Conflict Makes the Story

Every Saturday night at our Sabbath dinner, we have a round of catechism questions for the kids. The last question, the one I ask all of them together, is “Kids, what’s the point of the whole Bible?” The answer is “Kill the dragon, get the girl!” This was the point of the biblical story before the Fall, and it has remained the point of the narrative ever since. Before Adam ever sinned, he still had a dragon to fight. After he sinned, the task became much more arduous, and extended over centuries, and could only be fulfilled when the seed of the woman finally came, but that remained the mission. And for us now as Christians, this remains the point. This is why we are here. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (Rom. 16:20, ESV). And here we have yet another glorious gospel juxtaposition. The God of peace does things. What does the God of peace do? The God of peace crushes.

Take that, thou purveyor of that which edifieth not.
Take that, thou purveyor of that which edifieth not!

For one particular application, allow me to share this from my daughter’s Facebook post about last Saturday’s protest of Planned Parenthood:

As our kids were getting ready to go (finding their “Product of Conception” shirts, grabbing water bottles, etc.) Shadrach realized he didn’t have a protest shirt. This is because I made him one that said ‪#‎Anotherboy‬ on it for the last protest, but threw it away afterwards because it was on an old undershirt. So I grabbed some Sharpies and said I would make him a new one on another old undershirt. He watched me as I wrote “Life is a Good Choice” on his shirt and we talked about what was going on. I told him there were people who thought it was ok to kill babies while they were in their mama’s tummy. I told him that we were going to say no. He asked me some insightful three year old questions. “There are people killing babies?!” “Is God there?!” “People are killing babies?!?!?” “They is KILLING babies?!”

Later, thinking he had gotten in the van already, I found him in the garage rummaging around. I asked him what he was up to and he said, “Mama. I need to find my sword.”

The real question for me, and it is quite a puzzler, is how we will have stories in the resurrection. When the Lord finally removes every grief, and puts absolutely everything to rights, will we be reduced to just telling stories? When we’ve been there ten thousand years, will be be tired of standing around? When every tear will have been dried, will this signal the end of all stories?

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

I can’t imagine that this is so, but how God will do it is beyond my comprehension. “The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story” (The Last Battle, pp. 183-184).

The reason it is so hard to imagine is because conflict appears to us to be an essential ingredient in all story. Finding an antagonist in this fallen world is not that hard. All you need to do is try to live like a decent Christian for five or six days in a row and you will soon find yourself in the thick of it. But that is because there is truly something wrong with this world. Conflict, when it is most stark, is with those who are simply evil. But conflict can also arise as a result of misunderstandings between those who ought to be at peace with each other. In either case, it is the result real sin, real evil, real problems. In the resurrection, how will we have real stories without real problems? Beats me.

But what we are facing now is real preparation for what we will face then. Fighting now is preparation for whatever will be given to us then. Courage is necessary now, and it will be the foundation for whatever will be necessary then. But without adversaries, without danger, without conflict, why will we need this trans-courage? I will conclude this paragraph as I did the previous one. Beats me.

At the same time, we are taught that our labors, our conflicts, our sacrifices, are not futile. Everything connects, and what we learn before the resurrection connects to what we will have to do after it. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).

We do not flee from our conflicts and sufferings to the refuge of the resurrection. Rather, we fight through them, using them as God’s appointed ladder to clamber up to the resurrection. They are all part of the same story. “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:10–11, ESV).

And since real believers are all predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Christ in the resurrection, this means that real believers may rest in the fact that all things work together for good for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28-30). The reason we have to be reassured of this is that in the midst of the story we are easily distracted by things present, things to come, heights and depths, and anything else in all creation. Wherever we go in this world, stories erupt. Not the ineffable stories, for we are still in this world. I am not talking about the ones that do not yet appear, but rather our kind of story.

These are the stories that contain all the characters we find in Scripture, and all the elements that tempt us to think that God has somehow lost the thread. In our stories, we have friends who desert us, like Demas. We have coworkers who betray, like Judas. We have dear friends who collapse, like Peter. We have noble adversaries, as David had with Abner. We have skunks who are on our side, as David had with Joab. We have friends dear to us who fall out with each other, like Euodia and Syntyche. We have false brothers, who sneevel their way into presbytery in order to spy out our liberty. We have relatives who try to rip us off, like Laban. We have protectors who turn on us, like Saul. We have church growth, church plants, church splits, and church splants. So as we stand back and look at the inglorious mess, we should thank God for His predestining grace, glance at our watch, and murmur that we must be right on schedule.

This is how I put it a few years ago:

“So this means that I am willing to fight fellow Christians when the analogia Scripturae demands it. I am unwilling to fight faithful Baptists, Methodists, charismatics, and so on, even though we have marked differences (e.g. David and Jonathan). I am more than willing to fight with Bishop Spong, with Bishop Robinson, et al (e.g. Elijah and Ahab). I don’t fight with them because they are not in the covenant; I fight with them because they are. And last, I am reluctantly willing to fight (defensively) with conservative believers who have taken it into their heads to launch an unnecessary attack on us (e.g. David and Saul). The world is a messy place, and so we do the best we can to sort it out.”

So we should take the lead in standing against the evils of our generation — like our depraved understanding of life and marriage, which will bring us into conflict with multitudes outside the church, and with many within the church.

But surely if pastors are involved in such conflict, they should know what the point is, right? Yesterday I answered a sincere question about what we think we are accomplishing with this kind of cultural engagement. Why are we protesting abortion? Why are we fighting the Obergefell decision? Do I believe that we will have accomplished anything for the kingdom if we succeed in passing some righteous legislation? Or perhaps, in what is more likely, legislation that is perhaps less unrighteous?

Not at all. The point is always and everywhere the gospel. America will not be saved by legislation, no matter how pro-life or pro-marriage the legislation might be. If the people are not given a spirit of repentance, such legislation will be simply rejected, or if we are clever enough to impose such legislation on an unrepentant people, they will simply vomit it all up at the first opportunity. Josiah was a good king, but his reformation was not exactly a lasting one.

So what is the point? Proclamations of the gospel in Scripture overwhelmingly come in this format — repent and believe the gospel. Repent and believe. Law and grace.

Repent of what? Sin. What sin? The sins being committed. Believe in what? The fact that Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, the one who rose from the dead, and who as a consequence was given universal authority over all the nations of men. Jesus was crucified in accordance with Scripture (Ps. 2:1-3). He was raised from the dead, as the first begotten from the grave in accordance with Scripture (Ps. 2:7). As a direct result of that vindication that we call Easter, He was invited to make a request, which He did in fact make. “Ask of me, And I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Ps. 2:8).

There are Christians who say that we ought not protest abortion, but rather preach the gospel. We ought not to oppose the official degradation of marriage, but rather preach the gospel. That is like training lifeguards to rescue people without any references to water. That is like watching millions of people drowning in the same ocean, and holding pep rallies on the beach.

And this brings us back to the point about story. The old stories train us to recognize scribes who speak with no authority, lifeguards who never swim out to anybody, cancer surgeons who are scared of scalpels, firemen who never jump on a truck, jet pilots who never scramble, guardians who will not guard, and gospel preachers who keep muttering peace, peace, when there is no peace.

Anyone who can look at the current state of American cultural life — abortion, same sex mirage, hook-ups, no fault divorce, porn everywhere, mammon-chasing, and more — and not see a straight lead-in to a repent-and-believe gospel message is someone who is not qualified to preach the gospel. How can you preach something when you don’t know what it is even for?

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drewnchick
Member

“Kill the dragon; get the girl.” New motto. But you ask what will our heavenly state be like when there are no more dragons? I’m reminded of an old cartoon I saw once where a couple of dogs had finally caught a car they’d been chasing. It sat there and they stood there staring at it. One dog asked the other, “Now what?” I wonder if the resurrection will be for us much like the old bloodhound lying on the front porch. He has already caught the car, defeating his dragon, and he is now resting at the feet of… Read more »

valerieab
Member

Hmmm…I’m rather hoping resurrection life will feel more like being a new puppy than nothin’ but an ol’ hound dog. ‘Cuz I already feel too much like one of them!

drewnchick
Member

True. :-)
I was drawing on the image of “resting at the feet of his Master” and didn’t think much on the image of the worn-out ol’ hound. Trying for the Southern idyllic photo-op, complete with a glass of sweet tea in one hand and a lace-work fan in the other.

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

You had me agreeing with you up until “sweet tea”

I’m looking forward to soda and other carbonated beverages being more healthy on the other side :P

RFB
Guest
RFB

I grew up seeing the original of this almost daily
comment image

Carson Spratt
Member

Malachi: the devil never creates – he can only twist. The fact that he is a dragon means there are such things as unfallen dragons. There will be glorious dragons in heaven – a fact that should make all of us glad. But as to there being conflict in heaven, I don’t know. I’ve often speculated that perhaps the Day of Judgement is only the end for our particular, Planet Earth, story. Maybe there will be other wars to fight in other corners of God’s creation, once we are finally and completely glorified. I don’t know. Perhaps not, since Scripture… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Missouri Synod helps the Little Sisters of the Poor as they seek US Spm Ct review of their case against the birth control mandate. The Baptists and Orthodox Jews are siding with the Sisters. So far 15 briefs filed for the Sisters; 0 for HHS. The faith/law circles intersect in strange ways. OK, OK, this won’t defund Planned parenthood. But we push back nonetheless. Lots of work yet to be done down here . . . . “Another brief [http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/15-105-Little-Sisters-etc.-v.-Burwell-Br.-of-Amici-Christian-Legal-Socy-et-al.-in-Support-of-Petrs-Aug.-2015.pdf] dissects the Tenth Circuit’s ‘substantial burden’ analysis. Filed by Wilmer Hale on behalf of the Christian Legal Society, Association of… Read more »

Nord357
Guest
Nord357

Hey Kelly! Thanks for the update!
And you’re right “we push back nonetheless”

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

More than one law prof has wondered why Obama has such a . . . interest? . . . concern? . . . fear? . . . over a bunch of nuns doing charity work. It’s not like they have reason to think “SCOTUS-care” is at risk from Chief Roberts. My own hunch is “Nothing outside the state.” (One of Mussolini’s mottoes, BTW.) Some folks just cannot abide the idea that “society” and “the gummit” could be different things. Recall the old H.L. Mencken quip about Puritans being haunted by the fear that someone, somewhere might be having fun? The… Read more »

valerieab
Member

We presume that God enjoyed eternity past without conflict (even if He was busy creating Hell for those who inquire too deeply into such matters), so there must be a way for us all to enjoy eternity future happily ever after.

RFB
Guest
RFB

“even if He was busy…”

for the win!

valerieab
Member

I think it was Augustine who won that one. ;^)

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Hi Valerie, We do seem to presume that, thinking maybe all was well, peaceful and bucolic way back when. And then, …. then He was inspired to lift His experiences up a notch, taking on a new toy but then really committing Himself to the project by morphing a third of Himself into marriageable form with this now partner. Or can there be, not conflict exactly, within the Godhead sans all else, but a good struggle? Instead of an eternal gyrocoptic oneness of peace-atude, does that community of triune Godfulness imply an ever-expanding, ever-creating, yearning and struggle for more of… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Story isn’t made by conflict, per se.
It’s made by struggle.

Story = likeable character facing DIFFICULT circumstances to reach a worthwhile goal.

Heaven may not have tears of grief, but will have tons of difficulties forever in front — fodder for an eternity of new stories.

wackytobeme
Member

Like climbing mountains, learning new languages, music, etc….fully enjoying God’s creation as it was meant to be without the distractions/deceptions of sin. :-)

drewnchick
Member

Yeah…just think of all the folks who will climb Mt. Everest THEN without fear of dying by avalanche, blizzard, or hypothermia. Heck, they won’t even stub a toe!!

Jane
Member

One thing I’m looking forward to is being able to enjoy all that breathtaking scenery I don’t get to see now (except in photographic form), because of a fear of heights.

Evan
Guest
Evan

I’m guessing Mt Everest wont even be a ‘thing’ anymore compared to what’s in store.

timothy
Guest
timothy

Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to make a nice loaf of french bread.

jesuguru
Guest
jesuguru

Maybe there will be one or two French people in Heaven to teach you (I KID, I KID)

soylentg
Member

I kind of hate to detract from a post that I agree with except for one line, but when Pastor Wilson says this: “I am more than willing to fight with Bishop Spong, with Bishop Robinson, et al (e.g. Elijah and Ahab). I don’t fight with them because they are not in the covenant; I fight with them because they are.” …I just have to comment. Since I am a Baptist, obviously I don’t agree with Pastor Wilson’s Federal Vision theology (and I admit to having only spent a limited amount of time studying it), but if I understand the… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

Being a member of the covenant makes your situation worse, not better, when you live in unrepentant sin. Apostates are worse than unbelievers. (Consider Hebrews 6:1-12 and 1 Timothy 5:8.)

RFB
Guest
RFB

ashv,

“…makes your situation worse, not better, …”

Indeed!

Although all illustrations have limits, your stated premise is why it is (supposed to be) worse for a traitor than an enemy combatant, worse for a dirty cop than a common thug, worse for a treasonous apostle than a pedestrian mocker, and worse for an adulterous husband than a fornicator.

There is a covenant to all of those that imposes conditions, privileges, rights, blessings and curses.

Katecho
Member

A key concept is to differentiate “covenant membership” from “ordained to eternal life”. We know that all Israel was in covenant with God, but not all of them were ordained to eternal life. These are two different concepts. The number ordained to eternal life is fixed. It does not change. People are not popping in and out of that number. However, the covenant body of Christ plays out in time and history, and it is messy. There is all sorts of grafting in, and pruning out, going on with the one covenant tree (Christ as its Root). God is as… Read more »

soylentg
Member

Hi Katecho, thanks for the detailed response. While I strongly disagree with the teaching, I appreciate the time spent in your thorough explanation. Am I right then that the FV teaching would hold that the New Covenant is entered via paedobaptism? If so, then your statement: ” But Scriptural language within the covenant is one of hope for all who come in. Scripture refers to them as the “elect” (as with Israel in the OT), and the beloved, and as saints, and united with Christ.” would demand that we refer to Spong, Robinson, and Adolf (at least while he lived)… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Scripturally, baptism is the ordinary sign of recognition of New Covenant belonging. It’s not praying a prayer, walking an aisle, dedicating a child, tossing a pine cone into a campfire, etc. Baptism parallels circumcision in the old testament, which was also given to infants. It is God’s testimony of His sealing of us as His own (think of a King’s signet ring on a solemn bond). One was not circumcised in order to *make* them covenant members, but because they *are* covenant members. Recall that Abraham was circumcised after having already received the covenant promises. This presents problems for us… Read more »

Katecho
Member

My description above is in contrast to the standard baptistic position that only faithful and true believers can be acknowledged to be in the covenant. If any grave sin is found in a person, they are retroactively considered to have never really been in the covenant. This view has very practical ramifications, particularly with regard to very young children. Baptistic parents may instinctively want to regard them as fellow covenant members, but they can’t see the eternal condition of their child’s heart, so they must hold everything in suspended animation until the child can make their own confession. They must… Read more »

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

If any grave sin is found in a person, they are retroactively considered to have never really been in the covenant.

But this is because being in the covenant is one-to-one with being regenerate. You would retroactively consider, I assume, that a clearly apostate person (one who previously made a confession and had lived with all signs pointing to being regenerate) to have never really been regenerate, right?

RFB
Guest
RFB

jigawatt, If I might try a little…”covenant is one-to-one with being regenerate” does not seem to be scriptural. When Jesus told a “teacher of Israel”, (Nicodemus), someone with a clearly demonstrable covenantal identity, that “you all must be born again”, it is a clear statement that covenant and elect are not synonymous. Judas was a real apostle, and an unfaithful one. Judas was in covenant with Christ at a very high level, which is why his treason was so damning. Caiaphas was a real high priest, and represented the covenant people; according to the Word of God he prophesied regarding… Read more »

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

The examples you give are of those under the Old Covenant. That’s the whole point. Judas, Caiaphas, Nicodemus all of them needed to be born again to be part of the New Covenant.

RFB
Guest
RFB

All of the elect have always needed to be born from above. “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?… But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it…But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods… Read more »

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

All of the elect have always needed to be born from above.

Amen, and amen.

When I said,

But this is because being in the covenant is one-to-one with being regenerate

I was referring to only the New covenant. The Old covenant was absolutely NOT one-to-one with being regenerate.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

And re the marriage comparison, yes, marriage is like the Old Covenant in that comparison, but not like the New. It is impossible to be apostate from a true membership in the New. Just like it’s impossible for a truely regenerate person to be apostate.

jesuguru
Guest
jesuguru

Careful with conflating covenants… Nicodemus was in the old covenant, but not (yet) the new.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Which covenant was Adam in?

jesuguru
Guest
jesuguru

Theologians usually refer to the covenant between God and Adam as either the “Adamic” covenant or the “Edenic” covenant (see Hosea 6:7), referring to the promise of immortality in the tree of life, but death through the forbidden fruit. We know how that went down.

The covenant with Noah was another such “minor” covenant, minor referring to duration/scope rather than importance.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

After the fall, what covenant was Adam and Eve in, what with the promise of a savior?

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

No we would say that they were in the covenant, and had received the benefits. One relevant parable is the vine and the branches – some branches are cut off, but they were a part of the vine. They were fed, the Spirit did work in them. They weren’t just tumbleweed or some such that got lodged in the vine and looked like it was a part of the vine – they were part of the whole body. And then they get chopped off. The eternal promise of election, and the doctrines of irresistible grace, etc are not inconsistent on… Read more »

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

My question was about regeneration. A person who BY ALL EXTERNAL INDICATIONS is considered regenerate would be considered “retroactively” to have actually been unregenerate all along if they became an apostate indeed.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Hebrews 6 indicates that it’s possible to “share in the Holy Spirit” and still fall away, which is a different situation from people who are never part of the church.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

ashv,
You are right to bring Hebrews 6 into the discussion and you are right about the difference. How do you understand the sharing in the Holy Spirit and then falling away? Or for that matter, how do you understand “part of the church”. Seems to be more than one view in the discussion here. No trick questions, but since you brought it up I wondered.

ashv
Guest
ashv

I don’t have any significant disagreements with Wilson’s views on this; the typical example pointed to is Saul, who at one point really had the Holy Spirit and prophesied, and really didn’t later. At the same time, of course, Jesus tell us there are people who cast out demons and did many works in His name to whom He will say “I never knew you”. So there’s a sense in which apostates were truly part of Christ’s body, and a sense in which they were never truly part of Christ’s body. As Paul says, “They are not all Israel who… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Thanks for the response.
Perhaps another possibility is being influenced by, as opposed to having, the Holy Spirit? Perhaps actually being regenerate is not a prerequisite for works in His name? Perhaps. What I am more inclined to believe is the possibility of really real apostasy, yes,actually falling away (more like walking away) from salvation when one truly was part of the body. That seems to be more what Hebrews 6 is telling us. Not Wilson’s view by far, and not the majority view of commenters here, I realize.

ashv
Guest
ashv

How isn’t that Wilson’s view?

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Wilson’s view is Calvinistic, which doesn’t allow for the truly regenerate/saved to fall away from grace, or as I put it, walk away from salvation. It’s the P in TULIP.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Right. But my point is that there are people in the church who are not regenerate, who will not persevere to the last day, who really do receive the other blessings of the covenant right now, which is Wilson’s view as well to the best of my knowledge.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

In that case, yes, that is the same as what I understand Wilson’s view to be. I was saying something different though, sorry if I was unclear in the way I expressed it.
My point was that what Hebrews 6 seems to present to us is the real possibility of people who are/were in fact regenerate, but who will/did not persevere to the last. When you said there are people who share in the Holy Spirit, but who still fall away I wondered if you meant something like that. Should I understand that is not what you meant?

Katecho
Member

Regeneration, like the word justification, has become a kind of catch-all word, far removed from its narrower usage in Scripture. Similarly, the word elect has become restricted from its much broader use in Scripture. However, if by “regenerate” jigawatt means “in the number ordained to eternal life”, then being in the covenant is clearly not one-to-one with being regenerate. We know this because God prunes the covenant olive tree. He doesn’t just graft into it. (See RFB’s comment regarding the 1Cor 10 warning, as it is applied directly to new covenant believers.) The number ordained to eternal glory does not… Read more »

Evan
Guest
Evan

Thank you. I believe you just put into words what could never put my finger on; why I could never agree with a baptistic view of ‘getting saved’.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

if by “regenerate” jigawatt means “in the number ordained to eternal life”, then being in the covenant is clearly not one-to-one with being regenerate. That is not quite what I mean. My Hindu neighbor might be elect (“in the number ordained to eternal life”), but whether he is or not, I am near certain that he is NOT currently regenerate. Now, if he IS elect, then God will regenerate his heart at some point in his life. That moment is when he would be “regenerated”, “saved”, “born again”, “Spirit Baptized”, “justified”, “adopted”, (EDIT: “in the New Covenant”), and probably a… Read more »

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

“The question is whether we are content to walk by a gracious covenant faith, or insist on peaking behind the curtain into the eternal decrees.” Exactly – We create “contradictions” and such between the covenant as it plays out in time vs. eternal election only when we insist on knowing who is and isn’t eternal. We weren’t meant to know who is and isn’t elect – we were meant to be comforted by it. We were meant to take God at His Word. No one who has been baptized into the covenant ought to doubt that they are a member… Read more »

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

We don’t have those things because they were transferred over into us, as discrete objects. We have them because we have been transferred into union with Christ and all that He is. I’m going to neither agree nor disagree with this. Haha. I will say that being in covenant union with Christ is something us Baptists could stand to talk about a lot more. One thing is certain that we here don’t have the diagnostic tools to detect who they are, even if it is detectable within them. That would seem to require looking into God’s book of life, which… Read more »

soylentg
Member

I have heard Pastor Wilson us that phrase before, “grab them by their baptism” and while it is catchy, it is without substance. How is it different than a “baptistic parent” grabbing their backslidden child by the child’s confession of faith. Come to think of it, that would seem to pull more weight: “Repent! Remember the confession of faith that you made!” vs “Repent! Remember we had you sprinkled without your consent!” It seems that in the FV viewpoint, for the most part, the New Covenant is just like the Old Covenant. I really do think that this whole FV… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Thanks to St Lee for his kind words, and for giving me an occasion to try to express what I’ve come to understand (even if we ultimately disagree). “Remember the confession that you made!”, is an appeal to the subjective individual. By that point, they may claim that they were brainwashed by their parents at a young age, and didn’t know better. Or they may claim that they never really meant it, in their heart, even at the time. Compare this to a marriage covenant. When bride and groom exchange vows, it doesn’t matter whether they each meant it in… Read more »

eli
Guest
eli

I’m Lutheran and most certainly not Arminian (or Reformed, for that matter). God, and God alone, can save man. I’m dead in my sin and dead people can’t save themselves. God performed “CPR” on me and raised me from the dead. It was not my choice- according to my sinful nature, I would choose the devil, not God. FV is not Lutheran (though closer than other Reformed elements) but, from a Lutheran perspective, God has promised to work through means to convert man’s dead, sin-soaked hearts. He works through His Word. Baptism is simply God’s Word united with water to… Read more »

soylentg
Member

Hi Eli, I wasn’t overly clear with my comment about Arminianism. My apologies. I wasn’t connecting it so much with baptism as with the idea that one can “lose” or ‘walk away” from their salvation. Then I went on to (equally unclearly) connect the church of Rome with Arminianism since they both take that stance and are both tend to be synergistic in nature. Actually the flavor of Arminians who may be the most clear example of the system are VERY concerned with baptism – to the point that they were branded Anabaptists (not to be confused with Baptists, which… Read more »

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

That first paragraph, especially, is such an excellent summary of the eternal-and-present perspective of the covenant. Thanks for that!

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

St. Lee, you are right to be confused. The New Covenant is better than the Old. One of the big ways is that it is better is that it only contains repentant, elect believers. Pastor Wilson and katecho are in the unenviable position of having (they think) to teach their “brothers” to know the Lord.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

“If that conjecture on my part is correct, then it follows that so is that bane of internet comment threads, Adolph Hitler.”

Yeah. So?

Rachel Shubin
Guest
Rachel Shubin

Awesome! I can’t wait to go kill a dragon and get myself a girl…

Katecho
Member

The girl in this story is the Church, the Bride of Christ. To love Christ is to love what He loves. To image Christ is to protect and serve what He protects and serves.

Evan
Guest
Evan

“Awesome! I can’t wait to go kill a dragon and get myself a girl…”

You’re too late. The Second Adam beat you to it. Thankfully. :)

Laura
Guest
Laura

My thought too. I don’t want to get a girl. I am a girl.

Jane
Member

As is proper. But in the story in question, we’re not the hero. Jesus is the hero.

Darius
Guest
Darius

Wait, can it be true? Ryan Sather’s comments have all been deleted! He’s gone. And now back to your regular programming…

Urthman
Guest
Urthman

The kid has a point that if people really believed babies were being killed, they’d reach for swords rather than signs.

Jane
Member

Unless they also believed that God not only has rules about killing babies, He also has rules about how to fight.

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

“The reason it is so hard to imagine is because conflict appears to us to be an essential ingredient in all story. ” Interesting stuff here. It does appear that conflict is an essential ingredient in story. But then the question is, is story an essential ingredient in fulfillment and contentment? I wonder if we ought not look at story as a basic necessity which conflict happens to serve in a sort of “supporting role,” but rather, as a sort of organizing method for making sense of the conflict and the antithesis that already exists — simply the unavoidable upshot… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

To grow is to experience conflict. I imagine growth will be part of Heaven as God is creative. Perhaps “conflict” is itself fallen. We see it in its fallen state, while the real thing is a glorious experience.

my two cents. (:

Conserbatives_conserve_little
Guest
Conserbatives_conserve_little

Genesis shows that there are a lot of stories we only get s glimpse of. I am thinking of Genesis 6. Who were the Giants? Why were they renown? Di have heard that the flood was designed in part to eliminate the non human bloodlines. Do angels mate with each other? Some of these we don’t know, but the clues are intriguing.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Jesus made it clear that angels don’t have anything like human relationships. The “sons of God” who had children with the “daughters of men” in Genesis were the people from the faithful families that hadn’t turned away from God like Cain. The result of intermarriage was the same as later in the time of Israel — that they fell away from faith until only Noah was left.

Conserbatives_conserve_little
Guest
Conserbatives_conserve_little

That contextually makes no sense. Jesus says that there is no marriage. That is not the same thing as relations. If Genesis six is angel/human blending there are two variables. The context is that things were mixed that shouldn’t have been. If it were regular sexual relations, why the bizarre terminology? You don’t see that kind of language any here else in Scripture.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

But are angels “sons of God”? The disobedient ones too? I don’t claim to understand the passage perfectly, but these questions are part of what makes me wonder about the sons of God are angels interpretation.

Conserbatives_conserve_little
Guest
Conserbatives_conserve_little

I don’t know for sure. That is why I am bringing it up.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Just heard that Planned Parenthood will no longer accept payment for the body parts of aborted human persons.

Too little, too late, Planned Parenthood — your days are numbered. My three year old has a sword too.

Laura
Guest
Laura

How about that. I also read today that Playboy won’t be featuring pix of nude women anymore.

It’s the Apocalypse.

drewnchick
Member

Well, we’ll finally get around to reading the articles then. I hear they’re really good.

Laura
Guest
Laura

That’s what everyone is saying.

wackytobeme
Member

No longer payments, but tax deductible donations.

insanitybytes22
Member

You sure are a pleasure to read.

When I was a little girl I thought heaven was about being an angel on a cloud playing a harp for all of eternity. So naturally I prayed that God would not send me to this boring place because it sounded like eternal torment, sure to drive me completely insane. And God said, you trust me with your life but not your afterlife?!

God knows us well, heaven will be a grand adventure.

Mike
Guest
Mike

I don’t get it. I’d like to because it sounds neat to yell that. Do you mean God is fighting satan and winning the church? What was Adams dragon? I am outside your loop. Or is this related to: “Love the Lord you God with all your Heart, Soul and Mind, and the second is this, ‘slay the dragon’ “

Evan
Guest
Evan

The dragon is the serpent(Satan). The girl is the church. The promise is this: “He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.” Gen 3:15. The one who kills the dragon is the woman’s seed; or the Second Adam, who is Christ Jesus.

“He(Jesus) came to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

Basically what the whole bible is about. :)

Evan
Guest
Evan

Sorry forgot to add He gets the girl(church) per the promise in the covenant between the Father and the Son.

“I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.” Psalm 2: 7,8

Mike
Guest
Mike

Evan, BJ,
Thanks. I think I’ve got it.
Mike

adad0
Member

Ephesians 2 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18… Read more »

Andrew Lohr
Member

Bach may once have drawn his sword on a man who objected to being called a “nannygoat bassoonist,” but for the most part he didn’t fight with flesh and blood, rather with the materials of musical creation. Maybe we can do that kind of wrassling after the Judgment Day? And a good lively marriage here has plenty of glitches to straighten out, but there’s room to grow in love. Learn to bake new cakes. Come to think of it, since God’s glory is infinite we’ll always have room to do some growing, eh?

bethyada
Member

Spong is so last century. Here are some contemporaries to fight

Evan
Guest
Evan

Wow. I want Spong back.

Luke Pride
Guest

The Divine reality is not shackled by literary theory. The mission is about reaching the goal, and defeating the enemy is in the way. Defeating the enemy is not the goal in itself, and when it becomes that, we will always feel disappointed when good reigns and we can’t find an enemy, and may try to make one.

scm
Guest
scm

Someone may have asked this already, but would you mind posting all the questions of your catechism, Mr. Wilson?