Even Kevin DeYoung is Fixated on Kingdom Keys. God Apparently Needs His Help In Deciding Who’s In and Who’s Out.

No statement should be believed because it is made by an authority. -Robert A. Heinlein link


Holding the Keys

I am so glad that I have become a member of my Lutheran church. Most church members have never heard of John Piper. No one is teaching a class on how to discipline church members. No one is debating whether a woman can read Scripture out loud in the church. Tim Challies does not allow this. Then again, few people, if any, in my church have ever heard of Tim Challies. Yet the children are taught well in confirmation and other classes. The sermons are thoughtful. We read the Scriptures in church every week and even pray, out loud, for members of our church who are ill during the church service. Most of the 5th grade kids can recite the Apostles Creed and can even tell you what it means by 6th grade.

Recently, I read a post by a woman who claims that we should never leave our churches, even if the church causes tremendous pain (with the exception of sex abuse or domestic violence.) We are to stay in our churches even if we are emotionally or spiritually abused because church membership is like marriage. There is no Biblical proof of this, merely Calvinist logic. So many members of these authority driven churches do not understand the lifelong effects for many of spiritual abuse. They have survived so the rest of us should just buck up and take it on the chin like submissive church women and men.

Kevin De Young joins 9 Marks in claiming he holds the keys to your salvation if you are a member of his church.

Recently, Kevin DeYoung, the lead pastor of a Reformed church in North Carolina had something more provocative to say about church membership in Theological Primer: The Nature of Church Power.

(3) Potestas diakritike is the authority the church posses in regard to the discipline of its members. The church is not given a sword (as the state is), but rather keys that it might open and close membership in the church (as an expression of entrance or expulsion from Christ’s heavenly kingdom).

Therefore, if you disagree with your church because they sell books by CJ Mahaney, like Todd Wilhelm, and you leave the church, they can discipline you in absentia. If you are under discipline, and you don’t accept it, they can expel you from the church. That is stupid enough. But DeYoung and his 9 Marks BFFs appear to state that this means you are now in danger of being outside of the Kingdom of God!!! That means you could go to hell!

Those poor people in Christ Covenant Church better be kissing their beloved leader’s key fob.

So, you don’t believe me? Do you think I would say something like this without proof? Let’s go back a few years to another post that we wrote on these magical keys that are held by leaders in the right™ churches.

In 2014 we wrote Jonathan Leeman/Mark Dever: The Keys Are the Key to Understanding Their Words. As an aside, I have dubbed Johnathan Leeman as *Keys *Leeman since this subject is his claim to fame amongst the Calvinists who love to claim authority over the members of their churches. It appears they believe that God needs their assistance in keeping up with the Books of Life.

Kevin DeYoung loves 9 Marks and the boys over there love him. Go to this link and see how many DeYoung articles they have posted.


Begin 2014 post Jonathan Leeman/Mark Dever: The Keys Are the Key to Understanding Their Words.

Understanding the Mark Dever/Jonathan Leeman concept of the keys to the kingdom which are held by pastors and leaders alone.

9Marks: The local church has the keys to authority

It is imperative to understand that 9Marks believe that they hold the “keys to authority” via the local church. What does this mean? Let’s look at it in their words from a post called Church and Church Independence.

The church, meaning a local church, holds the keys to excommunication, remove someone from membership, receive people into membership, pick pastors and adopt a statement of faith.

The theological champions at the Westminster Assembly spent several days debating who in the post-apostolic age holds the keys that Jesus originally gave to Peter (Matt. 16:19), since they understood that the keys represent, at the very least, the power of excommunication. And the power of excommunication is the highest authority in a church, just as the power of the sword is the highest authority in a nation. All power in a nation derives from the authority to end a life, and, in the same way, all power in the church derives from the authority to remove someone from membership, including the authority to receive members, pick pastors, or adopt a statement of faith. Whoever has the power of excommunication has the power to do those other things, or at least to decide who does.

Staring down at Matthew 18:15-20, I would argue with the dissenters that Jesus places the keys squarely in the hands of the local church—wherever two or three are formally gathered in his name.

Then we learn that another key to the kingdom is teaching and oversight (another loaded term) which is found in the elders. Then he discusses some vague key belonging to the congregation.

Later in the New Testament, we learn that elders should be set apart for teaching and oversight, which suggests they ordinarily lead the church in using those keys. I would even say the church needs the elders to responsibly wield the keys. But finally the keys belong to the entire congregation. No text in the New Testament explicitly links the oversight of the elders with the keys of the kingdom in the manner that Matthew 18 so clearly links the keys with the whole assembly. Elder authority is real, but it is a different kind of authority than congregational authority.

These keys represent the authority to build the church on earth on behalf of Jesus. 

 I have argued elsewhere that the keys represent the authority to build the church on earth on Jesus’ behalf by declaring what and who belong to the kingdom of heaven—what is a right confession of the gospel, and who is a right confessor. Certainly, preaching is highly related to the exercise of the keys, and could even be said to form an implicit part of their exercise.

The church gets to decide who is a true confessor of the faith and who is a “citizen of the kingdom of heaven.”

But, strictly speaking, I would argue that the exercise of the keys is the pronouncing of a judgment. It is a legal or judicial binding or loosing. It is a church’s decision about what constitutes a right confession and who is a true confessor.

In other words, the keys are put into practice whenever

a church decides upon a confession of faith that will bind all church members,
a church admits a member,
a church excludes a member.

The holder of the keys—the church—is being called upon to assess a person’s life and profession of faith and then to make a heavenly sanctioned and public pronouncement affirming or denying the person’s citizenship in the kingdom and inclusion in the church.

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the means by which the church controls the membership. If they say you are not in, you cannot be baptized or take the Lord’s Supper.

In the same way, the independent authority of the local church makes the rule of Christ’s kingdom visible on planet earth as it exercises the keys, which it does through baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The ordinances are what make the receiving and dismissing of members by the authority of the keys visible. Call them Christian passports.

Only the local church can dispense the Lord’s Supper. 

Christians should belong to local churches. Christians do not have the authority to declare themselves Jesus’ representatives. The church has this authority, which it ordinarily exercises by dispensing the Lord’s Supper to its members. (Which is not to say that church cannot provide the Lord’s Supper to visiting members of other churches for the sake of acknowledging the wider body of Christ.) Plus, maintaining the credibility of one’s profession of faith requires a believer to remain under the oversight of a church.

9Marks in a post called Regulative Jazz says that the local church gets to decide what the gospel is and who is a gospel citizen.

The gathered local church is authorized in Matthew 16, 18, and 28 by Christ’s keys of the kingdom to make an international declaration about a what and a who: what is the gospel, and who is a gospel citizen?

In that post, you will see that I quote Leeman who claims to recognize that the authority given to the church can be used for good or bad. I truly believe that Leeman thinks CHBC/9Marks are trying to use authority for *good.* But we all know the very real story of Todd Wilhelm in which their authority was used to punish a decent man who was righteously standing up for his conscience.

Todd’s story illustrates the inherent danger in a church where its leaders believe they hold some special authority given to them by God. The sad part of this mishap is that Leeman, Dever and Folmar do not recognize their serious errors and continue to think they are being biblical™ in the misapplication of ill-defined church discipline which led to the mistreatment of a man whom they once deemed a possible leader. Folks, they do not see their errors, and that is alarming!

I vigorously oppose the 9Marks’ teaching on the supposed keys to the kingdom. These men (I don’t think women have keys in their system, but I could be wrong) have taken on a role which is way above their pay grade. I happen to know Who has this role and am grateful that He holds the veto and He will correct their wrong decisions.

The gathered local church is authorized in Matthew 16, 18, and 28 by Christ’s keys of the kingdom to make an international declaration about a what and a who: what is the gospel, and who is a gospel citizen?

Upon understanding how 9Marks applied the *keys* (or was it the screws?) to Todd Wilhelm, I have come to believe that theirs system is a manmade one that has been misapplied and will continue to be used to apply unrighteous pressure to decent people who are following the Lord. if they did it once, they will do it again unless they apologize and change their direction.

End of the previous post


Do you know what is happening when you join your church?

If you join DeYoung’s church, you need to accept that you can be disciplined for whatever DeYoung and his BFFs (aka elders) determine should be disciplined. They have not told you a priori what they will discipline. They never will even though they could. They don’t do so because they want to be able to control members of the congregation.

Martin Luther stood up to the Catholic Church which used the threat of excommunication from the church to bludgeon the impoverished masses into obedience. In their system, excommunication simply meant that you would go to hell unless you got them to declare you back in the fold. Today’s Calvinists are playing the same game.

  • You can be disciplined for whatever reason.
  • If you leave the church, you are essentially out of the kingdom of God which means you are going to hell. Read DeYoung’s comment again if you doubt me.
  • This means that every little Christian (preferably Reformed, covenants signing and key carrying) church on all the street corners of my town are are engaged in declaring who is getting into heaven and who is going to hell. I bet they often disagree as people move from church to church. So, does God let those people go in and out of the kingdom in accordance with the varying disagreements between churches? Does He have an eraser for the Book of Life if DeYoung and Robert Morris disagree on the status of Fred Smith?

I am so glad that I fled this nonsense and have found a peaceful refuge in a church whose members would look perplexed if it was announced that this was one of those key carrying churches. They would think that the speaker was referring to the nice man who unlocks the doors to the church, lights and then blows out the candles and then locks up the doors on the way out. He is a dear man who volunteers most weekends and has the hugest key chain ever. I am glad I have thrown my lot in with him as opposed to these authority driven church leaders who haven’t met a rule they won’t adopt.

I am so glad that I have become a member of my Lutheran church. Most church members have never heard of John Piper. No one is teaching a class on how to discipline church members. No one is debating whether a woman can read Scripture out loud in the church since women do this. Tim Challies does not allow this. Then again, few people, if any, in my church has ever heard of Tim Challies.

Recently, I read a post by a woman who claims that we should never leave our churches, even if the church causes tremendous pain (with the exception of sex abuse or domestic violence.) We are to stay in our churches even if we are emotionally or spiritually abused because church membership is like marriage. So many members of these authority driven churches do not understand the lifelong effects for many of spiritual abuse. They have survived so the rest of us should just buck up and take it on the chin like submissive church women.

Kevin De Young joins 9 Marks in claiming to holds the keys to your salvation if you are a member of his church.

Recently, Kevin DeYoung, the lead pastor of a Reformed church in North Carolina had something more provocative to say about church membership in Theological Primer: The Nature of Church Power.

(3) Potestas diakritike is the authority the church posses in regard to the discipline of its members. The church is not given a sword (as the state is), but rather keys that it might open and close membership in the church (as an expression of entrance or expulsion from Christ’s heavenly kingdom).

Therefore, if you disagree with your church because they sell books by CJ Mahaney, like Todd Wilhelm, and you leave the church, they can discipline your in absentia. If you are under discipline, and you don’t accept it, they can expel you from the church. That is stupid enough.The church leadership now appears to state that this means you are now in danger of being outside of the Kingdom of God!!!

Those poor people in Christ Covenant Church better be kissing their beloved leader’s key fob.

So, you don’t believe me? Do you think I would say something like this without proof? let’s go back a few years to another post that we wrote on these keys that are held by leaders in the right™ churches.

In 2014 we wrote Jonathan Leeman/Mark Dever: The Keys Are the Key to Understanding Their Words. As an aside, I have dubbed Johnathan Leeman as *Keys Leeman* since this is his claim to fane amongst the calvinists who love discuss authority.

Kevin DeYoung loves 9 Marks and the boys over there love him. Go to this link and see how many DeYoung articles they have posted.


Begin 2014 post Jonathan Leeman/Mark Dever: The Keys Are the Key to Understanding Their Words.

Understanding the Mark Dever/Jonathan Leeman concept of the keys to the kingdom which are held by pastors and leaders alone.


9Marks: The local church has the keys to authority

It is imperative to understand that 9Marks believe that they hold the “keys to authority” via the local church. What does this mean? Let’s look at it in their words from a post called Church and Church Independence.

The church, meaning a local church, holds the keys to excommunication, remove someone from membership, receive people into membership, pick pastors and adopt a statement of faith.

The theological champions at the Westminster Assembly spent several days debating who in the post-apostolic age holds the keys that Jesus originally gave to Peter (Matt. 16:19), since they understood that the keys represent, at the very least, the power of excommunication. And the power of excommunication is the highest authority in a church, just as the power of the sword is the highest authority in a nation. All power in a nation derives from the authority to end a life, and, in the same way, all power in the church derives from the authority to remove someone from membership, including the authority to receive members, pick pastors, or adopt a statement of faith. Whoever has the power of excommunication has the power to do those other things, or at least to decide who does.

Staring down at Matthew 18:15-20, I would argue with the dissenters that Jesus places the keys squarely in the hands of the local church—wherever two or three are formally gathered in his name.

Then we learn that another key to the kingdom is teaching and oversight (another loaded term) which is found in the elders. Then he discusses some vague key belonging to the congregation.

Later in the New Testament, we learn that elders should be set apart for teaching and oversight, which suggests they ordinarily lead the church in using those keys. I would even say the church needs the elders to responsibly wield the keys. But finally the keys belong to the entire congregation. No text in the New Testament explicitly links the oversight of the elders with the keys of the kingdom in the manner that Matthew 18 so clearly links the keys with the whole assembly. Elder authority is real, but it is a different kind of authority than congregational authority.

These keys represent the authority to build the church on earth on behalf of Jesus. 

 I have argued elsewhere that the keys represent the authority to build the church on earth on Jesus’ behalf by declaring what and who belong to the kingdom of heaven—what is a right confession of the gospel, and who is a right confessor. Certainly, preaching is highly related to the exercise of the keys, and could even be said to form an implicit part of their exercise.

The church gets to decide who is a true confessor of the faith and who is a “citizen of the kingdom of heaven.”

But, strictly speaking, I would argue that the exercise of the keys is the pronouncing of a judgment. It is a legal or judicial binding or loosing. It is a church’s decision about what constitutes a right confession and who is a true confessor.

In other words, the keys are put into practice whenever

a church decides upon a confession of faith that will bind all church members,
a church admits a member,
a church excludes a member.

The holder of the keys—the church—is being called upon to assess a person’s life and profession of faith and then to make a heavenly sanctioned and public pronouncement affirming or denying the person’s citizenship in the kingdom and inclusion in the church.

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the means by which the church controls the membership. If they say you are not in, you cannot be baptized or take the Lord’s Supper.

In the same way, the independent authority of the local church makes the rule of Christ’s kingdom visible on planet earth as it exercises the keys, which it does through baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The ordinances are what make the receiving and dismissing of members by the authority of the keys visible. Call them Christian passports.

Only the local church can dispense the Lord’s Supper. 

Christians should belong to local churches. Christians do not have the authority to declare themselves Jesus’ representatives. The church has this authority, which it ordinarily exercises by dispensing the Lord’s Supper to its members. (Which is not to say that church cannot provide the Lord’s Supper to visiting members of other churches for the sake of acknowledging the wider body of Christ.) Plus, maintaining the credibility of one’s profession of faith requires a believer to remain under the oversight of a church.

9Marks in a post called Regulative Jazz says that the local church gets to decide what the gospel is and who is a gospel citizen.

The gathered local church is authorized in Matthew 16, 18, and 28 by Christ’s keys of the kingdom to make an international declaration about a what and a who: what is the gospel, and who is a gospel citizen?


In that post, you will see that I quote Leeman who claims to recognize that the authority given to the church can be used for good or bad. I truly believe that Leeman thinks CHBC/9Marks are trying to use authority for *good.* But we all know the very real story of Todd Wilhelm in which their authority was used to punish a decent man who was righteously standing up for his conscience.

Todd’s story illustrates the inherent danger in a church where its leaders believe they hold some special authority given to them by God. The sad part of this mishap is that Leeman, Dever and Folmar do not recognize their serious errors and continue to think they are being biblical™ in the misapplication of ill-defined church discipline which led to the mistreatment of a man whom they once deemed a possible leader. Folks, they do not see their errors, and that is alarming!

I vigorously oppose the 9Marks’ teaching on the supposed keys to the kingdom. These men (I don’t think women have keys in their system, but I could be wrong) have taken on a role which is way above their pay grade. I happen to know Who has this role and am grateful that He holds the veto and He will correct their wrong decisions.

The gathered local church is authorized in Matthew 16, 18, and 28 by Christ’s keys of the kingdom to make an international declaration about a what and a who: what is the gospel, and who is a gospel citizen?

Upon understanding how 9Marks applied the *keys* (or was it the screws?) to Todd Wilhelm, I have come to believe that theirs system is a manmade one that has been misapplied and will continue to be used to apply unrighteous pressure to decent people who are following the Lord. if they did it once, they will do it again unless they apologize and change their direction.

End of the previous post


Do you know what is happening when you join your church?

If you join DeYoung’s church, you need to accept that you can be disciplined for whatever DeYoung and his BFFs (aka elders) determine should be disciplined. They have not told you a priori what they will discipline. They never will even though they could. They don’t do so because they want to be able to control members of the congregation.

Martin Luther stood up to the Catholic Church which used the threat of excommunication from the church to bludgeon the pope into obedience. Excommunication simply meant that you would go to hell. Today’s calvinists are playing the same game.

  • You can be disciplined for whatever reason.
  • If you leave the church, you are essentially pit out of the kingdom of God which means you are going to hell. Read DeYoung’s comment again.
  • This means that every little Christian (preferably Reformed, covenants signing and key carrying)church on all the street corners of my town are are engaged in declaring who is getting into heaven and who is going to hell.

I am so glad that I have fled this nonsense and have found refuge in church whose members would look perplexed if it was announced that this was one of those key carrying churches. They would think that the speaker was referring to the nice man who unlocks the doors to the church, lights and then blows out the candles and then locks up the doors on the way out. He is a dear man who volunteers most weekends and has the hugest key chain ever. I am glad I have thrown my lot in with him as opposed to these authority driven church leaders who haven’t met a rule they won’t attach to a key and hang it around the necks of the people in their churches.


Comments

Even Kevin DeYoung is Fixated on Kingdom Keys. God Apparently Needs His Help In Deciding Who’s In and Who’s Out. — 147 Comments

  1. Re
    “Even Kevin DeYoung is Fixated on Kingdom Keys. God Apparently Needs His Help In Deciding Who’s In and Who’s Out.”

    It’s too late.
    I took the keys and poured super glue into the lock. 🙂

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. Re
    (According to some online lady),
    “We are to stay in our churches even if we are emotionally or spiritually abused because church membership is like marriage.”

    Thanks, Christians, for making this never-married woman feel as though being single for life is far preferable to being married.

    (And some Christians are like, “Why aren’t people marrying any more, it’s such a pity!”)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. Re
    “I am so glad that I fled this nonsense and have found a peaceful refuge in a church whose members would look perplexed if it was announced that this was one of those key carrying churches.”

    In my state of the last few years of floating like a piece of drift wood between agnosticism and Christianity, I’m glad I left this stuff behind, too.

    I don’t sit around worrying about what these Christian pastors or book authors think, or if I am “in” or “out” of God’s kingdom, all due to whatever biblical interpretation and trendy or hip theology they are into promoting now.

    Doesn’t Paul say something in the New Testament about avoiding long arguments over theology, because it’s a waste of time?

    When I was younger, I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by that.

    Now that I’m older, I get it.
    (Even if I’m mis-remembering the passage by Paul, I still think it holds true.)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  4. De Young: “Staring down at Matthew 18:15-20, I would argue with the dissenters that Jesus places the keys squarely in the hands of the local church—wherever two or three are formally gathered in his name”

    So don’t his own words deem a gathering of two a “local church”? Asking for a potential key holder. Also, still,waiting for the 9Marks emphasis in written tenet form on leadership being above reproach, complete with seminars and calls for accountability and oversight on same. Any day now…

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  5. I read a very long, depressing article at The Atlantic about abuse kids.

    This part of the article:

    –start–
    Browning was also troubled that many of the parenting classes and counseling services the department relied on to prevent abuse had little evidence to support their efficacy.

    But when he tried to institute more rigorous performance standards, representatives of the service providers—including many churches—filled the county board of supervisors’ large meeting room and gave hours of heated testimony.

    Afterward, Browning dropped his proposal.
    –end–

    Reminds me of how churches fail victims, or other types of hurting people.

    Often, Christians are more harmful than helpful to kids who are being abused, wives who are being abused by their husbands, and they’re damaging to people with mental health problems.

    They keep wanting troubled people to use church approved, or church sponsored, help or counseling, which tends to do more harm than good.

    They don’t care if their “help” (or “counseling”) actually helps anyone in trouble, so long as their form of help is, in their opinion, “biblical.”

    Source for that quote above:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/10/la-county-dcfs-failed-protect-gabriel-fernandez/571384/

    Other remarks by other former case-workers indicate they cared more about Biblical Values and Focusing On Families than they did in actually keeping kids in abusive families safe.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  6. If you can join but never leave, and are under the control of one leader or a group of leaders who can discipline you, you are not in a church, you are in a cult.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  7. I can sadly attest to this sort of thinking in the Reformed denomination I was in. I honestly think it is this kind of nonsense that gives these men such a power trip and creates authoritarian spiritual abusers. Think about it – you think you have the authority and power to keep people in or out of the kingdom of God? They are truly delusional.

    Thus, my pastor watched all of us closely, down his snooty little nose, to see if we were ‘deficient in life or doctrine’ and needed a little prod from his righteous rod. He once humbly explained that Matthew 7 was teaching that only perfect people like him, who had removed their own specks, were fit for log-picking in the likes of us. It isn’t that no one should judge others; just no one but superior types, like pastors. I am not making this up. And if an individual did not respond as desired to ‘discipline’; out ya go. Bye bye supper and bye bye heaven. He consistently taught that no one could enter heaven outside of being a member in good standing of an (approved) institutional church.

    My spouse is mortified when I take communion at one of our children’s churches, part of the denomination I left. I’m sorry, but no one is going to tell me whether or not I can have a share in the table Jesus prepared for me. (I took communion at my boyfriend’s Catholic church in college as well.) Guess what? Fire did not rain down from heaven. These men are nothing but men. They have no more power or authority over heaven and earth than do I, or any other believer.

    If they are true elders, they have a responsibility: to serve, love, teach and lay down their lives for those who look to them for direction. But they have no authority to dictate what others must believe, how they should dress or if they are ‘good’ enough to take the Lord’s supper. Note it is the Lord’s supper, not Pastor Lorditoverall’s.

    These guys are often narcissists to begin with. Imagine giving them the idea that they hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven! Now we can see where Calvin got his delusions, and felt qualified to torture, murder or oppress anyone who disobeyed his commands or disagreed with his doctrine. Servetus became his mortal enemy, and was brutally murdered, for questioning and even mocking Calvin’s logical lapses and inconsistencies in those much vaunted Institutes.

    I am so thankful, Dee, that you have found a better place. I am still so traumatized, I am not sure church will ever be in my future. Too many triggers, starting with anyone who is called ‘Pastor’ and thinks he is in authority over others. Who thinks, “When I stand in the pulpit, I speak for God”. Never again.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  8. “Would not some of the so-called ‘priests’ lock us out of the fold if they had the keys? Thank God they have neither the key nor the charge of the door, for whoever believes in Jesus, to whatever church he belongs outwardly, or if he belongs to no visible church at all, if he does but come to God by Christ, he is saved, for Christ is the door—and nothing else is the way of entrance—neither this opinion, nor that external doing, nor such-and-such works, nor such-and-such feelings, but Christ Himself, and Christ alone.” —Charles Spurgeon, “The Door”

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  9. GMFS: Comment 1 of 2

    This from the book of Isaiah, chapter 44:

    [Some generic man] plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it; he makes it a graven image and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”

    I haven’t spoken to the writer of this passage, obviously, so I can never really know what it means. All I’ll say is, it looks to me like he/she/they are parodying the idea of creating your own god out of common materials. That’s probably just my own bias, though, because I think the idea that you can build a god out of a block of wood is stupid.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  10. GMFS: Comment 2 of 2

    So, [some generic man] moves somewhere to live. With a portion of his time, he gets together with some friends and they join a sports club, a gym, a choir, or something. And they have a bit of productive down-time together and are satisfied. They say: Great game today; verily these leisure activities are good for our mental health and all-round social skill development.

    With another portion of his time, he getteth some other people together unto himself and plants an flowering shrubchurch. He setteth it up alongside all the other churches nearby that people like unto himself founded in times past. He decree-eth an doctrinal basis wherein he setteth those things that his god may, and may not, do among men. Then he launcheth it and saith unto himself: “Aha! I am sound. I have build an church. And my church shall have magical powers whereunto it shall grow and become rich, and shall confer unto them that obey me the power to come back unto life and live forever in an undetermined spiritual dimension (whatever that meaneth) after an unspecified future time”.

    +++++

    It cannot be spelt out too clearly or too often that the word “church” is being used in a bold bait-and-switch whenever movements like this, or their spokesmen, ascribe “local church” with special powers.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  11. “(T)he power of excommunication is the highest authority in a church, just as the power of the sword is the highest authority in a nation. All power in a nation derives from the authority to end a life, and, in the same way, all power in the church derives from the authority to remove someone from membership, including the authority to receive members, pick pastors, or adopt a statement of faith.”

    There’s the foundational flaw right there – patterning the life of the church after the pattern of the world-system. The world-system is all about who has authority and who gives orders to whom, founded on the power to compel obedience. But when Jesus and the NT talk about power in the church, it’s always about the Gospel of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and servanthood. Absent those Marks (pun intended), a “pastor” claiming power by right of the keys is just a would-be tyrant.

    Using the verses about the keys (yanked out of context) to support an authoritarian power structure in the church is no different than yanking verses out of context to support complementarianism, neglect of the poor and refugees, ad infinitum. It’s not the Gospel, it’s a naked power grab.

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  12. Whereas the Lutheran faith is fresh in the liturgical sense and the simplicity, I share many of your positive comments, however, having recently moved, I desired to visit a local Lutheran congregation, Missouri Synod. I contacted the pastor in advance, had read Martin Luther’s bio Here and Now, studied much on the reformation, could recite the catechism, and asked to partake of the table, Lord’s Supper. They refused unless I was a member. So I attended that one Sunday, but was not part of the community of taking of the bread and cup. So, my conclusion is every denomination has it’s legalism. Rules. Most time that make no sense. And of course, I did not want to join the church at this time. I wanted to visit and make decisions based on what I determined was a place I could commit and worship. Strange times within the church structure.

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  13. prodinov:
    I desired to visit a local Lutheran congregation, Missouri Synod. I contacted the pastor in advance, had read Martin Luther’s bio Here and Now, studied much on the reformation, could recite the catechism, and asked to partake of the table, Lord’s Supper. They refused unless I was a member. So I attended that one Sunday, but was not part of the community of taking of the bread and cup. So, my conclusion is every denomination has it’s legalism. Rules. Most time that make no sense.

    The LCMS is one of the more stringent Lutheran denominations out there – withholding communion from those who do not share their specific theology of Christ’s presence in the elements is one of their trademarks. You can occasionally find a pastor who will quietly make accommodations, but they’re the exception. And the LCMS is also prone to catching the more virulent habits of other evangelical conservatives. TL;DR, try an ELCA congregation next time.

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  14. prodinov,

    I had the opposite experience at a local LCMS that I attend a Bible study and occasionally services at. They know I am not a member of a Lutheran church (or any physical earthly church for that matter), but I’ve had no issues being able to partake of Communion. I’m assuming they accept me on the basis I am a Christian believer that was invited there by one of their members, a friend of mine.

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  15. Eeyore,

    I have not seen these negative elements at the LCMS that I occasionally attend. Personally, I’d never recommend an ELCA church. I grew up in that. Way too liberal for me.

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  16. I am SOOOOO glad, though I consider myself an evangelical, that I never was a (neo) Calvinist, nor did I ever flirt once with their strain…though I flirted with a gal I was dating once who was interested in that strain of faith.

    Anyways.

    Though I am not a regular comment-poster here, I am glad you are highlighting this, and I am baffled why some Christians seem so fixated on this “Who’s in/who’s out” talk, as well as fixated on hammering out a huge dissertation on church discipline.

    Why not spend an inordinate amount of time hammering out a theology of loving your neighbor or loving God, instead of trying to figure out new ways of keeping your members in line?

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  17. Jarrett Edwards:
    If you can join but never leave, and are under the control of one leader or a group of leaders who can discipline you, you are not in a church, you are in a cult.

    I have to ask, what position exactly is being auditioned for in this scenario?

    Romans 14:4
    Who are you, judging another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to uphold him.

    James 4:12
    There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

    Also, of Maheny, Pressler, TT, Driscoll, Page, Hybels, Chan, Challies, Platt, Mohler, Dever, Patterson, Conlee, Wilson, Keller, Piper, MacArthur, Morris, Francis, who makes the call on the following:

    John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    Do I need them as an intermediary to confirm this in my life? Do I need to get each of them to sign off like a parental field trip permission form, waiting on pins and needles until the give the OK?

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  18. What is the big deal about open vs closed communion? Our family are Episcopalians. We believe that the eucharist is a sacrament and we believe in the Real Presence but that is not identical to Orthodox or Roman or Lutheran ideas concerning communion. It also differs from Baptist or Presbyterian ideas.

    I had grandkids in an LCMS school for 2+ years and attended school functions which were conflated with LCMS liturgy including communion. We did not, of course, participate and we behaved respectfully to their position in being able to determine who would and who would not participate with them in their church. I also would not take communion with the Baptists for the same reason, or with the Catholics nor would they allow me to.

    Meanwhile at my church the rule for participation in communion is that one must be a baptized believer-period. Be they Lutheran or Baptist or whatever-trinitarian formula baptism-not baptized in the name of pine trees or day lilies. No doubt some would balk at the idea of the baptismal requirement.
    But here is the thing: So What? One is not saved by Holy Communion alone; it is not one of the solas. No one is being denied salvation according to protestant theologies at any rate.

    However, if the issue of open communion is a deal breaker then one ought to find a church that does that because, IMO, the ‘feel’ of a church can probably be ‘felt’ in this issue and if the ‘feel’ is wrong then there are sure to be other areas of disagreement. People need to either (a) adhere to some doctrinal position even when it is difficult to do so, or else (b) go with their gut even when they can’t totally justify their position rationally, or (c) both. But trying to get the other people to do it ‘my way’ or else, that just is not working.

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  19. I attended a Catholic church service when I was 10 years old with some Catholic school friends, and I was able to take communion and volunteer to pass the collection plate even though my family were non-practicing Lutherans who hadn’t been a member of a church in years. I also attended an Ash Wednesday mass at a Catholic chapel when I was a college student and no one questioned if I was Catholic or not when I took communion and had ashes smudged on my forehead. I also took communion at the one service I attended at a Lutheran Church-Wisconsin Synod when I was a teenager even though my Lutheran background was not Wisconsin Synod. So this legalism stuff must depend on the local congregation rather than widespread denominational practice.

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  20. okrapod,

    You might be surprised about how some LCMS view this. I have learned a valuable lesson through the years. Never judge an individual church by experiences in churches of the same denomination. My pastors could teach a number of denominations a thing or two about love, kindness and respect. I think you would like my church.

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  21. Lily Rose,

    Thank you for your comment. I, too, have had similar experiences with Catholic Churches and priests. Once again-never judge an individual church on the basis of what you believe about the denomination.

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  22. BillToo,

    Thank you for your comment. I, too, had a similar experience. Things are changing in how churches view some of these issues. I find it amusing that SEBTS students will sometimes visit the church to assess what we believe. I enjoy watching them write furiously. I would love to read some of those papers. I bet they hold onto preconceived ideas.

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  23. Eeyore,

    I think it might be better to say that the LCMS used to be stringent in this matter. However, things are practiced differently from church to church in some matter. Never forget that this is the denomination that stood up for this blog last year. The Baptists would have drawn and quartered me.

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  24. Jerome: “Would not some of the so-called ‘priests’ lock us out of the fold if they had the keys? Thank God they have neither the key nor the charge of the door, for whoever believes in Jesus, to whatever church he belongs outwardly, or if he belongs to no visible church at all, if he does but come to God by Christ, he is saved, for Christ is the door—and nothing else is the way of entrance—neither this opinion, nor that external doing, nor such-and-such works, nor such-and-such feelings, but Christ Himself, and Christ alone.” —Charles Spurgeon, “The Door”

    To that I say a hearty ‘Amen’. Even if he did call himself a Calvinist. 😉 All joking aside, some of my most beloved family and friends call themselves ‘Calvinist’. I always try to separate the theology from the person, as one, IMO, is misleading and the other is simply misled. My concern is with how destructive a terribly inaccurate view of God can be to one’s own faith, and to the potential faith of others. It forced me to reexamine everything I believe and hold dear, which, in the long run, has been helpful. Others just walk away.

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  25. prodinov,

    What would you say if I told you that I visited a Baptist church that preached against the use of alcohol.Then I said “All Baptists believe this?” Luther believed in the freedom of conscience. That means things could be different from church to church. I wish you could visit mine. I know you would love it.

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  26. My heart sank the other day when I saw that Leeman was the scheduled chapel speaker for Oct. 16 at SWBTS. It was a grave reminder that authoritarianism is still very much alive and well there in the post-Patterson era.

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  27. TS00: My spouse is mortified when I take communion at one of our children’s churches, part of the denomination I left. I’m sorry, but no one is going to tell me whether or not I can have a share in the table Jesus prepared for me. (I took communion at my boyfriend’s Catholic church in college as well.) G

    Martin Luther was big on the freedom of conscience. I sense that freedom at my church.

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  28. Eeyore: There’s the foundational flaw right there – patterning the life of the church after the pattern of the world-system. The world-system is all about who has authority and who gives orders to whom, founded on the power to compel obedience. But when Jesus and the NT talk about power in the church, it’s always about the Gospel of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and servanthood. Absent those Marks (pun intended), a “pastor” claiming power by right of the keys is just a would-be tyrant.

    He would also be ignoring the teaching of Jesus, who said, ““You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant”.

    Imagine the least significant person you know – someone like me – standing before a Pope or a Calvin and saying, ‘I perceive that you desire to be great. Here’s the mop.’

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  29. Eeyore: Using the verses about the keys (yanked out of context) to support an authoritarian power structure in the church is no different than yanking verses out of context to support complementarianism, neglect of the poor and refugees, ad infinitum. It’s not the Gospel, it’s a naked power grab.

    Pretty much sums up my problem with The Church. ‘Using the verses about . . . to support . . ., it’s a naked power grab’.

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  30. Dee, in my browser it appears that the entire OP is duplicated, and the initial “I am so glad” paragraph seems to appear 3 times. If that’s in the OP and not my browser, perhaps update the OP to remove the duplicated material.

    —-

    There’s a lot of assumption going on in the reasoning among authoritarian leaders that is described in the OP. Most importantly, they assume that the groups they lead are fundamentally the same thing that is described in the New Testament (so that, by implication, Jesus’ words to the apostles also apply to them — more on that below).

    Lately I question that.

    Now, if these leaders can “ask the Father in Jesus’ name” and have the Father do for them whatever they ask, I will sit up and pay attention.

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  31. Some churches wield the keys like the super in a large apartment building who’s key ring continues to grow to ridiculous proportions. Others like the child who’s parents foolishly gave them their key ring to play with in church.

    In the LCMS I have found the use of the keys to be very understated and a wholly private matter. It is understood, but used as a last resort when it comes to excommunication. I believe it to be much less rigid than most people think it is.

    Given the Scriptural emphasis of the LCMS, close communion is understandable in light of the warning attached to it. I believe that this is the primary motivation for close communion. The community is a second motivation, since not all believe the same things about the Lord’s Supper as the LCMS. One pastor told me that when I receive communion at his church I have just joined his church because I am declaring that I stand in communion with him.

    When my spouse and I joined our LCMS church, I was accepted in as a retread, and my spouse had to go through confirmation first. We went together, so it was good for us both. I repeatedly asked if my spouse was ok with that, and was repeatedly told yes, no problem. There was never anything heavy handed or punishing about it. More like a “This is who we are” kind of approach.

    It is true that LCMS churches vary widely across the spectrum regarding open vs. close communion. ELCA is open. Wisconsin Synod varies less but does vary some. As with everything, your mileage may vary.

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  32. Dan from Georgia: am baffled why some Christians seem so fixated on this “Who’s in/who’s out” talk, as well as fixated on hammering out a huge dissertation on church discipline.

    Why? Because it is about power and authority for those who desire it.

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  33. The Keys to Kingdom are not given to men who hold to a particular theology … they are not in the hands of the clergy, whether Protestant or Catholic … they are not intended to give a man authority over another. The “key” that opens the door to the Kingdom is given to each believer through revealed knowledge of who Jesus is.

    From Matthew 16:

    Jesus: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

    Disciples: “Well, some say John the Baptist. Some say Elijah, others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

    Jesus: “But what about you? Who do ‘you’ say that I am?”

    Peter: “You? You are Christ, the Son of the living God!”

    Jesus: “Simon, son of Jonah, you are a fortunate man indeed! For it was not your own nature but my Heavenly Father who has revealed this truth to you! … I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven”

    The Key to the Kingdom is revealed knowledge of who Jesus is … it is found one soul at a time! The Kingdom of Heaven – on earth, in the here and now – is where revealed Truth is flowing, rather than the doctrines of men. No one can exercise authority over you but Jesus.

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  34. Even Kevin DeYoung is Fixated on Kingdom Keys. God Apparently Needs His Help In Deciding Who’s In and Who’s Out.

    Whatever would God do on J-Day without Kevin DeYoung seated on a Little White Throne at His right hand, whispering in His ear like Grima Wormtongue to King Theoden? God will be so so lucky to have Kevin DeYoung there to tell Him who’s REALLY Saved and (more important) Who’s NOT.

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  35. FW Rez,

    I see you twittered about it. BTW: Ravi Zacharias is also making an appearance at SES next week. Note that he is talking about apologetics, not apologizing.

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  36. dee,

    Your welcome Dee! Speaking of priests, my oldest brother converted to Catholicism when he married his first wife so they could be married in the Catholic church. Four years and two children later, he divorced his wife because she left him for another man. At the time, my brother became more interested in the Catholic faith, and he even studied to become a priest at one point. This was always remarkable to me because people are always amazed that a divorced man with small children could even become a priest. My brother was 16 years older than me, and this all happened when I was a very young child in the 70s so the details of exactly how this happened are foggy to me as my brother is now deceased so I cannot ask him. Anyway, I remember my brother had a priest who was a spiritual mentor to him that would come to our house for supper sometimes. The rest of our family, of course, was not Catholic, but this priest was a very nice man that I remember being slightly in awe of. Long story short- my brother met his second wife, remarried, and had another child so that was the end of his fascination with the priesthood though he considered himself Catholic the rest of his life. We still maintained contact with this priest for several years as a friend of the family until he left for a mission in Israel at some point.

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  37. FW Rez: My heart sank the other day when I saw that Leeman was the scheduled chapel speaker for Oct. 16 at SWBTS.

    A hint that SWBTS is next in line for New Calvinist leadership. I have no doubt that Mohler has been working behind the scenes to ensure that … he truly is the man behind the curtain within SBC.

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  38. It’s not the first time church leaders acted this way. But you do have to go pretty far back to find that kind of thinking. Maybe the Catholic church in medieval times, or the Church of England at certain points a few hundred years ago. Or even some of the early American Puritans.

    And none of those were particularly glorious times for the advancement of the real gospel message. In a lot of cases those deemed heretics were tortured or killed by the self-proclaimed keepers of the keys.

    People really do need to read and learn from history.

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  39. I ride the bus to work many days. Sometimes with people who don’t have it all their marbles. Today was such a day. A woman talking to everybody and nobody in incomprehensible ramblings and rantings in two different languages I think. I usually say a silent prayer for people like this asking God to be with them and surround and protect them. Because you never know what challenges they have faced that got them where they are. And that could be me, or you, or anyone, given a few unlucky circumstances. God loves them and so we must also.

    At no time do I think about whether I or anyone else held the key to their salvation. What nonsense. That is between them and God. And I believe we will all be surprised at who is in Heaven when we get there.
    These calvinistas ought to get out of their little insular and self-righteous clique and into the real world sometimes.

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  40. I know I said this once… and it won’t be the last time

    It is and will always will be about power.

    Another reason why I personally lump Calvin in with Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell.

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  41. Max: working behind the scenes

    Did you see Platt’s comments on SBC politics as he exits stage right?

    “I hate the politics of the SBC. And I don’t say that as an outsider. I say that as an insider these last four years. Some of the lowest points in my leadership have been when I found myself participating in them — jockeying for position, continual self-promotion, backroom deals followed by spin in the front room, strategizing like brothers are your enemy, feeling like others see you as their enemy … getting to the point where you wonder if you can trust anyone even as you start to wonder how trustworthy you’ve become,” Platt said.

    http://www.bpnews.net/51677/platts-imb-farewell–rise-above-sbc-challenges

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  42. Dan from Georgia,

    “I am baffled why some Christians seem so fixated on this “Who’s in/who’s out” talk, as well as fixated on hammering out a huge dissertation on church discipline.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    well, i think they’re afraid.

    last night spent my sleepless time exploring Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, out of fascination. seeing if i could virtually get around it on Google maps, street level.

    this is old news, and the kindergarten version: Dubai realizes oil is a finite resource. They need to develop other things to keep their economy strong. Tourism and real estate. Not enough coastline. So they create lots of new human-made coastline.

    my view is that christian powerbrokers see and foresee many threats to revenue and power. therefore they develop “doctrine” to bolster revenue and power.

    many christians of influence are taken in by it all, and get on board with it, helping in the construction and development of new doctrines and sin invention.

    money and fame keep it all going.

    writing a blog article that hits all the right points with the right language so that it gets mentioned on the TGC website…. a golden ticket to personal significance and revenue opportunities!

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  43. Dan from Georgia,

    “I am baffled why some Christians seem so fixated on this “Who’s in/who’s out” talk, as well as fixated on hammering out a huge dissertation on church discipline.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    well, i think they’re afraid.

    last night spent my sleepless time exploring Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, out of fascination. seeing if i could virtually get around it on Google maps, street level.

    this is old news, and the kindergarten version: Dubai realizes oil is a finite resource. They need to develop other things to keep their economy strong. Tourism and real estate. Not enough coastline. So they create lots of new human-made coastline.

    my view is that christian powerbrokers see and foresee many threats to revenue and power. therefore they create and develop “doctrine” to bolster revenue and power.

    many christians of influence are taken in by it all, and get on board with it, helping in the construction and development of new doctrines and sin invention. helping to disseminate the message.

    money and fame keep it all going.

    writing a blog article that hits all the right points with the right language so that it gets mentioned on the TGC website…. a golden ticket to personal significance and revenue opportunities!

    (but this, too, is old news)

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  44. TS00: He consistently taught that no one could enter heaven outside of being a member in good standing of an (approved) institutional church.

    According to him the thief on the cross is not in heaven after all?

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  45. Dr. C. Gordon Olson says in regard to Mt. 16:19: “Focusing on the syntax of 16:19, the future periphrastic perfect passive participial constructions (a future verb with a perfect passive participle) in this statement are most significant. The problem is intensified by the failure of most translators to represent its full force in English. Charles B. Williams emphasized bringing out the distinctive Greek verb tenses in his translation: ‘and whatever you forbid on earth must be what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth must be what is already permitted in heaven.'” The NASB reflects this concept somewhat: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” If Olson is correct, doesn’t this seem more like a warning to leaders to tow the mark? Piece of advice for pastors/elders – stop reading Calvin and start reading the Bible.

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  46. FW Rez,

    Hollow comments from Platt. If it was that bad – and perhaps it was – he just should have done the honest thing and gotten out long before now. Such comments now only make it look like he is simply covering his behind.

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  47. FW Rez: I hate the politics of the SBC … I found myself participating in them — jockeying for position, continual self-promotion, backroom deals followed by spin in the front room, strategizing like brothers are your enemy … (David Platt)

    Thank you Dr. Platt for confirming what many of us have been thinking about the new generation of SBC leaders. Why should Southern Baptists entrust their hard-earned dollars with them? It doesn’t sound like a God-thing to me.

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  48. I’m former Lutheran, and recently in our refreshed church search visited a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. In the churches to which I belonged (Lutheran) and the local LCMS are adamant the church holds the keys to heaven and hell.

    How is that different than the Calvinistas?

    This is a key reason we won’t be choosing the LCMS, or any other Lutheran body for that matter. That is aberrant teaching no matter who teaches it.

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  49. John: It’s not the first time church leaders acted this way. But you do have to go pretty far back to find that kind of thinking. Maybe the Catholic church in medieval times, or the Church of England at certain points a few hundred years ago. Or even some of the early American Puritans.

    And none of those were particularly glorious times for the advancement of the real gospel message. In a lot of cases those deemed heretics were tortured or killed by the self-proclaimed keepers of the keys.

    People really do need to read and learn from history.

    This is what makes this movement doubly troubling. Those who believe themselves in possession of all truth and all authority will inevitably feel empowered to compel others to submit to such truth and authority. Is this not what we are seeing the beginnings of? Note Calvin was initially thrown out on his ear, and only came back when he was promised absolute authority to assert his doctrine and will (with a wink/wink cover of yes-men to approve his actions). It started with warnings, banishments and excommunications . . . but once he had amassed total control, it ended in torture and brutal murders. If people knew their history, they would not entertain this bunch for a second.

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  50. I have written this comment before. The confusion surrounding the issue of binding and loosing and keys stems from bad translations from the original Greek. The word Jesus used has a tense that simply does not exist in English. Greek has a “present perfect tense” that is used “to talk about an action that happened in the past. The focus is on the effects of the action.” In the Amplified Bible the verses in Matt 16 and 18 are properly translated and read thus:
    “I will give you the keys (authority) of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth [h]will have [already] been loosed in heaven.” Then He gave the disciples strict orders to tell no one that He was the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed).”

    “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth shall have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth shall have [already] been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them.”
    If you research binding and loosing in the Jewish Encyclopedia you will find that the Pharisees taught that they had the authority not only to forbid and permit things on earth with their people, but also the authority to forbid and permit things in heaven. This is an ultimate arrogant attitude to believe that mere men can order our creator around in heaven and that God must obey us. Jesus took the common phrase the Pharisees taught and subtly changed it by using a different tense then they did. Jesus point was that what God has forbidden in the past is what is actually forbidden now and what God has permitted in the past is what is permitted now. The focus came off of the men claiming to possess the authority of God and back onto God Himself.
    Proper interpretation of these scriptures is very important and understanding this special tense of Greek is necessary. Many of the translations use the present tense which is simply wrong. They imply that Jesus said the opposite of what He actually said. This has led to much bad interpretation in many different parts of the Church. I see it most clearly not only in the Calvinist circles, but also in RC, Charismatic and Pentecostal circles. It likely exists elsewhere as I have not done an exhaustive study on all groups.
    In Matt. 16 Jesus was instructing Peter to only forbid or permit that which he clearly knew God had already forbidden or permitted in the past. Then Jesus demonstrated this by ordering the disciples to do something because this had already been forbidden in heaven. In Matt. 18 again he was telling them to be messengers of that which had already been forbidden and permitted by God in heaven. Then Jesus explained that our prayers will be answered when we ask together for what God has already permitted in heaven on earth. The whole focus is on humility and getting our marching orders from God. The authority never belongs to us. When we speak the truth we are pointing people to that which God’s true authority has already permitted or forbidden. We are to be messengers of a higher, older truth. We are not allowed to create “truth” on the fly at our whim.

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  51. dee: Never judge an individual church by experiences in churches of the same denomination

    Agreed. I hope everyone here can apply this to SBC affiliated churches too.

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  52. Thanks dee, Bridget, and elastigirl for your responses. Again, I am most grateful I didn’t get tangled up in Calvinism/Neo-calvinism or any of these churches that DeYoung et al are associated with. I did attend Bethlehem Baptist for a few weeks long ago while John Piper was at the helm. Wasn’t impressed much. I gotta think that those under the teachings of these self-declared “Key holders” are in for a long and dark existence.

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  53. Max: Thank you Dr. Platt for confirming what many of us have been thinking about the new generation of SBC leaders. Why should Southern Baptists entrust their hard-earned dollars with them? It doesn’t sound like a God-thing to me.

    I agree with you 100%, Max, but unfortunately politics has been a part of the SBC since the organization was founded in 1845. From the controversies about slave-holding missionaries through the Conservative Resurgence to the present day, politics have always been there. Of course, I believe political infighting is part of all denominations, and probably will be until Jesus returns.

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  54. Ken P.: unfortunately politics has been a part of the SBC since the organization was founded in 1845

    Agreed. I spent nearly 70 years in the SBC before recently becoming a “Done” (done with SBC, but not done with Jesus). Theopolitics and the wrestling for control by little men have always been a part of SBC life, but the whosoever-will-may-come message in the heart and on the lips of most Southern Baptists didn’t change until recent years.

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  55. FW Rez: Did you see Platt’s comments on SBC politics as he exits stage right?

    “I hate the politics of the SBC. And I don’t say that as an outsider. I say that as an insider these last four years. Some of the lowest points in my leadership have been when I found myself participating in them — jockeying for position, continual self-promotion, backroom deals followed by spin in the front room, strategizing like brothers are your enemy, feeling like others see you as their enemy … getting to the point where you wonder if you can trust anyone even as you start to wonder how trustworthy you’ve become,” Platt said.

    http://www.bpnews.net/51677/platts-imb-farewell–rise-above-sbc-challenges

    So you hate it, but don’t give any details or call out the back room machinations specifically for,action and change? Rather, you take a (presumably substantial) check for an extended even when you’ve essentially moved on to a NOVA mega?

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  56. Max: A hint that SWBTS is next in line for New Calvinist leadership.I have no doubt that Mohler has been working behind the scenes to ensure that … he truly is the man behind the curtain within SBC.

    And Calvin (or at least the movement bearing his moniker) lurks behind yet another curtain, evidently.

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  57. dee,

    TS00: My spouse is mortified when I take communion at one of our children’s churches, part of the denomination I left. I’m sorry, but no one is going to tell me whether or not I can have a share in the table Jesus prepared for me. (I took communion at my boyfriend’s Catholic church in college as well.) G

    dee: Martin Luther was big on the freedom of conscience. I sense that freedom at my church.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    hmmm…. at times i’ve done ‘communion’ by myself at home. to remind me of the vine, and that i, a branch, draw strength from the vine.

    and to thank the one represented by the vine.

    too much freedom of conscience?

    (well, it doesn’t matter — i’m not about to be reeled back in)

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  58. TS00: It started with warnings, banishments and excommunications . . . but once he had amassed total control, it ended in torture and brutal murders.

    No, no, no. This is a grotesque misrepresentation of Calvin’s actions. The fact that he created this culture in no way implies that he was also the author of it.

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  59. dee: That means things could be different from church to church. I wish you could visit mine. I know you would love it.

    I sincerely doubt that you guys would tolerate (for very long) an old semi-Voltaireian free-thinker of reprobate mind like Muff Potter.

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  60. Ken P.: Looks like Mohler will be working on a Neo-cal clean sweep next year.

    Yep. SWBTS and NOBTS are the last of SBC’s “traditional” seminaries. I’m sure Mohler has a couple minions in mind to fill the leadership openings at SWBTS and NOBTS to accomplish his mission of bringing all SBC seminaries under New Calvinist control before he hangs up his ESV.

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  61. JDV: Calvin (or at least the movement bearing his moniker) lurks behind yet another curtain

    Calvin is Mohler’s shadow … he follows him everywhere he goes.

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  62. Mr. Jesperson: arrogant attitude to believe that mere men can order our creator around in heaven and that God must obey us

    I heard Matt Chandler say in a sermon once that he was trying to get God to change His mind about something.

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  63. FW Rez,

    Oh brother. It seems as though he’s not familiar with Rick Warren’s “blessed subtraction” mantra. I think he should’ve either kept those grievances to himself or named names. Otherwise it’s just self-aggrandizement, spurs everyone to think it’s about the people they don’t like, and could very well be crocodile tears.

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  64. Jarrett Edwards:
    If you can join but never leave, and are under the control of one leader or a group of leaders who can discipline you, you are not in a church, you are in a cult.

    I thought only at the Hotel California could you check out any time you liked but never leave.

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  65. 3: John 9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

    A love of being first is quite clearly linked to failure to welcome other believers (maybe not quite of your tribe) and to putting people out of the church. Keys?

    One would think that close readers of Scripture would know that being in or out of a local church is not equivalent to being in or out of the kingdom as being put out by a Diotrephes or his kin doesn’t seem to carry much actual authority and may actually be an indication that a particular person was “in” the kingdom.

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  66. Ken F (aka Tweed): does not sell books or put butts in seats

    I have a feeling that we won’t see many butts in seats in the American church in a few years … the institutional church is a mess … the “Done” ranks are swelling.

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  67. Max: I have a feeling that we won’t see many butts in seats in the American church in a few years … the institutional church is a mess … the “Done” ranks are swelling.

    I don’t know. The SBC church I recently left is busting at the seams and still quickly growing. Even though the lead pastor said they are not becoming Calvinist they are using The Gospel Project for all child/youth programs up to high school seniors, the sermons and adult discipleship materials are peppered (but not exclusively) with quotes from prominent Calvinists, most of the staff pastors are SBTS-trained, and all of the emphasis is on youth and young families. Perhaps I just aged out, but I could not bring myself to staying involved in light of the direction they seem to be heading. I had had too many run ins with various leaders in that church over theological and program questions. While it was time for me to move on, I saw no lack of enthusiasm in the congregation for the direction they are now heading.

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  68. Ken F (aka Tweed): Even though the lead pastor said they are not becoming Calvinist they are using The Gospel Project for all child/youth programs up to high school seniors, the sermons and adult discipleship materials are peppered (but not exclusively) with quotes from prominent Calvinists, most of the staff pastors are SBTS-trained, and all of the emphasis is on youth and young families.

    Not becoming Calvinist?! Key words from the description of your ex-church pointing to New Calvinist leaning: “lead pastor” (they love that term!) … “The Gospel Project” (aka Calvinism Project) … “quotes from prominent Calvinists” (they talk more about their icons than they do Jesus) … “SBTS-trained” (ground-zero for New Calvinism) … “emphasis on youth and young families” (they target Generations X, Y and Z, the church of tomorrow; they don’t give a big whoop about older generations – they are dying). Yep, you attended a New Calvinist church.

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  69. Max: Yep, you attended a New Calvinist church.

    They are not there yet, but definetly on track to get there. On the bright side, they are not officially aligned with TGC or 9Marx, the lead pastor did not attend a SBC seminary, the elders are not at all authoritative (I would argue they are too passive), and the membership covenant is pretty toothless. And they did not pressure me in any way to stay. I sometimes wonder if I left too early, except that I kept seeing the puzzle pieces falling into place, and I felt too stressed there every week.

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  70. Ken F (aka Tweed): They are not there yet … I sometimes wonder if I left too early

    You made the right decision. Has all the earmarks of a New Calvinist wanna-be church. Best to put your behind your past, before they shunned and excommunicated you.

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  71. TS00: My spouse is mortified when I take communion at one of our children’s churches, part of the denomination I left. I’m sorry, but no one is going to tell me whether or not I can have a share in the table Jesus prepared for me. (I took communion at my boyfriend’s Catholic church in college as well.)

    The best Communion I ever took was at a Passover Seder many years ago.
    And nobody is gonna’ tell me what Communion is and what it is not either.

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  72. GMFS

    Firstly, we’re out of cake, so I’ll have to make some today. I’ll probably go for coffee and banana bakewell. Oh, and an apple punge, obviously.

    Anyway, keys and stuff. Church denominations can be a funny thing. I’ve told the story before of how the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, did a lot of good things as a parish vicar in Durham, but had one or two odd moments with it. He could not work with the new Restoration church in the city mainly because they rejected infant baptism – chiding them because credo vs paedo baptism was not important enough to divide the church over. But it was important enough for him to divide the church over! Some decent folk get drawn into this kind of thing.

    The church in 21st century Britain (and in the US, by all accounts) does not resemble the church to which the new testament was written. So, anyone wishing to follow Jesus has to make a pragmatic decision on how to go about this. You can’t join the local church because it exists almost nowhere; the best you can do there is to choose “a” local church from among many, if you must join something. There’s plenty of advice here at Wartburg on what kinds of “a” church to avoid.

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  73. Muff Potter,

    Nice summary…. I sure do not trust what many/ most of these “religious leaders” tell us pew peons what the purpose/meaning of “The Lords supper” is..

    Th older I get, and the more perversions/heresies I see and read about, the more I understand the concept of the Bereans to read the text yourself…… As i was was growing up, my fundy background always said that, and I, unfortunately have a negative emotional reaction to the concept, but now I understand the wisdom…

    The only problem is, “plain reading” of the scriptures is not as easy as it sounds..

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  74. 64 year old Southern Baptist lifer here. Our pastor has several times invited people to leave the church if they don’t agree with him. so my wife and I took him up on it. SBC as I knew is GWTW. We went to a small Lutheran church. People are very sweet we took Communion. It would be a blast if all Southern Baptist who are invited to leave ended up in LCMS Churches.

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  75. Muff Potter: The best Communion I ever took was at a Passover Seder many years ago.

    Well, the worst that I’ve ever observed was at an SBC-YRR church plant near me (we visit them occasionally to see what makes them tick). The young, comedic New Calvinist pastor flippantly mentioned at the end of his sermon “I picked up the cheapest grape juice and crackers I could find at WalMart. Grab some on your way out!” The young reformers in the pew laughed. We sat stunned at the lack of reverence.

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  76. Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    Muff Potter,

    Nice summary….I sure do not trust what many/ most of these “religious leaders” tell us pew peons what the purpose/meaning of “The Lords supper” is..

    Th older I get, and the more perversions/heresies I see and read about, the more I understand the concept of the Bereans to read the text yourself…… As i was was growing up, my fundy background always said that, and I, unfortunatelyhavea negative emotional reaction to the concept, but now I understand the wisdom…

    The only problem is, “plain reading” of the scriptures is not as easy as it sounds..

    I agree. I am retreating from ambitious hopes to understand what “system” of truth the Scriptures may teach toward a humbler goal of perceiving “how I ought to live coram Deo.” The humbler goal is more nearly achievable (at least from the perspective of “understanding” — actually “doing” remains challenging) — Love God and neighbor, with Jesus’ example the best illustration of both.

    This has been a liberating posture; it’s more relevant to life. I do remain intensely curious about “system” and interpretation; but relinquishment of commitment to specific present systems available in the religious marketplace has freed me to read more widely, and I’m discovering that I’m only scratching the surface.

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  77. Max,

    For years I had been deeply distressed about the attitude towards communion I. the churches that I was attending. The final straw was in one large church, part of the Reformed baptist movement in which you had to line up at a door, walk through on either side of the table and pick up the bread and juice. There was some guy reading the Bible in the room but I couldn’t hear him over the din of people walking in and out of the room. I told my husband they should just do a drive thru window and get people moving in order to clear out for the next crowd.

    My Lutheran church has solved this dilemma for me. I agree with their beliefs surrounding communion for many reasons. Communion has become more meaningful. I often see tears in the eye of people as they accept the wine. Heck, I, too have had tears.

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  78. JDV: Asking for a potential key holder.

    Ha. This keys thing is stupid.

    Also, I want to make some sort of conflation of this keys metaphor and the gross ‘key that opens any lock/lock that opens to any key’ thing but it’s early yet. Drop all the key things!

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  79. Jeffrey P Allen,

    I am so glad that you chimed in. I would never have imagined that I would be a Lutheran except, as you can see from the name of our blog. I always loved to read about Martin Luther. I think God was giving me a hint. Many people, myself included, have preconceived notions about how individual churches live out the faith. I am so glad I tried a church out of my comfort zone. It brought me to a church in which my husband says “Bury me in their columbarium.”

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  80. Jeffrey J Chalmers: The only problem is, “plain reading” of the scriptures is not as easy as it sounds..

    Now we are getting somewhere . . . run from anyone who claims to perfectly understand scripture. And, to paraphrase Samuel Conner in a more folksy manner, the meat and potatoes is understanding, then exemplifying the love of God in our day to day lives. Everything else is pretty much gravy.

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  81. My newly-former pastor just gave a whole spiel about the part in Matthew 18- “what is bound on earth will be bound in heaven.” And he claimed that heaven gives elders special insight to know what heaven has already bound up so that’s how they know who to church discipline. So many red flags. Is this a common viewpoint, or especially crazy?

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  82. John: It’s not the first time church leaders acted this way. But you do have to go pretty far back to find that kind of thinking. Maybe the Catholic church in medieval times, or the Church of England at certain points a few hundred years ago. Or even some of the early American Puritans.

    But those were all Heretics and Apostates and Satanic Counterfeits.
    WE HAVE TO REINVENT THE WHEEL!

    “Oh, the more it changes
    The more it stays the same;
    And the Hand just rearranges
    The players in the game…”
    — Al Stewart, “Nostradamus”, 1973

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  83. dee,

    When visiting my son’s Lutheran church, I can never get over the part where the pastor pronounces ‘I now forgive all your sins.’ Seems analogous to claiming the ‘keys to the kingdom’. While I appreciate the intention to eliminate any sense of guilt that might hinder one’s faith, I do not view any man, with any office, as having the authority to grant or withhold God’s forgiveness and blessing. This seems fairly common in mainline, liturgical churches. Even when the pastor himself is low-key and not authoritarian, the emphasis on sacraments, and the pastor’s claim to be able to grant ‘forgiveness of sins’ reinforces weekly the concept that ‘The Church’ holds some special authority and power that people require in order to walk with God. It appears to be an imitation of the ceremonial system, in which the required sacrifice had to be properly offered by an anointed priest.

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  84. Jeffrey J Chalmers: The only problem is, “plain reading” of the scriptures is not as easy as it sounds..

    My type example is Hal Lindsay’s Plain Reading(TM) of SCRIPTURE(TM). How the Demon Locust Plague of Revelation is “plainly” helicopter gunships armed with chemical weapons and piloted by long-haired bearded Hippies. And all the other plagues are “plainly” Thermonuclear Weapons effects.

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  85. FW Rez: “I hate the politics of the SBC. And I don’t say that as an outsider. I say that as an insider these last four years. Some of the lowest points in my leadership have been when I found myself participating in them — jockeying for position, continual self-promotion, backroom deals followed by spin in the front room, strategizing like brothers are your enemy, feeling like others see you as their enemy … getting to the point where you wonder if you can trust anyone even as you start to wonder how trustworthy you’ve become,” Platt said.

    What Platt described is the hypocritical life of every Christian Celebrity and Christian Celebrity wannabe.

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  86. Max: The young, comedic New Calvinist pastor flippantly mentioned at the end of his sermon “I picked up the cheapest grape juice and crackers I could find at WalMart. Grab some on your way out!” The young reformers in the pew laughed. We sat stunned at the lack of reverence.

    “Romish Papists venerate the bread and wine, so We Have To Do the Exact Opposite!”?

    “If we stand just because Enemy Christians kneel, that is Protestantism taken to its most sterile extreme.”
    — Thomas Howard, Evangelical is Not Enough

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  87. Todd Wilhelm: What Platt described is the hypocritical life of every Christian Celebrity and Christian Celebrity wannabe.

    Or “the gang who couldn’t plot straight” in the recent movie The Death of Stalin.

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  88. Ken F (aka Tweed): Mr. Jesperson: We are not allowed to create “truth” on the fly at our whim.

    But that does not sell books or put butts in seats…

    “Putting Butts in Seats” was also the goal of all those pro wrestling gimmicks cataloged over at Wrestlecrap.com.

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  89. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes:
    I thought Kevin DeYoung was crazy busy. Where does he find the time to set himself up as God?

    Not just to set himself up as God— Lets see– theology professor, PhD candidate, chairman of the board of gospelly coalition, author, blogger, conference speaker, seven kids— it’s mathematically impossible for Mr Crazy Busy to shepherd the flock which writes his paycheck so, let alone the universal church.

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  90. Jeffrey J Chalmers: I sure do not trust what many/ most of these “religious leaders” tell us pew peons what the purpose/meaning of “The Lords supper” is..

    “Do this in remembrance of me…”
    I’ll take it at that and keep it simple.
    Much more so than somebody’s 300,000 word dissertation that still hasn’t said a goddang thing.

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  91. Max: The young, comedic New Calvinist pastor flippantly mentioned at the end of his sermon “I picked up the cheapest grape juice and crackers I could find at WalMart.

    Shameful, utterly contemptible.

    I could let loose with something really colorful, but it would never clear customs.

    What’s even worse is that said neo-cal-preacher-boy-cretin has such a captive audience of dumbed down pew serfs.

    Let’s be honest and say it like it is.

    They deserve each other.

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  92. Muff Potter,

    I’ve heard worse, believe it or not.

    I got this from a Mars Hill survivors’ blog, where one lassie was describing her reasons for leaving among other things. It turns out that Fiscal arrived in person to her sub-congregation (or campus, or whatever) one Sunday to tell them they weren’t getting communion that week. The reason: the congregation’s giving had dropped. He told them that since they weren’t being faithful (as measured by their funding of his business plans) then they couldn’t expect god’s blessing.

    I suppose which is worse – a joke, or a robbers’ cave – is a debatable point.

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  93. Muff Potter: neo-cal-preacher-boy-cretin has such a captive audience of dumbed down pew serfs

    I also listened to his message a few years ago on Easter Sunday. No mention of Jesus, no mention of the Cross, no emphasis on the importance of the day. The young reformer just continued his sermon series on Ephesians without missing a beat. The “dumbed down pew serfs” didn’t seem to care about that either! I sure hope other New Calvinist pastors give more respect and reverence to Jesus than this guy.

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  94. dee: Communion has become more meaningful. I often see tears in the eye of people as they accept the wine. Heck, I, too have had tears.

    If a communion service does not stir the hearts of Christians – some to tears – it is not delivered properly by church leaders or falls on hearts grown cold.

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  95. dee–except that 4 Sunday’s ago when we visited the LCMS here, the pastor really honed in on HIM being necessary to forgive our sins. Later in SS there was open mockery of those “who prefer to die in their sins rather than receive forgiveness through the church.”

    Um, no. Just no. I can go straight to the Lord Jesus and be forgiven.

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  96. linda,

    My church is different. Many others have found the same thing. That does not mean you experience is not real. It just means your experience does not apply to all LCMS churches.

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  97. linda:
    dee–except that 4 Sunday’s ago when we visited the LCMS here, the pastor really honed in on HIM being necessary to forgive our sins.Later in SS there was open mockery of those “who prefer to die in their sins rather than receive forgiveness through the church.”

    Um, no.Just no.I can go straight to the Lord Jesus and be forgiven.

    It’s disheartening to encounter church leaders who are not grieved, and who instead mock.

    It’s as if Jesus were to have cracked jokes about Jerusalem’s impending destruction rather than weeping over the city.

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  98. I don’t know if my browser is acting wonky or if it’s the post, but after the phrase, “these authority driven church leaders who haven’t met a rule they won’t adopt”, the post seems to repeat paragraphs from the beginning of the post (“I am so glad that I have become a member of my Lutheran church…”

    My comment on the content itself would be yes, this is all too familiar. Because in reformed theology as I have experienced it, there is no assurance that you are among the elect, if you are in one of these churches, you work out your salvation with fear and trembling (it’s Biblical! [TM]), and if the “ruling authorities” hold the keys, you look to them for reassurance that you’re saved. So of course you’re going to toe the line.

    If you become aware of the dynamics of the situation, if you somehow become aware of the whispering of the Holy Spirit in your misery and fear, you may well realize that instead of putting your hope in Christ, you have put it in the elders. And that is no hope at all.

    When the blind lead the blind…

    I would just tweak “these authority driven church leaders who haven’t met a rule they won’t adopt” a bit to say “these authority driven church leaders who haven’t met an oppressive rule they won’t adopt.”

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  99. Max,

    “If a communion service does not stir the hearts of Christians – some to tears – it is not delivered properly by church leaders or falls on hearts grown cold.”
    ++++++++++++

    well, i refuse to perform pretend emotion that i simply don’t feel. i don’t think God would favor that, either.

    i can appreciate sacrifice, self-sacrifice for the sake of others, and how meaningful that is. even so, i truly don’t feel great emotion about communion and what it symbolizes.

    that leaves me to look at it pragmatically instead

    (vine/branch metaphor = God/Jesus/Holy Spirit are like the sap that nourishes and strengthens me;

    “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” = connecting with God through metaphorical ingesting the substance of God — although the imagery make my toes curl backward)

    i have always loathed and detested communion in church. i feel totally manipulated emotionally.

    it’s hard for me to see that proper delivery means eliciting a planned emotion, and that not feeling that emotion is a mark against someone.

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  100. dee–glad your experience is different! Still, if sins are not remitted short of absolution, if Luther’s shorter catechism is taught, then the LCMS definitely holds to both unconditional election (single, not double predestination but to predestination nonetheless) and to the church holding the keys of the kingdom. That last is part and parcel of Lutheranism.

    As a sidelight, we have been visiting a more reformed Baptist church that is what I would call 4 1/2 point. That is, election is not unconditional but rather “according to foreknowledge” as the scripture does say. The more hypercalvinists see that as confirming God’s selection in a more arbitrary manner. The less reformed hold it to mean He foreknew who, given the perfect set of circumstances, would accept or reject Christ. And made sure those that would accept got the chance, leaving those who would reject no matter what to their own devices. Only in that sense is the rest of the tulip in play. Interesting.

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  101. FW Rez: Patterson … to teach on ethics at Southern Evangelical Seminary

    That would be like asking Andy Stanley to teach Old Testament! Andy’s latest comment on tossing out the Ten Commandments:

    “Participants in the new covenant (that’s Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles. Participants in the new covenant are expected to obey the single command Jesus issued as part of his new covenant: as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (Andy Stanley, Relevant Magazine, 18 Sept. 2018)

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  102. JDV,

    This is exactly what I was thinking.
    “Gee I reeeeaally hate that I never got caught robbing that bank. Of course im not going to give the money back!”

    Can anyone explain to me why David platt talks the way he does? It’s so hard to listen to him.

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  103. JDV: http://www.bpnews.net/51677/platts-imb-farewell–rise-above-sbc-challenges

    So you hate it, but don’t give any details or call out the back room machinations specifically for,action and change?

    David Platt has been used effectively within the SBC to Calvinize the denomination. His short stint at IMB was a mission accomplished. He can look back at it now and criticize backroom theo-politics, but he was a willing participant at the time.

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  104. dee,

    “I know. I was at his church a number of times and I had to strain to hear him. I think he is doing it on purpose. It may be some preaching technique.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    is it too soft? or is it where all the consonants disappear? (like with the middle school girl dialect?) or just too jumbled together?

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  105. elastigirl… or is it where all the consonants disappear?

    No idea what Mr Platt sounds like, but many MANY years ago when I was doing O-level music, one of the set pieces was Fauré’s Requiem. So far so good, except that the music teacher had a recording of it by some posh professional operatic choir who refused to sound any consonants. The opening words were:

    E-uiee-eh ai’air-ah (actually, “requiem aeternam”)
    O-ah eh-ee owi-ay (actually, “dona eis domine”)

    It was almost physically unbearable to listen to.

    (I should add that this unfortunate recording does not define my memory of Mr Brookes, who was a very good teacher.)

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  106. Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    Headless Unicorn Guy,

    I remember that!!! It was quite the rage in some Ca subcultures..

    I was near Ground Zero of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay (and its corollary, Christians for Nuclear War). LGPE was Inerrant SCRIPTURE, overriding the other 66 books.

    “What a Long, Strange trip it’s been…”
    — The Grateful Dead

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  107. Max: I also listened to his message a few years ago on Easter Sunday. No mention of Jesus, no mention of the Cross, no emphasis on the importance of the day. The young reformer just continued his sermon series on Ephesians without missing a beat.

    Because Calvin overrides Christ in everything.

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  108. Many in our church were told to read Jonathan Leeman’s 9-Marx book about church membership when we were revising our covenant with our former YRR Neo-Cal pastor. I had to re-read that chapter about the “keys” several times because I thought I was totally misunderstanding what he was saying. Nope, I understood it perfectly–pastors and elders are to go around sin-sniffing and taking away the “keys” from those they deem unworthy, thereby determining who’s in and who’s out. However, there are only two people who can truly know if I’m saved–Christ and me!

    I also found his take on ‘fencing off’ the Lord’s table equally repugnant and arrogant. As I recall, the Apostle Paul exhorted the Corinthians to “let a man examine HIMSELF” as to whether or not he should participate in communion. I don’t seem to recall any passage indicating that believers needed to get the green light from some ‘church leader’ in order to participate in communion. Our church practices “open communion” but we are wisely instructed to examine ourselves. As a deacon, I couldn’t imagine snatching the cup or bread out of someone’s hand and saying, “Now you just hold on there, mister!”

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  109. Raised a Lutheran, married a Catholic, & became Catholic. I have no idea who these pastors are, or their theology. They all sound like they are creating their own theology to fit their own beliefs. They have completely misinterpreted & reinvented the ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ meaning. I’m soooo glad for receiving my traditional Christian formation.

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  110. Root 66: Jonathan Leeman’s 9-Marx book about church membership …pastors and elders are to go around sin-sniffing and taking away the “keys” from those they deem unworthy, thereby determining who’s in and who’s out … ‘fencing off’ the Lord’s table

    I repeat … why would anyone in their right spiritual mind attend such a church?!! But, of course, New Calvinists are not in their right spiritual minds.

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  111. Oh my, bit of a heartache here due to the comments re David Platt’s speaking. I listened to the clip.

    He sounds just like one of my grandkids. Who has been diagnosed from preschool with a bonafide speech impediment that makes it very difficult to form consonants. She has been teased, bullied, and made miserable despite working very hard to enunciate and speak clearly. Even adult strangers tell her to “speak clearly please” not knowing the supreme effort she is making and the hurt their words cause.

    Should David Platt read the comments here, let me be the first to apologize to him for all of us:(

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  112. Max: I repeat … why would anyone in their right spiritual mind attend such a church?!!But, of course, New Calvinists are not in their right spiritual minds.

    And why are so many foolish or gullible “members” propping up these frauds? I stopped going to an institutional church. I don’t buy their books and I don’t tithe to their clubs. If all their members changed their minds and followed the “dones” example, these guys would have to go out and find an honest job in the real world.

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  113. ZechZav: And why are so many foolish or gullible “members” propping up these frauds?

    “While his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat” (Matthew 13:25).

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