Home > Uncategorized > It’s FRIDAY…be careful what you read

It’s FRIDAY…be careful what you read

😯

Presented, from Nathan Pitchford’s review of the latest book to inform us all that The Shack is a work of heresy, Burning Down the Shack by James DeYoung:

To anyone who says, “It is but fiction, one must understand the artistic intentions of the author,” I reply, “And who are you, O man, to spurn God’s second commandment, and frame God in terms of an African woman named ‘Papa’ and an Asian woman named ‘Sarayu,’ when God has never revealed himself that way? Who are you to put thoughts and words in the mouth of the Almighty which he himself never uttered, and which never entered his heart?”. If one should grind this book to powder and make all those who embrace its teaching to drink it down and expel it in the latrines, he would be doing less than such intolerable presumption warrants. If you fear for your soul and tremble to despise infinite Majesty and balk at omnipotent Dominion, whoever you may be who has read The Shack, then I plead with you to read it only with a heart full of terror at those who presume to fashion God in their own image, and a humble resolve to submit to the true God of scriptures, fully and perfectly revealed in Christ alone, so that in him alone you may find mercy and grace on the coming Day of Judgment.

Guess I’m screwed then…

While Paul Young continues to receive criticism of his book years after its release, an informal review (mine) of the Reformed web over the past few years shows that similar books and sermons against the purveyors of so-called Jesus junk aren’t likely to be forthcoming (but guys like Jeff Dunn at Internet Monk are more than willing to take them on).

It’s funny that we live in a world where concerned Christians look at a book like The Shack that has so greatly impacted thousands of people and seem to overlook the reason why it has made such an impact.

Christians in America have grown up in and around a church where perfectionism is pushed almost daily, and God is shown as someone who loves you only when you jump through all the hoops and live a perfect life.

To be reminded, through preaching or through allegory or whatever that not only did He so love the world, and not only that He loves you but is especially fond of you is life-changing to people who have had perfectionism relentlessly pushed to them.

The intelligentsia who sit in their ivory towers and seminaries and take up tables at Starbucks and Panera Bread with their laptops frankly don’t seem to engage this. It’s all about Paul Young’s theology.

And now one man goes so far as to channel the best hellfire and damnation preachers from the Arminian/semi-Pelagian aisle of the church, to condemn millions of people who read The Shack and got something out of it that ministered to them and was helpful…

I await the follow up reviews of Kincade’s Paintings of Light, and the Dr. Phil-esque Christian philosophy books all over the shelves of the typical Christian bookstore.

I think I’ll be waiting quite a while…unless one of those authors or painters gains as much notoriety and popularity as Paul Young…

Is it truly important for Christians to know that God is especially fond of them…or is that too emotional and childish for men whom seem to live exclusively in academia?

I once fully embraced Reformed theology, by accepting the basics as I understood them and figuring I would learn the rest as I went along.

This is one aspect of Reformed Christianity I can do without…and if that kicks me completely out of the club then fine.

Sometimes when life sucks and you feel like the world is against you, as a child of the Father you need to know that your Daddy loves you and is especially fond of you and that’s not going to change regardless of what anybody says or thinks of you…and that His opinion counts the most.

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  1. madison*bella
    July 2, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I think I’d take exception to the phrase, “God is especially fond of you.” God does love us, and He has chosen to set His love upon us not because of anything in us that makes us even remotely likeable – but because His character is “love.” God’s love for us has nothing to do with anything in us (there is nothing good in us—nothing in us that would cause God’s heart to be “fond” of us) and everything to do with Him. He loves us because He is God — and God is love.

  2. madison*bella
    July 2, 2010 at 10:05 am

    btw, I’m not Reformed, though I once dabbled in it as you did…and I share your dislike of some of their harshest teachings.

  3. Buster
    July 2, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Who is Pitchford to say how God may choose reveal himself? Perhaps he has chosen to do so in The Shack! 🙂
    I like these guys who try to define what God can or can’t do, based on their theology. I guess they know better, with their learnin’.
    God can “frame himself” as a burning bush, a pillar of fire, a dove… anything but a *gasp* woman!

    John Calvin, save me from the Calvinists!

  4. madison*bella
    July 2, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Buster, above all else God is truth. Why would He reveal Himelf in “The Shack” alongside such erratic theology? One way we can discern truth is if it lines up with already revealed Scripture. God has warned us that if a prophet comes in His name and preaches not His truth, then he is a false prophet. Shouldn’t we apply that principle to any book or teacher claiming to be Christian? In several places “The Shack” flies against standard Christian teaching — to name just two examples, 1) the obvious bent the author has towards universalism, and 2), the downgrading of the authority of the Bible, contrasted with Jesus who absolutely holds Scripture in highest regard.

  5. July 2, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I guess I would put my toe in this particular pool carefully, as follows:

    1. There is really no difference between imagining God as less than He is and imagining God as other than He is.
    2. God is not divided in His attributes; there is no tension between God’s love and God’s justice, for example.
    3. Attempting to understand God by looking at His attributes individually is therefore an intellectual exercise that may be beneficial, but is ultimately idolatrous.

    I don’t therefore see any difference between attempting to understand God by reading an orthodox theology book (and having an incomplete understanding of God) and reading a novel with aberrant theology. The real difference is whether you distinguish between the intellectual exercise of reading a book and the act of worshiping God.

    I guess what I’m saying is that reading or writing a book in which God is a character is not necessarily idolatry (it may be blasphemy but that’s a different story). Worshiping a God who is other than who He is is idolatry.

    Seriously; does anybody worship “Papa?”

  6. pstrmike
    July 2, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    “It’s funny that we live in a world where concerned Christians look at a book like The Shack that has so greatly impacted thousands of people and seem to overlook the reason why it has made such an impact.”

    That my friend is the 6 million dollar question. How has this book impacted people? What has it done for the church? Is there really measurable fruit here? Big does not necessarily equal good, and by the same token does not mean bad either.

    Yes, the problem with the book seems to be the theology of the author and the suspicion that such a book was constructed by what is considered a less than biblical world view.

    As for me, I’ve heard many of the arguments, that like yours, are really bullet statements that at least for me would require more thought and research on my own to either agree or disagree with ( that not a slam to you, just an observation). And I have not the energy nor do I consider this book so important as to dedicate the time to do so. For me, it was great reading before bed; it put me to sleep.

  7. madison*bella
    July 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    The book *is* having an impact on people, that’s not in doubt. But as to what *kind* of “impact”? This quote from the article you linked to summed it up best:

    “… the doctrine espoused by this fictional work is the very thing that is having such an impact on so many people. The overwhelming consensus, among those who approve of it, is that it has changed their perception of God and the nature of their relationship with him; but if this is the case, then it has given them a false god and a matrix of heresies to trust in: whether that image of “God,” which they purport to be helpful and even life-changing, comes through the vehicle of doctrinal treatise or popular fiction, it is a false god nonetheless.”

  8. mn10
    July 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I am “Reformed”…though not “truly”. 😉

    I read this book when a pastor friend recommended it not only for the book itself but for what happened after the author spoke at his church.

    The book helped me understand the Father heart of God with far more clarity than anything else I’ve ever read.

    The three pastors I personally know who had the author speak at their churches reported that something of a mini-revival took place afterwards with much repentance and release of old anger and wounds.

    Some people have read it and thought it was a badly written piece of drivel.

    That’s ok too…

    Many of the critics I’ve seen on blogs preface their comments with “I’ve never read the book”, because they value self righteousness above honest interaction with ideas other than their own.

    The sad and amusing part of the whole storm is that few critics have bothered to wrestle with why the book is so popular in the first place or asking why our own ministries haven’t touched an obvious need.

  9. mn10
    July 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    “but if this is the case, then it has given them a false god and a matrix of heresies to trust in: whether that image of “God,” which they purport to be helpful and even life-changing, comes through the vehicle of doctrinal treatise or popular fiction, it is a false god nonetheless.”

    If this was my blog I’d use a very strong word to describe that statement.

    Here, I’ll just say it’s a lie.

    I can back everything I believe up with Scripture and nothing in my theology has changed.

    Nothing.

    These guys just hate anything that has a touch of heart or emotion to it.

  10. July 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    The fact that Jesus crawled upon a cross and died is proof God is particularly fond of you. Who really cares if the reformed folk like the book or dont, if the book helped you in your walk then great, praise God. Im sure these same folk would Condemn anything by Nouwen because he was catholic, and fought with homosexuality. But while they sit in their ivory towers writing doctrinal works against fiction, Nouwen and Paul Young put hand to hand and helped the least of these.

    “Lord Lord, did we not cast out demons and preform mighty doctrinal judgements…”

    “When I was doubting you aided me, when I was disabled and couldnt fend for myself you loved me and let me love you…well done thou good and faithful servant”

    Yes its my paraphrase, but there will always be the mutts nipping at the heals of those being and doing, like Rick Warren of Saddleback its best to just ignore the criticism and press on doing what Christ called you to do.

    The fact is Brian, Christ is particularly fond of you, so much so that he counts the hairs of your head, and sends a comforter to be with you. Dont let theological giants who are loveless midgets take that from you, for the greatest of these is love.

  11. madison*bella
    July 2, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    As a caveat, I know there are many churches and pastors who do like this book, and have recommended it even to their congregations — I don’t doubt their heart in this. I know many church leaders feel this book is a blessing for their congregations becausue it, in story form, so beautifully comforts people with a soothing view of God’s tender love. So I can see where pastors may want their church to read such a book. (So many people have such warped views of God as a harsh, jusgmental figure, so a book like this can possibly help those people.)

    For me, I can’t get past the bad theology. But I don’t discount where some people might feel the book is helpful for a very narrow, specific purpose.

  12. Buster
    July 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    M*B,
    God is truth, but I’m not always that good at discerning the truth. That doesn’t mean I stop trying, but maybe I cut people some more slack when the disagreements are not so black and white.

    I don’t accept universalism, but I can understand how someone would end up in that position. So I don’t disassociate myself from believers who are universalists, and I don’t stop reading books by authors who hold that position.

    But the “authority of Scripture” gets you into a grayer area. You could say that any denomination other than yours holds their false beliefs because they don’t sufficiently recognize the authority of scripture. Even Jesus was accused of that by the Pharisees, but it was their traditions, not Scripture, that he was ignoring.

    And I wonder how you will deal with that, since your church places tradition on equal par with Scripture. And in effect, their tradition is superior to scripture, since it’s only the “traditional” interpretation of scripture that is accepted.

  13. mn10
    July 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Buster,

    M*B is an Anglican, not a Catholic.

  14. madison*bella
    July 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you, Michael.

    Buster, while Anglicans do give a weighty place to Holy Tradition, we believe Holy Scripture is of much greater weight than Holy Tradition. Anglicans believe Scripture interprets tradition, not the other way around.

    Anglicanism is the “via media” between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, the “middle way” — so while we believe Scripture is of absolute importance and it informs all of our doctrines; unlike Protestantism, we don’t throw out Holy Tradition. But rather, it is relegated to a secondary place, after scripture.

  15. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Is The Shack really something ‘new under the sun’?

    Didn’t Robert Schuller build an empire on mostly this same teaching?

  16. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Schuller???

    I’m not seeing the connection.

  17. lugum
    July 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I think AV is saying Schuller always talks about Gods love… to be fair, I think Jesus participated in the love of God heresy as well.

    Seriously, I didnt like the shack personally, because I didnt like the book. But thats about a stretch AV

  18. July 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Ooops ^^^^^ was me

  19. July 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    “Sometimes when life sucks and you feel like the world is against you, as a child of the Father you need to know that your Daddy loves you and is especially fond of you and that’s not going to change regardless of what anybody says or thinks of you…and that His opinion counts the most.”

    Brian,

    I am fully empathetic to that need. How many trials and doubts have I sought to put to rest by reflecting upon the love and affection of God the Father for his children! There is no balm so precious as that. I have searched the scriptures to find out the greatness of his love, and it has saved me from despair more times than I can recount.

    That’s why I hate anything that distorts or perverts the immense love of God, fully displayed by the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ, who is the only Form of God, and the radiance of his glory. For one thing, I hate to see the sufficiency of this greatest of saviors slighted, or his redemptive work minimized. When I see Christ blasphemed, I think of how great his love for me has been, and my soul burns at the thought that he alone, who is worthy of all glory, is being mocked. For another thing, I know that my needs are so great that nothing less than the true love of Christ is sufficient for my emotional needs, in a subjective sense, and also for my objective need of forgiveness and righteousness, when I stand before a holy God some day — and I also know that other sinners are in the same situation. They do not need a balm that heals lightly, by portraying the love of God falsely, as something less than that immortal love which turned away the real and righteous wrath of God by an infinitely meritorious life of obedience and a substitutionary, propitiatory death. For the sake of other sinners, whom I love, I cannot stand idly by when the necessity of that objective work of love is minimized, ignored, or denied. It could mean their eternal torment (even after having felt emotionally better for a time in this life). False hope is simply not loving.

    And, as my standard for what God is like is only the scriptures, I am confident to speak as I have spoken. As unpopular as it is to say it today, the wrath of God against those who break his second commandment is immense. The scriptures are full of warnings more severe than I have conveyed in my review. That is why a far greater love than unsubstantial emotionalism which provides no objective turning away of God’s righteous wrath for all those who believe, such as The Shack portrays, is so desperately needed. That is also why I have spent much more of my time positively describing the unspeakable and infinitely beautiful love of Christ for his people than I have spent combating heresy (e.g., my latest book, The Greatness of the Love of Christ [http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-greatness-of-the-love-of-christ/6533216]).

    I hope you discover how great the love of Christ really is. The Day of Judgment really is coming, and it will be terrible beyond description for all who have not embraced this love. “Knowing, therefore, the fear of the Lord we persuade men…”

    Nathan

  20. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    First, let’s be careful about setting up the strawmen. I preach the love of God every week too. THAT is not the issue when I mention Schuller.

    I have not read The Shack, and thus I have not been critical of The Shack, either now or at a previous time. My response was to the comments I read here and elsewhere about The Shack – namely the charges of universalism and the exalting of the attribute of love OVER the attribute of justice. I’m not focused on the allegory stuff.

    Again, these “charges” were applied to Schuller. They are applied to a lot of guys today (Osteen?).

    I bought and eagerly obsorbed Schuller’s inspirational tapes for a couple years when I was unsaved – and I stayed unsaved – never even really knew I was in a bad place quite frankly. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do! (so I was told – at least until those tough people succumb to death and end up in hell)

    Again, I am not going to criticize a book I have never read. I just am questioning the concept that somehow the audience for this book is hearing something that is new to Christendom.

    Maybe the message, if not new, is just desperately needed and rare today. Since I don’t know The Shack’s message, I will leave that for others to decide.

    The call to deny oneself and take up one’s own cross and follow Jesus Christ, however, is a message I KNOW is DESPERATELY needed and rare today.

    To the extent The Shack, or ANY Christian book, trumpets THAT call – I am thrilled.

  21. Em
    July 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    i’ve read The Shack and passed it on for others to read. It is interesting that it seems to me to reverberate more positively with men than with women.
    It is hard to write fiction that displays a facet of God in an allegorical way. The closer one is to hitting the target the more scrutiny it receives (and it should- IMV). To call The Shack heretical is, perhaps, to give it more theological weight than was intended.
    Is it easier to compare God’s love to that of a mother for a child (not a selective love) than it is to convey His love for us in any other way? The Bride and Bridegroom of the N.T. conveys the courtship and fidelity, but not that unconditional, parental love and, IMV, that was what Young was trying to tell us…
    we can want to please and to not disappoint a parent, but their love is not conditioned on us doing so… sadly, today maybe that’s easier to do thru the mother’s example than it is thru the example of the father… and the black woman has, after all, been thru the fiery trials and makes a good choice to convey the message, i think…

  22. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I would add to Em’s post above, that God DOES compare His love and care to His own as a mother animal on more than one occasion in Scripture – usually a bird of some sort.

  23. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Nathan, thank you for coming by and commenting.

    Please, going forward, keep in mind the people who latched onto this God is fond of you concept and why. Not just in a they need to be rescued from their delusion sort of way, but ask what is it that grips someone so much?

    Sometimes, allegory, story, a parable gets across the point better than a sermon or an academic work. I hope my academically minded Reformed brothers eventually understand this.

  24. July 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    AV, if by your own admission you havent even read the shack, is it really me who is setting up strawmen?? At least I bothered to read the book before commenting and pulling a comparison that doesnt apply out my butt

  25. Em
    July 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Eric said something that is eating at me… Jesus “crawled” up on that cross – no, He didn’t.
    As Immanuel, He presented us with the character of God and we “nailed” Him there…

    to be fair, it is possible that we forced Him (His humanity) to crawl to get up that hill, tho – dunno…

    it’s hard to even focus on that event without, as the song says, “trembling,” tho, isn’t it?

  26. Em
    July 2, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Good stuff is happening here, Brian – hope to come by later and read some more 😉

  27. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Eric, you wrote “I think AV is saying Schuller always talks about Gods love… to be fair, I think Jesus participated in the love of God heresy as well.”

    I took that as a cheap shot, and responded accordingly.

    Maybe you can either explain what you meant or you can retract it.

  28. July 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Em, correction taken, thank you. Probably a poor choice of words on my part

  29. July 2, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Um neither, you took a cheap shot based upon what YOU HEARD about a book that has changed the life of lots of people by comparring it to Schuller and I called you out on it. Maybe you could retract your statement being as it was by your own admission made out of complete ignorance to the books contents instead of playing the “Some of my best friends are black..” card to cover your mispeak. Probably not something you can do from the ivory tower but maybe you could try it.

  30. July 2, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I’m about to go to work, so I can’t stay and converse, but I’ll give one more quick response before I leave: I agree about the power of story and allegory — they can be used very effectively to teach the truth. But they can also be used very effectively to teach falsehood in a way that is emotionally appealing, and therefore all the more deceptive. That is what The Shack has done, and that’s one of the reasons I am so opposed to it. It really does have trinitarian heresies in it. I know, I’ve read them. And it really does portray the love of God in accordance with the universalist views of the liberals of the past generation; this, in making the love of God equally effective for saving all mankind, effectively cuts off the doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. And this error is serious enough, for all who embrace it, to impel them to hell and eternal torment. This is real, it is of eternal import, it is not a minor issue. Some of the most serious warnings about the dangers of eternal judgment come from Jesus himself, and he was not just “blowing smoke”. What you believe about the Trinity, the atonement of Christ, the gospel, is the most important matter that could possible be conceived. That is why, when a book is emotionally appealing but wrong on all those fronts, I consider it a dangerous tool of the father of lies, by which he seeks to plunge the souls of many into eternal perdition.

    But even that is not the biggest problem I have with the book. As I said in my review, I am heartily opposed to any “attempt to portray the doctrines of God’s character independently of his gracious condescension to reveal himself through the scriptures, [which attempt may be seen in the] central, presumptuous, and altogether blasphemous tenet of the whole book, that it is ever permissible to portray the one true and living God of the heavens and the earth according to a fashion or pattern of our own devising. When Israel bowed down before the golden calf and said, “This is Yahweh, who brought us up out of Egypt,” they did not consider themselves to be idolaters, for they falsely professed themselves still to be worshipping Yahweh, the true God – but they had presumed to give him a form by which he had never permitted himself to be revealed. The Almighty God of the universe has condescended to reveal his character through his perfect word, and finally, even by his perfect Image and the very Radiance of his glory, even, that is, through the eternal Word of God, Jesus Christ; and woe to anyone who, madly despising that infinite condescension and immense grace, chooses instead to bow down to an idol of his own imagination!”

    It really is that serious. “…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed”. When God has condescended so infinitely to reveal himself by his eternal Son, and when he has explicitly forbade that we represent him in any other way, then how can we not tremble at the thought of that day which is approaching, to bring the fire of eternal judgment against all who have not known him or obeyed his gospel? I, for one, would rather inflame the wrath of a million persons against myself for seeming to be too strong in my rebuke of such a presumption, than to inflame the wrath of the holy God for seeming to countenance any teaching that minimizes the sole sufficiency of his Son to turn away wrath, provide redemption, mediate the unseen glory of God, reveal the free grace of the gospel, etc.

  31. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Wow Eric.

    I’ll let comment #20 at 2:20 PM stand in its entirety beyond just the first sentence that you focused on.

    To paraphrase from The Princess Bride (a movie I have seen 🙂 ) I do not think ‘ivory tower’ means what you think it means.

  32. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Eric, AV, you guys are brothers not enemies…remember that in debate.

    AV, Eric does have a point in that you can’t judge a book you haven’t read, based on what is said about another man’s work that also is said of the book itself.

    Schiller is best judged on his merits not on how others say he compares to another man’s ministry. Same holds true for Paul Young.

  33. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks, Nathan.

    My 3:00, it’s Schuller not Schiller (stupid spell check) 🙂

  34. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    By the way all, I am no universalist…I come out closer to Nathan and M*B on these issues.

    Not close enough to call Paul Young heretical…nor totally dismiss a very important message in the midst of questionable and flawed portrayals.

  35. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Brian, I was just trying to interact with what YOU wrote in your blog entry with the reference to Schuller who I know pretty well.

    I do not know how I could have been more clear in NOT criticizing The Shack.

    Maybe Schuller is just so despised that this point was missed. I spend hours each week in message prep for the Word of God which it is my privilege to share to those He entrusts me. I spend hours ministering to these same ones outside of the pulpit. Add a family and my ‘spare reading’ time is minimal. So I pick my books deliberately with a lengthy lineup awaiting me.

    Seriously, brother, I was just looking to engage in the conversation with a few spare moments of this day. Maybe I should repeat my main point and leave it there, which was:

    Again, I am not going to criticize a book I have never read. I just am questioning the concept that somehow the audience for this book is hearing something that is new to Christendom.

    Maybe the message, if not new, is just desperately needed and rare today. Since I don’t know The Shack’s message, I will leave that for others to decide.

    The call to deny oneself and take up one’s own cross and follow Jesus Christ, however, is a message I KNOW is DESPERATELY needed and rare today.

    To the extent The Shack, or ANY Christian book, trumpets THAT call – I am thrilled.

  36. DeadManWalking
    July 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Ex 20:2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
    3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
    4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
    5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

    Imagery ?? Can we create a false image of God in our mind???? When it comes to knowing God, God has revealed Him self in His Word.

    God put His Word on an equal par with His Name

    Ps 138:2 I will bow down towards your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

  37. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I would add this. If you asked me literally just an hour ago who “Paul Young” was, I would have said “An English pop star from the early 90s”

    🙂

  38. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    AV, I thought you were commenting based on what others said about Schuller…sorry for the misunderstanding.

    No, Paul Young’s ideas are not new. As I am sure you know, people can be more likely to receive those ideas in a newer or different package. Hence, Left Behind.

  39. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Another Voice :

    I would add this. If you asked me literally just an hour ago who “Paul Young” was, I would have said “An English pop star from the early 90s”

    :)

    Be careful. That might get you Rickrolled 🙂

  40. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Apology accepted Brian. Thank you.

  41. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I just had to google ‘rickrolled” – I’ve heard of that happening to people as a prank, but didn’t know it had its own name!

    So I guess I learned something new this day! 🙂

  42. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    AV, LOL!

    I do encourage you to read the book, though, if your time permits. It’s $9.99 for Kindle.

  43. Buster
    July 2, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Hi, Michael, yes — Anglican, I know.

    M*B,
    Can you tell me about your church’s position on sacramentals, and how they are of benefit to you?

  44. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    BrianD,

    Just so you know I am not AVERSE to reading the book or any such thing…

    I read Left Behind once they were on about the 5th or 6th story in the series because I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about after five years or so. As a CC pastor, a lot of folks were reading it, plus I was teaching through Revelation and wanted to know what I might have to counter – since sometimes people think fiction equals Scripture. I felt it was worth that investment in time.

    I did NOT get around to reading Prayer of Jabez, as I figured it was a ‘flavor of the month’ sort of thing and would die down. Plus, nobody in my circle of influence of ministry was talking about the book or asking me questions about it (unlike Left Behind).

    Thus far, the only time I hear of The Shack, is online. Nobody at church asks me about it. I assume very few have read it.

    As an aside, I take that as a good thing – not that I care per se if someone reads it. I believe a constant diet of the truth will awaken a believer to heresy when they encounter it somewhere (and that is NOT to say The Shack is heretical, just that I am not fearful if people read other stuff – which is why the CC fear of Calvinism or amillenniumism is so stupid)

    If what I understand from YOUR words above, maybe they already are hearing that God loves them, are seeing it in our fellowship, and are NOT hearing that (to quote you) “God…loves you only when you jump through all the hoops and live a perfect life.”

    If they get it every week, why look for it elsewhere?

  45. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    That was an observation of the American church in general. There are many exceptions to that observation.

    I’ll be off blog for awhile…check in later.

  46. [o_O]
    July 2, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    M*B
    you wrote some things I just can’t agree with.

    “I think I’d take exception to the phrase, “God is especially fond of you.” God does love us, and He has chosen to set His love upon us not because of anything in us that makes us even remotely likeable – but because His character is “love.” God’s love for us has nothing to do with anything in us (there is nothing good in us—nothing in us that would cause God’s heart to be “fond” of us) and everything to do with Him. He loves us because He is God — and God is love.”

    “…above all God is truth…”

    I couldn’t disagree more, MB, my dear friend.
    The first time I heard the idea that God “likes us” was from my old pastor ChuckJr and I and our whole church gathering were impacted profoundly for the better. It turned our legalistic minds upside down and dashed our ideas about a performance based relationship with God into a bazillion pieces. I’ve given it even more thought and when I read the bible with that lens of God liking His people it changes everything, besides, what bride doesn’t want her Husband to be fond of her?

    God not only loves us but actually “likes us” as well. Fondness speaks of choice.

    The idea of “fondness” is especially liberating because otherwise God is no more than a regretful adoptive parent who is stuck with His irritating progeny solely because it’s His sad and sorry nature to HAVE TO love us.

    Above all, if Paul is to believed, God is love, not truth, because the greatest of all between the bearings of faith, hope and love is love

    …but then, that’s just my take, heretic that I am 🙂

  47. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    That was an observation of the American church in general
    —————————————
    Agreed. And quite a commentary on our nation. One measuring stick is to ask ourselves if our best sellers would be read in Iran, North Korea, China, or other nations where the followers of Christ truly have to ‘count the cost’

    I read your sentence “It’s funny that we live in a world where concerned Christians look at a book like The Shack that has so greatly impacted thousands of people and seem to overlook the reason why it has made such an impact.”

    I think we could substitute for this book the ministries of Benny Hinn, Pat Roberston, Joel Osteen, or Joyce Meyer – all of whom also “greatly impact thousands of people” (but in different ways and with certainly different means) and ask the same question.

    Or is that question always worthy of being asked?

    Maybe its just the American way???

  48. July 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    “I think we could substitute for this book the ministries of Benny Hinn, Pat Roberston, Joel Osteen, or Joyce Meyer – all of whom also “greatly impact thousands of people” (but in different ways and with certainly different means) and ask the same question.”

    Or Chuck Smith, John Piper etc etc

  49. Linnea
    July 2, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Here’s why I like the Shack, but not the theology represented in the Shack…

    Jesus was/is the consummate teacher…he spoke to his disciples and the crowds in the parlance of the day and in the context of their jobs. Has the need for that changed much today?

    Our national countenance is somewhere between vague agnostic and “out there” new age….we need to reach people with the gospel where they’re at and in a mode they can understand. At a visceral level, The Shack speaks volumes to those who would never don a tie and khakis and walk through the door of a church. It is a stepping stone to truth.

  50. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    One more comment:

    In those churches where pastors are telling their people that God does love them, and unconditionally loves them, and the people are listening, that message coming from a source outside the pulpit is supplementary, but not necessary. Of course, some people benefit from hearing truth (God’s truth, not anyone’s truth, just so I make myself clear) from a variety of sources.

    In churches full of law and perfectionism, what people need to hear isn’t as likely to come from the pulpit. They’ll hear some truths, no doubt. But from a perfectionistic angle.

    The question you referred to, AV, is always worthy of being asked. You can substitute Robertson, Piper, Driscoll, Smith, Warren, Osteen, whomever has a big audience for Young. And it is a good thing to consider what is it about someone’s ministry that makes it attractive…so we know what people are drawn to, and what it is we are about to judge.

    Now I really am going to be in and out and not back fully until late tonight…prayers appreciated for an unspoken personal matter I may have to deal with this evening. See you all tonight.

  51. Buster
    July 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    FOOD FIGHT!!!

  52. Em
    July 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    ok, i’ve passed my copy of The Shack on its way for others to read, so i can’t check this…

    was it a book on how to be redeemed? did it expressly say that there’s no need to understand the cross? it may have and i missed it – dunno

    if so, we mustn’t sing hymns like “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” as it was my first inklings that there was anything desirable about God? and i wasn’t saved until years later…

  53. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Point of clarification.

    I probably bungled my list by including Osteen, since he obviously pastors a huge church. I was thinking though that his greatest influence is through TV (and his books to a degree) – that is what gets him on Larry King and why his books are at Costco the moment they are published.

    The others mentioned by me (Robertson, Meyer, Hinn,) are specifically not local pastors. That is why I did not mention Warren, Piper, Driscoll, or Smith (or MacArthur etc. etc.). I wasn’t making a point JUST about an influential ministry (and I know the Osteen thing screwed that up)

    What is it about such ministries, or likewise, such books, that impact so many in the Body of Christ from outside their personal fellowships.

    Why do so many invest the time and money to watch/read from these sources?

    What is ‘missing’ that Robertson taps into? What is ‘missing’ that Meyer taps into…that Hinn taps into…that The Shack taps into?

    That is really where I was going with it…

  54. Buster
    July 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I haven’t read the book yet, but I have to wonder how much of the uproar is just because people don’t like the idea of God being presented or represented as a female. They can’t say how much this really bugs them, so they have to find other doctrinal things they can complain about.

  55. Buster
    July 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Just saw this:

    ——–
    New Man: Yes, but some of the language you use sounds a little like Universalism, the doctrine that all will be saved. How do you respond to that?

    Young: Very simply. I’m not a Universalist. I’ve never said anything other than the road gets narrowed down to one man, that’s the person Jesus Christ. I’ve been very clear about that. And it’s very clear throughout the whole book, unless you want to find an agenda for Universalism in there.
    ——–
    http://www.newmanmagazine.com/e-magazine/061208/Shack.php

  56. July 2, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Buster, you can’t go to the source for things like this, much better to create something to argue against than ask the Author what he was saying here. You should know better

  57. July 2, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Eric,
    We’ll have to start a thread debating Universalism vs. Disneyism at your site…

    BTW, when is someone going to create John Calvin theme park? I guess they couldn’t have games of chance in the arcade section…

  58. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Food for thought, from Michael Spencer:

    I will never praise The Shack in the terms some are using. I see many flaws at the level of writing and story-telling, as well as theology. But a disciple of Jesus who wants to write a novel for his children with the goal of opening their eyes to a possible life-altering relationship with the Trinitarian God of the Bible gets the green light from me. We should see the book for what it is and that’s all.

    If certain conservative Christians are annoyed that someone out there is reading a book they don’t like, then here’s a suggestion: Write a better book. Starting a parade to tell us all we shouldn’t read this one is probably a good reason it’s going to pass a million copies soon. If you haven’t noticed, readers don’t like to be told what they should and shouldn’t read, but they have surprising affection and loyalty to authors who deliver a compelling and involving story.

  59. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Am also reading Ben Witherington and Bob Hyatt‘s reviews, and I have Roger Olson’s critique on my Kindle (looked for James De Young’s, but it’s only available in paper form). Challies is also on the to-read list.

    I also realized I need to sharpen my debate skills if I’m going to keep blogging like this 🙂

    Back offline…

  60. London
    July 2, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    “Abba is so very fond of me” is the final line to a great story Brennan Manning has been telling for 25 or so years about a very happy priest (or abbott or some thing) who was skipping down the road one day and when some asked him why he said “because my father is so very fond of me” (something like that anyway)…

    Why is it so weird to think that God may actually LIKE us?

    Heresy to say that he doesn’t just hate our guts and want us all to burn in hell…
    I can live with that kind of heresy frankly…

  61. DeadManWalking
    July 2, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    I guess the trouble I have with those who attempt to make God more human or what ever bothers me because God did become Human and dwelt among us.I can understand someone who has a distorted view of God imposed on them by some religious system reading this stuff and finding it to be a way back to the truth, But if you would just read the Bible it is already there waiting for you. Jesus said Fear not little flock for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. That one verse turned my view of God right side up.

    Rom 10:6* But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7* “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8* But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9* That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10* For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11* As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

    From A.W. Pink

    For The Sake Of Accuracy, a distinction should be drawn between the condescension and the humiliation of Christ, though most writers confound them. This distinction is made by the Holy Spirit (Phil. 2:7-8). First, He “made himself of no reputation”: second, He “humbled himself.” The condescension of God the Son consisted in His assuming our nature, the Word becoming flesh. His humiliation lay in the consequent abasement and sufferings He endured in our nature. The assumption of human nature was not, of itself, a part of Christ’s humiliation, for He still retained it in His glorious exaltation. But for God the Son to take into union with Himself a created nature, animated dust, was an act of infinite condescension.
    Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name (Phil. 2:6-9).
    These verses trace the path of the Mediator from highest glory to deepest humiliation, and back again to His supreme honor. What a wondrous path was His! And how terrible that this divine description of His path should have become the battleground of theological contention. At few points has the awful depravity of man’s heart been more horribly displayed than by the blasphemies vented upon these verses.

    For the rest of this aritcle go to http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Gleanings_Godhead/godhead_28.htm

  62. madison*bella
    July 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Buster asked:

    “M*B,
    Can you tell me about your church’s position on sacramentals, and how they are of benefit to you?”

    ….
    The Anglican Church accepts seven sacraments:

    * Baptism
    * Eucharist
    * Confirmation
    * Holy Matrimony
    * the Sacrament of Reconciliation (“confession”)
    * Ordination
    * Extreme Unction

    Of those seven, only the first two are said to be “necessary” sacraments. The last five are “conditional” sacraments (ie: not required of everyone, but absolutely apply in certain situations).

    The Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession of sins to a priest and receiving absolution) is not mandatory, as is it within Roman Catholicism. Of this practice, Anglicans believe “all may, some should, none must.”

    Confirmation is expected and is also a strong mans of grace, as well as impartation of the Holy Spirit.

    Sacraments, to put it simply, cause divine grace to occur in the souls of men. They are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as “sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.” They quicken, strengthen, and confirm our faith in Him.

  63. madison*bella
    July 2, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Buster,
    With all due respect, the author denying (after the fact) that he is a Universalist doesn’t mean much if his book promotes it. That’s like Tiger Woods decrying to CNN, “I don’t believe in adultery, I’m not an adulterer!” Words are cheap. The point is, what actually *occurred*?

    Grendal,
    I guess I just don’t see it that way (per your #46). God is love because it is His nature to love. Love isn’t a feeling at all. And God’s love isn’t dependent on us in any way. He loves us just because He chose to love us, apart from anything good or praiseworthy in us.

    London,
    Of course God doesn’t hate our guts and want us all to burn in Hell. He showed His love for us by sending Christ — but it wasn’t due to some fickle human fondness He had for us; He did out of the truest agape love there is.

    OK, I must clean my house now. 🙂

  64. madison*bella
    July 2, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    (not that Tiger actually said that, it was just a hypothetical example…)

  65. Michael
    July 2, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    What an amazing and disturbing conversation.
    People find something that brings healing and intimacy with God and have to defend themselves for doing so.

  66. Michael
    July 2, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    The book does not promote universalism…do you really believe I would promote heresy?

  67. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Michael, no surprise to me, and no problem for me that the critics are out in force.

  68. July 2, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Im at the Apple store r u jealous? Gotta get me one of these iPad things. As for the rest of it, please someone who actually read the book point out one primary doctrine that is breached, otherwise say it isn’t your cup of tea and get over it. Not everything will line up with your little version of Christianity.

  69. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Guess I’m back on blog now…

    The idea of portrayal of God in any way like Papa/Sarayu/wisdom/Jesus as a middle-eastern carpenter is I assume one of the major points of contention from our Reformed friends (like Nathan Pitchford). Is this something that Calvin himself would have denounced?

  70. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Found this comment by Michael Spencer on one of his blog’s threads on the Shack:

    “Then consider that your objections are directly a result of Calvin’s objections to picturing God at all, in any way.”

    Those of you who are familiar with Calvin…and I wasn’t aware of this, not having read all of the Institutes (which I need to rectify soon!)…would this be true?

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/one-paragraph-reviews-olson-on-the-shack-tickle-on-the-great-emergence-bowman-and-komoszewski-on-the-deity-of-christ

  71. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Make sure you check out the retina display for iPhone 4 and report back to us. Get the iPad; you won’t regret it.

  72. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    From Bob Hyatt:

    “The biggest critique (as here by Mark Driscoll, just about breaking a couple of blood vessels, but still without actually reading the book) is that the Shack breaks the command not to make a graven image, is goddess worship, is modalism and is at odds with the supposed hierarchy within the Trinity .

    (insert patronizing sigh here)…

    No. This book does not break the command to refrain from making graven images. It creates no idol and asks no one to bow down to it. It portrays a theophany, a physical manifestation of the invisible God who is spirit. In the Bible we see God appearing as a number of people and things. He appears as three men walking down a road to Abram. He appears as a burning bush to Moses. He appears as a quiet whisper to Elijah.
    The idea that (as Driscoll put it) we shouldn’t portray God at all and (as one Amazon reviewer put it) that we shouldn’t portray Him as other than the holy, holy, holy One who is high and lifted up on the throne of heaven is simply not borne out by the example of Scripture. We see God appearing as many things- some terrifying, some comforting. Some enormous and overwhelming, some curious and intriguing, some ordinary and otherwise un-noteworthy.
    And let’s not forget the most significant appearance of God- as a Jewish baby in a dirty stable. “

  73. mn10
    July 2, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    AV,

    Yes, this is one of the areas where Calvin overreacted to the abuses of Romanism and his followers (who haven’t read the Institutes either) took it even farther…

  74. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    That wasn’t me Michael.

  75. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    um, that probably was me, Michael…

  76. mn10
    July 2, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Sorry…multi tasking again. 🙂

  77. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Michael, it was one of those days. Everything I wrote somehow was received differently than I intended. Even Brian (God love you brother!) missed an entire paragraph where I shared how familiar I was with Schuller earlier.

    My questions (none of which directly related to The Shack’s content) all fell flat.

    So you provided a fitting end, and a smile.

  78. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    “Everything I wrote somehow was received differently than I intended.”

    I really have to work on that, from my end…

  79. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Brian, if the author is misunderstood, it is almost always the fault of the author.

    Of course, if someone is in such a rush to post a reply after a sentence or two, so that they don’t carefully read the whole post (and I’ve been there too) – then there is only so much one can do. 🙂

  80. mn10
    July 2, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    AV,

    I noticed that…but, I’m glad I made you smile. 🙂

  81. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    AV, then you clarify yourself and do what you can do.

  82. Em
    July 2, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    AV,”Brian, if the author is misunderstood, it is almost always the fault of the author.”

    dunno bout that … we sure have a variety of understanding of the Word of God 😉

  83. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    83 And behold, all became quiet on the blog; and no one spake;

    And behold, some were multi-tasking; others Tweeting; some were in the land of Facebook;

    and some, having temporarily forsaken the land of the blog, were in the land of the air and the grass and the skies, or the place where the great rectangular god showing all manner of things, both good and evil;

    and the Lord kneweth every single biteth of it all 🙂

  84. July 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    LOL, I read every word, then read it again to make sure my eyes werent decieving me…they weren’t.

    Brian, have you read Ragamuffin Gospel yet? If not ill send you my copy. Manning covers this actual discussion (complete with vieled and unvieled accusations of universalism) If you havent I will gladly send you my copy.

    “I am flabbergasted by the widespread refusal across this land to think big about a Loving God…In my ministry as a vagabone evangelist, I have encountered shocking resistance to the God whom the bible defines as love. The skeptics range from the oily, over-polite professionals who discreetly drop hints of the heresy of Universalism, to the Bible thumper who sees only the dusty, robust war God of the pentateuch, and who insists on restating the cold demands of rule-ridden perfectionism.”
    Ragamuffin Gospel – Brennan Manning

  85. BrianD
    July 2, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Eric, I have my own copy of Ragamuffin Gospel right beside me.

  86. Another Voice
    July 2, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Em, the big difference is God’s Word is to be understood by means of the Holy Spirit Who wrote it. Thus, the confusion is because we either:

    a) don’t have the Spirit as unbelievers
    b) don’t hear the Spirit for whatever reason (our biases, traditions etc.)
    c) God in His sovereignty withholds the understanding for His purposes

    Apples to oranges really.

  87. London
    July 2, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    MB – why if it is fondness or affection is it “fickle” human emotions? Who do you think created it? God was friends Moses, why couldn’t he be fond of us too? Moses was human and God liked him, there’s no reason that he couldn’t like us too.

    We aren’t making God in our image when we attribute emotions to him. He’s the one that created us, in his image, with emotions.

  88. madison*bella
    July 2, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Brian, LOL! My internet was down almost all night, till I figured out just a few minutes ago that a cord was unplugged from the modem. 😉 One of the cats, I’d guess. Technology savvy, I am not.

    London, I would be the first to admit I have a very poorly developed theology of the Love of God. It has caused me problems my whole life as I do not fully understand this doctrine and really, have only a cursory knowledge of His attribute in this area. Further compounding the whole thing was the teaching I received in the Reformed church which really gave me an even worse theology in this area (if it wasn’t bad enough!). Michael could share more — suffice it to say, he saw this theology lived out up close and personal in Geneva.

    So, maybe it is best that I don’t say anymore on this subject, since I don’t have what I consider to be a fully developed theology in this area. All I have shared thus far is my own understanding on the subject, which may be incomplete.

  89. London
    July 3, 2010 at 12:02 am

    MB – not a problem, I’m 99% sure that most of us don’t have a “fully developed theology” on that attribute. It’s worth considering that maybe God really does like us and not just love us.

  90. July 3, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Maybe some apologists and pastors don’t like it that a previously unpublished author could write a book that sells 700,000+ copies..

    “I have owned businesses and worked for others in diverse industries, from insurance to construction, venture capital companies to telecom, contract work to food processing; whatever was needed to help feed and house my growing family. I have always been a writer, whether songs, poetry, short stories or newsletters; never for public consumption but for friends and family. While I have extensively written for business, creating web content, business plans, white papers etc., The Shack was a story written for my six children, with no thought or intention to publish. It is as much a surprise to me as to anyone else that I am now an ‘author’.”
    http://theshackbook.com/willie.html

  91. July 3, 2010 at 12:03 am

    M*B,
    Not sacraments, *sacramentals*.

  92. dusty
    July 3, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Jesus loves me this I know…

    I am awfully fond of you…

    doesn’t seem fickle to me…it seems to have been a phrase used that the hearer could relate to….

  93. dusty
    July 3, 2010 at 12:07 am

    hi big brother

  94. dusty
    July 3, 2010 at 12:11 am

    London, I think that too…about God liking us and loving us….

    they are too different things… there are people whom we love, people we like and people whom we like and love…

    wouldn’t God be able to have the same/similar relationship with people?

  95. London
    July 3, 2010 at 12:11 am

    This was my day today…
    A couple weeks ago I helped out at VBS. While there, I met a woman who is a missions coordinator at the church. Long story short is she owns a store in the local area and donated about 4 boxes of art supplies, paints, canvases, brushes, objects to paint…for our guys in Ukraine!!
    She’s got more stuff for them next week too. Plus, she’s on the board of the local merchants association and will work with them to help get us school supplies as well as work with us through her church and network. We’re definately partnering with some stuff that MAY turn out to be something I never really thought would be possible.
    Then…tonight I went to dinner and asked the manager if she had any free stuff for our backpack project (I ask every single person I meet pretty much any more…haha) she said they did have some stuff…and would find out if they had some pencils etc…
    She sat down to talk with us and through talking, we found out that her family was one of the receipents of the food boxes we gave out annonymously last Thanksgiving.
    It took her a while to tell me, but when she did, she had tears in her eyes and just said “Thank you SO MUCH”…
    It was the coolest thing ever!! We had no idea who got those boxes or if they were really needed etc…it was a real blessing to be able to meet someone who got them and who really needed it.
    Life is weird….

  96. Another Voice
    July 3, 2010 at 12:12 am

    As God is my witness I have no desire for an argument with this question.

    God loves us unconditionally, right? I assume we all agree there.

    Does God “like” us unconditionally?

    I am simply eager to see the opinions. Thanks for playing along, for those of you who choose to.. 🙂

  97. Another Voice
    July 3, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Awesome, London. 🙂

  98. dusty
    July 3, 2010 at 12:19 am

    is there unconditional like?

  99. Na'amah
    July 3, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Wow… i have incorrect theology because i believe (and rather count on) my heavenly Father ‘loves’ me? And even though i understand ‘love’ is more of a verb rather than an adjective describing emotions… i also have been drawn to the idea that He does have a Father’s understanding and ‘love’ for me, concern for me and my struggles…

  100. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 12:32 am

    ma bell,

    Been doing some homework on the Anglican church. According to the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, the Anglican church recognizes two sacraments, baptism and communion.

    “Article 25:
    There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
    Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.

  101. July 3, 2010 at 12:34 am

  102. Another Voice
    July 3, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Dusty, that is what I am trying to understand from the forum here. I personally have never thought of God “liking” us, nor have I thought of him NOT “liking” us. It just hasn’t come up, but clearly this is an important issue for a lot of people. Grendal says above that it changed everything.

    This is due to my understanding of the words, how I use them in relationships and the like. To me it is a little like asking ‘Did Jesus have faith’ – that is one I HAVE wrestled with.

    Maybe I should rephrase my question.

    If His liking is conditional, then would that mean there are times He doesn’t like us? If it is unconditional, then how does that differ any from His loving us unconditionally.

  103. Na'amah
    July 3, 2010 at 12:41 am

    perhaps the difference is separating the person from their behavior as one’s behavior does not always reflect what their ‘heart’ is? I often love people in my life and often do not like their behavior

  104. Another Voice
    July 3, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Na’amah- that is where I currently sit. My earthly love for even children and wife is nothing like God’s love for us. But I don’t think of “liking” my kids or wife in any normal (normal to me) sense of the word.

    But that is just me. Obviously there is a dynamic here with some that comes at this differently, and thus my desire for the conversation.

  105. July 3, 2010 at 12:49 am

    I think part of it may come from peoples religious upbringing. Were you told every week the lie of the holiness gospel? Or the works based Gospel of the Catholics? Then Gods liking you is based upon your doing the right thing to earn His like and Love. If you were raised in a church that pointed constantly to the Cross and Christ love, the idea that He likes you might not be so difficult.

  106. Another Voice
    July 3, 2010 at 12:50 am

    By the way..when I say “my earthly love” that is what I meant. The love we can offer by means of the Holy Spirit is of course far different.

  107. BrianD
  108. Another Voice
    July 3, 2010 at 12:55 am

    That makes a lot of sense Eric. I was raised a pagan atheist, and Christ saved me much later in my adulthood, and did so without any church influence whatsoever.

    I see your point.

  109. BrianD
    July 3, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Eric, you’re onto something…when you are in a works-based environment, your view of God’s approval is going to be tied to what you do for God.

    You fail all the time, you’re headed for hell. You work hard enough and do all the right things, then you are saved. But make sure you never, never let up. And when you do let up, beg God really hard to save you and forgive you, and he probably will as long as you begged Him hard enough and were sincere enough.

  110. July 3, 2010 at 12:59 am

    See we can agree on stuff. 😉

    G grew up a Catholic, with a works based righteousness, and I know others here grew up in the Pentecostal Holiness doctrines of the Foursquare or AoG or to some extent because Of Pastor Chucks background Calvary Chapel.

    I have no idea what thats like, I grew up in a lutheran church where we learned week in and week out that it was by grace we were saved and not of good works. That was really the focus of Luthers theology because of his realization that the works based garbage was a lie from hell. I never really appreciated that until later in life after seeing the needless pain and misery that is placed on the backs of Christs children. Especially when He promised a light burden and easy yoke

  111. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Pastor Mike,

    As I said in my post, the Anglican church recognizes all seven, but only holds that two of them are necessary for all people (baptism and the eucharist) — they are the “greater” sacraments. The other five are indeed part of the Anglican church and are recognized as valid sacraments. I attended indepth classes with the priests of my parish and this was discussed at length.

    I refer you to the Book of Common Prayer:

    What other sacramental rites evolved in the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
    A. Other sacramental rites which evolved in the Church include confirmation, ordination, holy matrimony, reconciliation of a penitent, and unction.

    Q. How do they differ from the two sacraments of the Gospel?
    A. Although they are means of grace, they are not necessary for all persons in the same way that Baptism and the Eucharist are.

    Which is exactly what I said in my original post….

  112. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Buster,

    We do have sacramentals in the Anglican church, such as priestly vestments, the Divine Office and Lectio Divina, we practice the sign of the cross and genuflection, praying the Anglican rosary, bowing during parts of the Mass/service, etc. The main difference between sacraments and sacramentals in the Anglican church is that the sacraments were instituted by Jesus and sacramentals were instituted by the Church. (Ie: Holy Tradition)

    While these sacramentals may not be literally prescribed in Scripture, they are also not spoken *against* in Scripture — and we believe their practice lends to a greater devotion to God and a richer Christian life. The sacramentals are a means to lead us into a deeper love for God.

  113. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 1:07 am

    London said,

    “MB – not a problem, I’m 99% sure that most of us don’t have a “fully developed theology” on that attribute. It’s worth considering that maybe God really does like us and not just love us.”

    ..

    That would be a paradigm shift in my life, to be sure! -:)

  114. London
    July 3, 2010 at 1:10 am

    Yeah…I know 😉

  115. jlo
    July 3, 2010 at 1:12 am

    The Shack was a good little book, it reminded me how much God loves us, it reminded me how much God likes us. If I am looking for instruction on doctrine or theology I am not going to go to a novel for that instruction. I think it is a good reminder for the believer of how God cares for us, I think it is a good introduction to the non believer that God cares for them.

    I think Na’amah has hit on something, we may love someone but not always like their behavior, I know God does not always like my behavior, but I also know He likes me. I’m His creation, created in His image.

    And how do we separate like and love anyway? Growing up I knew my mother loved me, I also knew she didn’t always like me. (I was a bit of a handful) I carried attributes of my father that my mom accepted in him, but didn’t/couldn’t handle in a child. I remember her comment, you are just like your father, and in that tone of voice that you just knew it was not a good thing. Now that I’m an adult she values those traits that she despised in the child. So how do you separate like and love?

  116. Na'amah
    July 3, 2010 at 1:13 am

    AV i agree that our earthly concept of love is only a reflection of what love is meant from our Father…

    and at the same time i can honestly state that i do ‘like’ my children…as people. I enjoy interacting w them, listening to them and considering their POV which is often different than my own. I interact w many that do not like their children… i consider myself fortunate in this respect that i do actually ‘like’ them.

    the concept of God liking me? hmmm, ‘feels’ somewhat like attibuting human qualities to animals aka anthropomorphism uh with me being the ‘animal’ 🙂

  117. Na'amah
    July 3, 2010 at 1:26 am

    jlo… you were a handful at times…no one would have ever guess it was so 🙄

    what is the difference between love and like… there are those i like, and yet i would not claim to love them

  118. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 1:27 am

    “The other five are indeed part of the Anglican church and are recognized as valid sacraments”

    hmm… that doesn’t seem to square up with Article 25… Furthermore this Article speaks of the two sacraments as “certain sure witnesses and effectual signs of grace”; not necessarily the same thing as a “means” of grace as stated in the CBofP. I would have thought that these two document would have a strict adherance of consistency to each other. I wonder if there are just differing views within the Anglican church from your indepth classes.

  119. jlo
    July 3, 2010 at 1:30 am

    “what is the difference between love and like… there are those i like, and yet i would not claim to love them”

    And vice versa.

  120. July 3, 2010 at 1:31 am

    If the anglicans are like the Lutherans than the reason the two are seperate from the others is Christ Ordered us to do them, with a promise. We are to celebrate the Lords table and it is a means of grace, Christ in under and with the elements and the Word. The same for Baptism, God seals us with the water and Word. Marriage and the others are not direct commands of Christ but still good for us.

  121. mn10
    July 3, 2010 at 1:31 am

    pstrmike,

    The 39 Articles are the official word.

    There are some Anglo-Catholics that lean too far toward Rome…I just listened to Packer on this last night and he affirmed the position of the Articles.

  122. July 3, 2010 at 1:35 am

    I mispoke, forgot forgiveness as a sacrament, so we have three.

  123. jlo
    July 3, 2010 at 1:37 am

    I remember one young women in the ministry in which I served; she was troublesome to say the least. She annoyed me to no end, yet I loved the heart she had for Jesus. So when she ended up in my small group at first I groaned, then settled in to what she had to teach me, the teacher. Those 11 weeks were some of the most demanding and rewarding weeks over a 6 year period in that particular ministry.

  124. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 1:41 am

    thanks Michael…

    mabell…..not trying to upset you, but just when I think the Anglican church might be a good fit I read what you are being taught and think….. ummmm no…

    eric… so, no Lord’s table, no grace?

  125. Na'amah
    July 3, 2010 at 1:45 am

    hmmm jlo

    so you “loved” and appreciated an aspect of her core self she expressed in a behavior but didn’t “like” the construct of her personality or the overall of ‘her’ an interesting concept

  126. July 3, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Pstmike, no idea where you pulled that from. Lords table is A means of grace, just as Baptism and Absolution, they are by no means the Lords only means, they are the ones He commanded us to partake in.

  127. July 3, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Faith is a means of Grace from the Lord, a gift from Him. Not something we can give to someone for instance. He gifts us with the Faith to believe. The Lords grace is by no means limited to those three, nor did I ever say or imply any such thing

  128. Na'amah
    July 3, 2010 at 1:48 am

    so no baptism and no participation in communion no grace? but… i thought ‘grace’ is a gift and having a required action or behavior means it is no longer a gift.

  129. Na'amah
    July 3, 2010 at 1:50 am

    eric what does a ‘means of grace’ mean?

  130. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 1:51 am

    eric,
    so let me rephrase then. Do you have to participate in a means of grace in order to receive? In some respects, I would think that would be the case, particularly in praying what is commonly called “the sinner’s prayer” which has within it some elements of absolution.

  131. July 3, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Again, not sure where you got that from, However, being as we ARE commanded to partake in both Baptism and Communion why would you choose not to?

  132. July 3, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Means of grace – the Means of Grace are the ways that God the Holy Spirit creates faith in the hearts of Christians, forgives their sins, gives them eternal salvation and causes them to grow spiritually. The efficacy of these means does not depend on the faith, strength, status, or good works of those who proclaim the Word of God or administer God’s sacraments; rather, the efficacy of these means rests in God alone, who has promised to work through God’s gift of these means to God’s church.

    Not my words but I want to be as clear as possible because this is important for me to portray clearly. We see the means of Grace as a physical element married with the Word of God. Thus Communion is a physical piece of bread and water, but, through the Word the Lord is In, under and with those physical elements. As with Baptism, the water isnt special, however, the water with the Word becomes a means of Grace. God uses them in some mysterious way we dont understand

  133. July 3, 2010 at 1:57 am

    pstrmike – in our theology you absolutely have to participate. How can someone else take communion or be baptised for you?

  134. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 2:01 am

    I love it how people who aren’t even Anglicans are so presumptous to tell me what my church believes, after I have spent hours in in-depth doctrinal classes with actual priests and have been confirmed into the Church. That’s pretty rich.

    For your information, the 39 Articles ALSO uphold the seven sacraments — but AGAIN, for the hard of hearing, THEY ARE NOT TO BE COUNTED AS THE SAME IMPORTANCE AS THE SACRAMENTS OF THE GOSPEL: BAPTISM AND THE EUCHARIST. Why? Because in some ways they have become “corrupted.”

    Yet they are still held as valid sacraments, BOTH IN THE 39 ARTICLES (see XXV) **and** in the official CATECHISM OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH, found in the Book of Common Prayer.

    By the way, the 39 Articles do NOT trump the Catechism of the Anglican Church. Rather, the Catechism *EXPLAINS* the 39 articles. To say one trumps the other is a ridiculous statement — it is an “EXPLANATION” of the articles!!

    I’m done with this discussion; the arrogance astounds me.

  135. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 2:01 am

    of course, (134) that makes sense eric….. baptism is a one time event. communion, isn’t and the frequency is depending on your tradition…. ok, so is grace acquired via communion salvific? I seem to remember something about this, but can’t recall.

  136. jlo
    July 3, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Interesting and challenging, considering my back ground. I came out of those 11 weeks with a clearer understanding of how we view others and how God views us. And how we perceive ourselves as to how others perceive us. It was all very commanding.

  137. mn10
    July 3, 2010 at 2:02 am

    I explain the means of grace as Gods delivery system.
    We (Reformed) hold to the preached Word and the Supper and baptism as Gods ordained delivery systems.

  138. July 3, 2010 at 2:08 am

    All means of Grace impart faith through the word, but no Communion doesnt save you, Jesus Does. The bishop of Rome and His church hold to the salvific properties of the Corpus Christi not the Lutheran Church

  139. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 2:10 am

    mn10…..
    interesting. makes sense and it doesn’t. perhaps I’ve haven’t thought this through deeply enough. I will say that I want God to show up when I teach and thereby be gracious to His people. Something we will have to talk more about over [me] coffee, you{kahlua] 8)

  140. July 3, 2010 at 2:12 am

    UGGG, lol, im having a bad night. Until MN10 mentioned it, we also hold to the Gospel (both read and spoken) as a means of grace.

    Good thing im not a Pastor…or MLD isnt here or id be in for a lashing

  141. London
    July 3, 2010 at 2:14 am

    It’s interesting to me how many people feel compelled to argue against the idea of God liking them.
    I can remember when my church first heard Brennan Manning tell that story, like 20 years + ago, we had the same conversations. God HAS to love us…it’s his “job”…it’s who he is..He loves us even though we’re vile, awful sinner worms (whatever)…but it’s so hard to believe he might actually LIKE us and want to spend time with us..hanging out just seeing what’s up with us…talking…(you know, that prayer thing) 😉
    If you start contemplating what it would mean, if God really did like you…it’ll radically change your life. Just play a game of “what if…what if God really liked ME?”
    how would it change your prayer time, how would it change how you viewed yourself, how you viewed others??
    God liked Adam just fine…think he probably liked him after the big sin episode too..still talked to him didn’t he??? God liked Moses…God liked David…God likes me…and God likes you.
    It’s not heresy…it’s just hard to hear and hard to accept that the creator of all the universe really looks at us and says like he does with the rest of his creation “it is good”…

    Try it…

  142. mn10
    July 3, 2010 at 2:16 am

    pstrmike,

    Anytime… 🙂

  143. July 3, 2010 at 2:17 am

    L read that whole thing but all I saw was Contemplate and prayer…HERETIC!!

  144. London
    July 3, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Eric…I’ll try to use smaller words next time 🙂

  145. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 2:18 am

    eric,
    thanks. “All means of Grace impart faith”. ok, but isn’t it also the other way around?

  146. London
    July 3, 2010 at 2:18 am

    and by the way! I think it was a pretty dang good sermon even if I do have to say so myself. :mrgreen:

  147. London
    July 3, 2010 at 2:23 am

    so tomorrow night there’s a party in town made up of many of the key people in the church I went to back in the day, the one that imploded and has been a MAJOR source of pain in my life for about 20 years. I’m thinking of going…and I’m thinking of not going….

    I dunno…part of me wants to go and just get some closure to some pretty deep wounds and part of me wants to just say the heck with it..it’s in the past, let it go…

    The following weekend, will be the first time my whole “family” from back then will be together in the same place in 10 years. My old pastor/dad, his new wife, his ex-wife and his kids and me. Not sure I can deal with 2 weekends of weirdness in a row…but..might be a good time to just get over it and move on…

    That has nothing to do with anything…I just needed to get it out there.

  148. July 3, 2010 at 2:24 am

    pstmike – im stepping outside the camp on this one, as im not certain of the churchs teachings. But I believe Faith in and of itself is a means of grace from Christ to us. Without it we cannot believe His promises, and with Him giving it we are lost in total depravity. Faith is Grace imparted from Christ to all humanity, its what we do with it after He gives it that is the question

  149. July 3, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Should read – Without Him giving it we are totally lost in depravity and do not seek after him. We love Him because He first loved us

  150. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 2:25 am

    london,
    go ahead and go. you can always leave early…… I had a similar situation many years back. I’m still glad I attended even if I did spend the first hour or so downstairs in the bar downstairs downing tequila 8)

  151. London
    July 3, 2010 at 2:29 am

    I dunno…I just wonder what the point is of dredging all that stuff up again. It’s been a million years, I don’t see those people, they aren’t in my life any more etc…

    But…on the other hand…they could be donors and give me crayons!! (that’s bad isn’t it??) LOL…

  152. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 2:31 am

    I don’t know london. I do know in my case, after a few shots of Cuervo, I didn’t care! 😉

  153. Na'amah
    July 3, 2010 at 2:32 am

    London go you will find others have grown in ways that will reconfirm that we all walk our own paths and it is good and/or it will confirm for you why you needed to walk the path you chose for yourself. And if it is really uncomfortable you can always have something you need to attend to elsewhere.

    and so eric (and others) if one partakes of Holy Communion this will increase their sense of faith because it is a ‘means of grace’?

  154. July 3, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Time for me to head to bed. Had an awesome day today, walked the whole mall with my wife and only had to stop and wait for my leg to stop being numb four times. Its a milestone for sure, and I got to play with an Ipad.

  155. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 2:33 am

    good night eric. thanks for the discussion.

  156. London
    July 3, 2010 at 2:34 am

    Yeah pstmike…I’m thinking that may be the way to go! but, more likely, I”ll just skip past the drinking part and spend the whole night throwing up in the toilet anyway.
    I’m 90% convinced I’m not going tomorrow but definately going the next weekend.
    I don’t care about any of those people but one, and I have her number and will call her to get together with her separately I think.

  157. July 3, 2010 at 2:36 am

    not sure what you mean by sense of Faith? Faith isnt of you, faith is of Christ. The Mystery of Holy Communion is a mystery cuz we dont know, Christ promised it was efficacious and we should do it. Because He said we need to, and because I love and trust Him, I take Him at His word and do what He says.

  158. London
    July 3, 2010 at 2:36 am

    sorry…didn’t mean to break up the faith/grace conversation. didn’t even read…just started typing.

  159. Na'amah
    July 3, 2010 at 2:36 am

    pstrmike Milagro red is better

    eric… so if we only come to faith due to God bestowing us with the Faith to believe…. doesn’t this return us to the idea of ‘chosen’or ‘the elect? uh… it feels kind of circular to me

    and totally off topic any one ‘seen’ Believe lately?

  160. July 3, 2010 at 2:40 am

    LOL, im Lutheran not Calvinist. We believe God calls (Imparts faith in) all men, whether men fan the flame of the gift or not is up to them. Do they trample the Communion the Cross and Baptism under foot or do they accept the gift of Faith and do as the Lord commanded.

    We dont believe you accept Christ, He accepts you but what do you do after He has accepted you?

  161. July 3, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Na’amah I see him on Facebook, looks like he is doing good

  162. July 3, 2010 at 2:42 am

    Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God

  163. mn10
    July 3, 2010 at 2:46 am

    There is quite a variety of acceptable doctrine and practice in Anglicanism…there’s room for all of us and thats why I’m still very interested in looking into being ordained there.

    MB’s church has a Regent grad (Packer) and someone more Romish on staff…she needs to listen to the Packer fellow… 🙂

  164. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 2:49 am

    London, I don’t think you should go to it. Let the past be the past.

    I loved what you wrote in #142. 🙂

  165. Na'amah
    July 3, 2010 at 2:52 am

    eric.. i know you have a really new techie toy to attend to… and yet the idea/concept that Christ accepts us vs us accepting Christ… doesn’t that concept in itself lend credence to the concept of what you refer to as Calvinism aka Chosen/Elect? i mean if being accepted by Christ rather than a ‘free will’ choice on our part mean that He has decided due to His Sovereignty

    oh my this is so fun!!! things i have not been able to discuss for a very long time… sorry if i’m keeping you from your IPad (so cool by the way)

  166. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Michael,

    I *like* the anglo-catholic aspects to the church. 😉 It’s part of the draw, for me. It was funny tho, in the Confirmation classes one of the priests said, “We don’t consider this parish to be high church.” All of us looked at one another and were surprised, because, to most of us, having come out of non-liturgical backgrounds, this parish is definitely “high church.” But, he said, there are many other Anglican churches who are exceedingly high church and look identical to a Roman Catholic high mass. All the pomp, incense, everything.

    The beauty of Anglicanism is that many flavors are accepted, and while the Book of Common Prayer is the guidebook for the faith (but not above the Bible), there are many variations and many different practices, even whilst using the BCP.

  167. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Michael,
    so there is greater latitude. that’s a good thing, but it also means you’re going to have to deal with some hacks….

  168. London
    July 3, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Well see MB, here’s the deal with the past being the past…in the last year or so, I got reconnected (by attending an anglican church service one day btw) with the ex-wife of the guy that made the church implode…They were and are the “family” of my heart. It was a huge gap in my life for alot of years and I didn’t even realize it till I ran into her again.
    Now, she’s part of my life on a regular basis again as are her kids and after this week, her grand kid…so…the past is the present. (complicated I know)

    I lived with the 2 of the other families that will be at that party at various times in my life. I’m kind of curious about what’s happened in their lives…

    I dunno…torn. I’ll decide at the very last second tomorrow I’m sure

  169. Na'amah
    July 3, 2010 at 3:02 am

    M*B and MN10 i guess i am going to need to attend my local Anglican church… one i have not ‘looked’ into in my quest…

    and London if you’re still here… you did not break up the faith/grace conversation

    eric.. thank you re Believe info

  170. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 3:05 am

    london,
    for me, I realized I would have regretted not going more than the risk I took in going. But again, that’s me.

  171. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 3:07 am
  172. London
    July 3, 2010 at 3:10 am

    Pstmike, what did you gain out of going though?
    I just wanna go…hear what happened to people (even though I already know from hanging out with the ex-wife person) and then never see them again.
    How bad is that?
    I don’t want to renew any friendship (but one maybe) and I don’t want these folks to be a regular part of my life. I just want to go close that door once and for all…
    Weirdly, the thought of going doesn’t freak me out like it would have about 6 months ago. This group is a pretty big part of why for a long time I hated church and everything associated with it and didn’t want to get involved at any real level again.
    It’s not like they were just sitting in the pew next to me every week, these guys were the people I “lived life with” (literally)

  173. July 3, 2010 at 3:10 am

    M*B,
    Are the sacramentals also a means of grace?

  174. London
    July 3, 2010 at 3:11 am

    and for the record “guys” is figurative…not literal. Should have said “these people”

  175. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 3:16 am

    london,
    being able to connect with people that I lived a very intense portion of my life with. Some of it was good, some bad, some I’d relive in a moment, other aspects that I’m so glad are behind me. It was the closest thing to family that I had back then, although it was disfunctional and messed up in many ways. In some ways, it was a self validating experience, both for my past, present and future. And seeing some people a few years later gave me the ability to be more gracious to them.

  176. London
    July 3, 2010 at 3:20 am

    Yeah…that’s exactly where I am. I”m just not sure this year is the year I want to do that. Especially given the next weekend is likely to be pretty intense as well…
    Do you keep in touch with them, or were you done with it once you went?

  177. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 3:20 am

    reminds me of the night crew of old….. cashing in my chips…. goodnight

  178. London
    July 3, 2010 at 3:21 am

    dang it…I really wanted to know your experience afterwards.

  179. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 3:22 am

    I was done.. There are very few that I am still in contact with. Facebook enabled a cyber reunion of sorts, but it was short lived. Much water has flown under the bridge. I guess I felt a sense of closure.

  180. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 3:23 am

    It was a good way to end. We all said goodbye after feeling flush with joy and love due to our time together…..

  181. London
    July 3, 2010 at 3:25 am

    Thank you.
    I think I may need to just go ahead and do that before I can really be done with it all too.

    Seriously…thanks!

  182. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 3:26 am

    your welcome, london. I will keep you in my prayers. It wasn’t easy for me….hence the tequila 😉 goodnight 8)

  183. London
    July 3, 2010 at 3:31 am

    thanks. won’t be easy for me either. 😉
    I’ll wait to drink though…”I gotta leave now cause I have to stop by the liquor store” might be my exit stategy.

  184. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Buster,

    I don’t know if the sacramentals are a means of grace or not — I would think they aren’t, but I don’t know for certain.

  185. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 8:47 am

    London,

    I’m sure you’ll make the right call, even if, as you say, it happens at the 11th hour! (That’s when I make some of my best decisions.) Given the reasons you expanded on above, I can see where going to see them once last time might be the very thing you need.

  186. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 8:50 am

    To my understanding, the sacramentals (like genuflection, or making the sign of the cross, for example) are merely “tools” to help us grow into a deeper worship. They aren’t necessary, but they are helpful.

  187. July 3, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    The best I can find right now is from the Episcopal Dictionary of the Church.
    http://www.amazon.com/Episcopal-Dictionary-Church-User-Friendly-Episcopalians/dp/0898692113

    It says that all seven sacraments or sacramental rites “are means of grace.”

    It also adds:
    “The term [sacramentals] has at times been applied to various other outward signs and expressions of faith, such as grace at meals, the sign of the cross, the Angelus, the rosary, imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday, and distribution of palms on Palm Sunday.”

    I really wish they’d say *who* has applied the term in that fashion. My concern for Anglicans (as well as Catholics) is that they could be led to believe that these “outward signs” were a means to receiving grace, or that we have perform any act in order to appropriate the His work of redemption. Kind of goes against the definition of “grace.”

  188. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    buster,
    yep. then the obvious question: is grace acquired through the means of grace really grace?

    again from the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion:


    XXV. Of the Sacraments.
    Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.

    There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.

    Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.”

    I do like what eric was saying about absolution as I would think that repentance is a part of that.

  189. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Buster,

    I don’t think our parish believes making the sign of the cross or praying the rosary is a means of grace (both sacramentals), but I could be wrong about that. I haven’t been an Anglican very long. 😉 As far as the seven sacraments, as I explained to Pastor Mike, only two are called the sacraments of the Gospel — because they are the only two Jesus instituted specifically. The other five grew out of the official church practice, like Confirmation, and are counted as means of grace (for example, when I was confirmed, I was told this was a means of grace, and even more than that, for when the Bishop laid hands on me to pray I was to receive the Holy Spirt and grace and strength for the journey. It was very special, I was told, because the same Bishop who imparted grace through Christ to me is in the line of apostolic succession going back all the way to St. Peter). The same thing happens with Holy Orders — it takes place in the line of apostolic succession and a certain grace is imparted. You can imagine for sure that the same thing happens with Extreme Unction — one of the most important rites there is if you are a dying man. It’s obvious that grace is imparted during EU, as in these other five sacraments. (though no, they are not the “greater” sacraments of the Gospel, such as baptism and the eucharist.)

    But I cannot imagine that the symbolic act of bowing down when the priests and deacons walk by holding the Word of God somehow imparts grace, though this too is known as a sacramental. Not necessary, but helpful. The same with praying the Anglican rosary (also a sacramental). It doesn’t impart grace — I wasn’t taught that.

  190. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Btw, Pastor Mike, just because a sacrament isn’t counted as a “Sacrament of the Gospel” doesn’t mean it’s not a sacrament at all. There are also “Sacraments of the Church” — not instituted by Jesus, yet upheld by the Church and its practices.

  191. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Just a cursory look at different Episcopal (the American word for the Anglican church) websites show that acknowledging ALL SEVEN sacraments is commonplace:

    “There are 7 sacraments in the Episcopal Church: a brief description of each follows here.”
    http://www.saintmargarets.org/welcome/sacraments.asp

    “In the Episcopal Church we accept seven sacraments:”
    http://ststephenscoconutgrove.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=19

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Anglicans-943/Sacraments-1.htm

  192. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    and the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral documents recognize two!

  193. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    PstrMike,

    Just what is your dog in this fight?! I have labored repeatedly to explain that there are two “greater” sacraments recognized by the Anglican church, along with five lesser sacraments — some Anglican parishes call these “sacraments” (as I posted proof of), and some call these “sacramental rites,” as the BCP in places does.

    A sacrament is a means of grace, is it not? Answer: yes.

    BCP:

    What other sacramental rites evolved in the Church
    under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
    A. Other sacramental rites which evolved in the Church
    include confirmation, ordination, holy matrimony,
    reconciliation of a penitent, and unction.

    Q. How do they differ from the two sacraments of the
    Gospel?
    A. Although they are means of grace, they are not
    necessary for all persons in the same way that Baptism
    and the Eucharist are.

    So all SEVEN impart grace, and whether you call them “sacraments” (as most Episcopal churches do) or “sacramental rites” — the end effect is that ALL SEVEN are said to impart grace due to being a means of grace. As *any* sacrament does.

    The only different is, as I have said over and over, is that Jesus did not institute as sacraments specifically the other five, rather the Church practice did. But for all intents and purposes, all seven are sacraments, and most Episcopal churches aren’t anal to bicker over words like this. All seven are sacraments.

    What is your point in this? Are you in the process of becoming an Anglican priest?

  194. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    take a breath mabell, and call Michael (seriously, he’ll explain some). I’m actually trying to get some good answers to what appears to me to be conficting ideals. Aren’t you actually new to the Anglican church yourself?

  195. pstrmike
    July 3, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    one other thing mabell.
    I’m citing Anglican sources, of which you really haven’t engaged with, at least not in our discussion. Do the Articles and the the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral documents not count? I would want some resolution of some type if it were me. It’s not like these documents [any of them] are on par with Holy Scripture, and I understand they are in esssence commentary, but they are also accepted church documents. You appear to still have ample room to wrestle with some of these things; I definitely would, but then again, maybe that’s just me.

    ok, enough for the day. Happy fourth everyone, back to my chamber.

  196. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Pstr Mike,

    I called Michael, and he did explain your position, so I understand where you are coming from now. Pretty awesome. 🙂

    My perspective is that, OK, since all 7 impart grace, why spend time wrangling over whether they are actual “sacraments of the Gospel” or just “sacraments of the Church”? In official BCP doctrine, both are said to be “means of grace,” so it seems to be hair-splitting to me, but, that’s just me. 😉 No harm, no foul. 🙂

    As far as the official documents, the big reason why the ACNA split from the Episcopal Church of the US is *because* of differences over what is officially in the BCP vs. what is actually practiced.

    In Anglicanism, there is a great vast area of allowed differences. Some are anglo-catholic to the core, others are more broad church, others resemble a Calvary Chapel. It’s hard to come up with a blueprint and say, “This embodies Anglicanism” because such a blueprint doesn’t really exist. Sort of like CC — they have their distinctives, but then there’s great room for differences.

    In Anglican official documents, they recognize two greater sacraments, while also acknowledging the place of the 5 other sacramental rites (as noted in the Catechism of the Anglican Church, found in the BCP). Let’s just leave it at that, since that is the official word from the BCP. 2 sacraments, yet there are five other sacramental rites.

    The Anglican Communion is such an incredible church. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The liturgy is so awesome, there are no words to describe. 🙂

    God’s peace to you, Mike.

  197. madison*bella
    July 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Looks like the PP is back up….

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