I have no idea who Paul Walker is, nor do I know anything about the church he shepherds other than it must be in the SBC. However, this post over at CR?N leads me to believe it must be an exceedingly mature and spiritual fellowship. While many pastors deal with conflicts over musical style, the ubiquitous need for more teachers in the children’s classes, finances, divorce, porn use among Christian men, real issues etc… Walker’s biggest concern within his church seems to be labyrinth walking.

Oh, that we all had such problems!

Basically Paul Walker is upset that a publication of the SBC for women endorsed both the Lectio Divina and labyrinth walking. What I found particularly fascinating was Walker’s urgency. “Red flags appeared” when he saw an article titled Reclaim Meditation. “Worse than [his] worst fears were realized” when Walker discovered that the article went straight to Lectio Divina and (horror of horrors) – “labyrinth-walking!” This is worse than his worst fears?  He can really think of nothing worse?

Walker takes the ADM Party line and follows the ADM SOP. He first belittles the practice – calling “contemplative prayer, silence or solitude” drivel. Never mind the fact that meditation is a biblical concept, never mind the fact that Jesus frequently got away from the crowds and even his own disciples for some solitude… that’s all drivel. Just the fact that an article on meditation would raise red flags is nearly comical – what next, red flags on reclaiming prayer? Probably, if said prayer is not “practiced” in the party sanctioned method.

Walker continues the ADM SOP by a) not bothering to describe the contents of the Lectio Divina, nor the steps in the labyrinth, b) failing to make a case for why either the Lectio Divina, or labyrinth walking should be repented of, and c) a condescending personal swipe at those who disagree.

I am fully aware of the standard objection of the labyrinth. Since when did our (or their) faith become so weak that anything first used by non-Christians cannot be employed by the faithful? Since when did our (or their) faith become so weak that even biblical concepts such as contemplation are now raise red flags base on some guilt by association?  Since when did we need to repent of following a set path and pondering the greatness of God?

I have no doubt that many new-agers use labyrinths in the pursuit of unbiblical spirituality… and probably some churches abuse them as well… but seriously, does this really mean that (because of their misuse) no Christian can walk a circular path and contemplate God’s greatness?

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188 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

“but seriously, does this really mean that (because of their misuse) no Christian cann walk a circular path and contemplate God’s greatness?”

No, but what purpose does it serve? Can we gather around a pentagram and worship? Are there no woods? Or closets? Why must we adopt heathen practices and Christianize them?

We continually need new things to keep us from being bored. God told His people “Learn not the way of the heathen”. I just don’t see the need and I can honestly see an authentic danger.

What is the significance of the labyrinth?

2   John Hughes    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Ok. I have done a very **small** amount of research on Lectio Divina including this brief instruction article by a Catholic priest (http://www.valyermo.com/ld-art.html) and I basically find nothing wrong with the practice. (I’m sure my seal of approval will free up thousands of conservative Christians to practice LD who were just awaiting my thoughts on the matter! :-) )

However, I am with Rick on the Labyrinth matter. In this instance there is nothing to **redeem** as this practice was never in Jewish or Christian thought and which has thorougly pagan roots.

3   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Actually it’s not new it’s old – but that makes it suspect to, I imagine.

The purpose that it serves is as a focusing tool. It’s a mechanism that’s all. The knee-jerk reaction from the ADM’s is always “We don’t need anything to…” and I agree. In fact I have never heard anyone advocate it as a need.

As far as I am concerned the is no significance to a labyrinth – that’s pretty much my point.

4   John Hughes    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

By the way geometry is cool, calculus, on the other hand ** is ** of the devil.

5   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I am constructing a parallelogram as my meditation walk. At each corner I will genuflect, cross myself, and say one hail Mary. Can’t I worship God in my own way?

There are some practices that we do not need and should not be practiced. I agree with John,the concept of meditation is not only fine, it is desireable.

6   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:08 pm

So a guided walk wherein believers walk a circular path stopping at places to ponder various aspects of God’s character and actions is verboten based on the shapes use by pagans?

What if we say, walked in a square? A bit sarcastic I admit… but contemplating God’s greatness is thoroughly biblical, so apparently it’s the shape that is pagan.

I guess I reject that geometric patterns are ontologically evil based on pagan usage.

7   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Of course geometric patterns are not ontologically wrong, but we also must give some weight to the appearance of evil. Wearing red robes and standing around a pentagram is not ontologically wrong either, but I would suggest that people would associate that with satanic practices.

8   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I am constructing a parallelogram as my meditation walk. At each corner I will genuflect, cross myself, and say one hail Mary. Can’t I worship God in my own way? – Rick

I understand the sarcasm, but at this point you’ve taken up the methodology of Pastorboy. No one said anything about genuflecting, crossing oneself, etc… But if a parallelogram is an acceptable shape, as opposed to a circle – so be it.

Obviously I have not see the “Shapes that are Acceptable to Christian Handbook.”

9   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
January 7th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I don’+ +hink we should use +he le++er +ha+ resembles +he cross in our alphabe+ anymore because i+ is sacred and we shouldn’+ abuse i+ +ha+ way.

10   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Of course geometric patterns are not ontologically wrong, but we also must give some weight to the appearance of evil. Wearing red robes and standing around a pentagram is not ontologically wrong either, but I would suggest that people would associate that with satanic practices. – Rick

I agree. And even though it was used by tribal people for hundreds of years, the Nazi’s pretty much fixed the meaning of the swastika as well.

As far as I am concerned a labyrinth with biblical content is not in the same category as red-robes and a pentagram.

11   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 7th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

#7
And that is obviously the same thing. In every illustration you used (including a loose use of a verse) you added to the practice.

12   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Part of my motivation in the post was my amazement at Walker’s angst. OK – he doesn’t like labyrinths – but serious “repent of these practices” and “worse than [his] worst fears.” Oh that all our churches had such problems as people contemplating God using an unproved mechanism.

13   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Neil – my point was we can do anything that isn’t ontologically wrong in our worship ceremony, but that is not the only standard. We must be sensitive to some outward appearances which is why Timothy was circumcised. There is no real reason to use a labyrinth except the excitement of newness and the lack of our present relationship with Christ.

It would be much more Biblical to construcet the Tabernacle of Moses than to observe heathen rituals.

14   John Hughes    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Neil: no significance to a labyrinth

Ok. This is a legitimate point at which to start. Is a pentagram — a geometric figure –, for example, ontologically evil? Is there inherant spiritual power in forms/devices (e.g. candles, animal/human body parts), etc., **or ** in words that are used in satanic rituals?

I would argue “no”. I believe the use of these artifices are part of the deception of the evil one. I do not believe spiritual forces can be controlled by spells or incantations. It is all a deception. Evil spirits may **seemingly** do the bidding of humans who issue these incantations through elaborate ceremonies using various occultic artifices, but in actuality I think it is really a cosmic joke. Any “wishes” granted by demonic entities are just to further along the deception and damnation of the human practioners. That spiritual forces can be controlled/bound/loosed by words and devices implies an independent power source that is being tapped into which is being brought to bear. I do not believe this can be biblically supported. I do believe in evil spirits and that they are active. I just believe that they have their own agenda (ultimately Satan’s) and any apparant control by humans via witchcraft, for example, is just a part of the over all deception.

To give an example, when my son was very young we could go into an arcade and I would hold him up to a video game which I hadn’t even put any money in. He would grab the handle and think in all sincerity that he was manipulating the action figures when actually it was just the intro-screen on the game. I think it is the same way for those in the occult. They think they are manipulating spiritural forces to their own ends and they may actually see some “results” but in actuality it really the demonic spirits who are controlling the scene.

This is a long way around to get to is a labyrnith ontologically evil. I would say no, but would also say the practice is not wise.

15   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 2:23 pm

BTW – I like the labyrith game in which you attempt to manipulate a silver ball around the obstacle course.

16   John Hughes    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Rick: It would be much more Biblical to construcet the Tabernacle of Moses than to observe heathen rituals.

but then you would be accused of legalism. :-)

Let’s face it we humans are a weak. We need a crutch. It should be enough to sit or stand alone with the Bible and God. These artifices are a concession to our weakness.

17   John Hughes    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Neil, I do agree with the intent of your post that the referenced author is being somewhat hysterical and over-reacting.

18   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I believe the greatest and most productive construct for worshiping God is the observance of “Dinner on the Grounds”. The presence of God in that ritual seems to draw all backsliders to repentance!

19   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 2:32 pm

“finances, divorce, porn use among Christian men”

Neil – what would you say about a broke, divorced man addicted to porn worshiping with a labyrinth? :cool:

20   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Neil – my point was we can do anything that isn’t ontologically wrong in our worship ceremony – Rick

I’ve never heard of anyone using a labyrinth in worship services, but as a personal tool/method/mechanism.

21   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

There is no real reason to use a labyrinth except the excitement of newness and the lack of our present relationship with Christ. – Rick

YIKES! I understand it could be used as a fad… but seriously “no real reason” other than the lack of our present relationship with Christ.

So all who walk a labyrinth are demonstrating a lack of relationship with Christ?

22   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

There is no real reason to use a labyrinth except the excitement of newness and the lack of our present relationship with Christ.

I don’t think “worshiping with” is accurate.

23   nc    
January 7th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Well, so much for that season of life in which I used the labryrinth daily after my lectio divina to “take a walk with God” and further converse with the Trinity…one of the deepest richest seasons of spiritual growth for me…

24   Brett S    
January 7th, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Neil,

Don’t think I’ve ever practiced “labyrinth walking”, but I do sometimes mow my lawn in concenctric geometric patterns.
I will confess that sometimes will pushing the mower, scripture passages have crept into my mind; and I may have allowed the constant drone of the engine to block out the normal babeling voices of children and pray a little bit.

Do I need to repent of this practice or am I safe, because I haven’t heard of any of the contemplative mystics worshiping small combustion engines as idols?

25   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

“one of the deepest richest seasons of spiritual growth for me…”

And we still await some fruit. :cool”

26   nc    
January 7th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

growth in being a piece of crap…

;)

27   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

So all who walk a labyrinth are demonstrating a lack of relationship with Christ?

Yes. This is just another gimmick entwining heathen practices with Christianity. It’s nothing new, but it’s not of God, so why pretend it is.

I am still trying to get my head around how idiotic this whole thing is… walking in a labyrinth focusing your mind as you go – a bunch of drivel indeed.

I love the argument – “There’s nothing ontologically evil/wrong with” something in order to validate it as acceptable. Got to get a better argument than that.

Just another junky gimmick used to attract new age types…

28   Brett S    
January 7th, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Paul C,

Just another junky gimmick used to attract new age types…

I’m not going to defend new age types, but this thing seems to be more about Pharisees that concern themselves with everything under the sun except Jesus. How about the kids enjoying playing some badminton and volleyball in the park (at The Midnight Cry.com)? Is that just another junky gimmick ??

“Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law,” [OR LABYRINTHS]“, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice.” – GK Chesterton

29   Brett S    
January 7th, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Paul C,

And another thing:

I love the argument – “There’s nothing ontologically evil/wrong with” something in order to validate it as acceptable.

That may be the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever read on this website. (and their have been many)

Jesus Christ died to save us from SIN, not to save us from doing things that are acceptable.

30   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Yes Brett – excellent logic there…

Children playing badminton at a church picnic versus walking around a labyrinth. It’s a wonder I didn’t see the parallel myself.

You (and others here) have successfully created a strawman and then attacked it. No one here has held up labyrinths as the ultimate evil. It is just another sad deterioration.

I don’t know Paul Walker, but I too would be sorely disappointed to see this introduced into my fellowship. Does that mean I don’t care about other things like divorce? No.

These things amaze me… It is pure junk yet to see people rush to defend it is staggering.

Up next: Christian Ouija Boards

31   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I love the argument – “There’s nothing ontologically evil/wrong with” something in order to validate it as acceptable. Got to get a better argument than that.

Oh, OK, how about this:

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

32   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Jesus Christ died to save us from SIN, not to save us from doing things that are acceptable.

Brett – right over your head.

Paul says that all things all lawful and yet he doesn’t just do them for doings sake, does he?

And who said this type of practice is acceptable just because it is not explicitly evil? I don’t find it acceptable at all.

33   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Personally I see not connection in walking a Labyrinth in meditative prayer to God and reflecting about Him… and ouija boards. Apples and oranges to me.

There seems to be a big disconnect in that thought to me as they have nothing in common… One is just a tool to help reflect on God and guide one’s thoughts to and about Him… the other is a tool to speak to the dead which is blatantly prohibited by God and takes God out of the picture as far a trusting him with the future.

iggy

34   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Phil – for some clarity on this verse, please see the context from vs 10 down.

35   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

I don’t find it acceptable at all.

Therefore…

36   Brett S    
January 7th, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Paul C,

OK. How’s this for logic?

If you tell New Agers (who follow the lastest Oprah spirits or horoscopes) that playing badminton and walking a labyrinth is bad according to Jesus; then you are not telling the truth about Jesus. And that would not be the Christian thing to do, right?

37   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Phil – for some clarity on this verse, please see the context from vs 10 down.

I’m well aware of the context. I think the description of the troublemakers describes the ADM crowd pretty well:

For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

A bunch of people who are complaining about other Christians not living up to their externals…

38   Brett S    
January 7th, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Paul C,

I don’t find it acceptable at all.

For God’s sake man, the rest of the human race is not bound by what you deem as acceptable!

Some people may not care for the taste of fresh salty oysters and cold champagne; but it will be a cold day in hell before you keep me from enjoying it!

39   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Brett – I can’t keep up with your logical prowess. Sorry. But I did get a kick out of comment 24!

I know Nathanael – in the post-Christian world we now live in, there is no right or wrong. We all are right because no one can absolutely identify something as wrong. We can all interpret the Bible and even create our own Jesuses to meet our unique needs and worldview. I get it.

On another note, a couple weeks ago I was listening to Pastor Fletcher Brothers from Freedom Village for a few minutes while driving. He runs a program for “at-risk” youth who are sent to him for rehabilitation, counselling and he preaches the gospel to them.

Someone asked him a question by email: What is the biggest challenge posed to children once they leave your program?

ANSWER:
It’s not their dysfunctional home so much. Nor is it just their old friends. What really gets me is the church they go to and the pastors who condone absolute garbage in the name of tolerance and grace. “It doesn’t matter how you dress, Jesus looks at the heart.” “The bible doesn’t condemn alcohol consumption, just abuse.”

These churches are the single biggest undermining influence to rehabbed at-risk youth. He went on a little rant, but you get to hear the heart of a man who gives his all, only to be undermined by what he called “fake” leaders of the flock. Interesting.

40   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Paul C.

And who said this type of practice is acceptable just because it is not explicitly evil? I don’t find it acceptable at all.

I find this comment more revealing about you that it is a real biblical argument… If you do not feel strong enough to participate then do not… put on some worship music and read and pray… to me the tool of worship music is the same thing.

But the revealing thing is that in the context of the Titus 1:15 verse, you are coming across to me more as one of the circumcision group who sees that some things are
“evil” or need to observed in order to keep one’s salvation or their relationship in tact. I see that Phil used it rightly as there is no prohibition against tools to worship God with. The problem with the tool become the object of worship as in the case of the Ouija board which replaces God. Labyrinths are designed to promote thinking and dwelling on God, Who He is and what He has done. Often Scripture is placed in the labyrinth so that the walker can read and contemplate God’s word as they walk. Some guide you to think on the meaning of the Cross or Resurrection or other aspects of faith.

So to call something evil that is not… seems to be a bit strange and lacking on your part what details are involved in such a tool.

I have been to worship at churches where I felt the band was getting more praise than God… yet I do not see that we need stop all worship services as some may misuse or misunderstand the purpose of worship. This is the same sort of thing… It would be that if I was using your argument that because I felt that music in worship is sometimes bad and God does not always get the glory… that all worship using music is bad. I hope you disagree with that idea that all music in worship is not bad and can enhance our worship experience as we commune with God.

41   Kevin I    http://ominousknife.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I’ve always found labryinth walking to be helpful and worth redeeming.

It’s the same way I like to mow the lawn when I’m trying to solve a problem in my life, or take a walk when I’m trying to brainstorm something.

There is a reason your best ideas hit you in the shower and it’s because when you do repetitive you free yourself up to think and reflect with much less clutter and distraction.

The labyrinth works as a place you do this on purpose, and can help to put reminders in for the things you want to cover in prayer. It’s that short hand that allows the benefits of a pilgrimage or ascent without having to leave town.

Since there was no actual labyrinth around my way I always just used my neighborhood block for it. Okay yellow house: thanksgiving, funny looking bush: praise, red house: prayers for others, house with the trampoline: prayers for myself etc. etc.

No demon spirits where released, no great evil overtook me.

I always think it’s funny when people look at the lists of sins and evils we’re called away from and say “That list isn’t big enough, I have to add more things! Aha! there is something foreign and unfamiliar to me I will never participate in, let’s add that to the list! Look how righteous I am! Now to add all the music I don’t listen to anyway..”

42   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Something tells me that some of you would have stood in direct confrontation to Paul in Ephesus when the people burned literally thousands of dollars worth of books. Why? Just because they contained pagan materials? They overdid it, especially when all the proceeds from the books – had they been sold – could have been used to feed the poor of the city for months.

I guess they were unpure and defiled for doing such a thing. After all, it was just books and scrolls with markings on them. Not evil in themselves right?

43   Kevin I    http://ominousknife.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:24 pm

“post-Christian world we now live in, there is no right or wrong. We all are right because no one can absolutely identify something as wrong. We can all interpret the Bible and even create our own Jesuses to meet our unique needs and worldview. I get it.”

People have been making up their own Jesuses since he ascended and finding ways to interperet the Bible their own way.

Ain’t nothing new baby.

44   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

I know Nathanael – in the post-Christian world we now live in, there is no right or wrong. We all are right because no one can absolutely identify something as wrong.

But you haven’t proven anything wrong Biblically…you just don’t approve of it.

45   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:30 pm

It’s not their dysfunctional home so much. Nor is it just their old friends. What really gets me is the church they go to and the pastors who condone absolute garbage in the name of tolerance and grace. “It doesn’t matter how you dress, Jesus looks at the heart.” “The bible doesn’t condemn alcohol consumption, just abuse.”

I guess some Biblical principles are just too dangerous for public consumption according to Rev. Fletcher, then. Seriously, a person who’s entrapped in an addiction doesn’t need to enter the prison of legalism to be set free from the addiction.

Something tells me that some of you would have stood in direct confrontation to Paul in Ephesus when the people burned literally thousands of dollars worth of books. Why? Just because they contained pagan materials? They overdid it, especially when all the proceeds from the books – had they been sold – could have been used to feed the poor of the city for months.

No one here has denied that there is such a thing as occult practices or items, but rather it seems that many Christians draw the line in a very arbitrary way. I hope Mr. Washer didn’t have a pagan Saturnalia Christmas tree in his house this year.

46   Brendt Waters    http://www.csaproductions.com/blog/
January 7th, 2009 at 5:32 pm

This is worse than his worst fears? He can really think of nothing worse?

Neil, did he say anything about Hitler after that? That kind of ridiculousness on Walker’s part would take Mike Godwin aback.

I realize that the comment thread has moreso been about the rightness/wrongness of circular mazes, but this point (”worse than worst”) is what really comes home to me in Neil’s post. Sheesh.

47   Brett S    
January 7th, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Paul C,

Re: My comment #24

Glad you enjoyed that one, since it may have been my only logical comment :)

I really probably share your awareness of the dangers of new age frivolity; but my point was that the act of walking a labyrinth is no more harmful than mowing my grass.

Of course my lawn mower does have caution stickers all over it for what can happen when it’s used for the wrong reasons.

48   Bo Diaz    
January 7th, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Paul C,
I find it interesting that you approvingly quote an individual who sets up laws that are found no where in the scriptures.

Meanwhile, you are busy setting up rules that are found no where in the scriptures.

It might be said that you’ve set up your own personal Jesus to meet your own unique needs and worldview.

49   Kevin I    http://ominousknife.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:39 pm

We use clipboards when we pray in church, can someone check to make sure those where invented by a Christian and have only been used in Christian practices since? I think we use a microphone sometimes. Also the english language. Can someone link to some research?

All this talk about why the labryinths are evil because they started with pagans and have pagan uses are making me nervous about the other tools we use in prayer…

50   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Seriously, a person who’s entrapped in an addiction doesn’t need to enter the prison of legalism to be set free from the addiction.

I marvel at the insensitivity of this comment. Speaks volumes and misses the point entirely.

No one here has denied that there is such a thing as occult practices or items, but rather it seems that many Christians draw the line in a very arbitrary way.

Labyrinth walking is occult even up until now (a Google search will easily show you that). You just defend it because it’s in vogue with the group you support. Aside from it being occult, it is plain idiocy and represents a larger problem: a Christianity that has too much time on its hands and resorts to the latest fad/gimmick to drum up some interest. Sad.

51   Kevin I    http://ominousknife.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:41 pm

how is it “idiocy” do you use that word to mean “not for me”?

52   Brendt Waters    http://www.csaproductions.com/blog/
January 7th, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Paul C (#30):

I don’t know Paul Walker, but I too would be sorely disappointed to see this introduced into my fellowship. Does that mean I don’t care about other things like divorce? No.

I don’t think anyone said that someone worried about labyrinths does not care about other things like divorce. But Walker, by his own admission, cares a lot less about divorce than about someone walking in a circle.

53   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Paul C,

Something tells me that some of you would have stood in direct confrontation to Paul in Ephesus when the people burned literally thousands of dollars worth of books. Why? Just because they contained pagan materials? They overdid it, especially when all the proceeds from the books – had they been sold – could have been used to feed the poor of the city for months.

I guess they were unpure and defiled for doing such a thing. After all, it was just books and scrolls with markings on them. Not evil in themselves right?

There is a difference between something is is outright against Scripture and something as is not evil in and of itself. Some books are not evil in and of themselves but have “evil” teachings in them… I am not for book burnings as sometimes good books are burned or books that may not be good but should be kept (Mien Kauf comes to mind) to remind us of the evil or philosophy that is contrary to the bible. So this is a weak straw man as best as far as an argument.

Now, if the labyrinths was sponsored by the Satanist society or the Unitarians or the Mormons or any other group that is promoting their ideas and teachings contrary to the Scripture, then STAY OUT AND AWAY FROM IT… use some common sense… but say what if a pagan came to a Christian Labyrinth and walked it reading scripture and realized their sin and need for Jesus… would you then call that evil?

What you are doing is throwing out the baby and bathwater and not seeing the difference in what is promoted in such Christian Labyrinths…

Again look at it like I was saying about worship bands in Churches… are they all evil since pagans also use music to worship other Gods? Of course not… but that is your reasoning as I see it.

iggy

54   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Neil, did he say anything about Hitler after that? That kind of ridiculousness on Walker’s part would take Mike Godwin aback.

I realize that the comment thread has moreso been about the rightness/wrongness of circular mazes, but this point (”worse than worst”) is what really comes home to me in Neil’s post. Sheesh.

It is amazing. I can picture it something like this.

Paul Walker is in his office counseling a couple on the verge of divorce. His secretary knocks on the door.

Secretary: Pastor Walker, I’m sorry to bother you but Sister Smith is on the phone. She’s heard that one of our members participated in a prayer labyrinth this past Saturday!

PW: GOOD GOD! A prayer labyrinth! THE END IS NIGH!

I’m so sorry (to the couple) an emergency has come up.

(runs out the door) To the Calvin Cave!

da na na na na na na na da na na na na na….. (fade to black)

55   Bo Diaz    
January 7th, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Interesting that there’s been so much scripture used to answer Paul C, and very, very little coming from him.

56   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:48 pm

I marvel at the insensitivity of this comment. Speaks volumes and misses the point entirely.

I marvel at the insensitivity of a pastor who has no problem trashing the ministry of other pastors just because they dare say something like, “Jesus looks at the heart”.

57   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Paul C,

I might add that by the same logic, Christian movies, music, books, Holidays, plays, architecture, money and gasp… prayer itself would be all evil using your logic as all either are made, done, written, spent, built, acted in and used by Occultists.

iggy

58   Bo Diaz    
January 7th, 2009 at 5:51 pm

I’m a little curious at what the connection between a dress code and un-reforming reformed bad boys has to do with each other? Is denim taking them over and causing them to go out and burn down churches?

59   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 5:51 pm

It might be said that you’ve set up your own personal Jesus to meet your own unique needs and worldview.

Yes – this is just hitting me now…

Interesting that there’s been so much scripture used to answer Paul C, and very, very little coming from him.

Yes Bo – I’ve been overwhelmed by that single scriptural reference from Titus.

Well gents – I’m off to the oak groves for the evening where we’ll be lighting candles, getting into a trance and then tapping into our higher selves. It promises to be a wonderful time!

60   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Well gents – I’m off to the oak groves for the evening where we’ll be lighting candles, getting into a trance and then tapping into our higher selves. It promises to be a wonderful time!

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the inability for some to comprehend things… and more that they not even consider others views without adding things not even done at such sites.

iggy

61   Bo Diaz    
January 7th, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Well gents – I’m off to the oak groves for the evening where we’ll be lighting candles, getting into a trance and then tapping into our higher selves. It promises to be a wonderful time!

Typical.

Careful you don’t set the strawman you just created on fire, I’d hate to see Ken Silva or Ingrid Schlueter get singed by your carelessness.

62   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 6:00 pm

What’s ontologically evil about any of the things I just mentioned? Prove it biblically please!

63   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 6:04 pm

I love the argument – “There’s nothing ontologically evil/wrong with” something in order to validate it as acceptable. Got to get a better argument than that.

That’s funny – I thought that was called the Normative Principle of Worship, as opposed to the regulative principle of worship. So, unless you’re willing to argue that we should not drive cars since cars are not mentioned in Scripture, it just seems to be that you’re arguing on how much leniency is allowed under the normative principle…

Up next: Christian Ouija Boards

Straw man.
‘Do not practice divination or sorcery.’ (Lev 19:26)

or

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Rev 21:8)

Divination is considered to be a form of idolatry, and it is forbidden in both the OT and NT, so your example does not fit. Walking in a pattern, while following a guided set of Scriptures doesn’t fit this…

There is a reason your best ideas hit you in the shower and it’s because when you do repetitive you free yourself up to think and reflect with much less clutter and distraction.

I’ve always heard that it was a combination of – a) scalp massage; and b) (for morning showers) the closeness of the sub-conscious to the conscious during the first 30 minutes after sleep…

Something tells me that some of you would have stood in direct confrontation to Paul in Ephesus when the people burned literally thousands of dollars worth of books. Why? Just because they contained pagan materials? They overdid it, especially when all the proceeds from the books – had they been sold – could have been used to feed the poor of the city for months.

I guess they were unpure and defiled for doing such a thing. After all, it was just books and scrolls with markings on them. Not evil in themselves right?

Again, you’re burning a straw-man. Let’s take a look at those books -

A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. (Acts 19:19)
It specifically mentions these scrolls in conjunction with sorcery – and sorcery is specifically prohibited in Scripture as being associated with idolatry and false gods…

what would you say about a broke, divorced man addicted to porn worshiping with a labyrinth?

I’d say that he’s got much bigger problems to deal with than labyrinths, since those aren’t mentioned in Scripture as being a problem…

64   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Well I am off to enjoy a Christian concert by Phil Wickham who does some great and worshipful praise music… but now that I am in agreement with Paul C’s logic I fear I will be caught up in all the music and praise of the Living God that I might come home sacrifice a cat to Satan, break out a Shirley McLain movie and channel the spirit of Ra, set up a May Pole and dance naked in the yard.

iggy

65   Bo Diaz    
January 7th, 2009 at 6:06 pm

What’s ontologically evil about any of the things I just mentioned? Prove it biblically please!

Really? That’s where you want to go with this?

Lets start with the meditation techniques you are condemning include specifically worship of the Living God through prayer and meditation.

Meanwhile, what you’ve described explicitly excludes such worship.

66   Kevin I    http://ominousknife.com
January 7th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

yeah if we want it to be a one-to-one comparison you’d say I’m off to the woods to light candles, calm myself and pray to the one true God.

Works for me.

67   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 6:08 pm

I fear I will be caught up in all the music and praise of the Living God that I might come home sacrifice a cat to Satan, break out a Shirley McLain movie and channel the spirit of Ra, set up a May Pole and dance naked in the yard.

I think I’m going to call the police in Billings, Montana…

68   Brett S    
January 7th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Paul C

tapping into our higher selves

I wouldn’t consider that to be ontologically evil; just new age mumbo jumbo. For anyone to experience true prayer and worship they should be “tapping into” the person of Jesus Christ. He is the only way that our selves become higher selves.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. – St. John’s Gospel 14:6

69   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 6:52 pm

The lbayrinth is for western types who have enough money to buy books, buy CDs, and have enough land to set up some labyrinth for meditation. The Chinese believers? No can do. The Sudanese believers? No can do.

We westerners have the advantage of being exotic, and I find it curious that when Ingrid suggests large pulpits and pastor’s robes we hollar “externals”! But labyrinths – anointed vehicles of meditation. They aren’t satanic, just goofy.

Take a walk around the block and imagine it’s a labyrinth.

70   Brett S    
January 7th, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Paul C,

Sorry, if my comments were condescending. While lighting candles and standing around a tree, or even more traditional forms of liturgical prayer may not be outlined in the bible, that does not make them inherently wrong. They may not be your preference. You may prefer a liturgy that involves singing a couple of hymns with lyrics on a video screen, and a congregation dressed in nice suits listening to a preacher go on for an hour, and then off to the potluck picnic. There’s nothing inherently evil in that, but it’s not found in the bible. Every Christian fellowship has their own version of a liturgy.

From my understanding of the New Testament, there is only one thing that the Lord specifically commanded us to do when gathered together. That may be the primary act, but I don’t think it limits forms or styles of worship and prayer. It is sad that we can’t all be united in that primary act, though.

71   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 7th, 2009 at 6:58 pm

We westerners have the advantage of being exotic, and I find it curious that when Ingrid suggests large pulpits and pastor’s robes we hollar “externals”! But labyrinths – anointed vehicles of meditation. They aren’t satanic, just goofy.

Well, the thing is no one here ever said you have to walk a prayer labyrinth, light candles, etc, etc. No one has argued that in order to be a “true church” you have to worship in a certain way. Ingrid, on the other hand, has implied or even outright said that if churches don’t have certain things like pulpits or organs they aren’t worshiping correctly. There’s a big difference between those two things.

There’s a lot of things that people do in church that I consider goofy, but not wrong. I think it’s goofy to put a suit and tie on to go sit in a building for an hour on Sunday. I think it’s goofy to pass out bulletins that list every song you’re going sing in a service. But those things aren’t wrong.

72   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 7:04 pm

The lbayrinth is for western types who have enough money to buy books, buy CDs, and have enough land to set up some labyrinth for meditation.

Simply my point as well… Well-healed, spoiled Christians with nothing to do. Hey, let’s revive an ancient pagan practice and see if it works. Oh look – I’m feeling closer to the Lord. That’s why it’s a junkie gimmick that many by into.

Sorry, if my comments were condescending.

Not to worry Brett – my apologies for my sarcasm. I just find it utterly ridiculous.

in this thread there have been attempts to equate labyrinth walking with:

1. children playing badminton (an all-time favorite)
2. mowing my lawn (extra points if done in concentric circles)
3. speaking English or driving a car

You will notice that in the NT little room is given for embracing pagan RELIGIOUS practices. In the OT the very smell of it was outright condemned.

It specifically mentions these scrolls in conjunction with sorcery – and sorcery is specifically prohibited in Scripture as being associated with idolatry and false gods…

And labyrinth walking is a pagan RELIGIOUS practice of meditation. To me there’s little difference here unless you’re splitting hairs to make a point you’d like to defend.

73   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 7:09 pm

We westerners have the advantage of being exotic, and I find it curious that when Ingrid suggests large pulpits and pastor’s robes we hollar “externals”!

Excellent, excellent point indeed.

74   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 7th, 2009 at 7:11 pm

I would also note that believers in China and Sudan don’t have blogs dedicated to the tearing down of their fellow believers… nor do they have time to spend preaching against the evils of the “emergents”.

75   Brett S    
January 7th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Paul C,

And labyrinth walking is a pagan RELIGIOUS practice of meditation

I’m sympathetic with you that part of the “labyrinth walking” hub bub may be yet another hip young “spiritual” craze.

BUT if someone is walking a labyrinth meditating on the word of God, and praying to Jesus; THEN Amen, Amen, I say unto thee. And you and I both should be praising God for it.

76   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 7:17 pm

And labyrinth walking is a pagan RELIGIOUS practice of meditation. To me there’s little difference here unless you’re splitting hairs to make a point you’d like to defend.

Well, then perhaps we’d best stop worshiping on Sunday, since that day is named such as a RELIGIOUS act in honor of the Sun-god….

And we’d best stop celebrating Ishtar Easter, as well… And Saturnalia Christmas… Or participating in (or watching) the Olympics… etc., etc., etc.

At this point, you’ve just raised your personal conviction as a legalistic, Pharisaical absolute, while ignoring everything else that fits your mold but not your practice…

77   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 7:18 pm

And since when did “I felt closer to God” become the Biblical standard for anything? I know people who feel extremely close to God through pot, and in a Christian Science reading room, and in a Unitarian Church. That is not the standard. And if everything can be observed because it is not ontoloicically evil, then all the things I just mentioned are cool with God.

It is things like these that always shake me back to Biblical reality. Nothing is really wrong and nothing is to be avoided for Christ’s sake. A labyrinth – too bad Wesley was in the dark, he could have done so much more with a labyrinth on the deck of his missionary voyage ships.

Sometimes when I take more than two painkillers I feel real close to God!!

78   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Chris – nice straw men

It’s nothing more than a gimmick – what’s so hard to see about that. Where God is absent, no problem, just add a gimmick and away we go – presto pseudo-religious experience. That was liberating.

Come on guys – you defend anything on your side of the camp – anything. You decry those who oppose you. If you are anti-ODM doesn’t that automatically mean you have the same mind-set, just different end of the spectrum, than your enemies?

79   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 7:35 pm

I am inventing and getting a patent for a hand held labyrinth that doubles as a phone. It is especially effective for invalids who cannot walk. And in my tests teenagers seem to be able to complete the labyrinth course very quickly and even while driving!

80   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Up next: Christian Ouija Boards – Paul C. (#30)

So much for the ability to discern between things prohibited by the Bible (e.g. divination) and things not mentioned (e.g. labyrinths).

81   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 7th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

It’s nothing more than a gimmick – what’s so hard to see about that. Where God is absent, no problem, just add a gimmick and away we go – presto pseudo-religious experience. That was liberating.

Well, I guess I’ve learned to not automatically shoot down I don’t understand or like. Sure if something is obviously against a clear teaching of Scripture, it’s wrong. As of yet, no one has produced anything close to showing where this particular act is prohibited.

We might as well ban altar calls (and altars, for that matter) from church services. Heck even pews have pagan roots.

82   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Labyrinth walking is occult…

So you say that walking a circular path stopping at varoius spots to meditate is occultic? Would it acceptable is, say, we walked in a straight line, or another non-circular shape?

I don’t mean this to be sarcastic, because the only difference is the shape.

83   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 7th, 2009 at 8:16 pm

This whole thread reminds me of a variation of an old joke…

How do confuse a Fundamentalist?

Put him a prayer labyrinth and tell him to go pee in the corner!

84   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Well gents – I’m off to the oak groves for the evening where we’ll be lighting candles, getting into a trance and then tapping into our higher selves. It promises to be a wonderful time! – Paul C

More adventures in silvanizing. Since you cannot say why a labyrinth is wrong in and of itself, you must create a caricature, adding what you wish to attack; show me where anyone talked of trances, or higher selves…

Can you address the issue without adding straw men?

85   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Take a walk around the block and imagine it’s a labyrinth. – Rick

Exactly. No difference which you choose to do.

86   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 8:23 pm

It’s nothing more than a gimmick – what’s so hard to see about that.

One man’s gimmick is another man’s routine. Who are you to judge.

87   Neil    
January 7th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

If you are anti-ODM doesn’t that automatically mean you have the same mind-set, just different end of the spectrum, than your enemies?

No

88   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 8:56 pm

We westerners have the advantage of being exotic, and I find it curious that when Ingrid suggests large pulpits and pastor’s robes we hollar “externals”!

The HUGE difference is when Ingrid states this means THE ONLY RIGHT WAY IS MY WAY… none of us ever stated pulpit and robes are wrong in and of themselves… so I see no “point” other than a mischaracterization of what we say here…. again and again… and again.

Talk about over generalization!

iggy

89   nc    
January 7th, 2009 at 9:52 pm

I think I’m going to just assume that Paul C is being contrarian for the sake of argument…

I mean…those “read through the Bible” schedules must be just a “gimmick”–the use of which indicates the absence of a relationship with Christ…

or that artificial tool that helps you read a chapter of proverbs and a series of psalms throughout the month…those man-centered, man-made gimmicks…

c’mon…really.

90   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Chris – nice straw men

Not straw-men. We use so many things commonly which have “pagan roots” that we can’t speak many sentences, tell time, celebrate a “Christian” holiday or write a check w/o engaging something “pagan”. If we use your standard, we might as well make up our own language and stay at home all day, every day.

It’s nothing more than a gimmick – what’s so hard to see about that. Where God is absent, no problem, just add a gimmick and away we go – presto pseudo-religious experience. That was liberating.

No more a gimmick than a Communion Table, an Altar, flags on the stage, pews, stained glass, etc., etc., ad nauseum (with emphasis on the nauseum)

Come on guys – you defend anything on your side of the camp – anything. You decry those who oppose you. If you are anti-ODM doesn’t that automatically mean you have the same mind-set, just different end of the spectrum, than your enemies?

Perhaps you’ve missed the discussions on “Christian” universalism, homosexual practice, abortion, etc., etc. the past several weeks & months… If so, you might wish to refresh yourself before you make such a ludicrous statement…

91   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 7th, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Of course, there’s those gimmicks – chapter numbers and verse numbers – added to the Bible, as well… I’ve heard of numerology, which has pagan roots – AND WE’VE GONE AND ADDED NUMBERS INTO THE BIBLE!!!

O N03Z!!!

92   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 10:09 pm

I read from scrolls without any chapters or verses and they are in the original languages. I do not celebrate Easter or Christmas or especially the Fourth of July, so I am in a unique position to severely judge everyone else.

But I will not do so unless provoked.

93   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

You guys have so clouded the issue with all kinds of diversions and non-congruent issues. The labyrinth was a pagan tool used to worship and conjour up idols. What sacrifice would it be to avoid something like that? Why in the world would the worshipers of THE spirit need to use pagan inventions to help us meet our Savior?

And why would we copy the new agers with such a public mirror of paganism, especially when it is so unnecessary and so misleading to others. I can imagine my new age sousin saying, “See, even Christians use our methods. We all worship the same God!”.

If John Calvin started the labyrinth thing and Ken and Chris R. insisted that it is the most effective way to meditate and worship God we would be all over them, but because more emergent types invented it it’s great. It is stupid at best, pagan at worst. Probably somewhere in between.

94   nc    
January 7th, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Couple things:

1.
I think people need to do some history on Labyrinths…there’s more history to it than its debateable origins and some re-appearance under “emergents”…

2.
If Ken and Chris R insisted on Labyrinths, the problem would most likely be that they would absolutize it to such and extreme as to claim that it was not only the “most effective way” but the only Christian way and thus those who fail to use it or reject it are damned or not of the remnant, blah blah blah blah tin foil hat self -righteous bat doo doo blah blah blah…

and THAT would be what is criticized.

95   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 10:32 pm

nc – you are a stiff necked miscreant, spiritually recalcitrant, openly uneducated, a complete simpleton in many areas, and just an overall and irrefutable piece of crap.

And uniquely qualified for the labyrinth journey. :cool:

96   nc    
January 7th, 2009 at 10:38 pm

hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Rick, you seriously make me laugh.
in a good way.

97   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 7th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

I would also note that believers in China and Sudan don’t have blogs dedicated to the tearing down of their fellow believers… nor do they have time to spend preaching against the evils of the “emergents”.

I know – those sorry louts in other countries!! All they have to deal with is persecution in the form of electricution, solitary jail time for months on end, starvation, psychological breakdown, rape and other forms of torture.

Then again – if they had labyrinths they could completely escape their trials as they walk in concentric circles, looking downward, while garbling a few sentences.

Us over here? We’re fighting the real battle against the blogs dedicated “to tearing down of their fellow believer”

If only they new the hell the emergent church is going through, I’m sure they’d bare their persecution with much better spirits.

You guys have so clouded the issue with all kinds of diversions and non-congruent issues. The labyrinth was a pagan tool used to worship and conjour up idols.

Yes, that’s correct. It’s just a foolish fad to serve the whims of bored Christians looking for something to talk about. Period.

98   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 7th, 2009 at 11:02 pm

I like it when believers practice yoga while maneuvering a labyrinth and using a Ouija Board to navigate the journey.

It’s called the Yogalab Board.

99   Bo Diaz    
January 8th, 2009 at 12:19 am

Yes, that’s correct. It’s just a foolish fad to serve the whims of bored Christians looking for something to talk about. Period.

Describing worship of the living God via prayer and meditation in this way has got to be something close to blasphemy.

100   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 12:34 am

You guys have so clouded the issue with all kinds of diversions and non-congruent issues. The labyrinth was a pagan tool used to worship and conjour up idols.

I don’t see anyone here saying that we need to use labyrinths, or that it is something we do, or that it is the only way to worship.

Rather, we’re simply applying the normative principle and granting grace to our brothers who are more right-brained than we are, who find guided meditation in a physical setting something that helps them in meditating upon and applying the Word to their lives. This is in contrast with those pharisees who are condemning and verbally eviscerating brothers over something as stupid as labyrinths.

You don’t like them? Fine – don’t participate. I don’t see them telling you that you must do it in order to truly worship. I don’t see them inviting you to join them. I don’t do it. I don’t plan on doing it. But I also see no Scriptural support for castigating them for worshiping in a different way than I do.

All of your whining and non-sequitirs (like Ouija boards, etc.) are just legalistic phariseeism, just dressed up in pseudo-pious, sanctimonious garb.

101   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 12:35 am
You guys have so clouded the issue with all kinds of diversions and non-congruent issues. The labyrinth was a pagan tool used to worship and conjour up idols.

Yes, that’s correct. It’s just a foolish fad to serve the whims of bored Christians looking for something to talk about. Period.

Kind of like dressing up in a suit and sitting in pews one hour a week…

102   nc    
January 8th, 2009 at 1:04 am

Paul C, I think you need to learn that a “testimonial” or an “assertion” is not an “argument”. You can say “period” at the end of something, but you haven’t demonstrated your ethical arguments as to why a labyrinth is always wrong everywhere and always.

And in general, I’d really appreciate it if stupid–yes, stupid–potshots at “emergents” didn’t get brought into this discussion. It’s not germaine or necessary.

I was walking labyrinths long before there was even an entity called “emergent” and, NO, I didn’t have to go to a “conference” to have it introduced to me.

I’d rather here real arguments as to why a labyrinth is so bad. If I can get that answered then maybe I can renew my hope for someone to answer 2 other burning questions I’ve not had answered on these threads:

1. Sola Scriptura? Scripture, please.
and
2. Why is “cussing” such a deal breaker these days for people?

Just dreaming…

anyway…WHY are labyrinths so bad?

103   nc    
January 8th, 2009 at 1:05 am

re: …just dressed up in pseudo-pious, sanctimonious garb.

Chris L, sounds like you just took a line from my rhetorical arsenal.

;)

104   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 8th, 2009 at 10:09 am

And in general, I’d really appreciate it if stupid–yes, stupid–potshots at “emergents” didn’t get brought into this discussion. It’s not germaine or necessary.

nc – re comment 97 I didn’t introduce it, but simply picked up on a statement that was made. Read what was block-quoted and then maybe you’ll see my comment in context.

I am sorry for my sarcastic tone on this particular thread.

105   nc    
January 8th, 2009 at 10:22 am

Paul C,

I appreciate your apology. I’m sorry for my testiness…it’s just that so many threads turn into “emergent” when that isn’t the issue.

please accept my apologies for my itchy trigger finger.

peace,

nc

106   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 11:26 am

Paul C,

I do admire your commitment to right and wrong; I just think you’re wrong about what is wrong in this case. As a catholic, I’m afraid we kind of got the whole ball rolling on the countless “methods” of prayer that can be practiced by Christians. Outside of going to mass and confession, and reading my bible (and since I’m not holed up in a monastery somewhere) I personally don’t have time for any of them. Me and my Troy-built mower got a good thing going and I’m not changing it. There is nothing wrong with prayer methods, but you don’t have to use any of them. I think Nike had it right on this one “just do it”.

Prayer like art can be largely a matter of taste. Ontologically speaking I’m not real deep into philosophy, but I think Flannery O’Conner had a good point on this matter:

I’m not one to pit myself against St. Paul but when he said, “Let it not so much as be named among you, ” I presume he was talking about society and what goes on there and not about art. Part of the mystery of existence is sin. When we think about the Crucifixion, we miss the point of it if we don’t think about sin.
About bad taste, I don’t know, because taste is a relative matter. There are some who will find almost everything in bad taste, from spitting in the street to Christ’s association with Mary Magdalen … What offends my taste in fiction is when right is held up as wrong, or wrong as right. Fiction is the concrete expression of mystery – mystery that is lived. Catholics believe that all creation is good and that evil is the wrong use of good and that without Grace we use it wrong most of the time. – The Habit of Being (p. 144)

107   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 11:37 am

Paul C,

Hey nothing was meant personally… and to a degree I enjoy a sarcastic wit. To me you personally are not the problem it was that we disagreed. Disagreement is not a sin.

Personally I would rather debate and disagree with you over some that post here as I think they are either learning impaired (not meant to be a slight I just wonder if they have reading or learning issues) or out right dishonest and love to cause division. I have never felt that way about you.

I am one that loves a good Luther-style table banging debate at times… and at times my tone my not come across as friendly as I want. I joke and make fun of some not out of disrespect. If I stated something that offended you… please accept my apology also… unlike some again, I would love to sit and have coffee with about anyone here even if we disagree… (of course there is one exception but all else are welcome!)

iggy

108   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

A concept that I have not seen touched on in this particular conversation is the subject of Christian liberty and when or how it should be exercised. Suppose we agree that a Christian can with clean conscience walk a labyrinth and it is not sinful before God. What about promotion of labyrinth walking in a denominational or other publication? I think we can agree that there are “weaker brothers” who have come out of occultism and new agism to whom this may be a real stumbling block. So, how does this play itself out in light of Paul’s instruction in I Corinthians 8, when he was discussing the issue of eating food offered to idols and Christian liberty?

“1Cr 8:9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.

1Cr 8:10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?

1Cr 8:11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

1Cr 8:12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

1Cr 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”

What does this say to those that would promote practices very closely and recently tied to occultism and other pagan religions? Have they no responsibility toward the weaker brother who was previously entrapped in pagan worship? Paul says they then sin against Christ. Clearly, there are variations in ties to pagan or occultic practices, with some much more recent in history and in fact currently practiced on a widespread basis by pagans. Something with an obscure historical tie certainly does not fit into the same class as something recently borrowed, which may clearly have an impact on a brother or sister who has struggled with paganism practices or recently converted and does not have a strong basis for their Christian beliefs built up over many years of study, instruction, and edifying interaction with fellow believers.

At least, I think based on this passage, we can draw a distinction between private practice of a “Christainized” historically and currently pagan practice and public promotion of the same. As Christians, we are called to give up our “rights” or liberties for the good of others, especially Christian brethren. That is somthing that I know I need to apply to myself in my Christian walk in relation to vices such as drinking alcohol. Do I have a beer or other alcoholic drink on occasions in certain company? Yes, and I enjoy it. However, I must be cognizant of others, and I would sin against a recovering alcoholic brother to invite him over and enjoy a couple of beers in his presence. Likewise, I would sin against others if I promoted a couple of beers at Bible study as a good way to “commune closer with God” or “be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading” Disclaimer: I am not drawing a parallel with this last illustration, just making a point.

109   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 8th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Eric,
That certainly seems like a reasonable stance to me. There are certainly things we do need to be aware of when we’re dealing with people. I think the fact that Rev. Walker used the phrase “worse than my worst fears” makes it into something beyond that of an issue of conscience or watching out for the weaker brother (or sisters in this case).

110   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Eric,

However, I must be cognizant of others, and I would sin against a recovering alcoholic brother to invite him over and enjoy a couple of beers in his presence.

Any recovering alchoholic worth his salt would tell you that’s exactly the WRONG thing to do. It’s his problem not yours.

111   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Eric,

I sort of did address that as I stated to Paul C that if it was not right for him to do a Labyrinth, then don’t do it… But it is also not right for the weaker brother to assert his will over those who are more free in Christ. In many ways ODM’s do not take responsibility for their own actions and love to blame others for making them fall… in that they fail to seek to grow to maturity and see that some have more freedom than they do.

iggy

112   nc    
January 8th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Weaker brother discourse is interesting, but it doesn’t apply with respect to a person who has a strong conviction that their personal preference is a moral absolute.

I.E. if Paul Walker says Labyrinth-ing is of the devil and universally wrong in every time and place and I disagree…

I don’t have to refrain or “hide” my labyrinth walking from him. We have a disagreement, not a circumstance where in he is led to sin or tempted to sin by labyrinth-ing.

113   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Not to gang up on you or anything, Eric, but you asked.

I think there would be a very clear distinction between a SBC sanctioned labyrinth and a new age or occultist one.

The danger of causing a weaker brother or sister to stumble in the midst of a practice that is very Christian seems minimal to me.

114   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

By “the midst of a practice that is very Christian” I was referring to the setting in which the SBC labyrinth is found.

115   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Nathanael,

How about a Southern Baptist Labyrinth with draft beer stations. Satan himself would not know which way to turn in that one :)

116   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

As long as it’s microbrew.

117   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Nathanael,

Don’t worry, I don’t feel ganged up on, and appreciate the input. I certainly agree that there is a difference to you and possibly to me, but the point of my post was the effect on the person who perhaps was called out of such a lifestyle. It is indisputable that there are many who are trapped and in slavery to such practices and there are numerous accounts and testimonies of those who have been saved from that. There is no doubt that many of these converts and others of less discerning mind may not so easily separate elements of the two. While the practice may appear “very Christian to you”, it obviously doesn’t to a good number of others; therein lies the problem.

Phil,

I’ll give you that Mr. Walker’s language was a little bit over-the-top and that he was likely playing to his audience. However, I’d note that I feel by context the his worst fears language was meant to say worst fears in reagards to what the contents of the publication would be, not that he fears those practices more than anything else in the church. At least that is my charitable reading.

Brett,

I disagree with you totally, as does the Apostle Paul. I’m comfortable being in agreement with the Bible and disagreement with you and Alcoholics Anonymous, except that I wouldn’t want to have a weakness and be around you with that attitude.

Iggy,

I guess I didn’t read your comment to Paul as any concession to a weaker brother, rather a “don’t do it if you don’t like it” comment. The Apostle Paul seems to be advocating for much more. I do agree that Paul’s admonission does not give weaker brothers the right to dictate to others, and I don’t believe that I advocated for that. I was simply supplying balance to a lot of talk defending the right to engage in and to a lesser extent to promote a practice that may cause brothers to stumble

nc,

Can you show me from Scripture that it doesn’t apply. Your comment is very dismissive of the Apostle Paul’s admonission. Did I miss where he qualified his statements by saying “unless the weaker brother insists that he is right”? Besides, I was not speaking about whether or not you personally might cause Paul Walker personally to stumble. I was speaking generally about the use, promotion, and defense of such practices that do cause brothers and sisters in Christ to stumble.

I find it interesting that no one really ineracted with what the Apostle Paul clearly states. Somewhat disappointing.

118   Ian    http://www.lostintheheartofsomewhere.blogspot.com
January 8th, 2009 at 3:09 pm

On a trip back from Edinburgh last summer with my family we stopped at Holy Island, Lindisfarne, (we have considered joing the lay Community of Aidan and Hilda based there a number of times). One of the churches on the island had a prayer labyrinth set up for visitors to use as part of their pilgimage.

My son (who is seven) is a tactile worshipper (standing up and singing songs doesn’t do it for him at all) and we walked through it together. He found the whole process deeply profound in a way that awestruck me, and at the point where we were invited to write a confession on a piece of paper and then place it through a shredder as a demonstration of God’s forgiveness hrough Jesus (and the casting away of the sin) he wrote stuff on there that had been an issue with him for a while and finally was able to ask God’s forgiveness. I have no doubt that we are still seeing some of the fruit of that time now with him, and it was a significant step in his walk with Jesus.

I saw nothing unbiblical in this at all – the content was all based on scripture and presented a way to encounter the truths of scripture that just worked better than propositional methods would.

119   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

“Ineracted” should read “interacted”.

120   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Also, for clarity, when I reference “Apostle Paul”, I’m not referring to Paul C.

121   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Eric,

I understand what you meant… yet it seems some misuse the passage to assert their weakness on others. I was just pointing that out.

We who understand our freedom in Christ also understand it is freedom to do what is good. It is not freedom to do whatever we please.

iggy

122   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 8th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Eric,
I think you and Nathanael have a fundamentally different view of how the verse reads. Believing that something is wrong for you does not mean that someone engaging in it causing you to stumble. I know people that believe it is a sin for woman to wear pants. does that mean that if I invite them to my house I should make my wife wear a dress?

123   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 8th, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Also, for clarity, when I reference “Apostle Paul”, I’m not referring to Paul C.

Not to worry Eric – it’s my experience that the two terms can be used interchangeably.

124   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Eric,

I disagree with you totally, as does the Apostle Paul. I’m comfortable being in agreement with the Bible and disagreement with you and Alcoholics Anonymous, except that I wouldn’t want to have a weakness and be around you with that attitude.

If you disagree with me, all I can say is get in line with the rest (but I am curious what kind of direct communication you have with St. Paul’s opinion of me :)

I’ve got plenty of weaknesses so I’ve usually found it much more authentic to root out my own sins instead of keeping track of everyone else’s. I never suggested I’d take the guy down to happy hour at the local single’s bar (come to think of it, since I’m married with 4 young kids I probably shouldn’t be there either :) . I just know several “recovering alcoholics” (my pastor happens to be one of them) that would rather be honest that their bad habits are their own and get tired of sentimental do-gooders tip-toeing around them.

125   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Paul C,

Is it ok if I just call you “Brother Paul”?

Iggy,

Agreed; your last sentence is especially well stated.

Joe,

If that is the case, I’d be interested to hear how Nathanael’s fundamentally different view is formed. The context and content of the verse in question is fairly clear, and in it Paul clearly calls for Christians to “check their liberty at the door” when it may cause others to stumble. I’ll give you that if I see someone take part in something I disagree with, it does not follow that I am by necessity going to stumble. However, for many, the reality is different. This is especially true for young Christians, who may experience the temptation to dabble in occult practices should those practices appear to be approved and even promoted by other Christians.

126   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Brett,

Obviously I was saying that the Apostle Paul disagrees with you totally as to your comment, and that insight comes from his clear instruction in Scripture, which you chose to contradict. I didn’t directly communicate with him, the Holy Spirit chose to use him to directly communicate to me, you know, inspiration.

I never advocated for “keeping track of everyone else’s” sins, and I would hope that if you are being honest, you would recognize that. If your pastor, as a recovering alcoholic, would rather that you not refrain from drinking in front of him and he tells you that, then you no longer violate his conscience and sin against him. I’m sorry that you would chose to derisively refer to those following Scriptural admonition as “sentimental do-gooders”.

127   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 8th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Eric,
Would you mind answering my question then. It is asked from real situations that I grew up in. There was a family that did not believe that women should be allowed to wear anything but dresses or Kool-lots. When they came over, was my mother causing them to stumble if she wore anything besides a dress?

128   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 3:51 pm

EVD,

Having a good deal of contact with the Recovery community, I would – to a point – agree with Brett. There is a difference between having a drink in the presence of a recovered/recovering alcoholic and offering him a drink. And this fits with the same hair the Apostle Paul is splitting…

129   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Eric,

I would hope that if you are being honest, you would recognize that

I may not alway’s be right, buy I assure you I work hard at being honest. I’m usually pretty good at recognizing truth when I see it, but your last comment to me didn’t make a lick of sense (and I hope I’m not the only one that recognizes that)

130   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Chris L,

Thank you, I was worried that I was missing out on the afformentioned Holy Spirit/Apostle Paul communication.

131   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Eric,
Clearly your heart is in the right place, and your bringing up the passage about the weaker brother was fine. That is definitely the heart of Christ.

My point was that I don’t feel like the SBC labyrinth would even come close to resembling a new age or occultist one. I could be wrong since I did not read the article that brother Walker did. But I can’t imagine that the SBC would prayerfully condone the use of something that could not be distinguished from the occult. And for that reason, someone who was saved out of that lifestyle would not be tempted by something clearly sanctified by the Word and by prayer.

I could be wrong…it hasn’t happened for awhile, so I’m due.

132   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Eric,

I’m sorry that you would chose to derisively refer to those following Scriptural admonition as “sentimental do-gooders”.

Who’s deriding anyone anyway? (We are speaking hypothetically here aren’t we?).

Contrary to modern american piety “sentimentality” is not a virtue.

133   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Joe,

I cannot speak to whether or not those specific people where caused to stumble. I believe that your mother would have been the best person to possibly judge that, knowing them. I do not know the ins-and-outs of their belief or what would have tempted them or wounded their conscience. I can say for a fact (as I have read testimonials and spoken with others first hand) that people with occult or other pagan backgrounds can be tempted or wounded in conscience by promotion of practices (however altered) that they had been saved from, hence my comments. I’m sorry for not responding to your question originally, as I got caught up in responding to the first portion of your comment.

Chris L,

I agree that there is a difference, and I don’t believe that I equated the two in any way. I fail to see what the Apostle Paul is speaking about as “splitting hairs”. That description strikes me as a minimization of his clear exhortation. Rather, he is laying down a clearly loving Christian principle.

Brett,

I believe that you are being honest, and that you work hard at it. It follows, then that I gave you the benefit of the doubt when you seemed to insinuate that I had advocated for you to keep track of everyone else’s sins when you responded to my comment. I’m sorry if my last comment “didn’t make a lick of sense” to you. Care to explain further what about it doesn’t make sense to you? I merely responded in plain language to what you had commented.

134   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Eric,

someone who was saved out of that lifestyle

I’ll admit I may be missing something.
Does anybody know how many ex-occult labyrinth walkers there are out there in the first place?

135   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Brett,

If you can’t see that referring to someone as a “sentimental do-gooder” would be commonly understood to be derisive in nature, then I’d say you don’t share the view of most. You fairly plainly referred to one who would be sensitive to your pastors temptations out of love as a “sentimental do-gooder”. You are the one that applied the sentimentality, and then later reinforced that you do not feel it is a virtue. And yes, you can deride people even when speaking hypothetically.

136   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Brett,

Is it important to have an actual number, or are you challenging the fact that there are those who have been called out of that lifestyle, belief, and practice.

I’m surprised overall that a call to consider others in Christian love with Scriptural backing receives almost exclusive rebuttal at this site, with little to no agreement.

137   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

I’m surprised overall that a call to consider others in Christian love with Scriptural backing receives almost exclusive rebuttal at this site, with little to no agreement.

Eric,
My reply in #131 indicated that your call for Christian charity is Scriptural and legitimate.
My contention is that I don’t believe the context warrants that mandate.

138   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Eric,

Care to explain further what about it doesn’t make sense to you? I merely responded in plain language to what you had commented.

Surely. The silliest thing you insinuated was that I haven’t read what the Apostle Paul wrote in the bible, or that the Holy Spirit actually reveals things through the bible; but you seem like a sincere brother so I’m willing to overlook that. (in Christian love)

You insinuated by your comments that drinking in front of someone that struggles with alcoholism is automatically a WRONG thing to do. That just is it not true, and if it’s not true it’s not from God.

139   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Nathanael,

I guess your partial agreemtent would be the “little” in “little to no agreement”. Notice I also used the words “almost exclusive rebuttal”. As to your contention, I guess we’d have to agree to disagree, having already made my contention.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the interaction, but one cannot escape the feeling that one is on the receiving end of “team politics”, when one makes a comment that might be construed as somewhat in support of the overall concern being criticized. This is especially true given the fact that the section of Scripture that I referenced is pretty clear and has not really been interacted with in any meaningful or specific way when people have commented.

140   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Eric,

You are the one that applied the sentimentality

I brought up “sentimentality” because I see it in your position on this matter. We’re all guilty of it at times. The Puritans developed a whole spirituality based on it :)

141   Brendt Waters    http://www.csaproductions.com/blog/
January 8th, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Iggy (#64):

… and dance naked in the yard

Pick a response:

  1. That was one step too many, Iggy.
  2. At least wear your Santa hat.
  3. Now see what you’ve done, Paul.
142   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 4:48 pm

or

4. FREEDOM!

143   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
January 8th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Paul C (#78):

Come on guys – you defend anything on your side of the camp

And therein lies the whole problem. Bad puns on that last word aside, I’m having a really hard time getting “sides of the camp” out of passages like Ephesians 4:4-7.

144   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 8th, 2009 at 4:55 pm

2. At least wear your Santa hat.

Dude!

Some mental images cannot be unseen…

145   Brendt    http://csaproductions.com/blog/
January 8th, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Oh, right, Phil — you were cool with naked Iggy, but add a Santa hat and you freak? ;-)

146   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Eric,

You fairly plainly referred to one who would be sensitive to your pastors temptations out of love as a “sentimental do-gooder”.

You remind me of another story my pastor often tells. He gave up drinking years ago, but still smokes several packs of cigarettes a week. When he spent time as a hospital chaplain, departing patients or visiting family members would often bump into him outside the exits of the hospital. Many times the good hearted people would tell him, “you know father, you really should stop smoking; it’s bad for your health.
His response: “I’ll make you a deal; I’ll stop smoking when you stop sinning”. For some reason he said those conversations always ended abruptly :)

Peace,

147   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Brett,

Am I the only one here that cannot attempt a little bit of humor with a “you know, inspiration”? I apologize that my use of emoticons is limited, but I did not mean to insinuate that you actually weren’t aware of inspiration. It was a joking reference to the fact that you had insinuated that I had direct communication with the Apostle Paul. Perhaps my lack of frequency in commenting here makes my style undiscernable.

While I may have insinuated the situatuion was wrong by straight language, in context of the passage that I quoted, the inference was that I should not have that drink if I know or supsect that it would cause my friend to stumble. That is supported by Scripture. You, then replied by saying without equivocation that “it’s his problem”, not mine, and you shouted (caps) that I would be wrong to lovingly refrain from having the drink. I don’t see how you support that assertion from Scripture, and in fact you haven’t attempted to (that I can see).

148   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Brett,

I’m not sure why I would remind you of that story, as I am not asking anyone to drop their vice, just advocating for Christian love and consideration of someone prone to stumble with a temptation. I’m assuming that you agree that alcoholism and drunkenness are actually sinful.

By the way, in addition to my occasional drink, I’ve been known to have a heater or two, so I guess I’d be the pastor in your story.

Peace to you as well.

149   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Eric,

No need to apologize, sorry if I didn’t get the joke.

I don’t see how you support that assertion from Scripture, and in fact you haven’t attempted to

You are right! If you and the Holy Spirit decide not to drink a beer in front of a weak brother then go for it, you are free to do so.

But don’t tell me that the bible says that I’m wrong for doing so. I can’t show you that in scripture because it’s not in there.

ps – sorry I’m not good with the little faces either, but my tongue is partially in cheek with most of these comments as well. God bless you for having your consciense ruled by the word of God!

150   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Eric,

I’m assuming that you agree that alcoholism and drunkenness are actually sinful.

Drunkeness. There you go, now that is clearly descibed as sin in scripture. (Of course there is plenty of natural evidence to prove it also without even opening the bible)

I wouldn’t describe alchoholism as “sinful”. More of a condition, struggle, temptation, that I would agree does require avoidance of the “near occasion of sin”.

151   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Brett,

I guess I’ll just quote some of the same passage again and mostly let it speak for itself. I am not saying anything of myself, merely trying to apply the language of scripture. Remember, my point originally was about the practice and promotion of “Christianized” occult or pagan practices, not drinking. The purpose of the drinking illustration was to say how I would apply those referenced verses in one particular situation that might arise in my life. I was illustrating how I would restrict my liberty for the good of a brother, as is evidenced by the fact that the illustration immediately followed my exhortation to myself to put the admonition of Paul into practice in my life. I did not project that situation on to others, and the inference was if I new that my drinking in front of a former alcoholic brother could cause him to stumble, I should refrain according to the Apostle Paul.

I try to make examples from my own personal life, so that I can illustrate that I should be the first to follow my own call to restriction of liberty for the good of others.

Thanks for not escalating rhetoric and for accepting my poor attempt at humor. I frankly don’t even know how to use the quote boxes or the emoticons (and I’m not even over 40).

Take care everyone, that will probably end my interaction on this topic as I think I’ve reached the end of what I might be able to offer or explain in regards to my original post.

1Cr 8:12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

1Cr 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”

152   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Oh, right, Phil — you were cool with naked Iggy, but add a Santa hat and you freak?

You guys do read my comments!

iggy

153   Neil    
January 8th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Then again – if they had labyrinths they could completely escape their trials as they walk in concentric circles, looking downward, while garbling a few sentences. – Paul C

More misrepresentation through attacking a caricature which is unlike the real issue…

154   Neil    
January 8th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Eric,

Your point is well taken, and as you can see started a good conversation on the whole “weaker brother” issue.

If Walker had written his blog as a “weaker brother” issue then I (probably) would not have taken issue with him.

But he did not.

He called it “worse than his worst” fears.
He called for repentance.
He demeaned the editor.

I understand the concern. And as some have also said, I have never walked a labyrinth. And your point is one worth discussing.

Walker’s alarmist rant however, is taking something he is averse to, and elevating it to the status if sin 0 which is (to quote our President Elect) above his pay-grade.

155   Eric Van Dyken    
January 8th, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Neil,

While I take some umbrage with the fact that you made the uncalled for and unsupported assumption that Paul Walker’s church did not deal with other “real issues”, I do not necessarily disagree with the main gist of your post. You’ll note earlier that I commented in agreement the some of Mr. Walkers language was over-the-top and that he was likely playing to his audience.

I do also, however, disagree with the premise that Mr. Walker ought to be expected to explain the perceived dangers of the practices everytime he references or warns of them. That is flat-out impractical and not a standard that any of us holds themselves to. Otherwise, when you reference ADM/ODM, you would be expected to explain every time what you it is you mean and what you would warn about concerning ADM/ODM sites. Hardly practical.

My post was an attempt to balance or change the perspective that had been discussed in the comments prior to my comment. As it was, much of the discussion was centered on whether or not it is inerently wrong or wrong at all to participate, and the discussion seemed to be going nowhere. My attempt was to provide a different angle of consideration, one not of “can we”, but “should we” (in certain circumstances or ways).

Thanks for your gracious response.

156   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 8th, 2009 at 6:37 pm

I would suggest that it is obvious that most believers have a position about a range of issues and are either entrenched or ambivilent about any dramatic change. The best hope for education must be with new believers.

“You’ve got to be taught, before it’s too late
Before you are six, or seven or eight…”

South Pacific

157   Brett S    
January 8th, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Eric,

I went back and read the original article again, thinking we probably got off an a tangent (and I’m not so sure we did):

Paul Walker’s article ends by saying:

I had to respond that it is not about my feelings but about Truth.

If he would have warned against the dangers of placing our faith in pray methods, spiritual experiences, or private revelations of the holy spirit instead of faith in Christ alone; then it may have been a true message.

But he seems to be simply saying that labyrinths and Lectio Devina are bad period. In reality they may be just as valid prayer experiences for some Christians, as reading the bible in his prayer closet is for Paul Walker.

158   John Hughes    
January 8th, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Help! I’m writing in on my Blackberry. I stopped off at the local labrynth on the way home to see what all the hub-bub was about. I made it to the center but now I’m lost and can’t find my way back out!

159   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 8th, 2009 at 9:12 pm

John H,

That sounds more like a corn maze than a labyrinth.

iggy

160   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 8th, 2009 at 9:22 pm

I have no issue with special places of meditation. A backyard garden, a porch swing, a certain park, etc.. I have no issue with meditation and in fact practice and encourage it. My issue is with having to use a centuries old object borrowed from pagan rituals. It gives the wrong appearance.

161   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 9th, 2009 at 9:34 am

My attempt was to provide a different angle of consideration, one not of “can we”, but “should we” (in certain circumstances or ways).

And so you did.
Thanks for bringing that perspective to this conversation.

It was a good one.
Shalom

162   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
January 9th, 2009 at 10:07 am

#160
A golf course, at about 72 degrees with a slight breeze early morning or late afternoon with a fine cuban cigar is about as close to perfection for meditation for me.

Even when I am not scoring well…

I have found it is also a marvelous place for counseling!

163   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 9th, 2009 at 10:19 am

A golf course, at about 72 degrees with a slight breeze early morning or late afternoon with a fine cuban cigar is about as close to perfection for meditation for me.

Why do you insist on imitating the pagans with their magical smoking sticks?

From here:

It is widely believed that Christopher Columbus’ crew discovered cigars while exploring Cuba. The Cuban natives smoked a crude form of the modern day cigar during religious ceremonies. The cigar was wrapped with maize and filled with tobacco leaves. Columbus’ crew quickly became accustomed to smoking the cigar and brought back samples of the “Golden Leaf” to Spain. Initially, the smoking of cigars was considered a pagan ritual punished by imprisonment. In fact, one of Columbus’ crew members was imprisoned for smoking. However, after a few years, cigar smoking became widely accepted. Eventually, Spain would build an entire industry around the cigar. Seville, Spain was at the center of this and is recognized as being the birthplace of the modern cigar.

164   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 9th, 2009 at 10:22 am

“Why do you insist on imitating the pagans with their magical smoking sticks?”

I don’t. :cool:

(bondage)

165   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 9th, 2009 at 10:31 am

I love magical smoking sticks.

166   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 9th, 2009 at 10:43 am

“Why do you insist on imitating the pagans with their magical smoking sticks?”

LOL!

I now have a reason not to read Spurgeon as he will lead me into Paganism as he smoked those magical smoking stick….

iggy

167   Brett S    
January 9th, 2009 at 10:56 am

Pastorboy,

#162
Don’t you know those thing will kill you? And besides what would the children think to see a man of God smoking those things. Haven’t you ever heard of Just Say No?

Matthew 18:6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck

DISCLAIMER – I’m well aware that scripture it misapplied here. Just trying to illustrate what a hypothetical sentimental do-gooder response could be. I would guess there are a few more sentimental do-gooders in the church today than ex-occult labyrinth walkers.

Ps – I tried them a few times but never did enjoy smoking cigars, and I never could stand playing golf or understand how anyone could watch it on TV. But if it works for you, then fire them up and meditate away :)

168   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 11th, 2009 at 2:32 pm

The latest missive by Ken addresses the issue of how to draw closer to God. Of course Ken admits to being for drawing closer to God, (wow), yet this comment is startling.

“Let us be perfectly clear here at Apprising Ministries; the idea of a deeper relationship with God is not wrong in and of itself. But it is the Lord Who draws us; we cannot “work” it up.”

Since we have been involved in a vigorous “labyrinth” discussion, what about drawing closer to God in general? And if indeed only God can draw us closer, than why doesn’t He draw everyone? And why can we resist His drawing, but not seek it?

I believe we can “work it up” (although I reject the terminology), and through prayer, the Word, fasting, meditation, worship, and other streams of spiritual disciplines I believe we can draw closer to God.

Doesn’t the Scripture declare “seek Me with your whole heart”? Didn’t God honor the seeking of Cornelious even before he was converted. God didn’t say He was drawing Cornelious arbitrarily, God said He had heard his prayers.

Doesn’t the Word say that God is “a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”? In an attempt to remain loyal to the doctrines of a man called Calvin, many continue to not only teach error, but misrepresent God himself. We CAN seek God, and the Holy Spirit does empower our seeking, and that is also to acknowledge that our ability to seek comes from God as well.

We can disagree about labyrinths and techniques and all the rest, but to proclaim that we cannot seek and FIND God when we become diligent and sincere because only God chooses who He will draw is outside the teaching of Scripture entirely.

The entire premise of Calvin’s theology undermines the gospel and discourages legitimate efforts by the creation to seek their Creator.

“And when you have sought Me with all your heart you will find Me,” saith Calvin the Lord.

169   chris    
January 11th, 2009 at 2:57 pm

“Let us be perfectly clear here at Apprising Ministries; the idea of a deeper relationship with God is not wrong in and of itself. But it is the Lord Who draws us; we cannot “work” it up.”

Well if Ken really believes that he may want to remove the books of Hebrews, James, and Revelation from his bible because all of those books contain references to US “Drawing” closer to God.

170   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 11th, 2009 at 3:01 pm

chris – is it not curious that God draws us without our help, but when it comes to searching and seeking false teachers God seems to be completely dependent on the energy of certain people, including the secular press.

That duplicitous nature of Calvinism is embarrassing.

171   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 11th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

The congregation settled down as Pastor Frueh stepped behind the pulpit.

“This morning, ” he began, “I will be speaking on the topic entitled “How dare you seek God!”.

“I hope God Himself will speak to all of your hearts to quit attempting to reach Him and deepen your relationship with Him. He is unapproachable and will only draw whoever He pleases, not because He needs you or desires you, but just so He can rub all your noses in the truth of His absolute sovereignty. In summation, this is His game and all of you are merely spectators so remain on the bench and God will one day save a few of you and cast the rest in the lake of fire.”

“Do not try and reach out to God or trust His Son, He is orchestrating everything and your feeble attempts to seek Him makes Him angry. To all you who are not elect, resistance is futile. You are headed for hell and the Lord will not even entertain your questions, much less your cries for help. Anyone who sincerely desires to trust Christ but who God has not chosen is an affront to the Almighty and will receive special damnation”

“The invitation this morning is this: anyone who knows for sure, and I mean FOR SURE, you are one of the elect can come forward with proof of your fruit. If you come forward and the elders deem your profession to be false, you will be mocked, jeered, and used as sermon fodder for years to come. To the elect this morning: You have been chosen to identify and expose everyone who you know is not chosen and professes Jesus falsely. God needs laborers.”

Pastor Frueh and his family left the building and headed for a sumptuous lunch buffet, content in the knowledge that he had been the scorching mouthpiece for Almight God, and that all non-elect sinners would never come back. Good riddens!!

172   Eric Van Dyken    
January 14th, 2009 at 10:43 am

Rick,

Your strawman misrepresentations of Calvinism are patently ridiculous. Time and time again you insert your Calvanism-bashing into numerous unrelated blogposts. Your criticisms of Calvinism bely a serious lack of understanding of Calvinist theology. Your usually thoughtful and well reasoned comments turn ugly, condescending, and out of touch with reality when you broach this topic. You might want to reconsider your approach before you take any more opportunities to point out other peoples’ strawmen, hyperbole, misrepresentations, or generalizations. If you have no desire to truly understand Calvinism, then so be it, but your continual misrepresentations are tantamount to slander.

173   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 14th, 2009 at 10:57 am

EVD,

Slandering who? Really I have talked to many “Calvinists” who do not even know what they believe… one was telling me they existed before creation as to explain Eph 1: 4-5… So why not go after those who claim Calvin and teach unbiblical things instead of those who don’t

Really it seems you lack the grace to allow someone to disagree with Calvin. He had some great things to say, but he was wrong on some points…

It is clear from Scripture God atoned for the sins of all mankind… not just the Elect. Those only those who are Elect in the end will be saved, the potential was and is open that anyone can be saved.

In fact the reason I am not a Calvinist is due to James White who does incredible and complicated gymnastics to prove “whosoever” does not mean “whosoever” as well as gymnastics to prove Calvinism in many other passages. I would consider him the best at apologetics for Calvinism… but as I read his logical leaps and bounds it became clear to me that it takes too much faith to be a Calvinist and less to be a Believer in Christ alone for salvation.

Most Calvinists will argue their beliefs till the death… the problem is that we are not saved by our belief… we are saved by the Person of Jesus Who gives us the very faith to believe with. All is of God…

I will add again that much of hte misinformation about Calvinism comes from Calvinists themselves… so, I admonish you to use the “Doctrines of Grace” and instead of tossing out “slander” give and practice the grace that you claim to believe in…

iggy

174   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 14th, 2009 at 10:58 am

EVD,

I’d just observe that Rick is being more honest than most Calvinists by taking some of their ludicrous positions to their logical conclusions. Systematic theologies are futile attempts to explain God which do more to separate the body than to unite it, and the sooner we’re rid of them, the better…

175   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 14th, 2009 at 11:16 am

I’ve always found it funny when Calvinist resort to the, “well, you don’t really understand what I believe” argument. I mean, TULIP is pretty easy to understand – I think I learned about in 4th grade history or something.

I can at least respect a guy like John Piper because he’s at least honest enough to come out and support the logical conclusions of his beliefs. For example, he will freely say that since God chose some for salvation, He automatically chose some for damnation as well.

176   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 14th, 2009 at 11:19 am

I find it funny that many of the Calvinist I talk to never even have read Calvin… they believe the modernist version of Calvinism.

iggy

177   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 14th, 2009 at 11:37 am

My fictional narrative was in response to Ken’s statement about “it is the Lord that draws us” which in reformed theology means God attaches a tractor beam to an unwilling sinner and drags that sinner to Himself. I cannot see how that offends any Calvinist since aside from my own biased verbiage it accurately represents what Calvinists believe.

I believe the Scriptures cleary teach that God has given man a free will and although it is true God does draw us, we can cooperate with Him or say no. God Himself says “I called but you would not come”. In the light of overwhelming Scriptural evidence, the notion that man does not have a free will is indefensible.

“You might want to reconsider your approach before you take any more opportunities to point out other peoples’ strawmen, hyperbole, misrepresentations, or generalizations.”

In your list you forgot hatred, malice, self righteousness, hubris, condescention, pride, and a total disgust for anyone who doesn’t fit into their myopic spiritual box.

Other than that, I will reconsider my approach…perhaps, maybe. :cool:

178   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 14th, 2009 at 11:40 am

My brother and I were just having this conversation last night. He asked me if I was Calvanist or Arminianist. I told him I am a Biblicalist. He said that was a cop-out.

It was a great conversation.
Open Theism, in many ways, is beginning to make more and more sense to me biblically.

Lord help!

179   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 14th, 2009 at 11:42 am

Nathanael – I believe open theism is a compromise. I believe in Wide Open Theism!!

180   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 14th, 2009 at 11:43 am

To answer my brother’s question, I restated my testimony. I never, NEVER, never in a million years would have chosen Christ had He not relentlessly pursued me…never.
That being said, there was a moment in my life that I vividly remember when I surrendered my life to Him.

I had the choice at that moment to continue in my life of rebellion and sin, or to turn to the risen Christ and embrace Him as my only hope of salvation.

181   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 14th, 2009 at 11:44 am

Rick, ever the wordsmith.

182   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 14th, 2009 at 11:49 am

There is no doubt I chose Christ, and that free will was a gift from God as well. Since I have been saved, I have said yes many times and no many times to Christ. To suggest we do not have a God given free will is just being loyal to a theology and not Biblical evidence and unmistakeable personal experience.

There is a mystery that exists between God’s sovereignty and transpiring events in man’s history, however He is neither a puppeteer nor a disinterested bystander.

183   Nathanael    http://borrowedbreath.com/
January 14th, 2009 at 11:56 am

I know Greg Boyd gets a lot of flak, but when you listen to that man preach, he is clearly very passionate about the glory of God, about the power and wisdom of God.

I was raised in a small closed church that was very Reformed. I’m with you, Rick, in recognizing the daily (moment-by-moment) yes’s and no’s I say to my Lord.

He gives me a choice now to walk and live as a son. To often I choose to live as a rebel.

One of the qualities about my God for which I am most grateful is His limitless patience with me.

184   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 14th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

I find it strange that the early church fathers taught free will… yet a Calvinst will deny it… or they will say we have it yet somehow we don’t.

Iraenius we a direct disciple of John… so I think he might have some authority… at least more than a 1600th century reformer

Irenaeus Against Heresies Book IV
Chapter XXXVII.-Men are Possessed of Free Will, and Endowed with the Faculty of Making a Choice. It is Not True, Therefore, that Some are by Nature Good, and Others Bad.
1. This expression [of our Lord], “How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldest not,”597 set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free [agent] from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the behests (ad utendum sententia) of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will [towards us] is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man, as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves. On the other hand, they who have not obeyed shall, with justice, be not found in possession of the good, and shall receive condign punishment: for God did kindly bestow on them what was good; but they themselves did not diligently keep it, nor deem it something precious, but poured contempt upon His super-eminent goodness. Rejecting therefore the good, and as it were spuing it out, they shall all deservedly incur the just judgment of God, which also the Apostle Paul testifies in his Epistle to the Romans, where he says, “But dost thou despise the riches of His goodness, and patience, and long-suffering, being ignorant that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest to thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” “But glory and honour,” he says, “to every one that doeth good.”598 God therefore has given that which is good, as the apostle tells us in this Epistle, and they who work it shall receive glory and honour, because they have done that which is good when they had it in their power not to do it; but those who do it not shall receive the just judgment of God, because they did not work good when they had it in their power so to do.

iggy

185   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 14th, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Iggy – I will use my free will and agree with you.

186   S.J. Walker    http://alionhasroared.com
February 12th, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Shameless drive by to follow:

#169

Well if Ken really believes that he may want to remove the books of Hebrews, James, and Revelation from his bible because all of those books contain references to US “Drawing” closer to God.

The command to draw close does not facilitate the ability for the yet unbelieving human to draw himself toward God of his own accord. The commands to do so are universal calls to repentance. The commands therefore necessitate the ability, but not always facilitate. It is God’s sovereign grace that facilitates. By His grace, those whom He calls are given free ability turn in repentance at the gate of salvation.

Many of the calls to “draw close” to Him as alluded to by the above quoted comment are directed as current beleivers–a whole different arrangement. As sinners saved by Grace, they have full freedom and much aided ability to indeed “draw close”.

Again, I find it interesting how just about every comment thread I’ve ever explored here VERY often ends up a rant against the evils of “Calvinism”. Both them that denounce it and them that claim it quite often know very little of it. Personally, neither do I as such. So this is only what I believe from what I have read, learned and trusted.

Now, feel free to carry on and use my words and arguments against me. :)

Grace and peace.

187   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 12th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Since I am the leader of the antiCalvinist rebellion, let me briefly address your comment SJ. I am aware, however, that you will not understand unless God opens your heart. :cool:

God says “When you seek Me with your whole heart you will find Me.”

Question: Does God ever draw a person to seek with less than their whole heart?

Jesus said ” How often I would have gathered you as a hen her chicks, but YOU would not”.

Question: How could Jerusalem resist if God’s drawing grace is irresistable?

BTW brother I couldn’t resist replying! (I do enjoy reading your blog from time to time. I filter out the unbiblical Calvinist stuff!

188   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 12th, 2009 at 9:05 pm

“And He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”

What is God rewarding? His own irresistable grace?