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 SermonAudio.com 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 comments on “The Legal Rights of Christians vs Mercy and Love of Christ

  1. The first thing that comes to mind is the Pharisees that brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. The Pharisees wanted to stone the woman for her sin. But Jesus said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”.

    Chuck is casting stones. He believes that he is without sin.

    How was this woman caught in adultery to begin with? Were they staking out the place that this woman was committing adultery? How long did they watch? Well, that’s another story, but it’s as if they were doing the same thing that Chuck is doing; seeking out the sinners to condemn them.

    Chuck is indeed spreading hate, not love. People do not perceive what he is doing as love, therefore it is not love that he is spreading. His intent is to stir up trouble for a purpose…to make a name of himself as being “persecuted” for the gospel’s sake. What he is doing is self serving for his name, not the name of Christ Jesus. It’s still all about him, a narcissist. He wants to be as popular. He wants to be famous.

    He thinks that this is evangelizing. This is not evangelizing. He is just like the devil, constantly accusing before the Lord.

    I never agreed with Christians purposely making a field trip to stir up trouble, i.e. stalking an abortion clinic. Neither does the Bible. When Jesus sent out the 70 disciples, he told them that whosoever does not receive you, dust your feet…LEAVE.

    Obviously, these people do not want to hear what Chuck has to say. Chuck should LEAVE. The Apostles never went anywhere, where they were not wanted.

    We are told that God judges those who are outside the church. But, Chuck is making himself God by judging those outside the church.

    But in my opinion, Chuck himself is outside the church.

    Chuck is not being persecuted for righteousness sake. He is being persecuted for his stupidity and hate mongering.

    Ed

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  2. The commissioner can dream on, his “informal investigation” of O’Neal is just a scare tactic and totally without merit from a point of law. There is no mention of clinic access/ privacy in the Civil Rights Act (which all State statues are based). The First amendment clearly protects the Right to protest. Abortion clinic protests have been through local, Federal, several different circuits of the Court of Appeals and in the case against Randall Terry , the United States Supreme Court. O’Neal is well within his Rights to do what he is doing. The comment from the woman with the sign, “well this has been fun, but I have babies to kill ” , says it all. A perfect sound bit that well defines the heartlessness of the abortion industry.

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  3. I assume O’Neal is the abusive pastor/dictator who went after Julie Anne in court a couple years ago with that SLAPP suit.
    1) Guy really gets around, doesn’t he?
    2) And is so predictable…

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  4. Scott,

    The women are well withing their LEGAL Rights to do what they do, too. So what’s your point about Chuck being in his Right?

    Chuck’s conduct is an abomination to God. Do not judge those outside the church. Judge those who claim to be Christians, not non-Christians.

    Chuck is NOT representing Jesus at all. Chuck is the heartless one, not these women.

    Ed

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  5. Scott, did you read the post?

    I’m sure he did. Through agenda-colored glasses.

    Something I discovered during my own time in the pro-life movement back in the Eighties was its extreme agenda polarization. Every group and faction within the movement was convinced that their approach was The One True Way and all others were Heretics; if you weren’t doing it OUR way (and were part of OUR clique), you Weren’t Really Pro-Life.

    NRLC was Elect a Republican President Who Will Appoint CHRISTIAN Supreme Court Justices Who WILL Repeal Roe v Wade.

    American Life League was NRLC except ALL BOLDFACE CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!! During the Bork nomination circus, they telemarketed me for “money to get Bork confirmed” and threatened me with Eternal Hell (i.e. “God WILL Hold You Accountable!!!!!”)

    Operation Rescue… “If you’re not going to jail with us, YOU’RE NOT REALLY PRO-LIFE”.

    Every one had tunnel-visioned down onto their agenda and approach as The One True Way — “DIE, HERETICS!”

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  6. I think there is often a clear understanding of the moral decay in our culture, where and what it is; but not always a clear understanding of why it is happening, or how to effectively combat it. We see individuals using protest tactics, or other such means to make a true statement about the morals of God, but not always an accurate statement about the character of God. I understand the righteous stance O’Neal feels he is making. He wants to do something, to take a stand against the darkness. I can identify with that. But I also agree with you, that we can sometimes convey the opposite of our intended message when we forget the part about love. I like to say, the message is the mode, and the mode is the message. Our ultimate message is that God really does love all people, and wants to restore them to the place of being in a love relationship with him. Sometimes, though, I think we end up conveying a kind of God who is more angry with sinners, than a God who is angry at what sin has done to the children he so dearly loves.

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  7. Scott and Chuck are prime examples of a church being political instead of religious. O’Neal repeatedly mentions ‘God’s Law’, and Scott quotes state law in defense of O’Neal. Both are trying to hide their harassment of women in a secular society behind the right to free speech. Rendering to God what is God’s? Hardly. They are merely political activists masquerading as Christians, not disciples of Jesus Christ. Any “pastor” who persuades his congregants to engage in this kind of activism (and it is nothing more than activism, with not a bit of real evangelism) is someone who is seeking temporal, political power and notoriety, not someone who is displaying the humble heart of a loving servant.

    Is it merciful to harangue scared women making what may be the toughest decision of their lives, then posting video of them on the internet as an example of “loving the sinner and hating the sin”, or is it just another example of sacrificing a scapegoat on the altar of political expediency? The actions of these people demonstrate clearly that they are not able to separate love from hate, nor sinners from sin.

    God desires mercy, not sacrifice. Go and learn what that means, Chuck O’Neal.

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  8. I’m thinking I had some FB friends who posted in favor of Tony Miano last month (and maybe also to show how depraved England is). I’m guessing you’re not a fan of him?

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  9. Seth, I’m not a fan of people who like to videotape themselves and then post the video online, telling people they are sinners on the way to hell, and then move on to the next place without so much as spending time with them. It seems cold, shallow, unloving, no care, no mercy. They are empty words.

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  10. Years ago, some Christians in my city decided the best way to approach this was to set up Crisis pregnancy centers close to the abortion mills. We had 5 independent busy mills at the time which was around early 90’s. Lots of money was raised to find places to rent and set up shop. They bought imaging machines, even had nurses as volunteers and set up a network of folks willing to provide the women with health care, help with rent, jobs, adoption, etc. All with donations. No pressure. Just a sign outside. They simply provided help and options. A good friend of mine was a nurse volunteer and one young girl she coached during her labor then adopted her baby whom I see quite often now as a very mischievous 10 year old full of spice and pranks. Her birth mother was on her way to get an abortion when she decided to talk to the people at the center.

    All these years later there is one independent abortion mill still around. That does not mean they are not getting them in hospitals, etc. But the mills simply could not compete with imaging machines, love and help.

    There is a better way but it does not include any publicity. Just quietly behind the scenes, one woman at a time. Word gets out. But it does not make the news.

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  11. When will Chuckie learn that the way to express love is not through yelling and harassment? When I think about ways to express love, I think about a thousand different ways to do so than harassment and name-calling.

    My mom is having a major, very painful surgery tomorrow morning and she has requested prayer support. The first five days following this particular surgery are pure hell.

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  12. I think the videotaping is in poor taste really. What good does it bring? This action makes me question whether this guy is going to the clinic in love or self-righteousness. Or doing what he thinks is good works for the sake of the works & not the person? Ouch.

    There’s just so much to be said on this topic, I don’t think I can do it the justice it deserves. But anyway, these are some of my thoughts about abortion clinics:

    I am grieved first of all, because I know a baby will be killed. I realize the profound loss. Children are a gift from God. I think it’s a tragedy for both the Mom & baby. And Dad, too.

    Many women find out they’re pregnant & are ashamed & terrified of what others will think about them. Many think the baby is a hindrance to their goals. BTW, women with goals aren’t the problem! The way children are viewed in our society (& on tv) is a problem. And before anyone lays the blame on women for undervaluing kids, many of the fathers urge the women to abort or are apathetic (not all Dads). Some women carry & raise their children on their own. That’s a fact, look around.

    Many of us don’t stop to think of what happens to the woman after or during an abortion. Many women schedule the appointment quickly, they want to take care of the problem ASAP, not realizing or thinking through what they are actually doing. During the abortion, there are feelings of fear, second thoughts, regret. I think many women cry & are devastated. Many women are disconnected & unfazed. Maybe when a baby is wanted & looked forward to, the past abortion(s) starts to haunt them, possibly for the rest of their lives. Many women begin a pattern of self-destruction. They engage in activities that are harmful in order to forget. They self-medicate & find unhealthy coping mechanisms. Many women don’t realize the connection. The statistics show many women have had an abortion. These women also are sitting in churches, looking for healing, grace & long for a new life. We owe it to them to help them heal & find their worth & new life in Jesus. Don’t we already have the good news? Aren’t we to share it?

    If we enter in & take a close look like this, we may realize it’s not appropriate to respond by yelling, condemning, shaming at an abortion clinic. I don’t think it’s proven to be very effective. I don’t think it accomplishes the desired results. I don’t think it’s loving.

    Can someone prepare themselves in prayer, stand outside an abortion clinic & try to talk lovingly with a woman? I think so. But it should be done in kindness, concern & care for her. I’ve seen a Catholic video (youtube?) of a young male priest & how this can be lovingly done, with fair enough results.

    I think the church needs more empathy. Empathy will cause us to care enough to educate ourselves about abuse, abortion, children – all topics that matter. And how to help effectively, if we really do want to help.

    There’s a really good Christian book on helping others titled “When Helping Hurts” by Fikkert & Corbett. Ironically enough, I won it at a DG conference.

    There are some wonderful Women’s Clinics across the country doing God’s work. They have been put in the bucket of what’s been coined “para-church organizations”. Some prominent reformed leaders seem to have reservations about them. Why? They don’t come under the direct “authority” of one church. No surprise, right? It all goes back to authority & headship. Authority seems to be the litmus test of whether all is well or not in the kingdom of God, for….. the gospel, marriage, church, extreme authority in parenting, para-church orgs, and on.

    Anyway, these Women’s Clinics get their hands dirty. They are in all kinds of neighborhoods. They provide practical and spiritual help & guidance. It’s amazing what they do with so little funding. It’s wonderful to see men & women volunteer from different denoms. No egos, just a passion for Jesus and others. Women & their families are coming to Christ. Abortions are being prevented. They learn how to care for their babies, get help with practical needs, grow in Christ. Some even have ministries to families who find out they will not carry to term because of birth defects & are devastated. They support & go through the entire process with them, grieve with them, are the for them, help them heal.

    And yes. They provide support & healing for post-abortive women who are hurting, some deeply. Some come in decades later & receive love, support & healing. And then some of these women feel led to help. It’s really beautiful.

    So while some leaders make a big show of dealing with women at an abortion clinic, and while many other leaders spend their time creating videos to discuss & debate the right org structure for this type of ministry, these ministries quietly, without fanfare, go out with agape love to gather people to Christ, help meet their physical needs, & help them learn how to meet their needs. Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

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  13. Chuck proclaims that he loves them? What a joke. He claims that he loves their unborn child? What a joke. He doesn’t know what love is. I don’t call what he is doing as protesting. He is harassing, and he has a history of it. Maybe they can get a restraining order at least to keep him away from the clinic.

    Ed

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  14. Wow, So Mr. Frey do you always cast such vilification on everyone you disagree with, going as far to assume the ability to judge their standing before God ? That was over the top since you have never met me and really know nothing about me. To post on the internet that I’m a political activist masquerading as a Christian just because you have a problem with Mr. O’neal or my posted view is an inflammatory attack and libelous. Since you clearly know little to nothing about me, why post such a lie that is clearly bearing false witness on the internet ? Just wondering how you justify that as a believer.

    In no way, shape or form do I agree with what Mr. O’neal is doing. Although I have seen people conduct demonstrations at clinics, I’m far from a political activist and have never been part of the “prolife movement”. I was just pointing out that the investigation of Mr. O’neal by the commissioner is a joke. He isn’t doing anything illegal and the Civil Rights Act (which isn’t State law but Federal by the way) doesn’t apply to this matter in anyway.

    Ed, I disagree. When the woman holding the sign said, “well this has been fun but I have babies to kill ” , that was about as heartless as you can get. Mr. O’neal very well be a walking embarrassment to the cause of Christ but what he is doing is insignificant when compared to the murder of an unborn child.

    Yes, Julie Anne I assure you I read the post in it’s entirety. I don’t even disagree with your point, just shocked that anyone would believe Chuck’s demonstration violates the Civil Rights Act.

    I’m also shocked when people posting here become just as hateful as those they are criticizing.

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  15. Scott,

    It’s not legally considered murder, nor is it even religiously considered murder. Murder is based on hate in the heart, not ignorance of a fetus being a life.

    Everyone is a sinner…yes, even Christians. Everyone lies. Everyone commits adultery…yes, even as a Christian. He who looks at a woman with lust is an adulterer. And I know you, as a man, commits adultery.

    God has no room for hypocrites. Romans 1-3…you who preach against adultery, you commit adultery.

    All of it is sin, and Chuck isn’t winning any brownie points with ANYONE. All he is doing is harrassing. That isn’t what God wants from us.

    God judges those outside the church. Let’s worry about Christian conduct before we worry about non-Christian conduct.

    The woman would not have said what she said to Chuck had Chuck not been there. Obviously, she was being sarcastic, not heartless.

    I say, Good for her for saying that to Chuck.

    Ed

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  16. Saturday mornings, eh?…

    Honestly, though, I’m surprised that they go to NW Portland when there’s a Planned Parenthood in downtown Beaverton. In the 15 years that I’ve lived here, I’ve only seen protesters outside there once. Maybe they don’t perform abortions there.

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  17. Scott: What exactly did Eric say that is libelous? Can you please quote it?

    God judges those outside the church. Let’s worry about Christian conduct before we worry about non-Christian conduct.

    I think you should be saying that to Chuck and his minions.

    I don’t even disagree with your point, just shocked that anyone would believe Chuck’s demonstration violates the Civil Rights Act.

    I find your comment peculiar. Who here has said Chuck was violating the Civil Rights Act? That hasn’t been the topic of discussion so how would you now know people feel about that issue.

    I’m also shocked when people posting here become just as hateful as those they are criticizing.
    Again, it would be helpful to see a quote to substantiate your statement, Scott.

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  18. I think the videotaping is in poor taste really. What good does it bring? This action makes me question whether this guy is going to the clinic in love or self-righteousness.

    It is obviously self-righteous. If he cared about the women, the very first question he’d ask is if it is okay to videotape them. But he would never consider doing that because he doesn’t care, he’s going to do it anyway. It’s all about HIM.

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  19. CON is known for using intimidating shame to control others, used to elevate himself not Christ. He video tapes because I believe he is a paranoid narcissist. He has been video taping his crazy antics for at least 5 years, audio taping conversations without disclosure for 5 years as well. He blames others for his own shortcomings, others for his own lack of courage. Then when he is called out on his crap, feigns persecution! Even now, his tweets show he believes he is being persecuted for righteousness sake~oh Lord have mercy. I know that for 10 years he has harrassed and character assassinated ANYONE who doesn’t obey him. Blames others for DHS investigating his home because he didn’t give a sh*t about 3 children who were being molested. Cared more about the ‘image’ of the church. Lies and perpetrates lies when ‘damage’ control is warranted in his opinion! Take the PLANK out of your own eye before you look at the splinter in your brothers eye.
    CON you have no testimony in Beaverton or Portland for lost souls~you have done enough damage in sheeps lives. Now onto the goats, eh?

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  20. What I got from Eric Fry’s comment was that this guy is doing what he’s doing for the sake of himself, not God, the woman, or the baby.

    I said “self-righteous” but didn’t do a good job saying it in my comment? 😦

    I am guessing this guy is a Calvinist? I suspect so, since he’s a buddy of Tony Miano. From what I understand, Miano doesn’t hang out with non-Calvinist “heretics”, but I could be wrong.

    Calvin taught babies who die in infancy go straight to hell. This is not even close to the Judaic belief (look up bah/bat mitzvah) or NT writings. From what I understand, this is why Calvinists have infant baptism. Conveniently, Christian parents had a “way” to get their babies to heaven, by baptizing them before they die. These babies are saved by a work (baptism) alone.

    Calvin also taught God decides (the elect & by predestination) who will be saved. People don’t chose or believe or really have free-will. God chooses & gives them the belief to believe. God controls us & everything. Some Calvinists argue we have free-will, but it is always zapped into someone by God right before he gives them saving faith, which isn’t free-will by any stretch. Have you heard, “A dead man is dead, so he can’t get up & walk across the cross to salvation, he’s dead”? Only God can raise a dead man to walk across the cross (to believe & be saved). In their reality, there is no free-will.

    In this belief, God has already decided these babies will die & go to hell, or maybe he will make the woman decide not to abort. And that these women will go to hell (unless God gives them the belief, but that has nothing to do with anything this guy does, according to Calvinism).

    If you understand the Calvinist religion, you’ll know this guy can’t be doing what he’s doing for anyone but himself.

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  21. Haters gonna hate:

    Welcome! You obviously know him personally and your observations match mine. The bit about him videotaping because he is paranoid – that actually lines up with what he told me at my front door when he had the recording device going. He said he was recording to prove that he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Yup, that sounds like paranoid behavior to me.

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  22. Calvinists believe all babies are born in sin. Maybe he doesn’t care, like Piper. Good/bad, right/wrong, holiness/sin, yin/yang, it all glorifies God religion.

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  23. “To post on the internet that I’m a political activist masquerading as a Christian just because you have a problem with Mr. O’neal or my posted view is an inflammatory attack and libelous.”

    Scott, People can only go by actions. The actions show no fruit of the spirit. And I would bet the actions save few babies but sow more seeds of hate and determination. I saw it happen with publicity seeking abortion protesters before. It is a way to get on the news and feel pious— but it hardly works achieves the results you all claim you want. The actions scream the truth.

    Many of us feel compelled to tell people that you and those like you do not represent the Christ we know personally.

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  24. I must say, Julie Anne, that when I read the title of this thread I had an inward drawing-of-breath because I was afraid of what the comments would consist of. I’m pleasantly surprised by them . Ed, Eric, and Lydia (to name a few) all have compassionate comments that are worthy of attention.

    Unfortunately, these self-righteous, ‘God’s on OUR side’ Christians who picket outside abortion clinics, or who hold signs that disparage members of the LGBT community (are they POSSESSED with the topic of sex?) are the ones that get attention.

    It’s the reason why many people are thinking, “If that’s religion, I don’t want it!”

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  25. Honestly, though, I’m surprised that they go to NW Portland when there’s a Planned Parenthood in downtown Beaverton.

    Maybe it’s too close to their own neighborhood and they don’t want to foul their own nest?

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  26. @amom, most Christians believe in some idea of sin being spread from Adam to all, that would include babies to some degree. I think your attack on Calvinists is overboard. Don’t slam the whole bunch for the actions of a few.

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  27. “Maybe it’s too close to their own neighborhood and they don’t want to foul their own nest?”

    HUG – I believe you are correct. You would think, though, that he would want to “change his community.” All for God, of course.

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  28. A Mom – i think Piper cares.

    break – break

    it seems there is some jumping to extremes on this thread. this guy IS extreme. but not everyone who protests IS extreme. Many folks who protest abortion are merely trying to raise a standard they believe in and let their voices (or silent protest) be heard, to protest the killing of human beings, that is, try in some form to defend the defenseless. this is not only permitted in our country, but encouraged – people being involved in the governmental process. certainly there should be a reasonable discourse and a matter, on a Christian’s part, of civility and care for the people, no matter which side of the debate they are on. not everyone is like the O’Neils, too many, but not all.

    Light in the darkness, salt in the world (not losing its savor), living our lives, involved in the governmental process for what one believes in, are all good and what believers in Jesus should be about (of varying degrees, callings, gifts, etc. – read: I’m not commending everyone being called to protest abortion in order to be salt in the world).

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  29. I think the videotaping is in poor taste really. What good does it bring?

    “And do not as the hypocrites do, bringing along personal videographers recording everything for upload to YouTube, Twitter, and their Websites and Friends lists so that they may be seen by Men…”

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  30. Seth said, “@mom, most Christians believe in some idea of sin being spread from Adam to all, that would include babies to some degree.

    Seth, This belief is called Calvinism. I’m a Christian & I don’t believe that. It sends chills down my back to know people think babies sin. Really? Let’s think about that theology & the resulting actions & damaged lives that we have seen scattered across the church landscape.

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  31. Scott,

    FWIW, I read your comment (yesterday @ 4:26 PM) as simply pointing out, probably with some frustration, that the investigation of Chuck O’Neal probably won’t go anywhere given the current state of the law. Some, for whom I have high regard, obviously took your comment differently, so I was glad to see your explanation of 9:50 PM yesterday evening. Maybe what happened is that your initial comment was something of a digression from, or parenthetical to, the topic and point of the main article; but you were being read as somehow trying to rebut the article.

    My own conviction is that primary concern is owed to unborn children. They are absolutely the most vulnerable among us. That does not mean we cannot have compassion for women in crisis. Perhaps we both agree that O’Neal’s approach is counterproductive. It is void of love. No love, not truth.

    Speaking of speaking parenthetically, and assuming you are the same Scott, I also like what you had to say on another thread: “If people can’t comfortably, easily, and openly leave your church for another; flee.”

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  32. Ric said, “A Mom – i think Piper cares. break – break it seems there is some jumping to extremes on this thread.”

    Ric, My opinion is that Piper does not care & is without much empathy & compassion. I do think he understands & practices Calvinism well, as do his pastor/leader buddies. Did you even read my comment at 8:07pm on what I think caring actions are? Are you saying my comments are extreme?

    Are you aware Piper tweeted on 5/20/13, “Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they are dead.” Job 1:19. This was his “comforting” response to the children being killed in the OK tornado.

    The rest is from Huffington Post article dated 5/23/13:
    John realized last night pretty quickly that what gives him comfort in the wake of tragedy is not what resonates with everyone,” David Mathis, executive director of Piper’s Desiring God ministry, wrote in an email on Tuesday (May 21).
    Idaho pastor and blogger Doug Wilson came to Piper’s defense, saying that the theological issues are logically simple but emotionally complex.
    “The Christian church has to return to a robust understanding of who God is,” Wilson said in an interview. “If we do, we won’t have to hash through this with every tragedy.”

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  33. “Seth said, “@mom, most Christians believe in some idea of sin being spread from Adam to all, that would include babies to some degree.”

    Seth, I have been trying to figure out how this works for many years. Is there a sin goo passed on through sperm? And if so, then how could our Holy Savior swim around in this sin goo for 9 months.

    How about we are born into corrupted bodies that now die and into a corrupted earth where all things die? Death is the consequence of the fall. We have a choice to live in sin or not today. We CAN help it….unless sin has been redefined to include babies crying to be fed or reaching for a shiney object which I see as God given instinct. (Ever seen a baby who did not cry? It is horrendous) I often wonder if Jesus cried to be fed or messed Himself. I am trying to wrap my head around what some see as “human perfection” and what is sin.

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  34. Hi Lydia, yes I think it’s a mystery (I’m referring to Romans where it talks of death/sin entering the world through Adam and spreading to all). For me, the idea of a dual sin problem is helpful. Namely that humanity has both a corrupted heart (from which sin flows) and a record of sinful actions (each person). Zachariah talks about this too. A new baby will have no record at all of sin, so in that respect the newborn is as innocent as a human being can get. But we still have the corrupted heart issue. I’ll respectfully dialogue with anyone who thinks otherwise, but I have to ask that side how one can believe people are born sinless if all choose freely to sin? I don’t think this is a calvinism issue, so much as a mystery within Christianity in general.

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  35. “Seth, I have been trying to figure out how this works for many years. Is there a sin goo passed on through sperm? And if so, then how could our Holy Savior swim around in this sin goo for 9 months.”

    LOL – – Ok, I’m a visual person and . . well this visual . . . . . . . . .

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  36. “Lydia
    August 1, 2013 @ 7:56 PM

    Years ago, some Christians in my city decided the best way to approach this was to set up Crisis pregnancy centers close to the abortion mills. We had 5 independent busy mills at the time which was around early 90′s. Lots of money was raised to find places to rent and set up shop. They bought imaging machines, even had nurses as volunteers and set up a network of folks willing to provide the women with health care, help with rent, jobs, adoption, etc. All with donations. No pressure. Just a sign outside. They simply provided help and options. A good friend of mine was a nurse volunteer and one young girl she coached during her labor then adopted her baby whom I see quite often now as a very mischievous 10 year old full of spice and pranks. Her birth mother was on her way to get an abortion when she decided to talk to the people at the center.

    All these years later there is one independent abortion mill still around. That does not mean they are not getting them in hospitals, etc. But the mills simply could not compete with imaging machines, love and help.

    There is a better way but it does not include any publicity. Just quietly behind the scenes, one woman at a time. Word gets out. But it does not make the news.”

    This approach worked in Muskegon, Michigan. Pregnancy Crisis Center built and supported by Christians and has saved hundreds of lives and souls. Building Inspector has closed down the dirty and unsanitary abortion mill last year and it has not reopened. Love, help and imaging machines will win most every time. I would be willing to bet if Chuck would put his efforts into building a Pregnancy Crisis Center, he would be more successful in his endeavor of saving both lives and souls. I might even send him a contribution to help him in this endeavor if he would chose this route . 🙂 However, no news articles written about the leaders and no lime lite. Gods work just gets done. The Muskegon Pregnancy Crisis Center sure is working here in Western Michigan. They work folks.
    Jim

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  37. Jimmydee,. We did see a significant jump in women deciding not to abort when they finally got the 3d imaging machines put in use.
    We should be about love and softening hard but scared hearts and then providing the means to allow the baby to live instead of the publicity hound antics of CON. He is looking like Westboro folks to me.

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  38. Seth, we certainly won’t agree this side of the Jordan! I do believe in “original death” because of sin but I also know Eve sinned, too. But then she admitted it. Adam blamed God and Eve. And there were dire consequences that affected not only all humans but all things living on earth.

    But that also does not mean much of it cannot be redeemed, either. I am afraid your view, which came from Augustine mainly, keeps us humans, especially Christians, from taking responsibility for our behavior when the child molester is as sinful as the one having angry thoughts. After all, we are born sinners and it is our “inherited nature” to murder and pillage each other. We simply cannot help ourselves. This view was sanctioned by the state church for thousands of years, I might add, over doctrinal/political differences. I often wonder why Calvinists bother to discipline their children? So they will be better behaved totally depraved worms? :o)

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  39. Seth, This belief is called Calvinism. I’m a Christian & I don’t believe that. It sends chills down my back to know people think babies sin. Really? — A Mom

    “Man sees a cute little baby; GOD SEES AN UTTERLY DEPRAVED SINNER!!!!!”
    — Radio preacher I remember from the Seventies

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  40. Idaho pastor and blogger Doug Wilson came to Piper’s defense, saying that the theological issues are logically simple but emotionally complex.

    The same Doug Wilson whose “Kirk” in Moscow, ID defends the Confederate States’ “Peculiar Institution regarding Animate Property” as the last truly Godly America?

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  41. Hi Lydia, don’t give up on agreement so quickly! I think we can get there still :). I agree with your idea of personal responsibility for actions (good or evil). I really think that idea is all over the bible. Constantly God is asking people to choose right over wrong and laying out rewards for righteousness. Proverbs is entirely about that. But I also see the bible teaching that sin has corrupted everyone. I’m hopeful that we all can believe both ideas. It’s a paradox how they fit together, however I don’t think we have to choose one side and stick with it. Lydia, if you agree with A Mom that children are sinless, how do you explain the incredible selfishness that one can see surface in children and the brutal way they can bully each other? Do you really view those actions as something other than sin? And if an adult would do those things, why would it be wrong for him/her?

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  42. Honestly, some people are really HUNG UP on this idea of sin – I have taken it completely out of my vocabulary – it’s far too weighty. We are human, we make mistakes. (and please don’t come back with that ‘ well, what about Hitler?’ response – that was something far weightier than a mistake; we can all recognize the difference). Children who bully have learned that behaviour from someone – come on. Those same kids can be generous and exhibit love. I feel sorry for someone who gets up every morning convinced they are going to sin. Give yourselves a break! That whole idea – from my Least Favourite Fiction – is another good reason that many are turned off by religion – it’s self-defeating to go around beating yourselves up mentally all the time; convinced you have a built-in fault. Keep in mind that many pastors/ministers are making a good living hammering away at this idea – that they have the ‘mainline to God’, to help you with this sin/guilt trip. It stinks. My apologies for being blunt, but some things must be given short shrift.

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  43. I always cringe when someone says they’re doing or have done the “Christian thing” because that almost always means they’re justifying doing something awful that doesn’t reflect the love of Christ, in my opinion/experience.

    On the other hand, even many peaceful civil rights protests in the 60s were considered illegal, intrusive, ineffective, etc. We look at civil rights protesters as heroes now but people who participated in sit-ins tell me that was not the case at the time.

    Thus if people believe babies are being murdered in a clinic I can see their reasons for being aggressive toward people going in one and they do have a right to free speech respecting a controversial issue, to a degree. Folks do not have a right to obstruct someone from entering a building, for example, in my opinion. I think that O’Neal is a blowhard looking to make the evening news but that’s not necessarily true of everyone using his tactics,

    I agree with Julie Anne in thinking that O’Neal’s tactics are ineffective and shallow on a fundamental level. Verbally abusing women going into a clinic is unlikely to prevent them from having an abortion. In my view, it will probably make them more determined to do so.

    But that doesn’t mean people who disagree with me don’t have the right to say their peace. I think this is a complex issue.

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  44. “Lydia, if you agree with A Mom that children are sinless, how do you explain the incredible selfishness that one can see surface in children and the brutal way they can bully each other? Do you really view those actions as something other than sin? And if an adult would do those things, why would it be wrong for him/her?”

    Seth, Now I am really confused. It is a mystery but it is also black and white as we can see from watching children?

    But I do agree that “death” corrupted everything. That is the main consequence of sin and it affects everything. Babies are born “dying”. It is strange to think that death is not natural, isn’t it? As to how children behave proving original sin/inherited guilt can you tell me exactly for each child how much is nature and how much nurture? Is it a sin when a baby steals another baby’s sippy cup? I mean how far do we take this? Why is it that proper child rearing will many times take care of some of the worst behavior? Even for children of unsaved parents, btw. Sometimes it doesn’t work pastors children (wink). We do have the issue of brain development to take into consideration. We have children testing to see what works and what doesn’t. And so on.

    If I said I have never sinned I would be a liar. I am disagreeing with you on inherited guilt and this passing down of some sort of sin goo from Adam which can only meant we inherit his guilt. Our bodies are already corrupted because the consequences of sin is death. But we get new ones, too, praise Him.

    BTW: The problem with discussing Romans is the disparate foundational understanding. I do not read it through the Aug/Calvin lens of individual election. I read it more as a culminating argument about group election via Jews/Gentiles. I think Paul mentions something interesting to this topic in chapter 1. I am curious if this sounds like people who could not help it but made a choice concerning a God who clearly made Himself known by His creation we see every day:

    19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

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  45. You are correct, Janna, in saying this is a complex issue. From my perspective, it is one of women’s rights to control their own bodies – NOTHING to do with fundamentalists grandstanding, with their own agenda. Thankfully, in Canada, women have had the right to choose since the 1980’s.

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  46. Hi A Mom,
    You quoted: “Ric said, “A Mom – i think Piper cares. break – break it seems there is some jumping to extremes on this thread.””

    The use of “break – break” is common among military, I used it to break the comment from my comment to you regarding Piper, to another discussion point generally, not directed at you. I’ll make that more clear in the future or just make another post.

    I can respect your opinion on Piper, I just disagree with your claim; I do believe the guy really cares for people. I’m not putting him on a pedestal, but do appreciate a lot of his teaching (through books and sermons). They have been a great encouragement to me.

    Piper has put in writing things about suffering that has brought great encouragement to my friends and me as we find that our sufferings aren’t merely due to “weak faith” (common claim from non-Calvinists – I won’t say “all”) God didn’t miss it, with me. What I go through isn’t an accident outside of His control, but He’s using it in my life (Romans 5.1-5). God out of control? Not at all! WOW, that would be very hard for me to appreciate these daze.

    My bride and I don’t consider ourselves “Calvinists”, and have serious concerns with the whole TULIP thing. Especially as observed with folks steeped in Calvinism, walking out their faith and treating others deplorably, as O’Neil (and many others) – definitely bad examples.

    I read his tweets, there were 2, and also thought they sounded quite insensitive, and unloving. I don’t believe one can express a complex doctrine of belief in a mere tweet, or two. This merely served to display a harshness, which I believe was unintended — this is like a question I asked when I initially started engaging on SSB regarding harshness from those who believe in reformed doctrines. Folks didn’t engage it much, but I’m still considering it. Piper sure did shove his foot in his mouth IMO, and came off harsh; I can’t discern his motive, but I appreciate he pulled it down.

    Thanks for asking and appreciate your comments.

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  47. hi Carmen – you mentioned, people being “hung up on sin.”
    As you mentioned before, you don’t consider the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, so I can see how you would want to take that out of your vocabulary, makes sense. But those who do believe, sin is the reason we need redemption, and, a redeemer – Jesus Christ since we understand that sin entered the world through one man, so all sinned.

    Rom 5.12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned”

    I definitely can see where folks may harp on sin way to much; makes it sound like no one would ever be saved, even those who believe in Jesus. But that is the reason Jesus came, to redeem us from sin and to satisfy God’s wrath. We who believe that also understand, from Scripture, that we are now “saints” and a “holy priesthood.” But without a doctrine of sin, there is no doctrine of salvation. Maybe that is what you were referring to?

    btw: Canada is behind the power-curve, if I understood your statement correctly – 1980: Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion.

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  48. A Mom:
    “Calvin taught babies who die in infancy go straight to hell. This is not even close to the Judaic belief (look up bah/bat mitzvah) or NT writings. From what I understand, this is why Calvinists have infant baptism. Conveniently, Christian parents had a “way” to get their babies to heaven, by baptizing them before they die. These babies are saved by a work (baptism) alone.”

    Is that true? Calvin’s teaching that babies “go straight to hell”? I’ve not ever heard that before.

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  49. A Mom / Others?

    Question:
    “Calvin also taught God decides (the elect & by predestination) who will be saved. People don’t chose or believe or really have free-will. God chooses & gives them the belief to believe. God controls us & everything. Some Calvinists argue we have free-will, but it is always zapped into someone by God right before he gives them saving faith, which isn’t free-will by any stretch. Have you heard, “A dead man is dead, so he can’t get up & walk across the cross to salvation, he’s dead”? Only God can raise a dead man to walk across the cross (to believe & be saved). In their reality, there is no free-will.”

    Doesn’t scripture point to predestination? Leave Calvin out of it, just scripture, along with the contextual criticism of time and culture.

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  50. A Mom:
    “Calvinists believe all babies are born in sin. Maybe he doesn’t care, like Piper. Good/bad, right/wrong, holiness/sin, yin/yang, it all glorifies God religion.”

    I would submit that many non-Calvinists believe babies are born into sin, along with most of Christendom. Kind of wondering why you’re making a distinction with Calvinists? What do you believe scripture teaches about babies?
    btw: I have 9, and love them very much… 🙂

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  51. Ric said: “Is that true? Calvin’s teaching that babies “go straight to hell”? I’ve not ever heard that before.”

    I’ve had to think back on this and I can definitely say that the people we’ve heard teaching parenting (ie, Mike & Debi Pearl, in the homeschool arena) all taught this stuff. You had to train them even from infancy because of their sin nature.

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  52. 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.

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  53. “The way I see it is that God ordains, for his own wise purposes, that at the judgment day all the children who died in infancy will be covered by the blood of Jesus. And they will come to faith, either in heaven immediately or later in the resurrection. And God will not condemn them because he wants to manifest openly and publicly that he does not condemn those who did not have the mental capacities to put their faith in him. ” – John Piper

    Audio and article: http://tinyurl.com/lnfd93k

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  54. Ric – there are are no legal restrictions on abortion in Canada – since the 80’s. I believe there are States that have anti-abortion laws there; hence the problems ever since Roe vs. Wade? Perhaps I’m wrong. . .

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  55. Thanks, Carmen. To clarify, my comments were about the degree to which there’s a fine line between harassment and expressing free speech outside an abortion clinic as opposed to being about the right to have an abortion in general.

    I am not an expert on the law in Canada but believe it does not have the same regard for protecting free speech that the U.S. does

    For example, I think it’s awful that people create sites like God Hates Fags.com yet believe they have the right to do so. By contrast, I’m told that such a site would be illegal in Canada.

    Also, Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal in all 50 states by declaring that the Constitution supported doing so, so any laws you’re referring to pertain to secondary issues such as how far along in a pregnancy a woman can have an abortion and whether or not under-age women can have abortions without their parent’s consent.

    Canada also has laws restricting abortion according to this site so I believe your contention that “there are are no legal restrictions on abortion in Canada – since the 80′s.” appears to be incorrect.

    http://www.canadiansforchoice.ca/hottopic01.html

    I certainly hope so as I, like most people, don’t approve of 3rd-term abortions unless there’s an extremely compelling reason to perform one such as the life of the mother being at stake.

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  56. P.S. – Carmen, people’s opinions about abortion are not necessarily related to their religious beliefs. For example, most of the agnostics I know would strongly disapprove of your apparent belief that there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever.

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  57. “For example, I think it’s awful that people create sites like God Hates Fags.com yet believe they have the right to do so. By contrast, I’m told that such a site would be illegal in Canada. ”

    I know some folks who have a ministry to Mormon and JW cults in Canada who lost their tax exempt status as a ministry because their literature says Mormon and JW are cults. Not allowed in Canada. Yes, there are restrictions on free speech there in other similar venues. I would rather have the loud mouthed jerks here and debate it in the public square. That is freedom. CON’s way is ineffective and ignorant but should not become illegal.

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  58. “I would rather have the loud mouthed jerks here and debate it in the public square. That is freedom. CON’s way is ineffective and ignorant but should not become illegal.”

    I agree, Lydia, I’d rather have free speech including Westboro/CON than no free speech. It’s funny how he sued me for defamation and now he’s busy exercising his right to free speech in such a loud way.

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  59. Sorry Lydia, I wasn’t clear with the mystery comment. What I meant was it is a mystery how the two ideas (Gods sovereignty and mans freedom/responsibility to choose) fit together. I believe fully in both as I see them all over the bible. But I couldn’t explain to you or a hard Calvinist exactly how both ideas work together in all aspects. Can you explain more about the different way to view Romans? I’ve never heard of that one before. Thanks.

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  60. “. What I meant was it is a mystery how the two ideas (Gods sovereignty and mans freedom/responsibility to choose) fit together”

    Couldn’t God be sovereign enough to create beings who can say no to Him?

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  61. But the opposite question can also be asked. Couldn’t a God who loved people so much create them and direct their lives in such a way that they happily and freely choose to love and serve him?

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  62. “But the opposite question can also be asked. Couldn’t a God who loved people so much create them and direct their lives in such a way that they happily and freely choose to love and serve him?”

    When you say “direct their life” are you speaking in a determinist manner? I have to say it certainly sounds like it. I see God working around and through people all the time in the OT for His purposes. Some chose to listen and others did not.

    Would you say that God determined Lucifer would fall? There is this thinking out there. Piper is a big teacher of it….that all of this was predetermined to show God’s glory. The narcissist God is what it boils down to. Everything is about His Glory because that is all God cares about. Showing His Glory. Not his longsuffering, love, mercy, patience, etc. .Pipers “Scream of the Damned”.

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  63. Lydia, I’m don’t think God caused anyone to sin, Satan included. But do you believe God knows the future? If so, he knew all the acts of evil that would be committed over thousands of years, all the millions of people who would reject him and end up in some version of hell. Knowing all thst he created humanity anyway. What im saying is eliminating Gods ability to control world events and direct peoples lives doesnt eliminate any our perceived culpability on God’s part in all the evil that exists in the world. Some people can try to get around this problem by promoting universalism or open theism. I can respect that, but I can’t find a great case for either position.

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  64. I have been gone most of the day today, and I skimmed thru some of the comments since 5 am, and it seems to me that our Christian focus is a bit out of line. Some people are actually defending some sort of a protest outside of an abortion clinic. I do not defend these people, no matter where their heart is in any of it. There is a good reason, and here it is:

    Where are these people BEFORE they get pregnant? Why is it for the purpose of telling the woman? What about the guy that got the girl pregnant? Where was the education on birth control? Where was the advice that if you have sex, you could get pregnant? Where was the parents to teach their children about responsibility? There is so much more that I could be adding to this list.

    It all begins at before the beginning…not the end.

    And Seth, Adams sin did NOT get passed down to anyone but Adam. Calvinists have a totally different doctrine than non-Calvinists. Calvinists have many Catholic beliefs in them. Original sin is one of them. SPIRITUAL DEATH passed down to everyone. BUT, if you are IN Jesus, we are not in SPIRITUAL DEATH anymore…we are IN Eternal Life already. That is what Romans 5 is discussing. Sin did not get passed down, however, we live “IN” sin. Babies have no sin. We are born “IN” sin, not “WITH” SIN.

    Ed

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  65. Ed said: ” Some people are actually defending some sort of a protest outside of an abortion clinic.”

    Are you talking about me, Ed? I was in a way defending the protesting, but the key issue I was defending was freedom of speech – – which in this case happens to be allowing CON and his followers to protest. I don’t like how he’s protesting, but am glad that we have laws that give us that freedom. Cuz some day I might just want to make some picket signs and protest outside of BGBC. (Actually, I really have no desire to do such a thing, but you get my point.)

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  66. All this Calvinism stuff being discussed is showing how confused that Calvinists really are. I think it’s funny. It’s funny that the only thing that they concentrate on is Romans 5, and 9, and the words elect, predestined, without even reading and dissecting it. They quote Romans 5:12, skip verse 13, and continue on with verse 14. The haven’t even read Deuteronomy 1:39, nor Romans 7:7-9, or 1 Corinthians 15:36-50 properly.

    Ed

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  67. The doctrine of “original sin” is by no means a teaching unique to Calvinism. It doesn’t mean that little babies commit sins, it means that everyone is born with a nature inclined toward sin as a direct result of the impacts of Adam’s sin on the human race and on the world (also called The Fall). This view has been and continues to be held by most branches of Christianity throughout church history, including Catholic, Orthodox, Reformed and Arminian denominations.

    The idea that humans are born with a inclination toward sin is supported by the most straightforward understanding of many passages of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. I’ve read some attempts to reinterpret those passages in ways different from how most Christians have understood them throughout the centuries, but I find those reinterpretations entirely unconvincing. For the most part, the alternative explanations sound to me like desperate attempts to deny anything that might possibly be used in support of the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity. But there are plenty of non-Calvinist theologians who do not accept Total Depravity and yet still affirm the traditional interpretations of passages concerning original sin / fallenness / inherited sin nature. (I personally think the reinterpretations are a case of throwing out the baby with Calvin’s sprinkling water.)

    There are various additional doctrines sometimes associated with the doctrine of original sin, such as “inherited guilt,” that are commonly taught by more Calvinistic groups. I fully understand how non-Calvinists would balk at the implications of some of those doctrines. But flat out denial that humans are born with a nature inclined toward sin seems to me to stray too far from basic Bible doctrine held by Christians of almost all theological stripes since the earliest days of church history.

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  68. Julie Anne,

    Well, we all have freedom of speech. My point was that all of our actions need to begin at before or at the beginning, rather than waiting to the point of a woman deciding to visit an abortion clinic. Where are the Christians before that? Where are the family? Where is the boyfriend/husband, sister, brother, mother, friend, etc. Why do they (as a religious group) congregate at an abortion clinic to cause frustration for these women? It isn’t helping. It’s hurting. There is no brownie points being won, is there?

    Ed

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  69. Julie Anne,

    I would wonder, how many women really change their mind, based on a religious group hanging out at the front door? I would say…none. Am I right?

    Ed

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  70. Ed, you have a really hard time explaining death though. If death is ultimately a consequence of sin and children are sinless, then we shouldn’t expect to ever see any children die then right? But since we do….What’s the conclusion? You can hate on the Calvinists, but you haven’t given a reasonable working idea in its place. I’ll state it again, just because some Calvinists are total jerks full of hate, doesn’t mean you have to attack the entire theology.

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  71. Ed, I could find predestination and Gods control in every book of the bible. And probably also the exhortation for people to choose right

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  72. Ed said: “My point was that all of our actions need to begin at before or at the beginning, rather than waiting to the point of a woman deciding to visit an abortion clinic. Where are the Christians before that? ”

    No, I got you on that point and it’s such an important one. I’m glad you brought it up. And I’m also struck that women are the ones that not only carry the fertilized egg, but also carry the burden (emotional/physical/spiritual/sometimes financial) of whatever decision they choose.

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  73. Thanks AnotherTom, that’s what I’ve been trying to say all along. If someone denies the sin nature inherited from Adam, I’m not sure how much of the gospel is left as Jesus is clearly not needed anymore.

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  74. I would wonder, how many women really change their mind, based on a religious group hanging out at the front door? I would say…none. Am I right?

    I think so, Ed.

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  75. “Babies have no sin. We are born “IN” sin, not “WITH” SIN.”

    I once heard a prof state it as ‘sin attaching itself to us like a tick’.

    Here is a link to same prof discussing Augustine’s Greek Philosophy and how it was novel to Christianity before him. Here are a series of articles he wrote for a blog. They are not in order but make some interesting reading supplementing what I had already researched but was not smart enough to discuss with theologians. :o)

    http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/.services/blog/6a00d83451a37369e200d83451a37469e2/search?filter.q=jim+gifford

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  76. “But flat out denial that humans are born with a nature inclined toward sin seems to me to stray too far from basic Bible doctrine held by Christians of almost all theological stripes since the earliest days of church history.”

    I do agree with you. I think the problem is some similar language is used but with different definitions so one must make sure we are talking about the same definitions. We do not inherit guilt for Adam’s sin. I am not even comfortable with sin nature but I can accept it. Yes, inclined toward sin. We have inherited the fallen world in corrupted bodies that physically die and yes we are inclined toward sin but are not totally depraved. Total depravity carries the connotation that one cannot choose NOT to sin. That one cannot “walk in the light” which does not mean sinless perfection. It seems strange for God to tell us things to do that He did not give us the ability to do.

    The term original sin came from Augustine and the idea of it being passed on from Adam to us. Calvin just systematized it. (Eve sinned too but she admitted she was decieved, Adam blamed God and Eve)

    And there is more of this Augustinian thinking in Evangelical Christianity than we might understand. In my experience the Evangelical non Calvinist seekers believe something similar but live it out as cheap grace. The cross is a license to sin because we are “sinners”. No big deal.

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  77. I would wonder, how many women really change their mind, based on a religious group hanging out at the front door? I would say…none. Am I right?

    I think so, Ed.

    JA, I hope I am wrong but I would think it might even harden their resolve.

    Love conquers.

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  78. Seth, I could run circles around any Calvinist, and scripture whip any Calvinist. I have no problem proving each and every point against Calvinism. That’s easy.

    Ed

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  79. “Ed, you have a really hard time explaining death though. If death is ultimately a consequence of sin and children are sinless, then we shouldn’t expect to ever see any children die then right? ”

    What sins are babies guilty of that they can be held accountable for?

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  80. What’s really cool, is that when we really read the whole bible, and not just Romans 5, we see that sin is NOT IMPUTED to anyone with NO KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil (THE LAW). What was the name of that tree in the garden? See also Deuteronomy 1:39. Again, what was the name of that tree? Read Romans 3:20. Again, what was the name of that tree?

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  81. Seth, I don’t really know what Open Theism is (I understand and abhor universalism) but when ever Piper implies one is a heretic it is like a recommendation to me. So I have been listening to some of Greg Boyd’s teaching. I was astonished to find out he believes God wants us to obey Him. He teaches that we are accountable for our sin and have the “ability” to walk in the light. He believes that Jesus Christ is our picture of what God is like. We choose.

    Frankly, he was refreshing when compared to all the gospel navel gazing I am around all the time. A sort of “live out the kingdom now” message NT Wright also teaches. Not as much “doctrine over loving people” as is the rage right now.

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  82. I’m glad you’re so smart Ed, this whole 1500 year argument could have been solved long ago if only you’d been born earlier!

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  83. Lydia, I like NT Wright a lot and I like some of Greg Boyd’s stuff, though mostly just his political ideas. It was refreshing to me also. Gotta gravitate to where the love is; there was something Jesus said about that once…

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  84. Is there a sin goo passed on through sperm?

    I once heard a prof state it as ‘sin attaching itself to us like a tick’.

    We’ve now gone from “sin goo” to “sin attaching itself to us like a tick.” LOL

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  85. Seth,

    What’s even funnier, since you are being a comedian, is that Calvin was fresh out of Catholicism, and he is going to be the end all/be all for all generations down the line? That is even funnier. Yes, I can scripture whip any Calvinist. And, so can many other people who actually study the Bible, rather than to study what Calvin believed. Who really cares what dead people believed? You? And most Catholics, and Calvinists? But not us normal everyday non-denominational people. We base our beliefs independently. We listen to the preacher, then VERIFY if he is right, or wrong. The problem is, Calvinists have such an ego about their main man, Calvin, that they can’t see clearly. They put him high on a pedestal. They made him the protestant Pope. The Catholics and Calvinists have Augustine as their mentor, another dead guy.

    Calvin turned in someone to civil authorities who disagreed with him. The end result of that person was that he was burned at the stake. People were afraid of Calvin. People were scared to disagree with him, or else, they might find themselves to be dead. He intimidated people. Wow, am I describing Catholics, or Calvin, or Chuck? It’s hard to tell. All three.

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  86. Lydia, just to be clear, this babies dying issue is a really sensitive, really hard one. I don’t talk about it very often, and it’s not something I normally bring. It just came up today in connection with the larger topic. And I have a baby whom I love more than anything; it’s not a light subject. And to answer your question, I don’t think newborns have committed any sin that they can be held accountable for. But we still have this problem of even babies dying; how can we build a framework to understand it? Personally, I can’t understand it all, but I feel I have to trust in the supreme love of Jesus that surpasses understanding

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  87. “We’ve now gone from “sin goo” to “sin attaching itself to us like a tick.” LOL”

    Word pics for you visual types. :o) Creepy, eh?

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  88. Ed, I can’t have intelligent respectful conversation with you if you keep making bombastic claims and wild speculations about who I am or what I believe.

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  89. “Lydia, just to be clear, this babies dying issue is a really sensitive, really hard one. I don’t talk about it very often, and it’s not something I normally bring. It just came up today in connection with the larger topic. And I have a baby whom I love more than anything; it’s not a light subject. And to answer your question, I don’t think newborns have committed any sin that they can be held accountable for. But we still have this problem of even babies dying; how can we build a framework to understand it? Personally, I can’t understand it all, but I feel I have to trust in the supreme love of Jesus that surpasses understanding”

    And you can trust in the love and mercy of our precious Savior, my friend. We live in a fallen world where it rains on the just and unjust. The horror of sin is it brought death to innocents, too. As believers may we prop one another up. Be HIS kingdom now to all around us.

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  90. Seth, I don’t really care. It is obvious, as Calvinists always do, that you don’t want a conversation. Yours is a one-way conversation. I stated what I stated, and stand by it. If you don’t like it…so what? Who cares? I don’t.

    Ed

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  91. Ed, I think Seth is saying if you cool your jets, it would make communicating more easy. I haven’t seen him say he won’t talk, but that it’s difficult when you come across so strong. And Bro, you (and we) know this is your hot button! 🙂

    Oh, and Seth. I now adore the word bombastic. I must use it more often.

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  92. Well, Seth said:
    “making bombastic claims and wild speculations about who I am or what I believe.”

    I don’t think I made a bombastic claim or wild speculations of who his is or what he believes.

    His speech tells what he believes, and who he is.

    OK, well, I did say that he was being a comedian. I admit that him being a comedian was a bombastic claim and a wild speculation.

    Ed

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  93. Ed said:

    OK, well, I did say that he was being a comedian. I admit that him being a comedian was a bombastic claim and a wild speculation.

    Is that your confession, Ed?

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  94. Ric said “Hi A Mom, …I can respect your opinion on Piper, I just disagree with your claim; I do believe the guy really cares for people. I’m not putting him on a pedestal, but do appreciate a lot of his teaching (through books and sermons). They have been a great encouragement to me…. I read his tweets, there were 2, and also thought they sounded quite insensitive, and unloving….Piper sure did shove his foot in his mouth IMO, and came off harsh; I can’t discern his motive, but I appreciate he pulled it down.”

    Sad to say, but this is more than just a 2 off comment or tweet issue that Piper made “by mistake”. Piper also firmly teaches (among other uncaring teachings) the permanence of marriage, meaning no divorce, ever. Not for adultery, abuse, child abuse, etc. I fail to see how this is loving, caring, compassionate.

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  95. Ric said, “A Mom: Is that true? Calvin’s teaching that babies “go straight to hell”? I’ve not ever heard that before.”

    Ric, It is absolutely true Calvin taught babies go straight to hell if they die, unless the babies are infant (paedo) baptized, which sounds like baptism (works) alone to me. Or maybe parents’ faith alone transferred by baptism to infants? Anyway, I wasn’t aware of this either until I stopped listening to the endless Calvin-praising sermons & videos by the big-wig leaders today. I wanted to know the truth & if Calvin deserved to be praised so much, he’d stand up to critics & scrutiny.

    Ric, because of you, I personally looked through Calvin’s Institutes (his massive body of writings on the Christian religion), so I could give it to you straight from the horse’s mouth. Basically, in Book 2, Chapter 1 Calvin praises Augustine’s efforts that babies are corrupt from the womb. In Book 4, Chapter 16 Calvin explains salvation in infant (paedo) baptism as a spiritual mystery, states that the argument against paedobaptism is specious (I looked specious up, it means wrong), and explains for several pages that baptism saves Christian babies like circumcision saved the Jewish babies. I recommend you read it for yourself when you can. So, from the horse’s mouth:

    Book 2nd, chapter 1: “The orthodoxy, therefore, and more especially Augustine, laboured to show, that we are not corrupted by acquired wickedness, but bring an innate corruption from the very womb”

    Book 4, chapter 16 “The argument by which pædobaptism is assailed is, no doubt, specious—viz. that it is not founded on the institution of God, but was introduced merely by human presumption and depraved curiosity, and afterwards, by a foolish facility, rashly received in practice… In the first place, then, it is a well-known doctrine, and one as to which all the pious are agreed… Every one must now see that pædobaptism, which receives such strong support from Scripture, is by no means of human invention… that carnal infancy, which was ingrafted into the fellowship of the covenant by circumcision, typified the spiritual children of the new covenant, who are regenerated by the word of God to immortal life. But when, as the apostle elsewhere write, the wall of partition which separated the Gentiles from the Jews was broken down, to them, also, access was given to the kingdom of God, and he became their father, and that without the sign of circumcision, its place being supplied by baptism. let us fix on the very complete resemblance between baptism and circumcision… No sound man, I presume, can now doubt how rashly the Church is disturbed by those who excite quarrels and disturbances because of pædobaptism.”

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  96. Ric said, “A Mom, I would submit that many non-Calvinists believe babies are born into sin, along with most of Christendom. Kind of wondering why you’re making a distinction with Calvinists? What do you believe scripture teaches about babies? btw: I have 9, and love them very much…”

    I’m glad you love your kid bunch much! 🙂

    You may be right about that. But to think a majority belief makes the belief right is, well, wrong. Calvinist teaching has spread greatly in America, many top church leaders propagate it. There is much more wrong to it than this: that thinking babies are conceived with sin goo, but can be cleaned off & go to heaven in infant baptism. There are other Calvinist beliefs that are really damaging lives.

    I don’t believe babies are born in sin & I love the Bible, too. Babies are not wicked. A baby may do something wrong, but that doesn’t mean they understand the full implication of it & are damned to hell because of it. They may pinch another child, stomp their feet, etc. Our justice system also recognizes the distinction between juveniles & adults, right? Even our justice system knows that children normally are not as fully culpable as an adult. However, they may make exceptions based on the specific circumstances & the maturity of the child. Have we Christians lost our minds & all sense of right, justice, common sense for “doctrine alone” to the point where unbelievers are wiser than we? The Jewish people understood this coming of age from childhood to adulthood in the bar/bat mitzvah.

    I think this Calvinist teaching of wicked baby sinners leads many times to harsh treatment of the wicked baby, instead of loving but firm, consistent guidance of someone made in the image of God, who will hopefully choose to believe & live for God, & will be the parent’s brother or sister in eternity….

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  97. 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.”

    Well, I also remember being taught age of accountability way back when, ages ago. But Calvinism has infiltrated many churches today. We all should rightly be upset with this teaching that babies go straight to hell unless their infant (paedo) baptized. It is rightly attributed to Calvin. Calvin attributes it to Augustine, the Catholic Saint. If you think that’s what extreme sects believe, then you may be on the way to understanding Calvinism for yourself. Definitely try to read Calvin’s Institutes, you may be in for a shock.

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  98. Ric, It is absolutely true Calvin taught babies go straight to hell if they die, unless the babies are infant (paedo) baptized, which sounds like baptism (works) alone to me.

    Thanks for the Calvin quotes you posted, A Mom. They were very helpful. The above quote sure sounds like Catholicism to me. And it’s so weird to think about the similarities with Calvinism because CON was staunch Calvinist and I can still hear CON going off on Catholicism.

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  99. Seth said, “Thanks AnotherTom, that’s what I’ve been trying to say all along. If someone denies the sin nature inherited from Adam, I’m not sure how much of the gospel is left as Jesus is clearly not needed anymore.”

    Actually, the opposite is true. If a baby is saved in infant baptism according to Calvin, which looks to me like works alone salvation, then how is Jesus needed?

    I’m not saying we are perfect or that we don’t sin. I’m saying that babies are not sinful. This “wicked baby sinner” teaching is from Calvin, who states he got it from Augustine, a Saint in the Catholic church (see my 9:31 comment).

    There are many here who have been wounded by Calvin’s teachings of total depravity, wicked baby sinners, God controls every minute & molecule, etc. For instance, if God controls every minute & molecule, then every evil action is decided & blessed by God. Are we all robots? No, evil actions come from decisions by individuals to do evil. Free will. God gave people free will to decide to do right or wrong. God is not the perp of evil.

    There are many here who are looking on, who are suffering from spiritual abuse. These people are trying to heal. It may be helpful to read Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion” writings to better understand these teachings & how they may be hurtful.

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  100. “And it’s so weird to think about the similarities with Calvinism because CON was staunch Calvinist and I can still hear CON going off on Catholicism.”

    Julie, I posted the quotes from Calvin because I wanted to answer Ric’s question as best I could. It wasn’t super fun reading. I did it out of care for him.

    Calvin was far from loving & tolerant. He openly hated the Jews, had a severe intolerance for religious belief outside his own, punished/damaged/killed people who held beliefs outside his own, etc.

    Does any of that apply?

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  101. Let’s see A Mom, there’s severe intolerance for religious belief outside his own. I don’t think he’s killed anyone , , ,.

    See, I’ve heard some of this stuff before. What is the draw to Calvin? Why would his lack of love not be an obvious sign?

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  102. Ed said: ” Some people are actually defending some sort of a protest outside of an abortion clinic.”

    Ed, I agree with the points you’re making about needing to eliminate unwanted pregnancies in the first place, yet also agree with Julie Anne’s follow-up about free speech. I want to re-emphasize that staging protests outside buildings and getting in people’s faces in that way is not my style but I’m happy someone is willing to do it at times because it can be a very effective way to get your message across.

    My perspective on this issue changed after I talked to people who were beat up, verbally abused, and generally not treated well after participating in the civil rights movement’s non violent but “in your face” protests. In the 60s people also made arguments saying that the civil rights movement should use less controversial means of advocating for their cause. But if they had just sat at home and written letters to their congress people, we’d probably be reading about the civil rights act of 1984, rather than 1964.

    Therefore In my view, it would be hypocritical to say it was okay for civil rights protesters to stage sit-ins and get in people’s faces about an issue they considered important but 100% wrong for people on either side of the abortion issue to do the same.

    Specifically, I favor laws that set some sort of perimeter around controversial areas like an abortion clinic or a military funeral (e.g. so the Westboro crowd can’t show signs saying someone died in service to their country because God hates Fags).

    In other words, protest all you want but stay 100 feet away from the door and don’t intimidate someone physically under any circumstances. I’m not a big fan of the video cameras but people can find friends to shield them from that and wear something over their heads.

    And flash their own signs about their opinion of the Church Pastors video-taping them. 🙂

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  103. JA said, “Let’s see A Mom, there’s severe intolerance for religious belief outside his own. I don’t think he’s killed anyone , , ,. See, I’ve heard some of this stuff before. What is the draw to Calvin? Why would his lack of love not be an obvious sign?”

    In Calvin’s Geneva, Switzerland, you were not safe to express your views if they were different. You did so at your own peril, or death even. That time-period & place is referred to as “Calvin’s Geneva” often because Calvin basically ruled. It was a church-state in many ways with really no freedom of religion.

    America, on the other hand, allows individuals to freely practice their religious beliefs, up to the point it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Thank God. This is good. Many have died to protect this freedom. Who doesn’t prefer that? Control freaks like Calvin.

    You can tell by what I’ve said in past comment threats that I’m not big on censorship or the dog house (JA does a super job), but like hearing what other people think, believe, do. While it may be painful, it gives a clearer understanding of who they are vs. the “cleaned up” polished version of themselves, which may be deceptive. I think CON has a right to protest. I think his behavior tells us a lot about him.

    As far as the draw to Calvin, maybe CON finds iron-fisted marriage of church-state appealing? He doesn’t like American freedom? He did sue Julie Anne & tried to get the government to “control & sensor” Julie Anne after all.

    It is a double standard, ironic then, that the same freedom of speech he tried to take away from Julie Anne, he now uses and takes advantage of to stand outside abortion clinics yelling at people. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in that? Rights for him, but not for those that disagree with him.

    It sends shivers down the back of my neck. It seems they are trying to get us back to “Calvin’s Geneva”. See Piper’s DG video. Calvin worship. He markets it well. It sounds like he’s referring to Servetus when Piper says in the video “Imagine getting a letter from a family, whose son had died, because he was burned alive for something you taught him. So Calvin did his ministry, forged his theology in a city of suffering & harshness”. Anyone up for being burned alive like Servetus, for the crime of disagreeing with Calvin’s theology?

    http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/after-darkness-light-video-from-geneva

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  104. Janna Chan,
    You and Julie Anne both have a good point in the matter as far as free speech is concerned. I can’t argue against it at all.

    What I can argue against is the motives of those who do protest outside of an abortion clinic. Is it really for the purpose of convincing a woman to not have the abortion, or is it to condemn them to hell by calling the women murderers?

    They preach against judging others (more specifically for people not to judge them), and yet, they judge freely.

    As I said above somewhere, Chuck isn’t convincing anyone to not have the abortion. All he is doing is stirring up trouble.

    So, since we know that protesting outside of an abortion clinic isn’t producing any positive results, maybe we need to find another way to approach the issue, rather than to figure out different means of protest. How many lives are really changed based on Christians protesting an abortion clinic? The world thinks that Christians are a bunch of hypocrites anyway. Have we proven the world wrong? Do we really hold the moral high ground?

    I believe that the civil rights movement of the 60’s was a totally different concept, and needed to be done in the way that it was done. But we Christians are not holier than thou, and we must stop our holier than thou attitude if we are going to protest any causes.

    Ed

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  105. There’s a lot of stuff packed in your last comment A Mom. I’ve mentioned before that while we were at that church for 2 years, we started in Romans 12 and by the time we left we had just gotten into Romans 13. Maybe around the 5th verse. Romans 13 starts by talking about civil government. Maybe those sermons are still posted at sermon audio. He’s always careful what he says on his recorded sermons, but there was talk about his recorded sermons getting the public upset and the idea that there could be some sort of ruckus at the church because of his public stance on homosexuality even back then. There was a lot of talk about the government with regard to homeschooling our children, about letting Child Protective Services have access to our children – any kind of government “intrusion” in a family’s personal business.

    I am sure that is why he went ballistic when he and his family was investigated by CPS after a report came in that there was sex abuse in the church. That is what set off this whole freakin’ frenzy.

    For those who don’t know the story: The person who notified CPS did NOT report anything about CON being an abuser. They reported incidences involving church members (sex abuse) that CON failed to report. Most likely because of his pattern of failure to report, it made CPS question CON’s integrity and wonder if he was overlooking those cases (serious enough to send a minor to prison), could he be covering up something personally?

    Yes, we all get that being investigated for sex abuse, seeing your kids get interrogated privately, having your kids get subjected to physical exams to determine if there was any abuse is definitely frightening and invasive, but the person reporting the known incidences of sex abuse and inappropriate sex conduct by church members had no way of knowing or responsibility for what CPS decided to investigate. Furthermore, had CON reported the incidences of sex abuse himself, he and his children would have likely been spared this “intrusion.” The blame always gets shifted to the person who reported. CON, the pastor of the church left his church open to more abuse by not handling this situation properly and reporting. If CON lived in Oklahoma, his family and church would not be enjoying his company because he would likely be behind bars for disobeying the law (failure to report). One day, his children will be old enough and might read all of this stuff and realize that their father was responsible for the interrogations/invasive physical exam. That could be a tough pill to swallow.

    But to reiterate – none of us believe that CON (or his son) is a sexual abuser, yet the impostor website implies otherwise. (I’m aware of increased traffic due to CON’s recent media coverage, hence the quick recap.)

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  106. Julie Anne, Your last comment makes me want to run directly into a Calvinist teaching church, bring all the kids I can gather, & listen to years of ad nauseam teaching about apostle Paul. Frankly, I’d send them to public school first.

    Is Christianity a religion about Calvin or apostle Paul or Jesus? I’m starting to wonder. I prefer Jesus.

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  107. “Is Christianity a religion about Calvin or apostle Paul or Jesus? I’m starting to wonder.”

    Years ago I said in the middle of a class at the CoC I was attending, “You need to go outside and change that sign from “Church of Christ” to “Church of Paul” during an exceedingly legalistic lesson from one of the Epistles. They failed to see my point.

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  108. “See, I’ve heard some of this stuff before. What is the draw to Calvin? Why would his lack of love not be an obvious sign?”

    The draw is a systematized theology. Same reason people quote Grudem’s ST. it is all laid out. No Holy Spirit needed. It is psudeo intellectual. People are drawn to that. That is a reason you will see thinkers drawn to Calvinism. And the same reason you see some of them turning to Atheism years later (it is the determinism) if they were not making a living from ministry. If it is their living, it becomes a hill to die on.

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  109. A mom, Another reason Calvin’s infant baptism was so hypocritical is because how did he know if the baby was “chosen before the foundation of the world’ or not for salvation? According to his own systematic theology, he was playing God. Same with mandatory church attendance in his Geneva or the magistrates showed up at your door.

    Calvin did not practice what he believed. No amount of human force or micromanagement will make someone elect according to his own theology. Yet, he “remade” Geneva into a Gestapo state even down to mandating how many courses the people could serve at each meal. I kid you not. (The Puritans were the same way and one reason Calvinism dies out or goes liberal over time. The descendants of the Puritans, for the most part, became Unitarians)

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  110. Lydia – – So my question is why is my former pastor so hot on evangelism with the Calvinist background?

    . . except for the mandate in scripture to spread the gospel. And that’s brings up another thing – – why would God want us to spread the Good news if they didn’t have a choice?

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  111. “Lydia – – So my question is why is my former pastor so hot on evangelism with the Calvinist background?”

    Having followers and controlling them. That movement is a magnet for young men in ministry who want to make a name for themselves. Be the next Piper, Mohler or Dever. (Used to be Mahaney, too)

    One of the biggest mistakes I see for many older non Calvinists is they are thinking, these YRR guys are very evangelistic so it cannot be a bad thing. We just disagree on election (etc). But they are missing the worst part. They are really indirect evangelists for Calvin. Not Jesus Christ.

    If you do not believe me, check out Piper’s Geneva video concerning his plans for retirement. Even some in the Reformed movement saw the glaring problems with it. The man is eat up. He is going to be the 21st Century John Calvin? Global Apostle? It was not cheap to film that “announcement” in Geneva. Shows you how blind the Desiring God donors really are.

    Calvin is their Jesus.

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  112. to A Mom,
    thank you for levying your time to dig up those quotes! I really appreciate it.

    These type things always leave me wondering, how can folks miss it so much! In Calvin’s day, he became the government, but in the region it seems history shows that it was both Catholicism -and- Calvin’ism that indicted Servetus, for the same declarations against paedo baptism; later, Luther as well I would have imagined.

    Interestingly, you quoted from Calvin’s argument, “In the first place, then, it is a well-known doctrine, and one as to which all the pious are agreed.”

    Later, you mentioned, “to think a majority belief makes the belief right is, well, wrong”

    Well done. 🙂 I don’t know if the refutation was intentional, but it was well made. I’ve read these kind of statements before, what Calvin argued for, and what you argued against, and it makes me think, “what about the Word?” I know a lot of folks say that, but when I’ve heard their sermons and support of excessive doctrines, they make many leaps in their opinions of what Scripture really says and what it does not, i.e., they fill in the blanks, sadly.

    “I don’t believe babies are born in sin”

    What you said after this, as you clarified the idea with babies being “wicked,” makes me wonder what you do with scripture that teaches all have sinned, from Adam on (Rom 3.23, Psalm 14, Rom 5) – I prefer to not think of it as “goo.” 🙂 that’s cracking me up… What I do with the scripture, and I hope without any theological leaps in my understanding, is the entire human race was in the seed of Adam at the time of his fall. Through him, all perished and were launched into sin. And, through one man, Jesus Christ, all can have salvation, returning their gaze, faith, to the Savior.

    you mentioned, “I think this Calvinist teaching of wicked baby sinners leads many times to harsh treatment of the wicked baby, instead of loving but firm, consistent guidance of someone made in the image of God, who will hopefully choose to believe & live for God, & will be the parent’s brother or sister in eternity….”

    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.

    Again, thank you for engaging this with me.

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  113. A lot of the things being discussed here are great examples of how people tend to cherry-pick the scripture upon which they base their theology, which comes directly from their psychology. The problem arises when people try to use nothing but scripture to frame a theology, and oftentimes, it winds up as man making God in his own image.

    Sin and punishment, the way this topic gets framed can offer some very interesting insights into the person developing the doctrines. I concede the point that we’re all born with a fallen nature, or the stain of sin, if you wish, but for anyone to hold a doctrine that holds someone that is not and cannot be responsible for their actions as culpable for those sins is misanthropic at best. It’s easily seen that not all humans have knowledge of good and evil or right and wrong, and we display that understanding in our court system, so why do some preach that all are guilty and deserve punishment from a God that is the embodiment of love and wisdom? Why do they claim that only some people are eligible for pardon and others are condemned not matter what they do? I’d say that it has more to do with what is in their hearts and minds than any real truth about God Himself.

    I’ve heard from Calvinist and Arminian preachers that “Sin deserves an eternal punishment because it is an offense against an eternal being.” Bollocks. To claim that a temporal and limited being that can have only a very limited understanding of someone infinite and eternal deserves eternal punishment for sin is completely unreasonable and illogical, no matter how you wish to proof-text it. Then, to claim that it is actually just because God’s ways are higher than our ways and God’s love is beyond our understanding is merely an escapist appeal to authority as a defense. People describe God’s love in terms that is definitely far less than what our human minds can imagine, and they wish us to believe it’s somehow greater and more wonderful than what we can imagine? That’s disingenuous at best.

    It a small wonder that “love” gets expressed in so many malignant ways when people act under a theology of love that is based on their psychology of anger and vengeance. Chucklenuts wants to claim it’s loving to harass women who probably have little chance of salvation according to his Calvinist doctrine? Sorry, Chuck Biscuit, that’s nothing but your misanthropy and self-hate shining through for all to see.

    No matter how much someone thumps their Bible and offers up proof-texts, if they spout a doctrine that oppresses anyone, justifies harassment, promotes misogyny and misanthropy, and has illogical contradictions, I’ll call it exactly what it is: a huge load of organic fertilizer springing purely from their own psychology.

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  114. Thanks, Ed. Fundamentally I agree with almost everything you’ve said. In my case, I’m not trying to prove I’m “right” about anything which ultimately makes me a bad debater generally and on this issue in particular. 🙂

    People say many positive and many negative things about me but they seldom seriously say that I’m unfair or have double standards for myself or anyone else.

    That’s the standard of integrity that I personally try to maintain. So yes, I think O’Neal is a blowhard giving Christianity a bad name and hurling vitriol at women going into abortion clinics is a bad idea. Yet that doesn’t mean people don’t have the right to use the “get in your face” tactics that I, personally, am uncomfortable with but can be indisputably more effective at affecting change quickly than my less intrusive strategies for bringing attention to issues I care about.

    That’s all I can say, really. I definitely don’t think I’m necessarily right and you’re wrong about the issues at hand. Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

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  115. Eric, if I was anyone near you I would HUG you for that comment at 6:07. (and I’m a conservative Canadian who is uncomfortable hugging strangers – ha, ha)
    BANG ON!!! Thank you – and this is your ‘warm fuzzy’ for the day .. ..xxxx

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  116. Janna, it’s taken me awhile to get back to you as we had a busy weekend but yes, you are correct about abortion in Canada being limited to 20 weeks (although I did see some information that suggested that could go to as many as 24) and also exceptions are made for instances of the mother’s life being in danger. Also, other restrictions are applied here in Canada. For instance, depending on which province you live in, access to abortion is in some case non-existent. (On PEI – the smallest province- there are no doctors who will perform abortions). As I understand it, nurses can also refuse to assist with abortions and will be re-assigned to another patient. Also, abortion is under the Health Act so the procedure would be covered by Medicare.
    We also have ‘Hate Propaganda’ Laws which would prohibit the kind of signs you referred to. Also, peaceful protests at abortion clinics and hospitals do occur but the people protesting would not be able to harass/intimidate/restrict access to women at clinics and hospitals.

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  117. While being “in your face” in a public setting is not and should not be illegal, there is a fine line to cross when it comes to harassment and intimidation. Here’s Chucklenuts’ hypocrisy in claiming he has a right to do this kind of stuff:

    “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.”

    I want you to be intimidated, but I’m not intimidating you? Sorry, Chucklenuts, but that’s harassment by your own admission, even though you try to backpedal in your next sentence. You need to be charged and convicted for harassing these women.

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  118. Carmen, I’m not sure which was better Chucklenut or Chuck Biscuit.

    BTW, Didn’t I tell you guys CON would capitalize on this media attention? On his Twitter acct @chuckoneal_) he is tagging local and national media and big names trying to bring more attention to the “persecution” he is enduring. Wah wah

    FP if you read this and can put the twitter hyperlink, I will owe you a Twinkie. Thx! My Twitter app on my phone won’t give me links.

    Wait. Let’s see if this works. May have found a round about: https://twitter.com/chuckoneal_

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  119. Ric said, “These type things always leave me wondering, how can folks miss it so much! In Calvin’s day, he became the government, but in the region it seems history shows that it was both Catholicism -and- Calvin’ism that indicted Servetus, for the same declarations against paedo baptism; later, Luther as well I would have imagined.”

    Ric, you are right. It’s hard to see where Calvin & the Catholic church differ on how they treated the people living & passing through Geneva. Calvin admired, praised Augustine, a saint the catholic church. Calvin praises Augustine’s “sinners in the womb” belief (my 8/2, 9:31 comment above).

    Does that make Calvin less culpable in your opinion?

    However, 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.

    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. Meaning, do you think incredibly rotten behavior is corrected in a region by instilling harsh punishment for minor infractions, like falling asleep in church? I think a daughter was even beheaded (or however means killed) for talking back to her Mum.

    It is so similar to today. There is child abuse, but instead of dealing with this incredibly rotten behavior, many reformed leaders focus on church attendance, membership, etc. All the while, continuously repeating all sins are the same total depravity nothing we can do to please God or act right bull honkey.

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  120. A Mom, I don’t know if it’s because I’m more sensitive to this stuff, but it sure seems like a growing number of churches are adopting extra-biblical rules regarding membership/ church discipline a la 9Marks/Mark Dever.

    Btw, I just realized he uses his own name in his ministry, 9Marks.
    Hmmmmmmm

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  121. “Btw, I just realized he uses his own name in his ministry, 9Marks”

    Oh wow! Clever play on words, eh?

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  122. Ric said, “What you said after this, as you clarified the idea with babies being “wicked,” makes me wonder what you do with scripture that teaches all have sinned, from Adam on (Rom 3.23, Psalm 14, Rom 5) – I prefer to not think of it as “goo.”

    Hi Ric. I do agree, believe we have all sinned. What I’ve been discussing with you here is WHEN 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.

    Ric, Do you believe sinful from the womb? I’ll refrain from goo at your preference. 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. I believe the age of accountability is when they are no longer children. 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. The definition of sin includes an understanding of what it is & the full implications of it. This why children & mentally challenged persons are not accountable in the way adults are. Again, our justice system fully grasps this juvenile vs adult concept better than some educated, degreed modern day Christians.

    You can’t hold someone accountable for what they don’t understand. For example, expecting all 3 year olds to know their multiplication tables is unreasonable. Would you then punish them for their ignorance? That’s what Calvin sets up as Biblical. He assigns to children what he has no right to assign. His belief is propped up on “majority pious belief”, along with other random, strange, inconsistent extrapolations. One inconsistency – Calvin believed God determined the elect from the beginning of creation & there’s no such thing as free will, there’s nothing anyone can do. But he also believed parents baptize their infants into guaranteed salvation. What do you do with that?

    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.

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  123. Julie Anne,

    OMG! Hold your horses! No kidding…

    9Marks = Mark Dever = 9 letters in his name. Excuse me while I go puke up my guts.

    Thanks for the vomit inducing revelation. You, Julie Anne, are an amazing 5 star reporter. I think your discovery deserves a tweet, pronto.

    Julie Anne said, “So my question is why is my former pastor so hot on evangelism with the Calvinist background?”

    This discovery just confirms even more what Lydia said. It’s not about salvation, loving others, following Jesus.

    Their “evangelism” isn’t evangelism. It’s about getting people to obey, follow, listen, give to them. It’s about them.

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  124. EF: are you a universalist, unitarian, or progressive? It sounded like that from your comments regarding folks who, you first said “cherry pick,” but then later made it sound like (to me), anyone who bases their theology on scripture. I might be misunderstanding you.

    Having faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved from eternal destruction. This is clear from scripture. However, the discussion has been related to infants and pre-infants, and the mentally handicapped; whether they are also accountable to have this faith. The floral for the conversation has been Calvin’s institutes, AND, practices as he governed (plus Augustine etc.). These things may not be able to be entirely understood this side of heaven; where the scripture is silent, I don’t believe we (or anyone) is wise to take the liberty to “fill in the gaps.” I think this was mentioned too, about interpretation from our own psychological backgrounds, I think I agree with that. Where I may do so, I hope to see it and stop. We just don’t know everything and its my thinking that those who try to fill in the gaps, where scripture is silent, are perpetuating their own philosophy and not God’s wisdom, necessarily.

    Thanks fro your clarity in advance.

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  125. @JA – the newer avatar is better. 🙂 he he… the other one was some kind of Aztec angry face… or a dude with a bad migraine (get that)… 🙂

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  126. Ric wrote: “It sounded like that from your comments regarding folks who, you first said “cherry pick,” but then later made it sound like (to me), anyone who bases their theology on scripture.’

    Anyone that is a human being has their theology influenced by their psychology, and everyone, except the driest of academics that make few conclusions (and very broad ones at that), cherry-picks which parts of scripture to which they assign more weight. How else would there be so many conflicting doctrines? Is God trying to confuse people? Does anyone’s view of Satan have that much power to confuse and deceive? (If he does, then it’s a tacit admission of dualism) Perhaps it’s just that scripture isn’t 100% perfect and inerrant, and our limited and frail humanity comes out through our doctrines and dogma.

    What I am at the core is a behaviorist, as people’s words, thoughts, and doctrines matter very little in the big picture. It’s how we treat each other, and the Bible is very clear on that point. That’s the main reason I call out preachers whose actions contradict their claims.

    Is it more important that I have correct doctrine or that I love people in a way that they can understand and feel as real love? Is it more important for me to go to the correct church and vote for the right political party or to help comfort someone who is suffering? I know what my choice is, and I care little if anyone doesn’t like my thoughts and opinions.

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