Letters From All Over Tarnation

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The Bitterness Juke

Sometimes we preach the thing we most need to hear.  And how often we think it’s ‘just the other guy!’

In a recent post you mention bitterness. I wholeheartedly agree that it’s important to be free from bitterness. But here’s my concern: it seems that some of this ‘bitterness’ talk in our circles is, at times, a rhetorical ploy, a sort of trump card to end all discussion, if you will.

Do we on some level have a duty to not be a ‘bitter pill?’

Just me,

Charles

Charles, if I understand your point, I agree with it completely in the abstract. In other words, if we automatically respond to any and all criticism with some pastoral Bulverism—“he is only saying that because he is bitter, or envious, or resentful,” etc. we are shutting ourselves off from the rest of the body. The wisdom that is from above is “easy to be intreated.” And if someone refuses to respond to critical input with “meekess of wisdom,” then he is likely the one with “envying and strife” in his heart.

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (Jas. 3:13–18).

But when I write these exhortations against bitterness and envy, I am not giving a blanket diagnosis to any who offer a corrective to someone else. I am talking about something glaringly obvious, like the Pacific Ocean being a body of salt water. DJW

Where Did Demetrius Go?

Excellent. Too often any thought on this runs quickly to polity (which is important) but not to shepherding. If we are to find a biblical answer here I’d suggest Ephesians 4 where the saints are equipped to help each other along as they encounter ‘one another’ in the context of Acts 2:41-47. Imitating those early ‘parish’ meetings would go far in helping Demetrius no matter which worship service he might be attending—though, a point of maturity would cause him to be cheerfully consistent and readily expected in one place most of the time. Looking forward to the responses you get from this and any further development.

Laurence

Laurence, good thought. DJW

Regarding “Where Did Demetrius Go?” you raise some interesting points I had not given much thought. I see the difficulties you mention, but I wonder where it might land us. If we take your observations as true “that church eldership may encompass several congregations in a particular geographical area,” where does that leave your polity in relationship to the Roman Catholic Church? Is the main difference the distribution of church authority?

Kyle

Kyle, I am still an operational Presbyterian in my views of polity. One area where I differ with Rome on polity is in the idea that institutional unity is prior to unity of spirit. I believe that institutional unity is the eschatological goal, not the protological foundation. In Eph. 4, Paul tells us to labor to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This spiritual unity is a given, and we are to keep it. As a consequence, the church will grow up into the unity of the faith—that is what we are striving for. So I would like to see all the evangelical churches in any given area to work toward some kind of functional polity together—but not to get too far out over their skis. DJW

So what are you saying, Doug? This piece may require a follow-up. Your denomination of Communion of Reformed Evangelicals has six presbyteries globally, but that maybe a denomination like the one you’re in should also have a council or board of elders from individual congregations (kirks) within the same community (or surrounding communities) also? You state the problem, sorta, but don’t really explain what the problem actually is. More clarity is needed. Thank you.

Trey

Trey, more clarity is needed mostly in my head. It does not yet appear what the unity of the global church will look like in the postmill vision. But I am convinced that a lot of our polity turmoil is the result of over-realized eschatology. We tend to rush it. DJW

Eowyn in Combat

Doug, I enjoyed reading your post, “Sexdollification of Western Woman.” Thank you for defending femininity. You have often pointed out that God prohibits women from dressing up like a man (Deuteronomy 22:5). You have also pointed out that this prohibition especially pertains to women in combat gear. Since you mentioned Tolkien here in the Content Cluster, it reminded me of a question. I am often a fan of the way Tolkien presents feminine characters in his work. However, it has always bothered me that Eowyn, in The Return of the King, dresses up like a man and goes into battle before defeating the witch-king. Do you see this as merely a blunder on Tolkien’s part or is there more to it? Cheers,

Josh

Josh, I think there more to it. Nancy and I recently re-read The Lord of the Rings, and just finished it a short time ago. I am death on the egalitarian “women in combat” nonsense, but the part where Eowyn reveals herself as not a man, thereby qualifying her to kill a being that will be slain by no man is one of my favorite parts. Tolkien is not setting up the ideal of a warrior-princess up for us. She is high-hearted, but is also plainly driven in ways that are not good for her. She is a true heroine, but when she is finally helped in the Houses of Healing, more than the physical harm is addressed. DJW

Antithesis Art

Regarding Antipathy: Great Genesis 3:15 album cover art by Dogs of Peace. (Album is as good as the art.)

Douglas

Douglas, thanks. DJW

Thanks and Thanks Back

Thank you for your faithful preaching, blogging, publishing, declaring, challenging and denouncing. We appreciate you, Nancy, and your family so much. You have taught us and blessed us when we were near and now when we are far. We thank the Lord for you and pray for you always. So thankful God has built you for this good work. May God continue to bless you and keep you.

Bruce and Susan

Thanks very much. God has been very kind to us, and so have you been. DJW

Pastor Doug, Thanks for your fight. You are a blessing, and an oak of righteousness. May God keep sanctifying me through you. Keep it up.

Garrett

Garrett, thanks for the kind thoughts. But it is more like the knotty pine of righteousness, and that’s on my good days. DJW

Baptism Down Under

Hi Doug, Thank you for the wonderful resources made available by yourself and family. It has made a wonderful impact on my husband and me over the years. We are baptists, however I’m very interested to see if you publish any of what you say when you baptize infants like you do for your Lord’s Supper talks. I am grappling with the topic at the moment and reading into both sides a bit more. We both grew up baptists but haven’t researched both sides fully yet. My husband runs a reformed Christian bookstore in Sydney and we’re really excited to get Canon Press books into Australian hands!

Shamira

Shamira, thanks. Australia? Australia? Then I think I will just ask Mike Bull to field all these baptism questions for me.

Seriously, I am sorry I didn’t start writing baptism exhortations back in the day, the same way we do for communion. When we started down this road, the baptisms were fairly intermittent, and the Lord’s Supper was held every week. Because we had gone to weekly communion, I wanted to make sure that we didn’t start “dialing it in,” and so I started doing those exhortations right from the beginning. Doing that for the periodic baptisms didn’t occur to me, although I did write through the case for it—so the only writing I have done in detail on baptism is To a Thousand Generations—and I wrote the bulk of that while I was still a Baptist. I was reading a bunch of paedo books, which were good (in that I agree with them now), but they didn’t answer the particular questions that were troubling me at the time. So a lot of that was written to myself, trying to work through the problems. Sorry—that’s all I have. DJW

Cover Bands

In light of yesterday’s post on the sexdollification of the western woman, maybe you should work up a good cover of “A Little Less Conversation.” On a related note, how do you draw the line between preaching Christ to the culture (people of the culture) and singing the culture’s songs? Don’t get me wrong, I like a little rock n roll and am not trying to accuse. But I find within myself a love for Jesus and Americana and the two don’t always mesh. I’ll hang up and take your response off the air…

Nathan

Nathan, I think the question you raise is an important one. When we do these cover songs for our annual “Friends of Logos” concert, we are careful about the songs we choose. And sometimes we have to tinker with the lyrics a bit—a year or two ago, for example, we had to fix Norman Greenbaum’s Pelagianism. Never been a sinner, indeed. So when a love for Jesus and a love for Americana collide, Jesus has to win. DJW

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demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago

To Shamira re: baptism.

Jim Jordan did a lecture series on paedocommunion years ago, and in the process of arguing for paedocommunion he necessarily did a pretty solid biblical theology stretch on paedobaptism. The lectures were serialized on the Theopolis Institute podcast last year. Highly recommended to one and all.

I have read “To a Thousand Generations” and, honestly, if I hadn’t already been leaning pretty hard it wouldn’t have convinced me.

Joshua Lister
Joshua Lister
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

I agree with demosthenes1d. “To a Thousand Generations” was helpful and contains a lot of good truth but was not the most compelling argument in favor of paedobaptism for me. However, Doug did a debate with James White where the issue of paedobaptism is discussed and this was much more persuasive for me. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlTMsNPjBLo

KJQ
KJQ
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Our pastor preaches a special sermon on baptism for services where someone is baptized, as well as several on the topic when he went through the Westminster Larger Catechism:

https://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?sourceonly=true&currSection=sermonssource&keyword=crpc&subsetcat=series&subsetitem=Baptism

katie
katie
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Funny. For me, it was To a Thousand Generations that tipped me over the paedobaptist edge. It asked the questions I was asking.

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  katie

I was a pretty convinced paedobaptist before reading TaTG, but that removed any doubts and firmed up everything in my mind about WHY it’s right.

kyriosity
kyriosity
4 years ago

“…more like the knotty pine of righteousness…”

You misspelled “naughty.” ????

gabe
gabe
4 years ago

Doug, I was hoping for a post about how God actually has the biggest button via our intrepid president’s tweet storm.

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  gabe

When I read the presidents tweet about his button and whenever someone references it I always imagine a teenager was a barely running truck, talking about how his truck is bigger, and insisting that it still works.
Kind of accurate given out missile technology and the childishness of the tweet.

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  Malik

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but it’s funny to get a down vote for bashing a tweet that was a childish insult to the unstable leader of a nuclear power during a very unstable foreign policy situation that could result in multiple countries being nuked. Personally I’d like a very tactful and intelligent approach, not the kind of thing that one might expect from two arguing first graders, maybe it’s just me.

CHer
CHer
4 years ago
Reply to  Malik

Maybe it was because your comment was a random drive-by that had nothing to do with DW’s post. Your sensitivity about down votes reminds me of someone else who used to post here…

Jon Swerens
4 years ago

Dogs of Peace? Dogs of Peace?!? Man, I have their 1996 debut! Here’s to hoping it won’t take another 20 years to release a third album.

prayersofadoration
4 years ago
paulm01
paulm01
4 years ago

I was curious between what hour and what hour Doug finds the time to rehearse and sound pretty good for a cover band? I’m convinced his blog post musings just roll out like keyboard savant thunder, whereas it takes me ten minutes to comment with something marginally cohesive. Very cool nonetheless. (And a little rock and rock never hurt anyone…good fer ya. )

Katecho
Katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  paulm01

My theory is that time moves slower in Moscow, so you can get more done with less of it, if you are so inclined.

kyriosity
kyriosity
4 years ago
Reply to  Katecho

I live here. Doesn’t work that way for me.

paulm01
paulm01
4 years ago
Reply to  Katecho

Moscow Time Warpage…makes sense.

kyriosity
kyriosity
4 years ago
Reply to  paulm01

OK, here’s the real scoop: Members of Christ Church have to tithe our time as well as our income, so Doug gets an extra 2.4 hours per day per household.

Arwenb
Arwenb
4 years ago
Reply to  kyriosity

XD That’s a good one.

How long do you think it’ll take for that to be posted as FACT! on the Moscow anti-Christkirk listserv? (Are they still running that thing or have they given up?)

Robert
Robert
4 years ago

There is no biblical example of infant baptism. It was started. By people who had a very high infant mortality who were trying to make sure their kids went to Heaven. Tradition is not Scripture.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  Robert

That claim is highly suspect. But, let’s assume it is true. What do you do with your kids? Are they members of the church? Do you treat them as disciples? We are commanded to do so. We are also commanded to baptize disciples. Or do you treat your kids as unbelievers? The NT is replete with promises to believers about their children. That sounds to me like we should see them as covenant members. Also, there is simply no biblical example of child dedication. Totally absent from the Scriptures, whereas baptism is all over the place. That really is totally… Read more »

adad0
4 years ago

Kilden! Happy New Year! I don’t have much of a horse in this race but, dedication, presentation and consecration all sound similar to me. So here is what happened to Jesus, when He was a Baby: Luke 2 22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in… Read more »

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  adad0

Of course it sounds like dedication. But the consecration was done by the sign of the covenant, administered to infants, according to the Law of Moses, before they could make a profession of anything. We who baptize our infants are also very much dedicating our children, but we do so in the ordained sign of the covenant. If you want to draw parallels from the OT consecration, you must have the sign administered to infants to be consistent. In short, they were dedicated because they were in the covenant. The Baptist model denies them the rights of covenant membership, at… Read more »

adad0
4 years ago

Yeah, ‘guess you are right. Most churches are not set up for animal sacrifice! ????

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  adad0

That was hilarious!

OKRickety
OKRickety
4 years ago

Kilgore, I suppose you think there are biblical examples of infant baptism. I am unaware of any examples recorded in scripture that clearly indicate infants were baptized. If you wish to claim Cornelius’ house, Lydia’s family, the jailer’s house, etc., I believe you are arguing from silence. While it is possible, there is no absolute proof. What did I do with my kids? I believed that they were not sinners until they were capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong. Thus, baptism was unnecessary until then. In my opinion, one does not become a member of the Church… Read more »

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

OKRickety, If you want to claim those examples as arguments from silence, then the silence cuts both ways. Can you show me anywhere in ancient literature where “household” excluded children? I have actually taken the time to try and find one and so far no luck. Until one can be found, I find it incredible to make these uses the only examples in history to mean something different. Plus, Acts 16 says, “the members of her household were baptized.” If the children were not baptized then this is not true. It is the same for the other passages you mentioned.… Read more »

OKRickety
OKRickety
4 years ago

Kilgore, It is clear to me that we have great differences in theology on this issue (and probably many others). I consider your arguments here to be weak, but I do not see value in debating. Part of my reason for that declaration is the antagonism I perceive in your lengthy response regarding the concept of arguing from silence, although I thought it was clear that I was not arguing from silence that there was biblical  proof that children or infants were not baptized. In fact, I stated “it is possible” that they were. I will note that, although I… Read more »

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

OKRickety,

I assure you, brother, there is no antagonism on my part. Not intentional anyway.

I do see value in debating ideas. It is the concept of iron sharpening iron. We do have differences, and as long as we see the Scriptures as our basis for faith, all is well.

But, I don’t want to press the issue if you are not interested. Blessings.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

OK, I realize that you aren’t reformed, so there will be a language barrier, as theology necessarily used specialized vocabulary, but covenant is an important concept in biblical theology. Most Christians would relate baptism to circumcision and to the various washing rites under the law. These were to establish a child or a convert as a member of the covenant between God and his people and to repair any alienation between Gid and themself (uncleanness). It was required that you be circumcised and washed prior to approaching God and taking part in his feasts. Likewise it is important that we… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Even those who aren’t Calvinists (RC, Orthodox, Lutherans, non-Reformed Anglicans) agree with much of what you wrote. The more you embrace liturgy and see the connections between the covenants, the clearer it becomes. But I agree, there’s a language barrier and it’s hard to communicate in soundbites (or even a few paragraphs).

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that this is a reformed only reading, just that it is foreign to most American Evangelicals.

Adoption can be a solid analogy that can help cross that chasm. OK may be helped by Roberts view in this exchange:

http://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/paedobaptist_perspectives_paedo_credo_baptism_and_the_adoption_analogy

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

That guy is a brilliant writer.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Well said!

OKRickety
OKRickety
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

demo, I’ve known for some time that I’m not one of “most Christians”. To me, I do not relate baptism to any Old Testament practice, but instead view baptism, to be done by immersion, as a symbolic death and burial of our old spiritual self, followed by the resurrection into the new spiritual self. While I believe that Christians are spiritual family, I do not believe that spiritual change is effected at the earthly family level but at the individual level. This individual change may, of course, occur with all the members of a family at nearly the same time,… Read more »

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago

So when we go and make disciples of grown ups, do we baptize them before they make the confession? I think some people might be resistant to that :) Though babies don’t have the ability to fight back I suppose, however they might cry from displeasure. Baptism is not a prerequisite for salvation. Look at the death bed confession of the man on the cross next to Jesus. Also, I do believe babies and little one’s are granted salvation whether or not they were baptized because they don’t know right from wrong yet. Jesus did say that the Kingdom of… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

“Baptism is not a prerequisite for salvation. Look at the death bed confession of the man on the cross next to Jesus.”

We don’t build our theology on miraculous exceptions. For the record, though, I’d argue that Jesus did baptize him symbolically.

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

So is baptism a prerequisite for salvation in your opinion? I think that means that you can take some credit for your own salvation if that’s the case, because baptism is a work.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

Baptism is the entrance to the church, and we’re called as Christians to be baptized and part of the church. It’s not a “get into Heaven free no matter how you live” ticket. There’s no such thing. But the only work in baptism is done by God.

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

I’m not sure you read my full original comment. I said it is important to submit to the ceremony of baptism, much like the Sabbath, and that it is for our benefit, to unify us with Church and also to show the world that we believe the gospel. It is meant to be an opportunity for joy. However, what about a person in prison who heard the gospel and believed, but died before there was an opportunity for baptism? what about miscarried babies? What about a person who doesn’t understand about baptism for whatever reason, but believes upon Jesus to… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

Your theology is making baptism into a work. I believe the individualistic, make a choice for christ, baptism is a personal expression of my faith, everyone needs a conversion story stance is foreign to the bible. God saves individuals as part of a people. Baptism is a sign and seal of God moving you from one Kingdom to another. Moving you the old creation to the new. moving you out of egypt into the promised land. the only work being done is done by the spirit. I wish I had more time to litigate this, but unfortunately I will probably… Read more »

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

By the way, I’d argue that every work of salvation is a miraculous exception :)

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

Even though God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”? (I Tim 2:4)

My point is that we don’t build a doctrine on a very unusual event. The clear pattern is to repent, baptize and become a part of the church. Obviously the thief couldn’t follow all of those steps.

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

and a baby can repent?

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

1) Obviously John the Baptist was speaking to adults when he called them to repent. However…

2) Jesus says we should be become like a little child to enter the Kingdom–and that we’ll never enter if we don’t (Matt 18:3, Mark 10:15). Was He wrong?

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

Keep reading, Matt 18:4-5 “Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

Children were lowly in the Jewish culture (unlike our culture I dare say). We need to be willing to be last to enter God’s Kingdom. I think we should also be simple in our belief in the work of Christ, like a believing child would be.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

“And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

Exactly. We should welcome children of believers of all ages to baptism and the table without jumping through hoops.

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

I think Jesus was talking to his disciples about literally welcoming the children, regardless of their low status. It’s a leap of logic to say he was talking about baptism and the table BEFORE those ceremony’s were even instituted. (The baptism of the Holy Spirit did not take place until later.) My view is that discipling a child who is not yet regenerated is not the same as discipling a brother and sister in Christ who has been regenerated. A newly regenerated adult can decide to make their salvation public through baptism and experience the love of the church in… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

” I don’t want to deprive my kids of this experience by telling them they are good, that part has been taken care of.”

Jesus said that no one was good but God alone, regardless of how dynamic their conversion experience was or how well (if it all) they understood their baptism.

OKRickety
OKRickety
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

JP,

Prudence said: “I don’t want to deprive my kids of this experience by telling them they are good, …

JP said: “Jesus said that no one was good but God alone….”

I believe those are two different meanings or usages of “good”. It appears that you failed to see the difference.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

No, you missed the point. But we’re speaking different languages, and without seeing the same OT types and big picture, I don’t think there’s any reason to continue the discussion.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

“So when we go and make disciples of grown ups, do we baptize them before they make the confession?”

Before their confessions, they are not disciples, and thereby not to be given the sign of discipleship.

“The Bible neither forbids nor commands us to baptize wee infants.” Our children are disciples, and we are commanded in dozens of places to treat them as such. And we are commanded to baptize disciples. So, yes, we are commanded to baptize our children born in the faith.

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago

I guess where we differ is I believe this is an area of freedom, each person responding to their own convictions. As a parent, I can commit myself to teaching my children the Way, to pray for them and teach them God’s Word, and live my life as an example according to God’s Word (i.e. discipleship), but I cannot repent for them. I do not believe baptizing is necessary to disciple children and should be reserved for when the child bears fruit in keeping with repentance. Children have folly bound in their hearts. We must suffer children to come to… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

Prudence, I’m aware that as a Catholic I will view this differently, but the teaching that children realize their sinfulness, repent, and make a profession for Christ always leaves me feeling a bit left out! I can’t remember a time that I didn’t believe, and I can’t remember a time when I had not been taught that I must repent for all my sins as they occurred. As soon as I was old enough to tell a deliberate lie, I knew that I had to confess it to God and ask for forgiveness. Certainly there have been many times that… Read more »

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I hope and pray all my little ones have a similar experience. I don’t want them to stray the way I did. A testimony of faithful Christian parenting resulting in believing children seems more rare than the extreme stories of repentance, in my experience anyway. I think that testimony to me is more powerful and gives me hope. I would definitely let my young ones be baptized and participate in communion if and when they understand the gospel and profess belief, and express a desire for these things. I don’t want to inadvertently coerce them into something they don’t fully… Read more »

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago

To me, a dedication is a solemn affair, where I stand before God and the Church and promise to raise my children according to God’s Word. I feel the weight of the task as well as I can in this human form. A baptism is practically a party, a celebration of new life received through repentance and the Holy Spirit. A time for the church to come together and celebrate with the new believer. Joy and freedom and celebrating, looking ahead to spending eternity with our new brother or sister in Christ. This is something too good to forgo by… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

“To me, a dedication is a solemn affair”

It’s also a man-made sacrament.

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

So is Thanksgiving, but we still use it as a opportunity to celebrate and take some extra time giving thanks, am I right? The book of Esther also shows an example of God’s people creating a holiday that wasn’t commanded directly from God. Just because it is a tradition doesn’t make it wrong, as long as it doesn’t replace true faith.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

There’s a huge difference between a national holiday and a pseudo-sacrament. I’m okay with singing a hymn or two about gratitude around Thanksgiving, but not much beyond that. I fully support the real church calendar (not the modern American one with 4th of July, Mother’s Day, Veteran’s Day, etc. being recognized in church ). And yes, it’s not directly commanded by God–but that’s a far cry from a baptism-like sacrament that’s not really baptism. To me, it’s like having “Lord’s Breakfast” every other week then celebrating the real Lord’s Supper once a quarter.

Prudence
Prudence
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

Really? Do use the moon to cycle months? Is it the Hebrew calendar? do you do this by yourself or in a community of people who do the same? So you’ve never sent your mom flowers on Mother’s day, or celebrated the veterans?

I think the Lord’s Breakfast sounds pretty delicious ;)

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

You’re being pedantic if not absurd now. What I or others personally celebrate and what’s celebrated in the Lord’s house are completely different things.

For the most part, I follow what the church has done for 2,000 years (liturgical calendar, ecumenical creeds, etc.) . I may struggle with pride in some areas, but I’m not arrogant enough to ignore the church through history and do whatever makes my little Evangelical heart feel good.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Prudence

“Though babies don’t have the ability to fight back I suppose, however they might cry from displeasure.” Catholics joke that when babies cry during baptism, that is the devil coming out of them! I am told I smiled through my baptism, so I hope that isn’t true.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

John,

Piper very much treats the children in his church as disciples being trained in the faith. They are active members of his church. They participate insofar as they are able in classes and worship songs and prayers. He simply refuses to give them the team uniform until he and his elders can evaluate their profession.

If children truly do have the promises set forth for them in Scripture, as Piper would acknowledge, then waiting until some unspecified time to publicly acknowledge those promises is silly.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago

You need to re-read the first half of my post. “Piper very much treats the children in his church as disciples being trained in the faith. They are active members of his church. ” Do children in his church sing songs of praise, study the Word in Sunday School, participate in VBS activities, and in every other conceivable way act like full members of the church being disciple in the faith? Then give them the uniform that every other member gets the privilege to wear. They are active members of his church who are denied the baptismal uniform of the… Read more »

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  Robert

That’s a nice theory that fits very well with a certain view both of theology, and the motives of people with different theology.

Do you have any evidence for it?

Jane
Jane
4 years ago

My take on Eowyn has always been, of course it’s not right. The whole situation was not right. The rightful king and her personal father figure was under the thrall of an evil wizard. The men of her country had lost hearts, as a result of that and longer-standing problems. She was affected and broken-hearted by that and saw no good solution, and then right in the middle of that she fell in love with a man who was both concerned with other matters at the moment and ultimately intended for another, so she took a bad solution, yet one… Read more »

Joshua Lister
Joshua Lister
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Great points Jane. I’ll have to revisit the “Houses of Healing” and see how Tolkien explicitly redeems her character.

Malik
Malik
4 years ago

Hey everybody,
This isn’t completely related to anything but I think that some people would enjoy listening to this. It is kind of humbling as an American to realize that we really aren’t on top. This podcast also makes some challenging points to some. Lastly it moves on to some more good points that are unrelated to the title.
https://open.spotify.com/episode/4rXPGk6HlZ2gW5cmLzgk56?si=ZJGHEsBkTA6MecEvlTPYPA

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  Malik

Another interesting one. This one I would just be interested to hear what people think about it.
https://open.spotify.com/episode/4cS3LmTIPG5wusVj8XMcIv?si=WKYw9jiDQ263hYf-waTRdg

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Malik

Once again, I’d encourage you to spend more time reading the classics and learning how to think and write clearly–instead of spending it on far-left, brain cell-reducing sites and podcasts.

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

First I tend to agree with a lot of their positions, and at least research or know what you are talking about before you name call. They are definitely left, but they are by no means far left, and I can give you examples to show my point if you insist. They may be far left of your position, but they are not far left. Second, I read a lot when I have time, I just listen to podcasts when I’m working nights, productivity. Third, I was interested in your thoughts, I wasn’t necessarily endorsing all that was said, although… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Malik

I didn’t name call. I was referring to those podcasts, not you. Again this goes back to clear thinking and reading comprehension, neither of which you’ll get from places with an agenda like Vox.com.

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

Right, before you name call them. And Vox does have a strong agenda, not as bad as fox or CNN, but definitely strong. This doesn’t mean that they have nothing valuable to say, and they are pretty accurate fact wise, and are clear when they are expressing merely points of view. Another thing is that they argue back and forth, many of them taking the side of the right on some issues. For example recently one of them was ranting about how rediculous it is to require someone to bake a cake for a gay wedding if they didn’t want… Read more »

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

Another interesting thing about these commentaries is that they are by ex speech writers and the like, giving them insight to politics that most reporters don’t have. This, in my opinion, makes their view of politics extra valuable.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Malik

I’m sorry to say that I don’t the patience to listen to podcasts unless I am trapped in the car. But I have read that the opioid epidemic has reduced life expectancy among Americans in some states.

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Hahaha yeah I only listen to them when I’m driving or working. The basic idea was that the opioid epidemic is driving down US life expectancy, and they discussed how policy makers debate all these different policies to “make life better” for their constituents and there is always all this controversy, when a really obvious thing to work on without all the drama would be the opioid problem. Then they get into discussion about how people debating all these things like health care and welfare is kind of a waste of time. Many, if not most, similarly developed countries have… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Malik

Malik, effective health and anti-poverty programs affect life-expectancy, of course, but sometimes the causes are not as straightforward as one would assume. I am most familiar with Canadians who, as of 2009, outlive Americans by an average of three years. It would be tempting to say that this is the result of the national health scheme, but I think there is more to it than that. Canada does not have a permanent racial underclass other than aboriginals (who have horrible health outcomes and shortened life spans despite access to generous benefits). There are not enough of them to skew the… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Great points about Canada’s immigration policy and lack of a large, multigenerational welfare class. It’s also worth noting that the U.S. experienced a huge increase in lifespan over many decades without socialized medicine and much of it before LBJ’s expansion of the welfare state. So there are many other variables. It’s a pretty clear correlation-causation error to assume “more gov’t freebies” = longer life.

Also, if you look nations where almost everything is “free” (N. Korea, Venezeula, former Soviet Union), you’ll find that life expectancy is very low.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

I think Canadians (and I speak as one) gloat a bit unbecomingly about their stellar test scores for schools. Take most of your immigrants from Hong Kong and Indian universities, and what do you expect?

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

I think you misunderstood the argument. The argument was supposed to be that it would be more efficient to stop arguing over the policy, clearly government aid does not lead to something incredibly bad as we can see from other developed countries, and instead focus on development and research, as the quality of medical care provided is more important than the agent.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Malik

I think I grasped your argument, but I–even coming from a welfare state and still upholding some of its ideals–question the conclusions you are drawing. If you gave the US the demographics of a nation such as Switzerland, I argue that you would have amazing outcomes for health and prosperity regardless of the generosity or the dearth of social welfare benefits. Singapore does not have government-provided health benefits, but its longevity rates are higher than almost anyone’s. You can’t take demographics out of the mix. That was my point about Canada.

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I see what you are saying now. I would say that the problem is that our relative standing in regard to life expectancy is rapidly decreasing. So you can draw various conclusions, but one I would suggest is that if your relative standing goes down then in some way your policy is becoming relatively worse along with it. One other thing about Canada, kind of unrelated, their political structure allows for much more to “get done.” They are able to change policy to fit the outside world much easier, which I would argue is advantageous, and we could use a… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Malik

It can work faster but it can also work slower–the problem with a parliamentary democracy (which I do like) is that it only works efficiently when there is a majority in power. When there isn’t, a non-confidence vote can bring down the government and force an election–even if there was one a short time ago. Because a failed piece of legislation is the equivalent of a non-confidence vote, a minority government is reluctant to introduce legislation in case the other political parties unite to defeat it. So it is a mixed bag. If you tend to agree with Thoreau that… Read more »

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Okay, that makes a lot of sense. I’ve wanted for some time to learn more about Canadian(and other) government, which I should do.

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Also I was saying that JP misunderstood me, I think you got the idea.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Most people probably didn’t stop smoking, they likely just went underground.

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/illegal-cigarettes

https://globalnews.ca/news/2608297/canadas-flourishing-contraband-tobacco-market-helps-fund-overseas-terrorism-report/

This is why sin taxes work only moderately.

Before I became a Christian, I did the same thing. MA had stupid taxes and I just found others who had easy access to warehouses. Nobody questions you, unless they see that you have 25 cartons in your garage.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago

Or you go down to the nearest aboriginal reservation and buy your cigarettes there! Did you quit smoking when you became a Christian? Did it happen right away?

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

My transformation was pretty dramatic, but smoking was a late stage change. It took something like a year before anyone even suggested that I might be in sin for smoking. I was so embarrassed that I had been smoking in the back parking lot after church without the slightest bit of awareness. I went cold turkey, but it was rough. Probably 2 months before I ever stopped thinking about it first thing in the morning and first thing after dinner. Every once in a while, I still daydream about it. But about 5 years ago, after decades without so much… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago

Good,for you, Kilgore! I am, alas, a lifetime smoker but I have registered for a class and have promised my daughter that I will try! I did quit when I was pregnant with her, so I know it can be done.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

It can, and there are simply no gimmicks. It just takes will power. Like your pregnancy, it takes something you value more than the psychological benefits.

The good news is the desire does eventually go away.

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

“Reservations” popped into my head as soon as I saw Kilgore’s post. There are two different ones within about 50 miles of here.

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

True, and I wasn’t saying that Canada has it perfectly. But we do have to lowest life expectancy in comparison with other similarly developed countries.
The sin tax is an interesting idea that I think I would support. Taxing things like cigarettes is an interesting policy, one I think I would vote for.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Malik

Malik, I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it seems reasonable that if the government is paying for your medical care, it has a right to tax unhealthy practices (in the same way that a smoker pays a lot more for life insurance). But, I have concerns about a nanny state that uses taxation to force people into healthy lifestyles. Especially when this taxation disproportionately targets the poor. If I am some poor sucker whose only joy in life is smoking cigarettes and eating Big Macs, it seems a bit churlish for the government to try to take… Read more »

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Right, and I think along the exact same lines. On the one hand it is good for public health etc, on the other hand it is controlling, and what gives the government the right to do so. I totally agree. (Side note is this argument is what I think the gun argument boils down to) Why I would take my position is that the government makes it illigal to do certain unsafe things. Drugs being the main one that springs to mind. To me tobacco should be regulated for the same reasons. And I love to smoke (mainly pipes and… Read more »

Malik
Malik
4 years ago
Reply to  Malik

Makes sense. And I don’t think that completely socialized medical care is completely the answer. However we have similar problems, if not worse in the US, so I don’t think socialist medicine is worse, though I think there is probably a third and best alternative

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago

I tend to think of bitterness as a state of mind in which you resolutely nurse grievances, refuse to let go no matter how much consolation is offered you, and dismiss out of hand any attempts at resolution. I think women are particularly sensitive to accusations of bitterness as we have almost all been trained to think that a bitter woman is disliked and rejected by all around her. Bitterness is indeed an unattractive trait, and is a spiritually dangerous one, but that being said, I agree that sometimes we are too quick to fling it about. When my husband… Read more »

kyriosity
kyriosity
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

My mother never displayed any bitterness toward my father, though he well earned it. Then one day in October 2010, she noted to a friend that widows (even divorced ones) get their deceased husbands’ Social Security income, “but my ex is just too ornery to die!” He died two days later. ???? Mom’s income tripled just like that, AND we paid her 19 years of missed alimony out of the estate. She also donated a burial plot she’d bought in Maryland before she moved back to NH, where she now has a spot next to her parents and my brother.… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  kyriosity

I’m glad things worked out so well for her!

I think bitterness in divorcees is likely to manifest itself as turning against most men, believing that no man on the planet is any better than your ex. I have luckily been spared any temptation to feel that way.

adad0
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

And it shows sunshine! ☀️????????????

OKRickety
OKRickety
4 years ago
Reply to  adad0

adad0, Did you give up posting on MeMe’s blog, or did she ban you? I’m not certain if I’ve been banned, or am just being constantly moderated.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

Wow, you guys are gluttons for punishment!

OKRickety
OKRickety
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

JP, I rarely bother to try to post there since she controls the dialogue. I’d like to get some of her readers to use their gray matter, but they prefer to keep their heads in the sand (or somewhere else). I find it amazing that they can be so naïve, but there seems to be a lot of that around. By the way, I presume she still at least reads the posts here, as she recently posted about it when Wilson started his “State of the Church” series.

adad0
adad0
4 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

Rick, hope you are well. I have not been over to Memi’s site recently.
I am conserving energy.
I will be working on moving my case at the Federal level, HRC is not the only liberal who has received preferential treatment from the feds. ????
Over here, I do think the new comment policy is working out well!

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago
Reply to  adad0

In case you miss the old days, this video is pure gold:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=341&v=ZBdnyrzq96s

OKRickety
OKRickety
4 years ago
Reply to  adad0

adad0, I hope your case has a good result.

bethyada
bethyada
4 years ago

Some brief comments on baptism from a credobaptist before the comments close. I think the example of Jesus who was part of the covenant from birth (obviously), who never sinned, and who clearly followed God from way before he was baptised; at least suggests that baptism of adults who have grown up Christian is a permissible option. I understand that it is more complex in that baptism was a new sacrament. Most Christians deny that baptism is necessary for salvation. There is reason to be suspicious of aspects of baptism by Christian forebears. The desire for children to be baptised… Read more »

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

From a Reformed point of view, though, we shouldn’t be doing rituals in the church that are not compulsory or necessary, but those which God has commanded. So that’s an additional barrier to accepting dedication or seeing it as non-problematic. The examples of Jesus, Samuel, and Samson involve rituals that passed away with the old Covenant — Jesus in fact cannot be said to have been “dedicated,” he was circumcised and present for Mary’s cleansing, one of which is arguably parallel to baptism and the other of which has no New Covenant equivalent.