been killed for their faith under bloody Queen Mary. It was about much more than differences of opinion on religion. People were worried about their very lives and their survival under brutal governments.

    Also, it feels like you’re ignoring the reality that it took much more than niceness for people to reform the church and the civil government into something that would protect civil rights of people instead of killing people for their faith. Lot of blood was shed to get us from the horrors of the Middle Ages to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. We aren’t saying that everything that happened was good or right. Just that way back then—good people had to make really tough choices to make a better future so that others wouldn’t be killed for their faith.

    (Reference “The Spanish Massacre the French in Florida, 1565,” Eyewitness to History.com)

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  103. Perhaps the title of this post is too timid. Doctrine (ie, “teaching”) should not simply “include love”. It should PRODUCE love.

    Or so thought Paul:

    But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith

    (1 Tim 1:5, NASB)

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  104. Samuel Conner:
    Perhaps the title of this post is too timid. Doctrine (ie, “teaching”) should not simply “include love”. It should PRODUCE love.

    Or so thought Paul:

    But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith

    (1 Tim 1:5, NASB)

    Yes, but I also note that Paul did not say that if you ‘feel loving’ then you can omit that other stuff about a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Too many people think it is either or, either love or else that other stuff. That does not sound to me at all like what Paul was saying.

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  105. okrapod,

    Agreed. I suspect that it would be valid to paraphrase (with Rom 8:29 in mind) Paul’s 1 Tim 1:5 remark thusly: “the goal of our instruction is transformation into the likeness of Jesus.”

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  106. Samuel Conner: Perhaps the title of this post is too timid. Doctrine (ie, “teaching”) should not simply “include love”. It should PRODUCE love.

    To take it a step further, any teaching that doesn’t produce love is bad teaching? Or at best, just noise?

    Hmm, reminds me of that bit in 1 Cor 13: “If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

    Editorial note: I appreciate how Samuel replaced “doctrine” with “teaching.” Calling it teaching is probably a better translation for modern readers, and has fewer religious overtones.

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  107. Ken A,

    Sounds like Henry also had his hands tied. It was then crystal clear that he and England were at the mercy of a Pope who had allegiances elsewhere. Henry was not cognitively delayed, or so they say. With the cards on the table who could miss where all that was headed. Today the marriage, tomorrow what? Control of the military? Financial assessments? Control of religion and education was already in place. I don’t know what else was in play, but the example of Spain can be seen from our vantage point and I for one I am some kind of glad that England did not continue down that path.

    And if that had happened whose colony would my home state have been, England’s or the Pope’s? If we are right in the whole of the people, by the people and for the people thing, then could it be assumed that possibly God had a hand in all this-messy as it was? I will have to ponder on that.

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  108. okrapod:
    Haggis, according to what I see per google, aside from the animal of origin and aside from ‘lungs’ which I have never eaten, sounds a lot like our dish of chopped chicken liver, heart and gizzard in bread dressing.

    My mom used to scramble brains and eggs together.People do eat stomach lining.Come SHTF we will all be eating innards and glad to get it I think.So, yeah, I would at least try it.

    C S Lewis mentioned somebody being exempt from the sins of social aspirations by an even greater taste for tripe and onions, IIRC.I don’t know about tripe, but chicken liver and onions is one of my special favorites.

    So. you go Nick.Alway good to learn stuff fromyou.

    Got a recipe for chicken livers and onions. I try to eat chicken livers once a week, but can barely tolerate them.

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  109. Ken A:
    We can all agree, I hope that violence in the name of religion is awful, anti-Christian and should never be embraced by anyone who names the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
    That said it seems very simplistic to me to try and insert today’s norms and standards in this time period or by the way any other time period. What is not mentioned is that there were Catholic conspiracies to overthrow these governments. Dee, did they take you to the exhibit in one of the museums, I can’t remember which, (maybe London Tower?) on the Gunpowder Plot? There were people in England and on the continent who were dedicated to the overthrow of the English government simple because it was Protestant. The Brits evidently still take the Gunpowder Plot very seriously, as the exhibit is still there today. The Spanish had a plot to overthrow Elizabeth and install a Catholic monarch. Has anyone ever heard of the Spanish Armada?So it is a little disturbing to me to hear all the sins of the “reformers” here without realizing that there was another side to the story. How would you have responded had you been Queen Elizabeth?

    It’s hard to reconcile a pregnant woman being pressed to death with conspiracy against the crown. Her crime was hiding priests? Somehow I’m reminded of the story of Rahab.

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  110. GSD [Getting Stuff Done]: To take it a step further, any teaching that doesn’t produce love is bad teaching?Or at best, just noise?

    That sounds strong, but it may be valid. Perhaps “beside the point”, not aimed at what Paul was aiming at.

    NT Wright (sorry to keep mentioning him, but I find him the most helpful New Testament scholar of my lifetime) has described the churches that Paul founded as “ethically rigorous philanthropic fictive kinship groups.” They were new forms of social organization living to a standard oriented toward Jesus.

    What I find tragic in the Western/Latin theological tradition is that, as other have noted, the fear of post-mortem punishments becomes the organizing principle for how the churches function, and the biblical pre-occupation with loving God with one’s whole being and loving neighbor as self is diminished.

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  111. Haggis is why my Grandparents fled Scotland in haste, while my Grandmother was heavely laiden with child.

    Haggis has suppressed an entire nation, and left crazy Scotts-Irish strewn about the Appalachians. As a boy, I was told moonshine was invented because of haggis. To the third and forth generation, the children rinsed the taste of the haggis of their fathers.

    As a tiny three year old, I was threatened with haggis. If I went potty one more time, I would step on the night haggis that lies unseen in darkened rooms.

    My mother would grab my shoulders and shake me. Did I really need to go potty? Could I only imagine the horror of stepping on the haggis for the first time?

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  112. I’d like to say this in response to that utterly repugnant and arrogant JD Greear rap video: the only reason he won is that the Neo-Cal powers that be kept propping him up in front of the masses to get him elected. It is important to know that this is a tactic taken straight from Mark Dever’s (of 9-Marx infamy) playbook. When Dever was attempting to “reform” Capitol Hill Baptist, he offered up a list of potential elders (all of which were his cronies). When the congregation voted them down, he had the audacity to submit the exact same list once again, and the congregation finally caved to his wishes. The Convention did the same thing in attempting to elect “their man” Greear. Maybe I should start a new movement called, “Not My SBC President!”

    Psalm 106:15 speaks of the dangers of getting what you want: “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Their manipulation and politicking has not gone unnoticed by the Lord of Sabaoth!

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  113. Max: Oh yeah.The New Calvinists all of a sudden took the high road regarding race and gender – they even came across as pro-female just prior to the convention!They are doing their best to portray traditionalists as the bad guys and the new reformers as the good guys.If you follow their hype, all traditionalists (non-Calvinists) are racist and authoritarian, abuse of SBC members is only coming from that side of SBC, etc.The photo of newly elected J.D. Greear standing behind SBC officers of color was just show biz.The enlistment of a female blog contributor over at SBC Voices just prior to the annual meeting is another example of their smoke and mirrors.

    All show and no substance?
    No, wait, the substance is in their “purity of doctrine”, I suppose.

    And they may well get away with it because of the short attention span of today’s consumer.

    So grateful for watchdogs who keep track and have long memories (or at least do their homework), who do not shy away from bringing up inconvenient truths.

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  114. okrapod,

    Yes. The truth is that the Reformation was not a totally religious movement and nothing else. The German rulers had had enough of sending money, lots of money to Rome. Germany was under the Holy Roman Empire. I think the reason that the Reformation took off as it did in Germany may have had more to do with politics than religion. At least politics contributed greatly to the Reformation.
    The Papacy had become so corrupt! Erasmus had mocked it. The Borgias and that mess was just before the Reformation and the Pope during the Reformation had “nephews” or illegitimate children which is where we get the origin of the word nepotism. It is shameful all the bloodshed. But things really needed to change.

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  115. refugee: Somehow I’m reminded of the story of Rahab.

    Rahab was a traitor to her people in harboring spies. She may have made the right choice, but that does not change the facts. Harboring priests was something similar in that day. Were all priests spies? I don’t know. Were all priests wanting the return of England to Rome? Yep. Was harboring priests agains the law? Yes. So, yes, I see similarities also, though I do not think that is what you meant.

    But no, both the reality of and the manner of her execution were inexcusable. Had her imprisonments been okay? Well, we have here where I live had prosecution of one or more of our own citizens who tried to join ISIS, and he/they went to prison. So, maybe or maybe not; I guess you had to be there.

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  116. Jack: God will take care of you in eternity so your suffering here is meaningless.

    Which is why in my opinion, Judaism’s view (and a humane one at that) of the here and now makes way more sense than the standard Christian doctrine of ‘pie in the sky’.

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  117. John,

    Excellent points. Well said. The doctrine-exalting church we left used to talk about (denounce) the other extreme, where “anything goes”. They laid heavy emphasis on doing everything by the book. I am suddenly reminded of Jesus’s conversation with the woman at the well and pondering the practical application of worshiping in spirit and in truth.

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  118. okrapod,

    I know. As a child, I found the story of Rahab confusing. The priests may well have been counter-revolutionaries. Or they might have been kindly old men who were true shepherds to their sheep. We’ll never know. My takeaway from all this is that when we start treating people as labels (all “priests” are evil and deserving of death, all “puritans” are evil and deserving of scorn), we get in trouble.

    Not to say I support in any way the Inquisition or the oppressive attitude and acts of the Puritans or any religious group exerting power against “others”.

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  119. okrapod: I just love helping verbs! But politics and religion are not separate, that is a misconception. They are more like a troubled marriage.

    Novelist Leon Uris deals with religion and politics as a troubled marriage in his work: A God in Ruins.
    It’s a good read.

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  120. Ken A:
    Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Add those to the mix and things start getting dicey.
    I don’t understand. They have a right in this country to support any political candidate they chose, don’t they?

    If I’m following this thread correctly, let me put in another consideration. Individuals have the right to support and express support for candidates. 501(c)(3) organizations are not allowed to do that. However, there’s another designation, 501(c)(4), that I think is allowed some political involvement. I could be remembering wrong.

    So if the religious organizations mentioned are 501(c)(3) organizations, they have to avoid the appearance of officially supporting a particular party.

    At least, that’s my memory from (quite a while ago) having served on the board of a nonprofit once upon a time.

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  121. Headless Unicorn Guy: Said political figure has some involvement with Christian Reconstructionism and Evangelical Christians (including several megapastors at that conference) are among his boss’s most fanatical supporters. Add those to the mix and things start getting dicey.

    A relative sent me a link to an article that the SBC is cutting political ties. Has this been talked about? Been busy at work the past few days.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/06/southern-baptists-call-off-the-culture-war/563000/

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  122. Clay Crouch: Did you also learn that, unlike a great many of the children of the reformation, the Anglican church and her American cousin (TEC) learned from those horrible decisions of the past?

    Well, as someone in the ACNA myself, I can say that it depends on whether or not the Anglican in question is a low church neo-Calvinist, i.e., a Presbyterian with a Prayer Book who is plugged into Piper, Grudem, et. al. Thankfully, I’m in a diocese that ordains women, so I don’t have to put up with that quite so much. Whew!

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  123. Samuel Conner: What I find tragic in the Western/Latin theological tradition is that, as other have noted, the fear of post-mortem punishments becomes the organizing principle for how the churches function, and the biblical pre-occupation with loving God with one’s whole being and loving neighbor as self is diminished.

    That was a very profound, true statement. Even Protestants operate on the same principle of post-mortem fear of punishments. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have Ray Comfort and Todd Friel so effective at scaring us that if we don’t pass out enough Gospel tracts per week then we must never have been saved in the first place and will burn in hell forever. Order your Way of the Master million dollar bills to pass out today! Stay out of hell!

    Perfect love casts out fear. If you are filled with the love of God, then you have nothing to fear and can truly live with Christ’s life inside you.

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  124. drstevej,

    Incredible isn’t it. Erasmus mocks the Pope and lives. Luther mocks and get excommunicated and threatened with death.
    Yet, Erasmus was every caustic also. The difference? Erasmus mocked but stayed. Luther mocked and left. No leaving Catholicism! The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, right?
    Thanks drstevej. It has been a while since I read that.

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  125. ___

    The Sharper ‘Sphere’: Somewhere Between Religious Presumption And Progressive Degradation, Perhaps?

    hmmm…

    Ut O’

    Proverbial puritanical roast?

    O’joy.

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    *

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    *

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    As always, remember: In a multitude of counsellers there is mucho safety.

    **

    Chaque jour, j’essuie les larmes de mes yeux; Christ crucifié de nouveau et méprisé…

    ATB

    Sòpy

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MAxPLoFedQo

    ;~)

    – –

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  126. Ken A:
    drstevej,

    Incredible isn’t it. Erasmus mocks the Pope and lives. Luther mocks and get excommunicated and threatened with death.
    Yet, Erasmus was every caustic also. The difference? Erasmus mocked but stayed. Luther mocked and left. No leaving Catholicism! The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, right?
    Thanks drstevej. It has been a while since I read that.

    The real difference is that Erasmus mocked anonymously. If he had published that bit under his own name, I’m sure the hammer would have dropped on him.

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  127. Avid Reader,

    Continuing on the thought of adding historical context to our discussion—here’s more historical perspective:

    In 1570—the Pope ordered the British people to rebel against Queen Elizabeth because she wouldn’t submit to him. Think about that for a moment. Should she have abdicated the throne just because the Pope demanded control?

    The Pope threatened excommunication of any British people that refused to rebel against their own Queen, writing that “outside of (RCC) there is no salvation.”

    The Pope also threatened the Queen’s own salvation by writing, “We do out of the fullness of our apostolic power declare the foresaid Elizabeth to be a heretic …… to have incurred the sentence of excommunication and to be cut off from the unity of the body of Christ.”

    “……But the number of the ungodly (Protestants) has so much grown in power that there is no place left in the world which they have not tried to corrupt with their most wicked doctrines; and among others, Elizabeth, the pretended queen of England and the servant of crime, has assisted in this, with whom as in a sanctuary the most pernicious of all have found refuge. This very woman, having seized the crown and monstrously usurped the place of supreme head of the Church in all England together with the chief authority and jurisdiction belonging to it…..”

    “Moreover (we declare) her to be deprived of her pretended title to the aforesaid crown and of all lordship, dignity and privilege whatsoever.

    “And also (declare) the nobles, subjects and people of the said realm and all others who have in any way sworn oaths to her, to be forever absolved from such an oath and from any duty arising from lordship….and obedience; and we do, by authority of these presents, so absolve them and so deprive the same Elizabeth of her pretended title to the crown and all other the abovesaid matters. We charge and command all and singular the nobles, subjects, peoples and others afore said that they do not dare obey her orders, mandates and laws. Those who shall act to the contrary we include in the like sentence of excommunication…..”

    Here’s the link: https://tudorhistory.org/primary/papalbull.html

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  128. Avid Reader: Dee, it feels like you are taking sides. It feels like you are blaming one side while ignoring the brutal horrors of the Spanish Inquisition and many people that the other side killed in order to stop the Bible from getting into the hands of the people.

    Actually, if you lookout my posts on this blog in the past 9 years, you will find that I in no way support one side over the other many sides. They are ALL equally sinful. Let me try to say this another way.

    The Southern Baptist Convention was formed due to racism. The Anglican Church was formed due to a king who wanted to be the real ruler and marry who he darn well pleased. The Puritans threw out Roger Williams because he didn’t see things in their exacting way and used the witch trials as a land grab.

    The Catholic Church held the Inquisition and many of the popes and leaders led private lives that were abysmal. The leader of the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, held slaves.

    Most churches within in Christendom formed alliances with the state which then got to dictate the practices of the church. Christendom became the faith of the winners. Yet, looking at the early church, the church thrived when it was considered the church for losers.

    There are many questions to consider. For example, how did the church survive over the millennia without literate peasants having access to Scripture? Did the Catholic Church, during those long centuries not want people to get the Bible because they were using the Bible to promote their own authoritative agenda? Then, once we got the Bible, do people use it to push agendas, claiming that they are the ones with the *correct* interpretation?

    Instead of seeing the rise of loving and servant leaders in all branches of Christendom, we see the faith coopted by political and national struggles with a thin veneer of righteousness on top. I am basically lamenting the lack of love in how we Christians have responded through the ages. We wanted t be the party of the winners. Even the current election of the SBC President, culminated in a *we won* video.

    I am just mourning the lack of love in the religion wars through the centuries. For all of our wars ad battles, we see a world which is steadily disinterested in the Christian faith. That is why I think it is important to point out that no one group holds the medal for *best in showing love.*

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  129. Ken A: Yet, Erasmus was every caustic also. The difference? Erasmus mocked but stayed. Luther mocked and left. No leaving Catholicism! The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, right?

    Sounds suspiciously like 9 Marx…

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  130. ___

    “Calvin’s Divine Throwaways.”

    hmmm…

    God will not take care of you in eternity and your existence here is meaningless.

    huh?

    In John Calvin’s (& friends) church world, if God did not ‘choose’ you before the foundation of the world, your simply toast.

    What?

    ‘Disposable You’

    (Who would’ve thought)

    Calvin’s ‘god’ loves burnt toast.

    🙁

    ATB

    Sòpy

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3ch239kCT3Q
    https://youtu.be/CKWmmj0Cs-U

    ;~)

    – –

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  131. dee,

    Thanks for the clarification. We all agree that the violence was wrong on both sides. However, people still need to hear the full context of what happened and how certain events led to other events that got us to today where we get to enjoy freedoms that previous generations only dreamed about.

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  132. dee:
    refugee,

    I think politics would stay out of the church. That is why I try to keep it off the blog.

    If only the churches would cooperate, but these days they’re as POLITICAL POLITICAL POLITICAL as anything in the old USSR. They never seem to understand that when you conjoin yourself to Caesar not only do you rise with Caesar, you fall with Caesar. What happens to a conjoined twin when his/her twin gets sick and/or dies?

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  133. dee: There are many questions to consider. For example, how did the church survive over the millennia without literate peasants having access to Scripture? Did the Catholic Church, during those long centuries not want people to get the Bible because they were using the Bible to promote their own authoritative agenda? Then, once we got the Bible, do people use it to push agendas, claiming that they are the ones with the *correct* interpretation?

    1 of 2

    I think there are a few insights into some of this. Maybe not adequate answers, but food for consideration anyhow. The peasants were not literate so what would they do with bibles? At the same time the church has always preached and taught to the general public and not just to initiates. Back when, also, there was a longer period in which the person was a catechumen before being baptized, and that was a time of learning-oral/ attendance at services/ relationship with a sponsor/ sermons and so we were told the church got into drama as a method of telling the stories. It looks like that when the masses were illiterate the church at least gave it a shot. There is a mention in scripture where Paul instructed his letter to be read to the churches. The readings in church, done by readers, is a long standing tradition there apparently from the start.

    Meanwhile, the monasteries, or at least some of them, has scriptoria and schools and took in students. t
    These allegedly were the precursors of the university idea.

    One last thought. Before the printing press bibles were hugely expensive, and were in fact chained to the pulpit to prevent theft for one thing. The liturgy from the get go included oral reading from scripture. I don’t much see all of this as some nefarious plot happening when they could have done better. I am not seeing that they could have done much better given the times and the technologies and the lack of literacy.

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  134. okrapod,

    2 of 2

    Now it is noteworthy that the early missionaries did sometimes try to develop and alphabet for non-literate cultures and head toward literacy. The history of Crylic is one interesting example as being named after missionary brothers (siblings) who had originally tried to put the local language to written mode.

    from Wiki:

    “Cyrillic is derived from the Greek uncial script, augmented by letters from the older Glagolitic alphabet, including some ligatures. These additional letters were used for Old Church Slavonic sounds not found in Greek. The script is named in honor of the two Byzantine brothers,[7] Saints Cyril and Methodius, who created the Glagolitic alphabet earlier on. Modern scholars believe that Cyrillic was developed and formalized by early disciples of Cyril and Methodius.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrillic_script

    As to what people did with the bible once they could read, that is a different story.

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  135. Ken A:
    drstevej,
    Incredible isn’t it. Erasmus mocks the Pope and lives. Luther mocks and get excommunicated and threatened with death.

    Yet, Erasmus was every caustic also. The difference? Erasmus mocked but stayed. Luther mocked and left.

    Eh, that’s a bit simplistic I think. John Huss was excommunicated 100 years earlier for the same thing (and burned at the stake). The Catholic church didn’t want to hear it then, and they didn’t want to hear it from Luther. Perhaps Erasmus was better at politics, or had better connections. IDK.

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  136. okrapod: The peasants were not literate so what would they do with bibles?

    And as you mentioned, books especially one so large as a bible, were incredibly expensive. It just wasn’t very feasible technology wise until the printing press for everyone to have a bible. It is no coincidence that the reformation and the printing press occurred in roughly the same time. Then education of the masses in part so they could read the bible.

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  137. dee:

    … Yet, looking at the early church, the church thrived when it was considered the church for losers.

    … We wanted t be the party of the winners.

    You would appreciate Loewenich’s “Luther’s Theology of the Cross”. It’s out of print and may be hard to find. What you describe is, in terms of “theology of the Cross”, the tendency of us fallen image bearers to seek what looks like visible glory, which generally requires the employment of violence against enemies, rather than embracing Jesus’ exemplary path of suffering for enemies.

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  138. Lea,

    It has been a while since I read up on this. However, if I remember correctly they eventually found out who was behind what Erasmus was writing. Luther was inspired by some of Erasmus writings and Luther thought Erasmus may have been ready to go along with Luther in Reforming the church. Erasmus didn’t want that. He and Luther had a dialog by letters back and forth in Latin, if I remember correctly. That is why Luther wrote The Bondage of The Will. My understanding was by reading the forward to the book by J.I. Packer. Also the book “A World Lit Only by Fire” by William Manchester A very good book for understanding the times before and during the Reformation.

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  139. Ken A: Also the book “A World Lit Only by Fire” by William Manchester A very good book for understanding the times before and during the Reformation.

    This book is one of my favorites. William Manchester is an academic historian, but wrote this book in a more accessible style. It doesn’t make the RCC of the time look very good, to say the least, but the Reformationists don’t come off unscathed either. A good read!

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  140. Nathan Priddis: My mother would grab my shoulders and shake me. Did I really need to go potty? Could I only imagine the horror of stepping on the haggis for the first time?

    If you step on a live haggis, it makes a noise like bagpipes. And you don’t want to step on a haggis from Glen Shiel – they bite.

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  141. Avid Reader: Dee, it feels like you are taking sides. It feels like you are blaming one side while ignoring the brutal horrors of the Spanish Inquisition and many people that the other side killed in order to stop the Bible from getting into the hands of the people.

    As an unsaved heretic of reprobate mind myself, I fail to see any place where Dee has whitewashed either side, or sided with anything inhumane.

    You might be confusing exposition in the form of questions as endorsement.

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  142. Muff Potter,

    Hi Muff,

    This is the original comment that I was responding to:

    dee,

    Muff,

    How do you suggest that Queen Elizabeth should have responded to the Pope ordering her own people to rebel against her—just because she wouldn’t submit to him? That was a very real threat to England’s civil government. Did she have the rightful claim to the throne? Or did the Pope have the right to take the throne away from her? These are all interesting questions about history that we could have fascinating discussions about.

    Here’s the link to the Pope’s demand that she give up her throne:
    Avid Reader,

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  143. roebuck,

    Yes, Manchester didn’t choose sides in this book. Very even handed. In fact he presented Luther in very unflattering ways. I got the impression that Manchester is maybe anti-religious establishment.
    Have you read Manchester’s two volumes on Churchill, The Last Lion? Those are my favorite by Manchester.

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  144. Ken A:
    roebuck,

    Yes, Manchester didn’t choose sides in this book. Very even handed. In fact he presented Luther in very unflattering ways. I got the impression that Manchester is maybe anti-religious establishment.
    Have you read Manchester’s two volumes on Churchill, The Last Lion? Those are my favorite by Manchester.

    How ’bout that Lucrezia Borgia! Aye yi yi! 😉

    I’ve not read the Churchill books – just might have to check ’em out.

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  145. Beakerj:
    Nathan Priddis,

    I just don’t think anything comes close to the horror of TASTING the Haggis for the fist time

    I will admit, I have never confronted (been confronted with) a haggis. What does it taste like? What is the texture?

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  146. Nathan Priddis,

    Hey, trying Haggis is on my bucket list….. While I am mostly German, my family name is Scotish, and I can trace my linage straight back to Scotland, and many generations back in Scotland… we even once had a little “castle”… so to me, I would consider it an honor to be served Heggis with a little Scotch!

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  147. roebuck,

    Erm, true haggis is sheep heart, liver & lungs, plus oatmeal, onion, black pepper & nutmeg, boiled in a sheeps stomach! So like boiled muttony thick spiced meaty gruel in slices. Mmmmmmmmm. Oh, how can we all resist? (Like lamby meatloaf really, yuk & also yuk).

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  148. At the beginning of this blog Dee posed the question “Is doctrine godly when it does not include love?”

    John 13 v34 & 35 exhorts us as follows “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

    Jesus clearly commands us that we are to love one another, as he loves us. This love for each other is not optional. It is commanded. It is expected of those who know the glorious eternal love of a redemptive saviour. Jesus goes on to tell us that people will be able to judge us as to whether we are those who are his disciples, by observing the love we clearly have or do not have for one another.

    When we observe all that goes on in our lives and all that goes on within our churches, and we do not see love one for the other we are entitled to judge whether we are observing disciples who truly love as commanded or whether those we are observing are the wolves in sheeps coats or in other words those who are not his disciples

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  149. Highlander: At the beginning of this blog Dee posed the question “Is doctrine godly when it does not include love?”

    Good comments. I would go further, and suggest that doctrine is useless without love. I spent decades pursuing the ‘right’ doctrine. And God just kept bringing me back to ‘love as I have loved’.

    I think that is pretty much what 1 Cor 13 is trying to tell us. Buying into a creed or doctrine is easy-peasy. Treating others with the genuine respect and honor due them as a beloved creation, made in the image of God, intended for glory and eternity, is much more difficult. And much more important.

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