Beaverton Grace Bible Church, Christian Love, Spiritual Bullies, Street Evangelism, Troubling Tweets

The Legal Rights of Christians vs Mercy and Love of Christ

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Personal disclaimer:  I was alerted to two local news articles this morning and struggled with whether or not I should share them with you because of the personal connections as you will soon see.  After conferring with others and checking my heart, I am going to share them. If I did not know the individuals involved, I would have done a post on this topic anyway, as this is something that has been touching my heart lately with regard to what is going on in “churchianity” or religiosity vs Christianity.

In both articles, the media is drawing attention to the civil rights issue, questioning whether women are being civilly violated by the protesting done at a local abortion clinic by a name familiar to my regular readers.  The first article is Video Games on Lovejoy by Sara Sneath of Willamette Week, a news media outlet from Portland, Oregon.

State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian says he has started an informal inquiry into the Lovejoy Surgicenter protesters under Oregon’s laws banning discrimination and requiring “full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation.”

It’s the same law state officials use to prohibit discrimination based on race, religion or sexual orientation.

The article describes Pastor Chuck O’Neal’s recent protests at the clinic:

Pastor Chuck O’Neal paces in front of Lovejoy Surgicenter, the Northwest Portland abortion clinic, wearing shorts, a black backpack and a wireless microphone. Members of O’Neal’s Beaverton Grace Bible Church, including two teenage boys, stand with signs that read “Criminalize Abortion” and  “Babies Are Murdered Here.”

O’Neal has a video camera aimed at the clinic’s front door—he posts footage from the protests on his church’s website—but he insists he’s not trying to intimidate Lovejoy Surgicenter’s patients or staff.

“We’re recording what’s taking place here,” he says. “But what’s taking place inside is the murder of babies.”

One more story was released from another local news outlet, The Oregonian:  State informally investigating protests at abortion clinic in Northwest Portland.

Chuck O’Neal, pastor of Beaverton Grace Bible Church, has visited the Northwest Portland center to preach on the sidewalk about once a week for several months, he said. Sometimes he is joined by five or six members of his church or other churches, he said.

“It’s not really a protest,” O’Neal said. “It is a consistent biblical ministry of the law and the gospel.”

The church has posted videos dating back to April on its website of O’Neal speaking outside the clinic.

A bureau employee saw protests outside the clinic on the way to work and notified the bureau’s civil rights division, Burr said. The bureau has interviewed clinic staff and neighbors and watched the protesters, he said.

This is what I’d like to focus on:

In one video posted on the church’s website, a woman outside the clinic holds up a sign that reads, “Beaverton Grace Bible Church intimidates women.”

In response, O’Neal can be heard saying to her: “If you’re a woman who murders children, ma’am, or aids in the murder of children, then I definitely would want you intimidated, that you wouldn’t do that. But our purpose is not to intimidate you. Our purpose is to love you and to warn you of the wrath to come.”


After reading the articles, I knew where this was headed based on previous behavior.  Sure enough, it happened.  Chuck O’Neal was very quick to tweet about these news reports. Not only is he tweeting about them, but he is tagging key people to alert them of the situation.

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His friend, popular street evangelist, Tony Miano, saw the above tweets and now has arranged an interview with Chuck O’Neal on Sunday:

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There’s a very good chance this story might get national attention just as Tony Miano’s story got national attention when he was arrested for street evangelizing and preaching against homosexuality in Wimbledon recently.

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Many in the Christian community would label Miano’s arrest as being persecuted for Christ.  O’Neal’s situation could be going the same direction if the story gets picked up by the media, particularly the Christian media.

I do not like hearing about the abortion of unborn babies.  Women who are faced with unwanted pregnancies are in a difficult place, sometimes in a crisis.  I fail to see how protesting at an abortion clinic is going to cause someone to change their minds or help her see the love of Christ.    Where is the genuine care and compassion that will draw a woman and soften her heart towards one who has sacrificed time, effort, and even financial resources with her in her time of crisis?   It makes me sad to see this kind of display.  I want to say:  show me the love!

Eric Fry posted an excellent comment yesterday.  I think these words pertain to the heart of what I want to focus on.

Agape love cannot flourish in people’s lives in the presence of hate. Love X/Hate Y is an expression of that dualism that is taking over in American religious thought. We are not God who can fully actualize “Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated” (which doesn’t really mean that in Hebrew idiom), we are humans seeking to become like Christ. What fellowship do love and hate have? The same fellowship as Christ and Belial: None at all. Very few, if any, people can completely differentiate people from sins or systems, so bringing hate into the equation at any level causes people to act in manners that are contrary to love. We walk away from peacemaking and reconciliation, create out-groups and scapegoats, while gleefully sacrificing people and their hearts on the altar of our smug self-righteousness.

Jesus told the Pharisees to go and learn what “I DESIRE MERCY, NOT SACRIFICE” means. Mercy comes from love; sacrifice of others comes from hate. The Psalmist wrote, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Contrite comes from the Latin root meaning “to crush to pieces.” It’s not our job to create these broken spirits and crushed hearts in others for them to come to God. Rather, we show mercy and love so that others may see Christ in our actions and become open to God creating that holy pain within them.

Is this what the Church in general is doing today? I don’t think so, and I think that atheists and agnostics would agree, which is a sad statement on the state of the Church today. It’s as if we’ve turned around the words of the blind man: “All we know is we could see, but now we’re blind.”

kelseys dahlia

So . . . . where is Jesus in all of this megaphone, sign-holding, “street-evangelizing,” videotaping, and uploading to or YouTube?   Did they get permission from the women to be videotaped and publicized?   Where is Jesus in all of this tweeting and tagging people and drawing attention to the breaking news story?  Furthermore, where was Jesus in all of this:  Beaverton Grace Bible Church and Pastor Chuck O’Neal – A Year after They Lost the Defamation Lawsuit

I see the focus on one person, alrighty, and it ain’t on Jesus.

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204 thoughts on “The Legal Rights of Christians vs Mercy and Love of Christ”

  1. A Mom – I’m combining your questions into one response from me…

    [A Mom] “Does that make Calvin less culpable in your opinion? (I ref’d others involved with the same extremism and theocratic governance).”

    Not at all. It makes them all culpable.

    [A Mom] “Calvin had much power & held a high office in the government there. It was a crime with harsh punishment for falling asleep during his sermons, etc.”

    Those rules are crazy, I read about them. As mentioned earlier, my bride and I don’t consider ourselves Calvinists. 🙂

    [A Mom] “Ric said, “Your comment speaks to the “harshness” question I raised, thank you. The way Calvin governed seems incredibly rotten, howbeit the region was very rotten too, along with the way the catholic church seemed to operate at the same time.” I hear ya. I’m curious what you think.”

    [A Mom] “Meaning, do you think incredibly rotten behavior is corrected in a region by instilling harsh punishment for minor infractions, like falling asleep in church?”

    No. I do believe that crime in a country will increase if the judicial process is delayed. Falling asleep in Church? Not a crime. But to further the question to something sinful – what about harsh punishments for “adultery” – banishment or death in Calvin’s day? No, I disagree with that as well. We see Jesus’ response before women (and men) he could have condemned to hell as He stood there. He did not. He loved these people, forgave them, gave them a new life, filled them with His Spirit, etc. “Christians” making such harsh laws is beyond imagination.

    [A Mom] “I think a daughter was even beheaded (or however means killed) for talking back to her Mum.”

    I believe she committed adultery; not sure if it was beheaded or banished.

    Break – break (moving to a little bit of a different topic) 🙂

    [A Mom] “Hi Ric. I do agree, believe we have all sinned. What I’ve been discussing with you here is WHEN [a person is accountable for faith in Christ] not if. Basically, is the age of accountability before birth or not. To even type that question out as a serious question, invoking serious discussion, frankly strikes me as odd.

    Age of accountability before birth of not? My first, out of the box comment is, I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows. To say that one does is to interject opinion based on our ability to understand. However, we see in scripture that high value is placed on children (let the little ones come unto me; whoever harms a little one, etc). It would seem consistent that little children has a certain time where their accountability is definitely in question. You asked even before “birth.” I’ve not ever grappled with that question. We’ve lost two children from miscarriage. Our belief is that we will get to see them, who they are in what God made them, when we arrive in heaven. Regarding scripture, we get some cues to their position, especially if we start with the considerations for young children’s accountability. These are younger and would further extend the accountability question toward grace; God’s. We also see in scripture that “God knit us together” in the womb. However, the breath of life is not given till after being born. So it wold make me further believe that an unborn baby has not reached an acceptable age of accountability. But we just don’t know. We see a lot of grace in Scripture, so it does make more than sense.

    [A Mom] “Ric, Do you believe sinful from the womb? I’ll refrain from goo at your preference.

    I’ll be okay with the “goo” term, I think. 🙂 My objective concern with the term is that it makes me think its an external, physical transmutation. I believe scripture bears out that this is a spiritual condition, that a baby “from the womb” has yet to act out on. Though “born in sin” has yet to “sin.” I was thinking about this in church today and thought the use of the word, “wicked” is not a good reference, so considered the previous comment. The sin nature, definitely from birth. Sinning, not until they grow older. Sinning willfully, some time later. This is what I believe scripture bears out plus my own observations of my children to varying degrees. BTW: it’s my contention that understanding scripture, even a little, should not make people more destructive to their children’s behavior. It should be entirely opposite, it should cause the parent to have greater understanding and love for their children when correcting them, rebuking them, and encouraging them – all together = discipline. We should be gracious with them as we know, from our own lives, how it is to both sin and experience forgiveness of sins (grace) from the Father, through Jesus Christ.

    [A Mom] “Do you think the wages of sin is death & if so how does that reconcile with infants dying if they’re sinful? Or are you saying there’s another way to heaven besides their own faith? I absolutely do not believe babies are born sinful.”

    Yes I do. I also believe wages are earned, this would further make me consider the “age of accountability” position. This is different, from my understanding, than “being born sinful”. That would go to my earlier response, “being born sinful”, that is, able to sin, and under the curse of sin, is scriptural.

    Children are innocent. They do wrong, learn it’s wrong as they grow, but do not understand the full implications of it until they are grown.

    And some from an early age, without understanding all the implications of their actions, are definitely conniving. 🙂

    [A Mom] “But he also believed parents baptize their infants into guaranteed salvation. What do you do with that?”

    I don’t believe in paedo-baptism. I grew up Lutheran, they do; but I don’t. Again, no scriptural basis IMO. Reading some of Calvin’s reasons for it, I disagree further; this is where he eluded to intellectual deduction vs. scripture.

    [A Mom] Do you agree children are profoundly broken? I hope you don’t teach that to your precious ones. This comes straight from Calvin’s” sinful from the womb” teaching & is what is being tweeted (can’t find the tweet or I’d attach the link or screenshot) by a Calvinist pastor. This “pastor” tweeted basically we should teach children from a young age that they aren’t just broken, they’re profoundly broken. That is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Your question seems a bit loaded, as I don’t know if this term is something Calvin defined a certain way. But I’ll respond to it from what I believe you meant by the question: I believe that we all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. I believe we all need a Savior – Jesus Christ. I believe scripture teaches us these things and we can trust the Word. I believe my children need to repent of their sins, just like me. The time when they are enlightened to a point where they can understand and believe the Gospel, really, is not within my understanding. I can’t make it up, and won’t. No, we don’t teach them this as in your quote above. We are not religiously harsh with our children, don’t pound them with our KJV 1611, but do teach them the gospel from an early age. We don’t badger them to “believe” or “show faith”, but do require them to attend church and Sunday school. Since we see great wisdom in scripture (e.g. Proverbs, the Gospels, Epistles etc) we teach them these things and support our way of living from Scripture (precepts). We consider their commission of faith real, when they do so and can explain the gospel at their age-appropriate level. It’s then that we allow them to be baptized, but never push them for it, not even the baptism. We don’t hammer them, we don’t relate these things to them in a harsh way, whatsoever, and we don’t show favorites for those who have made a confession. We are also careful to ensure that all our children know of our love and affection regardless of their confession. We don’t want our love to be conditional on their agreement with us. Because of our own weaknesses, sometimes we are harsh with them (sadly), by our standards (not Calvin’s or DSS’s), and we apologize and ask them for forgiveness teaching them about God’s forgiveness, much like we ask them to do when they act out (sin). Again, this is all at a personality and age-appropriate level.

    I hope these things have helped. I don’t think we are perfect, but we look forward to a day when we will be made perfect by Jesus.


  2. Eric Fry,
    Thanks for your response. I’m not able to answer your questions, my response could be both, maybe. 🙂 It’s possible to do what one feels is right for disputable matters and still love people.

    Calling out preachers? you are certainly going to be busy, there is no shortage of them to criticize (at least), and sound the great alarm (at most); this has been going on for years and years.


  3. A mom, one of the reasons why the “man of his time” defense of Calvin or the Catholic magistrates does not work is because of the Radical Reformers, many of whom, gave their lives for truth. There is not a lot of published works by them because they lived on the run from the Reformers and the Catholics and what they wrote was often destroyed. Ironically, we can learn much about them reading of their imprisonment, bannishments and tortures (including burning) from the documentation of the REformers.

    A very well researched book on this subject was written by Leonard Verduin:

    Verduin researched this on a grant from the Calvin Foundation. One of the most interesting aspects of this is that most of the state church archives were not readily assessable for intense research until after WW2. The official history was written by the victors. That is why it is so important to always read around a subject when it comes to history.

    Here is a quote from the book that is interesting because of other discussions we have had:
    “We meet in Luther [as well as the entire Reformed /Calvinist /Puritan tradition], to put it theologically, a very heavy emphasis on the forensic aspect of salvation and a correspondingly light emphasis on the moral aspect. Luther was primarily interested in pardon, rather than in renewal. His theology was a theology that addresses itself to the problem of guilt, rather than to the problem of pollution. There is an imbalance in this theology between what God does for man and what He does in man.”

    The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, p. 12.

    Let me tell you the stories of these saints so badly persecuted by the Reformers and Catholics will bring you to tears. What a rich legacy of love and courage they have left us.

    Another source is Martyrs Mirror. It weighs about 10 lbs and is nothing but stories of persecution by the church throughout history. The church has been a great source of evil in the world, sadly.

    These are just a few examples of why I do not buy “he was just a man of his time” arguments anymore.


  4. Ric,
    I must chime in here in regards to babies going to hell.

    Sin is NOT imputed to the ignorant. I know, that may be hard to believe, given all the crazy doctrines out there. But the Bible discusses people who are NOT spiritually “DEAD IN SIN”.

    Romans Chapter 7, Paul was alive (spiritually) before he got KNOWLEDGE. That word, “KNOWLEDGE” is the key term here that shows that NO ONE with NO KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil goes to hell.

    READ AND SEE AND WRITE DOWN Deuteronomy 1:39.

    Are you familiar with the PROMISED LAND? Who gets to go there?

    1. Those who have faith
    a. Caleb
    b. Joshua

    2. Those who have NO KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil.

    What was the name of that tree in the Garden?

    NOW, please look at Romans 5:13.

    Before the law, sin was in the world, but sin is NOT IMPUTED where there is no law.

    NOW please look at Romans Chapter 4.

    Because the law works wrath, where no law is, there is NO TRANSGRESSION.

    Again, please note Deuteronomy 1:39, Romans 7:7-9, Romans 5, then Romans 4, then remind yourself what the name of that tree was in the garden.

    Now, see 1 John 3:4. What is the definition of sin? TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW.

    What is the law? Romans 3:20 (the KNOWLEDGE of sin

    There are key phrases to pay attention to, as well.

    “Dead TO sin” is one of them. Now, re-read Romans 7 again. Before Paul KNEW the law, SIN WAS DEAD. Once he KNEW, sin was alive.

    The ONLY way that one is DEAD IN SIN AND TRESPASSES, is when one knows the law.

    For all have sinned, but sin is NOT IMPUTED if you have no KNOWLEDGE of sin.

    There ya have it. It’s the same with Adam and Eve.

    DO YOU REALLY THINK that the ONLY sin was disobeying God in regards to a tree? NO, They were NAKED. Once they got KNOWLEDGE (name of tree), they KNEW that they were naked.

    God asked them, “WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE NAKED?”

    God never did. Neither did Satan.

    All Satan wanted them to do was to “GET KNOWLEDGE”.

    Knowledge…the key word in all of this is KNOWLEDGE.



  5. Ric,
    The wages of sin is SPIRITUAL DEATH, not physical death.

    The same section is discussing SPIRITUAL LIFE, aka eternal life, eternally in the presence of God.

    Spiritual death is separation from God. That is what “the wages of sin is death” is all about.

    Physical death was not the topic.

    I often tell a riddle to people. I ask, what is the number 1 cause of death in the world? I will get all sorts of answers. But none of them are right.

    LIFE is the number 1 cause of death.



  6. Ed, Thanks for the focus on the knowledge of good and evil. So often that is missed or forgotten when discussing the issue of children and the mentally challenged in salvation.


  7. Lydia,
    That’s exactly why I first began my debates with Catholics and Calvinists to begin with. All this talk about baptizing babies, it’s all hogwash. Just from a non-biblical standpoint it never made any sense. But when I first saw Deuteronomy 1:39, I knew I had to set the record straight to those goofy Catholics, and now, the Calvinists. The Promised Land is Heaven, portrayed as a carnal Land of Canaan (Israel). The whole carnal story is spiritual about heaven. It speaks of who gets to go there and why. Caleb and Joshua, because they had faith, and those who have no knowledge of good and evil.

    We are not born spiritually dead, as the Calvinists wish to preach to us. The Catholics started that crap with the teaching of “original sin”.

    We die a spiritual death, rather than being born spiritually dead. Just like Adam and Eve…God is with us. Once we get KNOWLEDGE, that is our death date.

    Then we need to be BORN “AGAIN”. That word AGAIN signifies that we were ONCE ALIVE spiritually. Then we died spiritually. Lastly, we are BORN “AGAIN” (Spiritually).

    Born again, is another way of saying, resurrection from spiritual death.



  8. Ed, There was only one place to go after the original sin construct: infant baptism which was practiced everywhere up until a few hundred years ago except for a few brave souls who risked their lives for a believers baptism.

    Then later some had to figure out how to merge believers baptism with the original sin concept given to us through the father of Catholicism and Reformation, Augustine. The original sin construct is so ingrained it is almost impossible to discuss any other view.


  9. Lydia, I have learned more in the last few years than in the last 25 years put together! And it’s due mostly to these blogs, not from sitting in church, Sunday school, women’s groups, believe it or not. That’s a pretty sad indictment on the state of affairs in many churches today. The good news is God loves us. He is our refuge! He provides!

    I used to read Augustine, history, etc. comments and think, “Why are you all talking about that?” What’s that got to do with right now?

    Well, Calvin himself says Augustine matters. Calvin praises Augustine in his own writings. I’ve heard so much about Calvin from reformed preachers, but never directly from Calvin’s “Institutes”, his own writings. Thanks to Ric, I delved into Calvin’s writings on “sinners in the womb” & “infant baptism”. No wonder Piper praises Calvin BUT DOES NOT quote Calvin extensively. If he did, independent thinkers would exit Piper tout suite. It is a very incomplete picture Piper gives.

    Calvin is totally out there. Infant baptism saves the gentile babies like circumcision saved all the Jewish babies. Works alone salvation. Really. With Calvin you don’t even need Jesus. You’re either infant baptized or predestined elect in adulthood. It has nothing to do with you or Jesus either way. But it’s called Christ alone. This has me laughing out loud right now it’s so ludicrous. But it’s tragic at the same time.

    Thanks for the reading references. You’ve been a great resource. Keep equipping us, keep it coming!


  10. Ed, Bingo.

    Yes, wages of sin = separated from God. Born again = reconciled to God. Infant baptism unto salvation = works alone.


  11. A Mom – – I, too, am indebted to blogs where I have learned so much information. And now I’m learning on my own blog and it’s not coming from me. 🙂

    Thank you all (too many names to mention) so much for sharing here. I get e-mails all the time from people telling me how my blog has changed their life. I cannot take credit for that. It is a combined effort of contributing, encouraging and praying for precious souls. Thanks, everyone 🙂


  12. Lydia, A Mom, and JA,

    What I am learning about both Catholics and Calvinists, in relation to Augustine, is that there is such a GREAT importance pertaining to “CHURCH FATHERS”, church history, etc. They do that so that they can proclaim “orthodox”, so that they can call anyone who disagrees with them a heretic. That’s why from time to time I will voice my disdain for “what dead people thought”.



  13. A Mom,

    Oh, I have heard Calvinists talk out of both sides of their mouth on that topic. For example: God predestined me to go to hell before the foundation of the world. But it’s all my fault.



  14. A Mom,

    What I thought was hilarious, was the first time that I heard from the Catholics about a place called “LIMBO” for babies who die, who never got the water sprinkle. Every time that I thought I heard it all, I was learning more stupid “orthodox” garbage being taught to the “masses”.



  15. Ric,
    First, I’m sorry for you & your wife’s miscarriages. Babies are not sinful in the womb, so they are indeed with God. I hope you are comforted. As you know, I believe all babies (born & unborn) are a gift from God. Did you say you do not teach your children they are broken? If so, we have that in common. Also, like you, I teach repentance & forgiveness, & it’s a two way street.

    Ric said, “I remember, from way-back-when the “age of accountability” discussions, but not the teaching that babies would go straight to hell, except from extreme fundi’s (can I use that term?)… i’d put a smiley, here, but I’m overtaken with the concept being taught that babies go straight to hell. I’ve never heard it attributed to anyone in particular, except that there were extreme sects that believed it.”

    Ric, I agree. The Calvinist teaching that all babies go straight to hell unless infant (paedo) baptized is exactly what you said, an extreme fundi & an extreme sect belief. It’s extremely out there.

    I’d like to follow-up on your last comment to me, if that’s okay. You mentioned God’s grace multiple times as a reason why infants go to heaven. Many reformed pastors (Sproul, Piper, etc.) teach this same concept that God automatically grants saving grace for the sinner infant or sinner child to go to heaven. It seems this belief goes against what the Bible says: that all sinners must repent & believe. It seems you believe saving grace is issued even to sinners who don’t repent & believe. That the call to repentance & belief applies in certain circumstances only & that it’s not applicable to all sinners. I believe it is always applicable, to all sinners, all the time. As you know, I believe infants & children are not sinners in need of saving grace. I don’t believe they are sinners. I don’t believe they need saving grace.

    There’s another extreme reformed belief out there you may not know of either. It’s based in predestination, election. That babies who do not live to birth will either go to heaven or hell based on who they would have been had they lived. Basically, that God had either chosen/elected them or not. So parents can’t be assured or know whether their baby is in heaven. If someone believes that God chooses the elect, believes in predestination/election, then I absolutely see how they would be consistent across the board & include the unborn, infants & babies as well. Of course, I don’t agree with this either. I don’t believe we are robots.


  16. @Ed and A Mom,
    Thank you both for your input, it certainly gives me things to consider.

    Ed, I don’t know that I entirely agree with your outline, and the connections, but I’ll look at it more.

    A Mom, I’ve read a little Sproul, more Piper, so only think think Sproul believes in Paedo Baptism. Not sure about Piper? Regarding grace, it would seem your ideas are similar to Ed’s outline, which would make what your saying seem clearer. For me, I’m not yet convinced of the connections he outlined, that they are right, thereby setting up lack of knowledge as a means of insulation from being a sinner. But this is certainly an interesting topic.

    Thank you again.


  17. Ric,
    Thanks for your comment. I had noticed from all of your comments, that while you say that you are not a Calvinist, you sure hold on to a lot of Calvinist beliefs, whether you realize it or not.

    What is missing in all of the conversation, is that Christianity did not replace Judaism. Christianity is an extension of Judaism. The only difference between Jews and Gentiles is Jesus. That’s about it. Many Christian denominations disregard the Jews. We cannot do that. We must see things from their perspective. We must see the spiritual stories that they only see as carnal. We must see the feasts as something more than just food and drink, and duties. But…we must get the perspective of the Jews. It is thru that Jews that we Jesus more clearly, even tho they don’t. I really hate it when professing experts who proclaim disregard the Jews, just because they reject Jesus. The Jews are a light to the Gentiles.

    But, what I see from Calvinism is way too much carnal “exegesis”. Well, when a person does that, they miss the real Jesus.

    Obedience seems to be a word that is clinged to. But, what they fail to realize is that faith is a law. In Romans, it is known as “the law of faith” that they “establish”.

    I would definitely recommend that you go over all of this that I had outlined above. I do my best to leave my “opinion” out of it, and I dissect words and phrases.

    1. Dead “in” sin
    2. Dead “to” sin
    3. Impute
    4. Righteousness
    5. Do
    6. Works
    7. Alive “to” sin
    8. Alive “in” sin
    9. Faith (dissect Hebrews 11:1)
    10. Hope (hint…expectation that you are waiting for)
    11. What was the PURPOSE of the Tree of Life in the Garden?
    12. Definitely dissect Romans 4.
    13. Bless is the man to whom the Lord will NOT impute sin.
    14. Dissect Romans 2:14-16 (Ignorant people are judged by their conscience)

    The list goes on and on and on and on.

    You have heard the phrase that ignorance is bliss? Well, in this case, ignorance of the law IS THE EXCUSE.

    Look, in regards to the PROMISED LAND…dude, we sing songs about it in church…famous songs at that.

    See the following “SPIRITUAL” story, as told in a carnal sense.

    1. Abraham was IN the Promised Land (aka Paradise), while he was alive (Sin was DEAD…no law). God promised to give it to Abraham, AND his seed. Abraham believed God.
    2. Then Abraham’s seed left the promised land, and entered Egypt. The Children of Israel was in BONDAGE to “EGYPT”
    4. Moses set the captives free.
    5. The Children of Israel wandered the desert for 40 years.
    6. The Children cross the Jordan at the completion of 40 years
    7. The Children of Israel enter the PROMISED LAND.

    Now, lets see that from a spiritual sense
    1. When we are born, we are spiritually alive…sin is dead. Sin has NO POWER.
    2. When we get knowledge, we spiritually die. Sin has power. We are in BONDAGE to sin. We are dead to God, but alive to sin. We are dead in trespasses and sin.
    3. Jesus set the captives free. Uh, we are the captives. Sin is DEAD. Sin has NO POWER.
    4. We live our life out as a Christian…STRUGGLING, OR WRESTING with God (The Biblical definition of Israel, as Jacob STRUGGLED/WRESTLED WITH GOD AND PREVAILED). During this time of our lives, we struggle with sin, but it has NO POWER over us…hence, once saved always saved (Hebrews 13).
    5. We die (Cross the Jordan).
    6. We enter heaven (The promised land).

    Now, notice the life of Adam and Eve.

    1. In the Garden…ignorant…being naked was a sin…but God never informed them of it. Sin was dead. Sin had no power. Spiritually alive. They walked with God.
    2. They got knowledge. Sin was alive. They were in bondage to sin. Spiritually died. They got shame (for being naked). God asked, who told you that you were naked?
    3. God sacrificed an animal to COVER their shame (nakedness), aka, sin.
    4. They maintained a relationship with God based on sacrifices.
    5. Many years later, Jesus arrives on the scene, and states that he is the LAST SACRIFICE ever needed.

    All of this is NO DIFFERENT than a baby. Innocent until TAUGHT, or given KNOWLEDGE of good and evil.




  18. Ric,

    You had said:
    ” For me, I’m not yet convinced of the connections he outlined, that they are right, thereby setting up lack of knowledge as a means of insulation from being a sinner.”

    My response:
    I never insinuated “insulation from being a sinner”. I insinuated “no imputation” of a sinners sin.



  19. Ric said, “it certainly gives me things to consider.”

    Ric, I’m certainly glad you’ll consider. Once upon a time I used to be unsure as well & didn’t realize these extreme teachings were coming from my own camp. Thanks for asking me the questions. That “horses mouth” quest I went on to answer you was helpful in my own understanding of Calvin! So thanks. 🙂 I’m glad you’re thinking about this as well, even if it rocks the foundation a bit. Being able to rethink something is partly what defines noble character, IMO.


  20. NT Wright made an excellent point about our Savior Who was a Palestinian Jew. We must understand the historical Jesus because generations tend to reinvent Him and things like the Holocaust are the result. How did the Lutheran church become so blind as to Who Jesus was? their namesake was anti sematic and they used many of his quotes to affirm their position of affirming the Reich laws.


  21. lydia,
    Please excuse my ignorance, but what is a Palestinian Jew, and how is Jesus a Palestinian Jew? Canaan became Israel, based on the 12 tribes of Israel. I am not following you.



  22. Ed, was “Israel” officially a nation state when Jesus was born? Was He born a Jew in what was then known as the region of Palestine?

    Don’t read too much into it…spiritually…or tribally…. as I was speaking historically. Just a figure of speech. A way to avoid the European Non Jewish Jesus of the Reformation. :o)


  23. BTW Ed, If you are concerned about using the term “Palestinian” because of what it denotes today, don’t be. They called themselves “Assyrians” until about late 1940’s when it started to become politically expedient to call themselves Palestinians as if a tribe. You will not find the non Jewish person living in Palestine called a Palestinian before those times when Israel became a nation.


  24. Lydia,
    Even from a historical view, I still don’t see it as Palestine. Rome ruled the land, and the Jews resided in the land that Rome ruled. Gentiles were outside of that (Samaritans). There was no Palestinians in the days of Jesus. Palestinians are nomadic peoples from various countries and over time, they settled. But not in the days of Jesus. Circumcised Jews own the land, whether the Palestinians believe it or not.


  25. Ok, not important enough to debate. You tend to get very technical. If I said my cousin was an Appalachian Baptist, would that help?


  26. The Jews left in 70 AD. But that was part of prophesy anyway. So was the returning of the Jews. It’s their land. God promised it to the seed of Abraham thru Isaac, via circumcision. Now, Peter was an apostle of the Jews. After the Jews returned back to Israel from Babylonian captivity, many many more Jews did NOT return to Israel than did. They stayed in what was known as Assyria. This is where the Babylonian Talmud (Jewish writings) was written. So, Peter, and you will see this in his epistles, spread the gospel to the Jews in Babylon (Assyria).

    Now, you say, “When Israel became a nation”. But I say, “When Israel re-became a nation again.”

    From 70 AD to 1948, Israel was not a nation. But they became a nation once they crossed the Jordan with Joshua, and did not cease to be a nation until 70 AD.



  27. Lydia,
    I am being funny here, but I don’t know what a Appalachian Baptist is. Is that like a Seattle Baptist?

    Can we just say, “Christian”?

    Note, I am being funny.


  28. “Now, you say, “When Israel became a nation”. But I say, “When Israel re-became a nation again.”

    Ed, I can agree with that from a historical point of view, too. Even the Russians voted for the state of “re” Isreal in the UN which was astonishing at the time when one thinks about it. :o) But the facts are diaspora Jews had been buying up land in “Assyria” for decades and owned quite a bit of it when it was made a “re nation”. Not something you will hear in most political circles today. But it is quite true. The “Assyrians” thought it amusing they were buying up the desert. I am a bit of a fan of Israeli history. Abba Eban has an excellent series.
    And I am thrilled there is a democracy at all in the ME.

    But, I am not much of a pretribber anymore. I have no opinion on the end times argument. I will leave that for Tim Lahaye who made a fortune on it. :o)


  29. Lydia,
    My Jewish friend who is a Christian tells me, “Pre Trib, Mid Trib, I don’t care…I am in trib everyday.”

    He was born in 1948, too.

    What you say is interesting, as since the Jews left in 70 AD, I am sure that it was in the mind of every Christian on the planet that they would never ever return. That’s why Christendom needed to re-interpret prophesies, thereby spiritualizing it. When I finally got what a Zionist is, I said to myself, “Ahhhh, I get it!”. So, consider me a Zionist that those poor poor Palestinians despise.



  30. @ Ed…
    I’m following your outline, but you said, “once saved, always saved.” What do you make of Hebrews 10:26?

    IRT my sounding like, “calvinism”, scripture was around before John Calvin.
    Also, where do you find that Adam and Eve’s being naked was a sin? Did God create them in sin (no)? What did you mean, I don’t understand that one – how you came to that. I do understand they had the knowledge, of good and evil… Their covering themselves does not mean it was “sinful.” Their knowlege of covering must of come from somewhere, as well.


  31. They covered their shame. It was shameful to be naked. They felt guilt…for being naked. That guilt was KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil. They got knowledge that they were naked. God never told them that they were naked, for he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?”

    Now, why would God ask them that question?

    Shame and Naked are both SPIRITUAL words used throughout the Bible.

    In addition, what does the Law of Moses say about being naked?

    You say that God did not create them in sin. But, he created them with free will. He created them with the ability to sin.

    God did not sit them down and lay down the law, so to speak. He did not tell them the Ten Commandments, etc. He created them to be ignorant of Good and Evil.

    Hebrews 10:26
    For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

    This is the difference between LAW or NO LAW.

    The audience for Hebrews was to the Jews. If people willfully sin, they are under the law of Moses, and under the law of Moses, you must adhere to the sacrifices.

    But if you receive the knowledge of JESUS (the truth), Jesus is the only sacrifice that takes away sin.

    Jesus covers all sins, past, present, and future. There are no more animals to sacrifice for sins.

    The verse that you have provided is widely presented from those who do not believe in once saved always saved.

    But I provide that the Holy Spirit is the SEAL of promise. If you read the book of Ester, you will see that a KING’s SEAL (decree) can NEVER be broken.


    Hebrews 13:5
    …I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

    I have also been told, “Well, you can leave him…”

    Nope, you can’t. If God is “IN” you, and if God said, “I will never leave you”, then where ever you run, there HE is.



  32. Ric,
    You had said,
    “IRT my sounding like, “calvinism”, scripture was around before John Calvin.”

    My reply, if you scroll up, you will see that Calvinism has it’s roots in Augustine.

    So does Catholicism, which was around long before Calvinism.

    We protestants who are not Calvinists do not adhere to Augustine, Catholicism, or Calvinism.

    The scripture, that was around before John Calvin, is also around today, and we do not see scripture the same way that John Calvin did, or that Luther did. Why?

    Because both Luther and Calvin were FRESH OUT OF Catholicism, and both of them kept many Catholic (Augustine) beliefs. They defected Catholicism, but did not defect Augustine.

    Luther was right in what he did, when he discovered what Grace really was all about. Calvin was just as mean as the Catholics were.

    And since Calvin was FRESH OUT OF Catholicism, HIS BELIEFS are going to be the be all/end all for all generations to come? Not a chance with me. He’s dead. I’m alive, and Jesus (God) lives. This is between me and God, not Calvin and me.

    The only reason that I am interested in church history, is due to needing knowledge for debate. Otherwise, I could care less. My only source of belief is the Bible alone. I could care less what “church fathers” believed. They are dead, and they were wrong.

    I never was a Catholic to begin with. But, I notice the REFORMATION is all about telling the world why you are not a Catholic, rather than to tell the world why you are a Christian. At some point, the reformation should have been over, and completed. But today, we see the “shoving down your throat” tactic being done of Calvinism within the Southern Baptist Church, many of whom it’s members do not believe in Calvinism.



  33. Ed, the Hebrews question was sincere. The scripture I “provided” and your comment that it’s what others say who don’t believe in once saved always saved, feels very dismissive of my question. What do YOU make of it, Ed? Your comments have failed the question from a sincere writer. Unlike you, I wrestle with this, and many other warnings in scripture. But you have it down pat. Good. I’ve wrestled with this for over 30 years.


  34. Ed, I gave your response a third review. Maybe I was hasty in my comment above. Maybe you did answer my question.

    Regarding your second reply to my question, my point about the scripture predating Calvin, as I know you know that, was meant to say that I haven’t come to my scriptural understandings by studying Calvin’s institutes. The things I’m most certain on are the things I’ve studied throughout my years (I understand that doesn’t make me right). The things I have most difficulty with are the things I’ve read plenty on, yet still not convinced. If I sound “calvinistic”, I can’t defend that; but my aim is to practice love with fellow believers and those who are yet to believe, part of which is sharing my faith and the Gospel.


  35. Is Benny Hinn a calvinist? What about the other TBN proponents? What abuses through their hands, and doctrine, have be undertaken? I was pondering this the last few days while commuting to work. I remember a church organization in Richmond that, I think is Arminian in doctrine, have very similar abuse problems and accusations as identified in SGM and SBC.

    My thoughts on this, while legalistic practices born out of reformed doctrine seems apparent, legalistic practices seem to be in all corners of Christendom. I started with Hinn and TBN as I sense they are an extreme end; so not picking on them since I think these things happen everywhere. People trying to control people, it’s not related to a specific doctrinal position.

    So in that, I was taken to 2 Peter 2. 😦 It saddened me, but it was clear that these things were even apparent while the apostles still walked the earth.


  36. “People trying to control people, it’s not related to a specific doctrinal position.”

    Actually, Ric, it is inherent in the determinist God paradigm and the dualism handed down from Augustine. It is part of the systematic theology of Calvinism. That is why you see the issue of hierarchy even in their teachings on the Trinity/Sovereignty. Calvin’s ST is completely immersed in the authority paradigm. That is why they do not see it as abuse.

    The free will celebrity guys just try to hide their control issues better and most don’t really teach it as orthodox doctrine.


  37. but I’m not convinced there is no authority outlined in scripture. I’ve read the discussions here regarding headship, submission, and authority, and find them falling short when scripture speaks so much about it. However, I agree with you about the Calvinistic folks being controlling. You have it wrong about the other crowd hiding it… they teach it hard, shepherd-ship is all over those communities of believers.


  38. Hi Ric, now we are both talking in generalities so we won’t get too far with that. I am confused what you think is human authority in the body/marriage and how that would work with “no mediator between us and Christ”. The view of authority seems to be taught as voluntary submission which would mean the person submitting really has the power to decide if the “authority” is the authority at all. If not, it would mean you could not leave Jim Jones church once you joined. And trust me, there was a time early he was considered mainstream. Even by Jimmy Carter.

    So the idea of authority is really a ,moot point when it comes to the Body or Marriage. Otherwise you are talking about something very sinister. Now, many pastors do beat on those who do not submit voluntarily which also misses the point. :o)

    I think Piper calls is “joyful, loving humble submission” or something flowery like that. but you had better do it or you are in sin! :o)


  39. JA – I was referring to Lydia’s comment – “The free will celebrity guys just try to hide their control issues better and most don’t really teach it as orthodox doctrine.”


  40. Lydia – I liked how you put this, “The view of authority seems to be taught as voluntary submission which would mean the person submitting really has the power to decide if the “authority” is the authority at all.”


  41. Well I have really looked into the Greek on the word submit. BUT….I look to Jesus in the Gospels as how a human “authority” would operate with other believers. 1Jhn says we all have “anointing” so I am trying to figure out how that would work with some “authority” in the Body of the Holy Priesthood. Do they get more? Who confers these titles anyway?

    Did you know there is no word for laity concerning the body of Christ? We are all priests?

    Or would these authorities be those we are drawn to because one would not be around them long to pick up on the fact they have been refined by fire. They have “gone before” us. (They would probably look like losers to most Christians here in the West, btw) They would be appalled to even think about exercising authority over another believer on their own. They would view themselves first and foremost as servants. Paul referred to himself as an under rower which was known then as the lowest level on a slave ship. Would you consider him an “authority”? Beaten, imprisoned, broke, etc, etc? I see someone who persuaded not commanded. But in all, Jesus should be our model.


  42. Ric,

    You had said:
    “Ed, the Hebrews question was sincere. The scripture I “provided” and your comment that it’s what others say who don’t believe in once saved always saved, feels very dismissive of my question. What do YOU make of it, Ed. Your comments have failed the question from a sincere writer. Unlike you, I wrestle with this, and many other warnings in scripture. But you have it down pat. Good. I’ve wrestled with this for over 30 years.”

    My response:
    My reply to your Hebrews question was just as sincere, Ric. Honestly. And it really is a popular verse provided by those who don’t believe in once saved, always saved. My reply was truthful and sincere. I don’t mince words, and I am always serious in regards to this kind of stuff.

    The way that I laid it out is exactly how I make of it.

    If you read my blog “About”, you will see how I got started in all this stuff. I purposefully seek out controversial issues. I study a particular topic for weeks and months. I listen to many different preachers, booklets, pamphlets, denominations, religious beliefs, cults, etc. to see what they have to say on the subject, not to conform to those beliefs, but to use that information to see what the Bible has to say on the subject…and I literally dissect everything, and do my best to put on my spiritual glasses to see.

    Key words and phrases are extremely important. The Calvinists are expository driven. You will never find the spiritual hidden treasures that way. All you will see is carnal.

    The KJV is the best for matching key words and phrases with key words and phrases. A Strong’s Concordance is a MUST.

    No other Bible / No other Concordance.

    But, to re-iterate my previous response…it is IMPORTANT to key in on certain words, and that word is SEAL. The Holy Spirit is a SEAL.

    Seek out that word…you will find it in the book of Ester. You will learn what a King’s Seal is all about.

    This is called being TOPICAL driven, rather than expository driven.

    I hope I helped in this. If you seek, you will find. I promise. But you gotta seek it.



  43. Lydia, I think what you are drawing out is the leadership intended – a servant; “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Paul spoke of not “over lording,” oh that leaders in these authoritarian institutions would hear that. Jesus was the consummate example, always.

    I read a great, howbeit simple, book on this leadership a long time ago. Gayle Erwin’s, ‘The Jesus Style.’ The only book outside of scripture I’ve read more than 2 times.


  44. TBN has some extremely serious court litigations going on right now. I haven’t kept up with it for a few months, but they are being sued by Paul and Jan Crouch’s granddaughter. She was working in the accounting dept, and she discovered many many many, did I say many, financial fraud going on. Serious fraud. Hence, Paul Crouch, Jr. was fired, as it was his daughter. She was obviously fired, too. You might want to Google it. Very juicy stuff. No, they are not Calvinists, but they are corrupt. Most of the TBN higher ups are not on the up and up. Some are great. Perry Stone, I like him. I also like Gregory Dickow. There are about 1 or 2 others I like. But I wouldn’t put my faith in those “Send you seed” so they can live in opulence, the name it and claim it, stuff.



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