“Is a crime committed 20 years ago any less of a crime?” Grantchester
Tommy Nelson has been a pastor at Denton Bible Church for 40 years. Denton Bible Church is a well-known church with a well-known pastor. Denton, Texas is about 45 minutes from Dallas which makes it a bedroom community of Dallas. They attract 4,000-5,000 people for services. Nelson became internationally known for his Song of Solomon series. He was invited to my church, Bent Tree, to teach his series. Although I have developed some differences from Nelson, I can truthfully say that his series was far more thoughtful than Mark Driscoll’s series on the same subject which helped me to write this post.
He also became known for his judgment-seat series. Although he holds onto much Reformed theology, He believes in dispensational theology surrounding the Second Coming of Christ. This is not surprising since the graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary which is the academic center for dispensational theology It has been my observation that most Reformed theologians and pastors tend to be amillennialists. Please feel free to correct me on this observation.
It is called the Bema or the Judgment Seat of Christ and is, in my opinion, the most untaught area of Christology. It’s not because its teaching is not known in the Bible but it is just not taught. Maybe it’s because we as Christians are so delighted to know that we have escaped judgment through Christ who removed our judgment that the notion that we still will be judged for our “works”- not sin, mind you, but what we did with our Christian lives- is unnerving to us.
The Bema occurs after the Rapture and before the 2nd Coming. It occurs at the beginning of our 7 year honeymoon in glory with our Bridegroom in the house He has prepared for us, the New Jerusalem. The term Judgment Seat or Bema was well known to those in Corinth, the church where Paul introduced the term “the Bema.”
There is no question that Nelson is prolific in his writing and speaks regularly all over the place. His church appears to utilize biblical counseling in their helping ministries which causes me to suggest that people utilizing these services to be aware that they may be ministered to by someone who does not hold any degrees or licensure in counseling. For those who are not aware of the problems with biblical counseling, please go to this link and look at the first paragraph of the post. Those links should educate folks about the inherent problems in Biblical counseling.
A child molester/trafficker, Robert Shiflet, who had been a youth pastor at DBC, has been arrested and federally charged.
I was contacted by some members/former members of Denton Bible Church who alleged that the church may have covered up Shiflet’s activities. They requested that I post about the arrest. Here is the statement released by the Department of Justice-Arkansas branch. The following was posted on 6/24/20. Former Youth Pastor Charged With Multiple Sex Crimes: Indictment Alleges Illegal Transportation and Coercion of Minors.
the indictment, which charges Shiflet with three counts of transporting a minor across state lines to engage in illegal sexual activity and one count of coercing a minor to cross a state line to engage in illegal sexual activity.
The indictment alleges that in or about May 1997, Shiflet transported a minor from Texas to Arkansas for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual activity. The indictment alleges he did so again in March 2001 with a different minor, and from June through September of 2002 with a third minor. The indictment also charges Shiflet with enticing the third minor to cross a state line for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual activity from June through September of 2002. During this time period, Shiflet worked as a youth pastor in Little Rock and later moved to Denton, Texas, where he had previously worked as a youth pastor
NBC/ DFW posted Former Denton Bible Church Youth Pastor Accused of Child Sex-Trafficking which claims that Shfliet had worked at DBC from 1995-2001.
Shiflet’s alleged offenses overlap with his time working at Denton Bible Church, where Shiflet, 50, worked in the church’s youth ministry programs from 1995 to 2001, church officials said in a statement Tuesday..
DBC released a statement to NNBC/DFW claiming they are grieving for the victims…
We are aware that Mr. Shiflet has been charged in Arkansas with offenses that overlap his tenure at DBC,” the Denton Bible Church said in a statement. “Church leadership grieve with and are in prayer for the victims of this tragic situation.”
The Denton Record-Chronicle posted Accused child sex-trafficker worked at Denton Bible Church, officials say. This post caused me to think that Shiflet may have been grooming these students. Molesters often seek out kids who are having trouble at home to begin the grooming process. The reader will note that he was spending time with a young teen whose mother had passed away and was having trouble relating to her father. I believe that it is fortunate that she was not harmed physically by him.
Stephanie Betz and Lauren Peters are sisters that were a part of Shiflet’s youth group at Denton Bible Church in the late 1990s and recall Shiflet acting inappropriately during his tenure.
Although Betz, 36, was never physically assaulted, she said he groomed her and he would take her out for breakfast and drop her off at school sometimes.
“He told me at one point while dropping me off at school… I was really upset and crying and I was in the passenger’s seat of his car and I was lamenting about my relationship with my dad [after my mom passed away in May of 1998],” Betz said. “He said that I was beautiful and that my dad should be telling me I was beautiful every day otherwise men would take advantage of me. And I was 14.”
According to the Record-Chronicle, Shiflet contacted a former member of the youth group in 2005, asking if anyone was making claims that he had been inappropriate with them. This is 15 years before he was finally arrested. I wonder what was going on?
Peters, 33, said Shiflet reached out to her in 2005 to ask her if she knew about a girl who was making accusations of an inappropriate relationship against him.
“He said these [accusations] weren’t true but he wanted to talk with me to make sure she hadn’t been trying to contact me,” Peters said. “He specifically said he thought she was jealous of my relationship with him and his family and the time I’ve spent [with them]. It was such a bizarre situation that I ended up not communicating with him after that aside from the occasional run-in around town.”
A commenter on Reddit alleges that he was also involved in a church youth camp in Flower Mound which is close to Denton.
Was the junior high pastor at Denton Bible Church Involved in youth camp activities at Rockpointe Church in Flower Mound
Shiflet was also involved at Liberty Christian School in Argyle, Texas
National Cyber Security posted the following information:(Argyle is 8 miles from Denton)
Officials at Liberty Christian School in Argyle have sent an email to parents and staff acknowledging a former staffer is accused of child sex-trafficking charges.
…An email Liberty Christian School sent to parents and staff, obtained by the Denton Record-Chronicle, said Shiflet was the lead developer from 2008 to 2010 for the school’s online campus pilot program and is a parent of former Liberty students.
“At this time, Liberty is not aware of any information regarding this investigation or any allegations involving current or former Liberty Christian School students, employees or parents,” the statement said.
An email sent to Denton Bible Church members last week from Pastor Tommy Nelson, obtained by the Record-Chronicle, said they are aware the incidents overlap Shiflet’s tenure at the church.
Nelson’s email tells members the case against Shiflet “is now in the hands of the United States judicial system,” says members can pray for strength and grace for the victims and their families and offers phone numbers for the FBI for people who have information.
What safety precautions are in place at DBC? Nothing is listed online.
Given that the arrest happened a couple of months ago, I imagined that DBC would be stressing their safety precautions for all kids and teens on the current website. I was surprised that I could not find anything about *keeping kids safe* on the children’s ministry page.
They have all sorts of programs for kids and even have a special needs ministry which is near and dear to my heart. There is so much that is impressive but I couldn’t find one mention of child safety. Did I miss something? There are so many programs for kids and students which makes it imperative that safety procedures be discussed with the church as a whole.
A final thought: Molesters are present in every church. Are DBC and other churches prepared for it?
It is not a sin when a molester shows up at a church. The sin is not realizing it. Folks, this very day there is likely to be a molester sitting in your church and eyeing the children’s program for potential victims.
It is even more vital for the church to outline the safety procedures when there are thousands of people wandering around the church during services and programs. A simple background check does not mean the person is safe. It simply means they haven’t been caught yet.
I find it very difficult to believe that the church leaders were not aware of a man who was taking kids across state lines to be used for sex. Surely some folks suspected something was amiss. Betz was a student and she could see he was acting inappropriately. Why didn’t any adults notice this?
A third-party investigation into this situation is needed.
DBC needs to have a third party, independent investigation to figure out what happened in order to prevent it from happening again. DBC needs assistance in developing a thoughtful curriculum for safety for the children Volunteers need to be trained in order to spot grooming behavior.
Please pray for those who were molested by Shiflet For those who may have not come forward, please know that you did nothing wrong. You were molested by an expert. Please feel free to reach out to the Department of Justice. I would be more than happy to talk with you and keep our discussion confidential.
The staff page lists deacons. https://dentonbible.org/about-us/staff-elders/
Lloyd Campbell Incarcerated
Is he incarcerated or is he the incarcerated’s deacon. If the later what are the duties?
My wild guess is that this place has a jail ministry. In complete seriousness, every church should have such a ministry.
But since you pointed this out, I noticed these:
Curtis Elder Elder
Ernest Vigil Elder
Dick Shepherd SeniorLife Singles
Ah, here is the answer: https://dbcm.org/denton/incarcerated-ministry/
Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Arkansas (AR, not AK) was Rob Shiflet’s next employer after he left Denton Bible Church in 2001. Shiflet was hired to replace youth pastor Mark DeYmaz after DeYmaz (sounds like DeMoss except with Z sound at the end) left to start multiethnic Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas.
Cc: mosaicchurch.net, fellowshiponline.com
youth pastor/child molester/child trafficker Shiflet’s felony offenses:
– in/about May 1997, Predatory “Pastor” Shiflet transported, violated a minor
– again in March 2001 with a different minor
– from June through September of 2002 with a third minor.
There’s a pattern, and there are gaps. It’s now 2020.
There are how many more felony offenses by Predator “Pastor” Shiflet violating how many more children & youth in the gaps & right up to today?
Another Predator: posing & paid-for-by-complicit-church-folks “pastor”.
“Church” is the predators’ hunting ground.
Dee, the fact that you put this in the post title:
“The Church Needs to Have an Independent Investigation.”
is very heartfelt and encouraging and straight-up what needs to be right there up front. Put in practice, this would go a long way to making a local church safe.
Two comments not allowed.
I suspect the gaps are due to grooming each new victim. And I suspect this kind of pattern is typical of a serial child molester.
So crossing state lines means premeditation….why? Lesser offense in another state regarding age? Or hotel anonymity?
Chester the molester still loose in the mega-biggies?
Like it’s part of the checklist for planting a Mega.
Like “Unknown Space Anomaly of the Week” on Star Trek Voyager — if it happens all the time, it’s not an “anomaly”, it’s what’s NORMAL.
It makes it a Federal crime, these are Federal charges
It’s called “The Mann Act”, and a LOT of preacher-men have run head-on into it.
Including that Dake guy who wrote Dake’s Annotated Bible.
Reformed + Dispy (Rapture Ready Reformed?) sounds to me like the WORST possible combination.
Pre-Discrediting his potential accuser.
Grooming third-party allies in advance.
Twenty chess moves ahead of his accuser.
Is this an Elder named Curtis Elder?
Or a Curtis who’s an Elder twice? “(Two… Two… Two Elders in One!”)
More like he never stopped.
So many Chester the Church Molesters banging away somebody needs to start a take-a-number system.
The application for leading Bible school asks a lot of information but mentions nothing about a background check beyond checking with the references the applicant gives. https://my.dentonbible.org/portal/get_form.aspx?id=0350f5a0-bf20-4ec9-9002-10d682983527
Frankly I’m not sure I would trust them to store the data they gather safely
“It is not a sin when a molester shows up at a church. The sin is not realizing it. Folks, this very day there is likely to be a molester sitting in your church and eyeing the children’s program for potential victims.” (Dee)
I would say that most church members don’t realize this. Church is a place of trust full of trusting and trusted people. Surely everyone who goes to church can be trusted, can’t they? Sexual predators know this; that’s why they target churches for victims.
Headless Unicorn Guy,
MO on a pro level
You would think the Reform world would not hold to any Dispensationist doctrine, but it’s not that simple.
Pre-Trib-Dis was created Darby, an Anglican/Church of Ireland. Plymouth Brethren such as Sir Robert Anderson furthered the developement. Calvinist/Presbyterians where well represented in the Brethren.
Darby made several teaching trips to the US, and in particular the Midwest. The theology he left behind in the eastern US then cross pollinated with Princeton Theology at the Niagara Bible Conferences. The Conference was largely led by one of the main figures from Princeton. Niagra and SBTS share a spiritual linkage to Princeton’s Calvinist theology. DTS was founded by Presbyterians and till the 1930’s largely drew students from Presbyterian churches. Neo- Evangelicalism was partly an effort to defeat a rising Pre-Trib Christianity. I put the source of the animosity as originating in the Reform camp.
Historical Ptotestant theology, is not compatible with Pre/Dis because Dis splits Israel from the Church, thereby leaving two purposes of God. Since the Church Fathers, the Church has been anti-semite and denies any future for Israel, other then a potential to repent and become Christians.
IMHO, any version of Christianity that cuts Israel out of end-time prophecy is making a great mistake.
Will you please say a little more? How are you defining “Church” here?
Too many churches that do have protections from sexual abuse ignore everything else. But the reality is that sexual abuse is just on point on the full spectrum of abuse.
Indeed, spiritual abuse by church leaders within groups like New Calvinism causes great harm to folks ensnared by such systems. It is a toxic culture where members (victims) are controlled through intimidation, manipulation and domination. They say, “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says’- when the LORD has not spoken.” (Exekiel 22:28)
The Church. As in, The Church of Jesus Christ.
My personal narrative and timeline places all of the Canon including Revelation in the later 60’s or earlier. The opponents of Paul had largely succeeded in turning the now mostly gentile Church from him, and towards Judaism’s oral teachings. The Church in Judaea territory gad reverted to zeal for the Law. Hostility broke out in Jerusalem and escalated into a genocide, with Temple Judaism destroyed. Rabbinic Judaism is created as an emergency replacement, with a quickly reformed Sanhedrin meeting on the Coast, or in Galilee. Two Talmuds begin a formation process, Jerusalem and Babylon.
The Church likewise undergoes some sort of reformation. The Apostles die or are removed from public influence. The Church enters a mini dark age. At the turn of the century, we have the first manuscripts, as evidenced by Clement of Rome. The Church is showing signs of some sort of alteration, particularly an emerging clergy/laity form. The Way, as a Jewish sect is over. An anti-Judaism apologetics will emerge, and anti-semitism will eventually follow.
So is any version that obsesses on Israel and End Time Prophecy.
That’s where my in-country background is coming from. “Israel Is In The Land Fulfilling PROPHECY” curdled into Anti-Semitic Zionism. Israel, like you and me, were nothing more than expendable pieces to move around on the End Times/Armageddon gameboard.
Who the F is Phil Johnson?
And it appears the Godly Sock Puppets have rung in on this thread.
They always come out of nowhere, all Righteous and Pious, when their REAL god is being Blasphemed.
After the Holocaust, the main traditions in western Europe and the US reformed their theology and ceased blaming the Jews for the death of Jesus. Mainline traditions hold that the Old Covenant remains in effect, and that Christians have been grafted on via the New Covenant.
The Southern Baptist Convention is an outlier, with its regular organized campaigns to convert Jewish children to Christianity, and its strange position that it’s not allowed to neglect the Jews.
Tragically, some Christians just assume that everybody else is going to Hell, even as they heap admiration on Israel and adopt botched versions of Jewish customs.
Meanwhile Judaism persists, independent of Christian ideas about it.
I hope they feel all better now, having shown us all the Light. 😉
I definitely agree that Mainline groups still believe in a continued Covanent. The Cross empowers us in this thinking, to perform the Law. But I would go way beyond just the traditional denominations. I say much of Evangelicslism is still under the Law, but not aware of it. Leaders desire to be a teachers of the Law, but do not understand what they afirm. It’s just really scrambled to the point the pew sitters don’t recognize it.
The entire history of Gothardism, Purity Movement, Soveriegn Grace, Sheparding Movement and on snd on, is all Law.
I would caution against any assumption that anti-semitism has declined though. I think of it as fear that keeps it under its rock.
This is the first death threat I can recall reading on https://www.christianpost.com/news/woman-intent-on-gender-transitioning-8-year-old-james-younger-into-girl-wins-back-medical-decision-making.html
It’s getting crazier and crazier. I blame CP for this. Roll a stone and it will roll back on you.
3 HRS AGO
If that nasty woman wins. I will go kill her.”…
Jesus overturning the money-changers’ tables in the temple. Because both money-changers and sex offenders are predators. And in both, with Jesus back then, and with the cases of this offender in the post – they violate right in God’s house. Gut-wrenching. Horror.
Yes, alas, there’s a lot of anti-Semitism. God doesn’t abandon his own covenants, but some Christians have never given this any thought.
On Palm Sunday in my tradition, the whole congregation reads the words, “Crucify him.” There’s no wiggle room: if I had been there, I would have performed just as badly as the disciples and the mob. In other words, I can’t just blame the Jews.
In real life, I do politely challenge comments that only Christians can be saved. The horrendous teaching that Christians replaced Jews needs to be challenged. “Grafted on” is right there in the book we claim to hold dear.
Agreed. There is very little evidence of Life in Christ in the average American church. Pulpit and pew in many places still pursue the teachings and traditions of men, rather than Jesus, which is a form of Law not Life. The jots and tittles of the Law never really went away – they are the stuff that men still use to control the church. There is freedom in Christ – new life where old men pass away – but fewer and fewer churchmen seem to be able to access it. Corporate religion is so much easier to grasp than an individual relationship with Jesus. Thus, Law prevails.
Amen and Amen!
Agreed. An overemphasis on long-neglected truths can become a form of heresy.
But the NT is quite insistent that only those who have faith in Christ will be saved. The original covenant with Israel is indeed expanded and Gentiles grafted in. The church doesn’t replace Israel, the church is the fulfillment of Israel and includes both Jews and Gentiles who trust in Christ.
Actually, the “W I N N I N G!” reminds me of Charlie Sheen’s infamous “WINNING!” interview rant. Which got mashed-up, set to music, and went viral nine years ago:
(No visuals, but best audio copy I could find at this time.)
Like a Natural Reservoir of a pathogen:
Hiding in its Natural Reservoir, always waiting for the right conditions to break out and go wildfire.
“Next time someone piously asks you ‘What Would Jesus Do?’, remind them that flipping out and turning over tables is a Biblical option.”
More recently, Jack Schaap, the polished shaft (former) pastor from First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, is currently a guest at FCI Ashland, KY, with a proposed release date of February 2, 2023. Schaap took a teenage girl over state lines for sex acts (basically the Mann Act in a nutshell). The sentence is a mandatory 10 years. In June, Schaap asked to be released early on compassionate grounds to care for his elderly parents, but the federal prosecutor is opposed.
I have not found anything more recent, so no idea how that has turned out.
And, based on my interactions with Jewish friends, there is almost complete ignorance of all the end-times expectations that Evangelicals and Fundamentalists have heaped upon Jews, Judaism and the state of Israel. Oh, with the exception that even the most secular Jews tend to get very unhappy about attempts to convert them.
Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,
Hava Nagila !
I think Darby’s original thought process in 1827 was a major step forward. The Church does not replace Israel and anti-semitism is an illogical position for a professing Christian. It’s hard to coherently explain how you worship a Jew, read Jewish holy books written by Jewish prophets and Apostles, but hate Jews.
Where the system breaks down is that Darby lived long before Zionism emerged in Russian, and spread to Western Europe by the 1890’s. Israel was a doctrinal position, not an actual nationality. Even if Jews and Christians lived as neighbors, Christians would still not understand real life Judaism’s history or mystical beliefs.
The two systems are not compatible.
Most church folks I have known are not very spiritual people. They look upon such things through veiled eyes, knowing only what they have been taught without seeking and discovering Truth themselves.
I think that is true, but it also depends on how one defines both faith and salvation. For one, the NT says it is Christ’s faith/faithfulness that saves us and not our own faith. I am personally grateful for that because mine isn’t enough. As for what is salvation, a very old Christian belief is God raises every human through Christ to live eternally in his presence. Some will be more happy with this arrangement than others. This Eastern Orthodox description gives a brief overview of this view:
I found that I had quite a few assumptions about what salvation means that were not necessarily what ancient Christians believed. It makes me less certain in some ways, but more certain that God is truly the lover of mankind and that he is more inclusive than I am.
Will you please clarify your comment? What do you believe will become of Jews who die as Jews, without trusting in Christ?
I know that I’m pretty F’ed up.
Scary part is my writing partner told me once that I was one of the more SANE Boomers he’s come across.
Have Two Nagilas!
Have Three Nagilas!
They’re Very Small!
— (I used to listen to a LOT of Dr Demento)
TRANSitioning an 8-year-old?????
In the words of the prophet Roger Daltry:
The same thing that happens to anyone who dies without trusting in Christ. Eternal judgment.
This is what the NT teaches. Paul says that unbelieving Jews are branches that have been broken off from the tree Israel. They can be regrafted in if they believe in Jesus, but until they do, they aren’t part of the tree Israel. The tree Israel in Romans 11 is made up of Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus and only Jews and Gentiles who believe in Gentiles.
If unbelieving Jews don’t need to trust in Christ to be saved, the Apostles were really foolish to preach in the synagogues.
Ken F (aka Tweed),
Christ’s faithfulness does save us, but we don’t benefit from His faithfulness apart from faith in Christ. That’s all over the NT. How was Abraham justified—through His faith (Rom. 4).
If universalism is true, then the Apostles never would have died for preaching Christ. If universalism is true, there is no reason to be a Christian apart from “It makes me feel good.”
Ken F (aka Tweed),
As far as the linked article, I don’t necessarily disagree with it. Eternal wrath/punishment certainly involves being in God’s presence and hating it. People in hell aren’t separated from God. What they experience is an absence of God’s grace because their sin hasn’t been covered with the blood of Christ. Whether one conceives of hell as the article notes or as a distinct place, the end result is the same—those who have not trusted in Christ suffer.
Headless Unicorn Guy,
I think the reference has something to do with this. https://www.macsas.org.uk/P%20Johnson%20Statement%208-9-15.pdf
I apologize for two comments. There is a sad individual who appears mentally unstable who has been leaving comments behind the scene. Usually, my spam filter catches him and I don’t have to read what he says. This time, the comments slipped through. Pray for this man to find peace.
Or it might be (more likely, perhaps) the Pyromaniacs Phil Johnson who came back out of retirement.
You appear to believe that Jews are going to Hell, and that God has broken the Old Covenant. If I am misrepresenting your opinion, please let me know.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has this to say, and much more:
“Following World War II, the churches’ coming to grips with the Holocaust basically followed the same path as that of the public in general. The initial horror at the revelation of what had happened gave way to a kind of numbed silence, out of which there only gradually emerged the realization that these were realities with which one must come to terms. Christians, in particular, became painfully aware of the ways in which the age-old “teaching of contempt” toward Jews and Judaism had paved the way for the Nazi program of hatred, dehumanization, and genocide. What may have been viewed as merely a theological opinion—the “supersessionism” that declared the Jewish faith inferior and outmoded once the Christian era had arrived—proved to have tragic real-world consequences.”
You are mighty loose about others’ beliefs, and quick to send others to eternal suffering. Christianity needs to offer something better than fear, wouldn’t you agree?
I have a reply to you in customs, which I hope you will read when it emerges.
If God decided it to be so, that’s not good enough for you?
Funny how God saying so is a good enough reason for Him only choosing a small elect to save, but the reverse is not…
Again, definitions matter. How much have you investigated Christian Universalism. It sounds like you are not well versed in it. I am wondering if you are arguing against a straw-man.
Thought question: is it possible to be a Christian and not hope for the eventual salvation of everyone?
That is an interesting theory but it is not on the Bible. If God only loves us because we are covered by something it is pretend love. It would be like loving your wife only if she was wearing a mask and wig to look like someone else. No, I believe God’s love for humans is personal and real, with no covering required. The blood of Christ cleanses our sin, it doesn’t just cover it.
Ken F (aka Tweed),
I really don’t know. There are definitely people who think they are who believe so…
However, that “interesting theory” was Inerrant Dogma in the Evangelical Bubble.
And got weaponized as a ready-made Excuse Machine. Like Mike Warnke when he was exposed as a fraud — “Uh, that’s all Under the Blood.”
Oh really? I was wondering which church in lr. For those who don’t know, that church is huge.
It depends. You appear to believe in eternal conscious torment. There is good Biblcal support for this view. Some believe the non-saved will be annihilated. There is good Biblical support for this view (see the rethinking hell website). Some believe that everyone will eventually repent and be saved. There is good Biblical support for this view. So we have three main views on hell, all mutually exclusive and all with solid Biblical support. No ecumenical council ever resoved this, which means it is an area where Christians must agree to disagree.
Because it leaves the door open for One-Upmanship games, i.e. “I’m Elect AND YOU’RE NOT.”
There seems to be a perverse pleasure in “I’m going to Heaven, YOU’RE GOING TO HELL!” whether your church is into Predestination or not. Saw it pop up in the Calvary Chapel-influenced milieu I was around. Long ago this got dubbed “The Abominable Fancy”, but some people are just not happy unless they can be Better than Thou.
Very true. I believed it for many years, to my shame. In hindsight, it makes no sense. It means that God never actually took care of our sin problem by removing it. It would be worse than painting over rust.
Depends on whether someone’s made it into their Litmus Test of Salvation.
Like Anti-Vaxx, Anti-Mask, the “right” politics, and/or COVID as God’s Wrath Upon Us.
Ah yes, the Pyromaniacs.
If that name doesn’t say “More (destructively) On-Fire Than Thou”, I don’t know what does.
Are these the same Holy Trollers as “The Pulpiteers”?
If so, REMEMBER BRAXTON CANER!
I agree with this. The early church consistently stressed synergism and soundly rejected monergism, with the lone exception of Augustine. But if monergism is true, an individual’s faith is utterly irrelevant. They only have it because it was given to them against their natural will.
..To the Law and the Prophets it is. Even The Who have an opinion it seems.
My question is, do they think people will see Phil’s name being defended on this post about a molester and think well of him? Why link him to this when surely any sensible person would not wish to be linked…(I realize thus assumes he is in fact sensible)!
Ken F (aka Tweed),
Well, if their natural will is set against God, it has to be given to them as a gift. But I’m not sure how it makes their faith irrelevant if God has ordained it as the instrumental means of salvation.
I’m not quick to send anyone to eternal suffering whom the Bible does not send. I see no hope in the NT for the salvation of anyone who does not trust in Christ.
And I look forward to reading your more extended comment.
Yes, Christianity must offer something more than fear. But all religions and religious philosophies offer something more than fear to their adherents. If I can go to heaven/be saved by following someone or something other than Christ, why follow Christ? Being a Christian is hard. Much easier to follow a teacher who doesn’t tell us to love our enemies.
Could it be then that the Almighty just wanted to try his hand at advanced robotics and we are the result of his first product line?
If we throw worm theology in there, we’d probably all be scrap by now…
The thought has occurred to me, somewhere on the spectrum between amusing and distressing, that conventional/consensus Evangelical theology is quite consistent with the idea that we humans are synthetic AIs living in a virtual reality, for the purpose of creating and improving the AIs. The good results get uploaded into indestructible material embodiments for future service in the “real” world, while the unsuitable ones do not.
In recent years I’ve developed a sense that perhaps the biblical documents under-determine theology, which could account for the variety that has developed over time.
In the last 24 hours I have read, front to back, Whiston’s translation of Josephus’ “The Jewish War.” It is somber reading, as perhaps may be appropriate to present circumstances.
It seems to me useful as an extrabiblical view on the “corrupt generation” that Peter urged his Acts 2 hearers to save themselves from.
The wrath that overtook Israel during its later rebellions was terrible.
I would be very careful about assuming anything from the Christian Post article. Apparently the case documents (a) have been sealed by a judge and (b) the parents and their attorneys are under a gag order.
Phil Johnson and that bunch are busily trumpeting how they’re quite happy to break the law and hold church services when appellate court judges entered a restraining order late Saturday telling them not to do that. I would just note that the “Regency Theatres Van Nuys Plant 16” (~1.5 miles away) remains closed, while John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and the cult of people around them deliberately break the law.
I don’t ever want to hear them go on about needing to keep the Law or Romans 13 or much of anything else right now.
Its been getting pretty shrill over at CP. I wasn’t surprised to see a commenter say they would kill the subject of CP reporting. I felt that CP is working people into a lather with a constant drumbeat of fear and idiocy. The same day the threat/comment appeared, they posted an article on how sperm donors where threatening the institution of the family. Still waiting for an alien invasion headline. I saw the threat was finally pulled after two days.
About that virtual reality..
May I make a suggested big read. This one is much bigger then even contemplating The Jewish War. It’s actually a field of study, not a single read.
The Holographic Principle was first proposed in 1997 under the name AdS/CFT Correspondence. To help my understanding of the concept, I went back to Newton’s 1666 Prism Experiment and began working forward to the present. HP is an attempt to reconcile General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. It altered how I understand the Scriptures, the nature of reality and how the Universe came to be, and functions on a dayly basis.
If anything, my previous comment was mostly sarcasm pointed at a subset of Christian theology which believes in a strict determinism on the part of God.
I can only speak for myself here, but as a father and a grandfather, I cannot subscribe to something that I would not impose on my own kids and grandkids.
Is this your more extended comment? If so, a couple of things. I believe that:
1. All people who do not trust in Christ are going to hell. Muslims, Hindus, atheists, Jews, many professing Christians. It doesn’t matter. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
2. The ancient old covenant people, not God, broke the old covenant. That’s why God promised a new covenant (Jer. 31).
3. Even if we could speak of the old covenant of still being in force, anyone who does not trust in Jesus is not following the old covenant. If modern Jews actually believed the Torah, they would follow Christ, as Jesus himself says (John 5:46).
4. We can’t forget the distinction between old covenant religion and modern Judaism. Modern Judaism is based primarily on the Talmud, in varying degrees of adherence. Modern Jews don’t worship the same God that Abraham, Daniel, Deborah, Sarah, David, or any other old covenant saints did.
5. The history of Jew-Christian relations is far more complex than the statement of the museum indicates. Plenty of Christians have believed that Jews need to believe in Christ to be saved and have not engaged in anti-Semitism. It’s also true that accusations of anti-Semitism are sometimes thrown out far too broadly. Many people believe that any assertion that one cannot be saved apart from faith in Christ is anti-Semitic. But, if belief that one cannot be saved without faith in Christ is inherently anti-Semitic. That’s not to deny that anti-Semitism has occurred in Christian history. But the misuse of truth doesn’t invalidate truth.
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Nowhere in Scripture does it say that humans must match the munificence and glory of God.
That is a big if. The Eastern Orthodox still maintain that our natural (designed) will is to be in union with God. What we experience as fallen humans is therefore unnatural. Salvation in this view is being restored to our true nature, not getting an unnatural new nature. While it is true that we all need saving faith through a healed will, monergism never got any traction until the reformation. The early church fathers strongly rejected it and strongly affirmed free will.
If faith is given irresistibly, how is a person’s faith relevant? It really makes no difference at all because it is not exercised freely.
And you know this how?
Robert, you don’t know what your talking about. Your repeating doctrinal points. Neither you nor those who devised these points have thought them through.
1. No sentence has been handed down, nor do you know what defense/s will be brought at the judgement. Theologians do not construct arguments meant for the actual Court in Heaven.
2. Your proof text (Jer 31) disapproves your statement. There is no broken Covenant. It is not a two-party agreement. It is a one-party promise. You did not understand this. The promises are yea and amen. (And no, they don’t become Christians)
3. Wrong. The whole point of Judaism is righteousness derived from striving after Torah.
4. “Don’t worship same God”..
This is crazy talk. Have you not heard.. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5. ..”It’s also true that accusations of anti-Semitism are sometimes thrown out far too broadly.”..
Too broadly? Who has taught you your history? If you have even an overview you would know the Church doesn’t HAVE Anti-Semitism, it mostly -WAS- Anti-Semitism.
[sarc] Private Revelation. [/sarc]
Advanced robotics WITHOUT Asimov’s Laws.
That would explain a lot.
I keep harping on this over and over again. Gen 2:1 introduces the two armies of Heaven and Earth. 2:4 points out they are generations. Both are capable of self replicating.
Adam was a seperate category of Son of God, but one with mass. He was handed a counter party eho contained genetic coding for perpetual production of the earthly army. Why would God want another host when he already had one above. Armies dont have much purpose other then going to war.
” You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48).
I’m not sure what Bible you are reading…
1. Just because I’m repeating an orthodox Christian dogma doesn’t mean I or those who have formulated it didn’t think about it. The NT is very clear that idolaters don’t go to heaven, and anyone who doesn’t worship the one, true Triune God is an idolater.
2. Exodus 24, Israel commits to the old covenant, vowing to keep its terms. Jer. 11:10: “The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their fathers.”
3. Depends on the Judaism you are talking about. But in general, modern Judaism is certainly based on the Talmud’s fence around the Torah. The Torah also prescribes a sacrificial system, which is impossible to keep in modern Judaism. The Talmud and other Jewish sources, without divine approval, have substituted other things for it.
4. Jesus himself said that the Pharisees, or at least many of the Pharisees, who affirmed that text had Satan as their Father and not God. The God of the Shema is the triune God of Christianity. If you don’t worship that God, you are worshiping an idol.
5. Several Oxford educated professors of church history at seminary taught me church history, as well as an expert in the Dead Sea Scrolls. I don’t deny anti-Semitism in the visible church historically. What I deny is that telling a Jewish person he is going to hell apart from faith in Christ constitutes anti-semitism.
Ken F (aka Tweed),
This is not true historically. Before the Reformation, Aquinas also affirmed monergistic regeneration. In fact, any tradition that affirms baptismal regeneration affirms monergistic regeneration, so that gives you RCism and Lutheranism in the West. The difference is over whether regeneration is connected invariably to perseverance or not. You are right that the East does not see sin as affecting us in the same way that the West does. In my view, that’s a real weakness of the East whatever strengths it has.
You can’t just say “the early church fathers believed in free will” as if that is determinative. 1. We don’t have an extended treatment of the will before Augustine that I know of. 2. Mere statements such as that one “must freely choose Christ” are affirmed in Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Reformed theology, Wesleyanism, etc.” The question is what does freedom mean. 3. The early church fathers must be measured against Scripture, whatever their actual beliefs were. 4. We can’t read Reformation and post-Reformation debates over the freedom of the will back into earlier centuries and then recruit people for “our side.” It’s anachronistic. Augustine’s beliefs line up in some ways with everyone who claims him, including the non-Reformed, and not in others. The same thing is true of Athanasius, Chrysostom, and everyone else.
God still requires faith for salvation, so that’s why it matters. The only way it wouldn’t matter is if one could be ordinarily saved with or without faith.
I don’t know where you are getting your facts. I have yet to find an early church father other than Augustine who denied free will. Here is what Iraneaus wrote about it:
Can you point me to early Christian writers who denied free will. I am all ears. I suspect thete was ni early extended treatment on this topic because it was not in dispute.
Doesn’t that sword cut both way? I don’t see any way to read Iranaues without seeing his forceful argument for free will. I don’t see any way to square what he wrote with Augustine. What am I missing?
A stunning admission. We boldly claim that God added us to his covenant with the Jewish people. Now we casually exclude the Jews from that covenant. Yet this is somehow not a negative thing to say about Jews and Judaism.
Christianity is not synonymous with Trinitarianism. Again you are casually sending people to Hell.
I might be misunderstanding what you mean, but it appears that Christianity is indeed synonomous with Trinitarianism, based both on historical writings that survived and how it was defined in the first few ecumencical councils. This leads to two big questions. 1) Who gets to define Christianity? It used to be through a conciliar process that required widespread agreement at ecumenical councils. But today it appears that countless groups define it however they want, often in mutually exclusive ways. And 2) Does our salvation depend on correct beliefs? I think this one is much more difficult to answer. It seems to me that we are saved by faith, not doctrine. But one could argue that doctrine defines what we have faith in, so there could be a connection. Still, I suspect that perfectly parsed systemmatic theology will be of no value when we die.
This has been a recent topic, but I’ll recap. Depending on how you parse it, you are omitting Christians who follow Oneness theology as well as Binitarians, Mormons, Quakers, Christadelphians, and many others.
If somebody says they’re Christian, I take them at their word, even if I find their beliefs and/or actions unacceptable. It is not my job to judge who is going to Hell. I don’t proselytize, and I truly don’t think it’s my job to warn people that they are going to Hell.
I very much agree with you that we humans tend to clump people into groups and make judgments about all those people in other clumps. But what really matters is how God thinks about us. I am beginning to believe that he is far more inclusive than any of us can imagine. I suspect that the final judgment will not be God determining who will go to heaven and hell. Rather, we will all judge God when we see him in his full splendor. Some will find his presence blissful while others will find it hellish. I am wondering if life on earth is meant to prepare us for that judgment – perhaps it will be easier for us to repent now than then. I am also thinking that God will never give up loving every person, and that his goal is the eventual salvation of everyone.
I’ll pick point 2. because it’s fairly straightforward. You cited Jer 11:10 and therefore the Covanent is broken. So let’s read vs.10. Here is what’s tripping you up: (BTW it’s KJV. I know it’s a little old, but it’s the best I can do under the circumstances)
-bayith Israel bayith Judah parar beriyth kerath Ab-
The thing your overlook is “kerath Ab.” It’s not “kerath Israel/Judah.” Again, it’s “kerath Ab.” It is not “Ab kerath.” This is also vital to to grasp. Did Ab ever kerath? No, he did not. Adonay Yahovih kerath/ed, not the Ab, or bayith Israel/Judah.
How can we know this is the case?
Because, the Ab was asleep, and therefore not in a position to kerath.
One kerath, to the Ab, but binding on one party only, Adonay Yahovih.
The promises are not broken, but yea and amen.
Hmm, I don’t think Heaven should be forced on the unwilling… but is that a kind and loving God? Please say more.
Even Josef Mengele and Comrade Stalin?
Why would we not want everyone to be ultimately reconciled with a loving God? Robin Parry has interesting thoughts about ultimate reconciliation. Here is a sample:
I agree. The Calvinist position is God changes a person’s will and affections so that they will love being in God’s presence. Some believe the non-saved will be annihilated. Others believe that everyone will eventually freely choose salvation. The early church fathers strongly emphasized free will, they did nit believ anyone is compelled one way or a other. If it turns out that the EO view is correct, every human will spend eternity in the presence of God, and how we experince his presence will depend on each of us and how well we align with love.
Ken F (aka Tweed),
Ken F (aka Tweed),
Ken F (aka Tweed),
Thanks for the link to Irenaeus. A couple of things:
1. I think you are laboring under the misunderstanding that Augustine and Calvinists believe that we are compelled against our wills to choose God and that we don’t freely make choices. That is a misunderstanding of Augustine and all Augustinians (basically, most of the West).
2. Yes the anachronism cuts both ways. As far as squaring Irenaeus with Augustine, Irenaeus does also say that we fell in Adam, so there’s at least, potentially, a little bit of instability in Irenaeus’ view of the will in the section you posted in light of other things he says. At least on a surface level reading. And because it cuts both ways, none of us can simply say, “the church fathers before Augustine all believed in free will.” Sure they did. Were they Pelagian or semi-Pelagian? That’s the more important question about the nature of human freedom, but it’s an anachronistic question.
3. I think the question that needs to be answered is whether Irenaeus and other church fathers before Augustine believed that it was in the power of human beings after Adam, apart from the initiative of divine grace, to do what is fully pleasing in God’s sight, to do that which is worthy of eternal life. Given that one could say, generally, that something like baptismal regeneration seems to be the main view, it seems to me that had someone like Irenaeus encountered something like Pelagianism, he would have rejected it. Irenaeus also believed that Jesus had to recapitulate Adam in order to save humanity, so whatever freedom we have, it in itself is not sufficient to save us. That’s the position of all orthodox Christian traditions. Calvinists believe in effectual divine grace in all to whom it is given. Arminians and RCs tend to posit a prevenient grace that does not guarantee salvation in whom it is given but frees us up enough to make the right choice if we want to. Even the East rejects Pelagianism.
4. If the EO view is correct, and I don’t necessarily have a problem with it, at least in its basic form, the reprobate are still experiencing God’s presence as suffering and punishment.
I’m not following your point at all about the people being asleep. But sure, God calls it “my covenant,” but that’ irrelevant. It’s his covenant because he is the one who sets the terms of it. The people don’t set the terms Yet the people agreed to keep it (Ex. 24; 34; but also Gen. 17, where if you don’t keep the commandment to circumcise, you break the covenant; the curses of Deut. 28-29; etc.), so yes, they can and did break it.
Jer. 11:10 says that Judah and Israel hepheru—they “broke/transgressed/violated” the covenant. The prophets view the old covenant as having been broken by the people. The NT views the old covenant has having been broken. Heb. 8; Acts 15; etc. There’s no way around it.
1. I’m not cutting the Jews off. Unbelieving Jews have cut themselves off. Any Jew can be in covenant with God by trusting in Christ. Jews and Gentile alike have broken the covenant. That’s why they need Christ.
2. Christianity is most certainly synonymous with Trinitarianism. Mormons aren’t even monotheists. You really are going to say that they are Christians simply because they say so? If we know anything about Jesus and other first century Jews, it’s that they were fierce monotheists.
3. Paul and the other Apostles and Jesus never would have preached in the synagogues and told Jews to believe in Jesus if they believed that they didn’t need to believe in Jesus to be saved. None of them would have died if they thought proselytism was optional.
4. I’m a little confused as to how you can believe that Gentiles have been added to the covenant with the Jews (basically Rom. 11) but also deny that they have broken the covenant and have to trust in Christ to be justified (Rom. 1–5). Paul teaches both. The whole NT teaches both.
5. One doesn’t need a perfect grasp of Trinitarian theology to be saved. But one certainly can’t deny it and in any sense be an orthodox Christian. Jesus basically says in John 8 that if you don’t believe He is who He says He is (and there he says explicitly that He is “I am”), that you will die in your sins.
6. Proselytism—Jesus says in Matt. 28:18–20 that we are to make disciples of all nations.
7. If I say that I am a Christian but then say that I don’t believe I have to do anything that Jesus ever said, are you going to take me at my word that I’m a Christian? That seems a little odd, but I don’t see how it isn’t entailed by what you have said.
You need to check out the US H0locaust Memorial Museum website and learn about the history of anti-Semitism. Before World War II, it was common for Christians to blame Jews for the death of Christ. This was a dehumanizing teaching. Fortunately, after the war, the responsible traditions took a good long look at their shared culpability for six million deaths, and changed their theology.
You are not only saying that Jews are going to Hell, but that Christians have replaced them as the Chosen, and that it’s the Jews’ own fault. This is a shockingly arrogant set of beliefs.
And yes, if people call themselves Christians, I do take them at their word. It is far too common for Christians to write off other Christians, as you yourself keep demonstrating.
See you in Heaven. I think we’ll both be surprised at who all is there.
But one with a long and spotted history.
Replacement Theology is a lot like the Victorian “linear upward progress” model of Evolution, as opposed to Darwin’s “descent with modification” & Gould’s “branching bush” with many possibilities but no intrinsic sense of direction.
That Rabbi from Tarsus used a model akin to the branching bush when he wrote about the Goyim being “grafted in” to the Covenant, not the uprooting and replacing the previous Covenant of the linear upward progress model.
Replacement theology makes Judaism into just a non-SpaceX first stage booster — use and discard when the second stage fires up.
This is what happens when you read in search of proof text, instead of just reading. Errors made in the beginning continue as the story progresses. You still believe it is a two-party agreement, made with Israel, and are confused about what the Covenant contains. When in fact, you need to slow down and read the text carefully.
Genesis 11. God is upset with mankind and divides mankind into seventy nations, when as yet there is no Hebrew. But Abram, the Ab for that is his name, came to be in Ur of the Chaldeans.
Genesis 12. But God choose to have one people for himself, that God would raise up from the Ab, Abram. ..”And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
This is the original Covenant. A simple verbal promise of unspecified blessings through genetic decent. But when Abram passed the Plain of Moreh, God enlarged the promise, and granted unspecified land, then inhabited by others, including the Canaanite. Yet, Abram grew old and Sarai remained childless.
Genesis 13. When Abram, the Ab, returned from the Egytian female fiasco, God appeared unto him again. God is anout to expand again his promise. (I will stop here because if you don’t read carefully vs. 14- 17, it will just get more hopeless in chapter 15, where Abram, the Ab, falls asleep during the formal Covenantal agreement. And, where the promise expand exponentially. Again, notice how new items are added to the original promise over time)
vs.14-17. ..”And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee
It could be that I am a predestined goat that does not get it. 🙂 I think I understand what you mean, but to me it is still only an illusion of free will. Under the reformed model, the unregenerate freely choose to reject God in the same way that a person pushed over a cliff freely chooses to fall. They cannot do otherwise. Likewise, a regenerate person freely chooses salvation in the same way – they cannot do otherwise. So to call it a truly free choice makes no sense. It would take the T and I out of TULIP. The EO teach that the fallen will needs healing, and that God provides the grace to heal a person’s ability to freely choose.
I was hoping you would provide some evidence that early church fathers other than Augustine had a reformed view of free will. Instead, you just repeated arguments for why we should think they they agreed with the reformers even though it looks like they did not. I have not found anything written by any of them them that even remotely aligns with how Calvin and Luther viewed free will. But I am open to correction.
Yes, exactly. The big difference is whether or not the reprobate could have chosen otherwise. If Calvinism is true, there is no repentence possible for the reprobate because the eternal decree is unchangeable.