“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. – Jesus (according to Matthew 7).

Recently a group I am part of studied these verses and the surrounding context.  It is quite possible that this excerpt from Jesus’ sermon is one of the most oft quoted and oft misquoted of his proverbial sayings.  Contrary to our cultural pressure; it is obvious from the context that Jesus is not making an absolute prohibition against judging others.  It is equally clear that Jesus is calling for judgments that are fair, informed, and free of hypocrisy.

Shortly after this study I came across a new entry into the Museum of Idolatry.  It is a posting of a video… offered without comment, explanation, nor objection.  It carries the simple title: Marriage Dance?. The comments in response to the posting are but three, yet they acutely illustrate Jesus’ concerns about judging.

The posting and comments exemplify the insatiable need felt by many within the Body of Christ to judge others without restraint, without context, without relationship, and without a proper understanding of culture, and from a decided ethnocentric point of view.  In short – they judge by a standard they would never want applied to them.  They judge by a selfish standard of their own creation.

The dance is offered as an “artifact of apostasy”  - an example of “the Great Apostasy that is sweeping through the “Christian” Church.”  The misuse of 2 Thessalonians in this context will not be pursued, what will be asked is why the posting is entitled “Marriage Dance?”  What purpose does the question mark play? What is being questioned; there marriage status, their ability to dance?

The real travesty plays out in the three short comments.  The comments display and incredible lack of cultural insight and abundance of ethnocentrism – of improper judging.

Comment:

I couldn’t watch the whole thing, I turned it off before 2 mins were up. What is this doing in a church service? How is it edifying our Savior? I’m sorry but I would have walked out if I was there in person. The only good thing I have to say, it that at least they were married to each other (I hope). Still, not the thing to be showing in church!

It’s unfortunate this person cannot appreciate the manner in which people who are different from him/her express themselves to God.  Marriage was created by God.  The marriage covenant is one of the grander illustrations of the Trinitarian nature of our God… it also serve as an illustration for the relationship between our Savior and his Church.  Therefore, this dance could edify our Savior because it celebrates marriage.  And just why is this not appropriate for church?  How do you know it was a worship service?  Or is dance always inappropriate within a space used for worship?

Dance has a rich heritage in the African culture and nothing in Scripture prohibits it as an expression of God’s greatness.  The description of the video itself (which I suspect the commenter did not bother to research) gave the reason for the dance – “Married couples minister in dance: Giving thanks and honor to God for the blessing of marriage.”  Apparently thanks can only be given to God in a way that is culturally acceptable to Shar.

In response to this comment came:

You are so right, this is what is wrong with the churches today. It is suppose to be worship of the Most high God, not lifting up of the flesh.

Married couples giving thanks and honor to God for the blessing of marriage through dance is what is wrong with the churches today?  Seriously?  Again, no rationale is given as to why this is wrong, just the declaration that it is.  Though Floyd does add one clear objection – it lifted up the flesh.  This is an interesting (and rather cliché) objection. Since the Most High God created the flesh, created marriage, created the physical and spiritual bond… how is celebrating that “fleshly”  - in the improper sense.  Particularly when done in a tasteful manner.  Nothing in this video was inappropriately suggestive, or erotic.  Makes me wonder how Floyd would respond to… oh… say the Song of Solomon.  Talk about lifting up the flesh!

The final comment agreed:

Even worse than the obviously inappropriate, human-centered dance, is all the womens’ voices I hear cat calling in the background; makes me understand why Paul said women should be silent in the assembly. Boy, was he right.

This one made me laugh.  “Human (or man) – centered” is another cliché that is so over used it has become meaningless.  It’s basically code for “Anything I dislike.”  But Melba also shows a lack of understanding of the audience’s response.  No one was making cat calls.  They simply responded audibly to what they were seeing.

The bottom line is these comments show how easy it is to take our own cultural standards and assume them to be biblical… to impose on others the same cultural (as opposed to biblical) standards we hold… to assume the way we do things is the only biblical was to do things… to judge others who are different as inappropriate, as an examples of apostasy, as sinful – not on biblical standards, but upon personal preferences.

Appendices to address expected objections:

A – I am not accusing anyone of hypocrisy.  I do not know the poster or those who commented.  Nor do I intend to fully defend the Marriage Dance.  In fact, one could have come up with all sorts of biblical/legitimate objections to the theology and practice of a UCC church.

B – I found the dance posted twice on YouTube (here and here).  Each posting gives one line to describe the video.  They are “The Married Couples Dance Ministry of trinity united church of christ in chicago dance to BabyFace” and “Married couples minister in dance: Giving thanks and honor to God for the blessing of marriage.”  Neither video gave the context of the dance.

C – The issue here is not one of race, and certainly not racism.  The issue is judging others without the facts and from a false premise.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 at 11:55 am and is filed under Church and Society, Commenting, Music and Art. 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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65 Comments(+Add)

1   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
October 20th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

I could not watch it because of the lack of modesty demonstrated by the women.
I agree with Chris, what does this have to do with Jesus? What place does this really have in the church? Isn’t church to build up and equip the saints for ministry?

2   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
October 20th, 2010 at 9:28 pm

#1 So said David’s wife

3   Anne    
October 20th, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Neil is judging, Neil is judging. Hypocrisy alert…I nearly sprayed my gin and tonic when I read this post. Seriously, Neil?

4   Neil    
October 20th, 2010 at 11:48 pm

anne,

of course i am judging. i never said i was not. nor did i say they should not. so there is no hypocrisy. i say they are improperly judging… they are illustrating jesus’ point.

now, if you contend that i am improperly judging as well… that is not hypocrisy – it’s irony.

5   Neil    
October 20th, 2010 at 11:57 pm

I could not watch it because of the lack of modesty demonstrated by the women.

pastorboy, comments like this cannot be taken seriously. i see women showing nearly a much skin on your website as the women on that video bare… nearly as much. that’s not to say there is anything improper on your site – just pointing out your silliness.

6   Neil    
October 21st, 2010 at 12:00 am

I agree with Chris, what does this have to do with Jesus? What place does this really have in the church?

did you read the post?

either you are saying a celebration of god’s gift of marriage has no place in the life of the church, or the manner in which they have chosen to celebrate and give thanks is wrong (and not just wrong it is apostasy, it is an artifact of the great falling away of the church)

which is it?

are you saying god is not pleased, jesus is not exalted, when the covenant relationship created by the former and illustrated by the latter is thankfully celebrated by the church… or are you are saying people cannot express thanks to god through dance?

i say – show me where god prohibits either.

7   Neil    
October 21st, 2010 at 12:05 am

Isn’t church to build up and equip the saints for ministry?

of course the church is to build up and equip the saints – but is it all the church does?

it is not… but you know this…

was there a point to the question?

8   Neil    
October 21st, 2010 at 12:14 am

anne made a charge that was incorrect and pastorboy made two statements that are as pointless as they are tangential.

the only statement made so far is an implication by pastorboy that the dance is an inappropriate expression of thanks to god. yet no one has shown how or why it is so.

9   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 5:35 am

To me, a white Anglo-Saxon, it was a little strange. But I agree, it’s probably cultural. I have danced in church before the Lord.

It is interesting that apostasy seems to be judged by waht people do, and never what people do not do. For instance, this dance is viewed as denying the faith, but when people sit in pews, sing hymns without emotion while their eyes are darting all around, and are convinced that they themselves are good to go before God because everyone else is so bad, that is acceptable.

I did not see any immodesty on the video. Man centered? Perhaps, but how can person think on good things (Phil.4:8) if they are constantly screening all forms of media looking for signs of apostasy to stuff and add to the big game wall.

Is it man centered to elevate ourselves by insisting we are not man centered? Ah, hypocrisy is the most sophisticated of all the sins.

(BTW – With the state of the black family and marriage, I would think we white pharisees would cut them a little slack and pray for God to help them!)

Legalizing gay marriage? I have no position except the redemption found in Jesus alone.

10   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
October 21st, 2010 at 9:03 am

This is the most judgmental and intolerant blogsite ever. You judge me for making a righteous judgment of the exposure of the chest.

Marriage should be celebrated by the man being like Jesus Christ and treating His wife like Christ treats the church. The wife should celebrate marriage by respecting her husband. They should both celebrate marriage by living within that covenant together for as long as they live. When we do this in the context of church, God is glorified, people are edified and built up for ministry and for marriage.

This silly and pornographic dance does neither. It may celebrate marriage in the eyes of the world from a surface and shallow point of view, but it is typical of the focus of the sex sermon mentality of most post-modern american evangelical churches.

11   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 9:09 am

What’s interesting to me is that there no where in the Scriptures (and I’m sure Floyd Brown would consider himself ’sola scriptura’) that says Sunday gatherings must exclusively be for “worship of the Most high God.” The Bible does admonish us that our lives are to be that, but not Sunday gatherings. The early church in Acts met daily, sharing everything in common, breaking bread, encouraging each other, admonishing each other, etc. And in the Pauline epistles, the purpose of gathering together is for the building up of the body, for edification, etc.

Obviously, in this situation, the elders or pastors or whoever is overseeing this congregation, believed that it would edify and encourage and build up the body to see a public demonstration of the love husbands and wives have for each other. And they didn’t violate the Scriptures.

And the comment about women being “silent in the assembly” made me laugh at first. And then it made me sad for Melba.

12   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 9:12 am

John, please tell me that your description of the dance is for shock purposes only. Please tell me that you do not really believe that it is “pornographic.” Please.

13   Neil    
October 21st, 2010 at 9:13 am

re #10

the fact that you call this site the most judgmental “ever” – the fact you call the video unrighteousness for exposure of the chest – the fact you call it pornographic…

..prove you are unwilling to discuss the issue seriously.

the dance was not performed in an evangelical church, it was performed in a UCC church – which (as a denomination) is on the cutting edge of liberalism… yet they are apostate for dancing.

14   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 9:31 am

Exposure of the chest? Pornographic? Talk about histrionics. For the record, I believe I noticed some women wearing pants in your church and family, John. Let me remind you of this:

‘The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man.”

The sword has two edges.

15   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 9:34 am

“This is the most judgmental and intolerant blogsite ever.”

Have you ever visited the Westboro Baptist Church blogsite?

16   Neil    
October 21st, 2010 at 10:04 am

Marriage should be celebrated by… (Re 10)

you are correct. but celebrating marriage is not limited to just those methods.

17   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
October 21st, 2010 at 10:06 am

#13,14
Whatever. It is just evidence of an adulterous heart when a woman shows her cleavage. It is bad enough in the world, why do we have to have large women bending over in a dance exposing themselves?

18   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 10:10 am

What does “large” have to do with it?

19   Neil    
October 21st, 2010 at 10:11 am

look, pastorboy, i don’t wannna get into a tit-for-tat with ya… but a quick look at your church’s website and i found a picture of a woman with a neckline even lower than any on the video.

for the record – i find neither offensive, lust inducing, and certainly would not consider them adulterous… and this is a complete tangent.

the fact you willingly judge these women’s hearts based on nothing but their clothing in that video illustrates the op.

(again, just b/c it has to be said – i am not saying we should not judge)

20   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 10:18 am

There are a lot of “adulterous hearts” that wear dresses up to their necks.

21   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 10:33 am

John, in your first comment you said, “I could not watch it because of the lack of modesty demonstrated by the women.”
Fine. That’s your conviction. No problem.

Then you said you were making a “righteous judgment of the exposure of the chest.” And you called it a “…silly and pornographic dance…” It is neither silly nor pornographic. So your “righteous judgment” is actually just your conviction of what you allow yourself to watch.

And then you did exactly what Jesus told us not to do. You accused these women of having “adulteress hearts” because the neck line of their dresses is below your comfort zone.
You’ve set yourself up as the standard. This is not righteous judgment. It is exactly what Jesus is warning us about.

At least acknowledge that there is a difference between conviction and “righteous judgment.”

22   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 21st, 2010 at 11:09 am

From my experience of being a member of a predominantly Black congregation for the last several years, I can say that as a whole, African Americans are not nearly as uptight as Anglos when it comes to dancing.

There are some other things, though, on which they’re a bit more conservative, or perhaps traditional would be a better word. For instance, a lot of the younger people really still do appreciate the older Gospel songs of their parent’s generation. There’s definitely more of an emphasis on passing down cultural traditions than there is in the Evangelical church at large.

Watching the video and not knowing the context, it’s hard to see what all the fuss is about.

23   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 11:56 am

Is it possible that, the “measure” that Jesus is talking about is motives? What I mean is, as I read that link and some comments on this thread, it seems that the judgment that is being leveled at the dance video involves the motives of the dancers’ hearts. And it appears then that the motives of the ones passing judgment is to justify themselves by comparing themselves with others.

So when we judge motives, then our motives are exposed. This is the “measure.”

Thoughts?

24   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 21st, 2010 at 1:31 pm

When I read the word “measure” in those verses, I tend to think of how a typical Middle Eastern market would work. Before the development of a standard system of weights and measures, it wasn’t uncommon for merchants to have there own standard for doling out produce, grain, or whatever. Like, this big stone equals one talent, or whatever.

Well, a dishonest merchant could do any number of things to cheat this system in his favor – put his thumb on the scale, so to speak. By the same measure, he could choose to be fair or even generous. So to get back to the passage, I think that if we go out of way to bless others, treat them fairly, and not expect the worst from them, we will see that in return. However, if we go out of way to expose people, scrutinize them, and generally make their lives miserable, we shouldn’t be surprised to have the tables turned.

25   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 1:55 pm

“Well, well, well. How the turntables…” (Michael Scott)

Good thoughts, Phil.

26   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
October 21st, 2010 at 2:10 pm

look, pastorboy, i don’t wannna get into a tit-for-tat with ya…

Statement of the year!

27   Neil    
October 21st, 2010 at 2:33 pm

thanks jerry… i typed it before i realized the context… when i did i thought it too good to pass up.

28   Neil    
October 21st, 2010 at 2:50 pm

this discussion has gone pretty much the way i expected… with the possible exception of pastorboy calling it pornographic and his judging their heats as adulterous.

i am glad that it has turned to a more serious discussion of the text.

29   Neil    
October 21st, 2010 at 2:55 pm

i had several points in the op: one was to marvel at the shallowness of the comments in response to the artifact in the museum; another was to ponder why this was in the museum in the first place; a third was to introduce the topic of cultural expressions of worship and thanksgiving; and the final was to offer the artifact as an example of the wrong kind of judging.

to be sure, jesus never prohibited judging, and i never said they should not – so the cry of hypocrisy rings vacuous. i do, however, offer this as an example of improper judging.

30   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 3:07 pm

“If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Jesus, quoted in Matthew 6:23)

If the Lord has given me light to see and discern a matter by His grace, this is a weighty matter and a huge responsibility. How I respond will reveal the inward workings of my heart. If I take that light and use it to shine into the darkness of my own heart in order to expose areas that I’m hiding, the light will flood out in a manner that is tempered by grace. And the darkness around me will also be overtaken by the light.

If, however, I choose to use this light to try to search out sin in others, I actually reveal my own darkness. And the very gift of the light of God becomes darkness. I’m blinded by my own self-righteousness.

David, in Psalm 36, writes, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (v. 9 ESV).

In His light, we actually see light. In His light, we can discern discernment. His presence dispels darkness. But when I, in my own wisdom, use that light to try to do the job of the Holy Spirit and the Word of “discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart,” I reveal my own darkness.

Lord, keep us from misusing your light to the point of it becoming darkness.

31   Neil    
October 21st, 2010 at 3:55 pm

If, however, I choose to use this light to try to search out sin in others, I actually reveal my own darkness. And the very gift of the light of God becomes darkness. I’m blinded by my own self-righteousness.

nathanael, i think jesus allows for us to judge the sin of others… searching for it is a whole other conversation. and i have seen things on ODM sites I agree with. silva did a missive recently that took paggit to task – and i would agree with his assessment.

unfortunately, the tone ken takes is repulsive, and his inability to discern between believers troubling.

so the issue is how we judge, and what we judge.

32   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Agreed, Neil.

33   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 21st, 2010 at 7:06 pm

“silva did a missive recently that took paggit to task – and i would agree with his assessment.”

And how does that affect your words, especially when it concerns men like Bell, who project Paggit as a Scripturally viable source? There should be discernable consequences if we judge someone else’s doctrine.

Or not, :cool:

34   Neil    
October 21st, 2010 at 9:25 pm

that is a good question rick.

35   John Hughes    
October 21st, 2010 at 10:49 pm

I thought it was sort of cool. I guess I would judge the appropriatness of it by the context of the sermon. Would have fit right in on a sermon on the Song of Solomon :-) or a sermon on marriages.

Hey come down south in Latina country if you want to see “pornographic” attire worn at church. Oye Vey, you wouldn’t believe what some ladies wear (or don’t) down here.

36   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 22nd, 2010 at 8:20 am

And how does that affect your words, especially when it concerns men like Bell, who project Paggit as a Scripturally viable source? There should be discernable consequences if we judge someone else’s doctrine.

What Pagitt article are you referring to? The one about hell or the one about homosexuals. Those are the only recent things I see on those poorly-designed sites of Ken’s. (I feel all dirty now after going there. Time to clean my browser cache…)

Anyway, again I challenge your definition of heresy, Rick. Heresy is not simply a disagreement about soteriology. If that’s the case, then a good number of Christians would be heretics. There is not even uniform agreement on soteriology within Protestantism. Heresy is focused on the person and nature of Jesus Christ. All of these other issues, important as they may be, are not matters of heresy.

37   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 22nd, 2010 at 8:43 am

The person and nature of Christ is part of soteriology. Some cults agree with the Trinity, but have a salvation based upon works. That is heresy. Paggit belives in a form of universalism and other dubious beliefs. I believe he also believes Jesus can be found in most religions.

That is heresy.

38   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 22nd, 2010 at 9:22 am

Regarding the issue of other religions, I found this to be a pretty interesting article It’s from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and I find it has some interesting point brought up by the church fathers.

39   Neil    
October 22nd, 2010 at 10:54 am

Phil,

it was a post about a recent (i think) radio show pagitt did where he laid out what sounded to me a lot like christian universalism… and ken took him to task over it.

of course, he did so as if he were being paid on commission – the more vindictive cliche’s he uses the more pay he gets.

as a side note, i found the missive through a tweeter site dedicated to ken called “despising ministries” – that i thought rather brilliant.

40   John Hughes    
October 22nd, 2010 at 1:02 pm

#38 Phil,

The Orthodox view as presented by this article relegates Christianity to a sub-cultural nuisance instead of the overarching and all encompassing ideology that it truly is. It re-paves the narrow-way with the highway of your choice (as long as you are sincerely traveling whatever road you choose). Gone is the stumbling block and rock of offense. Christ is still nominally presented as the “only way” to the Father, but in this view Jesus is just the bottleneck at the end of the various roads which are going to end up at the Jesus gateway whether they know it at this point in time or not.

“Those who live in faith and virtue, though outside the Church, receive God’s loving grace and salvation.”

- In other words a works based righteousness and approach to salvation. Faith in whom? Allah? Buddha? Krishna? Scientology? The Orthodox church is speaking within the Roman Catholic world view that salvation is dispensed via the Church. However classical Evangelicalism states that “God’s loving grace and salvation” is revealed in and appropriated through the PERSON of Jesus Christ, not the Church.

Then again, we must always come back to the definition of salvation. The Orthodox Church also equates reconciliation with salvation. This the core fallacy of the Christian Universalist movement. Reconciliation is a vital and required step in the process of salvation but is not synonymous with salvation itself.

“You must be born again”. Jesus said. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)

The Apostle John says “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5:11-12).

All are reconciled (the first step unilaterally made by God), but not all are born again which requires the subsequent steps of faith (belief and trust) in Jesus Christ.

Given the maturity of the Greek Orthodox church and thought I now pretty much conclude that the current Christian Universalism fad sweeping some protestant branches has its source here.

“The way of Orthodoxy is to converge on the golden mean, carefully avoiding extremes and the pitfalls that can lead to destruction.”

Salvation by the law of averages, who knew? :-)

41   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 22nd, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I appreciated the article, Phil. It was well-written and clear, as opposed to some others that I’ve read on the same topic.

And I enjoyed the Doug Pagitt conversation that Ken posted. Did not agree with all of it, but he made some really good, thought-provoking points.

42   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 22nd, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I don’t know a whole lot of Greek Orthodox people, but I do know a few, and I can tell you, they certainly aren’t universalists in the sense that there will be nobody in hell at the end. I also wouldn’t say it’s correct to say they equate salvation with reconciliation. They equate salvation with being in Christ, and participating in that union through the sacraments.

As far as what that article says, I actually thought it was pretty good too. I think we have to take Scripture seriously both when it says Christ is reconciling all things to Himself as well as the fact that it seems to make it pretty clear that not everyone will participate in this.

The way I see it, the amount I care about the doctrine of hell really depends on how it affects one’s day to day life. If someone believes in some form of universal reconciliation but still takes seriously the commands to love others and preach the Gospel, it’s hard to see what the harm in that is. If, however, someone is a universalist and takes the “I’m OK, you’re OK” approach, that’s another story.

43   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 22nd, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I prefer the “I’m okay, but you’re not” approach.

44   John Hughes    
October 22nd, 2010 at 11:19 pm

I think we have to take Scripture seriously both when it says God did in Christ is reconcileding all things to Himself as well as the fact that it seems to make it pretty clear that not everyone will participates in this.

God in Christ has (past tense) reconciled the world to Himself in and through Christ. God (the affronted party), has reconciled. It is we (the affrontors) who are required now to reconcile to Him. (i.e., repent and believe His testimony regarding His Christ).

2 Cor 5:18-20 – Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself [past completed event] through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [present action required of each individual]

Reconciliation between two warring parties requires two acts of reconcilation. God has unilaterally reconciled with mankind on His part, the only remaining requirement is for man to reconcile to God on man’s part. But even this does not equate to salvation, it only makes it possible. The emnity between the parties has been removed they can now approach each other in peace where they could not before. The next step is belief and trust (faith) in the Work Christ did which leads to the new birth, i.e., salvation.

Reconciliation is NOT synonomyous with salvation, the conflation of which, again, is the main flaw of the Christian Universalist’s argument.

45   John Hughes    
October 22nd, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Picture Heaven with God on one side with the world on the other separated by a huge canyon. Bridging this gulf is the cross with the word “Jesus” written on it. We’ve probably all seen this drawing from Campus Crusade for Christ materials. Now picture other arrows with Mohammud, Krishna, Buddah, etc. going to the edge of the canyon and falling over into the abyss. This is the classical view of evangelicalism.

Now picture a funnel. Heaven and God are outside the bottom of the funnel. Now picture the hole in the bottom of the funnel labeled as Jesus. Now picture arrows of Mohammud, Krishna, Buddah, etc., swirling round and round and down the funnel until they are forced through “Jesus”. This, evidently is the Greek Orthodox (and coincidently) the Christian Univeralist view. It matters what they do while in the funnel. Gravity (i.e., God’s love) draws them irresistably down to Jesus and out to God.

It is universal election, the opposite side of the Calvinist coin, but with the same irrestable grace in both world views.

I opt for picture #1.

46   John Hughes    
October 22nd, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Oops – Should say “it matters NOT what they do in the funnel”.

47   John Hughes    
October 22nd, 2010 at 11:35 pm

P.S. I found the Greek Orthodox article well written also.

48   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
October 23rd, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I confess that prior to this comment I had not watched the video at the museum. I just watched it and wow am I blown away! That was freaking beautiful. There was no immodesty on the part of the men or women. There was hardly even any touching. It was a beautiful celebration of marriage–which in our culture (and maybe particularly within African-American communities)–that is a beautiful thing.

I seriously doubt the gatekeeper over there allows my comments to ‘Shary’ get through the screening process, so I will post them here.

What are you going to do on the day when the Bridegroom comes for his Bride…and we dance?

You are terribly, terribly judgmental. You ‘hope?’ they are married? The pastor said at the end ‘we have people married 4 years, and people married 40 years’. He also says it is a ‘married people’s ministry’.

What better place to celebrate marriage of one woman and one man than in the sight and presence of God?

I really feel sorry for you. You wouldn’t have walked out because you never would have walked in to begin with. My heart is breaking for you right now because you must be terribly lonely. I will pray for you.

I am not normally a dance oriented kind of fellow, but I have to say that was a remarkably beautiful dance. It was a wonderful celebration of the uniqueness of a one man/one woman bond and covenant. Marriage, Paul wrote in Ephesians 5, is a picture of the church and Jesus. The interpretive dance in that video was spectacular.

And even if there was a ‘celebration of the flesh’ (which I don’t think there was in the sense that the naysayers believe), so what? We are fleshly people and Jesus was risen in the flesh. What better celebration of the flesh than a dance honoring the God ordained covenant of marriage? What better way to celebrate our own resurrection than to dance?

Some people are so lonely, so frightened. Jesus never taught us to hate the flesh–as if it were pure evil. We are flesh–as he made us; we cannot escape it.

I cannot say enough about how wonderful that dance was. I am blown away. I even appreciated and enjoyed the soft R&B in the background.

If marriage ought to be honored anywhere it is in the church. Seems to me the statistics for divorce in the church rival those in the general world. I applaud that congregation for celebrating the gift of God–which Paul writes in Corinthians, is also a ‘charismata.’ Imagine that! Marriage as a Spiritual Gift!!!

jerry

49   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
October 23rd, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Oh, and also, notice how the dance brought together generations of people…married for different lengths of time. What a powerful example this sets for people married, struggling with marriage, or thinking of getting married!

Think of how those marriages are stronger because they are witnessed and encouraged in the church? Would that all churches gave such an important place to marriage within the congregation.

I can’t say enough…I’m reposting that video on my FB page for others. Wow…

50   Neil    
October 23rd, 2010 at 7:47 pm

The salvation of all people, including non-Christians, depends on the great goodness and mercy of the Omniscient and Omnipotent God who desires the salvation of all people. Those who live in faith and virtue, though outside the Church, receive God’s loving grace and salvation. – from the article

on the one hand i agree… all are saved by grace. and any who are saved outside the church will be saved through faith (not sure about virtue).

but it makes me uncomfortable, if what he means, is that sincere adherents to other faiths will be saved. i see no hope of that in the bible.

51   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 23rd, 2010 at 9:54 pm

One thing to remember is that according to the Orthodox Church, all other Christian denominations would be considered “outside the Church” as well, so the article isn’t only referring to non-Christian religions.

To me this question definitely falls into the realm of speculative theology. I don’t have much of a problem with an inclusivist position as long it still maintains a strong evangelistic emphasis. I’ve seen some more liberal Christians take the position that evangelizing people of other faiths is wrong. That’s an idea that is definitely non-Scriptural, and I would denounce it outright. If we’re talking about the fate of the unevangelized, that’s where I would leave some room for inclusivism I suppose.

52   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2010 at 7:34 am

” I don’t have much of a problem with an inclusivist position as long it still maintains a strong evangelistic emphasis.”

By nature evangelism suffers in that theology.

” That’s an idea that is definitely non-Scriptural, and I would denounce it outright. If we’re talking about the fate of the unevangelized, that’s where I would leave some room for inclusivism I suppose.”

That is speculative theology as well. He who has the Son…He who has not the Son… goats and sheep…light and darkness…lost and found…life and death.

The Scriptures make no class distinctions between the unsaved. If God chooses to save sinners who did not know the Lord Jesus, so be it. But as it stands we cannot make that assumption based upon Scripture and to do so inevitably dilutes the passion for evangelism. Like Calvinism usually does as well.

53   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 24th, 2010 at 9:02 am

The Scriptures make no class distinctions between the unsaved.

I wouldn’t say that’s entirely true. Cornelius is described as righteous and a God-fearing man in Acts 10. This was before he was a Christian as far as I can tell.

Another thing I’d note is that I don’t believe the words “saved” and “unsaved” are ever used as nouns or adjectives in the New Testament.

54   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2010 at 9:30 am

The description of Cornelius was in the context of a faithful Jew. Believer and unbeliever if you will.

There is no lost and more lost.

55   John Hughes    
October 24th, 2010 at 9:42 am

John 4:22 -You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

Phil, as Rick said, Cornelius was a faithful Jew. The time of Jesus’ ministry was the nexus of the eveloution from the Old Covenant to the New and there is going to be some “grey” areas and overlapping noted during this transition (ref also the normalization of the bestowing of the Holy Spirit during this timeframe which in some cases was not immediate and awaiting the coming of the Apostles for validation). But again I can’t find anywhere that salvation is possible outside the Judeo/Christian context.

56   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 24th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Cornelius wasn’t a Jew. He was a Gentile. A “God-fearer” was generally a Gentile who had turned from paganism but had not undergone the ritual acts required to be considered a full convert – most specifically circumcision. So, actually, Peter’s vision of the unclean animals is what convinced Him it was OK for him to meet with Cornelius.

All I’m saying is that the borders of the Kingdom have always been somewhat hard to define, at least from our perspective. I am content enough to proclaim Jesus as Lord over all creation, and I believe in the end who is in and out is not in any way our say. I’m sure there will be surprises.

Also, I disagree with Rick’s assertion that a strong exclusivist position is needed as an incentive for evangelism. I truly believe our sole motivation for evangelism should be love for others. I grew up with tons and tons of guilt thinking I never evangelized enough and was responsible for sending people to hell (and, yes, plenty of people said this and still do). Amidst all this “passion”, though, we started seeing people less and less as real people and more as projects or numbers. Now, I’m simply content to let people’s eternal destinations up to the Father. I will simply be obedient as the Spirit leads.

57   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men. A love for others? We don’t even love each other.

Our motivation must be a love for souls, a concern for their eternity, and a grateful heart for what Christ did for us. Though guilt has often been used, it is still true that God has chosen us to be part of His plan, unless you are a Calvinist.

58   John Hughes    
October 24th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Point taken on Cornelius, but the crux is he was a God-fearing Gentile who had responded to the revelation of God as given through the Jews at that date in time – again “Salvation is from the Jews” (i.e., God has revealed himself in creation through the Jews with Christ – a Jew – being the ultimate revelation) – so says our Lord.

All I’m saying is that the borders of the Kingdom have always been somewhat hard to define, at least from our perspective.

I do no understand this statement. In the Old Covenant the borders were very defined and under the New Covenant how much more simple can it be than “he who has the Son has the life. He how does not have the Son does not have the life?”

I am content enough to proclaim Jesus as Lord over all creation, and I believe in the end who is in and out is not in any way our say. I’m sure there will be surprises.

I agree as far as knowing someone’s heart condition, but the issue **is** black and white for those who do not claim to follow Christ in any shape form or fashion especially those who have willfully rejected him. I’m not going to let the hypothetical “well what about the savage in the wilds of Borneo who has never heard of Christ” dominate / define my whole world view when there is copious revelation given us in Scripture on who is “in” and who is “out”.

Then again, I’m not going to obsess over it either and make pronouncements on an individual level when it is really none of my business or purview.

59   John Hughes    
October 24th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Rick Calvinists are a part of God’s plan. Somebody has to play the part of the Prodigal’s brother. :-)

60   John Hughes    
October 24th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

I’ve been assigned as a pig in the pig pen, myself.

61   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

BTW – You are correct about Cornelius being a Gentile. I am an old man. :cool:

62   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 24th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I do no understand this statement. In the Old Covenant the borders were very defined and under the New Covenant how much more simple can it be than “he who has the Son has the life. He how does not have the Son does not have the life?”

Who gets to be the one to define “who has the Son”. The way I see it, that responsibility lies solely in the hands of the Father.

I’m not going to let the hypothetical “well what about the savage in the wilds of Borneo who has never heard of Christ” dominate / define my whole world view when there is copious revelation given us in Scripture on who is “in” and who is “out”.

That is hardly the issue that is defining my worldview, either. My worldview is that God is renewing all Creation, and that Christ will be Lord of all.

So I guess where we seem fundamentally clash on this issue is that you see salvation more as a way for people to be reconciled to God, whereas I see it more as a grander plan that God is working out in history. Granted the two are not mutually exclusive, but I guess the questions of who is going to hell, what hell is like, etc. simply aren’t things I worry about too much any longer.

63   John Hughes    
October 24th, 2010 at 6:54 pm

So I guess where we seem fundamentally clash on this issue is that you see salvation more as a way for people to be reconciled to God, whereas I see it more as a grander plan that God is working out in history.

No, I see salvation as the new birth the apprehension of which though available to all is conditional, i.e., faith in Jesus. I do not know what happens to the unevangelized. The Holy Spirit did not see fit to reveal that to us. But He did reveal that all sin, that no one is righteous and that no one seeks God on their own. I also believe that the ideal of the noble savage is a myth. At best they are sinners just like the rest of us.

64   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2010 at 9:33 pm

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

” I do not know what happens to the unevangelized.”

They are still in their sins. They cannot believe if they have not heard. I reject the “don’t worry about it” approach. Without the passion of missionaries and preachers in days gone by, many of us may not have heard.

Let us allow the Spirit to minister a holy burden upon our hearts; one that reflects the burden He carried upon that cursed tree.

65   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
October 24th, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I never said I advocated a “don’t worry about” approach, although, I will say I do reject any approach that places heavy yokes of worry and guilt upon people trying to get them to evangelize. Those are about as useful as a wife nagging her husband about his diet. It may work in the short-term, but in the end, it will usually backfire.

I do believe that the church is charged with evangelizing the world, but I simply don’t believe that the American work ethic is the tool that we need to turn to to do that. I believe simple obedience to the Holy Spirit will suffice. It’s not that we sit back and do nothing. It’s that we be like Jesus and do nothing apart from the Father.