The one thing that really irks my noodle (my brain), more than any other thing, about blogging is the sanctimonious feel to it all. Particularly “Christian” blogs. The basic outline of a Christian blog goes a little something like this:

This is what I think
This is what God thinks
Not surprisingly God and I think alike.
Anyone who disagrees is obviously not like God.
Anyone who disagrees is obviously less like God than I am.
Discuss.

It’s rather, how should I say, pathetic. Now before anyone think I’m excluding myself from the fraternity of pious blather spewers let me say I am fully aware of my ability to believe I’m right on everything. For why would I pontificate on anything that I’m not convinced that I know completely? What’s even more comical is the feigned offense I take when others don’t see it my way. It’s comical because I really shouldn’t take myself so seriously. Even more comical is that I feel the need to feign offense at a comment, moniker, and IP address. Is it possible I’m OCD about ODM’s?

Don’t believe me? Check out some of the things I’ve written here. Or better yet check out your blog, or your favorite blog, or your Aunt Jenny’s blog. Sure; sometimes you may mask the outline with witty banter or obfuscate a point with some ten cent words but I assure you that somewhere on any Christian blog the outline will work.

Want to be risky or risque start posting about your penchant for certain sins. Or that one thought you had about that one woman. Or maybe how you really feel about Aunt Jenny. Nah…that would be too…non-christian. After all a blog has standards and etiquette. Well at least that’s what I tell myself. Maybe you’re more able than I am to cut to the quick or rather quick to cut.

Whatever your motivation to blog may I suggest to you (and myself) that Paul reminds us to not “…think more highly of ourselves than we ought”. But Paul must not realize how many blog hits I get a day. Or the emails supporting my “ministry”. Or that one time that one guy invited me to his internet radio talk show. At least that’s what I tell my friends when they ask about my incessant rambling about Emergent.

Well I gotta get going I’ve got a facebook convo with Doug, Tony, Mark S., Brian, Rob, Phyllis, Peter, Scot, and Mark D. they really need my advice on the next steps for world domination. What would they ever do without me? What would God do without me?

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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 11th, 2009 at 11:56 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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46 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
June 12th, 2009 at 7:09 am

All of us must come to embrace certain truths. This is a process that grows over time accompanied by changes, restructure, refinement, and moving around some truths to different levels of importance. And there should be, there must be, a certain core set of beliefs upon which all other truths and perspectives stand or fall.

These core beliefs should be open and unambiguous expressions of the Christian faith, and they should be the last bastion from which we will not be moved. And if after 34 years I have not arrived at those core beliefs I am pulled to and fro from all winds of doctrine.

Throw out eschatology if you like, toss away gender roles or gifts of the Spirit, jettison inerrancy or even understandings of the Trinity, and all other fringe issues. But we can never move from the truth that God in the flesh paid for our sins on the cross, rose from the dead, and that only and purely by faith in Jesus and His atonement can a sinner be eternally forgiven and find a place with God forever.

No amount of feeding the poor has any weight with God apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ. If a person fed the entire world and healed every sick person but did not believe in Christ he is forever lost in that condition.

It is good and right to challenge all of us to more and better works of righteousness and compassion. It is poisonous to do that with almost no reference or tethering to faith, pure faith, in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is why He came and this is His message to the world.

We are saved completely by faith. This is what must be defended rigoursly among the Christian blogs. This is not a trifle and it is not a psuedo-argument. This is the pinnacle of the Christian faith itself and it is the one area which can never be relegated to water cooler coversation status.

God doesn’t need me, He calls me.

2   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
June 12th, 2009 at 8:40 am

But we can never move from the truth that God in the flesh paid for our sins on the cross, rose from the dead, and that only and purely by faith in Jesus and His atonement can a sinner be eternally forgiven and find a place with God forever.

I probably should just let this go, but it isn’t possible for someone to believe that Jesus died and rose again and that He’s the Son of God without adhering to a particular type of atonement theology? I guess I’m just trying to understand why this one issue seems to be a sticking point with you.

I’m not even saying that I disagree with the idea that Jesus was our substitute. All I’m saying is that I don’t see where believing in a certain conception of the atonement is a requirement for salvation. Like you said, it’s faith alone through which we are saved. I think there are all sorts of different ways that a person can be brought to see that he needs Jesus.

3   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
June 12th, 2009 at 8:49 am

Phil – A 8 yr. old sinner can believe on Christ and be born again without a specific and accurate understanding of the atonement. My comment is directed at the church’s teachers and stable of foundational truths. That is my “sticking point” because if left unattended the atonement will eventually become a historical curiosity rather than the very fabric of our teaching.

And if we teach and present the Christian faith without that substitutionary essence we have left the faith. Every view, in the Victorious and Ransom theories, are substitutionary at there core. What disturbs me most and what I feared about the emrgent movement was that their elevation of humanitarian works would eventually become their redemptive message.

This has now taken place in some quarters.

4   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
June 12th, 2009 at 9:19 am

That is my “sticking point” because if left unattended the atonement will eventually become a historical curiosity rather than the very fabric of our teaching.

Well, the understanding of the atonement has continually changed through Church history, so it’s not surprising that it will continue to evolve. To me the actual mechanisms involved in the cross are secondary to acknowledging that Jesus actually died and rose again. None of the historic creeds mention anything about certain atonement theories.

5   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
June 12th, 2009 at 9:22 am

But, Phil, that is an aside and not to my point. It seems to me that some of the most prominent emergent teachers speak eloquently and philosophically about Christianity and its compassionate outreach with very little is any focus on the faith in Jesus and His redemptive work.

It appears exclusively humanitarian.

6   Joe C    
June 12th, 2009 at 10:26 am

I was thinking about this, what happened on the Cross and all…

The Bible describes what happened on the Cross in many ways, which is why there are different theories of the atonement. You certainly have (and I think most obviously) Ransom and Subsitution, and some other viewpoints as well. I don’t believe they’re all mutually exclusive with each other. In fact, they are part of the whole story, really.

However what is most important is that through the death of Christ, and His ressurection, man and creation alike can and will be reconciled to God. The how, while very important to our faith, is still just shadowed by the aforementioned fact.

As for self-righteousness and self-importance in the blogsphere, we could all learn that lesson.

Joe C

7   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
June 12th, 2009 at 10:32 am

It appears exclusively humanitarian.

This is true.
We need to be on guard.

On the very entertaining blog “Stuff Christians Like” a conversation ensued regarding tracts.
I know we had a similar one(s) here.

One commentor mentioned that handing out tracts without any sort of interaction or conversation is like doing deeds of compassion without expressing vocally the love of Christ.

I spoke a few months ago at our church regarding Christ’s words that we are salt AND light. We need to BE little Christs, but we also need to TELL others about Him.

8   Joe    
June 12th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

It’s interesting in Philippians Paul says that his greatest ambition in life is to know Christ. Jeremiah has some interesting things to say about what it is to know God. He says,

“Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him.He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the LORD. “

9   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
June 12th, 2009 at 12:41 pm

#8 – And that is exactly what Rollins does, he culls out certain Scriptures, tethering them together, and come to an unscriptural conclusion. No, Joe, feeding the poor is not preaching the gospel and you cannot know Christ by receiving a loaf of bread without the gospel.

“He who has not the Son has not life.”

“He who has been given a loaf of bread but who has not the Son has not life.” (RF)

10   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
June 12th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Reminds me of this quote:

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread. -Mahatma Gandhi

or perhaps this:

14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

11   Joe    
June 12th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

#9
I’ve never read Rollins. That’s a direct quote of Jeremiah. Rick, if you don’t like the Prophet, take it up with him.

12   Joe    
June 12th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

BTW, I mean Jeremiah.

13   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
June 12th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Actually it is God. Are you suggesting one can know Christ through the distribution of bread, or are you being volitionally obtuse?

14   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
June 12th, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Phil – Did you purposely change the dynamic of my comment, or did you not understand the essence of what I said? I was not discounting works of compassion alongside the gospel message, I was disputing that those works were how to know God.

The Black Panthers have and continue to distribute large amounts of bread to the needy. Mormons, JWs, and all sorts of cults do the same. That is my point. I am sorry of I was not clear. :cool:

15   Joe    
June 12th, 2009 at 1:05 pm

#13.
No, I’m not. I’m saying that if you say you know God, there are some verses in Jeremiah that might be a good litmus test to compare your life against. Again, not you in particular, you as in Humanity.

16   Joe    
June 12th, 2009 at 1:06 pm

What do you think those verses in Jeremiah mean?

17   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
June 12th, 2009 at 1:13 pm

If I understand you, I can agree. Every good work is a template for believers, but just doing good works does not preach the gospel to others and they do not lead the doer of them to Christ. Devotion to Christ is more than just systematic Theology, and I have spoken at length about that self righteous view.

However, there must be an element of pursuing Scriptural truth that embraces both an inward growth through truth and an outward expression of both that inward growth and obedience to the obvious commands to all believers.

If the outside of the cup remains dirty, it is surely possible the inside has problems as well. And I agree that we pick certain dirts and ignore other outside dirts that the Scripture reference. It is possible to attempt to clean the outside and suggest that is also cleaning the inside. It is not.

(The verse in Jeremiah are reminding Israel of God’s faithfulness)

18   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
June 12th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Phil – Did you purposely change the dynamic of my comment, or did you not understand the essence of what I said? I was not discounting works of compassion alongside the gospel message, I was disputing that those works were how to know God.

All I’m saying is that feeding the poor isn’t something that can be separated from the Gospel. I’ve not actually heard anyone involved with the Emergent movement say that feeding the poor would save anybody.

19   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
June 12th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

I have heard several say that until someone else tells me that was not what they meant. And that is the burr in my saddle that was especially painful yesterday. If Ken Silva utters something oblique, everyone seems to clearly interpret it in the worst light. The reverese with someone like Rollins.

If Rollins was pictured shaking hands with Satan some would say they reject the GBA logic. That is a problem you guys refuse to see, much less address.

20   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
June 12th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

If Ken Silva utters something oblique, everyone seems to clearly interpret it in the worst light.

Oblique? Ken is usually pretty clearly just plain wrong.

If Rollins was pictured shaking hands with Satan some would say they reject the GBA logic. That is a problem you guys refuse to see, much less address.

Well he could have been just preparing to put him a headlock… looks can be deceiving. :-)

21   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
June 12th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Well he could have been just preparing to put him a headlock…

Then again… maybe not.

22   Joe C    
June 12th, 2009 at 1:59 pm

If there’s any question about the place of good works/deeds being a part of the Gospel that can never be removed, look at Jesus’ life and ministry. The Good News was preached with the ‘Good Deeds’ to back it up. Still is today.

Like someone once said, put your ‘money’ where your mouth is.

Joe

23   Joe C    
June 12th, 2009 at 2:02 pm

PS, Phil,

I like that Gandhi quote.

24   thetemplate ofegotisticalchristendom    
June 12th, 2009 at 5:51 pm

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread. -Mahatma Gandhi

So does Ghandi support transubstantiation?

So don’t think of ourselves more highly than we should means….
don’t correct, don’t rebuke, don’t speak the truth.
Sounds like Paul is at odds with himself. Only by your poor interpretation.

Omnis intellectus ac expositio Scripturae sit analogia fidei (all understanding and exposition of Scripture is an analogy of faith)

“There must be a consistency in all revealed truth because it represents absolute truth in the mind of God. Therefore each passage can have only one certain and simple sense. As the infallibly inspired word of God, the Scriptures are reliable, self-consistent and carry within them all that is needed for clarity. Since all that God makes known fits with what He knows perfectly, it is always proper to assume that no contradictions or dual realities can be attached to what He speaks. If ideas seem to be in conflict, we have wrongly understood a text. Very likely an unsound assumption or method has been introduced into our reasoning.”
Bob Burridge

25   Douglas K. Adu-Boahen    http://www.wired4truth.info
June 13th, 2009 at 7:13 am

I noted something from the Book of Acts. When a humanitarian crisis emerged, the Apostles didn’t roll up their sleeves and deal with that at the expense of prayer and the ministry of the Word – they appointed godly people to do that. What I find is that if the Apostles were around in Rollins’ general area, he’d tell them to cut it out and go do something of real value.

Social action is important, however it ought never to take precedence over what is “of first importance” (1 Cor 15:1) – the proclamation of the Gospel to dead sinners. Feed a man physically and he’ll live to see tomorrow. Fail to feed him spiritually with the Gospel – he’ll die in his sins.

26   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
June 13th, 2009 at 7:59 am

#24 – Excellent point. Does it not seem as if hospitality and ministering to the poor were especially interactive within the body of Christ as well? Humanitarian works of compassion must be emphasized and exhorted within the church, however they must never be presented as part of the gospel itself.

These works are without salvation merit, and although Cornelius gave alms he needed the gospel preached to him in order to be saved. Even the angel did not preach the gospel to him but instucted him to send for other believers and do what they say.

Later when Peter rehearsed the event to others he makes no mention of alms or the poor but tells of the faith of the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius and their glorious salvation. The gospel message plus faith is the salvation of God.

In the spiritual economy of Rollins, his alms giving would have led him to God.

There are many people and organizations who wonderfully and sacrificially give to the poor and minister to their needs around the world. But if these same people die in their sins without Christ they will be lost eternally. This is no minor doctrinal squabble, this is the heart of the gospel.

No right minded believer is arguing against ministering to and helping people in need, quite the contrary. But what some of us are saying is that there are men who are elevating those works to gospel status, even in this thread quoting verses out of context to suggest that God reveals Himself and His redemption through food.

The rich man dined sumptuously but instead of finding God he eventually found hell.

27   Chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
June 13th, 2009 at 9:05 am

Humanitarian works of compassion must be emphasized and exhorted within the church, however they must never be presented as part of the gospel itself.

Well according to James…and Acts 2…and Jesus they seem to be an important part of us living out our faith. In fact I would go so far as to say that if you don’t have these you may not be saved. Humanitarian aid without Christ is not the gospel at all but Christ without Humanitarian aid is not the COMPLETE gospel.

Additionally find me one direct quote, in context, from anyone, anywhere who calls themselves a follower of Christ who has ever said anything remotely close to Aid will save someone.

28   Douglas K. Adu-Boahen    http://www.wired4truth.info
June 13th, 2009 at 9:50 am

In fact I would go so far as to say that if you don’t have these you may not be saved.

Funny, I thought salvation was by grace through faith in Christ, apart from works (Romans 4:1-8, Titus 3:5).

It’s funny that in all the proclamations of the Gospel we find in the Book of Acts, none of them explicitly mention humanitarian aid as essential to salvation.

29   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
June 13th, 2009 at 10:09 am

*Ho Hum…*

Someone send me an email when we’re done discussing Rollins, who wasn’t the subject of this OP, either…

Or when we decide to become an ODM, as well…

*******
In the meantime, since it appears we can divert a thread to any darn subject, how about we discuss the new iPhone? This past week, Steve Jobs announced that the new iPhone 3GS will be released the last week of June. From what I can tell, this is only an update to the 3G speed and some tweaks to the GPS capabilities.

I’m hoping that a number of the annoyances – major and minor – are addressed in this version.

And that someone other than AT&T can support iPhones. Until Verizon does, I’ll just wait…

30   Joe C    
June 13th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Doug,

You misunderstood what Chris was saying.

He was saying if you had no desire in you to help others in need, then how can you have saving faith? It says as much in James 2. It has nothing to do with works based salvation, but a true salvation that spurs you on to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. Real faith has outward action. I hope you get it now.

People gotta learn to give each other the benefit of the doubt, sheesh.

As for me, I believe any Gospel presentation that ignores the dire needs of that person (say a destitute starving family), fails at it’s very foundation to be Christian at all. Preach and heal. Simple right?

Anyone?

31   Joe C    
June 13th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

PS, Sprint owns my soul, so I’m hoping they can support iPhone someday.

32   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
June 13th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

We were on Sprint for awhile – a long time ago – but w/ the kids, we found that dropping the land line and adding a few phones to the plan was the cheapest, most flexible way to go.

I’d really like an iPhone, but until AT&T loses its lock…

I can wait.

33   chris    
June 13th, 2009 at 1:59 pm

You misunderstood what Chris was saying.

Exactly Joe…I was simply stating that Fruit is the evidence of our faith.

Jesus said that religion that is worthwhile is that which cares for the widow and orphan. Was he advocating “works” salvation or merely stating that when our heart is right our actions should bear witness to that?

34   Joe C    
June 13th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Right Chris….

But I think it was James who wrote the widow and orphan statement. You could say Jesus said as much though.

35   Chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
June 13th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Yeah a slip of the keyboard. Thanks for the clarifying. :)

I believe that if the Canon was being assembled today there again would be vigorous debate over including James.

36   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
June 13th, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Yes it was James that said those “heretical” things. He basically said that if there are no works that can prove your faith there is no faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God and to be saved. But faith without the resulting good works that faith produces in us is no faith at all.

37   Chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
June 13th, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Sola Scriptura Eugene…Sola Scriptura!

38   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
June 13th, 2009 at 3:16 pm

You want Sola Scriptura? Matthew 25:31-46… A cup of water and some bread to the least of these can get you a place in heaven…

39   Joe C    
June 13th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

I believe James to be consistent with the rest of the Bible. He’s just saying the same thing in different ways. Perhaps if the canon was being assembled today people would debate over it and misinterpret it like we do with “emergents” and other “liberals” nowadays.

40   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
June 13th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

I don’t understand your comment about the “emergents” and other “liberals” Joe C.

41   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
June 13th, 2009 at 3:51 pm

“Matthew 25:31-46… A cup of water and some bread to the least of these can get you a place in heaven…”

Wow…

42   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
June 13th, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Rick,
I see Matthew 25 in the light of James (comment #36). We are saved by grace through faith, faith which is a gift from God. That faith produces good works, good works like those Jesus speaks of in Matthew 25. If there is no good works coming forth it means there has been no faith to start with.

How would you understand Matthew 25?

43   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
June 13th, 2009 at 4:11 pm

The same as you’ve stated, however your former comment was ambiguous and misleading.

44   Eugene    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
June 13th, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Sorry about that then…

45   Joe C    
June 14th, 2009 at 12:44 am

What I meant by the ‘emergent and liberals’ thing was that if we debated the canon of James today, we’d do it much like others have done with the emergent movement which is most of the time considered ‘liberal’ by others. I didn’t explain it very well.

It pretty much didn’t make any sense, I’m nuts today lol. Let’s just say we’d be calling each other liberals and heretics pretty quickly if we were debating the cannon of James.

46   Brendt Waters    http://www.csaproductions.com/blog/
June 15th, 2009 at 10:48 am

I don’t have an Aunt Jenny; therefore Chris is obviously an apostate.