Archive for August 2nd, 2007

A critic cited A.A. Hodge for insight into Semi-Pelagianism. I did a little research on Hodge and found this piece on baptism quite interesting. Hodge offers great words of wisdom for those who want to judge another’s faith:

A “credible profession” does not mean a profession of faith which compels credence, or which convinces the observer that it is genuine; but it is simply the opposite of the incredible—it is a confession that can be believed. Neither ministers of the gospel nor elders are able to read the secrets of the human heart, or to judge of character. Therefore, the great Head of the Church has not laid upon us the responsibility. The responsibility of professing Christ rests upon the individual professor. Every man who has the competent knowledge, and who makes a profession not incredible, and whose life is in conformity therewith, has a presumptive right to come to the sacraments. He does not need to prove his way in. If the session or pastor exclude him, they or he must show sufficient positive evidence of his not being a Christian to keep him out. This plain principle is one of great importance, the violation of which has brought great evil upon the Church. As the minister and church-session have no power of reading the heart of the applicant, so it must be a great evil if they officially form and express any judgment in the case. If they do pretend to listen to and judge of the value of the experience recited, they profanely assume to possess the prerogatives which belong to God alone, and they lead deluded souls to put an unwarrantable confidence in the worthless indorsement of the church authorities.

Why is it that many on our site have to spend time proving that [Insert Name Here] is a Christian? Isn’t it God’s responsibility to sort out everything in the end? If someone isn’t a Christian and they’ve claimed to be, that is between them and God, isn’t it? It’s not like we are arguing whether Joe Mormon is a believer or not. We are talking about people who confess to some of our most trusted creeds.

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A page has now been added for the Guilt-by-Association logical fallacy.

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It seems like the new word of choice is “pelagian” around the watch doggie sites. I have done some studies on early church heresies in both my undergrad and graduate studies, so I have a descent understanding of the term pelagian and semi-pelagian. According to Wikipedia, this is the definition of pelagianism

Pelagianism is the teaching that man has the capacity to seek God in and of himself apart from any movement of God or the Holy Spirit. According to semi-Pelagianism, man doesn’t have such an unrestrained capacity, but man and God could cooperate to a certain degree in this salvation effort: man can (unaided by grace) make the first move toward God, and God then completes the salvation process.

I don’t know too many emerging thinkers would follow pelagiansim as it is defined. Really, I can hardly think of any. In fact, I don’t know too many that would follow semi-pelagianism as it is defined here. Just because someone does not believe that God chooses who and who doesn’t go to hell does not mean that they do not believe in grace. In fact, it seems more gracious of God to send his son for the whole world with the simple idea that whosoever believes in Him will receive eternal life. There is no clause saying whosoever God chooses will go to hell… it is graciously offered freely to anyone who believes. I wake up every day thanking God for the grace that he extends to me daily. The fact that I am breathing shows His amazing grace. But Him extending me the offer of salvation…now that shows absolute Grace. Rather than seeing God’s grace a small streams going to select people, I see it as a mighty river flowing towards humanity.

So watch doggie writer, next time you start to type out p-e-l-a-g… stop. think. Is the person you are about to attack really dismissing Grace completely? Or do they just see the doctrines of grace much greater than you do?

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RockdawggieWe’ve had a great deal of discussion about style vs. substance and method vs. message since the creation of this blog, and it still boggles the mind when I see Christians writing articles like the one recently published in WORLD magazine.  (No, not National Geographic WORLD, which I enjoyed as a kid, but an ODM WORLD).

From the article (and no, I’m not making this up):

There are two kinds of people in the world. People who hate Christian Rock, and people who vomit when they hear it. The other kind of people – i.e., the ones who like it – don’t count as people. But then again, many of my friends here at WMB probably do, and I am almost certain you are all people. The short reasons for why it’s bad are these:

1. It’s just so bad. People who like good music and who also like God find themselves between a Rock and a Hard Place.

2. Christian music has, for about 2000 years, been about venerating God. Rock music has, for about 50 years, been about venerating other things, some good, some bad. Christian Rock music has, for about 30 or 40 years, been confused about what it should venerate. The form would suggest venerating anger, passion, rebellion, sex. The content would suggest venerating Jesus. Audiences are predictably confused.

3. Rock is about being cool. Christianity is about not being cool. Musicians are understandably confused about how they should be.

Yup.  There you have it.  I would agree that the quality of music that has come out of the CCM movement has not always been, shall we say, “stellar”.  However, I’m somewhat perplexed by the inability to see the difference between style and substance, method and message.  What is at the core of the misunderstanding?  Fear? Loathing? Or, is it as simple as Nathan’s grandfather’s future epitath for the Christian church in the USA – “we’ve never done it that way before…”

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In case you missed it, our friends John and Scott at Verum Serum posted an interesting article last weekend, which got a good deal of ‘heated discussion’ on the usefulness of ODM’s like Slice.

Check it out here.

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We all have prejudices, though some of us are in greater states of denial than others. I recently had to add another prejudice to my ever-lengthening list (which I’ll get to in a minute), though I have also successfully (and painfully) removed a few in the past year, as well.

If you’re wondering about my previously stated prejudice against people’s extended usage of the KJV translation of the Bible, it still exists. Mind you, quoting from the book that defines Truth is not the problem – quoting at length in the KJV or quoting at length from ANY translation without an obvious tie-in to the discussion at had cause my eyes to glaze and skip on to the next article/comment/thread.

I also find myself very sympathetic to Julie Neidlinger’s list of reasons ‘why I don’t take you seriously’ – and I could probably add to her list. In particular, I am in concert with her observation:

The strength of the blogosphere is people writing about what they know. The weakness is people yammering away on stuff they don’t know anything about.

Which brings me to one of my new prejudices: People who casually toss about accusations which include the word ‘Semi-Pelagian’. Upon hitting that word, it is like my brain converts everything following it into “blah, blah, blah … apostate blah, blah, blah”, and my mind wanders back to ‘why I don’t take you seriously’.


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