Hunted Down

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Well, on the heels of “Who Watches the Watchers?” I finally wound up on the wrong side of a hunt. I’d considered the possibility of some blowback from that post and was surprised when there was none. It just took a few days, I guess.

Jim’s a good guy and I like his blog because he contends for the Gospel, so I’m not going to post a defense here. There’s too much personal attacking, defending, and retaliating in the Godblogosphere already.

You can read the post and decide for yourselves.

41 thoughts on “Hunted Down

  1. Hey! I found your blog via my husband, Elijah, and I certainly have found myself agreeing with a lot of what you blog. I took a look at this article and assuming he took what you said in context, I think I kind of side with him on this (although I think he could have said much more in love and less in criticism).

    A little history on myself – I went from dispensationalist (in the Southern Baptist way), to arminian (in the United Methodist way), Presbyterianism/Reformed (via the PCA), and now, being married, am attending Bethlehem Baptist Church where John Piper is the preaching pastor. This issue has been on that I’ve struggled long and hard with, so I don’t think it’s an easy issue at all, but I do think it’s one of vital importance. The reason I struggled with it was in the aspect of the assurance of salvation. How was I saved? How did I know I was saved? How did I know I was going to continue in my salvation? How strong is God’s love?

    Despite the titles “Calvinist” “Arminian” “Reformed” blah blah blah, the question is, what does the Bible say? That’s how it was argued to me when I was “arminian”. I ended up arminian because I was a hybrid before and I couldn’t make sense of anything. Then I got into debates with a “Calvinist” and no matter what I argued, he could use Scripture and then could explain the Scripture I was using in context. Needless to say that was extremely annoying, but it wore me down. After all, I said I was committed to Scripture and if that’s what Scripture said, then who was I to continue arguing? That took three years. And a lot of Scripture out of Romans. Or possibly the entire book. And the OT. And a lot of what Jesus said too… okay, the whole Bible.

    This is going longer than I intended, but I think your assessment of Calvinists is incorrect. John Piper would say that Calvinists are to be the most zealous in missions and I’m assuming you haven’t read Desiring God? Only because he devotes an entire chapter to missions and I think he gives a very clear understanding of the “reformed” position. (It’s been a few years since reading “Desiring God” so the following maybe a hybrid of Piper’s thinking and my own, or me paraphrasing him…) God ordains a manner and a means of bringing people to Himself. Paul asks in Romans how people will believe if they don’t hear? I mean, God could zap our bodies and we’d never need food, but He’s ordained that we must eat for nourishment. Likewise, He could zap us all into being believers, but that’s not how He’s done it. He’s created a manner and a means by which to do it. As a church we’re in relationship to each other, missions, discipling, these all encourage relationship. It is how God has chosen to save people. If God is not completely sovereign, then He is not sovereign at all.

    My argument here is understated and unfortunately not complete. But I think it is important – not in the scheme of salvation, I think you can be theologically incorrect in some sense and still be saved – but for the sake of living a consistent life – and living a Biblical one – I think it is important to answer the question – “how are we saved” and by what power is this through? An arminian would say we have to be wooed into Heaven (and I would wonder if this inspires the mentality that any method possible should be used to get unbelievers in church). The reformed position would say that God first regenerates our hearts so that we are able to love Him and then, when presented with the Gospel, it is like seeing our love after a long absence in which He draws us into Himself and His love is so beautiful (and our hearts are now flesh and blood), that we are compelled to love Him. In our natural states we can only choose sin because we only want sin. But God comes in and starts to change our desires, and we, not knowing what they are, begin to look. Then one day, we hear a preacher, have a friend, read a book, and we find ourselves able and willing to choose God, but not because of any goodness in ourselves, but because God, in His goodness, has enabled us. And as for missions… how will we be able to adore God if not presented with His beauty?

    My two cents and rather scattered. I sort of just punched this out… don’t know if it makes any sense, I tend to have several thoughts running at once and I’m still trying to figure out how to make them come out in the order I want! LOL 🙂

    Shannon

    PS Probably you knew half of this, but I talk a lot if given time. So, hopefully I didn’t insult you. Not my intention!

    • Shannon,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I write against extremes. When an extremist, no matter what their theological stripe, posits something, we must ask where the logical conclusion is.

      Not all Calvinists are so stewed in an extreme that they believe that evangelism is a waste. Yet I am quite familiar with a hyper-Calvinist church near me that split over outreach to the unsaved for that very reason! That’s utter foolishness.

      Is there foolishness on the Arminian side? Absolutely. There are Arminain churches that baptize people again and again because the first one didn’t take! That’s foolish, too.

      In both cases, those Calvinists and Arminians strayed away from the feet of Jesus. They got lost in their system and lost the Lord as a result.

      That’s what I’m contending against.

      I know good people on both sides that I firmly expect to see in heaven.

    • I’m not anti-Calvinist. If you look, you’ll see that my Kingdom Links blogroll is 90% Calvinist. I affirm the five Solas of the Reformation. But my own theology is a bit more Lutheran than Calvinist in that I allow more wiggle room for mystery than some of the blogosphere’s Calvinists allow.

      My library is stocked with Lloyd-Jones (one of my favorites), Edwards, White, Schaeffer, and other Calvinists. But I also read non-Calvinists. I was once criticized that my listing of essential reads in my sidebar was nonsensical because the authors and books listed there were not all Calvinist.

      That’s the kind of nuttiness that I oppose—that “no Christian author has anything valid to say unless he’s firmly in one camp or the other…and he better be in our camp.”

      If I tweak Calvinists more on this blog it is for no other reason than that Calvinist bloggers absolutely dominate the Godblogosphere. I believe there is more to understand about the Faith than what is always talked about on those blogs. My current Unshackling the Church series would probably not be addressed on most ardently Calvinist blogs, for instance.

      This is no way to demean the Calvinist bloggers out there!!! But going a bit wider than the standard topics that are near and dear to Calvinist bloggers is essential if we are to get a fuller understanding of all aspects of the Gospel, not just the ones we favor.

      Hope that helps.

      • I believe there is more to understand about the Faith than what is always talked about on those blogs. My current Unshackling the Church series would probably not be addressed on most ardently Calvinist blogs, for instance.

        They *do* address some of these issues. But of course, the solution is… more Calvinism! ;-}

        I speak this as a Calvinist – but a Calvinist who is fed up to the teeth with the eternal pointless argumentation over Calvinism.

  2. Diane Roberts

    Frankly, I found the post to be a bit bizarre. I rarely read such an unprovocated attack on another blogger. Some people see black and white and some see the gray taking on some of both sides. According to this blogger you must be on one side or the other without any compromise whatsoever. We aren’t talking about salvation here where you either accept Christ or you don’t. Things like that are certainly a black-white issue. But Calvinism-Armininianism? By the way, I am with you..or at least where this blogger thinks you are…somewhere in the vast middle ground. And I have the feeling that most Chrstians are there too.

    • Diane,

      It’s okay. I expected some pushback. I like Jim because he’s got a good insight into the follies of the Church Growth Movement, something we both firmly agree upon.

      In fact, I know Jim’s writing well enough to know that he and I agree on 95% of things. I’m willing to cut Arminians more slack than Jim does, and I think that’s the missing 5%. Otherwise, he and I are closer than that post would make it appear.

  3. funny–skimming through the excerpts of yours he quoted made me like you more. guess posts like that often have unintended consequences 🙂

    blessings to you. keep striving after ecclesiastes 7:18: “It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.” 🙂

  4. I’ve never seen one issue waste as much good air as the Calvin/Arminius debate. Never has one soul been saved or brought nearer to Christ through a debate of this lightening-rod subject.

    I am not trying to be inflammatory here but it makes me think of the Republican vs. Democrat debate. So there is only two sides of that coin? No middle ground? No other alternative?

    God is much bigger than we give him credit for. Think of it this way: Is God one or is he three? Its one or the other according to the reasoning of some.

    Keep holding on to the mystery Dan!

    • I just wanted to say that because of this debate (I used to hang out with one very much avowed Arminian and one very much avowed Calvinist), I was sent into a deeper search for Christ than I had ever been before. Indeed, if there is one issue that has encouraged me to read Scripture more, it is this one. So it is not wasted space. God has used it to my good.

  5. Lin

    After reading the comments on your original ‘watchers’ post and the comments on Challies about Driscoll, I have come to one conclusion: People do not know how to properly debate anymore.

    What are blogs for? I don’t get it. Bloggers post something and then have a comments section. There are people who agree and disagree with the post. Now, how they go about doing this is the question. If you disagree/agree, you state why and back it up with some facts. What is the big deal? Why all the anger and hurt feelings? People are getting way too defensive about things and that,right there,ought to tell us something.

    On Challies, I noticed people were quoting scripture about profain lanquage. This infuriated the Driscoll supporters and there were many posts explaining this was early in his career, the whole story was left out, etc., etc.

    People are not taught Debating skills in high school anymore. We have become a nation of ‘feelers’ and not ‘thinkers’. If it comes down to interpreting scripture, then that is one thing…a really good debate where we actually learn from one another could emerge. A good debate on such topics should drive us to prayer and scripture.

    • Lin,

      We don’t have to make the issue “feelers” vs. “thinkers,” either. God created us to be both. Feelings don’t invalidate thinking, but I also don’t think the other way around is entirely right, either.

      Earlier this year I wrote a post questioning whether we were wasting the blogosphere by doing nothing else except debating. Aren’t there better things to be doing with the Gospel?

      • Lin

        All “feelings” come from thoughts. Thoughts are the antecedent to feelings. I could go on and on about this but I won’t.
        As to wasting the blogosphere with debating…it is not a waste at all. If it drives people to scripture to discern truth…how could it be?

    • people were quoting scripture
      And some were mis-appropriating it, too. Or at least using it to somehow “sanctify” highly ungracious behavior.

      • Lin

        And people use it in dribs and drabs for false teaching, too.

        BTW: A reproof or rebuke, said in the nicest way, is almost always considered ungracious behavior in our culture today.

  6. Mike Oliver

    I could almost be a Calvinist but I have problems with the mental gymnastics they go through in explaining God’s wills in explaining 1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. If God is sovereign and I believe He is, surely if it is His desire that all be saved then He can make it happen. Perhaps God has purposefully limited His sovereignty in this area. Certainly He did when He gave free will to the angels and man. I would agree that the ability to exercise free will went out the window for man with the sin in the garden and that no one would accept God’s offer without the work of the spirit but from personal experience(I know some don’t like the experiental) that having opened my eyes to the truth, He required me to make a response. Could I have said “No”? I don’t know. No would have been a response infinately more stupid than any response I have ever made to anything but it may have been a possibility. Limited atonement is also a problem for me. The explanation I’ve been given is that a blank check atonement would have Jesus dying for people who are not saved. To me It would have Jesus dying to give the opportunity for all. A final thing that makes me like Dan in wanting “a third side to the coin” is that humans are linear thinkers. All our time spent in these bodies is linear. We’re born, we live our brief lives and we die. God is outside of time and not bound by it. He has no beginning or end. I have no frame of reference for understanding this, so I’ll be happy to accept that I’ll understand it on the other side of my life in this tent. When I was young I was very argumentative. Not only was it important to me to be right but that you agree that I was right. The subject at hand is a very contentious and divisive one and I suspect time spent on the argument is of little value to God. If I’m in argument mode or chasing this life at the breakneck speed at which we live, will I be more likely to miss hearing God when He’s speaking to me or miss the opportunity to join God in His work when He presents me with the chance to help someone get a glimpse of Him by acting like a Christian? That was a retorical question and we all know the answer.

  7. Dan:

    Well, thanks to you (I hold you personally responsible!) I just wasted time reading another insipid rant from a Calvinistic lemming. There are a lot of good people out there on either side of the fence – and other good people who simply stand at the end of the fence and try to comprehend it. Some thoughts as I read Jim’s tirade:

    He starts, of course, with the excluded middle: it is black-or-white with no room for gray or mystery. This is pretty typical, as you know, of anal retentive people who cannot tolerate anything that they deem to be a “mess.” Things have to be settled, nailed down, boxed in, and under control. Including God: nothing like a predictable God to bring one a false sense of comfort and security. And to absolve oneself of personal responsibility or accountability. Like Bertrand Russell, his kind are determinists in their outlook.

    His statement, “there can not be anything except for vegetarians and non-vegetarians,” is interesting. It fails to see the bigger picture, i.e., that all life – including human – has to devour other living things (whether flora or fauna) to survive. Extra, unnecessary categories do not clarify but confuse. So, too, with terms such as Calvinism and Arminianisn when the lines are drawn in indelible ink. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re C or A: what matters is living in obedience to Christ.

    He writes,

    I should also make a disclaimer here, and say that it’s true that for those who become saved, there is a sense in which God and man both eventually ‘choose’, but the key issue at hand is who has the decisive determining (first) choice. So it really doesn’t matter if someone wants to deny that they are in either camp.

    Given his earlier statements regarding being a carnivore or not – no middle-ground – he has just been hoisted on his own petard. The addition of “first choice” negates what he has just said about shared responsibility, i.e., choice. Curious, too, is his decision to put the word in quotes: “choice,” as though it were but the appearance of choice but not the reality. Well, I suppose if that is true of people (as he contends) then it is true of God, too (which I don’t think he’d like).

    He throws the term “postmodern” around in conjunction (but not connection) with your name, a thinly veiled ad hominem attack. An appearance of knowledge and wisdom but lacking substance?

    The kicker for me, though, was when I read the “About Jim” page. This guy has bounced all over the place during the past twenty-something years but now expects us to take his word as gospel truth! He’s been Charismatic, seeker-sensitive, and now a Real Calvinists. Who knows where he’ll be in another ten years?

    Well, I could go on but I think you get my point. I’m not in favor of people straddling the fence but I’m also tired of those arrogant, elitist Calvinists (may their tribe decrease) pontificating on things they know no more about than most, and a lot less than some. They don’t own the terminology. They say if you’re not a monergist, then you’re Arminian; I say, if you’re a monergist, then you deny the responsibility of humans and bring God’s justice and holiness into question. Is that fair? Well, it’s as fair as the monergists are being. They just cloak their superiority in the garb of human logic, quoting Calvin more than Christ, Spurgeon more than the Spirit, and other historical figures who would be appalled to be adduced as they are.

    • Francisco

      I was also taken aback for the label “postmodern”, that happens to be the favorite label for most of the emergent church and perhaps with good reason. Now, if you’ve read Cerulean, you know that Dan commends the stance of ECs in obeying the second commandment but also scolds them for neglecting the first. Sadly, the other side of the coin (holding onto the first and neglecting the second) goes for most of bloggers out there, especially the hyper-calvinists. That’s why I most of the times I choose to read only two blogs: Dan’s and Tim’s. They have good things to say (although now Dan’s blog is not in Tim’s “best of the best” section)

  8. Frank

    Wow! Total hatred coming out in that comment.

    Mike, do you believe Calvinists are your brothers and sisters in Christ?

    • “Total hatred!”? Not even close. Total disgust, perhaps, or total exasperation, but not total hatred. Besides, if it were “total hatred,” as you say, that would still imply a deep commitment and connection with the object of said hatred: the opposite of love is apathy. The most unloving thing I could do is say nothing. God doesn’t always speak through an ass (as with Balaam) but sometimes that’s what it takes; maybe he spoke through an ass this time, too.

      I say “disgust” and “exasperation” because I have little tolerance for those who dispassionately (read: cold-blooded) attack another brother and then hide behind the mask of reason and rationality. There is no such thing as a thought void of feelings, and the harder we try to deny the feelings the more they leak and come out without us filtering or harnessing them.

      I absolutely believe most Calvinists (a greater percentage than Arminians is my guess) are my brothers in Christ. But, just like me, there are some in need of a slap upside the head. I suppose I could ask if Jim thinks those whom he attacks and with whom he disagrees are his brothers in Christ – but I wouldn’t because it’s a non sequitur. Just because I say things strongly doesn’t mean I doubt someone’s relationship with Christ.

      The “where’s he gonna be in ten years” comment too much and I apologize. But to explain (not excuse) it, I am going to react strongly at times to what appears to be arrogant dogmaticism. Jim may have the sweetest, most tender heart in the Kingdom – but you wouldn’t know it from the number he did on Dan.

      FWIW, I am a lot of things but one thing I am not is a sychophant. People can regard my words, albeit over-the-top (unfortunately) at times, in a negative light or they can see them as the faithful wounds of a friend. If people want the deceitful kisses of an enemy, then I’m not their boy.

  9. Dan:

    I know this is the opposite of what we discussed via email a day or so ago, but I agree and disagree with you on an important point. I agree that there are far too many unprovoked attacks on other Christians, but I disagree about the defense: when people (including me) get abusive for no good reason, then they need to be confronted.

    The failure to do this is why we have so many blogging bullies in the Godblog playground. Maybe we need to say, “Enough!”

    • Francisco

      “The failure to do this is why we have so many blogging bullies in the Godblog playground. Maybe we need to say, “Enough! ”

      Mike,
      That is the very thing that keeps me from blogging. I don’t want to be a bully but give God all the glory if I ever write something. Besides, I write poorly… 😛

  10. Shannon,

    I will admit that Calvinism has the “appearance” of being more biblical. But that is because it sets up its philosophical positions before it looks at the text. Once this ground is ceded, the conclusion is predetermined (pun intended).

    Other positions take the text first and try to make sense out of it. To some this seems more messy and less “biblical.” But I would argue that it grants more respect to the biblical text, not less.

    Rod

  11. Rod,

    I don’t think “appearance” has anything to do with it. What I’m confused is to what people are defining at “Calvinist”. If it means that I believe God is totally sovereign in all His dealings, then yes, I am a Calvinist. I find that in Romans 9 (or with His dealings with the patriarchs, written about in the Psalms, talked about by Christ)… basically it’s a reoccuring theme. God clearly states that He will mercy on whom He will and compassion on whom He will and that He may very well create vessels for destruction as He does for His glory.

    It’s not important what label you give it “Calvinist” or “Reformed”. The point is, is it Biblical? In this case, I think being reformed just means being Biblical.

    If Calvinism in this context is not Biblical, then it needs to be confronted. Two of these positions (Arminian, hybrid, Calvinism) are heresy and we have a duty to fight heresy. In love and with respect of course, but to fight it nonetheless. 🙂

    Shannon

  12. Shannon,

    I don’t accept your premise that “two of these positions” are heresy. I think your view is misguided, but I would never call it heresy. Now, the attitude that your view is the only orthodox view. That might approach heresy.

    Rod

  13. Francisco

    Shannon,
    1. Most people understand a calvinist to be someone who holds to the TULIP. I read somewhere else that when Whitfield was confronted about being a calvinist he said that he had not read Calvin but rather rooted his theology on the Bible. I may get to check Calvin’s Institutes to see for myself how accurately or inaccurately his theology is represented by nowadays calvinists. However, the bloggosphere brings us some surprises: according to a hyper (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/norefcal.htm), not even Calvin was calvinist enough!
    I am not attacking calvinism. It is just that some hypers end up wearing people off and usually border in the ridicule (that can be applied for hypers in the other arminian camp too). Phil Johnson had good things to say in his post http://phillipjohnson.blogspot.com/2005/06/quick-and-dirty-calvinism.html
    2. By “Reformed” I understand simply “non-RCC”. I don’t know where the term originated neither who used it first but I guess the reformers did use it first, didn’t they?
    4. As I was reading A.W. Tozer’s “The knowledge of the Holy”. He sees God as the only being with absolute free will. To say so, is the same as to say that God is sovereign. God is God and we are not. Yet I believe He has given us a measure of free will as He can bestow a measure of His other attributes like His holiness (I am talking of practical not positional holiness). There are other attributes we can not share with him. For example, we are not eternal: we have a beggining in history. God is eternal: He is, was and will be. God is the Alpha and Omega, the beggining and the end and to Him be all the glory!

  14. Catez

    Well I can see how it happened.

    I really appreciated your first post Dan, on watching the watchers. I said things I’ve thought for a long time. It gieved me to see CARM coming under unnecessary attack from heresy hunters for example. CARM has been such an appropriate source of apologetics and minsters to thousands of people. One poorly worded article, which the guy edited later, was like a red rag to a bull for a couple of bloggers.

    Having said that – the “it’s the Calvinists” thing undermines your point. I disagree that the blogosphere is dominated by Calvinists. Sorry – but if ou read as many blogs as I have and continue to do you would see that there are a ton of Arminian bloggers. Of diffrerent degress of Arminianism. I have several on my blogroll. I can also say that heresy hunting is nt the exclusive activity of people from one theological system.

    I think when you mak such ggod points they should be applied across the board – as everyone can take a lesson. My suggestion is that it is better to name the blogs in question rather than broadbrushing a whole group of people. Despite your disclaimers the overall sesne I get is that you have nevertheless broadbrushed (in the first post).

    Your post was well needed and I thankyou for it. But please brother – can you either say who you are referring to or just make it general. Because saying you don;t want to name anyone is inconsistent with then naming a whole group – it smears them.

    I hope you can appreciate my heart.

    God bless,
    Catez

  15. Catez

    Well I can see how it happened.

    I really appreciated your first post Dan, on watching the watchers. I said things I’ve thought for a long time. It grieved me to see CARM coming under unnecessary attack from heresy hunters for example. CARM has been such an appropriate source of apologetics and ministers to thousands of people. One poorly worded article, which the guy edited later, was like a red rag to a bull for a couple of bloggers.

    Having said that – the “it’s the Calvinists” thing undermines your point. I disagree that the blogosphere is dominated by Calvinists. Sorry – but if ou read as many blogs as I have and continue to do you would see that there are a ton of Arminian bloggers. Of diffrerent degress of Arminianism. I have several on my blogroll. I can also say that heresy hunting is nt the exclusive activity of people from one theological system.

    I think when you mak such ggod points they should be applied across the board – as everyone can take a lesson. My suggestion is that it is better to name the blogs in question rather than broadbrushing a whole group of people. Despite your disclaimers the overall sesne I get is that you have nevertheless broadbrushed (in the first post).

    Your post was well needed and I thankyou for it. But please brother – can you either say who you are referring to or just make it general. Because saying you don;t want to name anyone is inconsistent with then naming a whole group – it smears them.

    I hope you can appreciate my heart.

    God bless,
    Catez

  16. It’s not that we don’t have free will. It’s that we don’t have any choices. Let me see if I can clarify. Adam was the only one who was able to choose God or sin. We, in our natural state, love sin so much that it doesn’t matter that we’re presented with the Gospel – we hate Him and we adore sin. We’re slaves, we’re dead. Sure, hypothetically we could choose God, IF only we had a tiny bit of good in us. But we don’t. We’re evil and we love evil.

    But then the Spirit works – through a manner and means – externally by preaching and teaching and living and internally by the Spirit working. The good that’s in us is an act of God. The good that let’s us choose God, is God. If He doesn’t touch us, we’re helpless, we’re stuck, we’re dead in our sin without a hope. This fact is found most blatantly in Paul’s writings.

    That’s the reformed position as I’ve always understood it.

  17. Jim (at oldtruth) tried to convince me that John 6:44 could only be understood as supporting the Calvinist interpretation because the Greek grammar was irrefutable. You can follow our exchange at Calvinism and Choice. I also posted a quotation from a Bible scholar calling for a balanced interpretation of that passage at Kingdom Come.

    Rod

  18. lol well I skimmed it. He says your postmodern… blah.. blah… blah. If I didn’t know better I would have thought he mistook you for one of the radical ooze hippies. 🙂

  19. Hi, dear Dan. I see another “debate” has been ignited, or re-ignited, rehashed, regurgitated, reduxed, re-everything. And It reminds me why, in general, I avoid almost all “xtian blogging” (yours is one of the few exceptions), at least as it’s being done nowadays, just as I avoid leprosy, ebola, plague, and the Black Death. It’s mostly an enormous, colossal waste of time, and has never accomplished anything except to destroy the weak, to ever increase the level of all around biliousness, and to make the world think that xtians are mostly a crew of ever crabby, bitter, mordacious know-it-alls who are constantly at each other’s throats.

    • Francisco

      Oengus,
      Your last sentence remind me of this scripture…

      ” 13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. ” Gal 5:13-15 (NIV)…sorry I don’t have ESV handy…

      exegesis anyone?

  20. Oengus,

    You forgot “acid refluxed” in your description there. 😉

    Thanks for making me an exception even if I sound dire from time to time. I like to think of myself as “Hopeful That We Can Do Better” Dan.

    Blogging costs you, no doubt. I’ll be talking about that in my next post in the “Unshackling the American Church” Series.

    I read fewer blogs than I used to simply because of time constraints and because too few of them get out of the topical rut. Theology that has been debated since the deaths of the Apostles is still being hashed out, with sides clearly drawn, and each side calling the other wrong. I look at myself and wonder how a peon like me can contribute anything to the conversation that hasn’t been discussed a million times before by better people.

    I try to address issues in the Church today that get overlooked in the surrounding melee. I’m hopeful. More people seem to be getting it. If we can translate that knowledge into action, we can do even better things for the Lord.

    Or we can sit around and point fingers at each other.

  21. Dan, is it just me or did Jim essentially make your point in big bold letters?

    I’m glad that you like him and can get benefit from his blog. You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

    The only thing that didn’t make be absolutely apoplectic about this attack (how’s that for alliteration?) was the inherent — and quite unintended, I’m sure — humor that I found in part of the post. Jim seems to state that there are little or no gray areas in Christianity and uses the non/vegetarian issue as an example. Yet the issue of eating meat (admittedly, in a slightly different context) is exactly the illustration that Paul used in Romans 14 to show that there are gray areas in Christianity.

    • Brendt,

      It wasn’t the post that really got me, Brendt, but a comment someone made later on saying that it’s okay that we Christians hurt each other because God uses that for discipline. On one level that is exactly right. But on another level, we can’t use the idea that God can use hurting our brother or sister in Christ in a positive way to sanction doing so! What did Paul say about going on sinning so that grace may abound? BY NO MEANS.

      I’m just staggered that there are Christians who think it’s okay to hurt the brethren by sinning so that grace may abound. And yet we see it on and on in the Godblogosphere. Check out my post of May 29, 2006 for more on this.

  22. Mr. Edelen,

    I discovered your blog only today by hopping links from other god-honoring blogs, and I feel as if I have stumbled upon a pot of gold. In reading through your posts, I am often compelled to stop and ponder, and to also pray and test against scripture. I find myself eager to read all the archives, yet my 17 year old mind just cannot absorb that much teaching in such a short time period.

    I enjoyed your post an especially the idea of not really being affiliated with any denomination. Since I am too ill to attend church or be in any kind of meeting, I too do not consider myself to be any one denomination. My teaching comes from the Lord, the bible, my parents, books, and the internet, but it all comes back to the Lord and His Word, and I was very happy to see that someone with as much godly knowledge and experience as you thought the same.

    Thank you so much for taking the time with this blog to serve God even more. It has greatly blessed my day and will continue to inspire and challange me in the days to come. May the Lord bless you a thousand times over.

  23. Heidi,

    Thank you for joining the conversation here. I pray that Cerulean Sanctum always honors God.

    Can I pray for your health? Drop me a line by e-mail and let me know more so I can pray for you.

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