The Silent Majority

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A man whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.

‘Very few people were true Nazis’ he said, ‘but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything.I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.’

We are told again and again by ‘experts’ and ‘talking heads’ that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.

Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.

It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is that the ‘peaceful majority,’ the ’silent majority,’ is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists (Lenin and associates) were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were ‘peace loving?’

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.

Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up because, like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghanis, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because their peaceful majorities did not speak up until it was too late.

As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Lastly, at the risk of offending, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and send this on. Let us hope that thousands, world wide, read this -think about it – and send it on.

I did not begin this blog for political reasons, but as a mission to tell the truth about Jesus.  I have very strong political views but am not in a position to debate the issues as I would like.  When I read this on another blog, I felt it needed to be published here as well.  I’ve often wondered how the evil regimes of the world have been given a foothold, I think this letter does a good job of explaining.  Our faith should determine our actions…I do not believe Jesus would be upset with us thinking this one through, do you?

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145 responses »

  1. I wholeheartedly believe that the only way ‘radical’ Islam will be defeated in it’s quest for world dominance is for ‘peace loving’/’modertate’ Muslims get involved. My opinion comes from a number of years of being ‘involved’ with the world of terrorism on a couple of levels and having spent 15 months in Iraq with local English speaking Iraqis, Iraqi-Americans and of course Iraqi Army personnel (through interpreters).

  2. Dan, you know better than most what is happening. Isn’t it true that the reason they stay silent is from fear? Just thinking about posting this caused me some concern, probably irrational, but the whole point of terrorism is to silence people through bullying, right?

  3. Intimidation is the rule, whether it’s the West (like Spain), or Muslims who want to live in peace.

  4. While there is much I could say about this topic, I decided instead to publish a new post on my site, appropriately entitled, “Night.”

    I figure doing something about genocide is better than staying silent about genocide.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Michelle.

  5. Michelle, I hope I did not offend on my post. As I read this, I do not see how what you have written here even realtes to what I have written about.

    I think what you have written here is right on. This is a cry for peace loving people to stand on their beliefs and morals, to live for the world to see, that we can be a louder voice and a bigger influence over the hatred and evil that is so prevalent.

    This is a wonderfully written email that speaks to the heart of valuing life and liberty.

    The hatred I speak of on my post is hatred lived out by those who claim to be peaceful and loving. It is not just about standing against something, but it is even more, standing for something. When God’s truth is seen lived out in peoples lives, the evil that is around us is truly seen for what it is and pointed out for what it could become.

    This post does that.

  6. I don’t want to miss your point, which I believe is that the “silent people” need to become vocal. I would just like to point out that author of this post omitted quite a few poignant examples:

    The importation of slaves/slave trade in North America is estimated to have caused from 5 million to 60 million deaths of enslaved peoples. Nobody really knows the exact number.

    The death toll of the indigenous peoples of North America is estimated to have been 8 million to several hundred million by the end of the colonial period. Again, the numbers are just guesses, but “manifest destiny” was a government sanctioned license to slaughter.

    Then there is the whole reformation/crusade/inquisition time frame in European history. Countless peoples were killed then as well.

    My point is that pointing the finger at another religious group could be construed as ‘hateful’ if you don’t realize that Christians and Americans have historically been just as guilty. People have been killing large groups of other people throughout history – this is not unique, and unfortunately, not going to end until Jesus returns (at a time when countless millions more will perish – if you interpret the prophecies a particular way). I don’t think Americans/Christians have particularly cleaned up our act either – we’re still killing scores of people, we’ve just become more efficient, and our ’causes’ have changed.

    Intent and impact are two different things. Your intention may not be “hateful” but it could certainly be interpreted as “hateful” by other persons. The dialogue is key for this to come out, I believe.

    The closing statement, “As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.” – this is a hateful, and anti-Christian statement, IMO.

    Finally, rest assured that if we as Believers and followers of the Christ truly embrace his message – his Gospel – we will be hunted down and imprisoned, tortured, and even killed. Jesus promised this to us.

  7. Are we to base what we say on what someone else might perceive as ‘hateful’? Of course ‘polite discourse’ should rule the day and if we strive toward that, someone else’s ‘perceived hatred’ is theirs. I can quote John 14:6 and be accused of hateful speech if someone ‘perceives’ my quotation to also indicate what they cannot see – the contents of my heart.

    If the referenced “closing statement” was intended to mean that there is a ‘fanatical’ group out there whose end goal is to bring the entire world under Islamic Sharia law, and thus threatens us, then it is a point of fact. Perhaps the term ‘fanatical’ could be ‘perceived’ as hateful, but that’s not set in stone either.

    Perhaps the author of the post did not determine your litany of injustices having ben perpetrated throughout history as not germane to the discussion at hand. Previous injustices perpetrated at any time in history in no way justifies the goals/actions of a certain group(s) of Islamists.

  8. This is an excellent example of why we should be invovled in our families, neighbors, communities, cities, states, countries and world. As we read in the Bible, we are to part of the all of these and NOT be silent. Jesus went into the Temple and saw the wrong being done by the money changers. He stepped up with righteous anger, that’s right – be angry and sin not, and dealt with the issue.

    We cannot be silent and let the small few run the countries.

    We would not watch in public as a man beats a child or a woman bloody. Sitting by as the German majority did and let the country be taken over by Nazis was the same a doing the deeds themselves.

    We have to get involved any way we can, relationships, politics, whatever it takes. Against such things there is no law or scripture.

    To b4dguys points:

    1) Crusades were a bad plan and would not be tolerated today either.
    2) Being part American Indian, there were wars all over the world for land and that is just part of life in the world. In modern times (since 1900’s) these types of aggression against peoples are not tolerated.
    3) There is not finger pointing at “another religious group” but rather an exposure to the evil that lurks within a religious group. An evil that is seen by those within the group and they agree with the statements here.
    4) The closing statement, “As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.” – this is a hateful, and anti-Christian statement, IMO. This is a ridiculous assertion. This blog is not saying the Muslims need to be watched, but rather the fanatics within that group as well as fanatics within ANY group.

    It helps to be understanding as you read rather than looking for the boogie man in statements from Christians – IMO.

    The statement about watching for the fanatics is equal to putting a burglar alarm system in your house. That is not hateful, that is smart, in fact the insurance companies prefer it. In the same way, history teaches us that fanatical factions, whether coming from Christian groups, Muslims groups, white groups, whatever group you choice to use, always take a good thing and exploit it for their own selfish good. That is all this post, when read in context, is stating.

    Summary statement: Those who forget their history are destined to repeat it!

  9. Thank you for bringing balance to the post, b4dguy. If you believe this to be my point, then you didn’t miss a thing: which I believe is that the “silent people” need to become vocal.

    “The closing statement, “As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.” – this is a hateful, and anti-Christian statement, IMO.”

    Could you explain how this is hateful? The fanatics who killed Native Americans because they were seen as “savages” may have been stopped if the silent ones (possibly not a majority) had followed the vocal one’s (Davy Crockett in Congress opposed the Indian Removal Act) leadership. Always speaking against fanaticism is commendable. No where in this post is the writer declaring the peaceful Muslims of being fanatics, only of allowing fanaticism to take control of their religion.

    However, I would argue the proposition of Islam being a peaceful religion, if I had the energy…History will not bear out that claim anymore than Christians having always been loving as Christ told us to be. But look at the texts, read the writings of the religions, and a vast difference is shown. Have you seen the movie, “Fitna”?

  10. To touch upon what Badguy is saying (and it was something that occurred to me as I read Michelle’s post, but it is also something that occurs to me almost daily) is that there would have been no Holocaust if there had been no Christian church. It was the early church’s determination to remove itself from the Jewish faith, in the process looking upon Jews as those who not only rejected the one true faith but also ‘killed’ our savior that culminated in the antisemitism that has run rampant throughout the western world, even to this day. Islamic antisemitism shares these same same roots.

    I don’t want to get to far off topic, but I think we need to make sure that we accept and repent for what a TERRIBLE job the Church has done over the past 2000 years. The times in which Jesus’ teachings are visible have sadly been the exception and not the rule. Christ was peaceful, Christians (as a whole) have never been. (At least not since the second century.) Once we do that then perhaps we would establish more credibility among those people whom we exhort.

  11. I personally did not see the last statement as a reference to a specific group but more to a group of people in general that exist.

    Fanatical is an interesting word in that it can be taken as a bad thing. To be a fanatic does not mean you are wrong, it is all about intent and purpose. If the purpose is to do good then it is, if the purpose is to do bad then it is.

    Maybe the word fanatical can be perceived as hateful, but in this case I saw it used as a label not a classification.

  12. Michelle,

    I like the fact that you post as opposed to forward to a long list of emails. Posting goes basically to your already interested readers. In the future, I would suggest you write an opening statement that introduces the email/post … I began reading by incorrectly attributing all the words to you (mentally).

    The post/email is really trying hard to prove “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I don’t see this as “hate” as much as “fear.” This part seems ironic… that it appears to call people to not be afraid (intimidated) by dredging up fearful images.

    So those are some of my thoughts as I read this post/email. I like your closing paragraph but that is no doubt because it is your heart. I absolutely do agree that we should seek ways to live out our faith.

  13. Christain – I hear what you are saying but I think the story of Esther and the Greek Antiochus IV Epiphanes would be two pre-Christian examples of the desire and plan to exterminate the Jews. It wasn’t an early church invention, although it certainly has lessened our credibility in the world. Hitler did make a cov’t with the Catholic church – but that does not speak for the entire Christian world (even if they would like to think they do).

    Brent – I agree, completely.

    Ric – I had my comment at the beginning at first, but then put it at the bottom, deciding it might make some people not read if they knew it was from another source. I kinda thought it was a strategic move to get my usual readers to not turn away. I think it worked 😉 The irony of it worked on me, but then that is the point of terrorism, is it not?

  14. Michelle, I’m sure you are right; there were plenty of occasions for this throughout the history of the Jews (as well as other ethnicities- you mentioned the Native Americans for one). But I believe that the reason in particular that the Jews have been persecuted by Westerners to such an extent has as it’s foundation a tragically skewed Christian doctrine. It has only been since the beginning of the 20th century that the Roman Catholic church began to admit that they had a very flawed outlook concerning the Jews, and to this day mainline denominations are putting out official words to the effect that it is time to stop blaming the Jews for Christ’s death.

    It’s not so much that Hitler made a deal with anyone, Catholic, Lutheran etc. Antisemitism has been endemic to the church. Have you ever read Luther’s thoughts on Judaism?

  15. I’ll try to explain what I meant, and please understand I’m focusing on the email post – not Michelle’s words – or motives for posting this on the blog (which I think is cool since we’re having this discussion).

    The way I read that line, “As for us [Christians/Americans] who watch it [all the killing, atrocities, and violation of human rights] all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts [whatever group paints us in the crosshairs]; the fanatics who threaten our way of life [we’ll only get involved if it impacts our pocket book/lifestyle – otherwise they can go kill each other all they want].

    There are variations of this sentiment in racial [which I count as synonymous with hateful] groups such as “let the blacks kill each other over drugs” or “let’s provide birth control to blacks so they’ll eventually die out.”

    But more than hateful, I see this as un-Christian in how this statement “only care about it if it personally impacts me” flies in the face of Jesus’ words of denying self; putting to death the self; looking out for the interests of others; in humility counting others’ as better than ourselves; and so forth.

    Why aren’t Christians everywhere jumping in with both feet to try and protect the victims of all the [current] atrocities cited? Why aren’t we doing more to intervene against the atrocities that are being perpetrated the US? To quote the late MLK, “I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today–my own government.”

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t do something about the fanatical muslims, but at the same time shouldn’t we be concerned with and do something about all the other fantics, and shouldn’t we also address the things in which we are complicit?

    We have no further to look for those fanaticals than to simply look in our own mirror. “We” are just as guilty – if not more so, than all the “theys” out there.

  16. “there would have been no Holocaust if there had been no Christian church. It was the early church’s determination to remove itself from the Jewish faith, in the process looking upon Jews as those who not only rejected the one true faith but also ‘killed’ our savior that culminated in the antisemitism that has run rampant throughout the western world, even to this day. Islamic antisemitism shares these same same roots.”

    Are you kidding us?????

    The early church was at first Jews who had embraced Christ as their Messiah. The separation from the Jewish ‘religion’ was a natural outgrowth of having accepted ‘grace’ and becoming distant from a religion that, as a whole, rejected Jesus as Messiah. As for the origin of antisemitism – Peter preached the first Holy Spirit empowered sermon on the streets of Jerusalem, to Jews gathered for the celebration of a Jewish feast, did in fact mention who reject Christ as Messiah and who killed him. It was followed by 3,000 NEW believers in Christ! I don’t think it ‘birthed’ antisemitism.

    To say that the establishment of the Christian Church is somehow connected to the Holocaust seems to me to be somehow, well, a bit lame?

  17. “In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
    And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
    And then they came for the trade unionists,
    And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
    And then they came for the Jews,
    And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
    And then . . . they came for me . . .
    And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

    – Martin Niemöller

  18. Hey guys, I responded over on Brent’s blog, but this is where I originally read the post. The writer, I assume, is coming from a Pro-Israel viewpoint since that is Elya’s stand. Elya is my Jewish friend who writes to counter-balance the antisemitism he sees in the blogosphere. I find his stance refreshing, since the news is somewhat biased these days…

    http://elyakatz.wordpress.com/

  19. b4dguy:

    I’ve always loved that poem but couldn’t remember the author. He worked with Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the Confessing Church, I believe. Thanks for bringing it to the discussion – he said what I’m trying to say, but much more eloquently. 😉

  20. Thanks for the additional info, Michelle. As far as I can tell the post is attributed to Dr. Emanuel Tanay, himself a survivor of the holocaust. This fact alone does paint this email in a different light. I would venture that Dr. Tanay is not speaking from a posture of hate, but from experience. He is Jewish, btw – not a Christian (again, as far as I can tell).

    I believe his warning is very similar to the Niemoller quote in that he is expressing the need for the “peaceful” people to speak up before it is too late:

    “Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up because, like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.”

    I’m wondering if his original writing was in the form of an email, or if it has been ‘modified’ to make it into a mass appeal. I question too whether the final two statements are his work, or were added later by someone converting this writing into an email/post.

    comicphat – Jesus’ call for us as believers to enter in and be a part of the world becoming a voice for justice, the opressed, and the marginalized is in direct opposition to the final statement in this work “look out for the group that’s going after you.” Maybe I’m misreading the quote altoghether, and maybe the quote isn’t really part of Dr. Tanay’s musings – it seems inconsistent with the rest of the essay, which is why I believe it is an editorial epilogue.

    commenting on your four points:

    1) the crusades were tolerated at the time – which is the point of this essay
    2) wars for land is part of life. Really? Not tolerated since the 1900’s? Just look at the list of atrocities that are mentioned here – this is evidence that there is not only tolerance, but indifference (unless it effects ‘me’ personally).
    3) agreed. what evil is lurking within America? or the American Christian church?
    4) I continue to not think this is a ridiculous assertion. I believe that Dr. Tanay is saying that Muslims should be looking out for fanatics within their own religion, and that any ****-ism should be watching out for fantics within their own community. Sounds good – but is not practiced in a way that is balanced or loving or non-hateful (just google search this essay and see where it leads you). So it’s not the original words necessarily, but the way this message is being spread around and misinterpreted/misapplied.

    “It helps to be understanding as you read rather than looking for the boogie man in statements from Christians – IMO.” Isn’t that what this post is all about? Christians looking out for the fanatics within Christianity? How do you derive solid-truth from musings of the ‘boogie man’? Just curious.

    “Those who forget their history are destined to repeat it!” – I wholeheartedly agree.

    dan – I believe if you study the history of the church, the rise of the church in Europe, the treatment of jews by the church throughout history, and the residual effects of all that (plus NOT learning from history) and it’s pretty easy to draw the conclusion that if there was no church there would not have been a holocaust. Cetainly there would still have been a cleansing of anyone deemed “different” or “inferior”, but Hitler would have had to come up with a different mass-marketing campaign.

    I wish I could find the original writing of Dr. Tanay – I’ll keep looking. He does have a published auto-biography called “Passport to Life.” I might get my hands on a copy of this book and give it a read.

  21. Google is my friend (and I’m a professional!)

    Here’s a portion of a review of his book:

    “Passport To Life is particularly vital in that it deconstructs mythologies that have arisen about the Holocaust. For example, the author was personally present in Warsaw at the time the Uprising began, and warns against characterizing it as a true rebellion, since it claimed the lives of very few German soldiers and had zero military impact upon the course of the war. Rather, he characterizes it as a mass suicide of Jews who preferred to die from German guns rather than be sent to Treblinka. Since World War II there has been a tendency to over-dramatize or exaggerate Christian rescues of Jewish people; Tanay respects the nobility of those who did so but also carefully delineates examples in which the truth is lost to the need to mythologize history and make a few good men into saints rather than confront the overall horror of what really happened. Tanay further dissects with clinical expertise the nature of hatred itself, demonstrating that the most virulent hatreds are perpetrated against individuals or groups the hater knows nothing about, or believes fantasies about; hatred is not borne of logic or reason, and therefore rationality is no defense against it. Emphasizing the critical importance of broadcasting a counter-message to the many widespread propaganda of hate today, including but not limited to hatred against unbelievers spread within specific Islamic states, Passport To Life offers the key to understanding and hopefully preventing worse genocidal deprivations in the future.”

    If this is indeed the heart of the man, then any inference of hate from the above post would be erroneous (e.g. I’m wrong). Still, I wonder if he really wrote the whole thing…at the very least I’d like to see the full context of the essay.

  22. Dan, I know it sounded counter intuitive but look at history, in fact try to see it from a Jewish perspective:

    By far,. those who have persecuted the Jews the most have been those who called themselves Christians. The early church was really an offshoot of the Jewish faith, with Jewish scriptures, Jewish congregates, Jewish leaders and a Jewish Messiah. It wasn’t long after he church became powerful that this connection, if not necessarily forgotten, was ignored. Scriptures were used by the church to support the idea that the Jews were an anathema to God. Countless numbers have been killed at the hands of the “Church”, first for failing to convert and then later for just being ‘different’.

    That is the past (although I don’t think we have seen the last of this prejudice among Westerners) but it helps to understand that, in many regards, Christians have performed just as atrociously as the current crop of Muslim fanatics. This doesn’t excuse them, but it may encourage us to consider different ways in which to approach them.

    Case in point; what’s all the fighting about anyway? Is it just a mindless hatred and jealousy of an innocent people? It might help to remember that during World War II the homes and lands of the Arab people of North Africa, including their sacred cities like Medina, were laid waste by the incessant tidal actions of European and North American armies as they continued a war that was stated by Christian countries 1914. Arab men, women and children were killed by the thousands, villages crushed beneath tank treads, their wells were poisoned and fields salted; ‘collateral” damage from a war that they had nothing to do with.

    I think that we are experiencing today is the almost inevitable by-product of “Christian” countries exercising their mandate to claim what God has decided to bestow upon them; colonialism.

    These types of memories don’t fade away very quickly.

  23. b4dguy:

    “Since World War II there has been a tendency to over-dramatize or exaggerate Christian rescues of Jewish people”

    This may very well be true, but having read Corrie ten Boom’s book and anxiously awaiting the film debut with my youth group in the ’70’s, that dramatization got me to see the need to stand firm with the Jewish people. I hope and pray I will be able to do the same if the time ever arises again. (God forbid!) I’ve used Schindler’s List (notably flawed character) in much the same way to teach my children (teenagers) and other youth.

    Interesting synopsis, I’ll go google him. Thanks! 😉

  24. I’ve been reading excerpts from the book at amazon.com (you must be logged in to amazon to see sample pages).

    Here’s an interesting, “lame” quote from the book:

    “When I was growing up, the word “Christian” in Poland and Europe was a synonym for anti-Semitic. It was common to see signs in display windows: ‘This is a Christian Store.’ This meant that the owner was not only Christian, but also anti-Semitic, and Jews were not welcome as customers. In 1938, Regent Horthy of Hungary welcomed representatives of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) from America, with an expression of pleasure at meeting an ‘American anti-Semitic association.’ He assume that ‘Christian’ was a synonym for anti-Semitism in America as it was in Europe.”
    – Dr. Emanuel Tanay in Passport to Life, 2004, Forensic Press.

  25. Christian: Have you ever read Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s book, America’s Real War? There is much we need to be broken about in our relations with our Jewish brothers. However,just as we cannot ever completely pay back what we did in America to the Africans we enslaved, we can’t go back and compensate for the Crusades. We can only move forward. At this time in history we need to recognize where the fight is and why. We’ve NOT done it well in the past, let’s get it done right this time.

    The link is a review of Lapin’s book. He is an Orthodox Rabbi and the review is written by a Religious Jew, not Orthodox. It’s an excellent book, IMHO.
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_/ai_54022321

  26. b4dguy – Yes, and when you read The War Against the Jews by Lucy Dawidowitz, it is shown that the political parties throughout Europe in the early decades of the 20th century used the term “Christian” for that very reason: to declare themselves antisemitic. I’d say it’s like stealing the term “gay” to define a lifestyle that leads to sadness and many times an early death. (Speaking from talking with gay friends and family members)

    What has been done in the name of Christ is not always Christian. AMEN!? Not acknowledging that reality, this side of history, is assinine. But to therefore speak as though this is where we are today, is to not recognize those of us who have repented.

    To go a step further and assume we are all following the same God: Jews, Christians, and Muslims, is to bury our heads in the sand. Jesus was a Jew and the early church was known as a Jewish sect over 100 years. In the late 2nd century, because of persecution of Jews and Christians, the church began to try and separate by adopting “Christianized” holidays and speaking disparaging of Jews. Until that point they were celebrating Passover as Easter, believing Jesus to be the Passover Lamb who took away the sins of the world. (I wish this had never happened, if we had adhered to our Jewish roots we would have kept our love for the Jewish people, I believe.)

    But Allah and YHWH are not the same God. We believe Jesus is a direct descendant of King David, of the tribe of Benjamin, AND YHWH in the flesh. An anathema to Jews today – a complete fulfillment to Messianic Jews – which is why they refer to themselves as “completed” Jews. Our foundation is the Tanakh (Torah, Prophets, and Writings) – the Bible Jesus read. We are Jewish through our covenant in His blood, whether or not we want to claim it. I want to claim it!!

    This is not at all the Muslim position. If you read the Koran you will see it is anti-Jewish and anti-Christian. If you ever ask a Muslim if Allah is the same as YHWH, he will deny it and consider it blaspheming. Our political correctness has not allowed us to be forthright about this issue. We have had honor killings in America – a few minutes from my home. We must tell the truth, even if it endangers us, or we will all, the world over, be in danger. That is the goal – World Domination.

  27. b4dguy – (When I say your name I read it Be for da Guy – think standing be for God) 😆

    1) Yes at the time – but not NOW As Michelle said, people do things all the time in the name of Christianity, Muhammed and other religions that are totally out character of the group they claim to be representing.
    2) I mean – America taking land. – I am sure you will chop that up.
    3) Cool.
    4) I really believe the honest majority (Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc) should band together to stand against fanatics – it’s the only way it will work.

    I enjoyed your second comment and the third (poem).

    Great Post there Michelle – People miss the fact that Christianity came out of Judaism. And the Abrahamic covenant is still in play, “I will bless those who bless you (Israel) and curse those who curse you (Israel).” It was an everlasting – read never ending – covenant. Go Israel.

  28. @comicphat…

    How do you see us actually standing against fanatics? I am not arguing your point. I would love to be able to do this. But how…in peace do we stand against them, when they are most often willing (as I am) to die for their beliefs?

    Again I am not disputing you, I would love to stand against them, but I only see us ebing able to do this by shining more brightly…

  29. How do you stand against a fanatic?

    Tell a joke.

    Works every time.

    (And if such simplicity leaves you unconvinced, read HOW TO CURE A FANATIC by Amos Oz.)

  30. Man, I walk away for a couple of hours and y’all review the history of the world. Well, maybe not the complete history. Or the whole world. But a LOT o history none the less.

  31. Comic Phat is walking the dog…

    I think he would say, since he is my better half, to stand firm in the word, even unto death. Our martyrdom will speak volumes, I don’t relish it, but I believe it is our strongest voice.

    Of course, I, personally, will vote into office the person I feel has this war, and its global consequences, understood. 😉

    CORRECTION: I misspoke – He will answer tomorrow – no more computers for him today. 😦

  32. However,just as we cannot ever completely pay back what we did in America to the Africans we enslaved, we can’t go back and compensate for the Crusades. We can only move forward.

    True. But that doesn’t mean we should just forget about the tragedies of the past. We need to remember them, study them and share them with others. Or we will be consigned to the same destiny. People of today are not that much different than people of 2000 years ago. To assume that we have reached some miraculous point where we are beyond doing these types of terrible things is naive.

    The Nazis did their nasty stuff just a little over 50 years ago. American soldiers, during the occupation of Europe, consistently said that the Germans were their favorite people, out of all they conquered. Why? They were the most like us. (Americans)

  33. Michelle:

    Nope. You’re not a fanatic. I just love to make people laugh. And the surest sign of how to spot a fanatic, dare I say it, would be that a fanatic has NO sense of humor (which Oz discusses in HOW TO CURE A FANATIC).

    So…the best to “stand against a fanatic” is get ’em laughing. And like my grandmother always said, “You can be angry at someone who makes you laugh.”

    Ann duh bess waye two doo dad iz too bee schiwwy wan yer tie pin!!!

  34. I agree with you, Christian, thus the reason for the post. We must never forget what we are capable of doing and stand firm against any evil. If we don’t call it what it is, we’ll be blind-sided once again.

    NorEaster – 😆

  35. Cool Michelle! I did not realize comicphat was the better half. Although you should probably fight for that title 🙂

    Be bak tomorrow!

  36. I misspoke – He will answer tomorrow – no more computers for him today.

    Haha … Whenever I attempt to speak for Patti (my better half) I ALWAYS “misspeak”!! Well maybe not always, just the really, really important stuff. However, Coffee? Black no suger, no cream. Tea? Earl Grey. Cold drink? Iced Tea, unsweetened. hmmm… maybe this is the important stuff.

  37. comicphat – I’ve been called Bee-Four, and bee-four-dee, and just bad. It’s really ‘badguy’ -but that wasn’t available from wordpress.

    I’m not interested in chopping up anything. We don’t do that anymore, but then we haven’t given back the land to the indigenous people either.
    Look for a recent Absolut Vodka ad that depicts North America divided between the U.S. and Mexico pretty interesting (oh, that’s another of those emails that is telling me to boycott Absolut Vodka – nobody has a sense of humor it seems.) –

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laplaza/2008/04/mexico-reconque.html

    Question: When in their history did Muslims stop following the God of Abraham and start following Allah?

  38. Question: When in their history did Muslims stop following the God of Abraham and start following Allah?

    That might be a whole separate blog and an undeterminable point in time. All I know is that Jesus told religious leaders in his day whoy ‘thought’ they were serving the God of Abram that they weren’t because if they did not receive and love Him as being sent from God, they didn’t love God either (and those were the nice words)

  39. How do we do it?

    We have to stay involved politically and with our neighbors, cities, etc. Too many people say I do not have time or that does not concern me. We can’t wait unitl its too late to stand together. Just like the poem that b4dguy quoted:

    “And then . . . they came for me . . .
    And by that time there was no one left to speak up.” – Martin Niemöller

    We have to stand up together for what is truly right and just across the board. We need to agree at the least common denominator . Life is precious! I think the majority can agree on that. When it comes down to brass tacks – nothing else matters.

    Yes we have different religions, but what is the least common denominator of all the major of religions? Life is precious! I know the fanatics do not stand for that – they stand for we are right and we will kill whoever disagrees. It does not matter what name they call themselves, Christian , Muslim, Jewish, Amish 😯 – okay the Amish don’t kill :); a fanatic is not in line with the majority of any group. Therefore if the majorities of all groups can stand together on the least common denominator – Life is precious, that will be how we actually standing against fanatics.

    Nothing else REALLY matters when all our backs are against the wall. But let’s not wait that long.

  40. Good point.

    The challenge for Christians is working out the Great Commission (share the gospel of Christ) in an LCD (NOT liquid crustal display) context.

    That’s probably wrapped up in being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance on when/where/to whom/how to accomplish that.

  41. dan – That’s probably wrapped up in being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance on when/where/to whom/how to accomplish that.

    Exactly.

    As for the God/Allah/YHWH thing – it’s semantics, but understanding the nature of God is not the same as different Gods, at least in my book. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all claim the God of Abraham to be their God; in that sense, all the Gods are the same.

    All the traits as to the nature of God that the major religions ascribe are indeed extremely different; as are sects/denoms within the major religions.

    The fanatics tend to kill those that disagree with them. That’s the #1 solution to the problem, and it crosses over all the major religions (or one might simply say, it’s now the Muslims turn…)

    Had we had this conversation during the times of the reformation or the crusades, would we be drawing the same conclusions? Would we be willing to stick our necks out when it was our own religion that was being overrun by the kooks and fanatics? I’m not sure I want to know my own answer to that question…

  42. “Life is precious, that will be how we actually standing against fanatics.”

    Great point. Perhaps, in our standing up to these fanatics we need to make very sure that our own houses are in order; maybe take a page out of the Amish book concerning capital punishment, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and war. Otherwise these ‘fanatics’ may take our words and “trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear us to pieces.”

  43. B4D and Christian – it was a delight reading your writings and passion on this subject – I tend to agree with both of your assertions on the subject and cultural sensitivites.

    Christian have you read ‘the Misunderstood Jew’ (by Amy Jill Levine) – your comments are similar to hers and I really liked that book.

    B4D I appreciate the analysis about us right here at home and our responsibilities – even to be more like the Jesus we all love. I think it is a good reminder and also a humbling experience to take our patriotism and remove it for equality of all.

  44. societyvs – you have exposed me for the plagiarist that I am! I just finished her book, and although I don’t agree with everything she suggests, she has caused me to reconsider much. Lately I have been very interested in the “lost” Jewishness of Jesus and his disciples.

    If you liked A J Levine’s book on this topic I recommend too very small books by Gary Wills; “What Jesus Said” and “What Paul Said”.

  45. Society,

    I think I hit both your recent blog posts and it has been, as blogging seems to be, prifitable and challenging. The challenge is communicating meaning expressed with voice tones, emotions, and emphases and other ways available to us face-to-face that fall ‘flat’ on paper (was that a pun?). 🙂

  46. OK, guys, I’ve been gone all morning and just now have a chance to comment. Not that y’all need me in this conversation, it’s a very interesting thread. Here is my dissertation:

    b4adguy asked:
    Question: When in their history did Muslims stop following the God of Abraham and start following Allah?

    It could actually be asked another way, when did they start following the God of Abraham?

    In Hebrew the generic name for God (big G or little g) is El – Elohim, El Shaddai, El Elyon,…the God of gods = the El of els…

    In Arabic the name for God is Allah. The question comes in thinking Allah is equated with YHWH – I AM WHO I AM.

    In the Tanakh (Torah, Prophets, Writings) God expresses who He is again and again. He defines Himself with His names – a name in ancient times referred to the character, the qualities of a person. From the beginning when the name Elohim is used in creation, to Abraham speaking of Adonai and El Shaddai telling Abe, He will be All-Sufficient to bring the deadness of Abe’s body to produce a seed. In the story with Hagar the Lord appears to her and she understands Him to be the God Who Sees – El Roi. He describes Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Not to be confused with any other son of Abraham) At the sacrificing of Isaac when the Lord stopped Abe He showed Himself as Jehovah-Jireh, the LORD our Provider. God told Moses of His Name – His memorial name forever – at the burning bush – YHWH – non-Hebrew speaking Christians translated the Name as Jehovah: the English transliteration of the Hebrew tetragrammaton YHWH. This Name is so holy to the Jewish people that they will not speak it – they only refer to it as The Name, HaShem. After Moses brought the people out of Egypt the Lord revealed Himself as Jehovah-Rapha, Jehovah-Nissi, Jehovah-Shalom, Jehovah-Tsidkenu…and others – each instance revealing something more about His character, His attributes, His nature. Throughout the Tanakh He defines Himself with His names. It is a fascinating study and not at all complete with this synopsis.

    What we call Him matters for He works according to His name – as is said throughout scripture, “for His Name’s sake.”

    “The name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous runs into it and is safe” Proverbs 18:10

    “Trust in the name of the LORD and rely on God” Isaiah 50:10

    “Some boast in chariots, and some in horses; but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God” Psalm 20:7

    Now, this…please note the word “tradition”…based upon Mohammedan legend. (Remember Mohammed came into power around 630 AD)
    Taken from the Jewish Encyclopedia-
    —In Arabic Literature:

    For the history of Ishmael, according to Mohammedan legend, see Jew. Encyc. i. 87, s.v. Abraham in Mohammedan Iegend; and Hagar. It may be added here that Ishmael is designated a prophet by Mohammed: “Remember Ishmael in the Book, for he was true to his promise, and was a messenger and a prophet” (Koran, xix. 55). Ishmael is, therefore, in Mohammedan tradition a prototype of faithfulness. He was an arrow-maker, and a good hunter. As a prophet, he had the gift of performing miracles. He converted many heathen to the worship of the One God. He left twelve sons. His son Kedar is said to have been an ancestor of Mohammed. Ishmael is reputed to have lived one hundred and thirty years; he was buried near the Kaaba. His posterity, however, became pagan, and remained so until they were brought back to Islam by Mohammed.

    Now…I’ve linked to a discussion on a Muslim site discussing the name Allah and its origins. Some people believe it was a Christian claim that Allah is a shortened version of the moon god worshipped for millenia: Al-illah. (If the quote above from the Jewish Encyclopedia is to be understood as truth rather than legend, then we see Ishmael’s sons did not follow after the God of their father but became pagan) But I thought this site the most interesting since it is Muslims discussing the name. It is disputed today but I believe it can be seen that Mohammed elevated the moon god with three daughters to the highest and only God.

    http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/islam/TNKVI348539SNNIUD

    So, you see, I do not see it as a matter of semantics but as a truth claim about God. Who are we bowing down before? You shall have no other gods before Me.

    Jews worship YHWH – Christians worship God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, believing them to be three-in-One, understanding Jesus claimed to be YHWH – Muslims worship Allah who never claims to be YHWH and speaks disparaging of Jews and Christians, he is the elevated moon god. Just look at their flags and minarets, a crescent moon with three stars…

    Our God is a jealous God and will not share His name with another.

    That’s my thinking…

  47. “Jews worship YHWH – Christians worship God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, believing them to be three-in-One, understanding Jesus claimed to be YHWH…Our God is a jealous God and will not share His name with another” (Michelle)

    Uhm…YHWH and Jesus (some like Joshua) are not exactly the same names either – just thought I’d throw that out there…jealous God huh…it’s alright when He’s jealous of the faith claims of Allah but not when Christians turn Jesus into Him. Some of this is irreconciliable.

  48. Jesus. a mere man, claimed to be God; so said the religious leaders called him a blasphemer. Jesus told them on numerous occassions that to love the Father is to love the Son and to NOT love the Son for who he said he was (the promised Messiah) was tantamount to NOT really loving the Father and that if one claimed to love the Father and not the Son was to have the devil as one’s spiritual father, and not God.

    Pretty harsh, huh? I believe all of the above is recorded in the Gospel of John, in which Jesus dealt extensib\vely with the religious leaders’ unbelief. The main point of John’s gospel was the divinity of Christ, beginning in the very first chapter:

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. . . .

    14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

    That’s just a taste – rather clear in what it is trelling us. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with and the word WAS God. The Word became flesh. . .

    I tossed that in because the divinith of Christ is at issue here.

  49. I see your point, Society, which is why I clarified with Jesus’ claim to be YHWH. It is that belief that is crucial in following after Him. I can follow His way as a man, but to believe He is also God, YHWH in the flesh, is to believe in what He claimed.

    When He was incarnated into flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary, all of the fullness of God dwelled in Him. (Col. 1:19)

    He made many I AM statements in the gospel – this is why He was crucified – for making Himself out to be God.

    I AM the way, I AM the truth, I AM the life.

    “Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM” Therefore, they picked up stones to throw at Him…

  50. Okay…This so far totally off the thread and the subject, but way back there in Comment #40, I misquoted my grandmother. It should be…

    “You can NOT** be angry at someone who makes you laugh.”

    Sorry. My eyeballs are starting to erode.

  51. Thanks, Dan, I really appreciate your input. You always have plenty of scripture, which is the point, right? 😉

    Hey, NorEaster! Totally off the thread! But, your grandmother was right, it’s impossible to stay mad at you! 😆 Eyeballs eroding? From writing your overdue novel or reading too long of threads? 😉

  52. Michelle:

    Both! Heh.

    And one of these days you’ll have to teach me how to do all those Smileys!

  53. B4B, to answer a few of the questions/scriptures posted:

    John 1:2 “He was in the beginning with God” – Interesting second passage I think – why not just say Jesus is God again if that is the point John is making? Obviously he is not making this point.

    John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”

    Even John says in verse one the Word was with God – then says the Word was God (not is)…and even that doesn’t connotate deity. It again shows the closeness of the relationship of ‘the Anointed One’ with the ‘Anointer (The One)’ – things can look a certain way and not be. But it seems to me John is tying the Messiah/Christ/Anointed One to God – the connection is very close – establishing the meaning of Jesus and his authority – like words on the lips of God (Jesus is).

    John 1:18 “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God..”

    This is either a mis-translation or something fishy is going on – we see begotten and God right beside each other. I asked earlier – is God into creating more Gods? In this very sentence (which only ever appears one time in the whole bible) – we see God begetting another God.

    Now for the John passages that contradict this claim of Jesus being God:

    John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser” – those are 2 different roles completely – two different essences completetly (in this analogy). Jesus is a plant/tree – God is the person taking care of the plant/tree…that much is as clear as day.

    John 17:3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” – Jesus is sent by God to reveal the only true God – which is not Jesus for some odd reason (he’s the Messiah in this sentence) – and he is ‘sent’! Reminds me of messengar lingo.

    John 17:21 “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us” – uhm…are we in the Trinity too?

    I am not sure Jesus is claiming God status – however – the book of John is one of those books that can be read like that with very little problem. John uses ‘I am’ statements a lot – but does it mean Jesus is God or of God? That’s a little different. This is where the true distinction comes in concerning this gospel – John uses Jewish terminology – but colors Jesus in a language that puts him close to God (even a son) – but God…that’s questionable.

  54. “all of the fullness of God dwelled in Him” (Michelle)

    Question is – did it dwell in him because God wanted that or because Jesus had the ability to do this (being God)? Remember, we do do see Jesus being baptized in the Jordan and recieving the Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit).

    “He made many I AM statements in the gospel – this is why He was crucified – for making Himself out to be God.” (Michelle)

    Some Jewish leaders did question him about being the ‘son of God’ – and garnering equality – but even this equality can mean his words hold that weight (being blessed by God) – but as for Jesus claiming equality with God – well he wasn’t tried for this…he was tried for being a King (a rival of Caesar’s).

    John is always the proof text for Jesus being God – and for good reason – the elusive language of the book helps the cause out. Is John being literal about Jesus being God? I don’t think so – he seems to be pointing one to Jesus as the ‘Anointed One’ and how close his connection is with God (and this is irrefutable to John) – thus many examples of things Jesus said in very colorful language.

    John seems to believe Jesus did exist prior to a human life – with God in his court (my guess) – and was sent to earth to proclaim the ‘truth’ about the scriptures and God. John’s language can lead one to think Jesus is God – and if this is what he was going for – well he succeeded (most Chrstians believe this claim now). I do not believe this is what John was doing personally – even with the ‘I Am’ statements – his letter makes this a little more clear:

    1 John 2:1b: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” – John seperates Jesus and God very clearly here in his letter – Jesus is an advocate to the Father on our behalfs – but if Jesus is God then he does not need to advocate at all.

    1 John 4:6a: “We are from God…” – again John uses language – if taken in a literal tone – means we are part of God. Now this may be true in some metaphorical sense (since we know we are humans) – but John is using this to point to the idea of closeness.

    1 John 4:15 “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” – This is John’s theological outline in one sentence – God sent the Son – not God sent God to earth. Does God have the ability to split Himself and create Himself? This is dualism in the sense it is quite clear that Jesus and God are seperate entities but united in purpose.

    To me, it’s all too strange that Jesus would be God – it’s nowhere in Matthew, Mark, or Luke – this all comes from John (and slightly from Paul). Judaism has not held this belief in regards to the Messiah nor God being more than One (which is clearly at least 2 seperate people if we take John’s writings as literal). This belief was never used in Judaism – but plurality in God-head – yeah…that’s a Gentilic community idea and Rome is no stranger to a God-head with various deities ruling together.

  55. Dan/B4B – I’m curious, why the two identities? Is this a ying and yang thing?

    Michelle – your statement, “What we call Him matters for He works according to His name – as is said throughout scripture, ‘for His Name’s sake.'”

    Have you ever seen one of those posters that have all the names of God, or all the names of Jesus? I agree that the name has to do with characteristic or nature, but I think God will and has responded to numerous names. There are sects within Christianity that have pitted battles over getting the name of God right? Are you familiar with Apostolic doctrine (the name of God is “Jesus”); or Jehovah’s Witnesses (obviously the name of God is Jehovah)?

    I believe there is only one God. People either know him or don’t, but they believe all sorts of characteristics about Him (even ascribing gender is spurious) often represented by different names. Regardless of what we believe about God or His nature, doesn’t change him one bit. So, even those that are “really wrong” are still poorly describing the same one God.

    Do you have children, Michelle? Do you respond only to “Mother” when they call you? Or do you respond to “Mom”, “Mommy”, “MaMa” as well? When they were babies would you respond to them (know they were calling you) just from the tone of their crying? Chances are you are “wife”, “mother”, “sister”, maybe “Aunt” – all different titles/characteristics – but at the end of the day it’s still just you.

    All I’m saying is – God doesn’t change – regardless of how poorly or well we describe His nature or ascribe to him certain characteristics.

  56. Society, I am not here to argue. I am not a theologian but a Bible Study leader. I know what I believe – You know what you believe. No amount of arguing will change your or my mind. As succinctly as possible I will give four more points and an illustration I have always found relevant:

    The Bible teaches that there is only one God. (Isaiah 43:10, Isaiah 44:6-8, Isaiah 45:22)

    The Bibles teaches that there is one who is called the Father and is identified as being God. (1 Peter 1:2)

    The Bible teaches that there is one who is called Jesus and is identified as being God. (John 1:1-3&14-18, John 20:28-29, 1 John 1:1-4&5:20, Philippians 2:5-8, Revelation 1:17-18, Revelation 22:12-20)

    The Bible teaches that there is one who is called the Holy Spirit and is identified as being God. (John 14:16-17, John 15:26, John 16:7-15, Acts 5:3-4, Acts 13:2, 1 Corinthians 12:4-18, Hebrews 9:14, Hebrews 10:15-18)

    Water is one substance that can be liquid, gas, and solid distinctly or all at the same. The following quote is from the late Dr. Walter Martin: “It is a well-known fact of chemistry that plain water, when placed in a vacuum under 230 millimeters of gas pressure and at a temperature of 0 degrees Centigrade, solidifies into ice at the bottom of the container, remains liquid in the center and vaporizes at the top! At a given instant the same water is both solid, liquid and gas, yet all three are manifestations of the same basic substance or nature: H2O – hydrogen: two parts; oxygen: one. If one of the simplest of all created substances can be three in manifested form and yet remain one in nature, then the Creator of that substance can surely be Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three Persons and one Nature – without any violation of logic or reason whatever if He so wills.”

    This link explains the doctrine of the Trinity more eloquently than I can – it is what I believe:
    http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=215

    If these are not helpful in your wrestling with God (if I understood your recent post) I can say nothing more than what has been said. I believe God’s word to be contained from Genesis to Revelation and made manifest through God the Son. Confessions of a Seminarian is my place for debate – I’ve also read a bit from Friendly Christian…they are much better suited and love that type of discourse. We may never agree and I do not believe it is my job to convert you to my way of thinking, just to speak what I understand to be the Truth…then move on…if we come to an agreement then we have the joy of communion and the fun of iron sharpening iron, otherwise, we’re just spinning our wheels.

    I would love to commune with you in fellowship, being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit and intent on one purpose. (Phil. 2) I do not desire a fight.

  57. Hey, b4dguy!

    Interesting…I’m not saying we have to call God by only one particular name, but by the names He has given us. Jesus told us how to talk with Him. I will answer my kids by all the proper names given me – but if they decide to call me “Sammie” or “b**ch” – that ain’t me!

    If your point is true, then why not call Him “Baal” or “Buddha” or “Satan”? I think that’s one definition of blasphemy. His name is sacred – it is His memorial name forever – it totally describes Him – He told us not to take it in vain. He commands us to call upon His name – not other names.

    I believe other spirits are out there and I do not want just any spirit, I only want the Holy Spirit.

    That’s where I’m coming from…

    So, HRC??!! Holy Rolling Christian – Harley Riding Christian – Haughty Right-Wing Conservative???? Come on!! ‘Fess up! 😉

  58. societyvs – I am very sympathetic to what you are saying. I think that what Badguy just said speaks to this. We encounter problems when, as elements of the church, we insist that everyone accept doctrines that in reality are not too terribly clear.

    It was just a year ago when, in a church setting, I stood up and said that I didn’t believe in the Trinity. Fortunately, at Cedar Ridge, this type of discourse is not only accepted but encouraged. No one shouted me down. No one even tried to explain this unexplainable doctrine to me.

    I respect those who hold to a Trinitarian view, but as Badguy suggested, it is has no choice but to be an inadequate view. If this doctrine (which is found nowhere in Scriptures and has been argued about for 2000 years) helps someone to encounter and understand God, well that’s great. For me; I see Jesus as Son (a Jewish label meaning having all the important characteristics) of God. I also see him as God. The Holy Spirit- who knows?

    I’ve heard the Trinity explained fairly well using Eastern terms. Look at the Yin Yang – two harmonious shapes that perfectly complement each other (Father and Son) with the line joining the two (the relational love they share through all eternity) producing the divine creative Spirit. Who knows?

    Now, Yin and Yang don’t sound much like the Trinity. But then neither does ice, water and steam. They are all just positive illustrations of something that cannot be seen.

    Michelle, you know that ‘taking God’s name in vain thing’? I no longer think it really has that much to do with saying “G-d d-m” or J___s C____t! when I hit my thumb with a hammer. I think the utmost offense in this regard would be to use God as an excuse for achieving your own goals. From the Crusades, to the Divine Right of Kings, to claiming God is on our nation’s side all the way up to the ‘name it and claim’ preachers who live $12 million dollar homes. That’s true blasphemy.

  59. Society’s Comment #64 says:

    “Question is – did it dwell in him because God wanted that or because Jesus had the ability to do this (being God)?”

    Good question. It reminds me of something an atheist had said to me once when I was in grad school.

    “If I had 15% of GOD’S POWER then I could do a better job than He is!”

    And my response was, “Okay. Yeah. Sure. But how can you have 15% of something that’s OMNISCIENT?”

    So if Jesus is The Son of God and God is omniscient, how could Jesus NOT be?

    It seems the answer to your question, Society, is the same as why Michelle’s hair is red.

  60. “From the Crusades, to the Divine Right of Kings, to claiming God is on our nation’s side all the way up to the ‘name it and claim’ preachers who live $12 million dollar homes. That’s true blasphemy.”

    Yes, Christian, I think taking God’s name in vain is more about what we DO in His name, than cursing. That (only cursing) is a much too simplistic view, although we are NOT to handle His name lightly, that’s one reason He keeps saying, for My name’s sake.

    Does He make Himself known to those who cry out to Him? I gave my understanding concerning that on one of your posts, didn’t I? (Romans 1)

    I haven’t come to this point in time from handed-down theology. I moved from one side of the theological spectrum to the other when I concluded scripture needs to be my plumbline and not man’s words, traditions, or philosophies. We (ComicPhat and I) walked away from our tradition and began studying, we’ve been searching for years to find a place where the scripture is taught and lived out in the body. Not sure we’ve found it yet, but am more settled than I’ve been in almost 20 years of searching.

    I believe the scriptures (Genesis to Revelation) are profitable (2Tim. 3:16):

    NIV (translation)
    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

    NASB (translation)
    All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

    NLT (paraphrase)
    All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.

    MSG (paraphrase)
    Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another–showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way

    I would not have known much about Jesus if it had not been written down by faithful men, many eye-witnesses to the events they recorded. None of us (unless y’all are Jewish, I am not) would be having this discussion if it weren’t for this fact. God allowed those who were far off to be brought near through the blood of Jesus – that means me! (Thank You, Father) So I want to know all about Him and the scripture He read, and the people He taught and commanded to teach us. The Law, The Prophets, the Writings, and the New Testament are my foundation for Truth – my plumbline.

    So, unless I have misrepresented what the scriptures have to say (and that is a possibility)…you’re not arguing with me but the word. I’ve only shared what I understand the Bible to say using indepth, inductive study and looking into the Greek and Hebrew words. I’m not wise, I am a fool for Christ, and I am not ashamed of the gospel, it is what transforms us.

    If it were up to me I would probably change some things I do not understand, but then, I’m not all-knowing, so I will rely upon the One who is and the words I believe He breathed. That’s my thinking…

  61. Gosh, Michelle. I didn’t think I was arguing with anyone, or the Word. I take scriptures VERY seriously. It’s just that this whole hermeneutical thing – like it or not we see things ‘through a glass darkly’ because the glass has been darkened by each and every one of our experiences.

  62. I’m not mad…did it seem so?? 😦

    I give long discourses on everything – I always have more to say than is necessary. The arguing comment was in connection to the attributes of God and what we call Him. I think He has completely revealed all He wants us to know about Him through His word. It’s all we have to go on – so I read the last posts from you and b4dguy as saying somehow I’ve come to the wrong conclusion.

    Yes, we see darkly, it hasn’t all been revealed. All we can know is what we’ve been given to know. And since Jesus is our Light – the buck stops there, doesn’t it?

    Not mad, just red-hot-headed Irish… ooo…HRC?? *thinking*

    Hot-headed Red-headed Christian – is that it b4dguy?! 😆

  63. Although we see through a glass darkly, as believers we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us – if but yielded to that presence in our lives, we WILL see less darkly.

    I really looked into what it means to take God’s name in vain some time ago;
    vain: in an irreverent or blasphemous manner 〈you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain —Deut 5:11

    Interesting that it means irreverantly and not just blasphemously. That takes in more territory than our usual meaning, I think.

    I think in John 1, when it says that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us sort of ‘seals the deal on that one. John saying Jesus was with and WAS God followed by becoming flesh describes the concept of Jesus being totally God and totally man, perhaps a mystery the human brain cannot grasp. Interesting how the Holy Spirit brings clarity if He dwells within. I can think of several earthly examples, none of which can really explain the Trinity.

    BTW Michelle, you have done a great job presenting scripture in this one! And politely, too!

    If ‘Cedar Ridge is the one in Maryland that is part of the WIllow Creek Association, I am not really surprised that nobody said ‘boo’, since Willow Creeks founder is rapidly joing the heretical Emergent movement.

    If the Christian church had not existed, Hitler would have found another reason to perpetrate it if in fact he used Christianity as a justifiable reason. He may have called himself Christian but he by NO stretch of the imagine was one. His occult ties alone testify to that.

    Anyhow just a quick glance through and a few replies.

  64. “I am not really surprised that nobody said ‘boo’, since Willow Creeks founder is rapidly joing the heretical Emergent movement.”

    Sorry, this has been a great discussion here, but I have to jump in. Born4Battle I am not sure what youa re talking about here. You have sat down with Mr Hybels and feel that He is heading down some road to emergentville? Curious on your sources there. Of course the only reliable one would be Bill himself…

  65. I just have a soft spot for this Michelle. I am not defending Willow, I am concerned over the attack on something we may know nothing about. this was kind of my point in my original post on Oprah. the lashing out…possibly based on no fact, or only half the facts.

  66. inWorship,

    My previous comment was meant in seriousness, but not intended to be a personal attack. There are other churches that have gone farther into ‘Emergentville’ – some are in total apostasy.

    What I know that in April they will be hosting a Shift conference for which Brian McLaren is the headline speaker. That’s on their Website and is what sent up a flag. Coming up in Seattle is a major ‘Emergent’ gathering he will be attending. Long before Willow Creek’s growing association with the Emergent Church, I have been concerned about the entire ‘Seeker Friendly’ movement, mostly in light of Romans 3, Psalm 14 and Jesus proclamation the He is the one who “seeks and saves the lost”, not the other way around. The heart of seeker friendly/purpose driven/best life now is self-centeredness rather that God-centeredness.

    Personally, I think any sort of ‘self’ centered rather than God-centered is far more dangerous than the rank heresey of the Emergent movement, which is age old gnosticism in a new suit.

    Please understand, I am not finger pointing at certain persons, just some ‘methods’ I (and many others) find unscriptural and dangerous to the Bride of Christ.

    If you want a couple of good sources of what has been happening to the church over time, I recommend two by John MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel (1993) and The Truth War (2007).

    This is not an attack, but rather a stance for biblical truth in an age of deception. I’ve done my homework.

    Michelle, I am sorry if I sound harsh or if I ‘hijacked your blog, but I am rather passionate about a few things. 🙂

  67. Thanks, Michelle.

    Sometimes it brings hot tears to a hard old soldiers eyes to see what is happening in the church. Serious preaching about issues of sin, repentance and judgment are not deemed as ‘loving’ so all we hear about God’s love makes him sound like nothing more than a doting grandfather, or how we can get ‘stuff’. All that when the greatest expression of love in the history of the human race is sending his own Son to die in our place.

    God bless you, Michelle!

  68. Born4Battle, thanks for your response. Just for perspective, I believe you and I are probably two of the more similar people in this thread by way of doctrines.

    I think something we as Christians need to do is begin to step away from all these classifications and get back to what truth is. People and churches believe lots of different things. Doctrines and theologies abound. Some are great and some are flat our wrong. Some people and churches incorporate both the right and the wrong into what they do. We can’t take a person or a church and disregard everything if we don’t agree with something. And all of these things are most consistently man made.

    Now to talk to Willow and McClaren specifically..

    I have listened to Bill teach. I have attended Willow and have friends that are there right now. They are profoundly evangelical. I think you would be pleasantly surprised to see that Bill is probably very much up your theological bents. They may have a different way of doing church, but they also understand that church is not about Sunday AM, so that portion of what they do is just one part of a large puzzle.

    As to McClaren, I know many that love all his teachings. I am one that agrees with a small portion. If I am to give perspective, I am much more fundemental in my bias and would not agree with much of his beliefs on many doctrines. But, I have read 2 of his books and he has a passion to see Christians be Jesus to the world. He will be speaking at shift to address the churches interaction with culture and I would agree with many of his ideas on us getting involved and opening discussion with the community. He will also be speaking at Willow’s arts conference this year along with Francis Chan and Gilles Ste-Croix…to give you some of the variety. McClaren is perfect for a conference like this because of his passion for arts in ministry and worship.

    With all this said, I get back to my point. I have pointed out things in my opinion that are good about McClaren and Willow. I could also go on to find things wrong. I am not going to try and classify them though, cause if they believe things that are Emergent, we will find that they also believe and teach things that are fundemental.

    My point is that we need to not use people or churches to point out things that are wrong. we need to use God’s ruth…the Word…to point out what’s right, so that hen someone or some church teaches something, we can then check it against truth.

  69. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Sorry if I sounded like I was people bashing. I admire Willow Creek’s honesty in their seeker friendliness. I just have ‘issues’ I think scriptural with that whole philosophy (scripture I shared above got me really thinking about it). I’ve got a whole box of CDs from WC a Chaplain at Ft. Carson gave me. Some are good and some are not so good. I am really glad to have met someone in that area. Although I do a ton of research about a lot of things spiritual, research is not being there.

    I really appreciate your comments. We chould maybe communicate offline or maybe over at the blog I host – The Battle Cry

    http://born4battle.wordpress.com/

  70. Like I said, I have a soft spot and I am sure I spoke too strongly to your position.

    But I truly appreciate the conversation we have had!

    I am sure we could continue to debate our likes and dislikes to style, but that is not what we are hear for. we are hear to sharpen and encourage and I appreciate your thoughts.

    I will head over and check out your place.

  71. as believers we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us – if but yielded to that presence in our lives, we WILL see less darkly.

    Sure ,but as Paul follows up in 1Corinthians 13. even he professed that ” All that I know now is partial and incomplete,”. Can we claim to know any more?

    As far as McLaren and Cedar Ridge is concerned, Born4Battle, UB2FarOff. Cedar ridge has nothing to do with Willow Creek (even if Brian is to speak there). That being said, we are (shamefully) proud to be at the head of the emerging church movement. Since you’ve gotten emergence mixed up with big box,cutting edge, Willow Creek ecclesiology then you may want to do a bit more research. I have many books I could recommend. 🙂

    That being said – I like an AWFUL lot of what Brian has to say. Not everything- we part ways on global warming – but I am a died in the wool, post modern, post fundamentalist, post evangelical, post conservative Christian. I count myself blessed to share in the same community Brian does, especially since he has had his horns filed down. Cast your stones now before I completely deconstruct. 🙂

  72. “I am a died in the wool, post modern, post fundamentalist, post evangelical, post conservative Christian”

    well that clears that up.

  73. Not me, baby. No smooching, no hugging, no close talking. There is a 3 ft square invisible box around me and NO ONE is allowed inside. Except for my wife on those two occasions on which we….well, you get the picture.

  74. If I live to a thousand years old, I will never have 98 comments on a single post.

    So, yeah. I’m feeling a bit left out. But if you REALLY think about it, that is probably a good thing!

    Ah ha ha ha!!!

  75. Yay!!! i was the 100th commenter!

    Do i get a prize Michelle? I mean, I know you didn’t offer one – but. well. do i?

  76. Christian,

    “That being said, we are (shamefully) proud to be at the head of the emerging church movement. Since you’ve gotten emergence mixed up with big box,cutting edge, Willow Creek ecclesiology then you may want to do a bit more research.”

    I wanted to check out Cedar Creek because of the comment:

    “It was just a year ago when, in a church setting, I stood up and said that I didn’t believe in the Trinity. Fortunately, at Cedar Ridge, this type of discourse is not only accepted but encouraged. No one shouted me down. No one even tried to explain this unexplainable doctrine to me.”

    I do not expect anyone in the Emergent (all paths lead to Rome) to say ‘boo’ to not believing in the Trinity, a central Christian doctrine. I found the one in Maryland and noticed that one part of the WC Association according to their site. There are connections between WC and the Emergent movement.

    I well realize the difference between the current WC and the full blown Emergent movement. That’s why I commented the WC founder is heading in that direction, but not completely there in expression.

    If the ’emergence’ is of the ‘all roads lead to Rome’ variety, I am truly sad. Jesus thinks differently. If that is the case and you are ‘shamefully proud’ to be at the head I fear for the souls of many.

    Notice I said “if”.

  77. My gracious!! 😯

    You go to bed and the nightowls come lurking in the darkness…grown men smooching on MY site?! 😯

    I suppose I should see the bright side and realize I can now boast 100+ comments! Thanks Tam for that distinction!! 😆

    NorEaster, I’m glad you were left out of the fray – I thought about it! 😉

    Dan, thanks for trying to get back to some semblance of a conversation. I’ll let Christian do the responding – again, not informed enough to comment further…

    Oh…and Jason…I think you may be the key to understanding HRC since the other “men” are too wussie to say… 😆

  78. Christian,

    BTW, I have done extensive research of the Emergent movement to include reading/listing to the ‘heavy’ hitters like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren. Among the most serious issues is the way the movement champions ambiguity and the uncertainty of really being able understand scripture or know anything about God. Cedar Ridge is a member of the WC Association so there is a connection. I have no idea how closely their ‘visions’ intertwine at present, but is is NOT a giant leap to go from being ‘seeker friendly’ to becoming ‘Emergent’. It’s been called a logical ‘next’ transition, in fact. It has already happenned in at least one church here in Colorado Springs. My cube-mate at work left a church and is not attending a Reformed Presbyterian church for that exact reason.

    I am not engaging in personal attacks, just what I have seen/heard/ researched extensively. I also do not engage in Christian apologetics research with intent to trash ‘stuff’ I don’t like. It’s al about truth according to scripture.

    If I do have an agenda it is to educate people to what is happening in the church in these times. I have no doubt that there are true Christians sitting under apostase and they need to come out of it unless God has called them to try an be a ‘light’ IN the darkness.

    Have a blessed day!

  79. @Dan Cartwright, Since I had brought up the questioning on this distinction, I wanted to respond.

    “but is is NOT a giant leap to go from being ’seeker friendly’ to becoming ‘Emergent’. It’s been called a logical ‘next’ transition, in fact.”

    Actually there is a HUGE difference. Their is theology of ministry and philosophy of ministry. “Emergent” is a theology, “Seeker” is a philosophy. Although churches of these classifications may take on similar theological stances, there is also the chance that churches of these classifications take on no similar theological stances.

    Seeker churches (Which is a horribly outdated term…read:80’s) are ones that have a specific style of Sunday AM services. This is why they got their title. So if we are calling churches this now…we have lost our ideas of what it is. Some churches that were “seeker” in style have become “Emergent” in their theology. Some have not.

    There is a HUGE difference.

    Thus back to my point. We seem bent on classifying certain people and places. I think the appropriate thing to do is to get back to seeing what is truth and what isn’t. Not just determining what person or place is truth or isn’t truth. When we wrap people into categories, we tend to not look back at ourselves and may allow the same issues in our own lives and places of worship. We may feel our places of worship are safe because we are not “them”.

  80. Dan, did you use Google? Because Google for some reason links CRCC with WCA. If you go to the WCA website you’ll see that we are not part of that organization (which really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other). There is a CedarBROOK church in Maryland that is WCA.

    With my earlier story – I neglected to say that (for the most part) the members of CRCC are Trinitarian. My point was that they did not try to ‘force’ me into accepting this doctrine, making it into some sort of litmus test of acceptance. Doctrine or not, there is not much (if any) Biblical support for the Trinity, which I find surprising that so many who champion Biblical innerancy and would find it so easy to accept. If you have been to CRCC’s website then check out our statement of beliefs (again, this is a little too close to a ‘creed’ for me) http://www.crcc.org/content.php?ContentID=1986&OID=4516&phpMyAdmin=ae88912f5ee023659a3e2bc610d1b347

    That being said, I now appreciate the idea of a triune God, primarily because it is illogical, visibly unsupportable and inexplicable. Three qualities that make faith what it is.

    Emergence is not about evangelism per se or being seeker friendly. In many ways it is not friendly to certain kinds of seekers, those who require hard concrete ‘facts’ to support their faith. “Knowing” as opposed to believing. Faith versus Gnosis.

    Instead emergence is more about ecumenical relationships – a moving away from a denominational mindset, accepting the fact that Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Pentacostals, Appalachian Snake Handlers etc – they all have something to bring to the table, that what we have in common – Christ- is much bigger than where we differ. If this is a case of ‘all roads leading to Rome’ then let’s start packing our bags.

    Words like “apostase”….I don’t like them, not because they have been directed towards me, but because they can just as easily be turned against those who disagree with me. These words end up canceling each other out. It was this fear of apostasies and heresies (both big and little ones) that is at the root of Christianities fractious history. And when someone brings these accusatory words to the conversation, even though they may firmly believe that it because they are dedicated to spreading the truth, in reality they spread little of anything. Those that they are addressing will either shut them out or turn on them like dogs.

  81. what the heck.

    Brent,

    “There [are] theology of ministry and philosophy of ministry. “Emergent” is a theology, “Seeker” is a philosophy.”

    Could you draw this out? The seeker model in general, though philosophic in praxis has clear theologic presumptions underlying the philosophy. And as if to make my point you go on to cite praxis, methods, and also the occasional overlap within different groups, not making this distinction, which you think is clear-as-day, any more, well, distinct.

    Lastly, in your final paragraph decry catagorization, which belies the rest of your post. You, IN CAPS, said that there is a HUGE difference. So if there is a HUGE difference, isn’t spending most of your point defending the reality of those differences being “bent on classifying certain people”?

    So if you could just either pick one stance or the other, and/or clarify how the statement you are addressing is incorrect that would be great.

    Lastly, if you choose “the distinction is clear” POV, perhaps, if to use a dusty, antiquated, yer-grandfathers-oldsmobile term like “seeker” is a problem, you could update our vernacular.

  82. inWorship, why don’t we take this offline so we don’t clutter up this blog, or contact me via my blog? I have seen the transition from SF to Emergent. If any church is into latching on to the latest and greatest fad/craze/innovation in ‘doing’ church (I hate the expression) becoming Emergent, albeit at whatever speed or how deeply, would be the next step. While there can be a huge difference between the ends of the spectrum there can also be a logical transition from SF to Emergent.

    Christian, I meant all along Cedar Ridge in Maryland. I thought I corrected that.

  83. Huh?

    I am not the one labeling…I am showing the perspectives of looking at the labels that have been given.

    “The seeker model in general, though philosophic in praxis has clear theologic presumptions underlying the philosophy.”

    Exactly…some are more inline with Fundamental thinking and others with emergent thinking…this is my point.

    “not making this distinction, which you think is clear-as-day, any more, well, distinct. ”

    I actually am saying that it is completely blurred.

    “So if there is a HUGE difference, isn’t spending most of your point defending the reality of those differences being “bent on classifying certain people”?”

    Nope, I am using the two distinctions given(seeker/Emergent) to point out how one person can label something as “it is this way” and may not be correct, because that “something” cannot be pigeon holed into a label.

    “Seeker” was given as a label to some churches in the 80’s because of a style of doing Sunday AM services. Style/Philosophy. Those churches as well as others worshipping in more traditional forms have now taken on numerous different looks and personalities and theological stances. As I said, many who have chosen to reach people this way have also chosen to accept theologies that are inline with people who would label themselves emergent…fundamental and everything in between.

    My Point is…I would love to see us stop labeling people as fundamental or emergent or seeker and test ALL of it against scripture.

    “So if you could just either pick one stance or the other, and/or clarify how the statement you are addressing is incorrect that would be great.”

    So you just want me to stop talking and say I’m wrong…

  84. Brent, seriously, revisionism…

    first you quoted

    “’but is is NOT a giant leap to go from being ’seeker friendly’ to becoming ‘Emergent’. It’s been called a logical ‘next’ transition, in fact.’”

    Then you said,

    “Actually there is a HUGE difference.”

    Then again later you said,

    Some churches that were “seeker” in style have become “Emergent” in their theology. Some have not…There is a HUGE difference.”

    First I was shooting for clarity, now I would just settle for honestly.

  85. Dan, that’s up to you. If Michelle would like that better, fine. Although I personally believe these discussion in the open help us all learn and grow.

    Dan you and I are going to come from our Bias in life. I can label 6 churches near me or that I’ve grown up with that would be considered very “Evangelical” in their theological stances and very “seeker” in their style of worship. They have no intentions and I have made no adjustments (2 of them have been like this stylistically for 20+ years) to become more “Emergent” in doctrine.

    So, you have seen some change, I have seen some not change. We can’t label them all one way or the other…this is my point. they are distinct groups of people making choices for their practices in worship. We have to test each one.

  86. Jason, listen…

    There is a huge difference in Dan’s idea of what a Seeker church is (he believes it to be a step away from being emergent) and an Emergent church.

    Do you not agree with my point that there are so many in all facets of theology and style that we can’t just flat out label them as “this”…so we should check them all by scripture?

    I understand that completely different churches and denominations will have different theological beliefs. I will choose to worship in one of them. But to classify a church by their beliefs because of their style of worship is silly. I am speaking to this…

  87. To Dan, my sentence should read…

    “They have no intentions and have made no adjustments”

    I should not be included..typo 🙂

  88. If I come from a position of personal bias, SHAME ON ME! I’ll watch that. If we continue over here, I would think a separate blog would be in order. I do not want to argue, nor do I want to impress anyone with what I think I know. What I do think I know was arrived at by presonal experience, either mine or someone elses (he/she told me or wrote about their experiences), and researching as many honest and objective apologetical resource I coud find.

    I never said that SF churches were destined to become emergent. Many, if not most, won’t. All I said was that the church looking for the latest and greatest way of ‘doing church’ it might be a logical step. Emergent is the latest and greatest thing to his the street and folks are signing up in droves, including Oprah Winfrey, if you want a celebrity.

  89. Don’t leave on my account. I love reading the conversation, just have little to add. My only question, “Where is it written?”

    If it’s not biblical then what are we standing upon?

  90. Dan, I appreciate your response here. I think you have chosen some words that took (what I perceived) your tone form “this is”, to “this may be”. I would hold to that as well. i do not want to say “this is”. although I may speak strongly to something I truly intend to speak as you just have.

    “What I do think I know was arrived at by presonal experience, either mine or someone elses (he/she told me or wrote about their experiences)

    This line from you is my opinion of my personal bias. What I have learned is my bias. There is no way around this. I grew up Baptist and have a lot of that still in me and many things that are not Biblically right. As I face those things now, I have to step back and evaluate if I am moving or deciding based on my Baptist upbringings or my studying of the Word. It is a daily event for me, so I speak to it strongly. And even in all of this. As I study now, I pray that I am listening intently to the Spirit so as to not take on new bias.

    I read yesterday I Corinthians 13:12 that says,
    “Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

    I really appreciate what Paul has said here. He understood that everyday God was revealing and everyday he was getting closer to being completely clear. I look forward to that day with Him face to face!

    I am good with closing this up here. If you want to email me and chat over anything, feel free inworship@gmail.com

  91. Hey Michelle, I was writing when you responded.

    I think that is my point. We seemed to be discussing styles of worship and philosophies of how to do church (of which there is a lot of freedom) and not actual beliefs or doctrine. But we were equating them with beliefs. that was my take and thus my response.

  92. Since Brent moved on I’ll just say this regarding the use of the terms in question:

    These are not words coined by those external to these concepts. The founders and/or figure-heads within the movements coined them. If this is a silly, the silliness resides not with those who use them accurately and/or critically. The source of the silliness would be those who use these categories refer to either themselves and/or what they are doing with regards to the exercise of their flavor of Christianity, or Jesus philosophy, or whatever.

  93. I am so glad that Jason makes complete sense 🙂

    And I just told Dan I was willing to move on 🙂

    I would say though (since I grew up in LA in the 80’s and watched the “movement” unfold) that “Seeker” was not coined by those who were “Seeker”. It was coined by those in traditional churches that were disapproving of what was happening in other churches. Although I would agree…if I am reading this right…that many classifications have been made by those within the classification themselves.

    Again, I had a hard time understanding you Jason, but I would continue to consider silly, the equation of style to doctrine. It’s like calling a drum set evil.

  94. whew. I missed alot. Trying to catch up here…

    Michelle – I wasn’t trying to say that you were wrong; I’m trying to say that there is only one God, regardless of what we call “Him.” You are correct in asserting that there are vast differences in the perception of God by the different major religions, to the extent that it is easy to say that they are not the same God. They aren’t in the sense that the character applied to Allah, God, Yahweh, etc. are distinctly different. But that doesn’t change the fact that there is only one God.

    Dan – My objection to your stance is you used the word “heretical.” That’s a strong term to throw out there, when everyone is simply discussing matters of doctrine that can’t ultimately be decided in this lifetime. I definitely don’t agree with everyone’s doctrine, and I think some is outright wrong – but I wouldn’t call them heretical – that’s implying “I’ve got it right, and you don’t.”
    I think what B and C are trying to convey is that we need to be bigger than that, and allow for differences while focusing on the positive/things we hold in common. People that have studied just as hard as you have, often draw a different conclusion. Who is to say who is right and wrong? Could it be you are both right? Could it be that you are both wrong? These are equally valid scenarios to one is right and the other is wrong.

    I forget who said “Trinity is essential doctine” – but there is at least one major denomination that totally rejects the doctrine of trinity – insisting that there is only one God (and his name is Jesus – getting back to the names of God, Michelle). When I talk to members about what they believe about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, it is essentially the same as what I believe – only I’m called a Trinitarian and that’s anethema in their book.

    I’ve read McLaren’s book, “A Generous Orthodoxy” in which he spends an inordinate amount of time drawing out what’s good about the various doctrines/denominations. Another book I am in the process of reading, but is along the same lines, is “Streams of Living Water” by Richard Foster.

    This dialogue is important, and educational; my goal is to get people to think/re-think their positions, and hopefully allow for the possibility that there is more going on here than we realize.

    Someone said “reformed” – that’s the “R” in HRC, btw. Once everyone figures out what it means, I will need to apologize and ask for forgiveness for doing what we are saying we shouldn’t do – namely categorizing/labeling/putting people in a box.

    My vote is this thread stays here – I just need to check back more often.

  95. No – I gotcha Dan. It’s just that Cedar Ridge (in Maryland) is NOT affiliated with Willow Creek. For some reason that rumor seems to stick and when you Google Cedar Ridge the (Google) heading mentions WCA. But that ain’t the case.

    And, uh, sorry about this but Oprah Winfrey (the latest Anti-Christ?) is ‘signing up” with the droves to join the emergent fad? I think we are still experiencing some confusion over what this ’emerging fad’ is all about.

    There is no “Emergent” or “Emerging Church” (just as there is no “Seeker Friendly Church” or “Evangelical Church” or “Fundamentalist Church”) – this is just a poor attempt to place an appellation on an idea that by its nature is resistant to labels. What is ’emerging’ is a growing sense of understanding and community found within and among many of the various denominational and non-denominational churches – as I said before, just about all the denominations are being represented, albeit not always ‘officially’. The one philosophy that you might say that all these folks have in a common is a sense that there is more to Christianity than just church worship and charity. Social justice is something that the Bible harks on and on about yet we seem to have lost touch with that.

    As Jim Wallis once said, “it’s not enough to pull people out of the river, we need to send someone upstream to find out who’s throwing them.” Often times it is us and we just don’t realize it. That’s a big part of this ’emerging conversation’ and it is Biblical.

  96. Christian,

    That was really special. Let me be the first to thank you for being as detailed as you are capable. It helps lots.

    Firstly – “…there is not much (if any) Biblical support for the Trinity, which I find surprising that so many who champion Biblical innerancy and would find it so easy to accept.”

    There is so much information on this it surprises me that you still even say it. Instead of reinventing the wheel, consider demonstrating the dearth of which you speak in light of the mountain of Biblical teaching and scholarship which casts a shadow over you.

    “illogical, visibly unsupportable and inexplicable. Three qualities that make faith what it is.”

    This is one of the goofiest, most Scripturally isolated things you have ever written. There is absolutely nothing about a Biblical concept of faith which is tied to anything but a trust in a God who has demonstrated his faithfulness.

    “Emergence is not about…being seeker friendly…Instead emergence is more about ecumenical relationships.”

    Can someone distinguish for me the difference?

    “I don’t like them, not because they have been directed towards me, but because they can just as easily be turned against those who disagree with me.”

    “These words end up canceling each other out. It was this fear of apostasies and heresies (both big and little ones) that is at the root of Christianities fractious history”

    *duck* This is one of your favorite non-points. It has nothing to do which what the differences are, why they are there, and it also successfully changes the subject away from actually looking at the substance of what is being said within the camp to which you acscribe.

    It ignores and avoids the real possibility that much of this noxious fractionalism may indeed be over Scriptural substance, its denial and or circumnavigation.

  97. True, the term Emergent is the term that has been adopted for a philosophy. There is a very well done evaluation of ehat is termed ‘Emergent’ here. Lots and lots of footnotes. It begins at the link and is a three parter.

    http://www.svchapel.org/Resources/Articles/read_articles.asp?id=122

    “As Jim Wallis once said, “it’s not enough to pull people out of the river, we need to send someone upstream to find out who’s throwing them.” Often times it is us and we just don’t realize it. That’s a big part of this ‘emerging conversation’ and it is Biblical.”

    Does the last statement refer to the first? If it does could you send me the verse?

  98. “Emergence is not about…being seeker friendly…Instead emergence is more about ecumenical relationships.”

    Can someone distinguish for me the difference?

    Sure – seeker friendly == being friendly to the lost;
    ecumenical relationships == being friendly with other believers.

  99. Seeker friendly is about doing whatever is most attractive to the ‘unchurched’ in order to get them to come to church. “Emergent” is more about a larger philosophy. SF is a pragmatic approach to Christianity, but Emergent is about conversations between and acceptance of all faiths. That’s the best I can do. I suggest the article I linked to for a thorough discussion of what it means to be emerging/emergent.

  100. I’m afraid that after 130 comments I can only afford to add my two cents.

    “…there is not much (if any) Biblical support for the Trinity…”

    Genesis 1:1 reads, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

    Interestingly enough, in the original language, the noun “God” is plural, but the verb “created” is singular. Which also explains the phrase in the English translation, “Let US make man in OUR image.”

    So the term “Trinity” is just a human–and therefore limited–explanation of The Almighty–which is obviously The Unlimited.

    So. There you have it. Like I said. Two cents.

    Works for me.

    Of course, I was never one for getting “puffed up”, which Paul warns us about and Michelle was nice enough to elaborate on and explain to me. Because I am a man who doesn’t know why “intolerance” is a bad thing while “zero tolerance” is a good thing. 😉

  101. I appreciate your clarification, Bad.

    If that is the case, though, they cease being Christian, and they become the very thing they purport to hate.

    A club.

  102. Man, NorEaster, you always make so much sense to me…at the end of this thread I understood YOU. 😆

    P.S. Nice winky-guy there! 😉

    P.P.S. Is this what is meant by, “Let’s go blog-it-out?”

  103. Tam, thanks.

    Dan, how about Isaiah 58 and Micah 6 for starters?

    Jason -although I do occasionally enjoy a nice roast duck, you’ve again missed my point. (Perhaps it’s me?) I was not addressing those differences that exist among the millions of Christians, I was talking about the importance of choosing our words carefully when discussing those differences among ourselves. Some of these church words are so loaded that one is likely to shut down any line of communication that did exist. Is that really anyone’s goal?

    Back to the Trinity – it would make sense that God is in some way ‘plural’, especially when we are talking about eternal love. But we really don’t know what eternal means, much less the Unlimited God ( I like that NorEaster). So why debate it?

    Could you flesh out your remark to Bad, Jason? How do you come to that understanding? Kind of going out on a limb there, saying that they are not Christian because they are not limited to one narrow way of defining the church, but instead are able to take all these “Christian” ways into consideration.

  104. Dan,

    “Seeker friendly is about doing whatever is most attractive to the ‘unchurched’ in order to get them to come to church. “Emergent” is more about a larger philosophy. SF is a pragmatic approach to Christianity, but Emergent is about conversations between and acceptance of all faiths.”

    This is really good and I think speaks to where I was going. I would say one thing though, to this phrase,

    “Seeker friendly is about doing whatever is most attractive to the ‘unchurched’ in order to get them to come to church.”

    Originally, when seeker friendly took this whole focus you have written, but only towards their Sunday AM services. I think there are quite a few churches that still see Sunday AM as the biggest opportunity to reach unchurched. Many churches will then hold other services (like Willow does) for more of their regular attenders.

  105. Uh, Dan. You did provide us with a link. Thanks. And the article was put together well, albeit not convincingly. And it certainly was not objective. From their site:

    As a result of our zeal to proclaim these truths, our church—every aspect, program and activity—centers on the Word of God, which is the only source of life and godliness through the power of the Holy Spirit

    Every aspect, program and activity? The only source of life and goodness? Huston, we have a problem.

  106. inWorship,

    You are absolutely right. WC has always been up front with that and I applaud that honesty! They also found out that the ‘deeper’ level programs during the week weren’t really helping believers grow all that much. That ended up in a book they published.

    It might be my opinion, but I have always seen Sunday morning as special for those already in fellowship with Him and Sunday evening as a more evangelistic platform, I know the Sunday evening thing is mostly tradition. The church meeting in Acts was not exactly seeker friendly, a couple of folks were slain for lying to the Holy Ghost. I don’t think Jesus was either. He had at least one church reduction seminar’ when he said some hard things and the crowd took off, except for the twelve – and he knew they would take off!

    I think the optimum is that the evangeling/reaching the lost should be totally ‘indigenous’ meaning at home, in the neighborhood, at work, at school, where people gather everyday living everyday lives. Of course that makes all of us evangelists in a manner of speaking. Then Sunday morning can get back to expository preaching instead of sermonettes for Christianettes.

    I’ve heard that over 90% of all true conversions are a result of that personal contact. The pattern, for the most part, seems to be that regular folks like us are supposed to establish relationships and invite the ‘unchurched’ TO church. Occasionally you will find that pattern broken and it’s about building a relationship in order to personally share Christ.

    I saw a down side to relationship building and maybe share the gospel later here locally. I was in a parish concil meeting as the chair and offered some good discipleship training material to the group (after I learned small groups was using some popular spiritual ‘junk food’) and was told that content wasn’t import, it was more about getting folks together.

    I was told that by a large parachurch organization representative who was also on the council. That group was, years ago, all about serious evangelism ahd discipleship training to equip young folks in the military to be on their own and starting bible studies, etc. where they might be serving.

    I’ve used enough blogspace for now I think. 🙂

  107. “If that is the case, though, they cease being Christian, and they become the very thing they purport to hate. A club.”

    Jason – huh? “If that is the case” – are you referring to the seeker friendly’s or the ecumenicals, or both? Who’s “they”? Why do they cease being Christian (assuming that is even possible – but that’s for another thread, methinks)? Who said anything about hating? Do”they?”

  108. Michelle:

    Well, I have to admit, I’ve always felt welcome here. And you know me; I am an artist. And an artist says a complicated thing in a simple way, but an intellectual says a simple thing in a complicated way. Hence the “puffed up” stuff you were explaining. 😉

    But, you know, sometimes I wonder if it’s REALly a good thing you understand me. 🙂

    Of course, it’s good to know someone does! 😉

    Well, I left for work at 2:30am and I finished at 12noon. And it’s now 8:20pm. I have been up all this time and right now my body is telling my mind that…that I ain’t a spring chicken anymore! 😯

    GoodNight, All and One! 😆

  109. “They also found out that the ‘deeper’ level programs during the week weren’t really helping believers grow all that much. That ended up in a book they published.”

    Just for clarification, our staff went through the “Reveal” book and they determined that church programming didn’t deepen Christians. It had more to do with meeting every attenders needs by having every program imaginable and in doing so they encouraged regular attenders to be dependent on the church for their growth and the attenders became lazy and did nothing about personal growth beyond attending church once a week. So what they actually showed was that all their focus on studying, actually made their people less willing to learn.

    I would 100% agree with you that evangelism takes place on the personal level. One thing we have done at our church is to encourage inviting a friend to church, but not to just invite, but to first invest time and effort into people’s lives before ever inviting them. there was a startling statistic released by Barna that said 82% of people invited by a friend to church accepted. That is amazing, but shows the willingness of people to listen when a friendship has already been made.

    I would agree though (as you pointed out) that both witnessing inside and outside the church are of value and neither should be exclusive.

    It’s funny you mention your routine for service traditions. In the Baptist churches I grew up in, it was the exact opposite. mornings were for evangelism and evenings were for more of the expository teaching.

  110. InWorship,

    I knew that 🙂

    I didn’t read the Reveal book, but when the big news hit about ‘WC repents!, etc. I read just about everybody’s take on it. A whole lot of ‘opinionizing’ over that one! They actually realized that something was amiss and identified the ‘situation’, which is actually the first paragraph of a military Five Paragraph Field Order (Old Army coming out). I was a little puzzled about the ‘starting out with a blank piece of paper’, along with others who were wanting to hear something about ‘scripturally’ evaluating the situation and then coming up with a scriptural approach to resolving issues. I have not been tracking what has taken place and stopped listening to everyone’s opinions. Who was I to sharpshoot how they planned to resolve anything?

    Some of my heart’s concerns are reflected at my blog, so I won’t repeat them here. If you visit you will get a better idea of where I am coming from. I talk about trends I see in today’s church without names and labels, or at least try to. Someone reading posts there (including me) could attach some names and labels but that is not what it’s really about.

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